On today’s episode of the Craft Industry Alliance podcast we’re talking about cross stitch with my guest Stephanie Rohr.
Stephanie Rohr is a cross-stitch designer, artist, and author. She is known as StephXstitch in the craft world, after giving that name to her Etsy shop in 2010. Stephanie’s work fits into the subversive cross-stitch movement, with a focus on traditional design elements paired with humor, pop-culture references, and feminist and political themes. Stephanie created cross-stitch designs for Elizabeth Warren’s presidential campaign merch in 2020. Her work has also appeared in TV ads for the Chicago Blackhawks, and on the Comedy Central show “Key & Peele”. Stephanie herself appeared on the web series “Craft Room Crash”, and was a speaker at Midwest Craft Con in February 2020.
Her first book, Feminist Cross-Stitch, was published in 2019. In 2021, her book was infamously pulled from the shelves of Michael’s, which led to an interview in the New York Times. Stephanie and her work have also been featured on the cover of the Chicago Reader, and in Craft Business Magazine, Cross-Stitcher Magazine, Cross-Stitch Crazy, and the front page of Reddit. Her latest book, Self-Care Cross-Stitch, was published in November 2022.
This episode is sponsored by Kinship Handwork.
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We begin this interview with Stephanie discussing her childhood and how she learned to cross stitch. She recalls the types of kits that her mom used to stitch and the motifs that were available at that time. Shannon pursued singing and acting in college and afterward, including studying in London. She returned to cross stitch to decompress from a busy work and school schedule and continued after she returned to Chicago.
She talks about the first time she saw a subversive phrase stitched and the appeal that these sorts of designs has for her, and for many other people. Shannon talks about the first of her designs that really caught on. She had always wanted to write a book and she talks about putting together a book proposal, seeking an agent, and working with her publisher.
We discuss some of the things that happened after the publication of her first book, Feminist Cross Stitch, including Michaels stores ordering them to be destroyed due to a few curse words that are stitched into the patterns and a copy that came defaced from Amazon. I ask Stephanie how she deals with the negative comments that she gets on the sentiments she stitches. I also ask her how she handles people who copy cross stitch patterns without buying them.
- the DMC design contest
- Julie Jackson’s Subversive Cross Stitch
- Midwest Craft Con
And, of course, I ask Stephanie to recommend great stuff she’s enjoying right now. Stephanie recommends:
- a stainless steel floor stand for cross stitching with two hands
- Sullivan’s easy-glide ball-tip needles
- The Traitors
Keep up with Stephanie on Instagram and buy one of her patterns in her Etsy shop.
Interested in learning more about the subversive cross stitch movement? Read our article right here and then listen to another podcast interview we did, this one with Shannon Downey of Badass Cross Stitch.