This post is a bit different from my other blog posts, and I’m sharing my thoughts on the importance of cross stitch and community. And I am also asking if you have any stories about cross stitch that you would like to share right here on the blog. If you are interested you can sign up here and I will be in touch.
You can listen to the podcast episode below or keep scrolling to read the blog post.
The Importance of Cross Stitch and Community
I made a mistake
Last week I sent an email with a coupon code for a free pattern in my Etsy store. Well, it turns out you can’t checkout on Etsy for a free item; you have to spend at least 17p.
To make up for my mistake, I told you all to reply to me with the pattern you want and I will manually send it over. Because of this, I spoke to SO many of you the past few days.
I do usually get a lot of replies when I send a newsletter out. There are over 6000 of you in the email community, but I don’t really think about that when I’m sending them, and when I’m replying to you through the week it’s just a few people I reply to every day; I pop in and out, etc.
But being so present, emailing you back as fast as I could with your free pattern, having those back and forths with you … it just made me realise that there are a lot of people here right now.
What happens when I send a newsletter usually is that I go in, I write the words, but I don’t see your names. When an email says “Hey Hannah” or”Hey Debbie” etc in your inbox, it’s automated. Businesses/people can’t type in thousands of names every time they send an email.
But when this glitch happened and so many of you wrote back with your thanks and what pattern you wanted, I replied to every single one with “Hey Mary” “Hey Leah” “Hey Tammy”. This wasn’t something I could automate because you all wanted different patterns; that was the point in all of this.
And I don’t know what it was but something about writing out so many names over the weekend really hit me. I was like oh my gosh, there are so many people who are cross stitching right now. There are so many people here. It floored me.
6000 actually doesn’t sound like a whole lot of people when there are 6/7 BILLION people in the world.
But if I tried to fit 6000 people in my house? Hell no. I get overwhelmed with 6 extra people in my house sometimes.
All weekend I just knew that I have to do something. I didn’t know what or why but I’ve just had such a strong urge to bring some of your voices into this community more.
The problem with my business name
You know, I have always kinda hated my business name. “Hannah Hand Makes” came from the fact that I didn’t know what I wanted the business to be. I wanted to try all sorts of crafts so my vision was that it would have different branches. eg Hannah Hand Makes … Quilts, Hannah Hand Makes … Cross Stitches, etc.
So when I just went to full cross stitch I didn’t really want the name Hannah Hand Makes anymore, but I was a couple of years in at this point so I kept it.
It’s grown on me a little but I still feel a little icky when I say it because it seems like it’s all about ME. And that’s so not what I want for Hannah Hand Makes. My tagline is ” cross stitch community and creativity” because I want that community aspect involved in Hannah Mand Makes.
I really started growing this community with the Facebook group back in 2015 and it has grown into such a wonderful, supportive community and I love it. Although I don’t get to spend nearly as much time in there as I would like right now.
Stitch-a-longs and community
In 2017, I ran my first stitch-a-long (SAL) and it felt like I’d found that missing piece of the community that I didn’t even realise wasn’t there.
In August 2017, I was being interviewed for Cross Stitch Crazy and I mentioned I wanted to do a Christmas SAL. And then it was in print and I was like oh I’ve really gotta do this now. And I had no idea what I was doing; I was totally winging it. There were only 12 of us who joined but it was AMAZIN – it even spurred the idea for the podcast.
And I’ve recently realised why I love SALs so much. You know how when you’ve read a book and you just need to talk to someone about it so you might hop on Instagram or Goodreads and talk and that feels good. But then you find out your best friend has read it too and it’s just even better talking to someone in person about it? My best friend and I are reading a book together right now and over Christmas, me and my sister were both reading the Harley Merlin series together. And it felt so nice sharing that in real time.
Well, that excitement is hard to find in cross stitch. Although I see it often in my Facebook group if someone happens to have stitched the same design and they talk about it, or if someone shares a pattern and people want to know where it is from.
However it’s rare we talk about the process, but that’s kind of what happens in a SAL. The joint excitement and anticipation of waiting for the next part, seeing other people’s progress which gives you the motivation to finish that week, seeing how people are using different colours and making it unique. All of that and so much more is why I just absolutely love running SALs. I wish I could do them all year round!
FYI the next one is coming in August 2020.
Share your story
This post seems very random, but I just felt the need to share why I’m so passionate about this community aspect, especially right now. Loneliness is rife right now. We all need a safe space to talk to people who share the same interests as us. and for many, we all have other similar hobbies as well as cross stitch such as reading and crochet.
With all that to say, I really wrote this because I want to include you even more in this community. I want to hear your cross stitch stories. I want to hear what you’re working on, how you fit it all in, a big project you tackled and finished, a small project you fit in between being mum, a way cross stitch has helped you through a struggle, why cross stitch brings so much joy to your life. And I want to share those stories.
Now I really truly do not have a plan for this. I was originally thinking this is going to be a section on the blog of cross stitch stories. But now I’m also thinking if anyone is up for it I might even have some conversations with some of you on the podcast.
All that this will do is add you to a list so I can see how many of you are interested and whether this will work. Then next week once I figure it out a bit I will send out some sort of short form or survey or something easy you can fill in with a little bit of your story and then I’ll be in touch!
Now if you want to share a story with me but do not want the rest of the “world”/6000 people in the community to hear it, please still reach out via email. And know that anything that is said in those emails stays between us. I never share words unless I specifically ask you but usually if I’m looking to share something on here I put a post up in the Facebook group. When I email back and forth with you that will not get shared. Just wanted to put that out there.
I’m sorry this isn’t my usual helpful cross stitch tutorial type of post, but I needed to share my heart this week and I hope you let me share some of yours too.
Carefree Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/