I frequently post my completed projects to craftster and enjoy letting others know what I think of thier work (remember what they say: stealing your idea and making it for my room is the sincerest form of flattery). I ran across this post by a fellow male stitcher, appropriately named MrXStitch, who included this information with his latest project:
"I've been a lot more public with my stitching, doing it on trains and public places, and it's been an interesting experience for me and suprisingly emotional"
Of course my first thought was if you just change the word "stitching" the whole sentence takes on a new meaning and describes other things I like to do on the train and in public. Seriously, if the spelling/ and grammar errors didn't tip you off, this blog is by a 14-year-old.
Once I actually paid attention to what he was saying the implications of it got me thinking. I've been stitching publicly for a while now but not always so. When I first started I would go to my local craft store after closing for thier potluck/UFO night (UnFinished Objects). I would make something fabulous - because I am more awesome with a pan then I am with a needle - but once I got there I was still to embarrased to stitch in front of anyone. I brought my project, I showed my progress and I even discussed my future plans. But I would not stitch. Stitching was a great stress reliever with my last job and I loved doing on my lunch. But I would park the car in the corner of the lot and go out there to stitch.
I would do it at home. My sister and her kids would give me a little laugh but in that "family tease each other about everything" way. but the hardest part was doing it at my current job. I work in a box taking calls and we are painfully slow most of the year. I brought my stuff and kept it in a drawer for a month before I took it out. Then I just left it on my desk for a week to see if anyone said anything. Now, it's all I do at work. I make things for people. I get a lot of questions. But I also got asked to participate in a company craft fair. Well until it came out that most of my stuff was not work appropriate.
But there is still a stigma. One of my tattoos is on my neck. Yep, my neck. But its not because I am tough. You wouldn't know it unless I told you or you and I had being a HUGE nerd in common, but its from Star Wars. Still when asked how a man got into cross stitching I mentioned it was to relieve stress. I kid you not my coworker asked "Did you learn to do it in prison"?
Somehow the man cross stitching and the neck tattoo and wanting to relieve stress led to the conclusion that I had been in the klink. And that was emotional for me because how many people think the same thing and don't ask? I have been called many things by the uneducated and mostly unwashed masses. I've had trash thrown at me because they think a guy with an embroidery hoop can't start some shit.
But as equally important are the conversations my working in public has started, the compliments and oohs and awwws I have gotten at my work, and the friends that I have made because of it.
With that, I am a HUGE fan of MrXStitch. His work and his ideas and his creative use of unwanted projects has been a big inspiration to me. I cant imagine someone so talented and funny having to needlepoint in the dark alleys behind unreputable craft stores.
So this one's for you, Sir! Consider this your Cross Stitch Coming Out Party. Sorry we forgot the chips. Luckily there is a hooker in the corner. And by hooker I mean someone is doing crochet. But men like us were probably already thinking that!
Any good crafting in public stories? Share 'em in the comments section people!