Meet the Author
Hey there, can you introduce yourself?
Hi! I'm Mr X Stitch, aka the Kingpin of Contemporary Embroidery and since 2008 I've been changing the way people think about needlecraft.
Tell us a bit about the book?
The Mr X Stitch Guide to Cross Stitch is an all encompassing guide to this humble craft, with a range of designs of different sizes and skill levels. From geometric squirrels to glow in the dark cocktails, there's something for everyone!
What was the inspiration behind it?
When I was offered the chance to do a Guide to Cross Stitch, I decided to give as broad an overview of the craft I love as possible. A lot of the content had been floating around in my head, and accumulated from the workshops I've been teaching over the years. The rest was born from panic and/or amazing planetary alignment that allowed inspiration to gift me with ideas.
Which is your favourite project?
There are lots that I like but one of my favourites is Home Sweet Home Network, which gives you a chance to put your home wifi password on display for visitors, while adding a touch of hygge style as the GitD element glows at night, reminding you that you've got a Home, Sweet Home.
What is your craft space like?
It's a small office in my home, which is a 1970's three bed semi in a small village an hour north of London. It hovers on the right side of organised chaos.
Have you always been creative?
Hard to say. I didn't do any creative courses while at school, and only started stitching as an adult about 15 years ago. But I've definitely caught up!
When did you first start crafting?
I recall doing a Bayeux Tapestry embroidery project at middle school. It was a man on a horse and I think I enjoyed making it. I didn't do a lot of other crafty things when I was a kid, preferring to read comics and then going off the rails and getting into heavy metal and being a bit of a loser. :)
Who are your crafty heroes?
My biggest hero is Rosey Grier, author of Needlepoint for Men in the 1980s. He was a big powerful man who wasn't afraid to challenge stereotypes and who was in touch with his sensitive side. It's an honour to follow in his footsteps.
I have a lot of current heroes, too many to mention, but it's a privilege to know so many fantastic textile artists and craftspeople.
Where do you find inspiration?
I'm in a fortunate position in the world of needlecraft where inspiration flows all around me and every day I see new embroidered images that remind me how amazing it can be.
Instagram totally helps though.
What's next for you?
I've recently launched XStitch, a cross stitch magazine for a modern world, which is setting a new standard for fans of cross stitch all over the planet. Get Issue 1 from xstitchmag.com while stocks last!
If you think you know what cross stitch is, look again! Jamie Chalmers, aka Mr X Stitch, shows you how to cross stitch using simple step-by-step instructions and also takes you to the frontiers of cross stitch design. Showcasing colleagues who are pushing the boundaries of this ancient craft, Mr X Stitch introduces more than 20 lovely, cutting-edge projects to make, and shows that beauty, innovation and 'craftivism' are alive and kicking in this inspirational book.
The book is aimed at stitchers of all abilities, from absolute beginners looking to learn a new craft to embroiderers and cross stitchers who want to do something different in cross stitching. For many, cross stitch conjures up images of cute kittens and country cottages, but this book shows people that there’s a different side to cross stitching – that it’s an art in its own right, and will encourage them to be a little braver with their art.
Jamie’s writing style is fun, entertaining and highly inspirational. The book will attract readers of all ages, and is aiming to appeal to men as well as women. It will teach the basics of cross stitching, including materials, tools, techniques, colour blending, etc., but will also put Jamie’s own spin on it, with urban flavours, and the introduction of different materials such as glow-in-the-dark threads. There will be several exciting designs for the readers to stitch, and Jamie will arm people with the skills and inspiration to create cross stitch designs of their own, for example, by using photos and other images for reference.
Jamie is particularly interested in typography and there is a good balance of typographical and pictoral projects to stitch. The book is split into 5 themes: Colour, Glow in the Dark, More than a Hobby, Using Computer Software and Outside the Hoop. Colour explores techniques such as ombre design, inverting colour and using geometric shapes; Glow in the Dark looks at how to use glow-in-the-dark threads to achieve different effects; More than a Hobby considers the idea of mindfulness in cross stitch, including black work, backstitch etc.; Using Computer Software looks at photorealism and how to originate your design on a computer; and finally, Outside the Hoop explores projects not stitched on canvas.
The final spread of each section features an Outlier - the work of another stitcher to illustrate a different aspect of cross stitch made on a surface other than canvas. The book will be informative, fun, instructive and inspirational.