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A picture of Emily Parry

Emily Parry

Subversive cross-stitcher (Institchingly)

in crafter, mac

Who are you, and what do you do?

I'm Emily Parry and I run Institchingly - I do cross-stitch and embroidery, specialising in subversive cross-stitch. I took up cross-stitch because I find it incredibly therapeutic and I just enjoy making things. I've sold at a few markets so far, and have only recently joined Etsy and also started selling there.

More than anything, I enjoy the look of amusement on people's face when they read them - seeing older ladies giggle quietly and then make sure no one's looking because it was a dirty saying makes me smile every time.

What hardware do you use?

For most of my work, all I need is a cotton thread, aida (the fabric you cross-stitch on) or pretty material, a needle and some form of hoop to hold it. For most designs, you either start with a pattern, or in the case of much of my stuff a common set of fonts, essentially (printed out patterns for individual type) or custom-drawn photos. I've built up quite a collection of random coloured threads and aida (I'm still searching for a local stockist of black aida!) and it's not uncommon to find random little offcuts of thread all through our house and more commonly, stuck all over our two dogs.

When it comes to technology, I have a trusty 13" MacBook Air that I use for planning, research, and doing custom sketches - I don't require much in the way of hardware.

And what software?

When it comes to software, probably the most important part of my work is Stitch Fiddle, which helps generate and preview custom artwork. I've played with a a few different options in the software space, and I found it's nice and simple for what I need to do (custom drawing), but there is always room for improvement there.

For some stuff, my boyfriend and I played around with a tool to help convert images to a stitchable pattern, the most useful example of this being for the Buildkite logo, which we converted and then I cleaned up a bit when manually stitching.

What would be your dream setup?

A whole craft room, with amazing lighting and a super comfy chair. Is that too much to ask for? Software-wise, I'd like something to help make drawing cross-stitch easier - the vast majority of the software I played with was older or quite complex, whereas I'd love to be able to use something like Sketch and then export for cross-stitch.

I would love something that turns a photo into a properly detailed stitch pattern - all the ones I've found you kinda have to squint and look sideways at the pattern and then it somewhat resembles your photo.