A key word when it comes to Cross Stitch is ‘tradition’, and that’s always been a bit of a problem. When you have a hobby revered for its age and history, you face an uphill battle trying to get the younger people, with even younger likes and interests, to pick it up and express themselves. The huge boost embroidery has got these past few years, thanks in part to sewing and craft groups like Stitch London, high levels of manufactured home-textiles goods and, of course, the internet, still begs the question; how has it had to adapt and change to meet the demands and attitudes of a 21st Century craft community?

Whilst we all hold our portraiture, card and bookmark kits in the highest esteem, we'd like to do something a little different this time and give a little insight into where the big changes are going on in needlecraft...

iPhone & iPad covers

Wherever you allegiances lie in the mobile phone or tablet market, the one thing that seemingly binds all of us techgeeks together is a never ending search for the perfect cover for our little device. The over-abundance of decal though, whether made in extremely limited quantities or custom designed, can still lack that personal spark.

Not so if you hand make it yourself. The sparking interest in cross stitch covers for smartphones and portable computers has picked up to the point that even major textile manufacturers are jumping in. Anchor Crafts, for example, have recently rolled out a selection of make-it-yourself covers, ranging from hip and fresh designs for the iPhone 4, groovy patterns for the iPhone 5 and one wild cover for the iPad. We're interested to see the trend carry on, perhaps to laptop skins, games console controller jackets or, maybe, Google Glass cases...

The Cultivation of Pop-Culture

Just search 'cross stitch' on Etsy, and prepare yourself for a world of wow. From The Beatles to modern TV shows like Breaking Bad, the previously unthinkable is now stitchable, and people are buying it up like crazy. More than a big pond for small fish; the internet is sustaining a cultural revolution, where anything popular eventually gets engraved onto aida cloth. The size and scope of the franchises, characters and catchphrases means that for every reference you don’t get, there’s plenty to fill the gap, and the high level of detail on some pieces means these are hardly the work of amateurs.

Cross Stitch Street Art

One thing that's always proved popular on the Past Impressions Google+ page is any new instance of cross stitch-styled street art pieces and displays. Attempting to transfer the method by which we create images on Aida onto everyday objects requires plenty of ingenuity, patience and creativity. The results are eye catching exhibits of true artistic hands at work, and whilst this craze may not be exclusive to cross stitch (e.g. 'yarn bombing') there's a dutiful simplicity to the above examples that is strengthened by our familiarity with the source material.

Sassy Cross Stitch

If you're an avid crafter, you can't take a single step on the internet without coming across the biggest trend in old-meets-new school embroidery, known as 'subversive cross stitch'. What makes now legendary crafter Julie Jackson’s concept so intriguing is she takes the things we've loved about embroidery for years; pretty borders, patterns and frills, and adds unexpected rude and crass statements. The mixture is a recipe for laughs, and immediately evokes that ‘Gotta Have It!’ mind-set. We admit it's not to everyone's tastes - and boy was it hard to find examples we didn't think would overstep the pleasant boundary! - but we certainly have a guilty pleasure for these pieces.

In what ways do you think cross stitch has best breached the modern cultural sphere? You can let us know in the comments, or at our Facebook, Twitter and Google+ pages. Don't forget to also stop by our ever buzzing cross stitch community, which we're pleased to say just passed the 500 member mark!

Post By Graham Ashton