Mindful Craftivism with Sarah Corbett

“We need to engage powerholders by listening to people we disagree with, by building bridges not walls and by being critical friends not aggressive enemies.” — Sarah Corbett

I adore and admire Sarah Corbett of Craftivist Collective. I’ve known her for many years but since I didn’t consider myself a craftivist until lately, I felt like I was outside looking in. Her ideas and methods of gentle protest harness the power of introverts for good. Rather than scream at those in power, she suggests gifts like the bespoke handkerchiefs she has made and hand delivered, which have resulted in heartfelt conversations with influential powerholders by engaging them face-to-face with empathic understanding. Imagine if you’re an elected official who receives a hand embroidered handkerchief with a message on it — that kind of thoughtful gesture really stands out and sticks in your mind, along with the message. Her methodology has produced some amazing results.

Her form of intimate activism feels right to me because, while I’m not totally an introvert, I could never go out in a crowd to march or protest. It’s just not me. I much prefer what Sarah calls “a thoughtful approach to mindful activism.”

I encourage you to watch the video above to learn more, and visit Sarah’s website, Craftivist Collective, for much more.

Here’s another TED Talk of hers about Gentle Protest.

And another:  A Craftivist’s Story.



I try not to get into politics because of the divisiveness it can bring, but the power of the Women’s March really made an impression on me. I get so many requests for clever phrases that sprang up on signs at the March and beyond–I hear you and know there’s a demand. So after giving it extensive thought, I feel like it’s time for me to step up and join the conversation. I know it’s the right thing to do.

I got the domain name of Politistitch.com, though I haven’t set anything up yet. My initial idea was to keep it separate from Subversive Cross Stitch, but now I’m not so sure. What’s more subversive than questioning the questionable actions of those in power because you’re passionate about your country? My love for the United States runs so deep and I’m sure yours does as well. But sometimes our elected representatives need to be reminded that they work for us and that they need to do the right thing and represent the will of the people.

As Frederick Douglass said, “Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.”

Or, as Elizabeth Warren said, “The only sin is remaining quiet.”

The news these days can be so discouraging and leave you feeling trampled upon, unheard and discarded. When someone as intelligent and thoughtful as Elizabeth Warren, who I have respected and admired for so many years, stands up for the rest of us, I can no longer sit on the sidelines for fear of upsetting anyone who may not share my views.

The thing is, politics isn’t a separate cultural topic anymore. It’s our daily lives, our rights, our common love of country–it IS our culture. This is exactly what Subversive Cross Stitch is made for–expressing ourselves through the medium of cross stitch when the going gets tough. After seeing the news day after day it can be so discouraging, embarrassing, frustrating and demoralizing. Stitching a Subversive phrase is therapeutic, empowering, thoughtful…all the things I set out to do but now it’s on an even more urgent and personal note.

I don’t mean to tell anyone what to do or force my views on others. But if the state of things is making you anxious or angry, I encourage you to stop sitting on your hands and start stitching. Whether it’s a form of public activism or just something you do for your own private sanity, Subversive Cross Stitching isn’t about being a troublemaker for the sake of making trouble. It’s about dissent when dissent is what’s needed; being heard and standing up for what’s right and morally correct. It’s about making our world a better place and holding those who don’t accountable for their actions.

If you don’t agree with my views, you are still very welcome here and I still love you just as much. I’m not trying to alienate anyone, but my concern for what I believe is important has finally overridden my strong hesitation to speak up.

Subversive Cross Stitch is still about making people laugh with unexpectedly silly phrases and four-letter words in a traditional craft format, but we’re also here for you if you need to express your frustrations with this modern world. We’re just branching out a little bit.

Shannon Downey FTW


SO many people sent me this image after the Women’s March. I finally looked at the name and OF COURSE it’s the awesome Shannon Downey of Badass Cross Stitch!

You can see more photos from the event at Shannon’s blog, along with results from all of her craftivism efforts including the #EndGunViolence show we participated in.

You may remember our earlier blog post about Shannon and her Extreme Cross Stitch adventures. She’s pretty much everything I want to be, my cross stitch and general all-around badass idol.

I hope her sign ends up in the collection of march signs being collected by the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, it’s definitely the best I’ve seen. Way to go, Shannon!

Holiday Shipping Schedule

Yes, we are here and shipping FAST! Usually same day. You should really upgrade to Priority Mail at this point if you want it before Christmas–USPS Guidelines say the last day to guarantee that is Tuesday 12/20.

If you’re reading this after 12/20: Our shop will still open and taking orders, but we will NOT be shipping from December 24th through January 4th.

PDFs will still be delivered automatically and gift card service will not be disturbed. When we return on January 4th, I’ll start digging through emails and orders and resume shipping that week.

Once we get back to work, I’ll reply to your emails in the order they were received. If you don’t hear from me by January 12, please write again.

I hope your holiday break is relaxing and restorative. Thank you so much for a stellar year!

Big News!


It’s HERE! We’ve been working so hard on this book and I’m thrilled to finally get to share it with you! It comes out in April, but you can pre-order on our site or Amazon. If you’d like to give it as a gift, we have some cool gift cards – just ask and we can send you one to give as a “pre” gift. The gift of delayed gratification, right? There are 40 coloring pages and activities that are hilariously subversive. The illustrator is a long-time favorite of mine, the awesome Chris Piascik. I really think you’ll enjoy it. More info on the book page here.

Super Cute Assistants

I’ve gleaned a collection of all kinds of pets helping out with cross stitch, including my all-time favorite disapproving cat with YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG. What would we do without them??

Alternative Framing Tutorial

This is a guest post by the awesome and clever Meredith Mendola. You can find a link to her framing service at the end of this article.


While I wish I could take credit for the great idea of mounting finished needlework on canvas, I cannot. It is a pretty simple way to put the finishing touches on any piece, and it’s less expensive than most frames.  Depending upon what types of crafting you like to do, you probably already have most of the needed materials handy.

Your finished piece
Pre-stretched paint canvases
Hot glue gun (the cheap kind) and glue sticks
A butter knife, finger guards, or calloused fingers
Ribbon or whatever you are planning to use to finish the edges

When you are done stitching, prepare your fabric however you usually do.  Many people like to wash and iron their pieces; some people prefer just to iron and not wash.  Make sure to heat up your glue gun so it’s ready to go.


I like to use pre-stretched paint canvases because they are readily available in most craft stores and are fairly variable for your tastes.  They can be back-stapled, gallery wrapped, or whatever style you prefer.  They come in many sizes, so choose what works best for your piece.

Make sure to leave about an extra 2inches (5cm) of space (or more) around the actual design area on your fabric.  This ensures you will have enough fabric to wrap around the canvas.


Line up your piece on the canvas so that the design area is centered on the canvas front.  It can help to hold both pieces up to a bright light.  You can also break out a ruler or count rows in order to measure the margins.  Personally, a little imperfection here is not the end of the world and is not very noticeable when you have a more creative framing design.

Place the two pieces face down on your workspace and apply hot glue to one edge.  Take care when folding over the piece as the glue can be very hot.  I occasionally employ a butter knife to help fold over the edges without burning my fingers.  Once you complete that edge, repeat on the opposite edge of the canvas, NOT one of the adjacent ones.  This helps ensure that the fabric is tautly and evenly affixed.


Next, you will fold the other edges over as if you were wrapping as present.  Again apply hot glue here and affix the edges tightly.  Repeat on the opposite side.

After the aida is affixed, double check your edges and see if any of the fabric is still loose around the edges.  If so, just add a little bit more glue.

When wrapping/gluing ribbon, fabric tape, or anything in one continuous piece, I start on the bottom edge of the frame, as I assume this is the edge less likely to be visible.  Then glue a few inches at a time, being sure to keep the ribbon lined up on the edge.  I use one hand to guide the ribbon and another to run the glue gun.  When you reach your starting point, make sure to trim your ribbon so that it meets up with the beginning of the piece.


For finishing the edges, there are so many things you could use.  I like to use fabric tape, ribbon, and card stock a lot.  But you could also use puff balls, leaves, coins or other metal, leather, buttons, embellishments for scrapbooks, etc.   This is my I Love Lucy tin full of different ribbon and tape.


And voila!!  It only takes a few minutes to have a nice looking finished piece to give as a gift or beautify your home.

If you’re not the most handy and are looking for more pointers, or if you would like to hire me to do this for you, please feel free to email me at DollysDesignsXStitch@gmail.com  or visit my Facebook page at Dolly’s Designs.  I also create custom patterns and finished pieces.

Metallic Floss Made Easy


Metallic thread is a notorious headache, but I have finally found a combination of things that makes it behave like regular thread. Here are my secrets.

$$$ Try putting your metallic thread in the fridge before you stitch. I’m not entirely sure this helped, but it’s worth a try because I feel like it kind of did.

$$$ Use a lot of Thread Heaven (or as I call it, Thread Lube). It’s a type of wax which will help your metallic thread glide smoother.

$$$ I always pair a strand of metallic thread (I prefer this kind) with one strand of DMC six-strand cotton floss. It makes the path smoother by example and encourages the metallic strand to behave.

$$$ The most important thing is the way you thread your needle. I learned this from Creative Poppy. In these images, I’m threading a needle with one strand of metallic and one strand of DMC cotton floss.

  1. Fold the two strands together and thread the folded part through the needle. Pull the threads through a little bit longer than your needle, making a loop.
  2. Put the tip of the needle through this loop and pull it through so that it forms a tiny knot at the end of the needle.
  3. This locks the floss on the needle and prevents the metallic thread from fraying. I swear, it works like magic. The metallic thread will behave like normal thread.


$$$ Lastly, don’t forget to iron it – see before and after photo below. You’ll be amazed at the difference it makes in uniformity, plus it cranks up the reflective quality!