GTPulse: Local Cross Stitches Pair Embroidery With Sweet and Snarky Sentiments

Cottagecore is a trend that romanticizes a simpler life. Baking, reading, pastel colors, and spending time in nature are all popular ways to engage in the trend to document on social media platforms like Instagram and TikTok. Its roots, however, can be drawn back to Granny Chic, a similar trend that started a couple of years ago that favors cardigans, glasses chains, heavily flowered fabrics, and decor items that make you think of grandma. The trend came along a few years after Jill Shumway had picked up cross-stitching again. Her ‘Stitches,’ as she likes to call them, are delicate, sweet, and sometimes snarky sentiments that will make you smile or laugh anytime you come across one.

A broken foot a few years back left Jill with a lot of time on her hands with nowhere to go.

“I took a break from it for a long time. So when I broke my right foot I was unable to drive and I came up with going back to cross-stitch, but in an updated kind of way. You take a little gold frame and add some flowers to what I call a snarky little sentiment. I think it takes people by surprise because it looks so cute, and then you read it and they’re really funny, at least, to me they are.”

Cross stitching was the perfect way to pass the time. It’s not strenuous, and the project can be as labor-intensive as you want, depending on how intricate the details are. Cross stitching is one of the easier types of hand embroidery and is done by creating an x with thread on open weave fabric. It became a refuge to pass the time for Jill while healing her foot, but she has been doing it throughout her life.

“I guess I learned from a friend a long time ago. I’m going to date myself here, but as a stay-at-home mom in the ‘80s and ‘90s, it’s what we would do. There were a group of friends, all stay at home moms, and we would get together once a month and stitch in peace and quiet without our kids.”

I came across one of her framed Stitches while shopping at EB2 Vintage on Eight Street in Traverse City. “The comeback is always stronger than the setback,” is what the stitches spelled inside of a little gold frame. Cute, and a nice reminder. All of her Stitches are meant to be tiny reminders that can inspire appreciation or at least a giggle. She’s even had one of her Stitches catch some celebrity attention.

“Kind of a funny story, but I talked to Cat from West Bay Handmade, and Paris Hilton was in her store when she was here. She bought one of my Stitches, so I say that’s kind of my claim to fame. I’m a stitcher to a star,” she laughed

EB2 favors the more sweet than snarky sentiments. The ones that are meant to be empowering towards women, or to give a little boost of daily confidence. Once a month, Jill works a shift at EB2 where she gets to see shoppers interact with her products.

“I think it’s the anonymity of it, but you sometimes come across these relatively heartbreaking stories. I really have to give kudos to Carla Weaver, the owner. One of my Stitches says ‘Nevertheless She Persisted’ and Carla would pull them off the floor as she found herself in a situation and give it away to someone who needed it. So now she keeps a stash of them and gives them out. It’s a really special thing to do.”

Jill’s Stitches have sayings that cover a wide range of sour and sweet, and the little sayings are fun and adorable to place on a shelf or desk or dresser. The little pops of words are fun for friends to discover while looking through a shelf or bookcase, and they’re fun for you to rediscover when you need a laugh or smile. They can be found at EB2 Vintage and West Bay Handmade in Traverse City, and also at Happy Woman in Suttons Bay. Jill is always open to commissions as well, and can be contacted through her Instagram page: StitchwitbyJill. If you have an idea for a gift, she would be happy to stitch some pretty or silly words for you.

“I have over 100 different designs. So far, in 2020 I’ve sold 225. They’re just a great little gift to stick somewhere on your shelf or on your desk. I think that’s why they’ve taken off.”

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Categories: GTPulse