31 years of cross stitch with Sarah Elwood from Sew Me Sarah

31 years of cross stitch with Sarah Elwood from Sew Me Sarah

Sarah Elwood lives in Annahilt in Northern Ireland, and has been cross stitching for an impressive 31 years (with a few gaps).

She describes her cross stitch style as “varied, and I love that we now have the breadth of designers to support that.”

Sarah shares her cross stitching adventures on her YouTube channel, Sew Me Sarah, and you can find her on Instagram too.

Let’s find out more about Sarah’s cross stitching.


1. Why did you start cross stitching?

Since I was a little girl, I have loved needlecrafts of many kinds. As a teenager I spied cross stitch, and loved the precision of the little Xs making beautiful patterns and designs. I had no idea where to start though.

One day I saw a Country Companions cross stitch kit, and loved the idea that everything I needed to do this was all in the package. The only thing required was a pair of scissors.

I asked for that cross stitch kit as an 18th birthday present - rock and roll, I know 😉 I loved every little cross of that kit, and the rest is kind of history…


2. What are your favourite cross stitching tips for newbies?

Do it! Pick something small but something you like and just try. And give yourself grace not to get it all right the first time.

Learning something new takes time, and mistakes are part of the journey. It’s worth a couple of raggedy projects to grow into a hobby that you might love.


"Welcome to our Hive" cross stitch cushion


3. Where's your favourite place to cross stitch outside of the house?

My local library - occasionally I just pack up my stitching bag and head to the library for a few hours of stitching peace. My house is always noisy.

There will always be someone in the library who stops to ask questions about what I’m doing, and I love it when children are curious but are pretending not to be. I wish there was a way to expose children to needlecrafts much more widely.


4. Tell us about any cross stitching or crafting communities you're a part of.

I’m a member of the Stitch Across the Pond Facebook and Zoom group and I love it.

I love the fun, chatty monthly zoom meetings, because as a FlossTuber (a mash-up of “floss” which refers to embroidery thread, and YouTuber) I spend a lot of time on one side of the camera, with no one specifically on the other.

Through them, I have met some of the stitchers who comment regularly on my channel and other FlossTubers too. There’s always so much inspiration and plenty of laughter.

Facebook and Zoom groups are a great place to find your community.


5. What's something that other cross stitchers would say you do 'wrong', but you do it anyway?

Bobbinating my threads - I should probably whisper that. It seems like it’s a big no-no these days to store your threads on bobbins, but I do.

I’ve never had problems with kinks in my floss that didn’t resolve easily during stitching, and I just find bobbins a tidier way to store my threads generally.

(You can see what I think about bobbinating in my recent blog, 5 controversial opinions about cross stitching!)


6. Tell us about a cross stitch workshop or event that was a game changer for you.

In October 2023, I attended my first in-person cross stitch retreat at Stitch in London, hosted by Marie of Stitches and Diamonds.

Being in a room full of other people who understand exactly why you are excited about a thread colour or a fabric count or a designer’s latest release is so satisfying. They’re your tribe.

And the inspiration of seeing what 70 other stitchers in a room are working on, the variety, the technique and skills, and sheer beauty is just amazing.

For someone like me who is naturally introverted, the Stitch in London retreat was a safe place to meet friends and make friends. It was so uplifting to be part of a great community for a weekend.



7. How do you display your finished cross stitch projects?

Through the online stitching communities of Instagram and FlossTube, I’m learning new ways of displaying my finishes so that not everything ends up in a frame.

I love little flat finishes on easels, or small pincushion-style finishes. I also enjoy turning some of my pieces into project bags. Of course, some pieces are still framed, but there are fun ways to adapt home decor pieces to do that too.


8. As a cross stitcher, what crafty gift would you really love to get for your birthday?

A ticket for a road trip to some of the American needlework shops - I would love to enter a store filled with all the choices of patterns, fabrics and threads, and see all the models stitched too.

We just don’t have that in the same way in the UK, and certainly not in Northern Ireland. That’s not a big ask, is it? 😉


9. What's the biggest project you've ever cross stitched, and how long did it take to make?

My biggest stitch so far has been A Family Patchwork Sampler by Modern Folk Embroidery. It was a SAL (Stitch-A-Long) in 2020, but I didn’t find it until March 2021, and then it took me until June 2023 to finish it.

27 months of pure pleasure stitching.


Sarah Elwood's A Family Patchwork Sampler by Modern Folk Embroidery hanging in wooden frame


10. What project is currently on your hoop?

I love that you assume there’s just one! Two of my current projects include an advent calendar that I started in 2006, and Rejoice Evermore by Brenda Gervais.


As recommended by Sarah

I asked Sarah to recommend 3 brands, blogs or magazines she'd recommend to any cross stitcher…

  1. Zweigart for fabric - always beautiful quality.
  2. FlossTube - there is so much inspiration and so much variety, you’ll find something in a style that you enjoy.
  3. Punch Needle & Primitive Stitcher Magazine - a brilliant needlework publication.


You can follow Sarah @sewmesarah on Instagram and her YouTube channel is called Sew Me Sarah too, where she posts great videos about her cross stitch projects, both complete and ones that are still on the go.

Get in touch if you'd like to get involved in my Q&A blog posts! 

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