House Rules: Does embroidery make you cross (stitch)?

Like tea towels with motivational slogans and anything resembling a pig, one piece per room will suffice

Say it with a needle and thread: and when all else fails, put a bird on it

Say it with a needle and thread: and when all else fails, put a bird on it

 

Embroidery is the new knitting. Or is it the new black? It can be next to impossible to pinpoint the coming and going of trends – and it can also be next to awful when something you actually love ends up being bang On Trend.

I have always rather liked birds: not just in trees or flying about overhead, but on ceramics, and even the odd scatter cushion or two. But then along comes Portlandia, the brilliant comedy sketch show, and suddenly it’s impossible to “put a bird on it”, not when it comes to your home decor, with anything approaching cool. Seriously, google the scene; it’s brilliant.

So what are we to do with embroidery? Go to Etsy. com, look up Modern Cross Stitch, and discover a phenomenon. From sampler DIY kits to the rather twee You Belong Among the Wildflowers (an almost emetically cute piece of hoop art by BreezebotPunch for €55.17 plus shipping), to more hardcore messages that you can stitch yourself (from TheInnocentBones €12.60 plus postage). Everything really can be said with a needle and thread.

The problem is that a little goes a long way. Just like putting a bird on it, you have to draw the line before you end up living in the interior design version of a chi chi aviary – or in this case, as if you’ve had a couple of sessions of occupational therapy too many, or have slipped down a wormhole to wake up a Victorian consumptive with time on her hands.

No, the answer, which also applies to tea towels with motivational slogans, slate door signs, witty-animal-shaped milk jugs and teapots, and anything resembling a pig, is: just one piece per room. One per house is even better. That may seem harsh, and you can stretch the point if you make the argument that these things come in pairs, but trust us, it will save you from drowning in a sea of misplaced cuteness.

And if that doesn’t satisfy your shopping impulses, not to worry: just like buses, there will be another cutesy trend along – very soon.

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