Welcome! Pull up a chair!
Hey Subversive Cross Stitchers, welcome to our new hangout! 2023 is Subversive’s 20th year which means I started before there was Etsy, hand-coding my site in HTML! If you’re not familiar, you’ll find my origin story below; also, check out my website for kits, patterns, supplies and freebies.
Subversive Cross Stitch encourages hilarity and self-expression as self-care. We take the staggering mediocrity of corporate craft BS and turn it upside down, forging our own path and encouraging you to do the same. Cross stitch is very calming and meditative, as many studies out there show—crafting is good for you in so many ways!
The best part about my journey is all the people I’ve met along the way. My customers are creative, thoughtful, smart, kind and very funny. Our relationships go beyond customer service, we bond over our mutual spirit of play and support each other with kindness and humor. I’m so glad you’re here, whether you’re an old friend or a new one—let’s build a place we can all meet, create, share ideas and get to know each other!
I embraced Substack because I can do everything I want to do on one platform: newsletters, discussions, chats, audio, video, giveaways, even an AMA (Ask Me Anything)! And, most importantly, we can build a like-minded community together: not just with me, but you can all interact with each other. Sort of like reddit, but a subscription-based space keeps out the haters and the troublemakers. (You may recall my short-lived Facebook group which dissolved into a nightmare of trolls gone wild.)
Mostly, I chose Substack because it’s a place where we can speak freely, and have conversations free of algorithms, where you are no longer a product for ad revenue and where we can build a community together that matters. Also, no one will randomly hassle us about four-letter words.
How can I be a part of it?
First of all, please don’t feel this is something you have to pay for—you’ll always get my regular newsletters like always. They’ll come right to your inbox with links directly to my website. I think I put too many “subscribe” buttons in my first Substack posts, I was trying to use best practices for Substack. But those aren’t necessarily best practices for us. I want you to always feel welcome and like part of the Subversive family because of COURSE you still are. At the same time, I wanted a place that wasn’t prone to censorship and the whims of tech billionaires. Also, a place where we could set up our own “private” Subversive community without the anonymity and arguments of random haters ruining it. So, IF you want to go to that level, that’s when paid subscriptions come in. Doesn’t interest you? Forget it! Just stay with your free subscription and it’s all good.
Should I upgrade to Paid?
IF you want to move up to a paid subscription, the chart below sums up the benefits I’ve put together for different levels of participation. No matter which level you choose, you will receive our quirky newsletter directly to your inbox before anyone else knows what’s new—early sale previews and bragging rights!
A paid subscription makes you a full-fledged member and supports my small, woman-owned business. As a paid subscriber, you’ll receive a free PDF pattern every month, you’ll be able to comment and give feedback, participate in discussions, be eligible for giveaways and have access to archives. You’ll be a member of the only bonafide Subversive Cross Stitch community and supporting me at the same time.
What does that look like in reality?
One of our founding members just asked about a long-forgotten thing we sold: I found a couple of them and mailed them to her for free.
The first month I messed up, so subscribers got 3 free PDFs instead of one.
I had a giveaway of three Stitch, Plz journals for subscribers and, on top of that, decided to also send one to each of my Founding Member subscribers.
Just little things like that. Subscriptions help to fuel acts of kindness and nothing makes me feel better than doing something unexpected for someone. I’m in this to have FUN (and also make a living, of course). So that’s the deal with subscriptions. Thank you for hanging with me through this transition.
Subversive Cross Stitch 101
“I keep meaning to let you know how much your cheeky newsletters make me laugh. Brightens my day!”
“Love love LOVE your designs! They make life worth the struggle.”
“When I first came across Julie Jackson & Subversive — it was life-changing — it was like coming home to stitchin’ peeps I’d always hoped existed but never knew really DID!”
Our origin story
Like many creative endeavors, Subversive Cross Stitch® was launched in the face of staggering mediocrity. In 2003, I was working in a conservative office for an idiot boss, and it was getting increasingly difficult to disguise my contempt. In a desperate search for art therapy, I found myself wandering through a local craft store.
Once I hit the cross stitch aisle, I knew what I had to do. There they were, all those cheerful little bears and happy smiling babies. Precious frilly bookmarks and angels…it was just too much sweetness in one place. It needed to be messed with. At first, I altered store-bought patterns to make them look like the cute little bears were humping each other or like the angels were actually Siamese twins. Then I found one of those really ornate kits that come with an alphabet so you can stitch in your name and wedding date. I actually completed this complicated masterpiece of lilies and vines and latticework; then, right in the center, I embroidered one simple word: “Fuck.” I had finally found my calling.
Since then, the world of DIY crafts—especially cross stitch—has expanded like mad. Now anyone can start an Etsy shop and put their ideas out there in an instant, which is great! People are cross stitching in public, in kayaks, on trains and even stitching directly on benches, fences, or anything grid-like that yearns for embellishment. I always encourage self-expression in cross stitch because no two people will ever do the exact same thing so the possibilities are truly endless. Over the past 20 years, it’s been fantastic to witness how this craft continues to evolve and grow in popularity. I can’t help but think of those before us, in corsets and bustles, quietly stitching away on samplers while keeping their mouths shut and their skills sharp.
Remember; cross stitch—or any other craft for that matter—is not about following a pattern to perfection. If you’re working that hard, you’re missing the point. Have fun with it! Liberate those sad, fussy, teddy bear and bunny patterns from the craft stores—buy them, take them home, and give them a more interesting life. They’re just begging for it; look at them! Their little mouths want so badly to mutter something nasty. Only you can free them!
About Julie Jackson
In case we haven’t met yet, I’m the creator of Subversive Cross Stitch, the OG who put snarky phrases with traditional motifs back in 2003. Now it’s a whole genre!
I’ve created quite a few products over the years, some of which I’ve linked to on my front page. Several books, a coloring book with activities, notecards, pillows, calendars, some cool custom commercial pieces and in the past few years I’ve been working with my favorite gift company, Fred, on a range of unusual cross stitch gift products.
You can visit my Amazon author page to see everything I’ve published, here’s my latest book: Super Subversive Cross Stitch: 50 Fresh as F*ck Designs (Sasquatch, 2021). I have done three pattern books so far, an activity/coloring book and TWO wall calendars with Rizzoli (2024, 2025).
Some of the commercial work I’ve done includes cover art for Parade magazine, billboard art (looks like a stitched billboard!) for Shiner Beer, pieces for Netflix, YouTube, madewell, The Colbert Report, several book covers and a series of patterns for the release of best-selling author The Bloggess/Jenny Lawson's 2021 book.
You may have seen my work out there—besides my website, Subversive Cross Stitch kits can be found in retail stores around the world. They have been sold in the Target Red Hot Shop, in Urban Outfitters along with greeting cards and calendars and selected as staple products in the early days of Fab.com. The line from Fred is nothing short of awesome: dish sponges, Daily Samplers, potholders and more. In the past, Blue Q produced a line of Subversive Cross Stitch gift items including magnets, matchbooks and gum. Noted produced a line of Subversive Cross Stitch kits in German, French and British English in 2010 which were sold in the UK and throughout Europe.
Previously, I was a columnist for Craft magazine: "Subversive Finds by Julie Jackson". I’ve contributed to a few books and I’ve also been a brainstormer and copywriter for both blueQ and, currently, the fine folks at Fred.
Oh yeah, and back in 2009 I created Kitty Wigs (wigs for cats) and had a book called Glamourpuss: The Enchanting World of Kitty Wigs. Here’s a video to give you an idea of the fun we had.
Basically, I LOVE having fun and drowning in internet memes and discovering people whose ideas and creations blow my mind. And I really cherish the relationships I’ve formed with like-minded people over the years. I’m a smart-ass, sure, but I’m a SINCERE smart-ass. Let’s have fun together!