Despite my mother's early attempts to encourage me in the art, I never could see the appeal of cross-stitch. The patterns available were unfailingly twee - kittens frolicking amid damask roses and the like - and the end results seemed a bit, well, pointless. Making things, any things, takes a lot of time, but at least with knitting or sewing that labour is directed towards a practical purpose: this thing that I'm making will keep me warm, save me money, make me less dependent on flimsy shop garments, etc. Cross-stitch seemed to have no such purpose to recommend it. I mean, what could you DO with a bit of cross-stitch? If you like to think that you're too young to be tricking out your lavender sachets with natty needlework, what other options are there? Make a teeny tiny cushion for fairies to lean against? Frame it? Somehow a mass-produced cross-stitch design didn't seem worthy of the high honour of a frame - it would be like framing a paint-by-numbers painting, or a completed jigsaw puzzle.
I think, though, that I may have been missing out, and missing the point. The point is that needlepoint doesn't need a point. There is a quiet beauty in pulling lengths of different coloured thread through fabric that doesn't require a functional end result to justify the doing. And, I have to admit, following one of the mass-produced patterns I was so sniffy about is pretty satisfying. I took the above photo in Yumchaa, Soho, and I could barely put it down to finish a tasty apple and apricot cake. I think I might get back to it right now, in fact!