Needle and ThREAD

Who Stitches for Literacy?

Stitching for Literacy - Cross Eyed Kat pattern, Post Modern CatsKat Rocha, owner and designer of Cross Eyed Kat, has been Stitching for Literacy since the program began, and now she’s also collecting bookmarks to donate locally—and she needs help from us. Can you stitch a bookmark or two for Kat’s collection? Send them to

Cross Eyed Kat
PMB #294
14900 Avery Ranch Blvd Suite C200
Austin, TX 78717

She’s a busy woman, but she took some time to answer some questions for us.

You’ve been on board Stitching for Literacy since Day One. Why? What does it mean to you?

Reading is simply a large part of my life, so it seemed a great cause to be involved in when I heard about it. I can’t imagine not loving books and reading, so I hope that this program inspires people to a life-long love of reading. Also, I love how it ties in with stitching, which is my other favorite thing to do!

Most “collection sites” are shops, guilds, or stitching communities that have access to and support from many stitchers. You’re one person. Are you insane? No, no, don’t answer that. How will you go about collecting bookmarks for your recipient school or library?

Insane? Maybe? I really wish I could do more to collect bookmarks, but Life has just gotten in the way lately. I hope next year, I can maybe partner with friends who are involved in scouting and do a project with kids. I’d also like to have a simple project kit with double the materials so people can have one to stitch and one to give away. Right now, I’m publicizing it on my KatGetsCrossEyed blog and the Cross Eyed Kat Facebook page.

You’re also a designer. You have a Stitching for Literacy bookmark pattern (10% of profits from sales of that pattern are donated to literacy organizations!), but you know how I love to take bits and pieces of larger patterns and turn them into bookmarks. Are there any bits and pieces of your patterns that you’d like to see as bookmarks?

I think my “Design Elements” designs would be easily adapted to bookmarks. They contain smallish motifs, which could decorate the end of a bookmark. I’m a fan of experimentation, so I think it would be fun to try snippets of different designs: a Post Modern Cat over one, a strip from one of the Mini-Impressionist designs, any piece of a border would work well.

Stitching for Literacy - Cross Eyed Kat pattern, Dragon mini-motif sampler

When do you find time to read?

I try to read some fiction every day. Typically, I read a bit at breakfast, during lunch if I’m eating at my desk, and then just before bedtime. Reading before I go to bed is almost a necessity: it helps my brain switch off from the day and really helps me fall asleep.

When I was a kid I read a bunch of non-fiction. I remember loving books about poisonous plants and histories about pirates, but I hardly ever read non-fiction any more.

Do you listen to audio books while you stitch?

Audio books are something I really haven’t done much. I’m worried I won’t enjoy it as much, or that the characters won’t have their own voices to me. When I was a kid, I listened to “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” radio show over and over before reading the books. When I read the books, I could “hear” the voices of the radio actors in my head (no, I’m really not insane).

I typically stitch while watching TV (I guess I like my audio books with pictures). This can aggravate The Husband when I miss something, but sports events always have replay and nowadays, we can rewind TV shows as well. Like Gayle, this allows me to enjoy reruns as well! I did once get in trouble when I tried to stitch while watching a complicated movie (Memento), but I was able to fudge around my mistake later.

You like to design and stitch dragons, and you like to read fantasy. What would you say is your second-favorite genre for both needlework and reading?

Ok, I’m going to cheat here and say that my second-favorite genre for reading is Science Fiction. While Sci-Fi and fantasy are distinct genres (with many distinct sub-genres), they are often lumped together. I would guess that 90% of my fiction book collection is sci-fi and fantasy.

That is cheating, but if that’s 90% of your collection, I think we have to allow it. One of my reasons for starting the S4L Book Club was to encourage myself to read more widely. It’s already working.

For needlework, I like stitching pictures, so I’m less drawn to things like Quakers or strict samplers. In addition to fantasy subjects, I like landscapes, animals and geometric designs.

Stitching for Literacy - Cross Eyed Kat pattern, Mini-Impressionist Rose

Funny! Our reading tastes differ, but our embroidery tastes are very similar. I love this Mini-Impressionist Rose! And I like your idea to stitch a column of this as a bookmark—I can imagine it, and it’s beautiful.

Do you use an embroidered bookmark to mark your books?

Sadly, no. All of the embroidered bookmarks I’ve made are either models for designs (and hanging out in a shop), or I donated to Stitching for Literacy! I have a big stack of other bookmarks, but I tend to try and memorize the page number I just read. I was using a stitching-themed bookmark just the other night, but lost it in the bed somewhere!

Kat is leading our S4L Book Club discussion this month on The Graveyard Book, by Neil Gaiman. Come chat with Kat—and the rest of us!

Categories: Needle and ThREAD

2 replies »

  1. I ordered Kat’s Dragon Design Elements from the Needlework Show with bookmarks in mind.