Meet the Twitch stitchers!

By AlisonManey, Tue, 2018-07-17 18:21

This story first appeared in issue 231 of Cross Stitch Crazy magazine.

Believe it or not, there’s a crafty corner of the internet where cross stitch has become a spectator sport! Over 80 stitchers now spend dozens of hours stitching projects in front of a camera, all while chatting to hundreds of devoted viewers online. 

On video website Twitch, viewers can watch a person – known as a ‘streamer’, because they’re streaming their videos live – as they stitch, and can chat to the streamer and to each other via an instant messenger built into the site. Friendships are made, inspiration is shared and stitchy tips and tricks are dished out – it’s basically a high tech version of a stitching circle! 

Twitch.tv was initially created to allow video game fans to watch each other play around the world. But now, many viewers enjoy watching WIPs come to life just as much as they like watching games!

Even newcomers who’ve never stitched before are encouraged to watch these live stitching videos, known as ‘streams’ – and they do so in droves. Some tune in to learn new stitchy skills, while others just enjoy the personality of a particular streamer.

These stitching streamers are often young, tattooed and pop culture savvy. They go by online aliases such as Sirithre, MotoRuxin, KWarning and CharlyMinion, and are widely known for their stitching on the site, though some do other crafts or play video games as well. Many have even begun to design their own cross stitch charts and kits for their fans. Crazy had the pleasure of speaking to a few of these passionate women about Twitch and the crafty community that’s formed within it.

The first stitch

“Most people who watched at first had never stitched, and some hadn’t even heard of the craft,” says the green-haired 32-year-old who goes by the alias Sirithre. She was the first stitcher on Twitch, back in 2014. 

Already a video game streamer on the site, Sirithre had decided to make cross stitch gifts for other streamers she enjoyed. “My viewers wanted to watch [me stitch], so I let them,” she says. Since then, the ‘Creative’ category of videos on Twitch has grown, in part thanks to Sirithre, who actively encouraged fellow stitchers to join. 

Among those stitchers was 26-year-old MotoRuxin, who says she initially thought, “I’m allowed to do that? [My stream] doesn’t have to relate to video games? Who would even want to watch me cross stitch?” 

And she wasn’t the only one who felt that way – KWarning, another popular Twitch stitcher, hesitated to start streaming her stitching. “I was reluctant because I was nervous viewers would find it boring,” she says. But that was far from the case!

A community stitched together

“I think more than anything my viewers enjoy being part of a community,” says KWarning. “My viewers are my stitch family. We love to share projects and help those who are just starting out. My stream tends to be a magnet for stitchers who love to lurk [watch the stream without commenting] while they’re working on their own projects... I love being available to help and just hang out with my viewers.”

“Having a niche, like cross stitch, means everyone within that community will know of you and watch you at least once,” explains Sirithre. “I see the same regular people chatting in every cross stitch stream that pops up.

It’s then the streamer’s job to keep them coming back for more by being friendly and interesting to chat with.”

MotoRuxin also says the community is the best part of her experience on Twitch. “I get to talk with people all over the world, across different times zones, and I can share my cross stitch internationally with giveaways,” she says. “I love the thought of my [designs] being all over the world.”

CharlyMinion, a full-time cross stitch streamer who streams for at least five hours a day five days a week, even met her husband through Twitch! “We both streamed games for a charity event in May 2014. We didn’t stop talking since and started dating!” She eventually moved from Germany to Canada to marry him.

Visit MotoRuxin, Sirithre and KWarning’s streams for a good stitch and natter, but go to CharlyMinion’s channel for relaxation. She speaks in a soft, sweet voice and plays soothing music as she stitches. “Everyone is welcome, as long as people stay kind and respectful,” she says.

That caviat is important. As with anything on the internet, people can be unkind at times. “Streaming on Twitch does require thick skin from time to time,” says MotoRuxin. “Putting yourself out on the internet opens you up to people, both good and bad. People we call trolls will come into your stream for the sole purpose of saying awful things to try and get a rise out of you.”

But on the other end of the spectrum, the Twitch community are notoriously generous to each other. “I recently had to have a tooth pulled,” says Sirithre, who didn’t have the dental insurance to cover the extraction. “My following pooled together to raise over $500 to pay my bill!”

All four women describe their experience on Twitch as a positive one. 

“I feel like it’s not only about the cross stitch, but the fact that you’re regularly there for people to talk to, having an impact on their mood and life and truly making a change,” says CharlyMinion.

Interested in stitching on Twitch? “Just go for it,” KWarning says. “Everyone in the Twitch Creative community is so amazing, friendly and willing to help.”

Get involved!

  • Visit Twitch.tv
  • Click the 'Sign Up' button to sign up for free
  • Search for a streamer's name and follow them. You'll be notified when they start streaming!
  • Watch the streamer live and chat if you like
  • If you want to, tip your favourite streamers to say thank you!

Photo credit to Sirithre, KWarning, MotoRuxin and Charly Minion.

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