Our Stitches Have A Voice

About a month I after began stitching, I faithfully watched Flosstube and kept a journal of all of the cross stitch patterns I wanted to try. These were mostly seasonal patterns. Don’t get me wrong, most of them I have or will stitch. However, nothing resonated deeply with me like I felt it did with white stitchers. I remember being in awe about the most beautiful and ornate patriotic sampler featured on a Flosstube. I loved the color pallete and I looked forward to seeing the sampler's progress. I found myself feeling conflicted about what stitching the sampler would mean to me, my family, and my people. I visited my local stitch shop and felt the same way about at least a quarter of the selection (samplers and patriotic stitches). The thought of stitching them provided me no peace and I felt doing so would stifle the voices of my people.

October 2020, I purchased a cross stitch design software and gathered my ideas. I say that my ideas are God-given because I couldn’t stop writing. Before I knew it, I had so many stitch pattern concepts. I could also envision the fully finished products in my very own stitch shop! Look at God!!!! (*cue the organ and insert a praise break here!) 

When I reviewed my stitch concepts, I could hear MY voice. I could see my passion and love for black history. I could see my stitches take a stand about injustices. Even as a baby stitcher, I had so much power contained within tiny x’s I crossed in between linen fibers.

James Weldon Johnson and his brother J. Rosamond Johnson, used their God-given talents to encourage the students of the Stanton Normal School. on February 12, 1900, "Lift Ev’ry Voice & Sing," was first performed by the 500 students of the only all black school in Jacksonville, Florida  in honor of President Abraham Lincoln’s birthday. Did James and Rosamund know that they would amplify the voice of an entire people?

If you decide to stitch their portraits, know that the x’s you cross are giving voice to a legacy worth preserving. I look forward to seeing your stitched portraits and finishes. I also can’t wait to stitch the, “Lift Ev’ry Voice: A Cross Stitch Sampler,” with y’all on Flosstube.

In the comment section below, tell me how you bring voice to your stitching!

Suggested Readings:

James Weldon Johnson: Writings

The Essential Writings of James Weldon Johnson

Lift Every Voice and Sing II: An African American Hymnal

Lift Every Voice and Sing: A Celebration of the Negro National Anthem

The Books of American Negro Spirituals



  • Good job on the execution! Wishing you continued success!

    James 1:2-4

  • I’m so proud of you! You’ve overcome challenges that would crumble most. Keep going and stay true to you girl. You got this! I love you so much!

    19 year old Miasia

    Miasia A. King

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