When you think of someone who cross-stitches, you probably don’t picture a tattooed feminist dad whipping up elaborate creations. However, Mike Reynolds — father, writer, and creator of the online shop Everyday Girl Dad — has long admired the art of cross-stitch. So, when he was looking for a new creative outlet, he decided to throw stereotypes out the window, pick up a pattern, and just start doing it.
“I have put off doing too many things for fear of what others might think,” Reynolds tells Babble. “Doing this is a harmful way to live.”
Not only has he tossed aside any fear of judgment, but in the last eight months he’s even started creating his own patterns, since the types of designs he was looking for didn’t exist.
“I mostly wanted to start cross-stitching the people I wanted to see more of in the world,” says Reynolds.
He also says he feels it is important for men and boys to see females as role models — which is why we love his cross-stitch of Naomi Wadler, the 11-year-old who gave such a passionate speech during March for Our Lives.
Not to mention his hilariously quirky tribute to tennis legend Billie Jean King …
And Ms. Marvel.
Of course, he’s also cross-stitched many famous men as well, from everyone’s favorite children’s TV show host, Mr. Rogers …
To Star Trek’s Captain Picard!
Some of the celebrities Reynolds has immortalized in cross-stitch have even given him recognition on social media, and he says he “freaks out every single time.” I would too, considering we’re talking about Susan Sarandon, Janelle Monae, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, to name a few. That’s some serious validation!
Since Reynolds first completed his first piece back in January, he’s realized two important things. One, he loves everything about the creative process associated with cross-stitching.
“I keep waiting for the joy to wear off, but it hasn’t yet,” says Reynolds.
Two, it is a great tool for managing his anxiety.
“It just takes so much focus that it helps take my mind off of the things that normally race through my brain,” he says.
Just like the adult coloring book craze, cross-stitching is thought to be a relaxing activity that can soothe a busy mind and calm nervous energy. Some have even compared it to meditation, because you are totally in the moment, focusing only on the next stitch, and your mind is quiet — which is a relief to anyone who suffers from anxiety.
So if you want to try cross-stitching yourself and are looking for a fun pattern, head on over to the Everyday Girl Dad shop. He has many patterns available for download at no cost, as well as finished cross-stitch creations for purchase. Not only that, but rumor has it, he’s also working on some Halloween-themed stitches just in time for fall!