I remember really wanting to learn to do cross stitch when I was six or seven. At that age every craft I saw or thought I saw, I wanted to learn to do. I also called rice cakes "saxaphone" because of its similarity to Styrofoam, which caused confusion during snack time. No, I was not the brightest crayon in the drawer, but it's the thought that counts.
My Mom was patient and usually let me try something if it didn't seem dangerous. Believe me, though, I could make the thing dangerous if I tried hard enough. One day she came across a large plastic board with holes in it at a garage sale and I convinced her that it would be a good idea to get it for me. I had a huge yarn needle and I did make a very pretty picture of a flower growing out of a pot with some multi-colored yarn. I did it all free hand with no chart, and to be fair it was primitive. But once again, it's something I finished, and that was cool. My baby sitter knew a thing or two about stitching and told me what the name of each stitch was as I went along. As I saw it as my own invention, I wasn't excited about the stitch names. How could she know what I was doing? I had "invented" this "needlepoint" thing.
Years went by and I remember throwing the board away for our big move to New York from Illinois. It's just a thing, wouldn't matter if I had it now, really. But I do think about other little girls or boys who really might like to cross stitch but can't really fathom the smallness of Aida cloth, and want a pretty picture of their own invention. Linen isn't consistent either, rendering embroidery nearly impossible for me to this day. So I've been trying to crochet with a stitch that will give the effect of the board I had when I was a kid. Here's what I have so far:
On the right is a snippet of 14-Count Aida cloth to scale compared to the crochet on the left. I used a size G hook and Red Heart Soft White Super Saver yarn. The blocks are 10X10 and measure about 6 by 6 1/2 inches. I'd like to make larger ones so there's room for an interesting picture, but not so large as to seem daunting or impossible for a beginning stitcher. The great thing about this is, unlike the board, it can be pinned to bags, hung on the wall, part of a blanket, anything...and really used, which I remember being the most exciting part of making something. A needle wouldn't be necessary, you could put a piece of tape on the yarn to cross stitch, or use a safety pin and drag the yarn through the hole, simulating a needle. Or of course, you could use a plastic yarn needle (I always lost those).