Bookish Crafts

One of my favorite crafts is cross stitching. I’ve been doing it since I was a teenager, and I find it to be very similar to writing. You start with a blank canvas, follow some guidelines, add color and creativity, and eventually a piece of art takes shape.

I make small projects like Christmas ornaments as gifts, and my larger projects that often take years to complete become decorations for my home. Recently, I finished a matched pair of medieval maidens – The Reader andย The Musician. I gave these to my daughter for her 23rd birthday. She will be moving into a new apartment in August, and they are something of a housewarming gift. The first one was finished in 2017, and I didn’t get around to finishing the second one until this year. These are special because both my daughter and I love reading, we both played the flute, and we both love historical things. It was the perfect trifecta!

Cross stitching is very easy, and I find it quite relaxing. I often have a project going while my hubby and I watch TV, or it can be great to do while listening to an audiobook. It’s like paint by numbers but with colored thread (floss) instead of paint. If you can follow directions and make tiny Xs, you can cross stitch.

I get especially excited about patterns that allow me to mix my love of reading with my love of stitching. So today, I’m giving away a pair of prizes.

First – A hand-crafted (by me!) bookmark that combines my two favorite past times – reading and stitching.

Second – An easy, beginner-level kit to let you try your hand at your own cross-stitch creation.


For a chance to win my handmade bookmark
along with the nostalgic and adorable honey bear kit,
leave a comment about your favorite craft.

And if you are a fellow stitcher, let me know!

Website | + posts

For those who love to smile as they read, bestselling author Karen Witemeyer offers warmhearted historical romance with a flair for humor, feisty heroines, and swoon-worthy Texas heroes. Karen is a firm believer in the power of happy endings. . . and ice cream. She is an avid cross-stitcher, and makes her home in Abilene, TX with her husband and three children. Learn more about Karen and her books at:

151 thoughts on “Bookish Crafts”

    • Laura, I wish you lived next door to me!! I love knitting, too (am only getting back into it) but there’s so much I don’t know. You could teach me!

    • Thanks, Laura! I can’t knit to save my life. I remember my grandmother trying to teach me when I was a girl. It never went anywhere. My daughter, though, decided to teach herself to crochet and a month later she gave hand crafted, crocheted star wars figures to everyone for Christmas. I was amazed!

    • Hi, Janine. I bet you had fun playing with all of those sparkly beads and baubles. ๐Ÿ™‚ I have a couple bracelets my sister-in-law made for me. Special treasures.

  1. When I was a young girl my aunt taught me to crochet. I enjoyed making baby blankets and blankets for all my friends and family. Iโ€™m not good following a pattern but after learning the basic nothing was more relaxing for me.

    Your cross stitch is very beautiful, what a special gift from mother to daughter!!

  2. I cross stitch as well. I love doing Precious Moments kits and all ones that have dogs in them. I have several dogs that I spend time with as well. They are a handful.

  3. Karen your cross stitch is absolutely beautiful! I enjoy painting and writing children’s stories.

    • Thanks, Julie. I’ve always envied people who could draw and paint. Even my stick figures come out lopsided. Ha! That why I do better with needlework. I’m good at following directions, and no specific artistic ability is required. Do you illustrate your children’s stories?

  4. Good morning! Your cross stitch pieces you gave your daughter are beautiful! I mostly do floral wreaths but in the past I’ve made drip poured Christmas ornaments, pinecone wreaths, cross stitch (but it’s been many, many years), I painted an entire ceramic Christmas Village once and I love adult coloring books. For the past almost 4 years I’ve mostly read. The past year I’ve started a side gig of being a Pampered Chef Consultant.

  5. Learned to cross stitch from my daughter. Have been stitching for about 35 years. Also read appx. a book a day.

    • Wow, Estella. I think you just described my ideal retirement scenario. Cross-stitch and reading! Love that! And I love that your daughter got you into cross-stitching. I got my daughter into it, too, but she has wider interests. It’s fabulous to be able to geek out about things with her, though. ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. I use to piece a lot of quilts but have not done that in a while. My sister use to quilt them for me on her quilting machine but she passed away a few years back. She use to cross stitch also. She made me a cross stich project years ago with my sons name and birth date and weight when he was first born and I still have it. I think I would love to learn how to cross stitch.

    • Quilting is such a classic art. I’ve only ever made one quilt and it was all done on the sewing machine, so it doesn’t really count. My aunt my marriage was a fabulous quilter. I remember loving to visit her house just to ooo and ahh over the quilts on display.

  7. My mother taught me to cross stitch when I was young. I haven’t done it in a while, but my daughter now wants to learn, so I’ve been helping her. I also love to play with drawing and painting.
    Your cross stitch is beautiful!

    • I love that you are getting back into it with your daughter, Jess. I was so glad wen Bethany showed an interest in it as well. It’s so much more enjoyable when the passion is shared.

  8. Welcome. Your pictures for your daughter are lovely. I dont do cross stitch. I am too hard on myself to get all the little stitches correct. BUT I love to do count cross stitch. I too will do something like this in the evening while my husband watches tv. What a wonderful give a way. Thank you. This little bear would fit right into my kitchen. It is full of bears and sunflowers.
    My hobbies are Count Cross Stitch, Quilting, Sewing and Making My Own Greeting Cards
    quilting dash lady at comcast dot net

    • Yes, all of my cross-stitch work is actually counted cross stitch, Lori. I like having the fabric dictating exactly where to place the stitches. And how fun that your kitchen is full of bears and sunflowers!

  9. I love to make my own cards, and I like to do embroidery. I have a tablecloth that I started years ago, put back, and need to pick up again. I did the placements and napkins to match, but got stuck on the tablecloth.

    • A tablecloth is a HUGE project. I can understand why you might have needed a break. I’ve been blessed to receive a few handmade cards over the years, and they are just so special. I love that you do those, Trudy!

  10. good morning. I too like cross stitch, but i prefer the stamped one, I love crafts, and do counted cross stitch, and crochet, and loom knitting, and use to do the latch hook also.

  11. I learned to cross stitch when I was young and enjoyed it since it was easier than knitting. I love the simplicity and the beauty of cross stitch. I enjoyed making scrap books which were unique and easy to do. Just buy the scrapbook filled with blank pages and fill it with photos, and treasures as a gift to family.

  12. I was always interested in painting and ceramics. I created lovely small paintings which were gifts for children when I traveled and visited family. Either their name or an elaborate design to hang up in their bedrooms.

  13. Iโ€™m not super crafty but I do like to try. I used to cross stitch a little when I was a child, I should pick it up again! This past winter I bought looms for loom knitting and have been making some hats and ear warmers on those. My oldest daughter does it too and she also knots for real. I havenโ€™t been able to figure that out yet.

  14. My favorite craft… that’s so hard! I suppose my absolute favorite is crocheting doilies. I love the tiny thread and teeny tiny crochet hooks! My great aunt left us a huge amount of colored crochet thread in a million different colors, so I like doing fancy doilies with flowers and clovers and stuff.
    I have tried cross stitching when I was in middle school! It is rather addicting, as I recall. Now that we’re talking about it, I really want to pick it back up again! I’d forgotten all about it.

  15. Karen, my mother-in-law taught me to cross-stitch many years along and to quilt which I love, She also tried to teach me to tat but I only wound up with knots. My Mom taught me to embroidery and how to knit when I was around 10 yrs old and she also encouraged me with drawing. We always had some craft projects going on and at times my Mom would have some of my friends over and we would make something. I took decorative/tole painting lessons after I completed my night courses for my degree. A friend taught me how to crochet so I’m a jack of all trades. I always have some project going. However, the one thing I do every day is read.

    Your pieces for your daughter are beautiful. You can see all the love in ever piece and I am sure she will treasure it.

  16. I’m a paper crafter and I’ve taken up quilting again.

    My husband’s grandmother was a cross stitcher and we have several of her projects. One is a large portrait size with a tea vignette. I think she picked the pattern to coordinate with our china, but we have it hanging in our bedroom because of the frame and mat colors.

  17. Since I am not very crafty but wanted to try something new, I decided that I would make up baskets filled with goodies, treats and books. Friends who were ill, new neighbors and family who I love to pamper.

  18. I used to do a lot of cross stitch in the winter – one was for a clue candlestick quilt for our church raffle!! Wish I knew where that quilt ended up! Thanks!

    • I hope you got a picture of the quilt when it was completed, Teresa. Years ago, a lady at our church used to hand out quilt squares for different ladies to embroider that she would then make into baby quilts for the firstborn child of any member’s family. I still have the one made for my daughter. Such love sewn into every stitch. ๐Ÿ™‚

  19. I learned to needle tat in 2017. It’s a dying art but many women have begun to tat again. I now tat spool-pin doilies, bookmarks, bracelets, necklaces, and earrings. (A spool-pin doily goes on the top of a vintage sewing machine under the spool of thread, to protect from the spool of thread scratching the paint finish on the sewing machine.) I love creating, and it’s such a joy to see what beautiful combos of thread colors, patterns and beads come off my needle!

    • Wonderful! I’ve always thought tatting a beautiful and delicate art. I’m so thankful there is renewed interest. I hate to see any generation lose the crafts of eras gone by. So glad you are part of the resurgence, Sherry!

    • Oh WOW Sherry. My mother-in-law tried to teach me tatting with a shuttle but I old ever got knots. I’ve heard of needle tatting and I just might have to look into that. I remember seeing needle tatting when I went to a craft show years ago.

  20. Iโ€™ve done cross stitch before, but it is okay. Iโ€™ve also tried crewel, doing embroidery, and making clothes. The thing I keep coming back to is quilting. I enjoy figuring the pattern out, although I quilt on my machine. I โ€˜m finishing up a baby quilt (hand stitching the binding) for a new great grandson.

    • Nothing makes me happier than crafting on behalf of someone I love. I bet that baby quilt for your great grandson is filled with love. I’m currently working on a wedding sampler that will go to my son when he marries next May. ๐Ÿ™‚

  21. I have been a stitcher it seems all my life. My grandmother taught me how to embroider, crochet and sew clothes. So because of that I was a Home Economics teacher for 35 and a 1/2 years. In my retirement I am taking quilting classes. Along the way I also learned to knit and do needlepoint. For awhile I did dressmaking and alterations. My favorite form of stitchery is embroidery.

  22. My favorite craft is painting. I have to several classes where they teach you. Iโ€™m not good but I really enjoy it.

  23. How fun! I have done a little cross-stitch. Interestingly, I brought a cross-stitch eagle with me on vacation. I have been working on him for years…a little here, a little there. He is intended to be a gift for my dad and I am hopeful that this will be the year he gets it as a Christmas gift. I have dabbled in many crafts from cross-stitch to knitting…even started to teach myself to tat. I have enjoyed sewing and cake decorating. Probably my favorite would be scrapbooking and card making because they incorporate my love of photography.

  24. This is so neat! I have wanted to learn to cross stitch for SO LONG and this would be the perfect way to start! How fun! ?

    My craftiness is limited, but I do like to make homemade signs and jewelry and things like that, for gifts or special occasions. I used to know how to crochet, but forgot after years of not using it.

    Thank you for such a fun giveaway!

  25. Karen, this cross-stitch bookmark is adorable! & I love the ones you did for your daughterโ€ฆa true keepsake & labor of love! Handmade gifts are my favorite!
    I wish I could cross-stitch. Always wanted to learn.
    I crochet, but thatโ€™s different that cross-stitching ?
    Thank you the opportunity to enter the giveaway. ?

  26. This is so neat! I have wanted to learn to cross stitch for SO LONG and this would be the perfect way to start! How fun! ?

    My craftiness is limited, but I do like to make homemade signs and jewelry and things like that, for gifts or special occasions. I used to know how to crochet, but forgot after years of not using it.

    Thank you for such a fun giveaway!

  27. I think your cross stitch pictures are very pretty! Thank you for sharing your writing talent with us and letting us see what a great hobby you have! My Mom taught me to crochet many years ago…but reading is my favorite pasttime!

  28. I love reading and love your books! As for crafting, honestly the only thing I have tried to do is coloring. I love the Happy Color app for my phone and try to color at least one picture a day. I also have an adult coloring book with animals, flowers, and butterflies that I enjoy doing. Iโ€™m not exactly sure if that qualifies as โ€œcraftingโ€ or not, but that is what I enjoy. Have a blessed day!

    • I’ve done a little sewing, mostly Halloween costumes for my kids and a few dresses for my daughter when she was little. I only get the machine out these days when something needs to be repaired or I need to finish off a cross-stitch project. ๐Ÿ™‚

  29. I’m not much of a craft person, but every now and then I make cards for my family or paint furniture to go in my house. I do like making Google spread sheets because I like to be organized. Does that count??

  30. When I get crafty, I do latch hook projects. However, the problem is once they’re done, what do you do with them? I would love to display them, but have very little space, the skills or the time to turn them into anything beyond the initial project.

    • We have a latch rug that my husband’s grandfather made eons ago of a toy soldier. It was mounted on a wood frame and still hangs in our play room. Now that the kids are in college and leaving the nest, though, I think it might be time to retire the old soldier or at least find him a different wall. I have a scheme to turn the play room into a personal library.

  31. I do a lot of sewing but recently I’ve gotten into making fairy gardens out of tea cups and I’ve recently made some candles that I’ve also put into teacups. It’s been a lot of fun ?

  32. You’re needlework is gorgeous, Karen! I’ve done some cross-stitch in the past, it’s really relaxing. Since I’m focused on getting my next novel finished, crafting is on the back burner, for now. Have a beautiful day!

    • Yes, finding time to stitch is a challenge with the day job and writing. I usually alternate between reading and stitching in the evenings to try to fit them both in. Makes me look forward to retirement. Still many years away, though.

  33. I crochet mostly and knit very minimally. This is sooooo adorable with the teddy bear! And your workmanship is just beautiful, Karen! ๐Ÿ˜€ A friend of mine embroiders or crosstitches (isthere a difference?)I’d love to try it! lol:D HAVE AFAB DAY! ๐Ÿ˜€

    • Thanks, Sabrina. There is a difference between embroidery and cross stitching, although you will sometimes find cross stitch patterns that use embroidery stiches as embellishments. Embroidery uses different shaped stitches to basically draw a picture on fabric. Cross stitch is like pixels in a photo, different colored Xs coming together to create an image.

  34. My favorite craft is quilting, but I own and operate a online craft store, so I dabble in everything from fabric cover buttons, plastic snaps, key fob wristlets, and much more. I have cross stitched in the past and enjoyed it. ๐Ÿ™‚

  35. My favorite hobby is cross stitching. I always have a project going, I also have enjoyed reading your books. I am currently reading the 2nd Horseman book that came out in June.

  36. I have a cross stitched a couple times, but what I enjoy doing is Jewelry making, crochet and Resin crafting

  37. I currently fuse glass with a friend. She had a kiln and bakes it for me. I also do simple clay projects. I crosstitched years ago. I still have my supplies and would like to make a few more things as well as complete projects from years ago.

  38. I love to Quilt. Made my granddaughter a bookshelves quilt. Iโ€™ve been looking into cross stitch some thinking I might enjoy doing that. It looks very relaxing. Yours is Beautiful by the way.

  39. I have several handmade beaded bookmarks. Handmade gifts are special. My favorite craft is diamond painting, I love to cross stitch too. I also enjoy needlepoint. Your bookmark is gorgeous! Thank you for the chance.

  40. I love to hand embroider, especially on tortilla napkins or aprons that I sew as gifts.

  41. I have cross-stitched, but counted cross stitch and me did not get along. I knit, but not very often now. It has been years since I sewed. Growing up, we all learned the stitching crafts. I never did crochet. Your stitching is beautiful! Thanx for the giveaway!

  42. I am learning to quilt with my church group. We make baby quilt ps for the pregnancy resource centers, cancer quilts (for those undergoing cancer treatments), and occasionally twin sized one for foster care. Iโ€™m still working on finishing one because I havenโ€™t decided on what kind of sewing machine to buy. Iโ€™m currently borrowing my Moms machine but I know by now thatโ€™s NOT the brand that I want. Fortunately, there are donated machines at the church that I can borrow to see what I like. Most of our fabrics and other materials are donated as well. Your bookmark is gorgeous! I do have a felt bookmark made by my aunt and a leather one that my son stamped and stained years ago. Those are pretty special!

  43. I used to love cross-stitching before I had kids! My youngest daughter saw a cross-stitched bookmark with my name on it and made me promise to teach her how to make a cross-stitched bookmark with her name on it, so I need to get back into it.?

  44. Hi Karen,
    I too love to cross stitch! I am working on a beautiful vase of flowers right now, only the vase us actually a birdhouse. I have so many projects waiting for me to do but it’s a fun, relaxing craft to do. I also enjoy paint by number and latch hook rug kits. Your cross stitch pieces are beautiful by the way!

  45. I love to make Christmas ornaments with my kids! Last year we bought a felt set you can peel and stick for my 5 year old and it was so much fun! ?

  46. My mom suggested I learn to cross stitch when I quit smoking. I needed something to keep my hands busy. Now, I crochet. I taught myself how about 4 or 5 years ago. I learned to make amigurami (stuffed animals), ornaments, bookmarks, blankets and afghans. I am always amazed at how pretty my finished products are!

  47. My favorite (right now) is quilting.. problem is I always have like 3-4 I work on at a time so it takes forever to get them done!

    • I can relate, Bethany. One reason it took me so long to get the second medieval maiden finished was that other projects got in the way. I spent an entire year on Christmas ornaments!

  48. Years ago I crossed stitched and I made a hook rug but I havenโ€™t done those things in years.

  49. I love to crochet, create jewelry and make things out of resin. I can cross stitch, but I haven’t done it in awhile. I LOVE the bookmark you made!!

  50. I’ve never done any cross stitching but the way to talk about it I’d love to give it a try. I’ve always steered toward drawing, charcoal and pastels being my favorite medium. Over the past few years I have gotten into painting, mostly on canvas but I’ve done a few ornaments for my Chris tree and presents, I causing a few for the Posse Ornament Exhange. I would like to try my hand at painting on wood one of these days.

  51. I enjoy many needle arts and love that I learned the majority from my mother and my aunts, who learned from their mothers and grandmothers. I enjoy the creative aspect of planning designs and colors, and experimenting with techniques. I learned embroidery before I did cross stitch, and at this point in time I have two cross stitch projects in the works! I’m not going to say how many others are on my to do list ๐Ÿ™‚ I also love reading and the book mark you made is perfect!

    • One of my friends in high school was the one who got me started in cross stitch. Strangely enough, I don’t think she really pursued it after the first year or so, but it stuck hard with me. ๐Ÿ™‚ I love that you have a family history of mothers and daughters passing down needle art to the next generation. And don’t get me started on projects waiting to be done. My TBS (to be stitched) pile is even higher than my TBR pile. ๐Ÿ™‚

  52. I used love to embroider and I also got Christmas stocking kits that are sewed , embroidered and have sequins with them, I made stockings for my 2 children since they were small, I made my grandchildren their stockings and also stockings for my son in law and my daughter in law. Cross stitch always looked hard to me, but I really love the way they turn out, they are beautiful! What Beautiful and heartfelt gifts you made for your daughters. That is nice that you play the flute, my husband has been playing the flute since he was in HS and he still plays it, he also plays the saxophone and the clarinet. Our son played the flute in HS, it really is a beautiful instrument. Thank you for showing us your Beautiful Masterpieces, they are Beautiful. Have a Great week and stay safe.

    • I love that your husband played the flute, Alicia! You don’t hear of too many men playing that instrument these days. My daughter actually played my old flute, so that was fun for me to pass down to her. I have made cross stitched stockings for my family, too. Now that my first child is getting ready to marry, it will be interesting to see if I make stockings for the next generation or if the new families choose to make their own traditions.

  53. The two pictures you did for your daughter are lovely. The Reader is especially pertinent for most of us. I have been doing cross stitch for years and really enjoy it. One year I did the initials. of all our nieces and nephews and our children for Christmas. The pattern book had a child playing near each letter. I did about a dozen of them and they made nice framed gifts. Sadly other things have gotten in the way lately and prevented me from doing much lately. I am going to have to bring a piece with me when we travel and work on it in the car or camper. The kit with the teddy bear would be perfect for one of our rooms where I keep my teddy bear collection. I have a couple of projects that need to be finished up. One in particular turned out to be a bit bigger than I thought. It is a kachina that takes up the entire front of a sweatshirt. I did much of it during my husband’s 8 hour cancer surgery and haven’t touched it since. Sadly, the sweatshirt is now a size too small. I need to finish it and give it to our oldest daughter.
    Thank you for sharing your work with us.

    • Those initial gifts sound wonderful, Patricia! What a precious keepsake for your grandchildren to have. I think cross stitch would be the perfect activity for trips. That’s one of the reasons I’m thankful that my husband likes to drive on long trips – gives me a chance to stitch or read. ๐Ÿ™‚

  54. I am trying my hand at woodworking. I am one of those people who can do a little of everything but a whole lot of nothing. I am a mechanic by trade but I haven’t found that one thing that I love to do.

    • Woodworking is such an interesting art form, Joanne. There is a gentleman at our church who loves to do woodworking and he makes a bunch of little Christmas designs every year and brings them to church for each family to take one home. We have a lovely little collection of about 5-6 sitting by our fireplace.

  55. The Bookmark is so pretty I use to quilt but I don’t do that anymore Thank you for the wonderful giveaway!

  56. I cross stitch and quilt lap quilts, crochet as well as sew sequins and beads on calendars. Thank you for the opportunity.

  57. I like to sew and crochet, but my skills are pretty basic. I also like to make bead bracelets. I have done cross stitch in the past, but my close-up eyesight isnโ€™t as good as when I was younger. When my children were small it was an inexpensive hobby and I made several gifts. Iโ€™m trying to get my granddaughter, age 9, into it.

    • I hope your granddaughter takes to it, Connie. I’m nearsighted but wear bifocals, and often alternate between looking beneath my glasses and through them. Getting older is not very convenient. Ha!

  58. I have made a bunch of bookmarks, my favorite ones being handwoven on my loom. They were and intricate pattern and fun to do. Thanks for the fun giveaway!

  59. I weave baskets with a group of ladies. It is so much fun and I enjoy the product and the fellowship!

  60. What a beautiful bookmark! My crafting leans toward flower arrangements, wreaths, jewelry and macrame! I am taking a beginner crochet class in August lol

  61. Thanks for sharing all of your beautifully made gifts.

    I used to do embroidery, cross stitch, knitting etc on my lunch break when I worked as an RN. My first project was a baby blanket for a close friend, I next did a cross stitch picture for a new baby with their name and birth date etc. Then I did embroidery kits of Christmas ornaments. Next I did Christmas stockings for my children. I also embroidered two pictures for their wall and cross stitched a series of teddy bears and a goose for their wall. Finally I embroidered a large water mill picture for my in-laws.

    I tried to teach myself how to crochet. The blanket I made didn’t turn out well.

    I made macrame plant hangers in the 80’s and 90’s too

  62. I know many craft techniques but counted cross stitch is my favorite. I learned it when I was in 7th grade. Don’t have as much time now but still work on it when time and my eyes allow. I’ve made several bookmarks, given some for gifts and kept others for myself. Thanks for the chance to win one of yours. You do such beautiful work!

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