Reader Story A hands-on approach After an accident left CJ Long with limited use of his hands, he turned to cross stitch as a form of therapy hen he’s not cooking up a storm in the kitchen or playing with his four children, CJ Long loves to stitch. He’s a big fan of the mindful benefits of stitching, and it’s played a big part in changing his life for the better. When CJ was 23 years old, a serious accident left him with two broken arms and a lot of problems with his thumbs. CJ recalls: “I was having trouble grabbing things or controlling my hands. I started to get frustrated with the fact that I couldn’t write very well. I couldn’t draw or play video games.” W Passionate about the craft: CJ is most proud of the stitch he did of his parents (above). He also loves how personal stitched cards are (right). ROAD TO RECOVERY CJ’s mum saw how much he was struggling and, as a stitcher herself, she suggested cross stitching as a way to help his hands and also to relax him at the same time. Well, CJ fell in love with the craft and 28 years later, he’s still stitching! “I’m still kind of healing,” CJ explains. “There are days that my hands just don’t want to work or do what they’re supposed to. I love stitching because it’s my way of getting away from things. I get lost when I’m stitching.” Unlike most stitchers, CJ actually loves working on black fabric – this might have to do with the fact that his favourite projects to stitch are space-themed. Although, he does agree with the general consensus that French knots are a pain! one of my sister’s pictures of them and turned it into a cross stitch project and finished it in March.” STITCHING AMBASSADOR People are sometimes surprised to find out that a guy like CJ is very passionate about cross stitching, but he said that he has had many positive responses. His friends especially love that he stitches, as they usually benefit from his work and end up with beautiful projects of their own as gifts. CJ is a big advocate for stitching and encourages other men to get into the hobby too: “I tell guys around me that if they want to learn cross stitching, I have plenty of the tools to get them started. They will find a new piece of relaxation in stitching.” We asked CJ what he thinks might get more men interested in stitching, and he tells us: “I would like to see more cars, car emblems, some sports ones, things like that. I think that if there were more father-type or maleoriented projects you would get more men who are interested in stitching to come out.” Duly noted, thanks, CJ! “I love stitching because it’s my way of getting away from things. ” Most of his projects end up as ornaments around the house or as gifts for family and friends. CJ has stitched a few projects from over the years. He enjoys stitching cards in particular as “it’s a little more personal.” CJ tells us: “The project I’m most proud of is the one that I did of my mom and dad kissing. My dad passed away in August 2019, so I took The World of Cross Stitching Not only does stitching keep CJ’s hands mobile, it helps him to wind down and relax too Healing stitches: www.gathered.how/woxs The World of Cross Stitching 73
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