Ages and ages and ages ago (May?) I promised that  I would post my pattern hacking process for my “Meh” cross stitch project (see my previous post here). So, here it is.

This all started when Liz, of Dragonflylotus Designs Handspun Threads, started selling thread packs to go with the Little Sheep Virtues monthly patterns from Little House Needleworks. I was torn. They were cute, but virtues are just too virtuous for me. Liz joked that I could just use the word “meh” and, naturally, I thought this was hilarious and had to do it. So, I bought the chart and her kit, and went to town!

Hacking a pattern isn’t too hard, if you think through it somewhat logically and have some handy cross stitch graph paper (which I found for free in some random corner of the internet).

Hacking a perfectly good cross stitch chart

The first step is to decide exactly what you want to do, and which section(s) of the chart this will affect. Being the chronic marker-upper that I am, I outlined the area in question (and later marked in my planned changes).

What I wanted to do was change the word “hope” to “meh” without it looking weird. So, I needed to find a way to get the word “meh” to fill in the space where “hope” was supposed to go.


Using my nifty cross stitch graph paper, I measured out the same area and mapped out what was already in that section for reference (the word “hope”). I then started playing with mapping out the word “meh”, using made up letters that looked a bit like the original letters (to help keep the same design aesthetic). You can also find tonnes of free alphabet charts online to use. I wanted the word to be centered and the letters to look good (nothing too wide or too small, well spaced, etc.). It took me a few tries, but I found an plan that I liked pretty quickly.

Meh variations

After I was sure that I loved the plan and that it would look good with the rest of the chart design, I marked the planned changes directly in the chart. Some would argue that this is a bad idea because it messes up the chart and could make it hard to follow the chart as it was intended at a later date, but the likelihood of me using a chart again is pretty minimal. Plus, I trust myself to be able to figure it out.

Mapping out Meh

Then I just started work on the chart. Because I had everything on one chart, it was easy. I didn’t have to worry about losing my “meh” plan, I didn’t have to worry about remembering where the lettering started, etc. It was all right there on one piece of paper.

The finished piece now lives in my cubicle at work and is my little bit of subversive work humour. I actually really like my job and I actively try to always be engaged and giving my best, but there are days when you just can’t help but want to bang your head on your desk and throw your hands up in despair and frustration. My “meh” piece gives me something to be amused about. Plus, the sheep is damned cute!

Tomorrow is October, so I decided to put my #Halloween bunting up in the office.
My finished “meh” piece, an embroidery I did using a chart from Polka & Bloom and threads from Dragonflylotus Designs, and my Halloween bunting, made with Lizzy House Halloween fabric, which I just put up yesterday. All decorating my cubicle.

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