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Hmong embroidery in it’s digital illustration form

What does Hmong embroidery have in common with modern illustration? It’s all made up of Xs and squares (in digital words: pixels).

When I was much younger, I remember learning how to do hand stitched Hmong embroidery with my mom and older sisters. We would create a cross stitch pattern. The core basis of this is that you create two diagonal lines with your needle and thread to create an X stitch and everything is done in uniform in one small square to the next in such a tedious yet mathematical manner.

I often wonder how my mom was able to create elaborate pieces without knowing math because the stitches are based on the number across or up/down if you really think about it. As far as I knew, I was just counting the number of X’s I made in each row in order to create a certain shape. If I made too many stitches across, I would have to back track and undo my stitches, otherwise my shape would look completely off!

It’s amazing how almost 2 decades later I am still doing the same thing, except now using a digital medium. Hence this is why I wanted to share with you guys a sneak peak of my patterns in digital form and how it evolves from here onto the many clothing pieces that you’ve seen here and at shopmaico.com. You often see the end product but you may not realize the amount of work and effort that goes into creating each piece.