Foul-Mouthed Cross Stitch at Grandma’s House

Photo: courtesy of

Photo: courtesy of


Cross stitching might be most popular among a group of grandmas, but tucked in the last corner of South Broadway, untouched by gentrification between auto shops and dispensaries, cross stitching is accessible to all at Grandma’s House. The bar blends in so well that many have walk past without realizing it isn’t another car mechanic. Even though the print on the outside of the bar is so loopy and extravagant that it’s nearly impossible to decipher, the sweet smell of kettle corn that greets patrons as they enter is enough to keep them there quite while.

Elliot Smith’s soft crooning vocals filled Grandma’s House a cozy bar on a rainy Sunday. A television with an old Playstation set up sat untouched along the side of the narrow room. Dollies and dried flowers were placed on every table, which were each crowded with cushy armchairs.

The walls were crammed with cross-stitched flowers and kittens. If it weren’t for the row of beer taps and small brochure-like menus placed around, many would be confused when they stepped into this place—it hardly looked like a bar. That’s because the bar is designed to remind patrons of stale candies in china dishes and the smell of cats.

“Visitors should be cautious not to get too relaxed”

On Sundays, Grandma’s House likes to take its theme to the next level with Foul-Mouthed Cross Stitch Sundays. Cross-stitching is a form of embroidered artwork on bits of fabric, often positive and possibly vaguely religious quotes adorned with floral patterns. Like knitting, cross-stitching is seen as a “grandma activity.” However, cursing would seem like the antithesis of someone’s sweet Nana, which is all the more hilarious when a bar is full of people stitching “Life Sucks and Then You Die” into neat little squares of fabric.

For a minimum of $5, (kettle corn is $3, and they offer many non-alcoholic beverages for any under-21 visitors) any patron has access to all cross-stitching supplies, from the loom to the needle and thread. Step-by-step guides are spread out on various tables and after a few stitches, the activity becomes very simple and relaxing.

First, the patron picks a design or phrase they want to cross-stitch. Next, they gather whichever color embroidery thread they would like to use, as well as a sewing needle and a pair of scissors.

They will need a square of fabric that has to be set in a loom, which is a small wooden ring that keeps the piece of fabric taut for a more neat cross-stitch. Finally, the cross-stitcher is ready to begin. By making a repeated pattern of “x”-shaped stitches—where cross stitching gets its name—the work will slowly go from resembling nothing to a nice, albeit curse-filled, quote just begging to be hung underneath a painting of a cat or over a paisley wallpaper.

Despite a relaxing atmosphere, visitors should be cautious not to get too relaxed. Using a needle while sipping on beers may result in several pricked fingers by the day’s end. But a pricked finger is certainly worth learning a new and fun hobby for only a few bucks on rainy afternoon.

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