This International Women's Day, join us in stitching a showstopping design that celebrates strong women the world over! This unique pattern by Bobo Stitch – the queens of contemporary cross stitch design – is made up of five individual hoops joined together as one.

If you're a newbie to needlecraft, take a look at our beginners guide to cross stitch to get started!

Cross stitch usually has a comfortingly regular and tidy appearance, this strays from that and the finish reflects the strong women that I know in my life – Hannah Sturrock, Bobo Stitch


How to stitch a strong women art piece


step 1

Start with the central 'strong women' cross stitch. You have two cross stitch patterns for this piece – one which shows you the underlying cross stitches (stitched with two threads), and one to more clearly show you the long stitch which goes over the top (stitched with a single thread). The linen fabric will allow you to see exactly from the pattern where you should start and finish each stitch, but remember you can do this bit more 'freehand' if you'd prefer not to stick to the pattern exactly. Just zigzag stitches back and forth across the letters, connecting one line to the next, keeping each line at roughly the same angle.


step 2

Stitch the underlying cross stitches on the 4in hoop patterns ('know them', 'raise them', 'love them', 'be them'), then long stitch over the top to create the appearance of handwriting. Use two strands for the cross stitch and the long stitch this time.


step 3

Make sure you run your needle under each completed long stitch so that the two threads lie completely flat and parallel to one another.


Once you have completed stitching all five hoops, carefully wash the finished pieces by hand, allow to dry and gently iron.


step 5

Frame the pieces in their hoops. Centre the stitching in the hoop and make sure the fabric is pulled taut. Trim the excess fabric from around the edge, leaving a 2cm border.


step 6

Leaving a long tail at the beginning and end, stitch running stitch around the outside of the hoop.


step 7

Pull the thread ends to tighten the thread which will gather the fabric in at the back of the hoop. Secure with a tight knot.


step 8

Once all five pieces have been framed, you can join them together. Thread the larger needle with six strands of the Grape thread. Bring your needle down through the fabric at the bottom point of the letter N. Secure it to the back of your 'strong women' piece in the bottom corner of the final N by running under the back of a few of the stitches and knotting.


step 9

Carefully twist the thread between your thumb and forefinger until the threads begin to curl up on themselves.


step 10

Keeping the thread twisted, bring your needle down through the fabric at a sensible point at the edge of one of the words in one of your 4in hoops and secure.


step 11

Repeat until all five pieces are attached together. It isn't necessary but if you like to back your stitched hoops with fabric now is the point that you can do that. Once complete, you can hang proudly on a wall and manipulate the joining threads into loops and curls. Stand back and admire!