Is FlossTube getting its second wind?

One of our most popular posts is our list of Flosstubers. Since we first published it the flosstube community has continued to bloom and even been picked up by the cross stitch crazy magazine. However, the history of flosstube and video cross stitching (including Twitch) has had a turbulent past, with both highs and lows.
Whilst FlossTube and streaming sites are for very different audiences, they share a lot of similarities. Videos by a cross stitchy creator given out to the wider web. Whilst streaming might be only in its infancy for cross stitch, its blossoming popularity has helped its older brother (flosstube) get more spotlight; and so while we’re combing the two here, the general upward trend for video cross stitch is shared by both.
So originally, if you wanted to share your cross stitch life online, you went on a forum and shared some photos (most likely of your completed works). This was how I started (and where my name comes from), but this has been the case since the advent of the internet too. But that doesn’t mean it was the only form of sharing cross stitch goodness.

FlossTube star Simply In Stitches (source: youtube)
FlossTube star Simply In Stitches (source: youtube)

Since the 90s people have been creating flosstube videos, chronology their projects, life, patterns, guides, news, and reviews offering a glimpse into someone else’s cross stitch space. These were harder to find, and you needed to know where to look, which is why they were often not very popular. This meant that there was no connection, no link with the audience. You couldn’t interact with the stitcher, couldn’t suggest something or chat. These early video platforms suffered as a result.
When Twitter came along it took over most of this crowd, featuring mass connections and personal conversations with views and streamers alike. Sure, they were still hard to find, but Twitter gave them a place to communicate on.
Then, youtube comes on the scene. Twitter is great for communication, but it lacks long video content. Youtube allowed for a greater video platform, with built-in communication. Sure, you still couldn’t talk in real-time (and wouldn’t be able to until Twitch first allowed it (although there are live videos on youtube now)).
This was seen as the golden age of flosstube. Cross stitch magazines were starting to suffer, with many closing over a short period of time (far more than the recent closures of cross stitch magazines). Flosstube was the place for cross stitchers, and through it, we gained some well-known cross stitch celebrities like Jane Greenoff.
But with all good times, there has to be a bad. As youtube started to gain competitors, blogs and Tumblr started to take off, with many cross stitchers moving away from video content. Sure, there were still some flosstubers out there, but no one was actively building their channels in the same way.
This, was until Twitch came along.
It started off as a video game streaming platform, but in their downtime people would sew and stitch, and soon pure cross stitching channels were born. This solved most of the problems other platforms before it had. You could connect to people on a personal level, and they would see long content videos. You could strike up conversations there and then, changing what you were talking about to suit your audience. You could even give a shout-out to people that came to your show regularly, ‘friends’ of your stream. But it also came with its downsides.
flosstube star Gemstitch
FlossTube star Gemstitch

Twitch is still in its infancy when it comes to creative streams, so there’s a good chance the platform will improve, however, there are barriers. You have to be there, to watch your streamer of choice, on their schedule, which if you’re in different countries can be VERY problematic. You have a steep learning curve if you want to watch a show, and an even larger one if you want to stream.
You can have a conversation, but when there are 100 others watching all trying to have their own conversations it can be nearly impossible to do anything meaningful.
And so, despite the popularity of platforms like Twitch, Flosstube started to get its second wind. Nowadays the integration of YouTube and Twitter is seamless, with public and private conversations happening all the time. You can create live videos, chat with watchers when they’re streaming it, even if the video was filmed beforehand. And as an audience member you can watch on your schedule and see what you want to see; whilst also chatting to others in the comments, or the flosstubers themselves.
The stats back this up too, if you search YouTube for flosstube you get 90,000 videos; a quarter of those being released in the last 2 years. If you look at the search terms you see an even greater increase since 2015 too.
Daily Searches for Flosstube on youtube since 2015 (Source: GoogleTrends)
Daily Searches for Flosstube on youtube since 2015 (Source: GoogleTrends)

Flosstubes are increasingly becoming a great way to keep in the loop about cross stitchers and cross stitch in general. They last about 5-10 minutes, and each one has something to offer, be it an update on stitching, a bit of cross stitch news, a review, or a tip you’ll never see anywhere else. That is what makes flosstube rocket.
All of that considered though, flosstube still isn’t the perfect platform. It’s hard to discover the person you watch to watch in the sea of videos, and jumping in can seem daunting. However, the community is striking back on this, developing a sub-culture of their own. You can check out curated playlists, or check out #flosstube on Instagram.
But this also doesn’t mean other mediums are going away. Twitch is still gaining in popularity, and professionally shot guide videos like Peacock & Fig’s are a great place to start if you’re not sure you watch to watch cross stitch videos. As a result, I wonder if flosstube is yet to have its true “golden age” or if there will be a new trend around the corner sometime soon…
This post was reworked from an original post in 2018.
Happy stitching!
Lord Libidan

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