Twitch is a video website that streams live videos, and was set up primarily for video games. Video games have long been seen on YouTube, and the competitive gaming of Asia is coming over to the USA and Europe, however it quickly become something more, with videos popping up on all types of content. However cross stitch isn’t a competitive sport, and there are a frankly astoundingly small amount of videos on YouTube, so why has this change happened, and why is it getting a backing?
Twitch is a unique site. At first glance you could mistake it for some type of voyeuristic site where pretty women talk to the camera, however, in reality, it’s a 50/50 split in gender and most don’t even show their faces. Instead, you just see the screen on the person you’re watching, complete with their audio feed. That’s it. So when cross stitch started to get streamed you have to ask, why bother? There’s no screen sharing, as a streamer you can’t see them, you can’t hear them, they can’t pick the music, they can’t change anything. It’s just a window into the world of one person.
In reality, Twitch has pretty much everything on it. Most notably they accepted streams of people eating (I don’t get it either). However most of these sub-genres have a key element. Almost all of them are solo activities. The games streamed are all single-player, the eating never happens in groups. You aren’t so much getting a snapshot into the life of someone, but they are having a one on one conversation with you, personally, whilst also having them with 200 other people. And yes, it’s really that popular. And that’s the draw.
Cross stitch is very insular, its the type of thing you can watch the TV at the same time, listen to music, chat with friends on instant messenger. So why not add someone else into the picture, doing the same thing you are. You can ask questions about their projects, yours, or go off-topic totally. Its a friend you have the other side of the world.
I’ve watched a few streams, I often find my way onto streams of prop making, and I have indeed spent time with cross stitchers, however not once have I felt it was a waste of time. I was able to be part of a group, enjoying my hobby, whilst in the comfort of my own home, stitching away on my project. So I’m all for cross stitchers hanging out together, even if it’s online.
But there is one thing that makes all this slightly weirder; it wasn’t Twitch’s decision. Sure, they’ve gone with it, even making a group just for stitchers, however, one day someone decided to stream themselves stitching, and it went from there. This happened months ago, but despite that, the popularity of these videos exceeds most youtube videos on any topic, let alone cross stitch. Evidently there is a need here that cross stitchers themselves have identified.
Next week I ask three prominent twitch cross stitchers, kwarning, MouzlyGamez, ArmoredHearts & EmzOLV (LINKS) from TwitchStitch why they do it, what they get from it, and why they think it’s become so popular. And after that we speak to the mother of Twitch cross stitch; Sirithre.