Eleven years ago, Elyse Harlow was pregnant with her daughter, Pearl, and decided she wanted to embroider something for her. “I had learned to cross stitch when I was young. My mom taught me, and my grandma did it, too. I always felt enabled to craft,” Harlow said.
After her daughter was born and the embroidery project was done, friends and family began asking if Elyse could make something for them, too. She began taking commissions then, but it wasn’t until 2019 that her endeavors became a full-fledged business, You Can Stitch It, featuring an Etsy shop and website.
Originally from Houston, Elyse moved to Plano in 1996 as a teenager with her family. She swam in high school, and her team would work out at Plano’s Jack Carter Pool. When she went house-hunting with her husband, Chris, many years later, they found a plaque mentioning Jack Carter Pool in one of the houses. It turned out to be the previous home of the widow of Jack Carter, our city’s first Parks board chair, and they decided to move in. The couple lives there with their kids, Cash and Pearl.
“I feel like Plano is my hometown even though I wasn’t born here. We’ve been in Downtown Plano for almost a decade. I like where we’re at; it has a small town feel, but Target’s five minutes away,” said Harlow.
Shortly after she began sharing her embroidered creations, Harlow realized that teaching others how to embroider wouldn’t be difficult. “It is so relaxing for me, and I knew teaching it to other people would be a benefit to them. It’s a lot like sitting down with a box of crayons and coloring. It’s very relaxing to have a creative outlet. I knew it wasn’t difficult to do, just something people weren’t exposed to,” she said.
Her primary mode of teaching others her craft is through the sale of her custom embroidery kits. She also shares videos to Instagram and YouTube to offer a more visual how-to of her process. She has found that once learners understand the basics, the rest is easily self-taught.
When creating, Harlow is inspired by color palettes. Once she plans out the design, her favorite part of the process is picking out thread colors. As for her personal style, she describes it as “completely random.” In perusing her shop, it seems that her randomness leaves plenty of room for variety and creativity; each piece is uniquely beautiful.
Lone Chimney Mercantile, a funky boutique in Richardson that features local artists, sells Harlow’s art. Her DIY kits are for sale at Stitches Boutique and Lounge on 15th Street, as well as in her Etsy shop and website.
“There’s a little bit of nostalgia wrapped in it. I have old pieces from my grandma that aren’t anything to look at, apart from it being something that she made with her hands 40 or 50 years ago that I’m going to have with me forever. Not everything I make is going to be that, but having that potential is meaningful.”