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Cambodia catches the cross-stitch bug

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Drink vendor Leng Sokkong shows off an embroidery she created in her spare time. Pha Lina

Cambodia catches the cross-stitch bug

While cross-stitching won’t make anyone rich, it is a hobby that has been taken up by Cambodian women for years. Some sell their creations, while others are content to give them as gifts or display them in their homes.

After coming home from work or finishing chores around the home, many women spend their downtime sewing tens of thousands of multicoloured lines of threads into a work of art.

Phen Lina spends her free time after work and tending to her two children stitching beautiful embroideries. So far, she has made three. One is displayed in her home, another in her mother’s and the third in her mother-in-law’s.

Nai Kim says she cross-stitches and sells her completed embroideries online via her shop Embroideries For Sell Retail and Wholesale. She also sells materials for cross stitchers. She said her customers, mostly women, are of all ages and backgrounds.

Leng Sokkong is a serious cross-stitcher. She spends seven to eight hours a day creating embroideries. She says she makes and sells about 20 pieces a year.

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
An employee at an art store prepares to display a cross-stitched embroidery. Pha Lina

“I work as an embroidery stitcher. The biggest piece I have worked on was about 200cmx100cm. I received only $80 for that piece and spent 50 days stitching it. For a smaller embroidery of 100cmx60cm, I generally get $50 and spend about a month on it,” she said.

As a drinks vendor with a lot of downtime at work, Sokkong begins stitching at dawn and continues until late at night. Her hands and fingers are kept busy as she manipulates the threads. On this particular day, she was creating an embroidery of two tigers with a message related to the Year of the Tiger.

She tells The Post: “I am not too busy right now. Business is slow so I spend most of my time stitching embroideries. One piece can sell for $50 and takes about one month.”

And she says it’s certainly not about the money: “I make no profit, but it’s better than doing nothing. Plus, I am addicted to cross-stitching!”

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
An embroidery maker puts the final touches on one of her creations. Pha Lina

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