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Cross-stitching paradise in Mooroopna

Stitch in time: Helen Mathieson and her daughter Laura Bradbury, with a cross-stitch of the original 151 Pokemon, which on and off took her five years to put together.

On election day, sausages were cooking on barbecues across the region and votes were being tallied, but inside Mooroopna’s O’Brien’s Hall, 60 people were laughing, catching up and cross-stitching.

At the centre of it all, Laura Bradbury was directing traffic, stopping the chatter for announcements and getting some cross-stitching of her own done.

Experts: Vicky Brown and Diana Blyton cross-stitching in Mooroopna on Saturday. The women have been cross-stitching for decades.

Cross-stitching is a centuries-old type of embroidery where people follow patterns using coloured fabrics.

Ms Bradbury designed the cross-stitching “retreat” after attending one in NSW in 2019, and after two years of cancellations and confusion over border closures, she finally managed to pull friends, family and people she’d met online into a room.

Good boys: Zane Baker and Teddy were at the cross-stitching “retreat” in Mooroopna.

“We’ve got people from South Australia, NSW and Tassie, and a lot of Victorians,” she said.

“It's been great to catch up with people I haven't seen in years because of COVID and also meet a bunch of new people I've met online but haven't met before.

History comes alive: One of the attendees had cross-stitching from the 1820s, which was passed to her from her aunt.

“I learned when I was a little girl and then stopped during high school, but a few years ago Mum just had something laying around and just picked it up and kept going.

“Then I posted it on Instagram and realised there's this huge online community for cross-stitching.”

Packed to the rafters: There were 60 or so cross-stitchers crafting away in Mooroopna.

Ms Bradbury said she was a bit nervous organising the event but in hindsight could have had more people involved, and was aiming to get it back next year.