Trying to find suitable birthday cards these days can prove to be a bit of a nightmare.
High-street stores would have you believe that every occasion requires a card over-flowing with heart-felt verses of love and devotion.
But what if you’re not a fan of ardent declarations of love or the general sickly-sweet sentiment prevalent in cards these days?
This is a gap in the market that adopted Mancunian and card designer Kat Nower has identified and is determined to fill.
The 29-year-old charity information manager, originally from Suffolk, set up Crass Stitch Cards earlier this year.
The range, a twist on the traditional cross stitch concept, does exactly what it says on the tin.
Kat stitches swear words and popular phrases onto a wide range of birthday, wedding and congratulations cards.
This crafty cusser took time out from stitching expletives to chat with MM about her range and where her inspiration came from.
She said: “My friend was in hospital last year, and I was looking at the cards and there were all a bit schmaltzy.
“So I made a ransom-style card that said ‘Get f***ing well’. And after that it got me thinking about it.
“I’m quite crafty, I knit and stitch, and was inspired by an American movement that played on the ‘home sweet home’ idea.”
It was during a visit to home-ware store Wilkinsons that Kat got the idea to use cross stitch as her medium of choice.
She said: “I saw craft sets for a £1 and thought ‘I could stitch rude words onto that!’”
And since then she’s never looked back.
Kat sells her cards through online handmade marketplaces Folksy and Etsy, and says people are generally receptive to the products.
She said: “People think it’s funny – the twist on quaint cross stitch, and because I’m a nicely spoken person making foul-mouthed cards!
“Most find it quite amazing and a bit shocking."
She added: “Friends are very positive, but my mum, who never swears, is scandalised and can’t believe I do it!”
Kat explained that the ‘offensive’ content on her cards initially proved a bone of contention with Folksy who insisted that the products be censored or removed from the site.
She said: “There were frank email exchanges about my cards, but they seem happy now.”
And it’s not just crass stitching that Kat’s involved with, she’s also a member of craft club Knitted Kittens and the Manchester WI craft committee.
Speaking about the resurgence in traditional crafts, Kat said: “I think it’s more common now, the movement is huge – it’s mainly young women aged 25-35 at the WI.
“We all sit in an office all day so it’s nice to do something with your hands rather than just making spreadsheets.”
Kat has just put the finishing touches on her first large-scale commissioned piece for the Northern Quarter’s Almost Famous which is due to be unveiled in the coming weeks.
You can also follow Kat at @Crass_Stitch