Threading Yarn, Writing Code: What Traditional Arts and Crafts Can Teach Us About Programming

Short Form
Scheduled: Wednesday, June 21, 2017 from 1:30 – 2:15pm


You’ve probably heard people say that programming is an art and a craft. Does it have anything to do with the traditional arts and crafts like cross stitching, knitting, or sewing? In this talk we’ll explore the intersection of traditional and modern crafts and what they can learn from each other.


I recently started learning a new programming language. Around the same time I also started teaching myself cross stitching. As I was learning both simultaneously, I noticed that there are a lot of parallels between learning a traditional craft like cross stitching and a modern craft like programming. Learning traditional crafts can teach us a lot about how to to approach learning coding efficiently as the techniques and skills acquired when learning traditional crafts are easily transferable to modern crafts like programming.

In this talk we’ll explore the intersection between traditional and modern arts and crafts: How are they similar? How are they different? What can they learn from each other? Let’s find out what traditional crafts can teach us about getting started with programming, motivation, finding the right resources, software architecture and design, debugging, coding style, how to continue once you learned the basics, etc.


  • Introduction – Who am I? What is this talk about?
  • A few words about traditional crafts, especially cross stitching
  • Similarities and differences between traditional and modern crafts
  • Is programming really an art and a craft?
  • Learning cross stitching, learning coding
  • Getting started
  • Motivation
  • Resources
  • Architecture/design
  • Debugging
  • Style guide
  • What comes after the basics?
  • Summary/Takeaways
  • Q&A

Speaking experience

I have spoken at many conferences, for a full list of talks, please see my LinkedIn profile Here is a playlist of some of my talks that have been recorded


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    Anna Ossowski

    Django REST Framework, PyLadies


    Anna loves working at the intersection of tech and people and is currently managing the community and operations of Django REST Framework. She is a former director of the Python Software Foundation, PyCon US Open Spaces-Chair, DjangoCon US Diversity Chair, and group leader of the PyLadies Remote group. In her free time she loves speaking at conferences and mentoring future speakers. Anna is very passionate about diversity and community outreach and wants to encourage more women to learn programming because it’s awesome!