What's in a needle...
How do you explain cross stitch to non-cross stitching people? Do they get it or do they say “Oh, right.. you do knitting then (or sewing, or needlepoint)"?
When folks get word of the fact that I cross-stitch, I do get a lot of "Oh yeah, my mom/grandma/insert female relative here used to knit/crochet/needlepoint too." I usually have a good response to all of those.
Knitting: Knitting takes two big needles and yarn to make sweaters and scarves. I use one small blunt needle and really fine thread to make things that you could put on display on the wall.
Crochet: Crochet uses one of those funny hook like things and yarn to make blankets. I use one small blunt needle and really fine thread to make pictures that you could hang on the wall.
Needlepoint: Well, they're similar but different.
I think the hardest concept that I've had to try and get across is explaining how the design transfers from the paper it's printed on to the piece of fabric that I'm using to stitch it on. Folks tend to think that one would easily get lost while working on such a thing. My usual response to that is "Can you count?" When I get an affirmative answer (I almost always do, except from a few smart-mouthed folks) then I tell them that they can't get lost unless they make a mistake counting - which does happen, and I let them know that.
The other hard part is explaining over-2 to a non-stitcher. Most of them understand over-1 since that's what they perceive from needlepointers canvas.
Of course, I usually only launch into such explanations if they're interested, otherwise I think I'll get a glazing over of the eyes very quickly.