Question 1: How did you start? Who introduced you to cross stitching?
I knew about cross stitching because my grandmother did it but she did not teach me. She wintered down in Arizona most of the time and then she had her battle with cancer and died when I was 11 so she never got the chance. Had she lived longer or been around during the long winter months, there is a possibility that she would have taught me herself.
My mom bought me a kit to cheer me up when I had my wisdom teeth removed. She was at the local craft store (one of those non-chain stores that is sadly closed now) and saw this little Learn-A-Craft frog kit and I taught myself from the instructions.
Question 2: Favorite theme or designer
I've been asked this question before and I think I even blogged about it on Stitching the Night Away but my tastes are so variable that I can't say I have a favorite. I did a lot of kits when I first started. I also liked getting books of minis so I could combine motifs and alphabets to make my own designs. I had a phase where I really liked fantasy designs and I especially liked Dragon Dreams (still do) but I have not stitched a ton of it. Recently, since I've been married and have kids, I find myself drawn to pieces that I never would have considered. Here's an example
There's not really a rhyme or reason for the pieces I select. I used to do a lot more pieces for other people but now I do most of them for me. That could be one reason for the change. I do seem to find myself being drawn to certain ornament designers in the Just Cross Stitch magazines.
Question 3: What brand of floss do you use?
I normally stitch with DMC. Lately, I have been stitching patterns that require other flosses. I don't mind working with overdyes and metallics but they can be expensive so I do sometimes substitute for DMC.
Question 4: What is your fabric of choice?
I'll work on just about anything. I don't mind Aida, although it is not my fabric of choice if I am stitching quarter stitches. I also enjoy using perforated plastic and paper because they make finishing very easy. I do enjoy evenweaves and linen and they are probably my favorite.
Question 5: Do you use a needle threader or are you a floss licker?
I try not to actually lick the floss but I have never been able to get a needle threader to work properly for me either. Most of the time, I am able to thread by folding the thread and popping it through the eye.
Question 6: What brand of stitching frame (or hoop or otherwise holder) do you use?
I love Q-Snaps. I also have a Ks Creation frame to hold the Q Snaps but I rarely use it anymore because of my daughters. I suspect when they are older and I can have a proper stitching chair, I will be able to use it again.
Question 7: How many projects have you finished?
By my count, at least 170. I know there are probably at least 20 more that aren't photographed.
Question 8: How many completed works are hanging in your house?
If I count right, I have ten. There are two more that need to have new hangers put on them and then they will go up too and there are two that I had to take down because my daughters were getting into them. Most of my works are smalls and many of the larger pieces were gifts for other people. Hopefully within a few years, there will be more on display
Question 9: Do you stitch for gifts or for yourself?
I do both. I used to stitch a lot of gifts but most of my gifted pieces now are for my husband or children. I
still get to enjoy them when I'm done.
Question 10: Favorite finished cross stitch piece
I think that it has to be "Fairy Tale Sampler" by Dragon Dreams
Coming in at a close second is "Amazing Grace" which was the second piece I ever stitched (it was a very, very ambitious second piece).
Question 11: Worst experience whilst stitching?
When I was 20, I spent the summer out in Colorado working for a church. I was dating (long distance) someone I met at college and his sister was pregnant so I was working on a birth sampler for the baby. I also was working on a piece for him. Halfway through the summer, he dumped me over the phone but I still finished the birth sampler, had it professionally framed and shipped it across the country to the new mother. I never heard one word about whether it was received or if she liked it. Nothing. I don't think they appreciated how long it took to stitch or the expense to have it professionally framed. It was kind of sad since I was dating a pastor's son.
The piece that I stitched for the boyfriend had a slightly happier ending. I had it professionally framed but I did not give it to him. Instead, it went to one of my other friends and as far as I know, it still graces his wall.
Question 12: What do you love and hate about cross stitch?
I have psycho-motor over-excitability (a trait of gifted people) and it makes me want to be doing something all the time. Cross stitch helps give me something to do with my hands that is also engaging. I love to watch the piece unfold on the fabric. To me, it is like painting with string.
I really hate it when the thread tangles or knots or when I have to frog a piece. I hate it when patterns are hard to read or when kits do not give you enough thread. Finishing used to give me a headache because of the expense but I am becoming more confident in framing my own pieces. Stretching the fabric is time consuming and sometimes pieces lay around for awhile because I have to have someone watch the girls while I do the finishing work.
Question 13: Have you introduced anyone else to cross stitching?
I am sure my daughters will want to pick it up when they are older.
Yes, here's a picture. It has hung on my bulletin board at my childhood home, my desk at college and in my cubical at work. It is currently in storage but I will hang it in my classroom once I start teaching. The blue part glows in the dark.
I store my DMC on labeled bobbins in plastic boxes.
My other threads are more of a challenge. I keep my overdyed threads in individual snack baggies and then put those into a larger quart zip top bag. They are sorted by manufacturer (Rainbow Gallery, Weeks Dye Works, etc....).
Bonus Question: How do you keep track of your stash?
I recently have gone mostly digital with my stash. I found that it took way too much time to go through all my fabric to find something for a piece. So, about a year ago, I started measuring my fabric and I had a notebook that had all the pieces in it. I tagged each piece with a code so that it would be easy to find the appropriate piece (my system is like A14W is a piece of Aida, 14 ct in white and if I had a second piece of that same type, it would become A14W2, etc...). For irregularly shaped pieces of fabric, I drew a rough sketch and filled in the perimeter measurements.
I digitized the whole system by putting it into Microsoft OneNote. The beauty of this is I can set everything up on my computer and then access and edit it online from any computer or from my smart phone (an alternative freeware software would be Evernote). After I put in the fabric, I did all my threads and then the patterns. I even put in my yarn. I think the only thing that is left to put in is my magazines.