Why cross stitch? I couldn’t say! I’ve tried tonnes of other artistic mediums, from stain glass to watercolours, but for some reason, it was cross stitch that stuck. I think it might be the repetitive motion of cross stitch that makes it a relaxing past time – it’s almost like a meditation. Plus, cross stitch comes with a sense of achievement; after all your hard work, you’re rewarded with something that’s handmade and meaningful to you.
Do you teach your skills to others? I started designing my own patterns using grid paper when I was young, because it was difficult to find patterns that I wanted to create. Then, this year, I had some free time after graduating from university (I call this my ‘funemployment’ stage) so I decided to open up an online store and offer my patterns for sale. I really love running my little shop. I love everything from designing the branding to making the patterns, even answering customer requests to alter some designs. I feel like I’m taking my little hobby and sharing it with the world.
What does this craft mean to you?Cross stitch is as much about the journey as it is the end product. I really believe you need to enjoy the process as much as you will enjoy hanging your framed, finished piece on the wall. So, for me, it’s important to have patterns that are fun to create – which means no fiddly, difficult stitches to work through and lots of bright, bold colours to keep things interesting.
Is it hard to find time to do your stitching or is it a profession?There are never enough hours in the day! I’m a paediatric speech pathologist in my non-cross-stitch life and I know my job has made me appreciate cross stitch even more. At work, I’m constantly on the move, playing astronauts, talking incessantly (occupational hazard) and bribing kids to behave. With cross stitch, it’s just me, no talking, no stress. I find it soothing.
From where do you draw inspiration? When designing my patterns, I find inspiration everywhere and anywhere. It could be bright fabrics or prints or a certain colour combination that I stumble across. I was recently in St Petersburg and visited the Church of the Saviour of the Spilled Blood (catchy name!), and inside, floor to ceiling were the most beautiful and colourful mosaics, with interesting borders and designs. Bam! – instant inspiration.
Do you ever see yourself stopping or diversifying?I think my eyesight will determine when I stop cross stitching, but I’d be willing to put myself on the eyeball donor list to keep my hobby going! Right now, I want to continue cross stitching as a hobby and keep designing patterns that may help get others excited about the new, modern world of cross stitch. If you love something, I don’t think it’s possible to stop thinking about new ways to expand or diversify. At the moment, I’m working on creating some mini cross-stitch kits to sell in my shop, designed for beginners. I want to welcome as many people as I can into this craft by making it fun and easily accessible.
Where do you live and work?The three of us (my husband, the cat and myself) squash ourselves into our small, one-bedroom apartment in Sydney’s inner west. My workspace is wherever, and I mean WHEREVER, I happen to sit – couch, floor, desk, balcony, anywhere. That is an advantage of cross stitch – it’s quite mobile. You just need your fabric, pattern, thread and scissors and off you go. You can always tell where I’ve been by the trail of colourful cotton offcuts I leave everywhere!
How would you describe your style? Bold colours, and bright designs. Young,fun patterns.
What is your advice for beginners? Cross stitch is a very easy craft to master – once you have done something 20,000 times, you really get the hang of it! My advice is to start with an easy design, with whole stitches and a couple of bright colours to keep things simple. And remember, cross stitch is very forgiving. If you make a mistake, you can just unpick the cotton and keep on going.