Q1 - How did you start? Who introduced you to cross stitching?
I started stitching in 1995, I think. I was staying at my aunt and uncle's house for Spring Break and I needed some gold thread (like a heavy kreinik) to finish a plastic canvas piece I was working on.
I walked into a specialty stitching shop (Harbour Stitchery) and on the front table there was a chart for Teresa Wentzler's Castle Sampler, and I immediately fell in love. I had never cross stitched a thing in my life before that. I bought everything I needed right there on the spot.
Unfortunately, picking an advance level project (as I call it) without any experience was a bit much. I only bought the size fabric the design was (without much extra) and just learning to cross stitch from a large confetti, blended thread laden mega-piece was a wee bit too much for me.
Next, I picked up a pretty large Dimensions or Bucilla kit (of leopards in a tree, and don't ask how long I went google searching to see if I could find it!) from Michaels after that and started. Within a couple of years I was into magazines, silks and linens, and then I found the TWBB while I was in college. I've been stitching on and off since then.
When I was a kid I did do a lot of crafting. I knew how to crochet and I had needlepointed (my mother's main hobby), so it wasn't a huge stretch, but it has been my favorite hobby ever since... even when I dabble in others.
Q2 - Favourite theme or designer
The theme is probably fantasy. And I love certain color combinations, usually the stronger, bolder jewel tones. I like more realistic things, and primitives and samplers are definitely out for the most part. Right now, I've been looking at a lot of mandalas, because they are a lot of fun and so beautiful.
My all time favorite designer would have to be Teresa Wentzler, with Nora Corbett and Terry Nolan (of Dimples Designs) following as close seconds. I have been getting into Tracey Horner's work as well, and a few others.
Q3 - What brand of floss do you use?
DMC for straight cotton, whatever silks or overdyes as appropriate (crescent colours, dinky dyes, etc.). I do prefer treasure braids over kreiniks, but only when I can reasonably substitute.
Q4 - What is your fabric of choice?
32 count platinum lugana. Always lugana, usually 32 count, and while hand dyes are beautiful, nothing makes me happier than a nice platinum.
Q5 - Do you use a needle threader or are you a floss licker?
Licker. All the way.
Q6 - What brand of stitching frame (or hoop or otherwise holder) do you use?
Qsnaps, and Qsnaps only. I have a scroll frame I started out on, but the project on those frames has been on it since I found Qsnaps and will be the last project done on it (although I'll probably switch over).
Q7 - How many projects have you finished?
A lot. I don't have a count, especially because I've given many away.
Q8 - How many completed works are hanging in your house?
Right now I have 5:Charland Designs Tywyn Sampler
Nora Corbett - Letters by Nora: SLuna Moth by Sandra Paradise
Wizard & Sorceress (2 separate pieces), which were Dimensions (I think?) KitsI will have Teresa Wentzler's Storyteller and For Amelia by Dimples as soon as they're back from the framer.
Q9 - Do you stitch for gifts or for yourself?
Rarely gifts, usually for myself.
Q10 - Favourite finished cross stitch piece
Tywyn Sampler. It was an absolute joy to stitch from beginning to end, and it's a beautifully framed piece. Every time I look at it, I'm just happy.
Q11 - Worst experience whilst stitching?
I stitched Crossed Wing's Snowy Egret in 2003 for my boyfriend at the time, for his birthday. I stitched on it non-stop, powering through the whole thing (hating every damned stitch). I stitched on it as I sat in my apartment, I stitched on it during road trips. I took it on buses. I worked my fingers off for that piece, and I got it done in time for a birthday camping trip. It looked phenomenal, but I just hated the sight of it (as well as actual snowy egrets). I did manage to sprain my ankle when I was dancing around a fire I burnt the pattern in.And of course, and we got married, and then divorced, and I'm just happy I never have to see that piece again.
I really did a great job on it though.
Q12 - What do you love and hate about cross stitch?
I love the zen. The up and down of the needle is very meditative for me.I kind of hate how long it takes to finish some pieces, but overall, that's rare, since I almost only stitch for myself now, so there's never a real deadline. I've even learned to love backstitching. Who knew that was possible!
Q13 - Have you introduced anyone else to cross stitching?
One of my friends :)
Q14 - The first project, did you finish it?
Nope, and I need to re-start it some day :) I did use the fabric in ornaments and other small pieces. So the fabric has been used, but that chart has yet to get its day. It is my goal for my next TW after I finish 2 or 3 pieces, though.
Q15 - How do you store your floss?
My DMC are in storage units like you'd find in a garage - like this unit from a home improvement store. The overdyes and silks are on rings in photo storage boxes. I'm not a collector of threads, I only buy them as I need them... but I can't bring myself to throw the remnants away either (since I might need them again in the future)
So that's about it. I don't think I've ever fully shared the story of the snowy egret, though friends and people I've "known" on BBs have heard it and it was a running joke for a while.