This year is a very special year for TAST as it has been running for 10 years. Throughout the coming year I am going to run a series of interviews with stitchers who have done part or all of the TAST challenge and feature their work. I will ask the same questions of each stitcher.
A decade is long time to be running a challenge online and right from the start Annet of Fat Quarter embraced TAST. Not only did she stitch the TAST logo but Annet has created some wonderful fabric books with her samples. To see all her fabric books visit her blog Fat Quater and see the posts labeled fabric book.If you browse back through the series you can see how Annet made the books.
Annet is also the creator of this fantastic dragon which was created while exploring stitches, you can find information about it here
TAST Interview with Annet of Fat Quarter
Here is the interview with Annet of Fat Quarter. Links in the interview lead to posts in Annet’s blog that share photos of what she is talking about. I hope readers enjoy it.
Why do you like hand embroidery and hand work? How has it influenced your life?
I like hand embroidery, because every piece is one of a kind. I love the imperfection of hand work. Embroidery gave me a different look at myself as it feels so good to make something pretty just with needle, fabric and thread.
How did you start? Were you taught by your mother, school or taught yourself online? If you taught yourself what attracted you to embroidery?
I learned a few basic embroidery stitches at primary school when I was about 8 years old. I feel very lucky to still have the bag that was made from these stitches. (Interrupting here but you can read about Annet’s first embroidery here. It is a delightful tale and so neat!)
I always admired embroidery, but I thought I could never learn it. So all I stitched was cross stitch projects until I found TAST in October 2007. I hoped I could learn a new stitch every week, so I started stitching on muslin with a quilting needle and stranded floss. I learned a lot by looking at the stitches made by other participants. I think that’s the best part of TAST, we all learn from each other.
Do you use TAST to make samplers or incorporate the stitches into projects as you go. Or what sort of projects most attract you ?
The first 3 runs of TAST I made samplers and turned them into fabric books. Of course I started to use these stitches in other projects too. Now I use the stitches mostly on projects I’m working on, because I already experimented 2 or 3 times with most stitches. But I have some samplers in progress were I experiment from time to time. The experimenting part of embroidery attracts me most, it’s so much fun to see the parts of a stitch and think outside the box.
Can you talk about your last project and/or your current project? (Can be any textile project)
I have many projects in progress, but the last weeks I’m working on only 4 of them. I’m crocheting a blanket, knitting my first pair of socks for my daughter, trying to finish the cross stitch borders on the fabric book pages I’m making for Randje per week 2015 and I recently started adding borders to a quilt I made many years ago.
What is the project you are most proud of?
That’s my embroidery Birth, a postcard size sampler I stitched for Sharon’s class Personal Library of Stitches. It was the first time I saw what happened when I let my needle do the work and stopped thinking about what to do next.
Do you have any UFO’s ? If so, fess up to how many?
Of course I have UFO’s , don’t we all! I’m not sure how many, I think about 15-20 embroidery projects and 5-10 quilt projects.
Do you work purchased designs or do you design your own projects? Or do you do both?
I like designing my own projects, but I do both.
Beer Time by Annet of Fat Quarter you can read about how it came about here
Do you have a creative design process? If so what is it? Or do you work intuitively?
For me it works best to start with a basic idea and then just start and let needle and thread do the talking. I try not to think about how it should look when it’s finished.
What stimulates your creative process? What inspires and sparks ideas for you?
That can be anything from seeing something made by others to something I see in my daily life.
Lots of people have trouble starting a project. What makes you start a project? Do you have any tips to get you from blank fabric to stitching?
Mostly I start with the fabric and a pattern/idea and then I go through my boxes with embroidery thread to make a colour palette. I go for a mix of colours and threads. If I need beads I also add all beads that I could use. Everything stays together with that project, so I don’t have to look for my supplies when I want to work on it. When I see all those yummie threads I just want to get started!
Do you have stall points? If so how do you get past them? Do you have any tips to share about this?
Sometimes I forget embroidery is hand work and doesn’t have to be perfect. It’s just me enjoying the journey with needle and thread. It has to be fun! If I don’t know how to continue with a project I experiment on samplers or a doodle cloth.
Do you have ‘go to’ stitches? In other words stitches you use frequently that you return to using over and over. If so what are they and why do you think they are so successful for you?
French knots, they work with many different threads and there’s always a tiny spot to stitch them. They are a great combo with many other stitches. I like the look of them in different threads.
Do you have a favourite embroidery thread, or something you use all the time? If so what is it?
My favourites are perle threads in 5, 8 and 12, but I use many different kinds of other threads too.
What advice would you give to new hands?
Just start and try to experiment with different stitches and threads. Look at the different parts of the stitch and try to think outside the box. For example a cross stitch is just 2 crossed straight stitches. As long as they cross each other it’s a cross stitch, so they don’t have to be the same size and they don’t have to cross all in the same direction if you’re notworking in counted work. Just play with needle and thread and see what happens.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
Don’t be afraid to experiment with threads and fabric. Enjoy the journey, the end result is just a bonus!
Thanks Annet I appreciate your time.
If you want to see how Annet uses her TAST stitches see the TAST label on her blog Fat Quarter. While you are there check out her tutorials, freebies and tangle patterns.
Many people have said TAST has meant a lot to them and I would love to hear your story and consider you as someone to be interviewed and have your work featured. Don’t hesitate to email me via the contact page. Everyone is asked the same set of questions and they are posed by email.