TAST Interview with Kimberley our Chicken Little Lady

Image for TAST Interview with KimberleyMost weeks Kimberley has made the TAST facebook group smile. I think of Kimberley as “The Chicken Little Lady” and is well known in the TAST group because of her talent but does not have a blog or website so this interview is opens the door a little to the thoughts of a very creative woman. Kimberley houses her photos in an online album here

TAST Interview with Kimberley our Chicken Little Lady

Why do you like hand embroidery and hand work? How has it influenced your life?
I’ve always been what people call ‘crafty’. I’ve knitted (badly), made quilts, a quick foray into cross stitch, taught myself to crochet, made clothes, knitted toys, made bears and just generally pottered with that type of thing. For me, Embroidery fills that need to ‘make stuff’. I can just pick it up and put it down, I don’t need to go and buy a heap more stuff to start a new project. Needles, threads and a bit of fabric and I’m away.

How did you start? Were you taught by your mother, school or taught yourself online? If you taught yourself what attracted you to embroidery?
My earliest memory of embroidery was probably when I was about 9 or 10 with my Dad of all people when he taught me how to darn socks. For some reason I wanted his old wooly socks which had a hole in them, so he taught me how to fix the hole and I then ’embroidered’ all over them – flowers, dots, words, all sort of things. I loved those socks, not because they were beautifully embroidered but I think just because I’d created something just the way I wanted it.

I started learning ‘proper’ hand embroidery stitches just over a year ago. I was surfing the net, as you do, and somehow got looking at various hand embroidery photos/sites and thought I’d like to give it a go. Which in turn lead me to TAST which wasn’t currently running at the time, but I found the previous list of stitches and I thought I’d have a go at the first few stitches on the list. A month or so later TAST started up again and I just carried on with everyone else.

Do you use TAST to make samplers or incorporate the stitches into projects as you go. Or what sort of projects most attract you?
As anyone who follows TAST on Facebook knows I make chickens, lot of chickens. So its a bit of both. A multipiece stitch sampler and each one a small stand alone project. I incorporate the stitch for the week into an embroidery that includes a chicken. Gosh that sounds crazy when you write it down. I don’t think it ever really occurred to me just to do the stitch on its own and call it done.

As for what projects attract me, well ‘Chicken Little’ was kind of born out of seeing photos of Sue Spargos Bird Dance quilt initially. It’s a quilt that has 30 different bird blocks that are both appliquéd and embroidered. Its bright, colourful and just fun. After embroidering for a year I now find myself being drawn more and more to the nature type embroideries, Trish Burr and her amazing needle painted birds. Martha Fieber and her misty forests. And trees, I want to embroider big beautiful trees.

Can you talk about your last project and/or your current project?
Well I’m still working the TAST stitch each week and this year I’ve joined a ‘Year in Stitches’ Facebook group, where the idea is no pattern, no plan and to just stitch something every day. I’m not sure freestyle is for me. But I’m using it to try some things that aren’t chicken related for one and also as a reminder for the stitches I’ve learnt to date. I’m going to see if I can use all the stitches I’ve learnt to date and every colour I own.

Image for TAST Interview with KimberleyMy last non-chicken project was a fabric book that’s a DMC floss colour chart. Each colour chart is actually cross stitched, but I hand embroidered the design for the cover. I created this after trying to match thread colours to a photo. I would definitely recommend making one of these. Its so helpful.

What is the project you are most proud of?
I still consider myself a beginner and to date I’m not sure I have something that I’m most proud of yet, I still consider my projects to date as practice. I guess if I HAD to pick something it would be a small embroidery I made to celebrate my daughter participating in her first martial arts tournament (she’s 7). I like it not because its technically complex but just because it made my daughter so happy when I gave it to her and that its now proudly displayed in her bedroom. And yes its got a chicken on it, she never would have forgiven me if it didn’t.

Image for TAST Interview with KimberleyDo you have any UFO’s?
Yes, although I like to think of it more as a work in progress (cough splutter). After trying one of Trish Burrs free projects I decided to try my hand at a needle painted Waxeye, a wee bird native to New Zealand that I designed myself from a photo. I’ve stalled a bit on it as I need to do some more needle painting practice to do the wee guy justice.

Do you work purchased designs or do you design your own projects? Or do you do both?
For ‘Chicken Little’ I mostly use images I have found on the internet. I might tweak them slightly, but mostly I use them as they are. For other projects I like to create my own designs and apart from doing a couple of free projects I’ve found online that demonstrate a particular technique I think I will continue to create from images I find online or from photos I take myself.

Do you have a creative design process? If so what is it? Or do you work intuitively?
For ‘Chicken Little’ TAST, I usually try the stitch out a few times on a doodle cloth and just see if it sparks any inspiration. Like would it make good feathers? Or a platform for them to stand on? Or something else entirely. If that doesn’t work then I go through all the chicken images I have saved off the internet, I currently have about 1000 (yes I know, I’m totally loopy) and while you’d think that it’d be easy to find the ‘right’ chicken out of a 1000, its not always. But if nothing else it sometimes help me think about it differently and I can then usually find something I can modify to suit the stitch.

What stimulates your creative process? What inspires and sparks ideas for you?
I like looking on the net at the work of others, if I see something I like I might attempt to replicate the effect. Often I might look up the stitch of the week to see how people actually use it. I love Pinterest for pinning things I like for another time.

Image for TAST Interview with KimberleyLots of people have trouble starting a project. What makes you start a project? Do you have any tips to get from from blank fabric to stitching?
I found it really hard to start the Year of Stitches project. With Chicken Little I know I’m sewing a chicken, and I know it has to feature a certain stitch, so I’ve got the end goal in sight at least. With Year of Stitches I didn’t know where to start, I had no end goal in mind, I’ve never just free-stitched before. So I went looking for some images I liked, and came across a Koi and thought about how I could make him in stitches. Rows of Fly stitch seemed pretty obvious for the scales, and while it seems like a commonly used stitch I’m never quite sure what to do with it. So I thought it would be good practice if nothing else. And then I had a start. Now I’m just filling it with things I like, things I’ve wanted to try. It’s not going to be a great work of art when its done, but I’m learning new techniques, new uses for stitches and just learning what I like and what I don’t.

Do you have stall points? If so how do you get past them? Do you have any tips to share about this?
Yes definitely especially on my wee needle painting project. My current stall is how to achieve the very fine stripes on his tail. I’ve attempted to do them a number of times on another piece of fabric, all so far without success. As I’ve read in a number of places the biggest hurdle is our own sense of perfection. I just need to pick the best option and go with it, otherwise this poor wee guy is just going to remain in the drawer half done.

Do you have goto stitches?
I use a lot of split stitch for my chickens. It gives a thicker line than back stitch and I never really took to stem stitch to be honest. I’ve been using it a bit more lately on my year of stitches projects but I still can’t say I love it yet. Like a lot of people I like french knots and
I’d love to be great at long-short stitch needle painting.

Do you have a favourite thread, or something you use all the time?
I’ve not experimented with a wide variety of threads so far. I usually use two strands of DMC floss for most things, or one for needle painting. I use these basically because I already had a box of them from my cross stitch days 20 years ago. With the Year of Stitches I’m trying to step outside my comfort zone a wee bit and am attempting to use differing numbers of strands depending on what I’m doing. I did buy some Cotton Perle for attempting Shisha but Wow its so thick compared to floss I think I’m just a bit frightened of it.

The other thing I use ALL the time is a water soluble pen. I know there are a lot of different ones out there, but I use a Chako Ace Fine Marker in blue. You don’t need to truly wash it out, I literally just do a quick swipe under the cold tap and its gone. Wouldnt be without it.

What advice would you give to new hands?
If you can learn the basic stitches then you can probably do most stitches, because they are variations of the basic stitches. You don’t have to buy expensive fabric to get started, I’m still just using bleached calico after a year and I’m really pleased with the results. Then find
something you like and just give it a go. It sounds a bit weak to give that as advice, but just thread that needle and make a stitch. Then you’ve made a start, you’re off.

Image for TAST Interview with Kimberley

I hope you have enjoyed this TAST Interview. Since Kimberley is not a blogger who I have I certainly enjoyed discovering more about her and reading about how goals, approaches and thoughts about her embroidery. Make a cuppa and march right on over to Kimberley’s  album of TAST chickens they are fun, inventive and always a surprise.

This interview is part of series that will run during 2017 as the Take a Stitch Tuesday Challenge has been running for a decade. Throughout the year I will interview stitchers about their hand embroidery and feature their work.

Crazy quilt template set 2 Have you seen my Stitchers Templates?

As someone who loves crazy quilting and embroidery I designed these templates with other stitchers in mind. With my templates you can create hundreds of different patterns to apply to your stitching and crazy quilting projects. They are easy to use, totally clear so you can position them easily and they are compact in your sewing box.

Templates set 1 you will find here 
Templates set 2 you will find here 
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You can have Pintangle delivered to your inbox by using the follow feature in the sidebar. Just enter your email address, and when you get the confirmation email make sure you say yes and you are all set!
If you are on a mobile or tablet you will need to scroll to the bottom to find the follow feature.



TAST Interview with Chitra of Jizee6687’s Weblog

profile Image for TAST Interview with ChitraThe next embroiderer I would like to introduce readers to is someone I have been reading for nearly decade. Chitra started her blog Jizee6687’s Weblog in mid 2008. I always assume that people have seen her work only to discover they have not!

Chitra constantly explores stitches and works samplers of the many stitch varieties she can think of, often really pushing a stitch to see what it will do. Her constant dedication to these experiments has always made me feel there is a like minded soul quietly stitching on the other side of the world from me. Those stitching lessons are then applied to practical items,  usually clothing.

Image for TAST Interview with ChitraIndia has a rich textile tradition and Chitra often shares those traditions with us. When you visit her blog don’t forget to read Chitra’s tutorial on Kutchwork. There is also a tutorial on Shisha or Mirrorwork too I love the fact that we can learn a traditional stitch from someone in the culture. Without the internet we could not do that!

Anyway without further fuss Here is the interview with Chitra of Jizee6687’s Weblog

TAST Interview with Chitra of Jizee6687’s Weblog

Image for TAST Interview with ChitraWhy do you like hand embroidery and hand work? How has it influenced your life?

I love colours. Hand embroidery helps in creating pieces with colours. Hand work is not perfect and that makes each piece unique. I work mainly on clothing and sometimes that gives an identity of its own.

How did you start? Were you taught by your mother, school or taught yourself online? If you taught yourself what attracted you to embroidery?

Hand embroidery is considered to be a good hobby in India. It started with my mother, widened in school, grew with help from friends/neighbours, inspired by some experienced teachers and from the onset of internet -Sharon. Still learning.

Do you use TAST to make samplers or incorporate the stitches into projects as you go. Or what sort of projects most attract you?

All TAST stitches are used to make samplers. The stitches are also used on other projects. Functional projects attract me.

Can you talk about your last project and/or your current project?

Currently working on zardosi embroidery on a silk tunic and participating in TAST challenge and a few other stitch challenges and SALs

What is the project you are most proud of?

TAST samplers.

Image for TAST Interview with ChitraDo you have any UFO’s? If so, fess up to how many?

Yes. At least fifteen have been started. Other few need to be just finished up. Too much stash of embroidery threads, notions are also piling up. And many are Unfinished Ideas.

Do you work purchased designs or do you design your own projects? Or do you do both?

I design my projects. Occasionally on kits or designs by others.

Do you have a creative design process? If so what is it? Or do you work intuitively?

It starts with inspiration, mixing up different features, then intuition. Whenever something inspires me, I try to imagine it being worked in a particular colour scheme, type of embroidery, as different functional projects, and start giving it definition.

Image for TAST Interview with ChitraWhat stimulates your creative process? What inspires and sparks ideas for you?

Any particular embroidery or colour or a fabric or a picture or a location or a sewn product or a sculpture or carving are all the sources of my inspiration. I find it easy to work on a precise project. Once the definition is set, I relax, and enjoy working the embroidery.

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?

These days the projects are on clothing. It starts with a tunic design or a saree colour or a memory from childhood, an Indian sculpture or painting. Once the idea is well established, it starts becoming a project. Sharon’s online classes are of great help.

Do you have stall points? If so how do you get past them? Do you have any tips to share about this.

My stall points are clouding of ideas. These things halt the ongoing progress sometimes. When that happens, I go back down memory lane, where there were moments of enjoying an art piece, just for its sake and not as something I would like it be. This calms my mind, and then I restart from there.

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.

My focus is basically on Indian embroidery, this aspect makes me do over and over again- kutchwork, mirror work, chains stitch.

Image for TAST Interview with ChitraDo you have a favourite embroidery thread, or something you use all the time? If so what is it?

I use Anchor stranded cotton, because of its accessibility. Sometimes, when there is a chance, a small stash of other threads also are bought. I use them for samplers.

What advice would you give to new hands?

Relax and enjoy working with needles. Easy to say, but it is worth cultivating this habit. Each one of us is different. Our growth shouldn’t depend on other people acceptance.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

Hand embroidery being a slow involves enormous amounts of sitting down time. It is better to balance our activities and get more exercise. Neck and hands are vulnerable. Taking care of them is vital.

 

I hope you have enjoyed this TAST Interview. I certainly enjoyed discovering more about Chitra’s approach to embroidery. Pop over to  Jizee6687’s Weblog for a visit as I really enjoyed browsing the samplers on her blog  and selecting images for this article. There are an amazing amount of stitches and varieties on those samples!

This interview is part of series that will run during 2017 as the Take a Stitch Tuesday Challenge has been running for a decade. Throughout the year I will interview stitchers about their hand embroidery and feature their work.

Crazy quilt template set 2 Have you seen my Stitchers Templates?

As someone who loves crazy quilting and embroidery I designed these templates with other stitchers in mind. With my templates you can create hundreds of different patterns to apply to your stitching and crazy quilting projects. They are easy to use, totally clear so you can position them easily and they are compact in your sewing box.

Templates set 1 you will find here 
Templates set 2 you will find here 
a tangle of pinsFollow Pintangle and have it delivered to your inbox

You can have Pintangle delivered to your inbox by using the follow feature in the sidebar. Just enter your email address, and when you get the confirmation email make sure you say yes and you are all set!
If you are on a mobile or tablet you will need to scroll to the bottom to find the follow feature.



TAST Interview with Queeniepatch of Queenie’s Needlework

image for TAST Interview with Queenie Of Queenie's NeedleworkThis week I would like to introduce you to and other TAST participant Queeniepatch of Queenie’s Needlework. Queenie tells her own story but I wanted to point out that this innovative lady has joined in and revisited the TAST challenge a number of times. I have always enjoyed her Stumpwork ladies and her avatar photo (above) is the image that comes to mind when I think of Queenie and her blog.  Queenie has gone on to create her own Sunday Stitch School. There is a huge thrill for me when I saw this, as for a teacher to see students teaching others is wonderful. This is how hand embroidery will stay alive. Anyway off my soap box and on with the interview!

TAST Interview with Queeniepatch of Queenie’s Needlework

Why do you like hand embroidery and hand work? How has it influenced your life?

Oh, I like the movement of the needle, the touch of fabric and thread, the slow tempo, the fact that you can stitch almost anywhere, in the park or a waiting room as well as at home… I like how the needle leaves a trail of thread in the fabric… I like the 3D image made by knots, loops and couched lines…

From an early age I have had a need to create, and I think needlework satisfies that urge.
I also find it both relaxing and energizing. My days usually contain little ‘me time’ so when I do have some, I will turn to hand embroidery to slow down and charge my batteries at the same time.

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 started by looking, very early in childhood, at the exquisite silk embroidery cushion on Grandmother’s sofa, at my mother and her needlework friends monogramming tea towels, and I wanted to join in. I was shown how to make some simple stitches on waffle cloth.

When formal needlework lessons at school started I was ten, and by then knew the most basic stitches.
The first projects (a luncheon mat and a serviette case) were set for the whole class, but the teacher let me go on and design a tea cosy by myself. It featured a peacock and its open tail feathers were made up of different stitches – a kind of sampler.

image for TAST Interview with Queenie Of Queenie's NeedleworkIn adulthood I have taught myself from books, but when I stumbled on TAST in 2012 I knew it was something much better. This idea of learning a stitch a week, by just adding it to a scribble cloth or building a serious project, blogging about the process and result, sharing it with others online, being free to skip a stitch… I’d say TAST is the best thing that has happened in my needlework life. Thank you Sharon!

Do you use TAST to make samplers or incorporate the stitches into projects as you go. Or what sort of projects most attract you ?

I have made several TAST samplers, as well as a very useful TAST reference chart. Also I often use the stitches to create small greeting cards, add features to stumpwork portraits or when making Swedish wool embroidery clothing.

image for TAST Interview with Queenie Of Queenie's NeedleworkCan you talk about your last project and/or your current project?

The last TAST project was a sampler, called TASTy Tuesday Second Helpings, where I wanted to repeat the stitches I had learned two years earlier and begun to forget.
image for TAST Interview with Queenie Of Queenie's NeedleworkAt the moment I am making a bed size quilt out of thousands of small green triangles, machine stitched over paper.

When TAST came to a halt at the 140th stitch in 2014 and I still wanted to learn more, I decided to make use of my many stitch dictionaries, and pick a stitch a week. By posting the ‘lessons’ and ‘homework’ on my blog as Sunday Stitch School I spur myself on. As there are so many stitches yet to learn, I might never graduate!

What is the project you are most proud of?

Difficult question! I like the Swedish Cushion (TAST sampler) and the Swedish wool embroidery purse as well as some of the stumpwork portraits, an appliqué quilt with bias tape that I embroidered on, some small cards of a dress made of Open Based Picots or the ‘knitted’ cardigan of Magic Chain stitches….

image for TAST Interview with Queenie Of Queenie's NeedleworkDo you have any UFO’s ? If so, fess up to how many?

Believe it or not, at the moment I don’t have any slumbering half finished projects, but I have a dozen new plans (UFP’s?) Among them are a Mola bag, a map of Stockholm quilt, more parts of that Swedish wool embroidery folk costume… I have all the material, just want to finish the Work In Progress first.

Do you work purchased designs or do you design your own projects? Or do you do both?

I have worked a number of kits, mainly in Cross stitch, Canvas and Blackwork. I find it convenient to have everything prepared and it is relaxing for a holiday project. However, I much more enjoy designing my own projects as it satisfies my cravings to create.

Do you have a creative design process? If so what is it? Or do you work intuitively?

image for TAST Interview with Queenie Of Queenie's NeedleworkIt usually starts with an idea and a rough plan, then I make a sketch. That will set me off, but as I move along I often make changes. I have tried several times to make a journal for each project, but find that I give up on it half way through. Instead I try to record the process and progress on my blog.

What stimulates your creative process? What inspires and sparks ideas for you?

The sparks often come from something I see, at an exhibition, on TV, online, or even on a tea cup. I have made two quilts where the inspiration came from the patterns on china.

image for TAST Interview with Queenie Of Queenie's NeedleworkLots 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?

I start with a sketch, collect the material, mark the fabric and decide on a starting point, pick a stitch and jump in.
Or I start with a stitch I want to try out, then make a sketch of a design where this stitch would look good.
Maybe the best way to go from blank fabric to stitching is to decide where to start, isn’t it like kicking off the bicycle and as it starts rolling you just peddle along?

Do you have stall points? If so how do you get past them? Do you have any tips to share about this.

Nearing the end of a project I do find that my interest and enthusiasm wanes. In the past I tended to shelf projects, but these days I push myself to complete them. I might slow down but have a rule that at least 10 minutes per day must be devoted to that project until it is completed. The satisfaction of having seen it through is so rewarding!

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.

Yes, I do. They are Stem, Chain, Buttonhole and Feather stitch as well as French (or Colonial) knot. I know them well, using them is stitching in autopilot. You could also call them ‘Lego’ building blocks; combined with other stitches they give many possibilities.
However, the TAST samplers and reference chart constantly remind me that I should ‘think before I stitch’ and pick a more unusual stitch instead.

Do you have a favourite embroidery thread, or something you use all the time? If so what is it?

Pearl cotton shows off the stitches well. Stranded floss is found in many shades and the six strands can be divided. I also love the feel of wool.
The beauty of ‘difficult’ threads like chenille, thick cords, metallic has tempted me into buying too much, the challenge is now to find ways to use them.

What advice would you give to new hands?

Join TAST!
or any other online course/stitch-along,
or take part in a beginner’s workshop at a show/shop,
or buy a small kit,
or make a pin cushion, it is small, easy to assemble and gives instant results

For free style embroidery, get a boldly printed fabric and stitch along the lines.
For counted work, start with Aida fabric where the grid will help you find the right holes and spacing.

image for TAST Interview with Queenie Of Queenie's NeedleworkIs there anything else you would like to add?

In the past, and in school education, a PERFECT result was the goal. In today’s needlework and fibre art, it is more important to ENJOY stitching and embrace the FREEDOM of expression.
Give needlework a try, and if you feel it is not for you, don’t be afraid to walk away with your head held high.
Of course, I hope you will have found a new life with fiber art. Happy stitching.

 

I hope you have enjoyed this TAST Interview with Queeniepatch of Queenie’s Needlework. I certainly enjoyed discovering more about Queenie’s approach to embroidery. If you have enjoyed this interview pop over to  Queenie’s Needlework for a visit as I had lots of fun on her blog browsing and selecting images for this article.

This interview is part of series that will run during 2017 as the Take a Stitch Tuesday Challenge has been running for a decade. Throughout the year I will interview stitchers about their hand embroidery and feature their work.
Follow Pintangle and have it delivered to your inbox
You can have Pintangle delivered to your inbox by using the follow feature in the sidebar. Just enter your email address, and when you get the confirmation email make sure you say yes and you are all set!
If you are on a mobile or tablet you will need to scroll to the bottom to find the follow feature.