TAST Interview with Barbara B of Spiel mit Textil

Image for TAST Interview with Barbara B I first noticed Barbara B’s (Belle Bear) work in the TAST facebook group as her samples are very attractive. Barbara lives in Germany and is very active online and writes a number of blogs. For English speakers I use google translate to switch from German to English and spent a good few hours browsing her archives. Barbara B’s blogs are full of creative projects and ideas and well worth taking some time out,  making a cuppa and reading.

Here is a list of blogs written by Barbara B:

  • Spiel mit Textil (Playing with Textiles) where you will find Barbaras TAST samples
  • Sternengefunkel (mixed media) interesting and well worth browsing
  • Stickamazonen – Stick Amazons ( Embroidery) Google translates this as Stick but I think it is supposed to be Stitch
  • Papierspiel  (Playing with Paper)

Now on with the interview!

Image for TAST Interview with Barbara B TAST Interview with Barbara B of Spiel mit Textil

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

Hand embroidery is a way for me to let my phantasie flow and I can express myself freely and creatively. It enriched my life even in dark years.

2. 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 mother was a studied artisan with embroidery as her personal favourite and she taught me the basics early in my life. I was embroidering even before I went to school in 1943. At school I loved the needlework lessons most. We learned the basic stitches and were allowed to design own patterns with them.
In 2004 I got to know the german Internet group Die Crazyquilter and found Pintangle. I saw many new stitches and tried them out. Sharon’s dictionary was a goldmine and helped me a lot.
The crazyquilters started a challenge and we showed the results on our blog Stickamazonen. Many active embroiderers paticipated with enthusiasm.

Image for TAST Interview with Barbara B 3. Do you use TAST to make samplers or incorporate the stitches into projects as you go? Or what sort of projects most attract you?

In 2009 I attended TAST for the first time, realized the exercises on four 12x12cm small clothes and played with different variations. 2016 I designed four samplers, 40x40cm each. I was inspired to work with circles because I had just finished a series of Mandalas as a free textile work. In 2016 I also used the TAST exercises to finish an unfinished crazy.

Image for TAST Interview with Barbara B 4. Can you talk about your last project and/or your current project? 

I am a member of the internet group Alküns – Textilkunst alternativ (alternative textile art). Every year we choose themes for our projects of the year. In 2017 one of our themes is Foto-Tex (photography and textile). We work with or directly on photos. My focus: Fashion Magazines . I use old magazines from my mother out of the 1950s. She used magazine patterns to sew for me. I made a series of six works for that project.

Image for TAST Interview with Barbara B 5. What is the project you are most proud of?

That is hard to say, because I love so many of my works, if I had to pick it would be my Kesa (2006) or the wallhanging Very Personal or my first crazy Lepatrium.

6. Do you have any UFO`s ? If so, fess up to how many?

Oh yes! Unfortunately there are many, for example parts of roundrobins made by the Crazyquilters. But there are also unfinished traditional quilts, for example a double wedding ring.
And so on…

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

I love to design my own projects most, freely and without specific guidelines.

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

The planning of a project always starts on my mind. I collect ideas until I can actually imagine the outcome. During the working process I am improvising and changing a lot till I am satisfied.

Image for TAST Interview with Barbara B 9. What stimulates your creative process? What inspires and sparks ideas for you?

Often it is only a keyword or an exercise theme that inspires me. It is not only the embroidery I love to play with but also other materials or techniques. That is why my blog is called Spiel mit Textil (Playing with Textiles). I love colours, especially tone-in-tone, not too multicolored.

10. 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?

I can only explain how I start. I need a theme or an exercise. I think about the material, the form, the colours I can use. Then I start intuitively. That is like a game.

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

Yes, from time to time. Then I hang up the the work at a spot I often repass during one or some days and each time new thoughts appear to help me going on.

Image for TAST Interview with Barbara B 12. 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?

Oh yes, stitches I use often are for example Chain stitch, Herringbone stitch and French Knots. By using them I can design many new and nice variations and patterns.

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

At the beginning I prefered embroidery yarn with 6 threads and would choose the number of threads to work with. In the meantime I use anything that looks like a thread.

Image for TAST Interview with Barbara B 14. What advice would you give to new hands?

My advice: Try, try, try! But always have fun and enjoy what you do.

15. Is there anything else you would like to add?

Yes. I would like to thank you, Sharon, for giving me a lot of pleasure, I am always learning Pintangle and TAST new embroidery stitches, I have also met a lot of nice female
embroiderers, which I enjoy with my 80 years.

And Thanks to you Barbara for your time in doing this interview! I hope readers enjoy this TAST Interview with Barbara B of Spiel mit Textil. I certainly enjoyed doing it. If you have enjoyed this interview visit Barbara’s websites that I have listed above as they ooze creativity.

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 Christine B of Patchwork Allsorts

This week I would like to introduce you to Christine B of Patchwork Allsorts. I noticed Christine’s interesting TAST samplers  last year and after poking about her blog and reading it for while I realised how creative and talented she is. So without further preamble I would like to introduce my readers to Christine B of Patchwork Allsorts.

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

I love the unique style that hand embroidery/hand work gives to a project. Each embroiderer’s work is totally personal to them, just like their handwriting. Hand work has allowed me to express my creativity at times when it has been difficult to communicate in other ways (living in a country where you haven’t mastered the language yet!!)

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 was taught a few basic embroidery stitches at school and my mother still has the needle book that I made from the sampler I stitched then. However, that was a long time ago and when I took needlework up in adulthood I basically taught myself with the help of online tutorials (such as TAST) and many books! (I love books!) My mum always knitted and did hand sew a few items of clothing when we were children which probably encouraged me creatively but, she didn’t embroider. I have always liked the look of hand embroidered work and I think that is why I wanted to learn.

Image for TAST Interview with Christine BDo 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 different samplers using the TAST stitches. When the first piece of fabric was full, I made it into a needle case and started a second sampler. This second sampler I stretched over a canvas and made into a picture which hangs in my sewing room. I am currently still working on the third sampler but, when it is complete, it will become another picture to compliment the other one and will hang beside it in my sewing room.

Image for TAST Interview with Christine BCan you talk about your last project and/or your current project? 

As well as finishing off the second TAST sampler picture, I am currently working on two projects. The first is a wool felt project inspired by Sue Spargo’s lovely work. It is a series of circles appliqued to a wool background which I am embellishing with hand embroidered stitches. The other project I am working on at the moment is a freehand machine embroidery project. It is based on a photograph of the Chalet we lived in for some years in Switzerland. I am really enjoying seeing it take shape and it is something completely different to anything that I have worked on before.

Image for TAST Interview with Christine BWhat is the project you are most proud of?

I think my favourite piece of embroidered work is the crazy quilt that I finished in 2015 . I made it as part of the Crazy Quilt Journal Project for that year. It was my first attempt at a crazy quilt and, although I made many mistakes, I learned a lot and I still love this quilt which now hangs above the bed in my daughter’s bedroom.

Image for TAST Interview with Christine B

I love all the detail and my very favourite addition is the hedgehog stitched using bullion knots .

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

I do have UFOs…. I don’t really like having projects unfinished, so I do try and keep them to a minimum. The ones that I have are mainly BOM quilt projects which I have joined in with online and have made the blocks but haven’t got round to putting them into quilts yet. I currently have 11 UFOs not including the current projects I am working on.

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

I work on both purchased designs as well as designing my own projects. Sometimes I find it is nice to have the structure that comes with a purchased design. The decisions are all made for you but, it is also nice to have the freedom to work on something entirely from your own imagination and creativity.

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

I don’t think I have a design process. I tend just to see something which I like and then want to try and make one for myself. As well as the decorative side of needlework I also like to understand how something has been constructed and trying out something new is always exciting. I like to challenge myself to try a new technique each year.

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

I find that I am inspired by all sorts of things. Often I will just love a piece of fabric and that sparks the idea for a project or, I will see something online that I like and just have too try it out for myself. The internet is full of inspiration and talent!

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?

I mostly feel compelled to start a new project by ideas sparked by others’ projects that I have seen online. There are so many fantastic online tools which give you inspiration. Facebook groups such as TAST is one such tool! My advice for someone starting a new project is just to get started….. what is the worst that can go wrong? If you don’t like something you can take it out. Don’t be afraid to experiment with ideas.

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

I don’t often have stall points but, when I do, I set the project to one side but I leave it where I can see it. Having it in view reminds me to keep thinking about it and encourages me to find the way forward. I don’t think you should be afraid to throw something out if you are really unhappy with it or, to try out a stitch or piece of fabric and if it doesn’t work take it out again.

Image for TAST Interview with Christine BDo 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 have several favourite stitches that I use regularly. The first is herringbone stitch. I love this stitch, it is easy to work and covers a lot of space in a short amount of time. It can also be added to which takes it from simple to sophisticated. Another is the reliable buttonhole (blanket) stitch which I really enjoy stitching and finally, I like colonial knots and you will find these on most of my projects.

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

I really enjoy stitching with variegated threads and one of my particular favourites is a hand dyed silk thread which is produced by Stef Francis. I really enjoy working with this thread.

What advice would you give to new hands?

My advice for someone new to embroidery would be to start with something you know you can achieve. Don’t start with something which is beyond your capability and end up putting it to one side and feeling disappointed. Build your confidence by starting with a small project and gradually increase your stitch library!

Is there anything else you would like to add?

I would just like to add that I have really enjoyed the TAST stitches, they have expanded my stitch library enormously, so thank you Sharon!! I would also like to say that nothing beats the camaraderie that is found in the stitching World…. so if you are not already involved, jump in and get started!

I hope you have enjoyed this TAST Interview with Christine B of Patchwork Allsorts. I certainly enjoyed discovering more about her approach to embroidery. Read more about Christine B’s  embroidery, take a break, make a cuppa pop over to Patchwork Allsorts.

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.




TAST Interview with Gerry Krueger of Older Rose

For anyone who is active in the online cray quilting groups you will know Gerry Krueger of Older Rose. If you don’t the name you will remember the lovely hand painted buttons she sells. I have a couple which I admit are in my ‘too nice to use’ or perhaps use ‘use on something very special’ box. Gerry also writes Older Rose a very good blog with lots of tips, tutorials and advice on everything from design to step by step directions for projects. Have a good poke around the side bar “labels” on her blog as there really is a huge quantity of stuff if you just dig. Gerry also kept a second blog called “Block Talk with Gerry” which she describes as “I LOVE talking about blocks, studying blocks, and playing with them in Photoshop… I am always on a quest for great blocks and trying to figure out what makes them so great …” Once again I encourage readers explore the labels in the side bar to discover the hidden gems as Block Talk with Gerry  is also rich in advice and tips that are generously shared. If you are interested in crazy quilting I cant stress strongly enough how much there are on these two sites if you just dig a bit.

One thing you will notice if you read Gerry’s blog is that she is constantly pushing herself and trying something different to see if this or that works. Her enthusiasm for trying out and idea is very appealing and contagious. Anyway without further ado  I would like to introduce you to Gerry Krueger of Older Rose

TAST Interview with Gerry Krueger of Older Rose

First I’d like to thank Sharon for asking me to participate. She more than anyone one else has influenced my crazy quilting… the way it see it, the way I plan it and the way I do it. Most of all I appreciate how freely she has shared her knowledge and skill.

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

The key word here is “hand” as it’s my belief there is a direct link from hand to heart…whether it is cooking, needlework, or gardening, etc. Taking the time to do it by hand is doing it with love I also encourage people to hold, examine and fondle my needlework. I feel that holding my work in their hand is the best way to appreciate what has been done by my hand. It made a lasting impression on me when I took a workshop from Sharon and everything was where you could not only see it closely but, best of all, actually touch it.

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

At about nine years of age an elderly neighbor taught me to embroider and crochet things for my doll. As a consequence, all my life a needle has been at hand and a sewing bag by my side. For me the rhythm of a needle is both soothing and calming.

Image of CQ block for TAST Interview with Gerry Krueger of Older RoseWhat stimulates your creative process? What inspires and sparks ideas for you?

I love working from a theme and especially about things I love. I’ve done projects about my sheep, my dog Morris, my mother, my marriage, etc. I advise students to start with something they love…. old lace, a special color, a family home, a favorite pet, or a favorite flower is always good…roses, violets, poppies, etc. I did a block I called “Ode to daffodils,” my favorite flower . Working with something you love allows so many pleasant memories as you work, a definite plus.

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

I always design my own work. Probably not the best character trait to have, but I’ve always had to do things my own way…. which may not be better but it’s my way. Creative thinking was not a big thing when I was in grammar school and I was often marked down and disciplined for not following directions. If there were drawings of 30 gray cats on the wall and one green one, you could bet the green one was mine.

Image for TAST Interview with Gerry Krueger of Older RoseCan you talk about your last project and/or your current project?

My last project was a crazy quilt to commemorate our 40th wedding anniversary this year. The inspiration was a counted cross stitch sampler I did the year we were married. The quilt includes hankies belonging to my late mother-in-law, vintage lace and lots and lots of hearts and cupids.

Image of Quilt for TAST Interview with Gerry Krueger of Older RoseWhat is the project you are most proud of?

Without a doubt I’m most proud of my crazy quilt dedicated to women’s suffrage. It was many years and much research in the making and was a finalist in the Houston Quilt Show. Every single seam is a replica of a seam on an antique quilt. When I put a call out on my blog for black glass buttons of that era, I received buttons belonging to suffrage relatives of women all over the country. This crazy quilt is dedicated to “all the unnamed, unheralded women from all walks of life who gathered up their skirts and joined the cause and tenaciously fought for rights for girls yet unborn.”

Image of quilt detail for TAST Interview with Gerry Krueger of Older RoseDo you have any UFO’s ?

I ‘m dedicating this entire year to finishing UFOs I have a lot of pieces that need just a little fine tuning and binding and will work on them throughout the year. But I have four others that need a significant amount of time to do them justice. One is my peacock challenge block that is undergoing so many changes that it has become transformed.

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

Of course I most definitely get stalled and I have three things I do. First I take a picture of the project and put in on my computer. Looking at it on the screen gives me a different perspective and I always see things I didn’t see before. I highly recommend this.

Second, I have several cork boards in various sizes and I pin the piece to a cork board and place it where I’ll pass it often. Having a design wall in your work room is all well and good, but having your project where you will pass it often is even better.

Third, I look for just one thing to change…just one thing, no matter how small and invariably when you change that one thing, other possible changes pop out at you.

If all that fails I put it in my UFOs until a later date.

Do you have ‘go to’ stitches?

I don’t really have stitches I use over and over. When I started CQ I immediately embraced trims, buttons, charms, laces, and ribbons. It took me a while to fall in love with fancy layered seams but once I did I became obsessed with them and wanted every seam to be a different…. every single one. For me researching the seams is now one of the most fun parts of crazy quilting. I use TAST, antique quilts, Sharon Boggon’s button quilt (a long time favorite source), and Carole Sample’s book “Treasury of Crazy Quilt Stitches.” among other sources. Once I find an interesting fancy seam, I give it a twist of my own as a final touch. You don’t do that many actual seams, so why not make each one unique?

Image of threads for TAST Interview with Gerry Krueger of Older RoseDo you have a favorite embroidery thread, or something you use all the time? If so what is it?

Good old DMC cotton is my favorite just because I have so much of it. Although I do love silk thread, I couldn’t afford or live long enough to acquire the amount and diversity that I have in DMC. I love having 40 shades of any one color and I love using two closely related colors in my needle at the same time as it gives stitch work a subtle variegated look that adds interest.. I have all my threads on hoops hanging on a revolving shoe rack. Besides being pretty, it makes all my threads very accessible. I have my ribbons the same way on another rack.

What advice would you give to new hands?

Never miss an opportunity to look at someone else’s work and I mean really look… and then look again. Try to pin point what you like about it.

Even though there might be just one or two things that draw your eye, invariably I think that you’ll find it’s how it all works together. I say that because I know I’m always drawn to work that is harmonious….”all the parts relate to each other and to the whole.” We can get so caught up in all the bits and pieces of embellishment, we lose sight of the fact that all these “bits” must relate to each other to be successful.

Image for TAST Interview with Gerry Krueger of Older RoseIs there anything else you would like to add?

Challenge yourself! Every time you start a project add at least one new thing to try… a different color scheme, a new material, a new theme, a new skill or technique and so on. Don’t add so many that you’re overwhelmed but one or two each time will do nicely. Years ago I entered a challenge specifically designed to get me out of my comfort zone. It was so successful that to this day I continue adding new things to my list.

I hope you have enjoyed this TAST Interview with Gerry Krueger of Older Rose.  I know I certainly enjoyed discovering more about Gerry’s approach to crazy quilting and her enthusiasm and creativity has bought pleasure to many a morning cuppa as I read her blog. Don’t forget to follow the links in this post and take some time out for browsing both blogs.

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 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. This interview is opens the door a little to the thoughts of a very creative woman. Kimberley has a blog called Morepork Manor – I hope you enjoy exploring it

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  Morepork Manor as Kimberly’s work is 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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