TAST Interview with Maureen of CrazyQstitcher

TAST Interview with Maureen of CrazyQstitcher

image for TAST Interview with Maureen of CrazyQstitcherToday I would like to introduce you to Maureen of CrazyQstitcher who has been a long time Take a Stitch Tuesday follower. Although her blog is called CrazyQstitcher you will find Maureen shares many types of embroidery and her sketches. So after the interview pop over and explore her blog as she has shared photos of many hand embroidered projects over the years. Maureen also has a Flickr account which I certainly enjoyed browsing to select the images for this TAST Interview with Maureen.

TAST Interview with Maureen of CrazyQstitcher

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

I find embroidery relaxing, sometimes challenging, rarely disappointing. Years ago, everything I made was roughly done, as it was ‘only for me’ but working in the public eye has made me stitch more neatly, which has pleased me to see my own improvement.

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

The only stitching at primary school happened when uniforms were to be cared for and the classes had to hem pre-cut, pop over aprons. Nothing challenging there.
I was not taught by, but definitely inspired by watching my mother embroidering linen table cloths. They were purchased with patterns but if the design wasn’t to her liking, she would bleach it away with lemon juice and sunshine for a week, then do her own thing.

The person who really influenced me was my eldest DD, when she introduced me to an online group of embroiders. I was amazed at the CQ work done in the Southerncrosscrazies group and before I knew it, not only had I been joined into that group but also, had been signed up immediately, in a Round Robin. Thrown in at the deep end of the pool, was how I felt.

Groups are great for Newbies where tips and knowledge are willingly shared with everyone, as the women did with me. CQ embroidery became my joy – such a different needlework medium. Every new project got my imagination moving.

image for TAST Interview with Maureen of CrazyQstitcherDo you use TAST to make samplers or incorporate the stitches into projects as you go. Or what sort of projects most attract you ?

Whenever possible, I incorporate TAST stitching in whatever project I am currently doing.
For easy reference, I have made a folder of numbered TAST samplers, which is really useful.
I’d say painting with stitches would be my favourite project.

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

Current projects are TAST 2017 which I will post on my Flickr account .. as well as adding a variety of the same stitch to project 2, which is here.

What is the project you are most proud of?
Having my daughters include me in the family group, where we created original artworks for the Johnston Collection, some work- and stitches from TAST shown here (Maureen has written about this exhibit on her blog here)

The image below is a work in progress photos of some of the Kimono buttons being worked.

image for TAST Interview with Maureen of CrazyQstitcherDo you have any UFO’s ? If so, fess up to how many?
I checked, stopped counting at 32, closed my eyes and the craftroom door.
These include old TAST work waiting to become fabric books!
and a worksheet module not completed.

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

If stitch doodling can be called designing, then that is what I do. I’m a born fiddler.
When a teenager, I purchased a few doily and supper cloth patterns, only one is still a UFO. I have not bought any since then.

image for TAST Interview with Maureen of CrazyQstitcherDo you have a creative design process? If so what is it? Or do you work intuitively?
The stitch project depends on what my fingers decide for creativity and thread colours. Hard to explain why, but that’s the way it works for me.

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

A photo; someone’s needlework; A suggested TAST stitch may cause my brain to step out the square and create an off the tangent subject – like the 6 Buttonhole photos here.

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 am quite often a dither-er. A completion date for group work helps.
Sometimes taking a photo of my work and viewing it on the monitor can be very helpful.

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

If all else fails, I sleep on the problem. Quite often before I wake I have workable ideas.

image for TAST Interview with Maureen of CrazyQstitcherDo 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.

Definitely! Fly; Stem; Feather stitch varieties; French knots. The first three work well for Borders, vines, grass. French Knots for many types of flower and centres, and Chain varieties for anything. All are simple, quick to do, or experiment with.

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

I have lots of lovely threads but the basic one, DMC is probably used more for background work and the others for a bit of oomph, I like Sassa Lynne, Rajmahal, Perle, Cottage Garden; it depends on what I am working on when choosing threads.

What advice would you give to new hands?

Check out other people’s embroidery. Ask for help and where to find good needlework sites.
Join a stitching group, and don’t be shy, as we were all beginners at some stage.

I hope you have enjoyed this TAST Interview with Maureen of CrazyQstitcher I certainly enjoyed discovering more about Maureen’s approach and ideas about embroidery. If you want to read and see more of her embroidery pop over to CrazyQstitcher

This interview is part of series that ran in 2017 as the Take a Stitch Tuesday Challenge had been running for a decade. Throughout the year I interviewed stitchers about their hand embroidery and feature their work.

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  1. Another wonderful interview! I love following Maureen’s work. The bird blocks she created for CQJP one year blew me away. It was wonderful to read more about her and her creative processes. She does such amazing work.

  2. Hi Sharon, thank you for including me in the interviews and your encouragement always.

    Thank you also asha, Sharon, velia, Marilyn and Christine B.
    Thank you also to the members who have become Followers.
    I’m hoping my computer and camera will soon be working so I can add other photos.

  3. enjoyed the interview Sharon -very inspiring -your site made me adore embroidery .iam a beginner but your posts fill me with enthusiasm and new life .every morning i look forward to hearing more about embroidery
    thank you for being Sharon

  4. Sharon
    I really like these interviews you are doing and the insights into other people’s creative life. I guess it is the ‘sticky beak’ in me – or I could say it’s my inquiring mind 🙂 Reading these interviews and looking at the work has made me want to ‘play’ again. My foray into CQ got over run when I was working full time and lost my free time. But now I have retired I am contemplating those piles of fabrics etc which I have squirreled away for just such a time. During a recent clean up (re sorting the piles into different corners!!) of my sewing room I came across the notes from your Joggle classes and sitting among the mess I returned to those days… I still remember your visit to Melbourne and gazing over your sampler roll and the impression it left with me. My imagination and adrenaline buzzed for days and the ideas tumbled about in my mind…
    Maureen,I believe is right about joining a group there is nothing like the support of like minded people to encourage and challenge you…
    I am looking forward to reading more of these interviews and looking at more amazing work…
    Thank you and take care
    Sharon – Melbourne

    1. Sharon that is a wonderful comment – I sometimes have ‘why do I do this moments – and hearing a story like yours just blows those moments away and energises me too! Thanks for taking the time to write

  5. Thank-you Sharon I really enjoy learning how others began their craft and how it evolves for them. I know it must take a lot of time and preparation on your behalf and, I do appreciate it. I have been rather lazy and promised that when I happened upon your sight I would complete a new stitch each week,I have broken my promise but; these interviews are showing that the only way to learn more is to keep working at it. That is my new promise, keep practicing and try something new. Oh and even though I love felted wool applique and all its textures, now is the time to try some aida or linen. Thanks one again

    Marilyn Larkin

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