Makers Month: Stitchsperation

So for our second chat for Makers Month we sat down with the lovely Charlie from Stitchsperation.   Sammy has long been a fan of her work and we just can't get enough of it.  So bright, colourful and all kinds of different to the normal cross-stitch kits.  So lets have a chat and see if we can find out a little bit more.

Tell us a little about Stitchsperation.
Modern typographical cross stitch kits with hand painted fabric. I design every pattern and hand paint every piece of fabric in every kit, no two are exactly the same. You stitch the pattern over the painted part of the fabric making it part of your finished design. This results in bright colourful wall art and a huge sense of pride when you're finished!

How did you start the business?
I started Stitchsperation after looking for cross stitch patterns to make as gifts for my friends' wedding, these particular friends were too cool for any of the patterns I had found online, I couldn't find anything that I thought they would like to hang up in their home... to be honest, I couldn't find any that I wanted to hang up in my home either! I was scrolling Pinterest one day and saw the countless typography/lettering pins on there, many on watercolour backgrounds. I suddenly though, why don't I paint some watercolour fabric? (I was sure I had pinned a tutorial on how to do that!) and then design my own pattern for them? I pulled out my water colour paints and fabric medium, painted a few bits of even weave and then designed a massive cross stitch pattern on graph paper. 'Shit just got real' was the first pattern I designed - little did I know at the time, that shit really had got real!

While I was stitching it up, I kept having ideas for more and more designs and realised that no one else offered cross stitch kits where part of the finished design is painted on the fabric you stitch onto. So I did loads more research into fabric and paints and dyes and invested in some software, so I no longer painstakingly draw out every stitch by hand! I spent a year researching, designing and stitching my first 5 patterns and Stitchsperation launched in September 2016. I was accepted as a NOTHS (Not on the high street) partner in November and things have grown from there!

Have you always worked with embroidery?
No. I have always been into textiles ever since I was young, I had a few years out where I made jewellery but moved back to textiles in about 2010. I started with quilting, inspired by my quilter mum and developed a bit of a fabric obsession! I loved sewing but was just a sewing machine kinda girl, I did NOT like hand sewing... or rather I didn't like the injuries I gave myself with sharp needles! I decided I needed a hand sewing project to do in the evenings in front of the TV,  so inspired by a lovely friend who did a lot of cross stitch I decided to give it a try - yay for blunt needles! I started with a freebie kit from CrossStitcher magazine, then moved onto patterns from Satsuma Street and The Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery.  I still quilt, I share my quilty journey over at @SydneyRoseDesigns, I'm currently running the #GreatBritishQuilter IG challenge with my quilting partner in crime @sarahashfordstudio.

Do you ever feel the pressure to change how you work to adapt to people's wants?
I do. But then I snap out of it and remember that it's my business and if  it's not 'on brand' then I won't do it. I get lots of suggestions for kits which is awesome but I don't always go with them. I already have a huge list of things I want to do and not a lot of time to do it in so it has to be just right to make the cut!

Where do you see Stitchsperation going?
Everywhere! I don't know! I often wonder where I would like this little business to go.  I definitely want to launch many more kits and other products too, I'd like to get into wholesale and perhaps teach classes and publish books... and... and... and...the list goes on!

Tell us a bit about what you have coming up?  any little projects you want to tell us about.
Well, Stitchsperation turned one this month so I released a free PDF cross stitch pattern download and printable wall art on my site for everyone who 'joins the tribe' at I have some new mini kits I'm trying to find time to finish and release and I'm also working on a secret project which should be ready to launch before Christmas, all being well! Watch this space!

and just for a little fun, a few just plain frivolous questions.

What was the first thing you remember making?
Wow, good question. I spent most of my childhood creating something, even if it was a mud pie! The first thing I can remember making was a long stitch tapestry kit. I can't for the life of me remember what the picture was but I do remember feeling very proud that I had finished it and all the stitches were straight!

What do you like to do when you’re not working?
Um, more work! I'm a bit of a workaholic - that's what happens when you love what you do!  If I'm not stitching up my latest new release for Stitchsperation I'll be making bags or quilts or cushions for Sydney Rose Designs or working on sewing commissions. I think quilting is probably the thing I do to chill out but I haven't worked on a quilt for a few months now, I do have a couple of quilt commissions I need to get working on! Oh I also recently learned to knit thanks to my lovely friends Helen at @FredaMossDesigns
See, we told you it was AMAZING!  All kinds of beautiful and so vibrant.  Just deciding which one to do first is the main problem.

Do go and check out Charlie's work and let us know what you think.

H & Sammy, xxx

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