Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Story Time Sampler: March

Sorry for the paltry posting.  I've had a lot going on, some downs and ups.

In the meantime, I have gotten all caught up on Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery's Story Time Sampler.  I find the concept behind this sampler really intriguing.  Even more than the Once Upon a Time Sampler, Story Time makes me think about the imagery and characterization found in classic books.  How do you make a picture of a book so that it is obviously THAT book?  For example, if I was trying to depict Hamlet, I can immediately think of several images.  A young man in black clothing, a skull, a bouquet of flowers.

Now think about Pride & Prejudice.  How would you sum up the book in a few images?  What would you add to make it specifically P&P, but not Sense & Sensibility or Emma?

I started on the frames at the beginning of February and I finally caught up last week.  The frames are smaller, so each picture took me about three days.
January--Alice in Wonderland 
February--The Secret Garden
March--Sherlock Holmes

This would be a great project to work on while listening to CraftLit.  It is a podcast for people who love crafting and literature, but their hands are too busy making things to hold a book.  The program includes audiobooks of classic literature, as well as notes about historical context and crafting info.  What are your favorite classic books?

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Stitcher-view with . . . Megan Eckman!

Today's interview is with Megan Eckman of Studio MME.  Her new pattern e-book, West Coast Love, is on sale now.

Q:  How old were you when you learned to embroider?  Who taught you?
A:  I was around 11 or 12 when my grandmother taught me how to embroider. She taught my brother at the same time, though he was about 8 or 9. We used to spend a lot of our summer at my grandparents' lake cabin and there were many rainy days that we had to fill with puzzles, napping, and embroidering pillowcases to turn them into dirty laundry bags.

Q:  Why are you drawn to embroidery as a craft?
A:  Three years ago, I got bored one day. I had the itch to do something new. I suddenly remembered how much fun I had sewing with my grandmother so I head off to the craft store to find a pattern. It was there that I discovered the Bermuda Triangle of embroidery kits. Those geese and bees and Day of the Week cats have been circling round and round the crafting aisles for near on 40 years! I recognized every pattern I saw and there was absolutely no way I was going to sew them again. So I went home and turned one of my pen and ink illustrations (I'm a fine artist by trade) into an embroidery pattern. When I had finished stitching it, I posted a picture of it online and suddenly everyone wanted to stitch it too. That's how my business was born. So, really, I was drawn to it by accident but it fits perfectly with my style of illustration, which is mostly crosshatching ink work.


Q:  What are your favorite and least favorite stitches?
A:  The running stitch is my favorite stitch. I think that little line has so much power. It can create lovely fur, tiny bricks in a bridge, and show great movement in water. So many people overlook (or look down) on this simple stitch and that also endears it to me. My least favorite stitch is the satin stitch. I simply don't have the patience to fill something in completely. (I could also add the French knot in here but that's only because I flunked those lessons from my grandmother.)

Q:  What is your favorite thread and fabric?
A:  I've actually never used anything other than 6-strand DMC floss. I'd love to play with metallic threads though and perhaps even some silk threads. I'm a bit odd in that I love to stitch on canvas. I think it comes from my art background. I like using canvas because it's that off-white color which makes me feel more comfortable, similar to how artists tone their canvas with a sepia color so that they don't have a blank white canvas staring at them. Canvas also easily hides those little holes you get when you have to pull out your stitches after a mistake.


Q:  What types of projects do you like to work on?
A:  I really enjoy making whimsical wall art. I'm actually running out of room on my walls there are so many big and little hoops. I have this dream of making a map on my wall of Middle Earth where each place is in a stitched hoop.

Q:  Where do you find inspiration?
A:  I get my best ideas when I'm on my daily walk. I know the route so well, my mind gets to wander. I get into a playful mood and let myself know that no idea is too silly.


Q:  Are there any types of embroidery or skills you would like to learn in the future?
A:  I'd really like to learn how to sew better so that I can turn my embroidery into wall hangings, pot holders, and fun aprons. I'm getting a little better as I work on a new line of stuffed animal kits but it's a good thing I don't have to make my own clothes. Haha.

Q:  After the West Coast and East Coast, have you thought about designing any Midwest patterns?
A:  Well, I'm from North Dakota so I do enjoy the Midwest. But coming from North Dakota where there are no landmarks, I'd have to do a bit of crowd sourcing to get landmark ideas.

You can still CLICK HERE to get a free pattern from West Coast Love!