July 9, 2007

Interview with Floresita

This was my first pillowcase made from the Stitch-It Kit and it started my obsession for embroidering pillowcases. I loved the “calavera” pattern and the banners that reminded me of the art of Frida Kahlo
Q. Floresita, I would first like everyone to know that you actually started the flickr embroidery group plus the feeling stitchy blog. So could you tell us your ideas about starting these groups and forums for embroidery enthusiasts?

A. Basically, I caught the embroidery bug big time –I hung out at the Craftster embroidery board a lot and tag-stalked by doing Flickr tag searches with embroidery. Then it hit me: there’s no Flickr group for embroidery! So I started a group and invited everyone I ran across. After the group was open for awhile I wanted to take it a step further – there were so many talented bloggers and crafters and I wanted to showcase our talents and inspire others… so I started Feeling Stitchy and recruited 5 awesome co-bloggers. I really wanted to encourage the other bloggers to just run with it and make it their blog – I did the layout and design and I blog on Thursdays.

Q. How long have you been embroidering and how did you get started?

A. Hmmm…. technically I started embroidering when I was 8. I begged my mom to buy me a little kit with stamped muslin, a hoop, and thread. Most of it was cross-stitch – I was such a perfectionist and I re-did those little x’s a gazillion times. I hated it. Later when I was 12 my sister-in-law got me into counted cross-stitch, which I did off and on for years. It was a guilty pleasure but all that counting gave me headaches. It was really Flickr that got me into embroidery again – I bought a set of Aunt Martha’s cat patterns, and just started embroidering. All the kind comments and words of encouragement kept me going, and I just couldn’t stop. Along the way I discovered Jenny Hart’s work, and Sublime Stitching, and I have to say it’s her aesthetic that appeals to me most – she’s so incredibly artistic.

Q. On your blog and your flickr photos I noticed some great sketches. Did you draw them? Have you studied art?

A. Um, yeah! Art is a really integral, vital part of my life. But I’ve always felt I have this artistic side and a very, very practical side that kind of … quarrel. Most of the big pastel sketches you see are early stuff, from high school and college. Most recently, I took Graphic Design classes at Parsons where I really got into web and print design. At some point in my life I’d love to take a painting and drawing class and just do that for a few months. But at this point, I just do a few sketches here and there…

Q. Another one of your contributions to the online embroidery world is your blog, Vintage Transfer Finds, where you catalogue your collected vintage transfers and have some free patterns for others to print and stitch. How did this collection get started and where do you find your patterns?

A. I bought a couple of Vogart patterns on Ebay and I just couldn’t stop. Basically everything I get is from Ebay, and I give myself a 20 dollar monthly spending limit to keep from going nuts. Several generous people have even mailed me patterns from their own collection! I scan the front and back of the envelope, so you can also get a “taste” of the language – it’s such a great peek into our social history. Also I scan a free pattern so you can see the characteristics of the design – just studying those motifs alone would be an awesome social history project – what we find cute and appealing and why.

Q. What inspires you to create?

A. Without a doubt, other creative people inspire me to create! I grew up in a very creative family – my sister paints, crochets, and crafts, and my brother was always working on a poem, a drawing, or lettering. My best friends are also really creative – writing, drawing, acting, etc. When I moved to New York, I felt lonely and missed them so much. But Flickr and blogging inspired me in ways I hadn’t been inspired in years. You see so many amazing projects and interact with such inspiring people – and the underlying feeling is always “You can do it!”

Q. Do you have any other projects up your sleeve? Or shall I say, what are you currently working on that you would like to tell us about?

A. Ha ha, I always have something up my sleeve! I’d like to put together a Frida-inspired doll pattern to sell, and maybe even a few dolls to sell, so keep your eye out for that. I’m also brainstorming for embroidered artwork to honor the women of Juarez – the murders and violence against women there are a social issue that really needs to be addressed! Other than that, I typically have a gazillion projects in my head that I’d like to do…

Q. What is an average day like for you?

A. He he. Well, I wake up, grab a donut and coffee and go to work where I am lucky enough to do HTML and design-related stuff 9-5. I come home at rush hour, switch on an old movie (40’s, 50’s and 60’s are my faves) and craft. Then I typically spend 3-4 hours on my laptop checking out the Embroidery group, comments on Feeling Stitchy, and comments and emails from my own blogs. If I have pictures to upload or patterns to scan that adds another hour or so to the computer time. Then I usually try to read in bed which equals me falling asleep on my book and drooling all over it. Yeah, I drool. :)

Q. There is definitely a rise in interest in the crafting arts, embroidering, quilting, knitting, all of them. What are your thoughts about this rekindled love for the needle arts?

A. I think it’s wonderful. When I was in high school and college crafting was such a guilty pleasure – it would have never occurred to me to learn how to quilt, knit or crochet. I really thought all that stuff was “for grannies.” What I love most about this new movement in crafting is precisely that it puts you in your grannie’s shoes! People of every generation have so much to learn from each other, and there is something so meditative about making things. I also love the creative side – that it inspires people to create, to tap into themselves artistically and define “art” for themselves. It’s not just knitting, sewing, crocheting or embroidering – it’s using all these tools to create works of art that really say something about you, what you think is beautiful and what you think is important.

This was a plush haunted owl card I made for a good friend of mine. All the doors and windows open and close, and there’s a greeting inside. It was so much fun to sketch and plan this and even more fun to actually stitch…

This was for a swap with the amazingly talented Ellia of greenbeanbaby. I used her free template for inspiration, and used felt instead of paper. I worked for hours on this, and I’m really proud of how it came out…

This piece I probably love most of all – it’s a work in progress that I’ve added to little by little. I love how the detailed stitching feels like “painting” – I’m using words in Spanish to talk about feelings of sadness.

To see more of Floresita visit her flickr photos and her blogs, things I've made and Vintage Transfer Finds.
Thanks for your time, Floresita! You have inspired many of us!


  1. What a great interview. Inspiring! Thanks.

  2. I am such a Flor fan! What a great interview.

  3. Thanks for sharing! Love the Mexico-inspired things! Will check the Flickr-pages immediately!

  4. Viva Floresita!

    I love your style so much, you always know how to make any pattern come to life.

  5. I'm also a big fan of Flor, she always has these very original and creative ideas.

  6. Incredible designs, Floresita! Wow.
    I just linked to this site from my blog! :) Will enjoy visiting often...

  7. what a pity the little girl lost in the forest, but so cute, nice work !