June 5, 2008

Stitchy Woman

Good evening, lovely stitchers! Tonight I'm sharing an interview with another fantastic stitchy woman, Rectangel (whose real name is Erin, by the way)...

"Here's my design for my towel...this was my first time blend thread colors...the writing is mine and I might work on it a bit yet...but I like seeing my hand writing in stitches :) I changed the original transfer by adding clothes and cutting her hair.
I also tried out the new sublime metallic thread for the first time here. It is very different from regular metallic thread (it is kind of woven and I don't think you can separate it) most significant is that even with a thick strand it stitches beautifully."

Tell us about yourself, and where you live.
I am in my early 30s, single, and work in the northern most provincial capital in Canada doing graphic design, mapping and GIS work. My family all lives fairly close. I have 2 younger sisters and I am an aunt to 3 girls and a boy. Despite living in the city I would classify this area as very rural when compared with people living in densely populated areas in the east.

How did you come up with the name Rectangel?
I am mildly dyslexic and I draft for a living. In the past I used to type rectangle into my computer drafting program and screw-up the el consistently. One day I noticed the angel and in the tangle and I thought that it just suited me. I’m a bit of a wrecked angel most days and I liked that it could mean a lot of things and I’ve always been a bit of a square ;)

What’s one thing that would surprise us about you?
I hate crafts – no really, I do. My sympathies have always been with the people who don’t like getting crafty items for gifts. My reason is that I’m really hard to please and I have a glass face. If I don’t like it I would prefer not to stomp all over someone’s labor of love just by them catching my micro expression of disappointment. Enter the internet.

Have you always been crafty?
Unfortunately yes –what this means to me is I will never realize my dream of having a clean Spartan house. I despise the chaos that being creative seems to necessitate.

All the women and even my grampa (the biggest dreamer of them all) are all scarily crafty. When money was tight in our family my mom used to sell all sorts of her crafts by consignment. My mom bless her heart is one of the least patient people on earth you either learned things on your own or hoped one of my aunts or gramma could show you. I have never learned to knit or crochet because of this. Ladies don’t be hard on your children when they need you to thread the sewing machine ;) Those sewing machines with the bobbin case underneath are no small feat to learn how to thread. Thank goodness for instruction manuals and home ec.

Do you do other crafty things as well?
Oh I’ve tried lots of things because I am generally creatively frustrated by an inability to draw well or play music but embroidery is the only thing that has stuck. I sew and was once going to be a fashion designer until I realized I’d have to do all the sewing and not just the designing. I love architecture, décor, design, fine art and baking. I have big dreams and ideas but mostly like to offer them to other people who actually do more than plan them in their notebook.
Do you collect anything?
Yes but I try not to do it actively. Collections like crafts disturb me a little. I worry about being one of those people that they have on the news with the house so full of junk the fire department has to come and clean it out.

Do you remember your first “real” craft/sewing/art project?
Right now I am remembering a hanger with heart pipe cleaners mobile that I designed that I was particularly fond of…oh and a spool knit mouse out of an egg shaped foam and with pipe cleaner ears and legs!
I’m not sure about real…I have wore things I’ve sewed since the 7th grade (most spectacularly a stretch knit bat winged shiny pink damask jacket and skirt with white ribbing in the late 80s).

Stitching is very creative, yet also very detail oriented and precise. Does it reflect your personality?
Well – I am not detail oriented but I am creative and I love working with color. My mom used to call me a fussbudget and in that respect I am a bit of a perfectionist. I don’t know if it’s the dyslexia or what but I am really sensitive to balance -in my world if it is not symmetrical it “darn” well better be balanced. Do you ever rip out stitches to re-do them in a different color or type of stitch? All the time but less than I did when I first started I think because I have better feel for what will look good.

Where do you find the patterns you use?
Mmm…everywhere these days -I started with sublime [sublime stitching] designs but now the whole internet is my image playground. I try to always be respectful and give credit but lately it has come down to taking various sources and re-drawing them into what I am envisioning…I have every piece of software I could ever want at work but most often AutoCAD comes to my rescue creatively…being draft person gives me a different parameters for how I think things should look.

Do you have an all-time favorite pattern you’ve used again and again?
Mmm I have made a few from sublime more than once (the alien girl, the hula girl, the martini, the tiki man) but I try to avoid it because there are so many things I haven’t stitched.

Do you ever make anything for yourself?
Not really -I have my three tea towels from the tea towel tour and that is it. The world of digital photography has given me some peace. I can photograph any crafts I make embroidery included and send them off and I always have the photos to keep and look at later. It has been great for tracking my progress.

Where do you find inspiration?
I find inspiration in the people I make things for – I try to make the designs as personal as possible. My sister when she is not mad at me calls me the Present Princess because I have a bit of a knack for it.

Are there any websites or blogs you visit regularly for creative inspiration?
Mmm…I love flickr and craftster but before any of them I was addicted to the websites below…not Martha circa 2002 was my first taste of the craft blog and I’ve never looked back since. Bath bombs marble magnets anyone?

not martha
erica mulherin

Do you sell the items you make?
Not really. I’m looking into doing commissioned pieces though in the vein of one of a kind customized artwork. I’ve had a number of requests from people after I have made them things and I don’t think I would get the bigger projects done without some sort of financial commitment.

If you could listen to anything while you worked on a project, what would it be?
My grampa telling me one of his tall tales.

Grab your ipod and hit “shuffle” - what song comes up first (no cheating – no editing!)?
Phew! It could have been anything but I lucked out with Rubberneckin’ by Elvis Presley it was an extra lucky shuffle because next was Country Boy by Johnny Cash and no I’m not making that up ;)
"I traced her from a book of sailor jerry tattoo stencils. Originally she was wearing this strange strand of pearls over her arm and I made a few other changes to things but then it was all good to go...
the book [by Kate Hellenbrand] is awesome"

What three movies are next on your Netflix Queue?
Hmm no netflix for this chick but I was thinking about maybe buying the following King Creole, The Misfits, and Gilda…I love old movies but I saw the Sex and the City movie the day it came out last Friday ;)

What’s your favorite candy?
Dark Chocolate does that count if not then I will go with Whoppers or Swedish Berries.

Where can we find more of you?
Flickr [where she also shares her enormous stash of vintage transfer patterns] and craftster and commenting on your blog anonymously, I’ve organized the last 2 tea towel tours on craftster, an embroidered patch swap and just lately a round of the rockabilly swap (which is my favorite music). I also am helping Average Jane Crafter and Jenny Hart moderate the TTT group on flickr which it turns out is almost no work ;)

Thank you so much, Erin. Your work is so beautiful. I can't wait to see what you'll come up with next!



  1. Great interview! Erin's stitching is lovely.

  2. Lucky me! I have stitching on a towel by the fantastic, talented Rectangel. Great interview!

  3. Likewise Susie ;) and I have the awesom help of Susie to keep those tea towels moving!

  4. thanks to Jessie for asking me and being so quick ;) i love this feature and I can wait to read about the next stitchy woman

  5. Just joined your flickr group and found your awesome blog. I'm loving vintage embroidery lately.

  6. Loved reading Erin's interview! I too have her stitching on a tea towel (I'm Dancing Boots on Craftster).

    Love the interviews.