February is National Embroidery Month! To celebrate, we sat down with Aimee Ray, author of Embroider the World of Jane Austen for tips, favorite designs, and her inspiration for this attractive crafting kit.
When did you get started with embroidery, and what originally drew you to the craft?
I learned to embroider from my grandma when I was around 6 years old, she would bring me little samplers to work on. As an adult, I became a graphic designer and worked on a computer all day, so when I came home and wanted a creative project to work on, I turned back to this primitive art form! Embroidery is so relaxing and easy, I loved coming up with my own designs to stitch.
What is your favorite part about creating embroidery designs?
I’ve always loved to draw and paint, and hand embroidery just gives my work another whole tactile dimension. I love creating patterns and sharing them with my followers! It’s so much fun to see what variety people stitch into them.
Which pattern is your favorite from Embroider the World of Jane Austen?
I love the pattern with the quote about reading. I’ve always been an avid reader! All of the sweet, feminine designs were fun to draw.
What was your process for creating the kit?
We first came up with a list of quotes from books, and imagery/motifs that could live in Jane Austen’s world. Then I did loads of sketches and worked out a color palette. When the patterns were finalized, I got to work stitching them all! Creating a book or kit is always an involved process, but this one went smoothly and enjoyably. I was thrilled to see the final version!
Which Jane Austen novel is your favorite? How did it inspire any of the patterns you created for the kit?
Emma is a favorite, one of the things I studied for many of these designs was the clothing of the period. I don’t often do people, but it was so much fun to look through fashion (and movie) images and work out what the character designs would look like.
What are your tips for anyone who wants to get started with embroidery? It is so easy to learn!
You really just need a needle, hoop, fabric and embroidery floss. (This kit includes all the materials and tutorials you will need to get started.) You can also visit my website at little-dear.com for complete beginner embroidery tutorials and free patterns. I hope you’ll try it out if you’re new to embroidery! It’s one of the most fun and relaxing crafts there is.