Meet sisters Vicky, of Vicky’s World, and Emma, of Yellow Bird Stitches as they share their love for cross stitch and what inspires them, plus top tips for beginners!
Vicky creates the illustrations while sister, Emma, creates the cross stitches – a real team effort! The duo teamed up after Emma got the ‘cross stitching bug’ and after Vicky got into Etsy – needless to say they haven’t looked back! They’ve got quite a collection now and share more about life behind-the-scenes for you lucky readers. Enjoy!
How did you get into cross stitching?
Emma: One rainy summer holiday long ago, my mum gave me a cross stitch kit for kids. I loved how simple it was, though I remember being sad that there wasn’t enough fabric to make every single design! I used to pore over mum’s stitching magazines looking for something new to work on (and ‘borrowing’ her free kits – shh!).
Why did you decide to start your own business?
Vicky: I've always wanted to be an illustrator/artist so once I left university I did it without question. It just seemed like the natural thing to do and although it's not the easiest job in the world, I do enjoy (almost) all of it!
Where do you get your design inspiration/what inspires you?
Vicky: I'm a big fan of all things retro – Art Deco, Art Noveau, William Morris, vintage travel posters and 60s psychedelia. I'm also inspired by the natural world, animals, travel, children's books and too many other contemporary illustrators to mention.
Emma: Vicky! I love working with her quirky illustrations. Otherwise, inspiration can really come from anywhere. I’m usually drawn back to my favourite things – owls, cats, books, and tea!
Fancy giving cross stitching a go? Or perhaps you’re already hooked and would enjoy regular stitching projects to get stuck into? Well, CrossStitcher magazine is for you – packed with new designs in every issue, charts, inspiration, stitch-a-longs, expert tips and so much more! Explore the single issues or check out the subscription offers today!
What’s your favourite cross stitch creation to-date?
Vicky: That's so tricky to narrow down as I think Emma has done a fab job of turning my illustrations into cross stitches but the cats are especially cute – pirate kitty with her polka dot scarf and pirate hat is just adorable!
Crafts are known to be excellent for wellbeing – how vital do you find crafting for your own mindfulness and wellbeing?
Vicky: I guess like lots of creatives I feel compelled to create rather than doing it just to relax, but I can get completely in the ‘zone’ once I get some music on and start drawing out a design. It's a nice mixture of finding it both satisfying and therapeutic at the same time.
Emma: I find stitching very helpful in focussing as it’s difficult for me to sit still. I live with some health conditions and find that having a creative outlet that acts as both a distraction from those problems and a way of feeling productive really helps sooth my anxiety. Working on Vicky’s designs has been such a comfort to me.
What are your top tips for beginners/those who’d like to start cross stitch? Please share your top five tips…
- Kits are the best place to start. They give you the instructions and the right amount of materials so you won’t be swamped with excess threads.
- Start small – a pattern that’s only a few inches on 14 count aida means it’s a quick to stitch design. You don’t want to feel burnt out by taking on a massive sampler straight away.
- Keep your threads well organised – just a piece of cereal box card with holes punched in it can be used to loop different colours through if they aren’t in skeins.
- Don’t be afraid of going wrong. Sometimes you need to carefully unpick, but others you can work that ‘mistake’ into the design and make it your own.
- Pick something you think you’ll enjoy. Maybe there’s something you’d like to make yourself, like a bookmark or coaster to jazz up the place. I find there’s something really fun about making little personalised gifts for other people too.
Are you into any other crafts and if so, what are they?
Emma: In 2020 I decided I’d finally bite the bullet and try hand embroidery. It always looked so daunting, but 100 plus days and many hoops later, I think I’ve found another way to help reduce my thread stash!
Tell us about your craft room/work space – we’d love to see pictures, too!
Vicky: I'm really lucky to have a big spare room as my studio. There's a huge window overlooking the garden, space for two desks, a huge supplies cupboard and enough room for my two cats to come and chill out!
Emma: My workspace is wherever I bring my basket(s) of supplies to!
Where can people find out more about you?
Next, learn about Little Beach Hut in our interview with Sarah Abdelmageed – you’ll be ‘otterly in love’ with her designs!