We chat to Lizzy Dabczynski-Bean, founder of Stitch People, about how she discovered cross stitching, why starting a business was the natural step and top tips to get started.
What began as designing and stitching customised family portraits in 2013 has grown into an empire of DIY books and collections, giving stitchers around the world the know-how to create their own personalised creations.
If you love adding a personal touch to your cross stitching, look no further… Stitch People have you covered! Let’s go ‘behind the scenes' with founder, Lizzy.
How did you get into cross stitching?
I learned to cross-stitch from my mother and grandmother when I was younger. I think probably around seven or eight years old. My mom did counted cross stitch but my grandma never wanted to venture away from the printed-style patterns. I enjoyed doing it with them and I still have a 5x7 cross stitch pattern of a light house I started back around 1997 that I’ve yet to finish!
Why did you decide to start your own business?
It was the natural next step! I’d started making cross-stitched family portraits as gifts and Spencer suggested I try selling them online. That happened gradually, little by little. I started selling on a couple of different avenues and we started stitchpeople.com. We've really let our audience drive ever since – providing the resources and patterns they want the most!
Where do you get your design inspiration/what inspires you?
I love interior design and architectural design the most, though I'm starting to appreciate makeup and fashion thanks to some great shows on Netflix! I love the way different textures play together in a room, from smooth stone tile floors to warm woods, to lush fabrics. I also really admire when designers are bold with colour and pattern and I find that to be really inspiring.
What I've appreciated about learning more about makeup and fashion design is how important it is just to play! I think that's often something that can become quickly overlooked when you do something artful as a job – people tend to stick to what they know and are good at, but playing is so important because it opens you up to new ideas, methods, materials, tools, and more!
What’s your favourite cross stitch creation to-date? Can we see?
Sadly, a side effect from doing cross stitch for a living is it means I don't do much cross stitch in my spare time anymore! Because of that I don't really have any large projects I can show off.
That said, my latest Stitch People portrait that I stitched for a friend of mine upon arrival of her new baby is something I'm pretty pleased with!! I stitched it live on Facebook for instructional purposes, so I pulled out all the stops and it came out better than I could’ve hoped!
Can’t get enough of cross stitching? CrossStitcher magazine is for you, packed with designs to create and inspire, charts to keep you happily absorbed for hours, expert interviews, all the latest from the world of cross stitch and SEW much more!
Crafts are known to be excellent for wellbeing – how vital do you find crafting for your own mindfulness and wellbeing?
I think this is ab.so.lute.ly true. Crafting is an easy form of practicing creative energy. Humans ARE creative energy – we are created and immediately upon entering the world we begin to create. I think anything that helps someone to feel creative is a vital activity for that person – whether that's creating colourful masterpieces to creating intricate accounting spreadsheets.
Whatever it is that you can start from scratch on and feel that itchy little fire in your gut that makes you feel excited and passionate about something – that's your creative energy. Lean into it and let it roar!
I truly believe we become better and more authentic when we use our creativity in any capacity.
What are your top tips for beginners/those who’d like to start to cross stitch?
My number one tip is… just start! Cross stitching is super easy once you get the hang of it. The quicker you can make mistakes, the quicker you can get it right. As we grow up we become less and less willing to fail, and I think as a society we MUST overcome that.
That said, we have a bunch of resources at stitchpeople.com/howto to help you! From downloadable PDFs to a (very engaging and super hilarious) video (if I do say so myself!).
Are you into any other crafts and if so, what are they?
I am a jack-of-all-trades so I’ll try anything and everything! As far as other crafts go I don't gravitate toward any one thing in particular. My other creative outlets are really more in the realm of acting, singing, and doing home renovation projects.
What I'd really like to get into some day is making stained glass!
Tell us about your craft room/work space.
I dream of having a dedicated studio/work space! It’s definitely on the bucket list. Currently I have a couple plastic tubs and sometimes a cart that act as my mobile work-station. I'm good at making-do.
Where can people find out more about you?
Look out for fabulous freebie charts from Stitch People coming to the blog soon! But first, get to know cross stitcher and designer Sara Abdelmageed, a.k.a. Little Beach Hut!