Meet Ange, a.k.a. FiddlesticksAU, a Melbourne-based cross stitch designer who shares how her business came about, what inspires her and the koala design she created in aid of the Bushfire Relief.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your business?
I'm Ange! The stitcher responsible for the colourful and cute cross stitch designs at FiddlesticksAU.
I live in Melbourne, Australia with a menagerie of animals (which includes a pre-schooler and husband).
My business started very much by accident. I designed a couple of patterns for myself and tentatively listed them on Etsy to see what might happen. The feedback was positive and lovely, so I just kept going and growing with it!
How did you decide your business name?
It took a while to figure out how to name my shop. I wanted a colourful word that would match my colourful patterns. I had an image pop in my head of Minnie Mouse stomping her heels and shouting "fiddlesticks!". I liked that it was an old fashioned word not much in use anymore, and that it's had a few different meanings throughout history. You can't go too wrong with a word created by Shakespeare!
How did you get into cross stitching?
I've been cross stitching since I was 11. I asked my Mum to teach me and started on a simple carousel horse pattern (that I still have on display now!).
Why did you decide to start your own business?
I've always longed for a creative day job – as a kid I wanted to be an animator or a filmmaker. Of course, your childhood dreams don't always work out exactly as planned.
A few years ago I lost my full time job in the city and took that time to re-evaluate what I really wanted from life.
I now run Fiddlesticks from home around my little family and have never gone back to a full-time job!
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Where do you get your design inspiration/what inspires you?
My inspiration is a bit all over the place. Growing up in the 80s, my childhood favourites pop up a lot in my work. Recently I've been working on a lot of Australiana and Kiwiana items that celebrate where I live and grew up.
What’s your favourite cross stitch creation to-date? Can we see?!
My favourite would be my littlest design and it sits the closest to my heart – a little koala I released in early 2020 to support the Bushfire Relief. It was a heartbreaking start to 2020 and I felt so helpless and had to do something.
Little Koala had an outpouring of support from around the world and raised $2,734 for various bushfire charities. Plus, I got to collaborate with another of my favourite Aussie designers – Fuzzy Fox Designs.
Crafts are known to be excellent for wellbeing – how vital do you find crafting for your own mindfulness and wellbeing?
Craft is so important in my life – at the end of a long day being able to pick up my hoop and thread and stitch is calming. It allows the anxiety of the day to ease and my brain to switch off.
It also helps that it keeps my hands occupied, which fulfills my need to always be doing something!
What are your top tips for beginners/those who’d like to start cross stitch?
- Start with a small kit – so you don't have to invest in any big supplies straight away.
- Only use a length of thread as long as your forearm – longer and you'll get knots!
- Black aida is cool and effective – don't be afraid to use it. Place a piece of white paper or cloth under your lap to clearly see the squares.
- Never be limited by what's specified on a pattern – change colours or add your own flair. Crafting is all about making it your own.
- Practice really does makes perfect!
Are you into any other crafts and if so, what are they?
The last couple of years I’ve been dabbling in crochet – we now have quite a few wonky granny square blankets around the house for cold Melbourne nights!
Tell us about your craft room/work space – we’d love to see pictures, too!
After working from my couch for many years I’ve now converted what was formerly known as the snug into my office. It's not always tidy, but I have all my bits and bobs close at hand and usually a dog asleep on my feet.
Find out more
Look out for one of Ange's charts coming to the blog soon... In the meantime, check out our handy cross stitch guide for beginners – or for anyone looking for a refresher. Plus, don't miss these 25 pro cross stitch tips!