To go along with the latest episode of Babes of Wonderland, in which we discuss Star Wars: Rogue One, we decided to get the scoop on this epic Star Wars cross stitch from our friend Heather Wray. Some of you may remember Heather as the crafty goddess behind our Emperor’s New Groove Stamp as well. As Ashley puts it, “she’s the geeky Martha Stewart” and she was kind enough to take some time and answer some questions about her piece and cross stitch in general.
Laurel: What got you into cross stitching?
Heather: My mother and maternal grandmother actually got me into cross stitching and needlecrafts in general. I would see both of them working on a cross stitch project and just marvel at the beautiful things they would create. I don’t remember how old I was when I made my first needlework project, but I was fairly young. It was a unicorn that was stitched on plastic canvas with yarn. When I finished it, my mom turned it into a pillow. I still have it. I stopped cross stitching in high school and college. I started up again while I was in graduate school. I was diagnosed with an anxiety disorder and cross stitching is one of the ways I manage it. It’s incredibly relaxing and almost becomes a bit meditative. I try to cross stitch a little every day, even if it’s just for ten minutes. I can definitely notice a difference in my mood between days when I can’t stitch and days when I can.
Laurel: What was your first “geeky” cross stitch?
Heather: It depends on your definition of geeky. If we’re talking “really into a specific subject,” it would be my “Cherry Pie” cross stitch. I’m a hair metal fan (no shame!) and it’s a slice of pie (cherry, of course) with the words “Tastes so good make a grown man cry”. It’s hanging in my dining room. If we’re talking fandom-geeky, then it would be an awesome Sherlock cross stitch that I made for a friend (*coughLaurelcough*). It’s of Benedict Cumberbatch and is spectacular. I want to make one for myself.
Laurel: What drew you to this Star War pattern?
Heather: I love this Star Wars pattern so much. What first drew me to it was that it was Star Wars. I’m a huge fan. I also love that it’s very much in the traditional “Bless this home” cross stitch tradition. I’m a sucker for patterns that take a more traditional format and mess with it in some way. (BTW, the pattern is from Hardcore StitchCorps on Etsy)
Laurel: What is the hardest part of cross stitch? And what would be your recommendations for people who want to start?
Heather: One of the hard things about cross stitching is all the awesome patterns that are out there. I don’t have the time (or the wall space) to make them all. One of the actual hard things about cross stitching is counting. On the easier patterns, it’s not really an issue, but on the more complicated ones, it can be very easy to lose your place in the pattern. It’s an easy fix though since you can just rip out the stitches and start that section over. Cross stitching can be as easy or as hard as you want to make it. If someone wants to get started with cross stitching, there are a ton of resources available. The easiest way would be to get a kit that includes the pattern, instructions, fabric, threads, hoop, and needles. Those are the basics that you need to get started. Also, pick a pattern that you like. There’s nothing worse than endlessly stitching on a pattern that you aren’t enjoying. One of my favorite sites is Subversive Cross Stitch, which is run by Julie Jackson. Her patterns are easy, but look fantastic. They’re also a bit on the snarky and um…salty? side. If you are easily offended by swear words, her patterns might not be for you. Your favorite craft store or local needlework shop also probably has patterns and kits that are suitable for beginners. Your local needlework shop (or local craft store) might also have classes on learning how to cross stitch and will be able to answer specific questions that you might have. Etsy is a fantastic place to look for geeky cross stitch patterns. They range from easy to difficult and pretty much every fandom is represented. YouTube is a good place for video tutorials on cross stitching. I still use it when I want to see a particular stitch demonstrated.
Laurel: Do you have any plans to create your own patterns?
Heather: I do occasionally create my own patterns. I don’t do it on a regular basis, but if there is something that I want to stitch and I can’t find a pattern that I like, I’ll make one myself. The easiest ones to create are those involving quotes since all you need is a cross stitch alphabet chart and a border or appropriate decorative motif. One of my favorites that I’ve made was a commission for a gaming buddy of my husband’s. He wanted a James Bond variation of an Emerson quote. It was super fun to come up with the pattern and see how excited he was with the finished piece.
Laurel: If people want to see more of your work, where should they go?
Heather: I post a lot of pictures of my works in progress on my Instagram account (the_red_cat529). I will also post pictures of my cats and baked goods, so you’ve been warned.