The art of cross stitch is undergoing something of a revival at the moment – thanks to the work of various up-and-coming designers. Among these is Charlie Mankin, the creator of bright and colourful cross-stitch kits that feature typography and inspirational quotes. We asked her a few questions about her influences and ideas.
When did your love of craft begin?
I think I was born doing one kind of craft or another! I’ve always been crafty, my grandmother was a knitter, my mum quilts, crochets, knits and will have a go at any craft put in front of her, so I think my love of all things crafty definitely come from her!
When did you first start cross stitch?
In 2012, I wanted something creative to do in front of the TV in the evenings. I’m a quilter but I’m not a fan of hand sewing because the needles are sharp and I’m clumsy and I end up with blood all over everything! I decided to give cross stitch a go as, well, blunt needles! I wasn’t sure it was something I would enjoy but obviously I was wrong!
Are you self-taught? Or did you attend college?
I’m self taught at cross stitch, I started with a free kit from a cross-stitch magazine and I never looked back!
Where did you get the idea to print inspirational quotes on canvas?
I was looking for a pattern to stitch for my friends’ wedding but couldn’t find anything suitable for them so I decided to design my own. I knew the quote I wanted to use and then thought it might be fun to put the colour on the fabric and stitch over the top making the design on the fabric part of the finished piece. So nothing is actually printed, the colour is painted on the fabric and then you stitch the quotes over the top.
Where do you get the quotes from? Or do you make them up?
I have a huge list of quotes I use. Some I make up, others are from films or are just popular sayings that have the right feel to them. Whenever I discover one that might be good, I add it to the list. I think I have more on the list that I will ever be able to release as kits!
Which is your favourite quote? Which is your best seller?
I find it really hard to pick a favourite, I love them all! I’ve just released a new kit that I’m really pleased with, the quote is ‘Go Big or Go Home’ which seems quite apt for me this year! My best seller at the moment is probably another new release, ‘She turned her can’ts into cans and her dreams into plans’. That once has been flying out since I released it as a kit at the Knitting and Stitching show in March this year.
You have mentioned that your fabric is hand-painted… do you paint each canvas by hand? This must make them truly unique!
Yes! Every single piece of fabric is hand painted by me so no two are ever exactly the same. I like it this way, it feels like an artists’ collaboration between me and the person stitching the kit.
Do you work alone… or is there a team?
I’m a one-woman band. My best friend helps me out at shows; she’s new to cross stitch but started on my kits and has become a true fan. My husband and family are really supportive and help out when they can but most of the time it’s just me. Every kit is designed, painted, put together and even walked to the post box by me! I am in charge of every step of the process. It keeps me busy but I love it!
When did you set up your company?
I launched Stitchsperation in September 2016. I never expected it to become as popular as it has but I’m loving every step of the journey!