Have you seen the lovely new woodland themed cross stitch kits by Bobo Stitch that we have in the shop? They are bright and modern with a twinkle of metallic thread and are perfect for beginners as well as more experienced stitchers. Bobo Stitch are all about bringing great contemporary design and quality materials together to create gorgeous things to be proud of. Hannah and I recently met up for a cup of tea and cake and had a chat about her beautiful new book, Modern Cross Stitch.
This book is packed full of inspiring projects and gorgeous photos. I'm a big fan of stitching with materials other than the usual embroidery threads and fabrics and Hannah has some great ideas for this. My favourite is this chair, stitched with velvet ribbons. Genius!
Tell us about Bobo Stitch and how you got started
I love to cross stitch. I have always enjoyed the process. I started when I was young and I found it a simple, very relaxing thing to do and I liked the fact I could do it while curled up in front of the television. Time pressure in my 20s meant that the hobby went by the wayside a little, but as my friends began to have children, I started thinking how nice it would be to make something as a bit of a keepsake and so I looked for something to cross stitch. I searched and searched for patterns that weren’t overly cutesy or full of Care Bears but I couldn’t find anything. I had reignited my passion for stitching but was frustrated with the lack of choice, especially given the craft revolution that appeared to be going on in every other genre. I couldn’t believe that I was the only one feeling like this, so just after having my second child (nicknamed Bobo) I started designing and putting together simple but effective contemporary cross stitch kits. I dipped my toe in the water by launching a small shop online (www.bobostitch.co.uk) and it has grown organically from there.
What inspires your designs?
Colouring in!! I launched the business just before the craze for adult colouring kicked in, but when I first started designing I thought back to how much I used to enjoy having a simple outline and filling it with abstract patterns using loads of colours. I enjoyed that so much as a child and wanted to recreate that experience for stitchers of my kits. I love colour - that is my biggest influence. Often I can see a group of colours together and think that I have to come up with a design that utilises them.
Do you ever get ‘designer’s block’ and what do you do to fix it?
Occasionally I know what I want to achieve but struggle to breathe life into a design. Usually I will give it a go, then walk away. In a few days I’ll whack on some really upbeat dance music then revisit it again. More often than not it comes good after that.
Tell us about your new book
When Cico Books approached me to write Modern Cross Stitch I was flattered and terrified all at the same time. Designing, stitching and writing the instructions for more than 30 projects in 4 months was quite a tall order but in the end the ideas flowed really freely and quickly. I wanted to stay true to the Bobo Stitch brand and so used bold outlines, beautiful fresh colours and contemporary patterns to create simple and stylish pieces that would be a pleasure to stitch. I wanted to create a book that an absolute beginner would pick up because they liked the patterns but didn’t feel intimidated by the instructions and that an experienced stitcher would be drawn to by some great new ideas. It was also important to me that lots of the projects in the book weren’t just pictures to hang on the wall, but ways to really use cross stitch, so I included things like bags, bunting, chair seat bases, phone cases and even washi tape wall art. Hopefully I’ve pulled all that off!
Other than cross stitch, what’s your favourite stitch?
That’s quite a tricky one - I feel so ingrained in crosses now! I would love to learn how to do machine embroidery. It can be so unbelievably intricate and effective. I’ll get some lessons soon.
What’s your favourite tool in your sewing box?
It’s not so much of a tool as a material - soluble canvas. I love the stuff. It makes it so easy to sew onto all sorts of fabric to give a really neat finish. It opens up a whole new world of possibilities when browsing vintage fabric shops!
What’s your favourite thing that you’ve stitched?
That’s another really tough question. I get really attached to most of the things that I sew. I love the new Woodland Collection as they look so effective and are really simple to stitch. I also really enjoyed stitching my glow in the dark Nursery Collection. I loved using glow in the dark thread - I was able to come up with designs that meant the thread was hidden and so the finished stitched picture changes from day to night. I love the reaction when people see them for the first time. And the thread really does glow - it’s so fun to use!
Do you have a stitchy top tip to share?
One that I pinched from the lovely Nicole at Follow The White Bunny. Ever noticed that sometimes when you pull your lose end of thread from a skein of thread it can tangle the whole thing and other times it will come free beautifully? Well, when using DMC thread, pull it from the end where the colour number is printed - it really works! Although I hear it is different depending on the brand of thread!
What are your hopes for Bobo Stitch in the future?
From 2016 I hope you will start to see more of my designs stocked in great little online and high street shops. Bobo Stitch is still so young and as a small business owner I am learning all the time. The best thing about it is there are so many opportunities still to take, so many designs to come up with, so many avenues still to explore. I can’t wait.