The hands behind the scenes of the embroidery lexicon
Before we dive into the interview series of the fantastic embroidery people, I thought I should properly introduce myself to you. I’m Anne Mende and I make almost everything you can see here on Pumora.
I was born in Berlin and live in the North-East of Germany now. Ever since I’ve been a kid, I wanted to have a family and a farm. The farm has yet to find it’s way to us. Still, since we moved, there has been an addition to our family every year in form of new animals. Currently, it’s 1 rooster, 3 chickens, 2 bunnies and two cats and soon a puppy (yay!).
Many things have happened that led me to this embroidery journey. Some of which you can read in my article How to become an embroidery designer – or the art of failing. As the title indicates, it has been a journey of ups and downs. It still is and most probably always will.
My first encounter with embroidery
I remember my mother sitting in the sun on a bench at my grand ma’s place where we stayed during the summer holidays. She would sit there and knit or embroider while we were playing in the garden. This images had a huge impact on me. I always wanted to recreate this feeling of being in the moment and focus on one thing entirely. No stress, no worries, just the movement of the needle.
In school, I think I learned to cross stitch but I can barely remember. It was during my medieval reenactment days that I made my first embroidery project – a brick stitch patterned drawstring bag. I was very unsure of how to stitch, so I went with a counted pattern. Since I dislike doing what I feel everybody else does, I went with the brick stitch instead of counted cross stitch.
From there it all started.
How do I store my embroidery threads?
When my embroidery thread stash was small, I just let them sit in a tin box. When the collection grew bigger steadily, I went with winding threads on paper bobbins. There are lots of pros and cons for this method and I’m not completely satisfied with it.
I don’t like the creases the winding on bobbins makes in the threads. Also, it’s a lot of work. Yet, as a pattern maker, I have to always know the color number. As long as the tag stays on the floss, it’s much easier and better to leave the floss in the skein. But with the skein loosing width the tag loosens and will fall off eventually. So winding the bobbins it is for now. When I find a super-crazy-good solution to this problem, I will share it!
The favorite part of the embroidery process
Starting. I’m very good at starting new projects. Finishing not so much. There was a time when I had 20 or more craft projects laying on my desk waiting to be continued.
When we moved I had to put all my unfinished projects in boxes and the horror revealed itself. So many unfinished things, so much waste of materials and time. Since then, I try to think very hard if I REALLY need to start this new project right now. If it does make sense for Pumora or – when it’s a personal project – do I really need this?
The most challenging embroidery project I have ever done
Undoubtedly, this is the embroidery stitch lexicon. It has been the most fun, most challenging, most time-consuming and most interesting project I have ever done in my life. Getting 206 embroidery stitches into tutorials and on this website changed my personal limits.
After one and a half years of stitching this project, every new project seems so small. Yet, I’m looking forward to new challenges along the way.
Embroidery techniques I would like to try out some day
Stumpwork and more of the 3-dimensional techniques. One thing I love about embroidery is that it takes a simple flat illustration and makes it more plastic and textured than a print could ever be.
Going the extra step and learning some techniques to elevate the sketch, even more, sounds great to me!
Advice to my younger self just beginning with embroidery
- Think things through before you start and don’t overthink while you are creating.
- Unpick the stitches when they are in the wrong place – it saves much more time to re-do it than trying to cover it up.
- You can do this. No matter what you or other people think. You can do this.