The cheerful mini hoop maker from Australia – the Dandelyne interview
Meet Sonia, the heart and hands behind the Dandelyne mini hoops! Last month I showed you a lot of miniature embroidery and it was majorly inspired by Sonia’s community of miniature embroidery enthusiasts. Sonia’s cheerful and encouraging spirit shines through everything she makes and if you have ever received a message from her personally, you’ll have a smile on your face for the rest of the day.
I’m so happy Sonia took the time to answer my questions and share her personal journey and tips and tricks with us. Enjoy!
Hi Sonia, I’m glad to have you here! Could you give us a short introduction so my readers know who you are?
Hi there … I am designer and face behind Dandelyne. The home of the original miniature embroidery hoop. Dandelyne is about small-scale embroidery projects that are satisfying, rewarding, soul boosting and frankly, just look so darn cute on any outfit. The unique miniature embroidery hoop, that is an original design by me, since 2012, comes in 7 different sizes and the shapes include circles, portrait style ovals and landscape style ovals. You can choose to capture precious things and stitch them as a keepsake of that moment – stitch an initial, stitch a drawing, stitch a line, stitch a face. The options are endless and so are the stitches. You can then frame your stitchy awesomeness and wear it loud and proud in a Dandelyne mini embroidery hoop.
How did you find your way to embroidery? When did it become a passion of yours?
When did I first fall in love with this craft? We all remember our first time … yes, yes, yes. I learnt to sew under the expertise of a beautiful woman named Mrs Mulrooney, when I was 7. I attended a small rural school and on a Friday afternoon all of the girls would head to the library to master the basics of embroidery on gingham squares. It was here that a flame was ignited.
I took up a needle and hoop again in 2011. I chose to design and stitch my first family portrait; my family’s. The little flame that was ignited so many years ago suddenly became an enormous, crazy bushfire! Here it seems, my heart-for-materials and thread rediscovered what felt like Home.
When did the mini hoop idea enter your life?
As I stitched, I found myself daydreaming not only about small and simple embroidery projects but also about small, teeny tiny embroidery hoops. To quote the film “Robots”, “See a need, fill a need.” … I thought if I wanted tiny projects and tiny hoops there must be others who wanted these too. At the time I designed the Dandelyne miniature hoop there was absolutely nothing like it out there, and I am proud to say that I am the original designer.
And so Dandelyne began …
Let’s dive into the embroidery related things!
Many embroidery people are struggling with storing their embroidery threads. What’s your system (or non-system), would you share your secret-sauce with us?
My system involves a corkboard and drawing pins. In the early days I would spend time transferring my floss to cards but as my supplies increased I found that I became a little ‘lazy’. I also wanted to see my floss at all times for inspiration. One of my boys had a cork board in his room that he wasn’t using, so I seized the opportunity to take it and hang my floss with drawing pins, as you can see in the photo. I love it displayed this way as it is a constant reminder of my passion and simply, it is accessible.
What is your favorite part of the embroidery process from start to finish and which do you like the least?
I mean what’s not to love, right? The oodles of stitches to be mastered, the way you inject the needle into the weave of the fabric, the sound the needle makes when it pierces the fabric, the feeling of stretching a blank piece of cotton onto a hoop … I could go on and on. Oh. So. Much. Joy.
The part I like the least are the knots that I cannot undo, mid stitching. Once in a while a sneaky knot will appear in my thread and I have found that if I slow down and I am gentle I am able to undo it. There are those times when I may be a little hasty and BOOM … the knot has won.
Which embroidery project was the most challenging one you have ever encountered?
That would definitely have to be my first portrait. I was overwhelmed with design ideas, which stitches to use and how many there were to choose from. I still find challenges with every new design but I have learnt to take a deep breathe, release myself of any pressures that I am putting on myself and just START. Unpicking is now my best friend and an integral part of my stitching sessions.
There are so many embroidery techniques and materials out there. What would you love to try out one day that you haven’t done yet?
I would love to try STUMPWORK. The three-dimensional effect is something that resonates with me and I hope to be able to indulge in this technique very soon, and incorporate it within my own designs.
What piece of advice would you give to your younger self who has just started embroidering that you wish you had known back then?
When I was younger I was told that I wouldn’t be able to embroider as a career. I knew at the time embroidery felt right, it lit me up and it was something that I wanted to do forever. It took many career changes to find my way back to this divine craft. Now, I can proudly say that you can embroider and inspire others to embroider as a career. To my younger self I would say … “If this is something that gives you goosebumps and lights up your soul you GO FOR IT!!!
Thank you for taking the time answering my questions! Where can we find you to see more of Dandelyne?