The colorful world of cross stitch – the Satsuma Street Interview
Cross stitch for a happy world – this is the slogan behind an amazing woman who lets the light of sunny Los Angeles shine through her cross stitch patterns. Her choice of color and shapes brighten the joyful spirit and bring to life a piece of sunshine – stitch by stitch. Find out more about Jody and her work in the Satsuma Street interview below.
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Hi Jody, I’m glad to have you here! Could you give us a short introduction so my readers know who you are?
I’m the designer and owner behind Satsuma Street cross stitch patterns. I create modern, colorful designs that will hopefully change people’s minds if they think they don’t like cross stitch!
How did you find your way to embroidery and when did you decide to create Satsuma Street?
I have always done all types of needlework since I was a little girl, my grandmother and aunts were very crafty and they passed their love of stitchery to me. As an adult, I wanted to take up cross stitch again because I always found it to be a relaxing craft, but the designs I found in big stores weren’t my style. I couldn’t find anything I liked, so I made my own patterns and I decided to try selling them on Etsy so other stitchers could try them.
You create such amazing colorful cross stitch pieces that also show a very distinct style of yours. Can you tell us a little bit about the process that goes into designing your cross stitch patterns?
I often start with the color palette first, which I do by pulling embroidery floss together in a pile until I’m happy with the harmony of the colors together. Then I do lots of small sketches until I’m happy with the composition of the design. Next, I sketch the design on graph paper and draw out the chart with pencil and paper. Once I’m happy with the graph paper version, I transfer the design into a chart-making software, MacStitch. Finally, I stitch the model. I often do a lot of revising as I stitch, so I will pull out colors that aren’t working and keep editing until I’m happy with it.
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” is not very high tech! I have a pretty large stash of floss, so I divide it into major color groups; blue, green, yellow etc which each go into a large ziplock bag. And then inside each color group, I divide them by the color codes, so all the blue shades in the numbers 200-300 in a bag, all the blues in 400-500 in a bag, and so on. I’m planning to someday switch to glass jars, but for now, the bags work!
What is your favorite part of the embroidery process from start to finish and which do you like the least?
My favorite part is probably choosing the color palette, I love putting unexpected colors together and seeing what happens. My least favorite part is probably finishing the item once the stitching is done! I don’t tend to like overly elaborate framing, my go-to method is just to wrap the fabric over a blank art canvas and staple it in the back. It’s simple and very affordable.
Which embroidery project was the most challenging one you have ever done?
I consider my zodiac series to be one big project, and that was definitely a challenge! When I started it at the beginning of 2017 I thought it wouldn’t be too difficult to design and stitch a new sign each month, but by June I was kicking myself for having taken on such a big task. Especially because everyone wanted to know when their sign would be done! But when I finished at the end of the year I was really proud of how they all turned out, and the series has been extremely popular with stitchers. So all the work was worth it.
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’d really love to learn goldwork, I’ve never done it but it looks so beautiful.
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 thought that liking things like embroidery and needlework was sort of embarrassing, that it was something only old people did, and I was much too worried about whether it was hip or not. Now I realize that it doesn’t matter what other people think of your hobbies and interests, what matters is whether you get enjoyment from them. And now it’s easier than ever to find other people online who share your interests, and you’ll see that there are lots of people who think your “weird” hobby is actually really awesome.
Thank you for taking the time answering my questions! Where can we find you to see more of your work?
You can see the full range of my patterns on Etsy at satsumastreet.etsy.com, where I sell them as both digital downloads and printed charts. You can also find my printed charts and kits in stores and websites around the world, you can see if there is a retailer in your area at satsumastreet.com/shops. And if your local needlework shop doesn’t carry Satsuma Street patterns, tell them about us!
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