You know, the Do It Yourself Stitch People book has surprised us in so many ways but the most delightful is how so many of our talented readers have used it as a jumping off point for incredible feats of creativity. Even veteran stitchers have been able to find new life in their cross stitch journey by using the patterns in the book.
One of our most lovely, talented and invested Stitch People Stitchers is the very dear to our hearts, Beth LeBlanc.
Beth has shared with us projects that show so much imagination and versatility, we had to get to know her more!
Tell us about yourself
My name is Beth LeBlanc and I currently live in Clarington, Ontario, Canada, with my fiancé Joel. I spent my childhood in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia and moved to Ontario in my pre-teen years.
My career began 11 years ago when I started working at a university in Montreal. I’m now a senior admissions officer at local university in Ontario.
My mother is extremely crafty – you name it, she can do it! She’s been a huge influence of mine since she taught me to cross-stitch at the age of 9. I started with a little pattern for my Grandma. I also enjoy playing the ukulele and drawing realistic pictures with pencil crayon. I’m currently busy with DIY projects for our upcoming wedding.
How did you first come across the Stitch People book?
After completing a drawing course last winter, I had the urge to get back into cross-stitching. I normally attempt large cross-stitch projects but thought I might enjoy something less time consuming. I did a search online and found the Stitch People book. I was so excited and quickly added it to my birthday wish list.
What was your first Stitch People piece and how did it go?
I began creating a portrait of myself and Joel and had finished one character when I told my friend Kate about the book. She quickly commissioned me to design a piece for a wedding she was attending. There were no problems with the humans. The dogs were another story. How have I been cross-stitching for so long and managed to avoid French knots? I just couldn’t get one of the eyes right for the little dog. I was so relieved when Kate told me it was actually perfect, as the dog was blind in that eye. Whew!
What have you enjoyed about making the portraits?
I love how I’m able to get a full project done in a few evenings, as opposed to months. The more portraits I finish, the more I can share my work with those I love. I’ve completed some projects for a few friends, and so far, I’m really enjoying their reactions. It’s really brought out my creative side and boosted my self-esteem; something I hadn’t fully experienced when following exact patterns.
What’s been your favorite piece so far?
My favorite piece is one I’ve done for an elementary school friend and her family, who now live in Texas. This was the piece where I really started to experiment with elements like realistic hair and designing my own touches, like the two cacti.
How have you developed your cross stitching skills?
Years of practice and loads of patience. I’m really starting to think outside the box when creating custom designs. When I first started with the Stitch People portraits, I used a blank piece of Aida cloth, and attempted French knots until I finally started to get them right. I also like to search other cross-stitchers on social media platforms, for inspiration. The Stitch People tutorials/videos are a big help.
Where is your favorite place to stitch?
In my living room, in front of the TV. Usually with a show to binge watch in the background and a cup of tea or glass of wine nearby.
What advice would you give to people just starting their cross stitching journey?
Keep calm. You will have to remove stitches when you miss a count, French knots may want to make you tear your hair out, and you may splash your tea on your work. It happens to even the most advanced stitchers. Take your time and don’t rush. Even the smallest of projects can be time consuming. If the back of your portrait is messy, use interfacing. Look to others for encouragement and inspiration. Be creative, keep at it, and love what you do! <3
Where can we see more of your work?
You can find me on Etsy: http://sweetpeastitchstudio.etsy.com/, Instagram and Facebook @sweetpeastitchstudio
And we can’t wait to see it! Thank you so much for the inspiration Beth! <3