We’re starting our 2019 Stitch People Stars with a treat!
Meet Danielle Simons-Cheney. One of the sweetest people you could have the pleasure of knowing AND is an incredible stitcher to boot!
Danielle has been cross stitching since she was a child and it shows in the exquisite care she takes for each of her portraits plus how she is able to adapt and create amazing new ways to take the Stitch People patterns in fabulous new ways.
You could sit for hours looking at Danielles pieces and always find something new and adorable, well instead of us waxing on about them, lets just show you! Meet Danielle…
Tell us a bit about yourself!
I am a high school Anatomy and Earth Science teacher in Vermont and am a mom to two girls, ages 3 and 1. I started cross stitching as a 4th grader back in the 90s, after learning how to do it for a project in school. I hid it from the world until college, having never met anyone my age who also did it. In 2015 I started stitching after a short hiatus to go back to grad school, and was proud of the work I was doing. I opened up a small Etsy shop in 2017, as my house was quickly becoming overwhelmed with stitches of our small family.
Besides cross stitching, I fill up my remaining free time with running. I have run 9 marathons and numerous shorter races. I like to say the the stitching balances my running, and is something I can do while I’m home with my little ones. Running also balances out my addiction to chocolate!
My husband and I share our home with our first child, Wilson, who is a 9 year-old orange cat!
Tell us about your shop
I didn’t know how to go about starting my shop, Stitcheria, until I signed up for the Stitch People Academy. I was so thankful for Lizzy and Spencer, who covered every detail and gave me so much to think about. They broke down the process and were always available for folks to ask questions. I highly recommend the course to anyone that is seriously considering selling their stitches and who want to know that are taking the right steps and making the right decisions. The perks (webinars, discounts) of being part of the Academy are a nice touch, and more importantly, it is a very positive and supportive stitching community that I love being a part of!
How did you first come across the Stitch People book?
I discovered the Stitch People book in an ad on Facebook in 2015 and couldn’t get it off my mind! It had been about 5 years since I had cross-stitched and I was ready to get back into it. I wanted to be able to stitch my family, as I was pregnant with my first daughter, and knew that it would be fun to make stitches for friends as wedding gifts or baby showers.
What was your first Stitch People piece and how did it go?
My first stitch was a wedding stitch of my husband and I, along with our cat, Wilson. I had to start it completely over at one point becuase I got the fabric dirty and couldn’t clean it. I have since perfected our hair tones and hairlines, have given myself freedom to be creative with details, and now value the importance of hand-washing prior to stitching and washing pieces once they are completed.
What have you enjoyed about making the portraits?
My favorite part of stitching these portraits is when I finally get to give them to their new owner, especially if it is a surprise! It is hard to keep them secret and I love the process of stitching actual accesorries or defining clothing to make each person recognizable. Family is the most important thing in my life and I love that these stiches celebrate families. I spend hours creating each stitch and really pour my heart into it. I always hope that these are cherished by the recipient.
What’s been your favorite piece so far?
My favorite happened to be a surprise stitch that I finished while in labor with my second child last January. I had received a Christmas card from a close high school friend of mine and knew immediately that I needed to turn it into a stitch it for her. I secretly whipped it up in about 36 hours at the start of my maternity leave and my daughter was born 6 hours after finishing it.
Where is your favorite place to stitch?
Ideally I would be sitting in my house with a warm Vermont summer breeze flowing through the windows, but we are pretty chilly for half of the year. These days, most of my stitching happens in the car while my husband drives. It’s hard to get a chance to do it at home with two toddlers and while working full-time as a teacher, so I take the stitches along with me on the road as we run errands
How have you developed your cross stitching skills?
After stitching for 20+ years I have naturally honed in my skills throgh trial and error. The Stitch People Facebook group, however, is a really great resource for advice for beginning and experienced stitchers! I’ve picked new techniques and love the creative ideas that other stitchers come up with. I’m also obsessed and inspired by various instagram stitchers.
What advice would you give to people just starting their cross stitching journey?
The biggest thing is just try it! Don’t be afraid to try a new stitch or to start a big piece. If you make a mistake, the thread can always come out and you can try it again or move on. Also, a rule that I keep in mind to keep my work tidy is the Rule of 3. If you are going to skip more than 3 squares to stitch elsewhere on your fabric, then run the needle under the back of the stitches and cut it off. I don’t know where I picked this up, but it immediately made a huge difference in how clean the back of my pieces were and elliminates extra thread and bunching.
Where can we see more of your work?
Etsy Shop: https://www.etsy.com/shop/Stitcheria
Thank you so much Danielle for showing us your amazing, beautiful talent!
If you’d like to see more inspiring Stitch People art, take a look at the Stitch People Stars series on our blog.