Our very first profile is of the sweet, lovely and talented, Natalie Lymer. I met her at the Fall Quilt Market in Houston last year, and truly really and honestly she is as charming as her work. I just adore her! In addition to enduring my questioning, Natalie has been kind enough to offer a free pattern download for us as well.
Here's what Natalie told me in answer to some of my burning questions.
BARI: Your embroidery is so whimsical and happy. What inspires your designs?
NATALIE: There are so many things that occur from day to day that might inspire my designs in some way or another. Just a simple wander down the street or story time with my daughter often gets my mind thinking about new ideas or creatures to draw. I find inspiration is all around if I just slow down and take a moment to look past the surface.
BARI: When did you learn to embroider? Who taught you/or are you self taught?
NATALIE: I guess my first introduction into embroidery was in the mid 80’s – sewing classes were compulsory for the first three years at my high school, it was here I was introduced to cross stitch and basic embroidery techniques with simple samplers. I remember our teacher would wander around the class and if the back of our work was messy or not quite right we were made to unpicked the threads and started again. Actually, this is still one of the things I am still very conscious of - if I am not happy with how my threads or stitches are sitting on the fabric I will always remove them and the back of my work is nearly as neat as the front (call me crazy but that teacher is watching me). Many of the embroidery stitches I now use in my designs I have learned and taught myself from embroidery resource books or just playing with the threads.
BARI: Did you go to art school to learn any part of your craft?
NATALIE: This is a question I get asked often and sometimes I wish I had a really awesome answer for you. The truth is I didn’t study fine art at University (although some days I wish I did) but I certainly have taken private fine art lessons over the years studying different drawing & painting mediums and techniques (ink, charcoal, watercolour, pastel, oil and pencil). I fell in love with art and drawing long before finding my needle and threads.
BARI: Do you have a favorite pattern?
NATALIE: I do have favourites and often my latest design is one that is most special to me mostly because I am still caught in that design moment. For many reasons Tail Feathers is one I will love forever, I designed and made the quilt when my daughter was just a few months old. I would sit in the rocker feeding her at 3am when it felt like the whole world was asleep and imagine what mischief the little birds would create then madly jot ideas down on paper so I could remember in the morning.
BARI: Are there other embroidery artists that inspire you?
NATALIE: Yes, there are so many and each has their own style – which I love the most. My two favourite would be Leanne Beasley (from Leanne’s House) and Sarah Jane (Sarah Jane Studios). I Love their work and design approach it’s purely blissful.
BARI: Do you have a favorite stitch?
NATALIE: I don’t really have a favourite stitch, I find them all therapeutic and relaxing on the mind. If I had to pick one from the crowd it would be backstitch because it’s a simple stitch that defines my design and drawings beautifully.
BARI: Your new book, Cotton Floss, is absolutely gorgeous. What was your favorite and least favorite parts about writing a book?
NATALIE: Thank you Bari – the making of a book was an incredible process filled with many different emotions. My favourite part was coming up with the design ideas, drawing the designs and stitching each creation. I guess pattern writing would be the most tedious or least favourite part, translating what is in my head into words anyone can understand. I guess because I am a ‘maker’ I would prefer to be sewing and drawing my next creation than stuck writing notes.
BARI: Is your upcoming fabric line based on/in keeping with your embroidery designs?
NATALIE: I am so excited to finally see my drawings on fabric, yes the first fabric line will feature many aspects from my embroidery designs – I am so looking forward to showing you....soon!
BARI: Can you share any helpful hints for beginners?
NATALIE: Relax and enjoy, hand stitching is pure bliss.
BARI: Do you have any favorite materials to work with?
NATALIE: I love working with linen because of the natural texture and feel – it’s beautiful to work with. Thread wise – I adore variegated threads like the Season’s ones from COSMO, they can make a design POP just the right way and add loads of personality at the same time.
Thank you so very much, Natalie! And thank you for this lovely pattern. I know everyone will enjoy it!
Click HERE to download Natalie's free pattern, One Wee Home.