Meet Melissa Peda From 100 Billion Stars
Right before quilt market in May I received an email from Melissa simply wishing me luck. There I was right in the middle of the craziness that is getting ready for a trade show, and in comes this sweet message. Is it sad that it's surprising to me to get an email that isn't someone asking for anything... just a simple wish of good luck? But it was surprising to me, and that generosity is what I'll hold to be true about Melissa. It said something to me, and it made me want to pass that goodness along too.
This statement on her "about" page of her website says it all to me: "If I can help one person try something new, something they never had confidence to try in the past; if I can spark that “Aha!” moment, when the world suddenly opens up and someone gets “it”; if I can provide tools for someone to start out on their own creative journey, that is success. That is what I’m all about."
I think that Melissa's own beauty translates into work that has that same appeal, and I've been wanting to share it with you. I had the opportunity to ask a few questions... here's more in her own words:
Certainly! I design patterns for quilts, bags and other lifestyle projects. A few of my patterns can be purchased in my Etsy shop. Others have been sold to magazines and Free Spirit Fabrics. Recently, I launched my website to provide a more comprehensive experience for crafters, quilters and sewists who are looking for inspiration, free projects and ideas to jump start their own creativity. My interests are wide ranging so you’ll find everything from Mod Podge to yarn to thread to fabric and a lot more besides.
You've been playing with thread since you were a child. How and when did you learn to embroider?
For a long time, playing was all I was “allowed” to do. My sister and my mother weren’t keen on teaching me. So I had to teach myself, a process that involved a lot of observation and peering over shoulders. I pilfered their thread trash and scrounged for needles. The backsides of my work were a bit like a cubist version of the front—all chopped up, rearranged and barely recognizable. But I persisted and somehow got to where I am today.
What are your favorite stitches?
When do you do your embroidery? Some people have a favorite place and time for the hobby.
I like to embroider in the late afternoons and evenings. It’s so relaxing to give yourself over to the space in the hoop. It’s the same with crochet work. There’s always something at my chair to keep my hands busy.
My “go to” book is Marion Nichols’ Encyclopedia of Embroidery Stitches, Including Crewel. No pretty pictures but an indispensable resource for stitches. I also have other Dover Publication books for reference.
Are there any artists that inspire your work?
I’m most inspired by needlework of other cultures, like Kazak, Mexican, Guatemalan, Incan, Hungarian, Polish, well…you get the idea. In most of these cultures, embroidery wasn’t reserved for their best dress or ceremonial clothing. Everyday items, like the huipil, are lavishly covered with needlework. And the colors! I love the exuberant use of color.
Lately, reading glasses have become my most important tool!
Do you teach, and if so, where and when?
Currently, I don’t have any classes. But I am considering ways to incorporate an online learning environment within my website. I would love to share my enthusiasm and passion for creating with a bigger audience.
Is there anything special you want to tell the readers of WLFK about you or your business?
My shop will be getting an overhaul in the next month or two. A new look for the current patterns and brand new patterns, including some embroidery designs, will debut soon. All patterns are pdf files so you can pay and play with no delay.
My goal is to encourage and inspire people to create, whatever craft they practice. If you have a question, need a word of encouragement or just want to share the story of your journey, email me. I’d love to hear from you.
Where can we get your patterns?
On my website... here.
Characteristically, Melissa has offered us a free pattern... I had shown you a piece she did several weeks ago that I loved... and she has kindly offered it to WLFK readers!
Download it here: