Time to chat In the potlight Susan Bates We chat to Susan about her successful career so far as a cross stitch designer south London where the designs there were truly inspiring! We sold hand-painted canvases and the yarn to stitch them, and seeing all of these beautiful needlework designs made me want to try my hand at designing my own. After making a few designs into cushions, I replied to an advert in the paper from a publishing company looking for freelance embroidery designers. I sent off some photos of my designs and they said they wanted to buy them and asked me to chart them! I then started creating regular cross stitch designs for them. At first, I used to make the charts by colouring in squares on graph paper with coloured pencils, but this was so time consuming! So, to try to speed things up I got my first computer and taught myself how to use charting software, which was a much faster way of working! ow did you begin cross stitching? What’s your most memorable cross stitch moment? H As a child I was always sewing and knitting. My mum used to make a lot of clothes for us, so I grew up helping her sew. I taught myself how to cross stitch as before that I was stitching needlepoint designs, using yarn and 10-count canvas. For me, cross stitch is just an extension of my interest in sewing. Having my first book published stands out as a memorable moment! I went to meet the publishers at the London Book Fair at Olympia to discuss working with them and it was such a buzzing atmosphere – all of the big name publishers were there. The idea of having my designs published in a book was very cool! I’m really very pleased with the designs in my latest book, This book focuses on larger-scale floral designs and one of my favourite designs in it is a circular design of two peony flowers. How did you begin designing? Floral I studied fine art at Bath college, specialising in painting. Because of my art degree, drawing is something I do a lot and I take in influences from many places, such as the V&A in London. My love of sewing encouraged me to look at fabric and understand how patterns are used in fabric design. And so I started working at a needlepoint shop in Beauty in Cross Stitch. How would you describe your design style? Due to my background in painting, I love colour and detail. My love of textiles finds its way into my work too sometimes, as I love repeat designs. Floral designs are a favourite of mine too, as they lend themselves so well to embroidery and are so colourful! More recently I’ve really gotten into typography too. I would say that my least favourite designs to do are ‘cute’ designs – it’s just not my thing! Starting with graph paper and coloured pencils, Susan went on to teach herself how to use charting software to speed up her design process Home design studio: Your favourite commission? One of my favourite commissions was for – a set of four designs, each one representing a different season, based around the idea of a garden seen through a window. I like all of them but I think my favourite is autumn, with all the shades of orange, rust and green and all the details, such as the little basket of apples and the The World of Cross Stitching www.gathered.how/woxs 24 The World of Cross Stitching
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