1. Please Introduce yourself - name, where you are from, family, pets, etc.
I'm Rachael. I'm originally from New Zealand but I've been living in Canada since I was very young. I'm lucky enough to be a dual citizen, though. I have a sister, who lives in the States and my dad lives an hour up the road. I'm owned by two cats and a cockatoo.
2. How long have you been stitching and how did you start?
I've been doing small canvas work projects since I was very little, like 6 or 7, but when was about 13/14 my sister taught me how to cross stitch. My first project was a huge horse barrel racing. I made lots of mistakes but stuck with it. And I was hooked!
3. How long have you been blogging and what inspired you to start? Is there a story behind your blog title?
I've been blogging for about 3 years. I was inspired by a friend of mine who started blogging her cards that she had designed and made. Before that I hadn't realized blogging for crafts was even a thing. So I created an account and tried my hand at it.
There's no real story behind my blogs name, just a funny play on words. It used to be called Rai Rai's stitches, but the apostrophe kept showing up in code and it drove me a bit crazy, so I changed it.
4. How would you describe your stitching style? Are you a serial starter or rotator, OAAT, high organized or random?
I had always been a one project at a time, with the small exception of a marriage or pregnancy that I'd do a quick project for. Mainly because I couldn't afford to be a serial starter. I stitched Mirabilia for years, until I discovered HaED. Even in the beginning when I was I was stitching stockings, I was still one project, until I started on a big project, Adrift, by Selina Fenech. The gloomy colours got to me after a while and I had to change it up, so I started stitching an Annya Kai Owl design that was vibrant and bright and the antithesis of Adrift. Now I always do two projects. It keeps me from getting bored from any one project and just keeps me a little bit hungry for both designs.
Annya Kai Owl
I'm a pretty organized stitcher. I prefer to work in columns, but I don't have a hard and fast rule. Sometimes I cross country and sometimes I park. If I'm doing very heavy confetti, then I tend to park. Otherwise I tend to cross country a column at a time, with a feathering effect, which is to say 12 stitches then 10 stitches. Then 12 stitches, alternating all the way down the column, to avoid lines. But I like to have my threads all bought for a project and I use an app to keep me on track with inventory management. I guess that makes me organized. I assure you, this hyper organization does not extend beyond stitching.
5. Do you have a favourite designer?
It used to be Mirabilia and Lavender and Lace, but I could stitch a pattern to completion in 6 weeks to 2 months. Then I discovered Heaven and Earth Designs. Now THEY keep me busy. I'd also like to try a Golden Kite design. I'm drawn to faeries and dragons. I'm not sure why, because I don't tend to like fantasy movies or books, but faeries and dragons draw me.
6. Which piece are you most proud of?
I think I would have to say Adrift. She's my biggest piece to date and I'm proud that I stuck with her and finished her.
But usually the rule for me is my most recent finish is my favourite.
Adrift, by Selina Fenech
7. What has been your worst stitching disaster?
I was almost finished stitching a Mirabilia Angel of Spring and I left my stitching on the couch, and my cockatoo got a hold of it and chewed it to bits. There was no salvaging it. It was ruined. Since then I have been disciplined at putting my work up at then end of the night.
8. Which new technique would you like to try?
I would love to learn how to make lace, also stitch using ribbons. If I could only put down my HaED long enough...
9. Do you have a box of finished but not fully finished pieces? Or is everything FFOD'd.
I have a box of finished pieces, mainly because I can't afford to frame them all, but they are all fully completed.
10. Which of your projects most represents you?
I can't really say any of them really represent me. I can certainly see the evolution of my tastes from fuzzy animals and cartoons to angels to cats to faeries to dragons and other mythical creatures. Mostly I'm drawn to colours and the feeling a piece invokes in me when I look at it. Being now that I only start a new piece once a year or so, I'm very careful to only pick what I truly love.
There is one pattern that I relate to, though, and that is The Favourite. A little girl holding on to a monster, who she clearly loves. Her defiant look, and the flower she has placed lovingly on one of its horns moves me. I think most people (family mostly) view my cockatoo in this light. She is a snarling, messy screaming baseboard destroyer who occasionally takes a chunk out of me, but I love her unconditionally. So if I could use a future project, maybe that one?
11. Tell us a secret about you?
I'm ambidextrous. Anything I can do with my left hand, I can do with my right. I took to two handed stitching like a fish to water and can change up which hand is on top at random. My husband is fascinated at this ability. I can also write backwards with my left hand and forward with my right hand at the same time.
12. Anything you would like to add?
I guess I'll finish by saying Stitching is my meditation and my yoga. It brings me profound peace and no matter what kind of stressful day I've had, I can always unwind with stitching. And occasionally, a glass of red wine -yes, while I'm stitching. For in the immortal words of Austin Powers, I too like to live dangerously.
Thanks Rai Rai, I am absolutely impressed by your Secret Power to write with both hands at the same time, backwards and forwards!