1. Please introduce yourself – name, where you are from, family, pets etc.
My name is Dima but I'm known online as D1D2. I am Lebanese and I live in Quebec and have been living there since my family settled here in 1990. I am the eldest of four children (I have two sisters and one brother) and still living at home. I'm a stitcher by night but during the day I'm a Software Engineer and so spend lots of time on the computer.
2. How long have you been stitching and how did you start?
The first time I stitched anything I was 13 years old. There used to be a sewing store at one of the malls (back when you could find a sewing store in a mall) and I kept eyeing the cross stitch kits. After lots of begging, my mom finally relented and got me a kit to try. She wasn't very encouraging but showed me the basics and away I went. I loved stitching and I still have the piece. It had many mistakes but still we all start somewhere.
It's only a few years later that I realized why she never encouraged. Turns out I inherited the stitching bug from my grandmother (it skipped a generation as neither my mom or aunt stitched) who incidentally had terrible eyesight which I also inherited. Fearing my eyesight would get worse they wouldn't allow me to do any stitching. In any case, I was a student and should be spending that time studying. So for years it stayed on the back burner until I graduated and landed my first job. My brain was so used to being busy from studying, homework, etc that I was having a hard time sleeping and getting my mind to unwind. This brought me back to stitching and I never looked back. I picked up my second kit in 2010.
3. How long have you been blogging and what inspired you to start? Is there a story behind your blog title?
I started blogging in June 2012. Soon after picking up my first kit, I discovered there was a whole world out there to explore. Reading other blogs inspired me to start up my own. I discussed it with my sister who was also thinking of creating a blog for her art. The original idea was we would use the blog together as neither of us had enough to blog on our own. The name D1D2 came from the fact that we both shared the same name with one letter different: Dima and Dina. That never happened and I ended up keeping the blog for myself. As I started accumulating projects and gaining more experience I found that I had more than enough to sustain the blog on my own.
Initially, I was only known as D1D2 to readers, but as I expanded my online presence to Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/dimasantina/) my real name came out.
4. How would you describe your stitching style? Are you a serial starter, a rotator, a OAAT (one at a time), highly organised, random and eclectic, etc.?
I started off with one cross stitch kit (pre-blog and incidentally never finished), but once my stash grew I became a rotator. I always try to keep the number of projects running at the same time to a small number. When I was doing only cross stitch I liked to keep it to 3: a small, a medium and a BAP. This was really because I had a single frame to hold a BAP and one q-snap for the medium project.
That's changed since discovering other types of embroidery, but space is still an issue. Now I don't start new cross stitch projects until the current WIPs are done. I always have a piece of whitework (sometimes more than one), beadwork or goldwork running. I rotate between projects based on my mood and where I'm sitting to stitch. For example, summers are for whitework as I can sit outside to stitch and you don't have to carry a lot of material and threads when you do whitework. When it rains I stitch on other projects that I currently have in rotation. When it's movie night or I'm travelling I mainly do cross stitch as I don't need my table frame.
5. Do you have a favourite designer or style of design you are drawn to?
When I started I bough a lot of Teresa Wentzler on ebay. After discovering other techniques, I found that although there are some designers whose work I admire, it's really the technique that I'm looking at. It's just a matter of finding the right design to push me to learn. I do know that any whitework technique is a favorite. So far I've tried:
- Cross stitch, canvas and blackwork embroidery
- Whitework: Hardanger, Monogramming, Punto Antico, Schwalm,
Hedebo, Casalguildi, Sardinian knot stitch
- Ribbon embroidery
- Bead embroidery
6. Which piece are you most proud of in your collection?
There isn't just one specific piece. I guess it's whatever I had just finished. The best feeling is putting in that last stitch, getting up, taking a step back and looking what you've accomplished.
Below: Pearl Butterfly by Alison Cole
7. What has been your worst stitching disaster?
Since pretty much all of my projects are really learning pieces, there are always issue that can occur as I try to get used to a new way of stitching. Except for projects that I've lost the enthusiasm for, there has never been a stitching disaster that was so bad that I had to ditch a piece. I take it as a learning experience, fix it and move on. When I went to seminar last year, I accidentally cut the wrong thread in the center square on my project. It took me a few hours but I fixed it (what's a few hours compared to the 60 that already went into it) and it was a great opportunity to learn since the teacher was right there.
Below: Fandango by Barbara Kershaw
8. Which new technique would you like to try, either stitching, finishing or another craft?
I try to stick to a plan but the plan is flexible when opportunity strikes:
- Japanese embroidery, this *might* happen this fall I'm still
- Tambour beading
- Thread painting
- Mountmellick embroidery
- Portuguese whitework
9. Do you have a box of finished-but-not-fully-finished pieces? Or is everything FFO'd? What's your favourite way to fully finish a project and what do you do with them?
I have a box for pieces that are finished but not framed. Most will probably stay there, but some will eventually get framed. I'm not a great "finisher", but I'm slowly getting the practice in. I've made a few ornaments, stitching accessories.
Below: Hana Beaded fob and scissor case
Although I try to finish every project I start, some projects I stitched because I took a class to learn a technique. If I find that I don't like a technique or didn't think I was quite ready for it, the project gets set aside. No point in wasting energy where there is no interest.
10. Which of your projects most represents "you"?
This question is really hard for me to answer. I asked my family which project they thought most represented me and they said Stargazer. Stargazer was my first Mirabilia and the first project I ever had framed. It hangs in my bedroom above my bed. Now that I think about it, it does perfectly represent me even down to the choice of fabric color. I'm a bit old fashioned and live in my head a lot of the time. Although I love looking at flashy colors I tend to stick to the safer more classic colors that will last longer. I actually bought a different fabric for this piece that was blue with sparkles in it, but changed my mind at the last minute and got the safer cream fabric.
11. Tell us a secret about yourself. Or a joke. About anything!
I like to use really long strands of thread. I always get disapproving looks from my teachers (especially my whitework teachers!). I just dislike stopping my stitching because I ran out of threads. I'm trying to be better and cutting shorter lengths but it's still hard, especially when I have a long line of satin stitch to do :)
12. Anything you would like to add?
Thank you for organizing this Jo. I've really enjoyed reading these interviews and discovering new stitchers.