1. Please introduce yourself – name, where you are from, family, pets etc.
I’m Janalyn Martínez. I was born in Puerto Rico, grew up in Massachusetts (go Sox!), and now live in Queens, New York. I have a husband, three boys, and two cats. I’m a part-time librarian.
2. How long have you been stitching and how did you start?
Since childhood. My mom taught me the basics of sewing and embroidery, I had children’s needlepoint and cross stitch kits, and I even took some classes in my grade school in quilting and crewelwork (not home-ec, just a school with an odd selection of electives).
3. How long have you been blogging and what inspired you to start? Is there a story behind your blog title?
Since 2009. (Sheesh!) I had to give up my original career as a lawyer to care for my oldest, who has Down Syndrome, and I was looking for a way to keep up my writing skills. I had moved away from the friends I discussed books with and I wanted a way to express my thoughts about what I was reading. I enjoyed reading other crafty blogs, and I wanted a way to record what I was making. So it all came together! There’s nothing special behind the name except that I avoid chores by reading and making things. It’s my therapy, and my way of coping with the challenging aspects of my life.
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’m not even sure how I’d describe it. I juggle lots of projects at once, not just different kinds of stitching but crocheting, quilting, and beading too. Some projects languish for years, others I push myself to finish by a deadline, still others get done quickly because I’m enjoying them so much.
5. Do you have a favourite designer or style of design you are drawn to?
I don’t have any particular favorite (and that’s just as well, given how often a designer I like just disappears from the stitching world. Remember Monsterbubbles? Birds of a Feather?). I like anything colorful, quirky, bohemian, geeky, or nerdy.
6. Which piece are you most proud of in your collection?
A design I stitched for my mom almost two decades ago. It’s much larger than my usual work, and much more elegant, and meaningful to my mom because of what it is and when I gave it to her.
I’m also quite proud of the first pattern I designed, a sampler of Arrested Development quotations; I’ve even sold some copies!
(It’s also how I learned pattern-testing is a thing, and an important one at that.)
7. What has been your worst stitching disaster?
I don’t have big disasters — just lots of stupid little errors and mistakes, some of which I can work around, some of which I pretend were intentional, and some which just stare at me and keep me humble.
8. Which new technique would you like to try, either stitching, finishing or another craft?
None! I have too many hobbies already! Don’t give me any more ideas!
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?
Are … are there people who don’t? Who actually fully finish everything?
It should come as no surprise, then, that my favorite finishing techniques are the simple ones — pillow-style ornaments that I can stitch up on my sewing machine in just a few minutes, or even better, keeping them in a hoop permanently.
10. Which of your projects most represents "you”?
My Paisley Pumpkin Crazy Quilt. It started as a Mill Hill kit which I can never resist, stitched on fabric instead of cardstock. I omitted the plaid border because it would be too much boring cross stitch (there’s a reason I favor small designs), instead surrounding it with lots of different fabrics from my stash. Then I got to embroidering and embellishing it with threads, yarn, lace, trim, ribbon, buttons, charms, beads, fringe, basically anything I could find that was pumpkin-themed or in the right colors. It’s eclectic and all over the place and incorporates all my different crafty interests, so it’s a good emblem of my work.
11. Tell us a secret about yourself. Or a joke. About anything!
I’m a bit of a synesthete: letters and numbers have distinctive colors in my head. I’ve started a series on the colors of the alphabet:
D is green. I haven’t decided on the medium, though.
12. Anything you would like to add?
Thank you for inviting me to do this! It was fun.