1. Please introduce yourself – name, where you are from, family, pets etc.
My name is Carla. To state where I’m from would take all day as I’ve been from all over the United States and Canada. Originally, I’m from New Mexico. I’ve spent most of my life in Alaska (35 years) and just recently moved from Alaska to Colorado and now live in a 36ft 5th Wheel RV in my second son’s backyard. I know that sounds “off”, but really it’s quite wonderful. I own the RV so essentially I own my home. I am the proud mother of 4 incredible people; two boys and two girls. They are all adults and have their lives, but strangely they all still want me around!
2. How long have you been stitching and how did you start?
I have been stitching for about 30 years now. When I was 8 months pregnant with my second son, his father decided we were going to move back to his hometown of Manistique, Michigan. This is located in the U.P. (Upper Penninsula) between Lake Michigan and Lake Superior. Once there I realized I had nothing to do and found myself wandering around downtown. There was a Ben Franklin’s Store there so I went in. It was similar to an olde timey General Store and was really fun to wander around in. I came across the “craft” section and noticed some cross stitch kits and thought I would try making one of them for the new baby. Please don’t choke when you view the picture...it was Barney and Friends. All the rage back in the day. When I got home I set to work on this little kit without reading directions or knowing how to do anything….because why read directions or learn anything? It ended up being horrible, but I did finish it and showed it to my sister-in-law and my mother-in-law who both looked on in horror and amusement. I was gently told what I had done wrong and to this day can still hear their voices any time I want to “cheat”. They taught me how to start a thread (knots are unacceptable) and advised me that all stitches should go the same direction (not however you want them to).
Even though that first bit of stitching was horrible, I WAS HOOKED. I was fortunate enough to have two experienced stitchers at hand to tell me what to do and how to do it and I am forever grateful to them for teaching me so gently...I can still see Jane’s face...the struggle she had not to laugh at me could have caused an aneurysm!
Thank you Ben Franklin’s and thank you Jane and Joann for showing me the way.
3. How long have you been blogging and what inspired you to start? Is there a story behind your blog title?
I had started my blog August 30, 2009. The original name was Sceal Teach which means Story House. I wanted to write the stories about my cross stitching and crafting because I felt that each project I worked on had a story behind it. That still holds true today. I love a good story and it occured to me that some of my cross stitch pieces had some great stories behind them. No one really read my blog for a really long time so I didn’t really post very often, and I wasn’t sure how to write the stories.
After a few years went by I found other bloggers who blogged about cross stitch, knitting, crochet and quilting...our main staples of the crafting world! That’s when my blog started getting noticed. It was strange going from no one reading what I wrote to getting over 1,000 hits per month. I had found a way to write my stories and strangely people liked them.
A few years ago I decided to change the name of my blog to Alaska Wolfpack. When I did this, I ended up losing most of my followers because I did it wrong. I still haven’t managed to get my followers back up to where they were. I wasn’t very smart about how to change my blog name and how to notify everyone of the name change.
I changed the name because my business was going to be called Alaska Wolfpack and I had some serious personal reasons for the change. Even though I don’t live in Alaska anymore, the name will stay the same. I love the name and it represents myself, my siblings and my children. We ARE a wolfpack.
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.?
When I first started stitching I was one at a time. I did it this way for YEARS. When my desire to stitch ALL THE THINGS really ramped up, I had too many starts, UFOs, WIPs, and I had to buy ALL THE THINGS. I think this really became an issue when I finally found groups, and met more stitchers around the world who introduced me to EVERYTHING.
When you are a solitary stitcher it’s easier to stitch one thing at a time. When you become part of a community...well we ALL know where that leads us! The excitement of stitching everything and showing it off to others who appreciate what you have accomplished is wonderful.
I have tried rotations, finish the WIPs, and various other ideas over the last few years and have finally settled on a small rotation. This actually worked in 2017 and I believe it will continue to work throughout 2018.
5. Do you have a favourite designer or style of design you are drawn to?
My all time favorite designer is Teresa Wentzler. Her patterns are works of art that make a stitcher better at stitching.
Honestly, I like everything. I think I have stitched every kind of pattern so I’m not really stuck on any one particular style or design. I do go through phases. One month I’m all about Sampler patterns, another month I need something pretty and bold and another month I want cute and simple and so on. It’s safe to say I’m drawn to cross stitch in general!
6. Which piece are you most proud of in your collection?
I couldn’t really narrow it down to just a few. This is a difficult question for me because I love everything I’ve ever stitched. I supposed I’m most proud of stitching the pieces I lost interest in or had serious emotional issues attached to them.
Two examples would be Peter Pumpkin and Butterfly Vignette.
Peter Pumpkin I absolutely LOVED! It was pure joy to stitch and so fun I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it every single day.
Not so for Butterfly Vignette. I despised it and wanted to throw it away every time I thought of touching it.
Of course, when I look at the framed piece I actually like it more and am proud I finished it, but it still is a constant reminder of a period in my life I wish had never happened.
7. What has been your worst stitching disaster?
This question makes me laugh! I immediately remember EPIC FAIL (the name of the posted picture). It was a speed stitch competition that Jody with Unconventional Cross Stitch had put on back in 2009 where she would release one section of the pattern every week and the first to finish wins.
I made a serious error when I started and during that time I was using a scroll frame so wasn’t paying attention to positioning. I knew the fabric was large enough for the full pattern…..
…..but as you can see I started in the wrong spot. I was so disappointed! I could have won that contest hands down, but I made a serious error in spatial judgement. Sadness!
I did re-stitch this pattern and my brother promptly claimed it as his. I still have this in a box, hidden from view...away from the world...sadness!
8. Which new technique would you like to try, either stitching, finishing or another craft?
Hardanger. I have never done this particular type of stitching and the joy on stitcher’s faces when they finish something really has me wanting to give it a try.
Also, I’m currently trying different ways of finishing projects. You can only make so many pillows or wall hangings!
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?
Oh yes, but thankfully there are only five finished things in that box waiting to be finished off. I don’t really have a favorite way of finishing anything. I usually wait until my mind figures out a way it should be finished.
10. Which of your projects most represents "you"?
This question has me feeling a little soulless. I know many stitchers have a favorite thing, but I really don’t have anything in particular that represents me. I love everything I stitch, so I suppose everything I stitch is a representation of me.
11. Tell us a secret about yourself. Or a joke. About anything!
From the immortal Chef Ramsey:
Q: Why did the chicken cross the road?
A: BECAUSE YOU DIDN’T COOK IT ALL THE WAY!!
12. Anything you would like to add?
“In order to reach a goal you have never achieved you have to do things you have never before done.”
I found that quote somewhere and that’s what helped me achieve all the goals I had for 2017. My dream of living a tiny house lifestyle has been achieved and now I need a new goal for 2018!
Thanks Carla for your great answers. If anyone who follows Carla can think of an answer for Q 10 for her, maybe they could leave a comment!