1. Please introduce yourself – name, where you are from, family, pets etc.
My name is Michele Stravato and I am from Aurora, CO (a suburb of Denver). I am married with two sons in college, my oldest, Joe, studying Civil Engineering and my youngest, Matt, studying Aerospace Engineering. I love cats, although we do not have any pets at this time. I was laid off from my job in November and am thankful to say I just received an offer letter and started my new job April 30!
2. How long have you been stitching and how did you start?
I have been stitching for over 35 years. I started cross stitching in high school and have taken a few breaks in my life but always return. I prefer 14 count as it is easiest on my eyes, but will stitch on 28 and 32 ct. I also stitch on plastic canvas.
3. How long have you been blogging and what inspired you to start? Is there a story behind your blog title?
In 2013 I began making cards out of some of my smalls and at the urging of several co-workers started my blog and opened an Etsy shop ( now closed). I posted my first entry in October 2013. The blog is not as fancy as I’d like it to be, but I hoard my free time for stitching and don’t like to spend too much of my free time on the computer. I don’t post on my blog very often but you can find me on Instagram. (Instagram id is @crazyredheadedcrossstitcherr). I do post at least once a month as I belong to a monthly smalls SAL.
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 definitely a rotator, and thanks to the Facebook Group, Debbie's Ultimate Crazy Jan/Feb Challenge 2016/2017/2018, I’m now a serial starter. I made a start a day for all of 2016 and 2017, and have continued this in 2018. I’m not sure how long I will make a start a day for this year, but at least through April.
5. Do you have a favourite designer or style of design you are drawn to?
I don’t have an absolute favorite designer, although I’ve been stitching a lot of Hooties from Pinoy Stitch lately. I love Halloween and Christmas and most of my stitching is for those two holidays. I also love smalls as I make cards.
Steam Engine from Cross Stitch Crazy
6. Which piece are you most proud of in your collection?
I have six pieces that I am most proud of. My husband and I received needlepoint stockings for our wedding and my name was misspelled so we never used them. Several years ago, I decided to make cross stitch stockings for my boys and I. This took a while as I started the stocking for my oldest and then took a year or two break from stitching due to busy life with kids. I made myself dig Joe‘s stocking out in 2013 and finished not only his, but the one for Matt and I. Of course, when I hung them up that first Christmas, my husband wanted to know why his was different. You guessed it, I made one for him the next year.
I also have an Artecy waterfall and Dimensions tiger that are among my favorites.
7. What has been your worst stitching disaster?
I don’t remember the name of the pattern but it was by Riolis and it was a cat with a purple flower with lots of partial stitches. I got about 1/3 of the way through and realized I’d miscounted. I was already frustrated with the piece and so I threw it away. I saved the pattern, and every time I see it, I just pack it away...
8. Which new technique would you like to try, either stitching, finishing or another craft?
I’d like to learn to tat. I’ve got an instruction book and the shuttle and thread, just need to take the time away from cross stitching to do it.
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 couple of drawers of finished-but-not-fully-finished pieces. It seems that if it isn’t small enough to fit on a card, I don’t turn the stitching into something useful. And making cards is my favorite finish for a stitched piece. I love experimenting with colored paper to add detail to a card. I recently purchased a die-cutting and embossing machine and am experimenting with ways to further enhance cards without taking away from the beauty of the stitching.
10. Which of your projects most represents "you"?
This is a tough one, because I really love cats and Halloween. I have a piece called "Max in the Moonlight“ that is beautiful. The first cat I owned as an adult was named Max and looked similar to this one. I also stitched and framed an Artecy Halloween piece that is very brightly colored.
11. Tell us a secret about yourself. Or a joke. About anything!
I am a closet paranormal freak and have been since the 7th grade! I love reading books about the paranormal and watching “Ghost Adventures“ and other similar shows. I know the shows are hokey and probably fake, but I still enjoy them.
12. Anything you would like to add?
I am a blood donor and recently received my five gallon pin. I even got my boys to donate, although only Joe donates regularly.