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A crafty interview with Weelittlestitches

I discovered Weelittlestitches while on a trip to Scotland with my fellow Library graduates. One of my friends had a handmade cover for her i-phone.  It had a little cross stitch pattern of Thor and Captain America on the back cover and it was super cute. When she told me it was cross stitch and that she had made it herself I was impressed. Back home, I searched on Etsy for “Pixel people” and found Weelittlestitches. It was love at first sight! They have tons of geeky pop culture related patterns and even have some quotes and custom patterns. I immediately purchased the Star Trek, Lord of the rings, and Dumbledoor patterns.  The patterns were super easy to follow and came with excellent instructions. One of my finished pieces was a gift and I am still stitching through the others. Needless to say I am hooked!

I thought it would be fun to interview the creators of Weelittlestitches and get their story. Please welcome Jacqueline and Christopher!

Please tell us how you got started and what the inspiration for Weelittlestitches was:
We never set out to make weelittlestitches a business, actually! Jacqueline learned to cross-stitch when she was five, but had moved away from the craft for a long time simply because she could never find patterns which suited her taste – everything was too large and time-consuming or else it featured puppies, dragons, and the like – and we’re definitely not puppies and dragons sort of people.  It was the internet which helped us to find patterns we liked – Jacqueline began stitching gifts based on retro video game sprites, like Super Mario and Mega Man — beginning to design our own patterns was the natural extension of that – we liked the simplistic style of 8-bit video game sprites and wanted to include the television shows and movies which interested us most, the vast majority of which had never been a video game.  Christopher learned to stitch shortly thereafter, drawn in by the geeky subject matter.
Entryway – cross-stitch on scrapbook paper
Why cross stitch?
Cross-stitch is amazing – really!  It’s an old craft and a remarkably simple one, but it’s capable of doing so much.  We love how graphic it is… just simple squares but somehow so much more.  For us it was the perfect medium for translating that pixelated art style which appealed to us so greatly.  Cross-stitch is easy to learn and easy to get started in, even if you know nothing about embroidery.  The tools needed are simple and inexpensive – it’s a very approachable craft.  After all, if Jacqueline could learn to do it as a clumsy, hyper five year-old, just about anyone could!
Designing a new pattern is a lot of work!
 At what point did you decided to create your own patterns?  
We began creating our own patterns just for ourselves – and as gifts for our friends – it really never was our intention to make a business out of it!  It started as little family portraits and wedding samplers, and then a few patterns of pop culture references which we were rather obsessed with (Doctor Who, anyone?).  Jacqueline has always loved Etsy as a place to shop and with the encouragement of Christopher and their families, opened a shop and put a few patterns up – really just as a whim.  It’s free to join Etsy and only twenty cents to list an item for sale, so if nothing came of it we figured we wouldn’t be out much money… we really never expected it to do so well or for so many other people to relate to the patterns we were designing!  It’s not that we set out to do badly or that we didn’t think it was a good idea, we just never imagined it would do so well.
The Eleven Doctors pattern – via Etsy

 How would you describe your style? Are there other crafters or artists that inspire your designs?

 Our style is simple.  It’s a nod to the 8-bit video game designs of our youth and those old sources still inspire us all the time.  Our patterns are representations of the characters we love reduced to just a few pixels – but we try to pack as much detail as we can into that small space so that when you see a Pixel Person you hopefully  know exactly who it is at first glance.

There are a lot of amazing designers out there – we really love Julie from *Subversive Cross-stitch – she’s been around a lot longer than we have and was instrumental in making cross-stitch cool again – plus she’s super nice and her stuff makes us laugh.  Emily Peacock and Felicity Hall are both wonderful too – they have such detailed projects filled with fantastic graphics and yummy colours.   And for sheer gorgeousness (and total design envy) there’s no one who can beat Sophie from *What Delilah Did  *(site contains content that may not be appropriate for minors)

When do you feel the most creative?

 After a good brainstorming session – either with each other or with Jacqueline’s sisters (they’re super creative gals, although not cross-stitchers).  Generally though we lean on each other for ideas – it’s not uncommon for us to turn to each other and say: “you know what would make a good pattern?”… It must drive our family and friends crazy!  We tend to work together on patterns, with one of us doing the initial sketching of the design and the other then coming along behind and tweaking it, adding any forgotten little details, and making changes.  It’s rare to see a pattern from us which hasn’t had both of our hands in it at some point.  It’s really the best part of our relationship/business partnership: that it takes both of us working together to create our best work.
Our studio
 Describe your workspace and your “can’t live without” cross stitch/crafty essentials:
Well, we just moved in to our new house this past January, so the studio is still a work in progress!  At the moment we do a lot of our work on the couch… not exactly professional but definitely comfy.  There are usually a few projects hanging out on the coffee table in various stages of completion and always a stack of floss on the couch cushion between us.

It’s so nice that the supplies for cross-stitch are so simple.  Good fabric is the base (literally as well as figuratively) of every piece of cross-stitch – we love the colour selection and quality from Wichelt Imports – our go-to for Aida cloth and linen.  We also love Q-Snap frames for hooping our fabric – it’s rare that either of us use a traditional wooden embroidery hoop any more.  A good light source is always important when stitching – at the moment we’re both fans of the cheap LED lamps we bought at IKEA.  But our biggest “can’t live without” is definitely our DMC floss – we have every colour now – it’s beautiful to work with and our absolute favourite.  Every pattern we design is done so with their colours in mind.  We even speak “floss” to each other – throwing out colour numbers like they’re words: “oh, his hair is definitely 838, maybe with a streak of 415 thrown in”… it’s really actually very nerdy!  We’re not on the payroll over at DMC, but we swear we should be!
 Everything is so mass produced in our “buy it now” society. Why should people continue to make things by hand?
If you’ve never made anything by hand it can be difficult to understand the appeal, but once you do you’ll never go back.  Handicrafts connect us to each other in the most amazing way – when you make something for someone the commitment of time and labour is one of love.  Nothing mass produced and purchased in a shop can have the same heart in it.  When you invest so much time and effort in to something it’s bound to special, even if it’s far from perfect.Stitching is also very relaxing – it’s almost meditative.  There’s something so lovely and calming about the repeated push and pull of the needle and floss through the fabric.  It lowers your heart rate and for a time makes all your worries disappear.  You can find yourself absorbed completely in the creation of each little stitch, which when you pull back from the project, have combined to make a greater whole.  And more than that, it’s really very wonderful to carry on a tradition – cross-stitching, like other forms of embroidery, has been around for a lot longer than you might think.  When we stitch we continue that long line of craft, using our needles in the same way our mothers, grandmothers, and great-grandmothers did.  It connects us to them even when they are gone, and to other crafters too, all over the world, who despite differences in language, religion, and beliefs, use the same tools and the same stitches to achieve the same results.  It’s magical really, when a craft transcends boundaries like that.
If you had to choose a favorite geeky/nerdy design which would it be and why?
In a way asking us to choose a favourite pattern is a little like asking a parent to choose their favourite child… lol… we love each design for different reasons.  The Eleven Doctors pattern was one of our first and remains a favourite – not just because we’re such huge fans of the show – but because it turned out better than we could have hoped.  Jacqueline’s favourite is probably the Princess pattern – it was designed as a response to customers asking for more “little girl friendly” patterns (although we happen to think that superheroes are just as little girl friendly!) and a lot of research and test-stitching went in to making the pattern perfect.  It’s so bright and cheerful you can’t help but love it.  Christopher is most proud of the Superhero Alphabet pattern – it’s the largest pattern we’ve ever designed (albeit it was mostly his work) and again it exceeded our expectations of it.  When you see it all stitched up and framed it’s such a huge accomplishment that you can’t help but be proud!
Yes, men stitch too!
Any final words of wisdom for our readers?
Don’t be afraid to give crafting a try – it doesn’t have to be cross-stitch (although cross-stitch is awesome and easy!) but it should be something.  Crafting has the power to change you – to make you happier and more creative, to give you an outlet for your frustrations and your energy.  It lets you make something wonderful out of the most simple of tools and it gives you a sense of accomplishment you couldn’t have anticipated.  Don’t let your gender or the little doubting voice in your head stop you from picking up a needle and thread.  Even complete beginners can create something wonderful if only they give it a chance.


Thank you both so much for agreeing to this interview. I can’t wait to try more of your patterns and I know our readers will love you just as much as I do!

To find out more please visit Weelittlestitches at the following links: 

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