Have you ever wondered what the backside of a needle artist’s hoop looks like? Or what their behind the scenes process looks like? Me, too! As an embroidery artist, I’m intrigued by how other artists finish their hoops, what their creative process is, and what their behind the scenes space looks like. I decided to put together this monthly feature to showcase the different embroidery, cross stitch, and other needle artists out there so we could all learn more about the backsides of their hoops!
I am so excited to start 2015 out with a bang! Today I introduce to you Sonia Lyne of Dandelyne. Sonia is the brainchild of the wonderful mini embroidery hoops that I, and so many other artists around the world, love so much. I only know Sonia online, but she comes across as such an upbeat, fun, and genuine person. I bet I’m not the only person who can say that Sonia brightens my day!
Tell us about yourself
I am based in a lovely tree filled suburb in the outer suburbs of Melbourne, Australia. I have a delicious family of 5 boys … 1 big (hubby Alex), 3 small (twins aged 10, Phoenix and Anderson, and a sweet 4 year old, Austin) and 1 furry (our dingo cross pooch named Falkor).
My first career path was as a Primary teacher and I taught across many schools in East London. My love for teaching was high, but I also had a burning desire to explore my love for threads, so I embarked on a varied career in the fashion industry. I attended the London College of Fashion Studies to become a pattern maker/grader, worked as an Assistant Stylist in Europe, worked as a Buyer for a leading clothing brand, created and managed my own children’s clothing line, and then I took up a needle and hoop again in 2011. I chose to design and stitch my first family portrait; my family’s. The little flame that was ignited so many years ago, when I first learnt to embroider at the age of 7, suddenly became an enormous, crazy bushfire! Here it seems, my heart-for-materials and thread rediscovered what felt like Home. I found myself daydreaming not only about small and simple embroidery projects but also about small, teeny tiny embroidery hoops. To quote the film “Robots”, “See a need, fill a need.” … I thought if I wanted tiny projects and tiny hoops there must be others who wanted these too.
And so Dandelyne began … and I feel I am now exactly where I am supposed to be.
When did you start creating embroidery?
When did I first fall in love with this art? I learnt to embroider under the expertise of a beautiful woman named Mrs. Mulrooney, when I was 7. I attended a small rural school and on a Friday afternoon all of the girls would head to the library to master the basics of embroidery on gingham squares. And thus a flame was ignited.
Where is your favorite place to embroider?
I love to sew in my workspace, by the window. My space is a section off our lounge-room which means I can also be a part of the action with my 3 delicious boys. I do tend to stand as I stitch, resting my hoop against my work bench. Standing also means I can dance while I sew :-D.
Show us your backside…of you hoop!
Tell us about how you finish off your pieces.
My custom portraits can get super messy behind the scenes, which I tend to love, but I feel covering it with a calico piece finishes it off beautifully for the recipient. I cut the calico piece back to the edge of the hoop. Then, with the main piece of fabric, I cut a 10mm edge and using a hot glue gun, secure it down. I also like this method as it gives the finished design greater strength. I am fanatical about the fabric being tight like the skin of a drum.
For my mini hoops it is a similar process but without the calico. As a result I use the hot glue gun quite often. One day, maybe one day the hot glue gun and I will be friends. Until that day I’m sure it will continue to burn me :-P.
What is your favorite part of the embroidery process? Your least favorite part?
Ooooh I have so many. I mean what’s not to love, right? The oodles of stitches to be mastered, the way you inject the needle into the weave of the fabric, the sound the needle makes when it pierces the fabric, the feeling of stretching a blank piece of cotton onto a hoop … I could go on and on. Oh. So. Much. Joy.
My least favourite part … ummmmm … I don’t think I have one.
What are your top three favorite stitches?
Number one is backward chain stitch. I love this stitch. It is simple and effective. Number 2 would be back stitch. I use this for most of my work. Finally number 3 would be satin stitch … in a messy way. I use this for most hairstyles in my custom portraits. Between back stitch and satin stitch I feel like I can draw, colour in and go wild.
What is your favorite brand of floss? How do you organize your floss?
My go-to thread is DMC. It is accessible and there is such an amazing colour range. I have also begun playing with the threads from Sublime Stitching, and I absolutely love them.
My floss is arranged on a big cork board and each one hangs on a pin. Every time I look at it I feel like a kid in a candy shop. It is a masterpiece in itself.
Do you create your own patterns, or purchase patterns from other artists? If you purchase patterns, what are your favorite places to get them?
I have always created my own patterns/designs. I tend to design as I sew. It is my favourite thing to do. I have never been a confident at drawing or sketching but I have found when I sew I can see where the stitches should go before they pierce the fabric. I get a huge buzz out of this.
What’s up next for you?
Dandelyne is now 3 years young and my little biz has blossomed beyond my wildest dreams. There are dandelion parachutes flying everywhere – hee hee. I have so many ideas to expand the miniature hoop range – more sizes and different materials. I also hope to run workshops in 2015 to get more people stitching. Honestly, the possibilities are endless and I feel like this is just the beginning.
In February 2015 I will feature Carina Envoldsen-Harris of Polka & Bloom! Tune in Monday, February 9, 2015!
Are you interested in being interviewed for a future issue of Backside of the Hoop? Fill out the contact form below. I look forward to hearing from you!