This month’s Backside of the Hoop feature is with Kara Good of Stitchingood. We met each other on Instagram, and have cultivated a great friendship. I love Kara’s clean, fresh style, and admire her patience with cross stitch, something I’m sorely lacking.
Hello needle and thread lovers!! I am so excited to share my story with you! I’m Kara, and my shop is stitchingood (my last name is Good.) See what I did there? 😉
Stitchingood is a nice mix of both cross stitch and hand embroidery. I cross stitch custom family and wedding portraits along with hand embroidery hoop decor and jewelry. I’ve also dabbled in the handkerchief world when I find fabulous vintage handkerchiefs at my favorite summertime flea markets.
Other facts about me that may interest you:
- I am a former New Yorker who recently moved to Louisville, KY. We miss our friends in NY and sometimes miss the hustle and bustle of the Big Apple, but we LOVE our new adventure in Louisville. It is a great city filled with wonderful people, and worth visiting!
- I am a part-time Nanny to two amazing girls (ages 5 and 7). I have started to teach them how to cross stitch! I love seeing kids so excited about being creative, and learning new things.
- I’m married to a wise, bearded man named Ryan. Together we adopted a sprightly, nimble Yorkie named Duncan who has been weaseling his way into the garbage can, and more importantly our hearts, since 2010.
- I’m one of those weird people who thinks Cilantro tastes like soap.
Connect with Kara online:
I began cross stitching when I was 9. My Grandmother is very passionate about her cross stitch and wanted to teach me. If I’m at all honest, I wasn’t very interested. We stitched a Little Drummer Boy Christmas ornament, and I loved seeing the finished project. I remember my Grandmother saying, “I’ll finish up outlining it with a backstitch, that can be kind of tricky.” And now that I stitch on a regular basis, I thought to myself… I LOVE backstitch, she just wanted to keep all the fun to herself. 😉 After the drummer boy, I didn’t cross stitch again until 2013. I picked it up after I saw the most adorable pattern on Etsy. That took me awhile to finish. It wasn’t easy. After that I found a great blog article by Martha Stewart on cross stitch portraits, and the rest is history!
A couple years ago my husband purchased a hand embroidery class for me on Craftsy. There I learned all of the basic stitches. I consider myself self-taught in hand embroidery due to the number of the pieces that I messed up on. If you are frustrated or struggling with cross stitch or embroidery… don’t give up! It comes with practice and is worth the time and effort!
I also love Mary Corbet on YouTube. She has taught me SO MANY interesting and unique stitches that I’ve incorporated into many of my designs. (Editor’s Note: AGREED! When picking Hastystitch stitches, I make sure Mary has a video of the stitch for reference.)
I have a white overstuffed chair in the corner of my bedroom next to a window that gets the most gorgeous lighting. I do my best stitching there. The lighting is great for choosing colors, and I love that my dog loves to lay with me whenever I stitch there.
I also love embroidery and cross stitch because you can do it anywhere! I regularly stitch at coffee shops, and I even stitched at my husband’s barber once!
Here is the backside of my hoop! I am still treading the waters on how I want to finish my hoops. I’ve talked to many stitchers and customers who have such interesting opinions. Most customers I’ve talked to have said that they love seeing the backside. It shows how much time, love, and energy went into their piece.
I use double-sided fabric tape to secure the fabric to the hoop. And sometimes I stain the hoop depending on the design! It’s super simple, but gives such a lovely finishing touch.
My favorite? Stitching of course!! While creating a cross stitch portrait, I love how each time the thread and fabric come to life and looks almost identical to the customer’s photographs. I love their reactions as well! It is such a joy!
Least favorite? Tracing my designs onto fabric, and/or sketching out a family portrait on paper. I have long considered buying a light table but haven’t wanted to spend the money. So…. I use my iPad! I use a blank white screen shot, turn the brightness all the way up and place my paper design over the iPad, and the fabric on top of the paper! It works like a charm! That has made tracing much easier, but… it’s still a pain.
- Woven Wheel: I love that the woven wheel is so simple and produces such an elegant end product.
- Hungarian Braided Chain Stitch: I was SO proud of myself when I learned this stitch! It’s a little time consuming but produces a really beautiful stitch. I used this once for a cactus. If you use this stitch very close together it looks exactly like a cactus. (See picture below)
- Padded Satin Stitch: I love a good satin stitch and padding it first, it produces a perfect stitch every time. WARNING: This is incredibly time consuming and should not be used on a large area. It would be good to use for small to medium area, like flower petals. I made the mistake of using this on a large hoop and it took weeks to complete.
I love the gold standard of DMC! When I got back into cross stitch I purchased a bulk order of embroidery floss on Amazon. I believe the company is called Anchor, and I LOVED the colors and it was great quality. My first purchase lasted forever, almost an entire year of portrait orders. Now, I’ve been replacing colors little by little with DMC. Both companies are wonderful.
If I am cross stitching, I organize my floss on bobbins in a plastic organizer by color. I never know what color I’ll need (depending on the customer’s clothing choice, hair color, their pets fur color, etc.) so I need all of my colors with me at once.
However, if I’m on the go with an embroidery order, and I’m using a set range of colors… I LOVE organizing them on wooden clothespins. They are quick and easy. I keep the hoop and fabric, different size needles, embroidery scissors, and the current wooden clothespins in my favorite Kate Spade zipper pouch. That pouch is in my purse all the time. I take it with me wherever I go!
I create my own patterns. I sketch cross stitch portraits on graph paper and write notes about colors and important notes all around the sketch. For embroidery I’ve done both hand drawn and I’ve also designed in Photoshop. Both are wonderful!
Right now I have a few things in the works. I’m working on a different way for customers to purchase from me. My husband works in the Tech industry and is a huge help!! My shop is currently “on vacation” while I finish up my current orders. I’m going to be releasing new hoops, new cross stitch portrait options, and other pieces (including necklaces!). In the meantime while I’m stitching away, I would love to get to know you! Feel free to write me an email at email@example.com or visit me on Instagram!!
Thank you, Kara, for sharing your story and process with us! Look for the next Backside of the Hoop with Linda Sandoval on Friday, June 5, 2015.