Backside of the Hoop with Inna Carlson
I have a treat for you today on this month’s Backside of the Hoop! Inna of The Faithful Thread creates beautiful hand embroidery and needle felted hoops. Her embroidery is fresh and fun, and her needle felted hoops are just magnificent! Read her story below.
Tell Us about Yourself
- I’m an introvert and a former nurse, which interestingly enough, seems to be quite common among the embroidery professionals/enthusiasts.
- I’m a wife and mother of 3 humans and one cat. I’ve been a stay at home mom since the birth of our oldest daughter and homeschooled all three until last year. As you can imagine, they have kept me busy.
- I’ve traveled quite a bit in my youth, but now am settled down in Central California.
- I’ve always loved creating, and finally decided to jump in and open my own shop in August 2015.
Was there anyone who taught you, or are you self-taught?
I grew up surrounded by beautiful, handmade things and constant creative process. My parents, even as they worked full time their day jobs, always created and experimented. They strived to better their knowledge in woodworking, stained glass lamps and windows (my Dad), ceramics, painting, various fiber arts (my Mom). I also remember watching my Grandma hand dyeing wool, carding and spinning into yarn – she had a wooden spinning wheel and I had so much fun, pushing the pedal and chasing the spindle.
I’m so grateful that they taught me how to learn and not be afraid to try new creative things, how to work hard and share your love for everything handmade with other people.
Do you still have the first piece you created?
I think my first big handmade piece was a cross stitch painting and it’s still in my parents’ home in Israel.
What Is Your Embroidery Story?
As long as I can remember, I’ve been struggling with anxiety and depression. Growing up in Uzbekistan (a former Soviet Union Republic), I didn’t have any help available. The general attitude toward these things was somewhere between “it’s all in your head” and “pull yourself together”.
We moved to Israel and it was a lot of changes all at once. I turned to embroidery because through slow, repetitive motions, my mind and body would slow down and relax. It taught me that each stitch is a small step toward a goal, which from the first glance would seem enormous and overwhelming. Embroidery has taught me to be patient and be able to zoom in and out of projects or problems I face in life.
Where is your favorite place to embroider?
Depending on the day and my mood, I can be found embroidering in bed, a comfy chair in front of the TV, a park bench, my minivan (don’t judge), doctor’s office, karate dojo, or even a kids’ birthday party.
Show us your backside…of your hoop!
Have you always finished your hoops this way? What are the advantages?
My personal preference is to close off the hoops I sell. This gives me an opportunity to display my logo, as well as for the hoop to have a neat, finished look.
Most of my embroidered pieces I close off with the same fabric, all the needle felted pieces are finished with felt back.
After reading the interview with Jacqueline from Wee Little Stitches in June, I really loved her idea of using kraft paper for the back and have used this method for my latest pieces.
What is your favorite part of the embroidery process, and why?
I love that it’s akin to meditation. It gets me in a quiet, thoughtful place, when I can be calm and sort out my thoughts and feelings.
I love being in that state when I choose the fabric or felt, decide on the color palette and different elements in the design. It’s this all-encompassing absorption that really reminds me watching my children play with their Lego or tiny pony figurines. They are completely present in the moment.
What is your least favorite part, and why?
Finishing the hoop. There’s such finality to that.
What are your top three favorite stitches?
I adore French Knots, because they add such an interesting texture.
Lazy daisy stitch is so fun and great for adding small petals and leaves.
Back stitch is my go-to stitch, for outlining designs and letters.
What is your favorite brand of floss and how do you organize it?
I like DMC, because of its variety of colors and easy availability in craft stores. Cosmo brand is a dream to work with, but harder to come by and more expensive. I really love Valdani pearl cotton for their beautiful earthy colors.
As for the organization… We live in a small house and my craft room is actually a walk-in closet that has a small window. Storage space is really limited, so I have to find creative ways to store my floss and wool batts.
Do you create your own patterns, or purchase patterns from other artists?
I like to hand draw my designs directly on the fabric, but now that I’m learning Adobe Illustrator, I try to do the bulk of designing there. I love Sublime Stitching fine tip transfer markers – they are really excellent! I tried to use Sulky Fabri Solvy products, but don’t like the feel of it.
I also love to support other makers and purchase some patterns from them.
My favorites are:
TamarNahirYanai: I haven’t tried patterns from this shop, but I will in the future – gorgeous stuff!
For wool blend felt BenzieDesign is my go-to shop.
Tiny embroidery hoops are from beautiful Sonia of Dandelyne.
For any needle felting stuff, The Living Felt company is wonderful.
My husband and I are self-employed, and it’s very important to us to support small businesses by choosing to make our purchases from local Mom-and-Pop shops and, family owned and operated, online.
What is up next for you?
I would like to further my education in design and eventually create and share my designs with embroidery enthusiasts around the world digitally. I would also like to continue explore different media, like incorporating hand-carved stamps in my embroidery projects, felt and paint. My passion for needle felting is growing and I would like to play and experiment with it as well.
Thank you so much for this opportunity to share! I enjoy the Backside of the Hoop series and am looking forward for meeting more embroidery artists.
Thank you so much for sharing with us, Inna! Your embroidery story is so interesting, and we have a lot in common.