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Please meet Jacqueline Gable...

Harry Potter
Jacqueline Gable is a talented gal.  She took Cross Stitch to a place of humor, imagination, color, delight.  I saw her work and immediately fell in love.  Often when you get a group of needleart enthusiasts together the conversation will inevitably go to: there need to be more young people taking up needles!  We need to get more young people involved!  Jacqueline is an example of how much we all gain from having a younger generation give their spin on an old craft.  She is one of the teachers offering classes in our Adorn Atelier online studio and I decided to be nosy and ask her a bunch of questions...

Q: Your work is beautiful and executed with such precision. When did you start cross-stitching and was cross-stitching your first hand-crafting love?
Thanks! I was five when I first starting cross-stitching, so yes, it's my first hand-crafting love. I moved away from it for quite a few years while I picked up other hobbies, but I always came back to it - this time for good!

Q: What aspect of your work do you enjoy most?
I love colour - there's nothing that makes me happier than as many colours of embroidery floss as possible - the more I can work in to a pattern the better. And I love how relaxing stitching is for me - I can sit in a totally silent room for hours and cross-stitch and not be bored at all.

Q: What aspect of your work do you enjoy the least?
Making mistakes and having to fix them (although I think that's true for any crafter). It makes me cringe to have to pick back rows of stitches I worked so hard to make perfect.

Q: Did you teach yourself how to cross-stitch or did you learn from a family member, or a teacher?
My Mom taught me - I think initially to teach me to sit still and concentrate on something, but also because she's a big-time crafter too. I probably pestered her to teach me - I was quite young when I learned how to cross-stitch, only five - but I remember everything about it - even what I was stitching - little beige mushrooms on plastic canvas with yarn and a thick needle.

Q: How long have you been cross-stitching and designing?
If you do the math I've been cross-stitching on-and-off for twenty-eight years! Eep! But I've only been designing for the last three. I was tired of never finding the sort of patterns which appealed to my own taste - most were too elaborate and time-consuming for me. Initially I started designing patterns just for myself to stitch - at the time I never would have imagined it would blossom into an entire business!
Star Wars

Q: Are you one to sketch, plan, design in advance or do you just grab your material and begin creating?
I'm definitely a sketcher and a planner. Usually I sketch out patterns with graph paper and pencil crayons, before charting them out in PCStitch - it's cross-stitch design computer software - which allows me to play with different colours of floss and cut-and-paste elements of my patterns to move them around. I always test-stitch designs though, and will often change little details as I go and then make the changes to the pattern.

Q: Where do you create? Do you have your own workspace? Is it at home or in a studio?
We do have a dedicated studio in our apartment, but honestly most of the time I'm just on the couch in the living room!

Q: Are you a neat or messy creator and once you begin a piece, are you always one to complete it? (i.e. do you have a box full of unfinished designs?)
I wish I were a neat creator!! No, I have to admit I'm fairly messy - I have unfinished projects pretty much everywhere! I'm sure it drives my husband (and business partner) crazy because he's rather neat with his work. I like being able to put things down when I need to and then be able to pick them up when I feel inspired again instead of forcing it.

Q: What memorable responses have you had to your work?
I love when people tell me they're going to learn to cross-stitch simply because they love my patterns so much - considering how much I love cross-stitch I find that a huge compliment. I only hope they learn to love it as much as I do!

Q: Do you work alone and if so, do you find that to be lonely?
Most of the time I do work by myself. My husband is my business partner but he has a day job and so I'm home alone most of the day and normally I don't mind it. It's nice to have him to bounce ideas off of when he does walk in the door at 6 pm though. And my mom and sisters are really crafty too, so even though we all live in different cities, I can always pick up the phone and give them a call. Plus my Facebook group is really active, so there's always someone there I can chat with.

Q: If you couldn’t cross-stitch, what would you choose to do? Do you see yourself seriously experimenting with other art or types of craft in the future?
Now that I design cross-stitch full time, I can't imagine doing anything else (and I hope I never have to!!!) but I also knit, crochet, embroider, and sew - so I guess if I couldn't cross-stitch I'd have to hope I could still do one of those things. I can't imagine not creating something every day. There are still plenty of other things I'd love to try - gardening and quilting especially and I've always thought I should write a book.
The Breakfast Club

Q: When asked what you do professionally, what do you say?
I say I'm a designer and I own an Etsy shop. Most non-crafty people need the details explained a bit better, but I'm always surprised at how many people know what cross-stitch is. I hear "Oh, my Mom does that a lot" to which I reply - "You should get her to teach you!"

Q: What inspired you to teach?
My love of the craft. It's so easy, but it's so satisfying. I mean, if I can learn how to cross-stitch as at five years old I think anybody can. It's a lot more approachable a craft than sewing or knitting, I find - and a lot less expensive. I think there are so many people who could benefit from learning to sit, create, and relax.

Q: If you were giving advice to someone trying out cross-stitching for the first time, what would you tell him or her was the most difficult aspect of cross-stitching? What might this newbie do to overcome this difficulty and not give up?
The most difficult aspect of cross-stitching is french knots! It took me a few years before I had the stitch down pat - but once you get the hang of it, it's ridiculously satisfying. And luckily there are lots of patterns which don't have that stitch in them. A newbie should definitely practice them on a scrap piece of fabric a few times before attempting them on the actual stitching - and if you mess it up, you can always rip it out and try it again!

Q: When you create a new piece, what sort of things inspire or guide your work?
We're so inspired by the movies, comics, and television shows that we grew up with and loved. In the beginning so much of our work was about the pop culture which we surround ourselves with every day. I really wanted to create patterns, which were quick to stitch, cute, a little nerdy, and above all else, easy! I always try to keep that in mind while I design.

Q: If you had to move to an island, and beyond the basic needs (food, clothing etc.), you could bring 3 things, what would they be?
My husband! No one makes me laugh as much as him and I'd probably go crazy without him.
A needle - I figure I can stitch on and with just about anything I find, but not without a needle (or two!).
Sunscreen - I sunburn easily and awfully!

And a few from the famous line of Bernard Pivot questions…
Jacqueline and her husband Christopher
Q: What is your favorite word?
Hope. My mantra is "above all things, hope"

Q: What is your least favorite word?
No. I don't like the idea that I can't do something and I hate when people tell me I can't. Or shouldn't.

Q: What is your favorite noise?
I adore the sound of a duck quacking. Isn't that weird? But I dare anyone to hear a duck's quack and not smile.

Q: What is your least favorite noise?
Squealing tires. Not only does it makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up, but you know it's never a good thing when you hear that.

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