Alison J Reid gives us the latest on her new title “Stitch 50 Dogs” a book built for you to honour your favourite four-legged friends. With these miniature plush versions of them! Stitch 50 Dogs is full of easy sewing patterns for you to follow. Including breeds like Great Danes, Whippets, Dalmatians and Poodles! Here’s what Alison said when we caught up with her:
Tell us a bit about yourself?
Where to begin? Okay, so I think I was born a maker! At school my favourite subjects were Art and Textiles, or Home Economics, as it was known. I can remember being at school and the careers adviser asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. My answer was to be a children’s book illustrator. I have always loved small cute things. I was lucky to attend art school in the 1980’s where I studied fashion and textiles and eventually specialised in woven textiles. The weaving process taught me a lot about patience and concentration. Dressing and setting up a loom could take days; you really had to be patient during that process. After finishing my studies I taught for 20 years at university and then moved into secondary teaching.
Tell us a bit about your new book?
Since I was a child I have always collected objects that are cute. So to make cute things just comes naturally. I love dogs, and the love they give. So exploring the favourite pedigree breeds defined by the kennel club and expressing them through stitch, shape and colour was such an enjoyable process. The research behind the breeds was a very important part too. For each pooch I looked for a quirky piece of information and that piece of information defined the illustration that would sit on that breeds page.
What is your favourite project/technique featured?
Oh my, there are so many dogs to choose from and for so many reasons. Well to be honest, my personal favourite has to be the Cairn Terrier as this was the breed of dog I had as a child. Her name was Ceri. As for my favourite technique, well that just has to be all of the handsitches. It’s a labour of love. Every stitch is marked by time.
What was your route into craft?
Alongside teaching I pursued my own work. In the early 90’s I had my own business making decorative woven and stitched trimmings for fashion and Interiors. My work was featured in many fashion journals and interior books, Elle, Elle Decoration, Country Life, Vogue, Homes and Gardens, Textile View, Selvedge, You Magazine, Telegraph Magazine and Textile View. Clients included, Ralph Lauren, Marc Jacobs, Takashimaya and Ralph Lauren, New York, VV Rouleaux, Liberty Stores. My stitch work caught the eye of a publisher and I was lucky to write my first book, ‘Learn to Sew’ which was later followed by ‘Stitch Magic’. I loved the whole process of recording what I was making, producing the illustrations as well as the instructions of how to make.
What do you think the “Next Big Thing” in your craft will be?
I really hope that people will enjoy making my cute pooches and personalise them towards their own dogs. I look forward to making many more Stitch 50…… introducing different subjects as well as different stitches and crafting techniques.
How big a part, if any, does sustainability play in your work?
I have been using the same reels of cotton thread for the last 20 years. Some I purchased when I had my trimmings business and some belonged to my Nana, which must be at least 50 years old therefore, there is a bit of history going into my work.
Who (dead or alive) would you invite to the perfect craft retreat?
This would have to be Grayson Perry and his cat Kevin. I love to hate Grayson as he has always turned me down for previous projects. My next book is Stitch 50 Cats, so I am intending to make a copycat Kevin to send to Grayson for his oh so cute Kevinkittycat. By the way I would be advising Grayson to get a pooch. I could see him with a Dachshund.
What advice would you give to your beginner self?
Take advice from those that have experience, however, never neglect your own instinct.
In one word, how would you describe this book?
If you like the sound of Stitch 50 Dogs and would like to get a copy of your own you can pre-order today on Amazon here, or find it in all good book stores from the 15th September 2020. To keep up to date with our latest releases, join in our competitions and share in the fun, be sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter
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