Cross stitch designers: Barbara Ana A portrait of designer Barbara Ana
Are you curious to learn about the person behind Barbara Ana Designs? Read this interview originally published in Le marquoir magazine.
How did you learn to stitch ?
I learned to stitch at the school, my teacher, with her infinite patience, taught me to do cross stitching as well as specialty stitches that I turned into a sampler done in a piece of fabric, even my dear grandfather encouraged me to stitch! .... but I was a little girl and quickly forgot about cross stitching and became interested in other activities, drawing, sports and of course...playing!.
Years later I was visiting a friend of mine, something caught my attention, it was a cross stitch magazine, I found all the projects inside totally stunning and immediately felt the urge to try something like those beauties, and I did it, my first project was a large kitchen sampler, perhaps not the most proper way for a beginner but this piece, with all its mistakes, is still one of my favorite finishes.
Did you get hooked on cross stitching right away ?
I did explore other needlework techniques such as hardanger, crochet, etc, even knitting but nothing suits me like cross stitching, it has something special, it’s actually hard to explain, but to me, nothing can compares with the pleasure that cross stitch brings to me. Maybe, it allows me to deploy my creativity more than other crafts.
Where do you live? Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I was born and raised in Spain, in the province of Asturias, I live in a beautiful village near the forest and the sea with my wonderful partner and my two furbabies, a cat and a dog. There’s not much to tell about me, my life is simple, I’m a person who loves family and friends, nature, animals, cooking, reading, cinema...of course I’m a big collector of cross stitch charts. I do accept myself with my flaws and virtues, I consider myself a good person, honest, a little bit shy, a good friend of my friends and with sense of humor. I’m absent-minded too and I have a strong character.
How did you become interested in designing?
Well, I was always interested in drawing, so, one day I thought, why not join my two passions?
At the beginning I didn’t have any designing software, I used to draw by hand on graph paper. In those days I was really interested in mermaids, fairies, dragons and anything related to fantasy, in fact, my first design was a mermaid, it took me years to finish and was a gift to my parents, it hangs in an honor place at their home.
When did you decide to become a designer?
It really wasn’t a decision, it happened without previous planning. I sent some of my designs as free charts to a well known website, they became popular among stitchers and that was the starting point, I want to thank everyone who believed in me, then and now
What interests you most in cross stitching ?
I’m always open to any style or theme, I love animals, Christmas, snowmen...but my favorite theme in cross stitch is, without any doubt, Halloween, I really enjoy designing pumpkins, little witches, ghosts and of course, black cats!. I love to use bright and cheerful colors
Are you in contact with stitchers?
Stitchers often send me pictures of their finished projects which is an honor and a pleasure to see. Also, I'm always receiving nice comments about my work and they encourage me to continue designing. I feel lucky and grateful for that
How do you want stitchers to feel when they are stitching your patterns?
I want stitchers to have fun while stitching and be happy with the results as much as I enjoy designing. I think stitchers like those whimsy characters, their big heads, the huge (or tiny)eyes and the vibrant colors. I try to design easy to stitch patterns but with little details I find fun and interesting to stitch
How do you start work on a new chart?
Sometimes I draw a sketch on paper but the most times I design using PCStitch, I choose the colors as I go, I make a lot of changes until I feel happy with all motifs of the pattern, when I have finished this part I choose a fabric I think will work with the colors and theme, then I do a floss toss, if everything is ok I send the pattern to a model stitcher or stitch it myself.
What are you favourite fabrics? Favorite threads?
I love linen in natural or neutral colors, it’s my favorite fabric, contrary to what I believed it is easy to work on. I love overdyed threads, they give texture to the stitching and enrich the finished piece
What do you have planned for the future?
When it comes to designing, I tend to think in the present, not the future, I let my imagination go wild. I try to not force myself to design anything, the inspiration is very changeable, sometimes is there and sometimes I wonder where it went to. I use to say that my Muse finds me. The ideas come to me in flashes of inspiration, I recognize the feeling immediately and that is the time to start working on a design and feel the joy of seeing your idea come to life
How do you accommodate family life and your needlework design ?
I have my priorities, family, health, etc, and everything after them comes second, but when you love something, you can find that precious time here and there to make your dreams come true
How do you market your designs ? Do you sell kits, charts ? Why?
I sell my designs as charts, I prefer this way, I think it’s more interesting for stitchers, they can choose their own fabric, threads and play with colors
If you went to a desert island, what cross stitch book (or other material….) would you bring?
Well, I’d rather take food with me, but if I have to choose I would like my current cross stitch project and a good book, preferably “How to survive in a desert island”!
Thank you Barbara for answering our questions, always a great sense of humor!