Aimee Ray is a busy woman. Along with chasing after her small son, who is just learning to walk, she’s constantly filling her ever-present sketchbook with doodles and ideas for her next embroidery projects. “Many of my quick, random doodles turn into embroidery designs,” says Aimee. “I like the idea that a little drawing done in seconds can result in a detailed piece of artwork that takes hours or days to complete. My head is always full of ideas—picking one at a time to work on can be challenging!”
Aimee’s latest Doodle Stitching book, Doodle Stitching: Embroidery & Beyond, features all sorts of cool techniques such as crewel, sashiko and shisha, and redwork, which are paired with over 20 beautiful projects. “I think embroidery is a perfect choice of medium because it is so versatile and offers so many possibilities,” Aimee continues. “The more we develop those possibilities and share them, the more people will realize how fun it is.”
Read on to learn more about Aimee and her unique style of embroidery. And don’t forget to order your copy of Doodle Stitching: Embroidery & Beyond from BN.com or pick up a copy at your favorite local bookstore!
Aimee, what got you started in embroidery? What do you like best about it?
Embroidery is so easy to learn; I first picked it up when I was about 5 years old and my grandma would bring me samplers to stitch on. It is the perfect way to bring any idea or sketch to life with thread and fabric. There are no charts or diagrams and no set rules—it can be as simple as a line drawing, or very complex and detailed with lots of different stitches and textures. I am very much a “make it up as I go along” type of person, so freestyle hand embroidery is perfect for my projects.
I think I like embroidery work so much because it’s so different from the computer design work I do all day, but still a great creative outlet. There is something primitive and relaxing about stitching something by hand, and the result is very special and unique, quite different from the mass-produced items we see so much of.
What is the quirkiest thing you’ve ever embroidered?
One of the first things I embroidered when I started stitching my own designs was a sketch I had done from a line in a Weird Al Yankovic song, “The Incredible Frog Boy is on the loose again.”
Have you ever had any embroidery/craft fails? Tell us about it.
Oh yes, I love to dabble in new things, so I’ve started many projects that never go finished, or at least never appeared before anyone else. If I screw up an embroidery piece I’m working on, I’m not afraid to rip out my stitches and start again.
What do you like to do when you’re not embroidering?
I really love anything creative, and when I have time, I paint, crochet, sculpt things out of paperclay, and customize dolls. Most of my time, though, is taken by my baby son who is just starting to walk and is quite a handful!
Is anyone else in your family crafty?
My crafty mom, aunties, and grandmas have always been a big inspiration and encouragement to me in everything I do.
What has been your proudest craft moment so far?
I was so excited when my first Doodle Stitching book came out—it was amazing to see it out in the world! Since then, I am always thrilled every time I hear from people who enjoy my work. I am so proud to be an inspiration to so many happy stitchers.