In January 2020 when I was invited to meet with Stacey Price, founder and owner of Shop Made In DC, I didn’t really know what to expect. She was interested in selling some of my embroidery in her shop, which was both exciting and terrifying for me. I was excited that something of mine would end up in a curated shop, but terrified that … something of mine would end up in a curated shop. Stacey and I had a wonderful conversation, sharing interests and crafty ideas. She asked me if I had ever thought of making and selling an embroidery kit. Errrm, no? I see kits online all the time. But, like, who am I to design something that other people would want to embroider? That’s for, you know, real embroidery artists and stuff (see: imposter syndrome). But the more we talked about it the more I felt empowered to try it out. That evening I spent hours and hours and hours sketching and testing out different designs. (Shoutout to my friends who received pictures of embroidery patterns from me at strange hours of the night, and responded.) In the end, I created a kit that I’m super proud of (sold at Shop Made In DC), has kept people busy and learning a new skill, and has been featured in outlets like DCist and the Washington Post. (Kewl.)
At first, I struggled with designing an embroidery kit that people would enjoy without sacrificing my personal style. I love RBG as much as anyone else in my world, and RBG stuff sells in the District, but I just cannot bring myself to produce an RBG embroidery pattern just because I know my neighbors in DC would buy it up. I wanted to make something that was more me. Of course, my initial designs were cat-forward (and I’m still working on a kitty kit), but I started playing with designs that felt more local and prideful. I’ve lived in DC for most of my adult life. I’ve been given so many opportunities to grow both professionally, personally, and creatively; and I’ve made so many great lifelong friends here. It felt right to create a kit that honors Washington, D.C. I named it “DC Has My Heart”. (But, California, I still love you, girl.)
I spent hours and hours trying to figure out how to transfer a pattern onto fabric without having to get it professionally printed or use iron-transfer paper. I was frustrated and ready to give up, when I stumbled across a block print I made a while ago. Katrina from Timpla DC taught me linocut block printing a few years back and I have always wanted to try it on fabric, but kept getting distracted by other projects. That was it! Block prints! I carved the shape of D.C. into a sheet of linoleum, and had my own D.C. block ready to go.
This embroidery kit is a labor of love. Each kit I produce is cut, inked, rolled, traced, and packaged by me. It’s a lot of work, but I enjoy being hands-on with each and every one of them. I have so much fun making these to the beat of a really great playlist or an audiobook. The best part is seeing everyone’s finished product and hearing feedback. I enjoy hearing stories about how these stitches have helped people to de-stress after a long day. And, as a beginner embroidery kit, I love to hear how this kit has introduced people to a whole new hobby. To those people, welcome! You will be 3 feet deep in embroidery thread in no time.
If you’re looking for one of these kits, they’re currently for sale at Shop Made In DC, on my Etsy shop, on my website, and will be sold at my booth at craft fairs and holiday markets this year. And, if you do grab one of these, let me know how it goes for you! Share it and tag me on Instagram, @the_other_cat. I’ve also posted a few video tutorials to help with some of the stitches.