LL: Hey Pixel Stitches! Can you tell us a little about what you do?
PS: I make video game projects out of almost anything: cross stitching, mini hama bead jewelry, large perler bead projects, needlepoint, and plushies made out of fleece. I can also knit and crochet a bit, but have yet to make anything video game related with those mediums. I get into moods where I’ll use a certain method for a while, then switch off to another one. Recently I’ve been all about cross stitching onto plastic canvas to make wearable and tangible pieces you can use, like necklaces, key chains, pins, barrettes, magnets, and phone straps!
LL: So why cross stitch? How did you manage to start getting into it? I understand you have qualifications in illustration?
PS: Well I think I have an affinity to using thread simply because embroidering/sewing runs in my family. My great grandfather was an embroiderer from Lebanon and he made his living in the US by embroidering in NYC. My grandmother was always great with sewing anything, and I have just kind of taken it up because it feels right to do! I also like taking the time to stitch something out over other mediums because it feels like I’m putting real effort into it.
I started cross stitching as a child (the typical cat and flowers type pictures) and eventually realized about 4 years ago that “hey…I can cross stitch pixels!” and it all fell into place, seeing as how I was a gamer since I could hold an NES controller.
And yes! I have my BFA in Illustration from Ringling College of Art and Design, but I sadly draw a lot less than I should. I have been thinking of getting into pixel painting for a while now and designing my own plushie patterns, so maybe I’ll slowly make my way back to drawing!
LL: You bill yourself mainly as a cross stitcher, however I think you’re just as well known for your hama bead accessories. Where did this surge of beading come from? Did it start after you released its potential for sale?
PS: I was cross stitching video game stuff for about a year before I got into beading. I had been wanting to try out mini hama beads for a while because I figured I could make sprite jewelry out of it, something I never have seen anyone make, and once I got ahold of them I made a ton of stuff! I loved how quick and easy it was to make things compared to stitching, and I loved having nerdy accessories of my own.
These are a favorite of my Etsy store (especially my Navi necklace), because I can make them relatively quickly, and they look great! I guess I say I’m more of a cross stitcher because I feel like I’m putting more time/effort into it, it’s more durable, and a must if I’m selling something like a keychain or phone strap where the item is going to get banged around from a lot of use. I believe that’s why lately I have been putting so much time into making cross stitchings onto plastic canvas, like my Scott Pilgrim necklaces.
I also get into modes where I will be in the mood to make beading projects one month, then go back to cross stitching, then on to needlepoint, etc. I’m all over the place!
LL: You say you’re all over the place, how do you choose which medium your next piece is on? It’s rare to see someone do both cross stitching and hama beads, when they are so very similar.
PS: My drive tells me when I’m done with a certain medium for a while. It tends to change about once every 3 or 4 months, I’ll switch off onto another medium. Also depending on the type of craft I’m making, it almost demands a certain medium. For example, if I am ever in the mood to make pieces of jewelry (i.e. a necklace, earrings, barrettes) I will in general always make those in mini hama beads since those aren’t getting beat up on a regular basis. But if I want to make something that is going to get a lot of use like a keychain, I will need to cross stitch that onto plastic canvas. Also, things like art for my walls demands a bigger craft, so I’d either go with perler beads, or cross stitching onto a larger count aida cloth.
LL: Most of your pieces are from 8 bit and 16 bit games. Do your till play modern games, or will you always be a retro gamer?
PS: I love modern games as well and am a huge 360 fan! Some of my favorite ones are the Mass Effect series (can’t wait for 3!), Oblivion, and playing Rock Band with my friends. My favorite newer game would probably have to be Fallout 3, and I struggled through not being able to play first person games (I get weird motion-sickness headaches from them…totally sucks!) just to play through Borderlands….I love that one!
My core is still probably retro games though, with me powering on my SNES and NES just as much as my 360. When I’m not on my 360 (my gamertag is Bamiyan!), you can usually find me playing Super Mario Bros 2, DuckTales, Donkey Kong Country 2, Super Smash TV, or one of the Pokemons on my Super Game Boy!
LL: Most of your projects are on the small size, with some notable exemptions. Do you prefer smaller projects to larger ones, or is there another reason for this?
PS: I actually love really huge projects, I just have a tendency to never quite finish them! For example I have been working on and off on my Onett Map from EarthBound, and my screen shot from Monster Party (each about 1.5′ by 1.5′) for literally years…I’m terrible haha. I usually get to a super monotonous point, then direct my attention to a smaller project to take a break, realize “hey, I can finish this in a day!”, then get sidetracked with smaller projects.
This is another reason that I have made myself take up doing weekly smaller projects for my YouTube channel, with a larger project to work on a little bit every week so that it’ll eventually get done! My latest project is Zeke’s portrait from Zombie’s Ate My Neighbors for the SNES, and I’m about 1/4th done with him.
LL: What projects do you currently have in the works then? Any you are particularly excited by? You’ve been stitching both Zeke and your Earthbound map for a a while now…
PS: This week’s projects for my YouTube channel are a Knuckles from Sonic and Knuckles keychain, hanging from a gold keyring, continuing to work on Zeke, and I’m actually planning on trying to make decent patterns for some little plushies. I have been meaning to start drawing out patterns for various monsters from a few games, mainly Chrono Trigger, EarthBound, and Metroid, and I think I’m going to get on that this week. Chrono Trigger and EarthBound are two of my all time favorite games, so to get a good looking plushie of a Roundillo, or Kilwala (from CT), Coil Snake, or Belch (from EB), I’ll be so happy. I need to invest in a sewing machine stat!
LL: You mentioned Earthbound. Why the near obsession? From what I read, it didn’t get many good reviews, and only shipped in America?
PS: It is an obsession isn’t it?! As a child, I remember looking at the box for EarthBound at my local Toys’R Us, and not liking the cover (a big orange Starman), so I never turned it over to see the back. If I had, I think I would have realized that it may have been a game I would actually like. So as an adult with the internet, and a need to know which old school games I missed out on, I saw EarthBound and finally played it about 4 years ago. It makes me kick myself for not picking up that box and looking on the back (especially now since the game is going for about $180 on Ebay)!
I’m a huge RPG fan. This game is different to begin with because there are no warriors with swords and bad-ass armor, they are just kids with a destiny, and weapons consisting of baseball bats, frying pans, and yo-yos, armor that consists of a baseball cap, and regular clothes. It’s set in quasi-American towns, has crazy people to encounter, a great, simple, story line, and the creepiest boss battle I have ever played. (Giyas is the scariest boss of all time, and his battle is one of the most inventive battles ever.)
This game is just super endearing and a real treat compared to traditional RPG’s. I really love the characters, even down to super insignificant characters like the Exit Mouse who helps you out of dungeons, and that’s why I dedicate myself to so many projects concerning EarthBound.
LL: Where can we find you in the future, apart from the Sprite Stitch Forums? And is there anything else you want to add?
PS: I have a blog, you can find me on Facebook under the name Pixel Stitches, my YouTube channel, my Etsy store, and you can always contact me at pixelstitches[at]gmail.com for anything! I will have a website up shortly which I will link through my blog and YouTube channel, so keep an eye out!
And my hair is not a wig <3