Creative Q&A: Charlie Mankin / Stitchsperation

Hello everyone! Today is the second Q&A interview with one of my favourite creatives. I'd love to introduce you to Charlie - another friend I've made via the wonder of Instagram, and also had the absolute delight of meeting in person at the Spring Knitting & Stitching Show where she had a stand - and completely smashed it with her gorgeously colourful creations! 

Hi! It's lovely to have you here, can you introduce yourself: What’s your name and where do you come from? What do you do?

Hello! I'm Charlie, the one-woman band behind Stitchsperation. I come from Bristol but have ended up in Somerset via France and Canada! I design and make modern cross stitch kits for people who love bright colours, modern design and typography.

(Goodness, that's a bit of a round-about journey!)

 Photo by  Stitchsperation
 Meeting Charlie (in the middle) at the Spring Knitting & Stitching Show

Meeting Charlie (in the middle) at the Spring Knitting & Stitching Show

What’s your personal definition of Creativity? What does it look and feel like in your life?

For me, creativity is producing something from your thoughts and dreams that didn't exist before. Whether it be a cross stitched piece of art, a painting or a delicious meal made from scratch.

If I don't create something on a regular basis, I go crazy. I discovered this a few years ago when I was in a real funk and realised the only thing that had changed in my life at that point was that I hadn't been creative for a while! I pulled out the sewing machine and suddenly all was right with the world! These days I'm always being creative, whether it's designing new cross stitch patterns, stitching up said patterns, painting fabric to go in my kits, or working on a quilting or sewing commission, I try to do something creative every day.

(I know exactly what you mean about the crazy - I definitely didn't realise how much I'd missed having a creative outlet until I started picking up a few hobbies again)

Apart from in your business, how do you let your creative side out to play?

I hate to say it, but I am a bit of a workaholic, that's what happens when you love what you do! That being said, I love to learn new crafts. Last year I learned to knit which was great! It's not going to take over as something I do all the time, but it's nice to dip in and out and know that I have the knowledge now if I want it. This last weekend I had a go at weaving and that was awesome! I definitely want to do more.

(Another knitting convert, hooray! Being able to do what you love and have it be something that satisfies your creative urges is fantastic, but it's great that you're experimenting with other things too!)

Photos by Stitchsperation

Have you always felt creative? Have there been times when you’ve struggled with it?

I feel like I was born making something! I've definitely always been creative. My mum quilts, knits, crochets and sews, my brother is a graphic designer, so there's definitely something in the blood. I think I only ever struggle with things when I have to do it and it's not something I'm really into.

(It definitely sounds like you've got creativity in your genes - and wonderful that you've had family to encourage you on the same path)

Where do you find inspiration? Who or what do you look out for?

I find inspiration everywhere! From Instagram to Pinterest, to museums, books, food packaging..... you name it! I love seeing interesting use of colour, fab new typography, people trying to bring old crafts into the 21st Century.

Some people I find hugely inspiring are:

@elizabethpawle - amazing use of colour

@freabuckler - geometric shapes and more amazing colour combos

@anthonyburrill - awesome typography

(Amazing, thank you for the recommendations! I'm exactly the same, it's very rare that I'll go somewhere, see or read something that doesn't spark even a little bit of inspiration)

What top three tips would you offer a nervous creative?

  • It's all about you! Do it for you, not for anybody else. Don’t worry about what people 'might' think or say. You're not doing it for anyone but you.
  • Try it, you might like it. If you are given the opportunity to try a new craft or creative pursuit, take it! You never know if you'll like it until you try.
  • Keep doing it! Creativity is like a muscle, the more you do the more you can/want to do. Don’t give up because it wasn't perfect the first time - perfection is a myth!
 Photo by  Stitchsperation

(Perfect, I love these! I'm very much all about the creative muscle theory, and just giving something a go - after all, what's really the worst that could happen?!)

Where can we find you online?

I'm @stitchsperation on social media - IG, FB, Twitter and Pinterest

My website: www.stitchsperation.com

Etsy: www.etsy.com/shop/stitchsperation

NOTHS: www.notonthehighstreet.com/stitchsperation

I also share my sewing, quilting and other creative bits and bobs on Instagram @sydneyrosedesigns

(Amazing, thank you so much Charlie, it's been brilliant to read your answers, and I'm looking forward to seeing what else you've got up your sleeve for the rest of this year!)

I hope you've enjoyed reading this Q&A, and I'd encourage you to go and check out some of Charlie's links - her cross stitch kits are stunning! I look forward to introducing you to another amazing creative soon, but for now - have a fabulous creative day!


Looking for more inspiration and ideas to kickstart your creativity? Check out my FREE 20 page workbook packed with suggestions for tapping into your own individual creative side in different areas of your life. Sign up below to get my monthly newsletter, and I'll send you a link to download the workbook straight away (you're free to unsubscribe at any time)