This week I was lucky enough to grab a second –and an awesome interview– from WhateverJames, owner and Star Wars geek behind Hanstitchedfirst.com. Straight from the tauntauns mouth-“Han Stitched First is the only (and best) place on the internet to find needlework projects, patterns and information inspired by the Star Wars universe.“
I came across James by accident on twitter one day when he was talking about it being “Stitch in public day”. Not only was I curious about cross stitching that was being created by a dude, but he was stitching some really nontraditional designs. His Star Wars pieces in particular caught my eye. ( Come on, have you been to the pre -packaged cross stitching aisle? Nothing but roosters and floral patterns.) Being the Star Wars freak that I am, I had to find out more about him and his interesting craft. He showed me the way to a very therapeutic and creative outlet for my love of geekery and handmade goods.
So, grab a glass of warm blue bantha milk, take a seat and get to know WhateverJames after the jump!
Holly:Tell us a bit about yourself. Who is WhateverJames?
James:I was born in a log MedBay 32 standard years ago and I am a stay-at-home dad with two daughters. I run a Star Wars inspired needlework blog called HanStitchedFirst.com so you probably think I am some kind of cross stitching Star Wars nerd. But I also like Futurama.
H:Out of all the crafts and hobbies out there, why cross stitching?
J:I’ve never been a traditional “dude” in that I don’t know much about cars (I previously believed in blinker fluid) and I don’t like most sports other than MMA- and that’s only because my nephew described The Ultimater Fighter as “Top Model where they fight at the end of each episode”mand really, who doesn’t want a cycle like that?! So once I got started, my biggest problem wasn’t that it might be perceived as “for girls” but that people might think it was “old maid”
H:How did you get into cross stitching?
J:In 2004-ish I was dating a crochet teacher and I thought she would think it was cool if I tried a craft (I’m all class). I saw a cross stitch kit and asked her if she could teach me. But I never really finished anything until a couple years later when I found Julie Jackson’s book Subversive Cross Stitch. I’ve only done one piece out of the whole thing, but I started designing my own stuff on graph paper before I even got home from the book store. Talk about inspiration.
H:What do you enjoy most about stitching?
J:I struggle a lot with finding a balance in how I express my personality. Cross stitch has a slightly formulaic structure, in that you almost always use a chart of some kind, but I can make my own charts and be as artistic as I want to be. Cross stitch allows me to work completely on my own and then show of the results and talk to people with similar interests. So, I get some of the introvert and the social-bug. I’ve written, played music and tried a number of different outlets and I think cross stitch is a really good expression of the center of my personality.
J:I do have an Etsy shop, but I really don’t know if there is anything in it. I don’t make a lot of duplicate pieces and I only ever take the time to stitch something I at least like, so anything I do, I tend to get pretty attached to. I am hoping to start selling Star Wars inspired designs through my Etsy shop in the next few months.
Most of the pieces I have kept are either on walls scattered throughout my living room or in drawers and binders somewhere, probably not even on hoops.
H:Do you mainly focus on Star Wars pieces?
J: I didn’t used to. When I finally did, it was like a flood gate and I really went for it. My other love is stitching the covers to my favorite albums. I am currently working on a large Darth Vader portrait and then I think I am going ot focus on the cover to “World Contact Day” y the Groovie Ghoulies. My wife, Windy, really wants to see me do something with a few different colors that aren’t all shades of red.
H:You of all people should be aware of the feelings between SW fans and..Trekkies. Have anything you would like to say to those Star Trek stitchers out there?
J:Live long and let the Wookie win!
H:Tell us about Hanstitchedfirst.com
J:Han Stitched First is the only blog dedicated to Star Wars inspired stitching. I used to keep a personal blog and as I entertained the idea of doing some Star Wars pieces, I thought I would do a series of one per month and the series was going to be called “Han Stitched First”. As the ideas for pieces got bigger, I realized one per month wasn’t going to happen. I started looking for more Star Wars needlework and found that unlike, say, video games and SpriteStitch, there was not a site specifically dedicated to Star Wars needlework. I am happy to say that the site is almost a year old and there are a lot of good ideas in the works!
H:What do your guy friends think about your stitching hobby?
J:My friends are the best. Finest kind. I may have been worried about what my guy friends thought for a second, but as soon as they found out, they were totally into it. I have made something for each of my closest guy friends and they are always the ones who seem to dig them the most.
J:Honestly, it’s a Valentine I made for my wife, Windy, a few years ago that says “I Love You More Than Star Wars”. It won a Best Of Craftster award that year and it wasn’t because of a brilliant design or amazing excution. The response to the piece was overwhelming. It still is. I have had people contact me to show they stitched it into their wedding sampler, or stitched something like it for their boyfriend. All I ever wanted to do was tell Windy how I honestly felt, the fact that it ever had any meaning to anyone else is more than I think I could have ever imagined.
H:Where else can our readers find you?
J:I am most active on Twitter (@WhateverJames) and I do have a facebook page, WhateverJames: In Stitches, that I am trying to get better about updating. Here is my Etsy shop, because I really do list some stuff!
Thank you James for taking the time to have this interview with us! We look forward to all of your future pieces and REALLY encourage you to stay on track to filling your Etsy shop for us in the future! Can’t wait to see what you come up with next!
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