Linda Anderson and Jennifer Burian are the two delightful ladies behind The Princess & Me. This company specializes in needlepoint ornaments, which are absolutely delightful. They are endlessly inventive and every canvas comes with its own stitch guide. Here’s the text of my recent interview with Jennifer.
How did you get started designing?
>> Linda and her friend, Brenda, had a little shop here in Madison for a few years which closed when Brenda moved to Colorado.ÃŠIt was called the Princess and the Pea.Linda, and her friend Susie Drane, then began The Princess and Me. They started with 12 designs. I was a good shop customer, and began stitching models for Linda and Susie, to send out in trunk shows. Then Susie retired, and Linda approached me about joining her in the business. We have been together about eight years, or so, and have now four trunk shows every month and show at the two large TNNA shows. Linda is the business guru of the two of us! Without her business savvy, we would have gone down the tubes years ago!
What are the things you like best about needlepoint?
>> The thing I like best about needlepoint is that my real job (a labor and delivery nurse) is so fast paced and stressful, that this completely slows me down and supports my creative side.
How would you describe your style and what are your main influences when you design?
>> My style relies on bright colors, and a fairly simple, straightforward design that we can throw wonderful fibers and stitches onto. The main influence is color, and, the current “hot” things in the gift world. I go to as many gift shops and shows, and look through magazines,etc. to see what the current popular thing is for the present year. We also have lots of regional ornaments that shopowners love for stitchers on vacation to buy.
One of the things I like best about Princess & Me canvases is that they always come with stitch guides. Why did you start doing this and how do you get ideas for the stitches?
>> We had always had stitch and fiber guides, and I’m sure it was because Linda was a shopowner before, and knew what a little nightmare it was to pull fibers and make stitch suggestions for folks when the shop was busy.
Which do you prefer stitching or designing?
>> I now prefer designing! I rarely stitch, as when I’m not at the hospital, I’m painting canvases for orders!
Can you describe a bit about how you work?
>> The way I typically work, is sketch, draw, redraw, enlarge, reduce, paint it on a canvas, often repaint it, if the colors just aren’t working, sit in front of my fiber drawers, pull the fibers, and finally, sit at the computer and write out the directions, with the stitches I plan to use. Then off to my favorite stitcher, and her 14 year old daughter who stitches for us, and they stitch all of our models. It’s very labor intensive, but I absolutely love spending a day coming up with a new design and working it through to the finished product.