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Alyssa Thomas is an accomplished illustrator and Minneapolis native who founded Penguin & Fish, her online store, back in 2004. As well as an outlet for adorable plushies and art, it also is where Alyssa shares her love of stitch by offering her art as amazing embroidery designs. Alyssa’s style is cute and quirky, a style which has served her well in her other venture as a children’s book Illustrator with her new book No Monster Here.

Alyssa’s adorable bunny design is cute enough for kids but has enough charm for any age. The design is available for machine embroidery.

Tell us a bit about your background -- what led you into art and what drives you now?

I was always encouraged to draw when I was little and every birthday and Christmas I would receive some sort of crafty kit from someone. I went to college for graphic design with an emphasis in illustration and animation. Today my husband and I own a design/film firm called Studio Collective which he mainly runs, and Penguin & Fish where we manufacture lovely and quirky hand embroidery patterns and kits, and stuffed animal sewing patterns. What drives me is an absolute love of making things, and I want others to get the satisfaction of making something themselves.

What led you into embroidery?

I've been embroidering ever since my babysitter taught me to cross stitch when I was six or seven years old. It was one of my first crafts. Today it's a way for me to draw more and still be crafty. I just turn my drawings into embroideries. I find hand embroidery to be such a relaxing craft and an easy one for beginning crafters. All you have to do learn a stitch or two then trace over a line with your stitches. And it's portable which is awesome! It's also the best thing to do while watching TV.

What inspires your designs?

Animals for sure. I love that you never know what they're thinking, you can only guess.

Tell us a bit about your design and the story behind it.

This design is from my new organic fabric collection, Picnic Pals. It is my second fabric collection sold through Clothworks Textiles, and I'm super excited about it. There are two bunnies, a sparrow, frog, turtle and chipmunk in it. It's a little more sophisticated then what I usually do, but still great for kids. The line will be in stores in July, and I can't wait to see it finished!

What’s your studio/workspace like?

My studio is in one of the main level rooms in our house. It is on one side of the hallway and my husband's studio is on the other side. We're constantly yelling questions back and forth to each other. My studio is divided into three workspaces; one for sewing, one of for painting and one for computing. All three always have a project ready to go if I feel like I need to change things up and work on something else. Outside my window, every morning a fat squirrel attempts to climb up the skinny pole that holds my bird feeder, only to slide down when he gets halfway up. It's so cute to watch, poor squirrel.

Finally, if you were a thread color, what color would you be?



You can find her at her online shop Penguin & Fish, or follow her exploits on her blog. Just be warned, if you click that link, you will suddenly be overcome with a desire to buy a fox plushie.

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