Christmas Shut down

Hi everyone

I know you are probably all busy preparing for Christmas.  I have the whole family coming out from overseas this year – we have not seen some of them in 12 years so it is a grand reunion!

Just a reminder that the main ETSY shop will be closing next Friday 9th December and will not re-open till first week of January 2017.  The ETSY DIGITAL will remain open throughout the Festive season so if you have a yen to stitch you can download an embroidery pattern instantly!  The response to the Black Friday sale was Phenomenal – thank you to all!


The cardinal kit will be back in stock on Monday so keep an eye out in the shop.

New Kit Layout A5

Cardinal Kit

It is also available as a digital download here.


Meanwhile, keep smiling and happy stitching (amidst the Christmas preparations).


Black Friday Sale

Hello everyone

I have some news!  Firstly I am delighted to announce the opening of the new DIGITAL SHOP on Etsy as of today 24th November 2016.

The shop can be found here: ETSY DIGITAL SHOP.

SALE:  Secondly in keeping with the BLACK FRIDAY sales worldwide tomorrow there will be 50% off all downloads for one day only.  Sale Starts at 1am central time (approx 7am UK, 6pm Australia) tomorrow Friday 25th to 1am Saturday 26th November 2016.


The items in the shop are digital downloads or printable embroidery patterns only. No items will be shipped.  if you are looking for physical items, kits and supplies they can be found at the main shop here. TRISHBURREMBROIDERY.

The patterns can be instantly downloaded and printed or saved to your PC or tablet. Digital patterns are a quick and easy way of gaining access to a new embroidery project without waiting for it to be shipped – download to your PC or tablet in minutes and you are ready to stitch!


This has been the culmination of many weeks of work – all embroidery patterns for both Needlepainting and Whitework, old, new, discontinued and current patterns have been restored and given a make over.  Each pattern now has exactly the same layout which is presented in a user friendly printer format for both US letter size and A4 size.  The layout is simple, easy to read and easy to print as shown below.

New Kit Layout A5

The patterns are priced according to the number of pages and substance of instructions involved, so you can find quick and easy level ALL patterns and slightly more comprehensive Intermediate patterns they are all there!  Some of them are older patterns that have been discontinued and some are patterns that were never released so are available for the first time.

Each pattern includes a list of the materials needed, a clear tracing outline actual size and a very enlarged photo of the project to refer to for details while stitching.  You will also find a general list of the materials required with the listing so you can see whats needed before ordering.

New Kit Layout A5


You can also have a sneak preview of what the instructions will look like in your download – the layouts will differ according to when the project was designed, older layouts are slightly different to the current layouts as they have changed over the years, but all of them are easy to follow.

New Kit Layout A5

The items are grouped into sections:  Needlepainting: birds, flowers, butterflies & miniatures.  Whitework With Colour, as shown below.  So you can easily find what you are looking for.



The digital pattern can also be comfortably read on your tablet or phone.  The advantage of reading it from your tablet is that you can zoom in on details whilst stitching.



The file will be delivered electronically to the email you have registered with Etsy within minutes of your order and payment being completed. The email will have a link and instructions on how to complete your download.

Dont see it in your email? You can also download your files by clicking on PURCHASES in the drop down YOU menu at the top of your Etsy page.  If you lose your download for any reason you can go back at any time and download it again from your Purchase in Etsy.



I hope you like the new shop and have fun at the sale!  The main Etsy store will close on the 10th December but the digital store will remain open throughout the festive season.

Till next time happy stitching.  Trish


Happy Thanksgiving

Hello everyone

It is that time of year again and I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving.  With gratitude in mind I designed this little project  “Grateful Heart”.  This design is a gift from me to you to say Happy Thanksgiving and a Merry Christmas!

Lets take a moment to think of something we are all grateful for.  I know I am grateful for all of you, my readers, my customers,  our friendship.   For the wonderful support and encouragement, you give me with my work – without you there would be no Trish Burr Embroidery and I am grateful for it every day of my life.

The project is free to use in anyway you would like and can be downloaded here.


Till next time, keep smiling don’t overdo the turkey, and happy stitching!


Cardinal Bird

Hello Everyone

Today is a momentous day for those of you in the USA – have been watching the elections with interest and know that some of you will be mourning and some of you celebrating?  If you need cheering up there is a new kit in stock – the cardinal bird and blossoms.  I know it is a favorite in the States as many of you have emailed requesting it, so hope you like it.  You can find it here in the Etsy store.


The little bee eater bird was discontinued but is back in stock by popular request, you can find it here  Little Bee eater.

bee eater

Little bee eater

Redoutes sweet peas & little bird and flower lesson are also back in stock – you can find them here , Redoutes Sweet Peas, Little bird and flower.

sweet peas

Sweet Peas

little bird

Needlepainting lesson Little bird & flower

Have a laugh on my behalf.

Thought I would share a little story with you that will either make you laugh or cry:  Every week I cut hundreds of pieces of fabric ready to go to the screen printer – I have a rotary cutter which I use but it is quite exhausting work and can take 2 days to cut about 200 pieces, so finally after years of this, I decided to invest in a fabric cutting machine, like the one below.  I spent many hours researching the right one and with tongue in cheek finally placed my order.  It arrived – I was very excited but said to myself “Trish calm down, go slowly this is a dangerous piece of equipment – you don’t want to chop your fingers off”.  So I was sitting diligently reading the manual and the machine was plugged in ready to go – the instructions said to turn it on and sharpen it before first use.  So I turned it on and POOF, there was a loud BANG and blue sparks flew out – I had cut through the electrical cord!  I was not hurt and subsequent investigation showed that the machine was still in working order although there was a little notch burnt out on the blade so it was making a clunking noise. ……………… needless to say I felt very silly and cross with myself.


Last night my cousin in the UK messaged to ask how the machine was going – she has a very dry sense of humour.  When I told her what had happened she messaged back” OOPS!”  I replied “Big OOPS!”  Then she said”At least you didn’t set your hair on fire”.  She is a dressmaker and explained that she has now invested in a soldering iron but prior to that was using a lighter to heat seal the edge of her fabric/  She was leaning over intent on what she was doing and set her hair on fire!  She had to hit her head against things to put it out and was thinking to herself that thank goodness her neighbor is a fireman.  Needless to say we saw the funny side of it and got the giggles.  My husband and daughter who were watching TV could not understand why I was crying with laughter – their dead pan faces made it even funnier.  I felt so much better after that – laughter is such a great way to make little of something and put it into perspective.

Nevertheless, today I cut a couple of hundred pieces of fabric,  with my machine clunking away,  and have now placed an order with the same company and salesman who sold me the fabric cutter last week, for a replacement cord and blade……….. no doubt he will put two and two together?  I read a review on Amazon where a lady said she “inadvertently” cut through the cord – I was so relieved that someone else could be as stupid as me.

Till next time remember LIFE IS BETTER WHEN YOUR LAUGHING!  Happy stitching.





Threads, Threads & More Threads

Hello everyone

As promised this week we are going to talk about threads.  When I first started embroidery about 20 years ago we had a nice variation of threads on the market but now………… there are threads, threads and more threads!  Browsing the internet is TOO tempting and enticing – I have to say to myself “Dear God, Lead me not into temptation, but deliver me from thread shops”!  So many options – so how does one know which threads to use?

The purpose of this post is not to promote certain thread brands but rather talk about those that I tend to use most for the style of embroidery that I do specifically.  That does not mean that all those other brands out there are not fabulous!


DMC satin floss compliments DMC USA

Ask yourself if you were on a desert island and you could only take one brand of thread what would it be?  My answer would be ………. good old reliable DMC Stranded cotton.  Why because it does it all.  It can be used for every form of embroidery, one strand for fine work, building up to several strands for heavier work.  It is colourfast, great quality, easy to use, readily available in most countries, has a grand array of 454 colours and its strong – so if you needed to make rope for a raft it would do that:)

I would love to see more colours added to the range, especially very pale green plus some grey, smokey blues and dull lavenders, hope you are listening DMC?   However we can always make a plan………… there are of course several other brands of stranded cotton that are of the same quality such as Anchor and Madeira to name a few.  So we can fill in the gaps by including shades from other brands.  As long as they are of the same quality, why not?


DMC Mouline compliments Tuva

DMC Stranded cotton

I use one strand of this for fine needlepainting.  Sometimes I use two strands for raised outlines under the stitching, or if needed elsewhere, but mostly it is one strand.  I also use it in combination with Floche and other threads in my Whitework With Colour designs.  They come in a gorgeous selection of colours as shown below on the colour chart – compliments of DMC USA.





Colour Chart compliments of DMC USA

Other threads

Needlepainting:  I tend to stay with stranded cotton for needlepainting as I prefer the subtle sheen and the fact that it can be washed if necessary.

red butterfly

African Red Butterfly

If you prefer something with a bit of shine you could use silk.  Some of the gorgeous silks I have tried and used in the past are:  Gloriana silk, which is available in some really beautiful unique colour combinations which I love,  Au Ver a Soie D’alger and, Silk Mill both of which are available in a huge amount of shades approx 800.    All these are reputable, good quality silks – take care when using no name brand silks.  I have recently been trying out Soie de paris silk thread, which is a very shiny and beautiful silk that is effortless to use.  You will see it in some of the new designs I hope to launch in 2017.  Again there are many other gorgeous silk threads on the market these are just a few.


Au ver A Soie D’Alger compliments Scatteredseedsampler Etsy


Soie de Paris compliments Sharon Master Quilter

Whitework:  One of the loveliest threads to use for Whitework, especially padded satin stitch is DMC cotton floche.  Unfortunately it is not always readily available and I would love to see more shops keeping stock of this.  It is available in my Etsy shop in white and grey.   It is slightly thicker than stranded cotton and has a beautiful sheen to it.  I also use some Gloriana variagated silk in my designs to add a bit of interest.



satin stitch in floche


I store my thread stash in clear acrylic drawers as shown below in my studio.  For smaller quantities of thread I would recommend storing them by colour theme in clear plastic bags placed in drawers,  so you can access them easily and quickly add leftover/new threads to the packet when needed.  There are many ideas for storing thread online so you can find what suits you.   If you want more information on how to use thread, the nap of the thread etc you can find details in my handbook here.

thread drawers

Till next time keep smiling, and happy stitching.







Fabric Talk

Hello everyone

As the end of the year approaches I would like to discuss two subjects dear to every embroiderer’s heart and that is Fabric & thread.  This week we are going to talk about FABRIC – which fabric is best for which type of embroidery, where to get it and how to use it.  As there are so many types of fabric on the market it can be confusing so hopefully this article will simplify things a bit for you.


Firstly lets clarify “surface embroidery”.  This is fine embroidery like Needlepainting and Whitework where one strand of thread is mainly used.  (Not crewel where wool/thicker threads are used).

Because the embroidery is fine you need a fabric  where the warp (lengthwise yarns) and weft threads (crosswise yarns) are closely woven with a smooth feel to it.   Let me try and put this into layman terms for you:  the fabric should be closely woven,  and with a plain weave, something like a good quality bed sheet with a count of 200 or more.  It is equally important that the fabric should be of medium weight and have little or no stretch in it so that when it is mounted into a hoop or stretcher bars it will not distort the design.


Very briefly here is an explanation for thread count from Wikipedia: Thread count or threads per inch (TPI) is a measure of the coarseness or fineness of fabric. It is measured by counting the number of threads contained in one square inch of fabric or one square centimeter, including both the length (warp) and width (weft) threads.

FABRIC WITH CLOSE WEAVE:  so the higher the count the closer the weave.  Stitching on fabric with a close weave (Diag 1 & 2 below) allows for precise placement of the needle wherever you want it to go without going into the same hole twice.

FABRIC WITH LOOSE WEAVE :  Stitching on a fabric with a loose weave (Diag 3 below) means you will have to go into the same place with your needle twice or more , therefore you will end up with little holes or the stitching will bunch up on the fabric.


  • Close weave fabric with a plain weave.
  • Medium weight so it supports the weight of the stitching.
  • Little or no stretch in the fabric.

DIAG 1 Close weave 200 count cotton muslin


DIAG 2.  200 count muslin enlarged weave


DIAG 3.  loose weave muslin enlarged


It is best to use fabrics with pure fibres like cotton or linen, not mixed/synthetic fabrics like polycotton.  Silk could also be used as long as it meets all the criteria for surface embroidery fabric.  To clarify the types of fabric:

  • A good quality pure cotton/muslin with at least 200 count.
  • A good quality pure linen with at least 200 count.  The type of linen used by our Great Grandmothers for handkerchiefs, doilies etc.


COTTON:  If you are looking for a good quality 200 count cotton muslin then you could probably look in some of the quilting shops or online.  Some cotton muslin’s I can recommend are:

  • Rockland Supreme 200 count muslin
  • Southern Belle 200 count muslin
  • Kona premium 200 count muslin
  • Cotton satin from UK – this is a cost effective alternative to cotton muslin and can be used successfuly for Needlepainting but not whitework.
  • Other – if you are unable to source these fabrics in your Country of Origin you could buy a 200 count cotton percale sheet and cut it up.  This is not ideal but will work.

LINEN.  You are highly unlikely to find this in a store or online embroidery supplier, it is only available from specialist suppliers.  The closest would be a good quality Church linen or Irish Cambric linen available from Church embroidery sources,  which works fine but I still find the weave a little loose.   If you are fortunate enough to come across a high count linen while shopping in Paris or at a flea market, or if your Grandmother happened to leave you a stash,  then that is wonderful!   I have spent years sourcing the perfect linen which I now import from the manufacturer in Belgium and sell in my ETSY SHOP.   It is a smooth, tightly woven linen that is used for specialist bed linen.

SILK.  I tend not to use silk as find that the fibres tend to separate slightly when I am stitching, but many stitchers’ favor it.  If you are going to use silk ensure that it is a good quality pure silk such a Silk Dupion from a reputable supplier.


Both linen and cotton muslin for Needlepainting & Whitework are available in the ETSY SHOP HERE.

Cotton Satin fabric can be purchased from either:



It is not necessary to use a backing fabric if the fabric is of medium weight and can support the weight of the stitching alone.  Using a backing fabric can present problems if both fabrics are not lined up correctly together and also means you need to stretch both pieces separately when mounting your work for framing so I tend to stay clear of backing fabrics.  This is a personal preference but if you do want to use a backing fabric it is best to use a very lightweight cotton muslin.


I like both – actually I love to stitch on cotton because it is easy to stitch on and the stitches tend to be more defined, whereas linen the stitches tends to melt slightly into the fabric ,  but cotton does not hold the embroidery as well as linen does.  Linen is more resilient, bounces back into shape when you remove it from the hoop and will ultimately out last cotton over the years.  Linen is much more pricey than cotton, so you will need to decide which suits you (and your pocket) more.

Both Linen and Cotton can be used for Needlepainting and Whitework.  I tend to use linen for larger designs as it holds the stitching better.


There are a lot of embroidery linens available for sale online and in the shops, but please be aware that 99% of these are for counted thread work or for Crewel Embroidery.  The counted thread linens come in various counts from +/- 10 – 50count but are not suitable for surface embroidery.  There are also some lovely linens like linen twill and Belgian linen for Crewel Embroidery but these are coarser and again not suitable for fine surface embroidery.

linen fabrics for counted thread work - The Cross Stitch Guild.

linen fabrics for counted thread work – source The Cross Stitch Guild:


Yes there is and it is important as will make all the difference to the final outcome of your work.  There is nothing more depressing than to find that your embroidery is puckered or distorted when you remove it from the hoop.  Even if you are using the right fabric this can happen – the reason is probably that you have mounted/stretched your fabric against the grain.

Let me clarify:  The fabric has a grain as shown below – the grain runs at right angles and there is very little stretch, but if you pull it across the bias you will find it stretches a lot.  If you mount your fabric into the hoop on the bias it will over stretch and distort the fabric,  and the result will be that your stitching is puckered/distorted.   Another reason to use a fabric that has little or no stretch in it?   Here is a diagram to illustrate:

biasTo summarise:  Pull a thread on your piece of fabric to make sure it is lined up on the straight of the fabric.  When you mount it into the hoop or frame make sure that you stretch it more on the straight grain then on the bias.


It is virtually impossible for a commercial printer to ensure that each outline is screen printed in line with the grain of the fabric. As long as you mount the fabric into the hoop on the straight grain and not in line with the printed outline it will be fine.  To clarify:  pull a thread on one side of your fabric to find the straight grain.  Mount the fabric into the hoop and stretch it across the straight grain not the bias.



Don’t worry there is a solution!  You can still block your embroidery to get it back into shape.  You can find instructions on how to do this on my WEBSITE HERE.  However, this can only be done if you have used a thread like DMC stranded cotton which is colourfast, not recommended if you have used silk thread.


I do like to wash my embroidery as it freshens it and removes any dusty marks that may have accumulated during stitching, however I have had some disasters with washing my embroidery so tend to rather try and keep it clean when stitching.  You can purchase little white cotton bags for this purpose here in the ETSY store.  Sometimes even colourfast threads like dark reds can bleed when washed and of course you should never wash your embroidery if you have used silk threads.  If you are going to wash your embroidery you can find more details on my WEBSITE HERE.

I hope this article has clarified Fabric for surface embroidery for you.  All the information here and more can be found in my HANDBOOK.

Till next time, take care, keep smiling and happy stitching!










Spring News

Hello everyone

I hope this finds you well?  It is Spring here in Cape Town and the wild flowers are in full bloom, such a beautiful time of the year.  I know it is your Fall season overseas and you will be preparing for the upcoming winter and of course Halloween and Thanksgiving!  My apologies for not having posted sooner it has been a busy month and I was away teaching at the fabulous Igahli convention in Knysna South Africa which I hope to share with you very soon.


Table Mountain, Cape Town.

There are three new designs available in the ETSY shop.  The first is a needlepainting kit, in response to numerous requests for a reproduction of a Lilac Breasted Roller that I did some years ago. It never fails to amaze me the stunning array of colours that are found in birds, and this little chap is no exception.   LITTLE LILAC BREASTED ROLLER can be found here.  This is available as a pattern kit which includes, pre printed fabric, needles and instruction booklet but no threads.  The thread list is included.

Little Lilac Breasted Roller Portrait

Little Lilac Breasted Roller Portrait

close up

close up

The second is an addition to the Whitework with Colour range – FLOWERS FOR ITALY, which can be found here.  I named it after the beautiful Gloriana variagated silk called Flowers For Italy.  This is a gorgeous wreath of birds, flowers, acorns and berries stitched in shades of burgundy, greens, golds and white.  The Gloriana Silk is included with the kit.  This is available as a pattern pack which includes, pre-printed fabric, needles, instruction booklet and the Gloriana silk thread.  The other threads are not included but a list is available.

Flower for Italy

Flower for Italy

close up

close up

The third design is Spring In A teacup – it is a smaller design than Flowers in a teacup but would make a lovely companion if framed as a set.  This design is available as a digital download, which you can instantly download to your PC or Ipad once payment has processed.   SPRING IN A TEACUP can be found here.

spring-4Till next time, wherever you are in the world, take care and happy stitching.  Trish

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