Hello everyone

Hope your week is going well?  The Queen Bee Whitework with colour pattern pack is now available in the Embroidery Shop.  It includes printed linen fabric, needles and my new instruction format which I think you will find much easier to follow.

queen bee

queen bee 4


I am so sad to tell you that DMC France has discontinued the manufacture of DMC floche.  It may still be available from DMC USA but I am not sure, I have tried to make contact with them but am yet to receive a reply.  It will be available in the Embroidery shop whilst stocks last and thereafter it will no longer be obtainable.  I am looking into replacing it with DMC coton a broder for use in all my Whitework with colour patterns and for future patterns, will keep you posted on this.


Amina of Stitchfloral is doing a stitch along with the Magnolia needlepainting pattern from my book Long & Short Stitch Embroidery.  Her “Stitch Alongs” are excellent – she stitches the design and posts her progress so that others can follow at their own pace.  She has a lovely way of making it all very simple and understandable.  I am thrilled that she has chosen to do the Magnolia, it is not a new pattern but one of my favorites.  If you would like to follow her progress or join in you can find the post here.


Till next time wherever you are in the world keep smiling and happy stitching.




Which Needles

Hello everyone

Hope your week is going well?  This week I want to talk about embroidery needles, which is the “best” and which one should you use.  Needles are so very important in our embroidery – they can make all the difference between a pleasurable and not so pleasurable stitching experience.

I personally have lots of different types and brands of needles – so in the last few weeks I decided to address this issue for myself.  I have tested and researched what is considered to be the best needle and the best brand and possibly contrary to popular opinion these are my findings.

I should mention that needles are a deeply personal preference and what I consider to be the right needle might not necessarily suit you,  but hopefully this guide will be helpful.  Mary Corbet of Needle N Thread has addressed needles in depth over the years so if you search her site for needles you can also find lots of helpful information there.

In the past the good needles were English made needles, but these days like so many other things they are generally made in China.  So if you purchase English needles the chances are that they are distributed but not manufactured in England.


As you know I use sharps needles for all my embroidery project.  The reason behind this is:

  1. A sharps needle has a rounded eye which is easy to thread (and I am terrible at threading needles:))
  2. It has a short shaft.  The shorter length is easier to control when creating small accurate stitches.  It allows for a stabbing motion rather than the scooping motion used for sewing.  Using a long needle causes stress on your arm and shoulder because of the scooping motion.  Because we work with out fabric taut in a hoop it is practical to use a stabbing motion.


Source John James Needles.

So we have established two important factors:  the rounded eye and the short shaft.  The rounded eye should be smooth on the inside so that the thread can pass through easily and of course the shaft should also be fine, smooth, and have a nice sharp point which passes smoothly through the fabric without snagging.  I have found that some needle points tend to snag and catch on the fabric when passing through – you can feel this by running your finger along the point.


The third factor is that the needle will feel comfortable to you.  I find that I tend to go back again and again to my favorite needles and this tells me that it is the right one for me.  So having testing out every major brand that I am aware of including: Japanese Tulip needles, Pony, Richard Hemming, Clover, and S.Thomas & Sons these are the two I like best:

John James Gold Eye Applique Size 10.

These are distributed by Entaco Limited in England.  The 18K gold eye with a nickel plated shaft does make a difference.  They glide through the fabric and are a joy to use.  The needles are now called Gold’n Glide Applique rather than Sharps, which is confusing, possibly due to the fact that more quilters use these needles than embroiderers?  Not sure what the reason is but the Applique needle in the John James collection is the equivalent of a Sharps.



Bohin Sharps Size 10

This is a new discovery, manufactured in France and I love them!  It is a plain, nickel plated needle with a round, very  smooth eye, soooo much easier to thread!   It has a short, smooth shaft with an exceptional polish that glides through the fabric.  The point is fine and sharp,  but smooth it does not snag.  Nothing fancy, no gold,  just a really good quality needle. 

It feels solid in my hand and I have noticed that it does not seem to tarnish, ever, and also does not bend.  I tend to use a new needle for every project because it tarnishes or bends,  sometimes I replace my needle during a project if necessary but with the Bohin needle I don’t need to, in fact I think twice about discarding it when the project is complete because it looks like new, like it has never been used!


Needles packed  in Soft Cloth – no plastic!


So what is the difference between Bohin and other needles?  Well I did a bit of research and this is what I discovered:  “The last surviving French manufacturer of pins and needles: BOHIN France! Nestled on the riverbank, this factory is still in operation, working with the same ancient expertise and old machines as those used in times gone by.”  So perhaps it has something to do with the “ancient expertise”?

I am so impressed with Bohin needles that they are now available in my shop.    I have two sizes available:  size 10 for 1 – 2 strands of DMC stranded cotton and No 9 for 2 – 3 strands of cotton or DMC floche.

For those who have been waiting for Chloe & Great Horned owl – they  are back in stock.

Till next time, wherever you are in the world, keep smiling and happy stitching.







Fair Trade Foundation

Hello everyone

Not sure if this is something we should be shouting from the rooftops but I believe you deserve to know the outcome of your generosity, so I am delighted to let you know that this month we have donated a total of $804 to the Fairtrade Foundation from last month’s sales of the Lala land digital pattern and embroidery kit.

lala land pic1

77 PDF patterns were sold in the digital store which is amazing!  Thank you for the wonderful,  response to this cause, it is very much appreciated.   Here is the reply from Fairtrade explaining how our donation will be used:

“Many farmers and workers across the developing world are struggling to get a fair deal. Fairtrade enables them to receive a fairer price for the things they grow as well as a little bit extra to spend on important projects for their communities, such as schools, hospitals and fresh water wells.

Your donation will help Fairtrade to provide assistance to farmers and workers to join Fairtrade – from training to increase yield and quality of crops, climate change adaptation and supporting woman farmers to stand up against gender bias.

Thank you for your support in shifting the power back to farmers. You’re giving them the chance to work their way out of poverty.”

If you would like to purchase a pattern you can find it here.  Have a wonderful week and keep smiling you deserve it!




Blog comments

Hello everyone

While spring cleaning my Blog site today I came across hundreds of pending comments waiting for approval.    Please accept my apologies if you thought I had not replied to your comments – I did not know they were there!!  I have changed the settings to enable all comments as approved so please don’t give up on me I love to hear from you.

I have also added a contact form if you want to message me privately.

Have a wonderful weekend.



A bunch of flowers

Hello everyone hope you are having a great weekend.  The embroidery store will be open tomorrow 30th April.

There is a new pattern available in the Digital Store.


A Bunch Of Flowers, is a lovely, fresh design that was illustrated by artist Clare Owen.  It is part of the new collection of Simple Surface embroidery patterns or hoop art patterns that have been created for those who are starting out with needlepainting and whitework embroidery and provides a good introduction to silk shading.  The design is stitched in glorious shades of purple, lilac, gold and soft yellows – it  uses 2 strands of thread and is suitable for all levels including beginner.


This project is one of the new updated step by step patterns, which takes all the guess work out of following instructions,  and is clear and simple to follow.  There is an iron on transfer pattern available for this project here.


Till next time, keep smiling and happy stitching.