Embroidery and our environment

Hello everyone

Hope you have had a wonderful week?

Summer holidays are approaching and I will very soon be leaving for the UK to deliver the new book manuscript to Search Press (due to be released next year) and to visit Kew Gardens – all very exciting, but lots to do and of course there are the visa applications and all the travel plans to make. Travel is not simple these days do you agree? My family are very nervous when I make bookings because I tend to make huge boo boos – for example I once booked a skip the line museum pass for Milan when we were actually in Florence, and have been known to book for April when it should be June………… although we laugh it can be very stressful co-ordinating dates, hotels, flights etc!

Shop closure

While on the subject of holidays the embroidery shop will be closed from 7th June till 7th July so stock up on supplies for the holidays now. Iron on transfers and fabrics are back in stock. There is a limited supply of premium linen fabric but I will be re-ordering on my return in July.

Embroidery and the environment.

We hear a lot about Climate change and the environment these days but how does this affect our embroidery and how can we help? Thousands of people recently took to the streets in London UK, for the Extinction Rebellion protest to highlight the role of the finance industry in fueling climate change. Now I am not suggesting that you take to the streets with your banner, but with a few small changes to our lifestyles we can and will make a huge difference.

Here are some of the ways that I am trying to make a difference:

Quality rather than quantity

I am no saint when it comes to consumerism, like many of us I love to shop and to get new things, but I can also see that buying less, will ultimately produce less waste and benefit our environment in the long run. For instance I try to buy one good top that I love instead of 10 sale items, the top will last a few years and hopefully can be recycled whereas the sale items will inevitably end up on a land fill somewhere. My daughters buy a lot of their clothing in vintage shops – I am sure we all agree that they don’t make clothing like they used to so often these second hand pieces are beautifully made in lovely quality fabric, and of course “Vintage” is in!

Buy Organic

I am becoming increasingly uncomfortable about the fact that the chemicals used to grow crops like cotton are still present in our clothes when we buy them, so wherever possible I am trying to buy organic clothing such as cotton, bamboo, silk which has been grown in compliance with organic agricultural standards . Not easy as synthetic fabrics like polyester are more easily obtainable due to the fact that they are cheaper to produce, but as the demand for organic fabrics increases so will the supply, and hopefully this will bring the prices down?

I have also taken to using organic cleaners, cosmetics and make up. You all know how I dislike housework – “embroidery forever, housework, whenever”, but I figured if you have to clean things then why not use organic household cleaners, that you actually like the smell of and that don’t have any nasty chemicals in. The laundry liquid actually makes my laundry smell like fresh lemon and does not cause my family to come out in an itchy rash and I find that natural castile soap cleans my embroidery so beautifully and does not leave any residue that other soap powders do.

Embroidery Fabric

Whilst this is not always easy to obtain I prefer to use pure fibers such as cotton, linen or silk for my embroidery. Not only is it a joy to stitch on but ensures that my embroidery pieces last for hundreds of years without deteriorating – some of the earliest examples of embroidery found in Egyptian tombs were stitched on linen. The Inspirations newsletter yesterday (No 185) gave some interesting information on alternative, sustainable fabrics for embroidery such as hemp, lotus and banana fibers.

Embroidery with Cotton and Wool thread on linen.

Embroidery Thread

I use threads made from pure fibers such as cotton or silk for my embroidery. While truly organic threads are not yet available large manufacturers such as the DMC Organisation are making strides in this direction, their threads are Oeko-Tex® certified, to ensure that the products are environment-friendly and safe to use, and have been controlled for harmful substances (dangerous and irritable). 

Silk and cotton embroidery floss

Reduce plastic

Plastic, releases harmful chemicals and is responsible for much of the damage to our ecosystem! I used to use plastic for everything – I stored my threads and embroidery fabric in plastic bags and used them for packaging my products but last year I made the decision to cut back on plastic. I replaced all my packaging wherever possible with recyclable, sustainable options and now store my threads in organza bags that can be re-used and use washable cloth bags for keeping my embroidery in. I also keep a reusable grocery bag in my handbag for all my shopping – you could make your own in different fabrics, they make lovely gifts!

Do you remember the days when you went to the grocery store and got your meat wrapped in brown paper, and there was coke in a bottle which you returned and got your deposit back and of course the milk was delivered in bottles to your door?

Downloadable embroidery patterns

As you know all my patterns are available in a user friendly PDF format that can be downloaded. I encourage the use of digital downloads as a more sustainable way of purchasing an embroidery pattern as it saves on packaging, paper and of course shipping. You can print your pattern but you can also view it from your ipad/tablet whilst stitching as it has the added advantage of being able to zoom in on the pictures.

Spreading the love

We support the goal of the World Fair Trade foundation by donating the proceeds of the La La land pattern every month. There is a short little video there that explains what its all about and how you can help as embroiderers, so you don’t have to read screeds of writing!

I am thrilled to see that young people from all over the globe are taking up embroidery and actively leading the way by using their embroidery/craft as a platform to challenge the injustices of the world. The innovative Craftivist Collective encourages others to change the world one stitch at a time – find out more and see how you can get involved here. Think I might have a go!

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



Provencal & Campagne Updates

Hello Everyone and a happy Monday morning!

The popular Provencal & Campagne Landscape PDF digital patterns have been given a face lift. The outlines have been re-drawn and slightly increased in size for your convenience. The layout has been amended to reflect an easier interface to follow and the stitch glossary has been updated.

Provencal Landscape


Campagne Landscape

Campagne landscape digital pattern

If you have ordered this PDF pattern recently you should receive an update by email.

Have a wonderful week and happy stitching.



New DMC Floss

Hello everyone

How are you, hope your week is going well and you are getting in some stitching time?


Many of you have emailed stating that you cannot find some of the thread numbers for the new embroidery pattern: Tuscan landscape, so I thought it was time I introduced you to the new shades in the DMC floss range.

These shades are DMC floss colours Number 1 – 35 that were released last year. They are now readily available and most needlework shops should have stock of them you can find more information on the DMC site.

There are some gorgeous new vibrant colours that I plan to use in many future patterns so stock up!!

Image courtesy of Stitched Modern.


Recently I added options to each PDF pattern for your convenience – so you will see there is an option to purchase:


But this seems to have caused some confusion for some customers who click on the wrong option and then dont receive what they thought they had ordered! A PDF pattern is a digital pattern which you buy online and it is instantly sent to you by email. You can find more information here on PDF patterns:

  1. What is a PDF Pattern
  2. How do I download a PDF pattern
  3. And lots more info in the Help & Support center.

The Iron on transfer is an optional extra to go with the PDF pattern. This will need to be shipped to you. For some patterns there is also an option to purchase the printed booklet of the pattern – this will also be shipped. If you are not sure please check your order receipt to make sure you are getting exactly what you ordered – we are always happy to help so please email us using the contact form on the site and someone will get right back to you.

There are over 100 PDF patterns to choose from on the site – either Needlepainting, Whitework with colour or Tutorials , you can find them under EMBROIDERY SHOP – DIGITAL PDF PATTERNS.

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



Calling Australian Students

Hello everyone in Australia

I am hoping to attend the BATB convention in 2020 – and my proposal is due for submission at the end of April so time is of the essence. I would like some ideas on what you would like to see for a 2 day class project. I have been going backwards and forwards trying to decide between, birds, flowers etc, so decided to put the question to you. Please comment on this blog post with your reply – as time is limited I will only consider replies received in the next 7 days. If you could answer A, B or C (not all 3!) thanks so much for your help.

Question what would you like to see in a Needlepainting class project:

  • (A) Bird
  • (B) Botanical flower
  • (C) Bird & flower

Have a lovely day



Tuscan Landscape Pattern

Hello everyone

Please forgive me for neglecting you the last few weeks, we have been doing the photo shoot for the new book and it has been a very busy time. This week I am thrilled to announce the arrival of Tuscan Landscape. It is now available as a PDF digital pattern in the store together with an optional iron on transfer.

Tuscan Landscape Embroidery

Tuscan Landscape Pattern

As mentioned to you previously I have been attempting to paint my own source images for reproduction into embroidery and this is the first embroidery creation reproduced from my very own watercolour painting! OK so it may not be a ‘Van Gogh’ but the rudimentary painting gave me a basic composition and colours with which to work the embroidery from and I loved every minute of it. The great thing about creating my own source painting was that I could plan where all the stitches would go when drawing it, so much easier than using an existing artwork and trying to adapt it.


I sat with a bundle of threads and had a great time choosing colours and adding textures along the way. You will notice that there are french knots on some of the trees and bushes to add dimension? I took note of what you asked for in the survey and for those of you who prefer to stitch a larger design there is an additional tracing outline included with the pattern in a bigger size. The iron on transfer includes both the actual size and the enlarged size outlines.

Close up of textures

I hope you will enjoy this embroidery piece as much as I have enjoyed creating it for you and keep watching because there will be more in the series to come.

New Book

Many of you have emailed asking about the new book and when it will be published. This is a book commission from the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew in London, UK that I have been working on for the last 18 months. The commission is to reproduce some of their beautiful botanical illustrations into embroidery. Many of you probably know Kew Gardens as a place to visit and explore their stunning gardens and landscapes, but did you know that they have the largest collection of botanical paintings in the world? These are preserved in their extensive library and some are on display in the onsite galleries.

This will be my first publication with Search Press in the UK and although I can’t reveal too much at this stage, I can tell you that it is like no other book I have produced before, it has been a rare privilege and I am very excited about it. The good news is that it is nearly complete, the bad news is that it takes 6 months to reach production stage and go to print so it will not be released till early 2020. I will share more with you as soon as I am able.

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



Shop Closed for a week

Hello everyone

Hope your week has been good? Just to let you know that the shop will be closed for a week from today Friday 22nd – Friday 1st March. This is to enable me to focus on the new book which requires my undivided attention at present, hope you understand?

Till next time, have a wonderful weekend, and happy stitching.



New In Shop

Hello everyone

How is your week going? I know is has been freezing cold overseas, but in our part of the world we have been experiencing heat waves and constant power cuts, which is very disruptive to all things embroidery! As I don’t have much time to use the computer between power cuts this will of necessity be short, but very sweet:).

Cotton Muslin

The white cotton muslin is back in stock. You can find it here.

Printed Booklets

There are several new printed booklets available in the shop. When you click on a PDF pattern you have 3 options: PDF pattern, iron on transfer and printed booklet. The booklet is a new service provided for those of you who prefer their patterns in print, you asked and it was supplied. Not all the PDF patterns have this option but most of the more recent patterns do.

European Bee Eater
Tutorial in Needlepainting.
Lesson in Needlepainting.

Till next time, wherever you are in the world, have a wonderful weekend and happy stitching.