New Kits

Hello everyone

It has been some time since we last spoke, hope you are enjoying your summer holidays overseas – we are freezing here in Cape Town!  While you have been basking in the sun I have been busy as a bee and this week  I am pleased to share with you a few new items in the shop.  In response to numerous requests for more bird projects we have the European Bee eater kit, there is also a new lesson kit in whitework and an update on the white cotton project bags.


European Bee Eater Bird.  It is always difficult choosing a bird project – I get so many emails from different parts of the world requesting a preference for a bird in their country of origin, but there are certain aspects that I look for when stitching a bird:  Firstly it needs to be beautiful and worth spending the time on, it needs to be a good form or composition and there has to be a certain something in the colours and shading that appeals.  I also tend to like birds that have a kind eye, some of them look so angry!  I am sure you will agree that the European bee eater ticks all the boxes?  The colours are awesome and it really was a joy to stitch.  You can find it in the Etsy shop here.

bee eater2

Close up

Close up

Little cup of flowers lesson.  The lesson in Whitework with colour allows you to learn the technique from the comfort of your home and to work at your own pace.  The little cup of flowers lesson in sumptuous shades of plum, gold and cream will teach you all the basics and includes everything you need to stitch the project.  The design is simple, but has enough detail to keep it interesting.  You can find the kit in the Etsy shop here.

Little cup of flowers

Little cup of flowers

There are now two lessons available one for Whitework with colour and another for needlepainting that will allow you to either learn the technique or brush up on your existing skills.  They both include fabric with printed outline, needles, instruction booklets and pre-sorted threads, so all you need is to provide a hoop.   You can find these kits in the section FULL KITS.

Needlepainting lesson

Needlepainting lesson


As you know over the last few months I have been re-vamping the kit instructions to achieve a simpler format which includes a cleaner interface with more pictures and less text.  As a result it is easier to follow without having to turn back the pages whilst stitching.  We have removed a few pages of stitch instructions and instead compiled these into one handy notebook – THE NEEDLEPAINTING & WHITEWORK HANDBOOK.   The kit instructions include a basic stitch glossary but you will require a copy of the handbook for detailed instruction.  Once you have a copy you can refer to it for any of my current or future projects.  The good news is that as a result of minimizing the instructions the printing costs have been reduced and so we have been able to lower the price of each kit slightly.   The initial copies of the handbook sold out within a few days but I have received new stock which you can find in the Etsy shop here.


The initial response to these little bags was amazing, I had no idea they would be so popular and we were sold out very quickly – you can read about them in a previous post here: COTTON PROJECT BAGS.

Some of you emailed me and suggested that the printed outline might be stitched and this got me thinking………….  I was concerned that it might be difficult to stitch as you would have to get your hands inside of the bag and it would get in the way but I found a way and it worked beautifully!  All you need to do is mount the picture area into a small hoop and fold back the excess fabric as shown below – then tack it into place whilst stitching.

bag5I then stitched the design in simple outline and filling stitches and this opened up a whole new idea for using these bags – they could be stitched as a gift for friends or family, or you could make it up into a little kit by adding a few skeins of thread – something different for birthdays or Christmas.  The bag itself has multiple uses:  project bag for embroidery, quilting or sewing, lingerie/shoe bag for travel or a storage bag for stationary/other to name a few.  The bag is now available in two different prints:  Gatsby and Cup Of Flowers.  With the bag you will receive a project card with a picture of the finished stitching and some suggested thread colours and stitches to use – the great thing about it is that you can use up threads that you have in your stash, use any stitches you like and have fun with it.  The bags can be found in the Etsy shop here.

If you have previously ordered the cotton bags and would like a PDF copy of the project card please email me through the contact form on the website.

project card

project card

Hope you like the new additions, have a wonderful week and till next time keep smiling and happy stitching.


Reasons for doing embroidery printout

Hello Everyone

Hope you are all on top of the world and enjoying your weekend?  Here is the printout for the TOP TEN REASONS FOR DOING EMBROIDERY as promised.  I have designed a layout for them so you can frame it or just keep it on file – read it, ponder it and enjoy!  You can access a PDF of this printout here.



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



Top Ten Reasons For doing embroidery continued….

Hello everyone, hope your week is going well.

Following on from the post Top Ten Reasons For Doing Embroidery – here are the next five reasons:

  1. It is liberating. There is no wrong way to do it.   Embroidery is individual, like art one person’s piece may look like fine watercolours and another more like rough oil painting but it is nonetheless beautiful.  As long as it is pleasing to you it will be successful and this fact gives you the freedom to enjoy your embroidery – you don’t even have to share it with the world, you can do it just for the sake of creating.

Never, ever compare your work to anyone else s because it just wont look the same.  Be gentle with yourself,  we are our own worst critics, but no one ever looks at your work close up.  I always ask my students to step away from their work for a minute and view it from afar.  Staring at your embroidery for any length of time you are bound to see every little mistake or areas that you are not happy with,  but when viewed from afar all those little errors will vanish and what you will see is a beautiful piece of work.  This especially applies to long & short shading – which will suddenly take on a lovely glow which you may have not noticed before. 


  1. It broadens our horizons. Embroidery connects us with like-minded people through the internet, guilds, or workshops on a global scale.  This interaction expands our lives to learn more of the world about us, meet interesting people, form new friendships and make contacts.  It also gives us something of interest to talk about at the dinner table!

You are no longer a “shrinking marigold” taking a backseat in conversations, now you have something of value and interest to discuss with others.  You may think that others don’t really want to know about embroidery but isn’t it is far more interesting than talking politics or hearing a blow by blow account of a golf game?  I find that when I tell someone that I am an embroidery designer the answer is:  ” Oh my granny used to do crochet” (???)  I generally smile sweetly and let it go.  But other times when I am determined that they should know it is not just another set of doilies for the dresser,  I show them some photos of my work and then there is a totally different reaction – they want to know how its done, do you work over a painted picture, how do you know what to put in the outline and the most frequently asked question is “How long does one piece take you?”

Attending conventions and attending overseas workshops is a  wonderful way to meet and mingle with like minded people from different cultures and countries, while doing the thing you love most, but if you cant get there form a local group of your own.


  1. It keeps us current with technology. We can share our embroidery digitally, make purchases or keep updated with new supplies and materials through blogs, chat groups, email or online stores.  Not only does this expand our resources but motivates us to keep up to date with current technology.

Isn’t the internet just awesome!  We can buy things online with the click of a mouse (and a visa card:)).  My cousin told me that she fills her basket with everything she wants and then when she’s finished deletes it all saying “Well that was fun”!  We can see whats available without having to get in the car and do battle with traffic and crowds, we can chat to others and keep in touch with like minded people.  It has made the world seem so much smaller.   No matter where we live or how remote we are we can stay in touch, even though I work alone in my studio I never feel lonely.  Its a good reason to get savvy with your computer/tablet – amazing what we can do if we have a good reason to do it.

etsy shop

  1. You will never be bored. As long as you have a piece of embroidery to work on you will never be bored.  It gives you something to do when watching TV, listening to music, sitting in a queue, passing the time or whilst traveling.  It gets you out of bed in the morning, it gives you a reason to live a fuller life.

The world statistics on depression are staggering – but we are not one of those statistics!  We have a reason to get up in the morning, we always have something to look forward to and something good and beautiful to ponder.  We have a reason to smile.


  1. It keeps the craft alive.  Cultivating your creativity, and sharing it with others ensures that hand embroidery is kept alive and continues into future generations. Whether it be for personal reasons such as fulfilling a niche, challenging yourself, motivation or for making a career of it by teaching, publications, sales, or restoration, doing embroidery will not only bless yourself but others.

Embroidery guild memberships are declining throughout the world.  There is a need to encourage a younger membership but with everything being “instant” these days the up and coming generation are not much interested in learning how to make their embroidery look as neat on the back as it does on the front!   I believe that it is important to uphold the formal, traditional methods of embroidery that have been passed down through generations, but it is equally important to meed the needs of the present day embroiderer by introducing more contemporary designs that are not so labour intensive or that have too many “rules” attached.

It is encouraging to see on places like Etsy, Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook that there are numerous young people using hand embroidery in a different way to create items from phone cases, to hoop art.  These artists are introducing a fresh, modern approach to hand embroidery and bringing it into the 21st century which tells me that hand embroidery is still very much alive!

hoop art

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



Cotton Project Bags

Hello everyone

Just wanted to let you know that there is a new item in the ETSY shop here. 

bag 4

It is a 100% cotton drawstring project bag in white, which keeps your embroidery project clean whilst stitching or when it needs to be stored for any length of time. The Cotton fabric provides an acid free environment and protects from light damage, dust and spills.  We all know how important it is to keep your work clean, especially to prevent the formation of stubborn hoop marks which are difficult to remove with washing.  When you have finished your stitching, simply slip the whole hoop with mounted fabric, and threads into the bag and pull ribbon to close. Can be hung on a chair/door/hook to keep out the way, stored in a drawer, or placed inside a tote bag to carry with you on the go.

bag 2

Having used pillow slips and cotton shopping bags in the past I decided to design a bag specifically for this task.  With the help of a CMT specialist we set out to design a bag that was exactly the right size and shape for embroidery projects and that could hold any size hoop up to the largest size 10″ – simple but effective.  It is full washable, can be tumble dried and ironed and has an attractive Gatsby outline with logo on the front. The outline is meant for decoration but there is no reason why you could not stitch it with a simple outline stitch if you wanted and give it as a gift to a friend?  The bag could also be used for storing quilting/craft projects, or for packing shoes, lingerie or cosmetics, etc in luggage.

bag 3

Since I got the stock, I have commandeered at least 10 of them for myself and cannot tell you how useful they are!

Have a wonderful weekend and happy stitching!


Ten reasons to do embroidery

Hello everyone

Hope this finds you well?  In the next two blog posts we are going to explore the Top Ten Reasons For Doing Embroidery, why we do it and what it does for us and others.

Basically we are going to justify what we love to do most!   I believe our embroidery has more far-reaching consequences then we or others realize.    If our embroidery makes us happier, relaxed and more fulfilled this will certainly benefit those around us, our work, our home and life in general?   I know that when my husband goes on a fishing trip or to a live rugby game he comes back with a smile on his face and in a great mood so we all reap the benefits, why shouldn’t it be the same for us and our embroidery?

Lets take a look at the first five reasons – not in order of any importance:

  1. It is satisfying & rewarding.   Anyone who says “I am not creative” is wrong, we all have a creative sense, it is just a matter of honing it to a specific style of embroidery.  Giving life to something original that you have created yourself is so rewarding.  Fulfilling this is one of the most satisfying feelings you can have in life.

I have seen this proved again and again in my classes.  There was a time when I used to think that only certain people “had it”, but now I know that with a bit of guidance anyone can do it.  On a side note if frustration is setting in with the piece your are working on – put it away or even better dump it and move onto something else.  Sometimes it just does not work for us, but there are plenty of other designs out there that will give you that satisfaction.

  1. It is motivating.  The deeper you progress with your embroidery the more it challenges you because it provides a sense that there is always more to be discovered.  This motivates you not only in your embroidery but other areas of your life.

This has certainly been true for me.  It has motivated me to explore aspects related to my embroidery such as , graphic design, packaging, camera and video, computer software, websites, blogs and social media.  I am constantly on the look out for new designs and find them in the most interesting places. 

  1. It gives you confidence.   There is only one way to get confidence in yourself.  No one can give it to you – it happens when you get good at something.  You will learn things about yourself, namely that you are capable of creating something beautiful.  This will give you a great sense of achievement and the confidence to try other skills.

I have witnessed this many times with students who have no confidence in their ability, until much to their surprise, they turn out a beautiful piece of embroidery.  I watch while they look at the beautiful work they have created, and even the most hardened cynic manages a twitch in the corner of their mouth as they try to conceal their delight!

  1. It provides freedom from stress and anxiety.   Keeping your hands busy and engaged in your embroidery keeps your thoughts focused on the enjoyment, beauty and satisfaction of the task at hand.  All problems are left behind in this realm of peace and calm – it get us through the tough times in life.

Some people clean the house or polish the silver when they are anxious, I do my embroidery.  It has got me through some pretty tough times in the past, and I know that it is recommended by some of the Hospice places as a therapy for grief.  It replaces something sad with something glad.

  1. It is inspirational.   We all need inspiration in our lives whether it be in our homes, our careers, or our person.  Creating a beautiful piece of embroidery tends to make us more aware of our surroundings –  we find we are stimulated by colours and forms that we may not have noticed before.  A beautiful flower, bird, landscape or artwork may inspire our next piece of embroidery.  It enriches our lives.

The more I work with colour in my embroidery the more aware I become of colour in everything, from cooking to interior design, clothing and even the movies I watch.  The colours of the costumes in Downton Abbey are just to die for, I just have to use them!   A landscape or sunset looks more beautiful when viewed through the eyes of a potential embroidery design and I tend to see thread numbers in everything.

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



New Kits

Hello everyone

Hope this finds you on top of the world?  I am delighted to announce that the new handbook and the long awaited two new kits are now available for sale in the ETSY store.


The handbook is something I have been working on for over a year now when time allows and is finally in print.   The book is based on the knowledge that I have acquired to date on the techniques of Needlepainting & Whitework embroidery.  It is a 78 page coil bound notebook, printed on top quality coated paper,  in a convenient size – it is not a project book but outlines everything you need to know about the materials, preparation, and stitches required for these styles of embroidery and includes a “Solutions” section at the back with answers to FAQs from customers and students.

It provides practical solutions to many of the challenges that confront us with our embroidery and will prove an essential partner to any of my
projects, kits or patterns. All future kit instructions will include a stitch glossary only, as you can refer to the “Handbook” for detailed methods.  This will do away with the need to duplicate the methods in each instruction booklet and so save on printing costs.

Divided into two sections:

This book is a supplement and not intended to replace any of my published project books which include greater detail on specific subjects.  Here are a few extracts below – you can find the handbook here.


handbook 1 handbook 2 handbook 3 handbook 4


This is the latest in the Whitework With Colour patterns.  It is available as a pattern pack with instructions, fabric and needles or alternatively you can purchase it as a full kit with threads.  At present there are limited full kits available but more in stock in a few weeks.  You can find the full kit here and the pattern pack here.

teacup 2 teacup back cover teacup cover


I have received numerous emails awaiting the release of this design, and apologize for the delay but here it is!  This is the sister design to Provencal, and can be paired with it or stitched alone.  I particularly enjoyed stitching this little design as had the feeling of being drawn into the scene as I stitched.  It is a vibrant miniature needlepainting which was reproduced from a painting by Louise Marion in Canada.  It is available as a pattern pack with pre-printed linen fabric, instruction booklet and needles.    You can find the pattern pack here.

campagne 2

campagne 3 campagne 6

I have a few more surprises to report in the next few weeks,  till we chat again,  wherever you are in the world happy stitching and keep smiling!


From Embroidery To Print

Hello everyone, how are you?

Whilst I love the designing and stitching aspect of each project there are always the instructions to be done.   It occurred to me that you may be interested to learn more of the process involved in preparing the completed embroidery project and printing the instruction booklets that go inside your kit or pattern pack?

Recently I have spent time on re-designing the instruction book layouts, and all the new projects will be presented like this in the future.  I have given a lot of thought to this over the years and I certainly don’t profess to have got it totally right or to be critical of the way that other designers present their instructions, but this is way works best for me.   Basically I sat down and thought:  “If I was stitching this project how would I like to see the instructions presented – what would make them easiest to follow?”  The examples below are taken from different projects but will give you an idea of the layout.

Simple & Clean

I like the idea of a  simple, clean and uncluttered visual presentation that lets the embroidery speak for itself.  This style of illustration is becoming more and more popular – as can be seen in the decorating of our homes and in much of the graphic design that is available today.  Here is the front cover – it shows a picture of the design, the name of the project, designer and technique.

teacup coverIntroduction

The introduction tells a little about the project, what level it is for and any specific details that may be necessary for you to know.  Not too much text just a brief note to introduce the project, don’t want you getting bored!

Thread & Material list

A clear and precise listing of the materials and threads needed for the design, with some options for substituting threads in-case you have a problem sourcing them.  I know that many of my customers live in areas where it is not always easy to obtain certain brands of thread so I will always give substitutes.  The design won’t look exactly the same if you use substitutes, but allows you to still stitch the project and make it your own.


teacup threadsThread Diagram

This is based on “painting by numbers”.  Each area is numbered in order of the stitching and each number corresponds to the thread colours needed for that section.  Below the listed colours are the instructions for which stitches to use for that area.  The instructions are placed on the page facing the stitch diagram so that the booklet can be left open at the page and referred to whilst stitching.  Simple but effective?

teacup diagram

teacup instruction

Visual Props

With the advent of technology everything these days is visual, “A Picture says a thousand words”.  I remember how frustrating it was to follow the instructions of some of my earlier embroidery books that were full of text but not enough pictures – or the pictures were too small and I could not see enough detail,  so I decided that each area of the project should be accompanied by an enlarged photo which the reader could zoom into.  There is also an enlarged photo of the full project.

teacup enlargedStitch Glossary & Preparation

For many months I have been working on a Handbook which is finally at the printers and hopefully will be available for sale next week.  The book is titled Needlepainting & Whitework Handbook, and it includes every single detail on materials, preparation and comprehensive details, examples and hints for each stitch.  I will tell you more about it once I have the printed copies to hand.  The idea is that rather than try to squash these details into each instruction booklet, you will purchase one copy of the Handbook and use it to refer to for each kit/pattern that you purchase.  This enables me to eliminate a couple of pages from each instruction booklet and make it more simple and cost effective.

teacup stitchPattern Details

All the pattern details are clearly listed on the back page – what is included in a kit, the size etc.

teacup back coverEditing

It is virtually impossible to compile instructions without making some mistakes – one of the common typos is in thread colours for example 253 which should be 235.  A simple typing error can cause the whole pattern to go out of sync and many emails from confused customers!  I am fortunate to have a good friend who edits each instruction booklet before it goes to print.  She has a colour chart for each brand of thread and goes through it with a fine tooth comb, which is such a wonderful help.


A certain amount of graphic design knowledge is necessary to assemble these booklets before they go to the printer and I have been teaching myself this with the help of a program called CorelDraw over many, many years and now am able to draw all my own diagrams.   I am fortunate to have a wonderful printing service in Cape Town and we have worked together to obtain the best colour rendition and print format.  The size and weight of the booklet also has to be taken into consideration as it needs to be practical for posting overseas.  It is very difficult to get a good likeness of the original embroidery in both colour and texture, but we do our best to capture the original likeness.  Once I have compiled the booklet and it has been edited it is sent to the Printer.  The Printer prints, cuts and assembles the booklets on good quality, coated paper, before they are returned to me ready for assembling into kits/packs.

Cost  Involved

You may find it interesting to know that the printed booklet and fabric with printed outline comprise most of the cost of your kit.  A customer recently remarked that she thought the pack was overpriced considering it did not include threads – the cost of including thread will certainly almost double or more the price of a kit.


So there you have it – from Embroidery To Print.   Till next time, wherever you are in the world happy stitching and remember “Embroidery forever, housework whenever”.  Trish


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