Besotted cross stitcher, ideas generator and all round creative maven.
I’m also a writer, forever-student, wild swimmer, slow cyclist, daily walker, gold medal chocolate nosher, lover of winter, flower gardener and proud allotment holder.
Especially fond of dogs, dahlias and train journeys.
Hello fellow Queen of my Needle,
If you’re anything like me, a bit nosey (I mean, curious…) I expect you’re wondering, where did my stitching journey begin? Here I am, running a stitching related business but how did I find stitching. Or did it find me? There’s magic in those little crosses, so the latter could well be the case…
Well, I started stitching years ago, after stumbling along as an always beginner knitter and a slow patchwork quilter, who preferred to hand-sew and so didn’t produce many quilts. I made my first patchwork quilt by hand when I was 18 and it took me nine months, like the gestation of a baby! The soothing sense of mindfulness that comes from stitching by hand really appealed to me though so I was always (quietly) on the look out for other ways of expressing myself through the stitch.
I stitched intermittently throughout my 20s and 30s, feeding a little bag of English pieced hexagons that grew (but slowly) and never actually become a quilt. Stitching was still a meditative ‘go to’ but I hadnt really found my craft. It was only in 2017, when I went to the famous Knitting and Stitching Show in Harrogate with my crafty friend, Anne, that I found what I’d been looking for. Here, amongst the dense slew of tables and colours and kits and textile art, I saw the most wonderful array of cross stitching; it really prickled my heart, especially the Americana designs from Little House Designs, which I’d never come across before. This was it, something that I felt totally drawn to, perfect cross besides perfect cross.
Later that summer, I began my first stitch – an Autumn (fall) sampler from Moira Blackburn (I still love her designs). It was stitched on Aida and took me a very long time, but I enjoyed it immensely. It offered a much needed breathing space and became a meditation that I looked forward to (even longed for) every single day. And so it was that I put away the hexagons and began a committed affair with a number 24 needle and all manner of glorious flosses.
From here, stitching seemed to buffet everything that happened in my life, offering meditation and solace when I lost friends and my beloved dog to cancer, and a thoughtful way of celebrating events and making special gifts. It became a daily event, a practice, if you like, that functioned to soothe my soul and offer a safe raft, a haven and a place of quiet joy.
I spent over a decade working as a book editor, but in my 30s I studied for a PhD in Women’s Studies and English, and women’s history has always occupied a special place in my heart. Tussling with some sort of midlife ennui and a call to a different sort of work, I soon realised that I wanted to delve further into women’s stitching history as well as design my own charts. Ideas came tumbling out as I considered ways of sharing my love of stitching with other women in the form of not just charts, but also ebooks and retreats, in fact a whole commuity that would inspire and celebrate. I imagined us gathering together as women with a shared stitching history, rooted in nature, and with a deep sense of strength and beauty. From here, Queen of my Needle was born.
For now, my offerings are all online, I love the fact that I can share my thoughts and ideas with women all over the world from a small ex-brick worker’s cottage in Yorkshire. It really is a wonderful opportunity to connect, share, make community.
I work from a small desk overlooking a postage stamp sized garden filled with hollyhocks and Japanese anemones. The light is good for writing and for stitching, and it’s here that you’ll most often find me.
I’m looking forward to sharing stitches and stories with you, and making this community a special place for us all.
We must make our lives as we sew, stitch by stitch.
Donating to Charity
From each retreat in the Stitch the Season series, £5 will be donated to a charity serving women and girls.
For 2022, we will be donating to Period Poverty UK, a charity distributing essential sanitary products to women/girls internationally, including refugees and the homeless.
More info: Period Poverty UK.
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inspiring craft community for women and girls, rooted in the power and strength of our stories and lineage as stitchers.
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