Meet the Author
Hey there, can you introduce yourself?
Hi everyone. I'm a sewing and knitting writer, living just outside London in the UK. I'm largely self taught and studied politics at university, so nothing at all arty. But my heart has always been in making things. When I was 11, I won my school sewing cup for a pair of slightly dodgy looking blue seersucker pyjamas. And although I've written a lot of knitting books recently, sewing is my first love. I used to teach it and am still part of a local sewing group.
Tell us a bit about the book?
All the items in the book are quick, small projects. There are tiny toys, embroidered pillows, cards, shoes, bunting, pictures and aprons... 35 projects in all. And the motifs include an elephant, cat, fairy, boat, bird and a man walking his dog and loads more. They are mostly interchangeable. So you can stitch the cat on the pillow, rather than the little sleeping face - should you fancy it. The stitches are all very simple - running stitch, chain stitch and French knots mostly.
What was the inspiration behind it?
I've always admired the cute Japanese embroideries of little people, birds and animals. And when a friend of mine started a blog and posted a sketch every day, relating to what she'd been doing, I decided to do the same with little embroidered pictures.
Which is your favourite project?
My favourites are the embroidered elephants. They're worked on plain cotton then made into simple stuffed toys. They were on the cover of the French edition of the book, peering out of a window and I just like their simplicity and quirkiness.
What is your craft space like?
How I wish I could have a lovely romantic summerhouse in the garden. But in real life, I work mostly at a long French table in my kitchen - still quite nice and with a handy skylight above it which makes judging colours quite easy even on a grey English day. I do have a tiny space upstairs but it is so full of knitting yarns and fabrics at the moment, there is not much room for me. And it's easier to combine my work with cooking the supper/putting a load through the washing machine when I'm in the kitchen.
Have you always been creative?
I have always loved drawing and making things, even when my friends were mostly doing much cooler stuff. I used to do a lot with my granny who sewed or knitted into her late nineties. She used to crochet suits for herself (including one in pale lilac) and she always loved to add a homemade flourish to whatever she had, so customized her lampshades, old chairs, shoes... nothing was safe.
When did you first start crafting?
The first things I made were dolls' clothes in fabric from my mum's scrap basket. I remember knitting a yellow dish cloth at school when I was about six. And my mum still has an embroidered pyjama case I made when I was seven. It has some pretty weird looking three-petalled flowers on it but I was pleased I'd drawn them myself and not asked the teacher, like most of the other kids.
Who are your crafty heroes?
I love Debbie Bliss's knitting - I think she really changed things in the knitting world. And I think Cath Kidston was remarkable - often imitated but never equalled. The stitcher and textile designer Lotta Jansdotter has a wonderful eye for design. My friend and former business partner Samantha Stas who combines stitching an art is also one of my favourites. And I love Japanese craft books, particularly the sewing ones.
Where do you find inspiration?
I have a huge pile of sewing and knitting mags from the 50s to the 70s that were my granny's which I still browse through. And I've also got loads of 70s craft books. Also, like most people these days, I probably spend far too long on Pinterest - so brilliant for finding great blogs and great stuff in general.
What's next for you?
I've just finished a book on knitted animal scarves (having done one before on knitted animal hats), so I'm actually currently on the look out for what to do next - preferably something that won't make my hands ache quite as much! There are a couple of things in the pipeline - but no decisions yet.
Stitching offers cute and quirky embroidery ideas to add a light-hearted touch to your clothes, home accessories, and gifts. This fabulous collection of simple and fun motifs will inspire even a complete beginner to take up a needle and thread. Each design is shown on a different object, whether it be a French café on an apron, cheerful weather clouds on canvas shoes, or a beaming moon on a lampshade, and is accompanied by straightforward instructions and suggestions for other uses.