When did you first start sewing and how did you learn?
I love hand embroidery and have been stitching for as long as I can remember. Both my mum and grandma were very talented embroiderers and I learned literally at my mother’s knee. Hand embroidery is great because it’s so easy to try for yourself – you don’t need any expensive tools and equipment, just a needle and thread, and possibly a hoop. It’s an easy hobby to take around with you too as it’s so portable, it’s so simple to just stuff your project into a bag and take it along when you’re on the move. I love that embroidery looks so pretty and yet is so hard wearing and practical. I’m still using household linens embroidered by my grandma before I was born! So when I’m working on a design I always try to think of how the finished project can be incorporated into a useful item – whether that’s a bag, cushion, quilt – or anything at all really. I like my work to be used and handled every day, to have a life of its own, and I don’t mind if it should become a little worn or tatty as that’s a good excuse to stitch some more!
I haven’t always been able to spend all my time designing and stitching though as I worked full-time in an office for 30 years, during which time I raised my daughter. All of this left very little time for sewing, just a few moments snatched from a busy schedule either late at night or weekends. Now, through Bustle & Sew, and the internet, I am able to spend all my time doing something I really love. So I guess you could say that 30 years’ worth of ideas are bursting out of me now! Also, I am the sort of person who can’t bear to sit and do nothing – I always have to have something to do with my hands. When my daughter Rosie was little, I used to knit and sew for her – I think her most demanding request was for a cardigan – featuring sparkly buttons and dancing mice! (I managed in the end). I still find myself sewing for her (and now my new little grandson) even now she’s all grown up!
Can you remember the first thing you made?
A little traycloth stitched in pearl thread on Binca fabric. Rather grubby and frayed by the time it was done, but my mum treasured it forever!
Do you have any favourite pattern designers or celebrity sewers?
Too many to mention! There are so many very talented people out there and the internet means we can all enjoy their work.
What's your sewing room like and how do you organize your stash?
Not so large now I've moved house. It starts each month tidy, but as time progresses and I work on all the patterns for each issue of the Bustle & Sew Magazine it gets messier and messier until I tidy it all up again on publication day!
What music/podcasts/TV shows do you love to stitch along to?
All sorts of things - whatever takes my fancy depending on the mood I'm in. Nothing scary though - I'm not great with ghost stories.
Do you do any other crafts and what are your hobbies?
I don't get a lot of time for other crafts as I have some very demanding hobbies - my two Newfoundland dogs, Daisy and Ben who think that any piece of stitching can only be improved by the addition of a generous sprinkling of black fluffy fur - and my new baby grandson who is an absolute delight!