I’ve been working on my own designs for a little while now, it’s a good way to make use of my sewing box full of threads.

It made me think, looking through the box for a particular colour the other day. I have so many threads of different thickness, age, condition, some branded, some non-branded from cheap sets but to me they are all equal.

I have brought specific threads for magazine projects I wanted to complete but then I look in my sewing box and think, ‘why don’t you use what you have already’?

I have threads that were my Aunts (who died when I was 3) and my Mums from when she stitched years ago, I have threads that were brought for me and I buy a lot of threads. Especially when I see a nice colour I would like to work with or a good price reduction.

I have enough thread in my box to make hundreds of designs and I keep buying more, it really is like an obsession!

I’m making a needle bag for my Mum and instead of buying the threads from the pattern I decided to do it wholly from threads that I have in my sewing box.

I’m working on some Christmas decoration designs and a stocking advent calendar and I will use all my own threads for that too.

I realised that my Aunt would love to know I carried on stitching with her tools and by using her threads in my work she comes along with it. I used some of it in the design I made for my Nan and it was nice as they were very good friends.

Plus the more I use it up the more room I have to buy new threads!!

I’m not sure that all threads are created equal. The modern DMC and Anchor threads are so easy to work with but I find when you use an older thread or a cheap version you find it can frey, break more and isn’t so easy to untangle.

I have brought some colour thread packs from the pound shop before, 20 nicely coloured skeins in a pack for £1, how could I not buy them! I haven’t tried to work with them yet but I’m sure they’ll be fine.

Maybe once I use up all my old and non-branded skeins I will treat myself to one of those DMC or Anchor complete sets that come in wooden drawers and start my threads afresh!


Design Works: Bird Cage


I started this as a Mother’s Day present for my Mum and I finished it 2 weeks ago so it was a few months late. She knew it was coming though so it was fine. It always takes you much longer to complete a project than you expect it will, at least it does in my experience!

It was probably one of the most adventurous designs I have worked on to date. I found working with so much silver thread a challenge. It was a course thread to work with and shard quite a lot, I’m used to using softer threads.

I ran out of two colours and had to contact Design Works for replacements. They were very helpful and sent plenty of thread replacements so I could complete the design.

I have never had to attach beads or embellishments before so that was a new skill to learn. The beading around the neck made it impossible to include the glass in the frame once I mounted it.

It was the first time I had framed a piece of work in this way. I found it difficult to iron out all of the creases and stretch the fabric around the back board of the frame evenly to ensure it sat right. I’m quite clumsy with stuff like that as I don’t have much patience, I just want to get it over with.

In the end I think it came out well. My mum is interested in art deco at the moment, I hung the cross stitch on the wall near her other picture cards and it fits in well. What I like about it is from a distance you can’t tell that it is cross stitch, you only notice when you are closer to it.


Christmas Advent Calender

I saw this design in a magazine and wanted to make one for my cousin’s little girl. I showed it to my brother’s girlfriend and she started making one for her relative so we raced each other to finish.


It wasn’t easy to find the right material and it would help if the magazine gave you some idea of how to put it all together. Luckily my Mum is a dab hand at sewing so we both left her to sew the designs together and we just made the patches.

I over sewed the ends of the stitching to top it from fraying as I didn’t want it to unravel. I also added a 25th day at the very top, big enough to put in 3 mini chocolate figures as I like a 25 day advent calendar. I had a mixture of sweets in the pockets and she loved it. Her Mum and Dad wanted their own versions and were very jealous!

If you want to make your own advent calendar you can find the design in Cross Stitch Crazy Magazine November 2015.