A bit about me...

Why do you stitch?

I stitch because I'm compelled to, it's in my blood. I inherited my passion for needlecrafts through my maternal lineage and grew up surrounded by embroidery threads, knitting and crochet paraphernalia, balls of wool, metres of fabric and sewing machines. I confess that simply the smell of a fabric shop does it for me more than any other retail experience.

The photo is an old one of me with my great-grandmother, my gran, my mom and my sister.

Where do you stitch?

I launched my blog and website while living in the UK, but I now work from my home studio in Johannesburg, South Africa.

What is your embroidery style?

My style can be summed up as contemporary creative surface embroidery. It's an ecclectic approach to needlework that draws on myriad traditional techniques - Jacobean or crewelwork, mountmellick, raised and padded stitching, appliqué, anything that catches my attention… I enjoy experimenting, so tend to make it up as I go along.


What drew you to embroidery design?

I quickly ran out of projects to stitch when I started embroidering seriously a good few years back
and found myself seeing much more interesting ideas all around me. So it was only a matter of time before I started using the skills I've accumulated working in the media industry to design my own needlework projects. And growing up in a "stitchy" family gave me the intrinsic knowledge I needed to make up the finished items. 


What qualifies you to design embroidery and appliqué projects, and produce patterns and a publication such as The Stitch and Thimble?

On a professional level, until fairly recently
I worked in the media industry for 11 years - writing, editing, sub-editing, designing, art directing and working on layouts for various publications in South Africa and the UK. I've won a Mondi runner-up award for magazine design and illustration and two group newspaper design and layout awards. I've written for, edited and sub-edited various publications during this time. And I spent a year as an advertising copywriter. I have a commerce degree and a post-graduate degree in advertising (copywriting).

From a needlework point of view, I launched an online store in 2009 where I sell my patterns and The Stitch & Thimble, which has more than doubled in size since inception. I've also contributed to various publications. I designed about 150 hand embroidery motifs for chapter 4 of Margaret Rowan's book, Stitch! The Complete Guide to Handstitching & Embellishing Techniques, which came out in February 2013. And I've contributed various projects to Australian embroidery magazine Inspirations. Issue 76 features my embroidered appliqué cushion, which was also selected as the project from the issue for the magazine's online stitch-along group. I designed a tea cosy featuring embroidered appliqué for issue 74 and a set of embroidered placemats for issue 67 of the magazine, and wrote a full-page feature for issue 62. I've had an appliqué cushion project featured in British Patchwork & Quilting magazine (issue 184), been mentioned on several prominent needlework websites and blogs, and was interviewed by British magazine Cross Stitch Collection for their June 2012 issue (no. 210). You can see these in the gallery on this site.

On a personal level, I love stitching and textiles and can't help but see potential designs in everything around me. And according to the Kolby A Index, I'm an off-the-chart Quick Start personality, which means I solve creative problems by modifying the parameters - a good trait to have when it comes to design.


Where can I see more of your work?

I load photos of most of the things I make on to my flickr page or blog, Materialistic, as well as my Hand Embroidery Network, Pinterest and Facebook pages. Or you can browse my online shop to see images of the projects I've designed and stitched for patterns and The Stitch and Thimble. 

Do you dabble in other fibre or needlecrafts?

I do a bit of quilting and sewing on the side, and consider crochet a highly therapeutic hobby. You'll find the odd knitted scarf in my repertoire as well. This is why techniques from these crafts sometimes creep into my embroidery patterns.


What other things are you into?

Books, music, cooking, walking, design, decor, being outdoors, swimming, hanging out with my husband, family and friends, movies, a bit of sport and generally interesting stuff about the world in which we live.