Tasmania, after the fires

This design arose from the wonderful opportunity to create a design for the first Dark Mojo Retreat in Hobart, Tasmania in June 2022. Kerrilyn Packer at A Stitch in Time has been a fantastic support for Australian designers, dyers and needleworkers and working with her has been a delight. After I suggested doing a design…

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Peace & Plenty: A New Year’s Wish

I must confess a secret. I often look at antique samplers and embroideries and wonder about the lives that the stitchers lived. I wonder about their hopes and dreams, and how they stitched themselves into their work, which survives long after them. And so I want to stitch my hopes into my work, each tiny…

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Christmas 2021: Christmas hot & cold

Christmas is not all snowmen and reindeer for everyone. In Australia, Christmas Day is typically uncomfortably hot, spent under blazing blue skies with family and friends. The way we celebrate is different too: when I was little, I remember one of my grandmothers battling to create the traditional baked lunch, when it was too hot…

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Falling Leaves

Don’t you just love that crunch of Autumn leaves under your feet? My new Quaker design explores the beauty of the changing leaves of Autumn and Fall, and the creatures that you can find alongside them. In Australia, the vast majority of our native plants do not change colours for Autumn (with an interesting exception…

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Mary Barton’s Work

And finishing tips… When preparing new designs for the US Fall 2021 Needlework Expo, I was in the middle of a prolonged lockdown. I was working on a different antique reproduction, when it became clear that the lockdown would not end before Expo – meaning I couldn’t get the piece framed, or even get framing…

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Manon’s Garden

My heart skipped a beat when I first saw the antique – such a sweet collection of flowers, such a bright, rainbow palette and such an enigma. The almost anonymous stitcher only left us a single initial. Having sourced the antique from France, I decided to give her a French name, and to recreate her…

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Sarah Handley 1847

An antique reproduction I can’t help it. I call this the ‘Chilli Sampler’ in my head. Those rosebuds in the border? They just look like chillis to me! And yet somehow this fits. I can’t shake the impression of heat and warmth with this sampler. The palm-like trees, the bright colours – I wish I…

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Redwork Sampler

There is something so calming about stitching in a single colour. Thread after thread, it builds quickly; growing simply in your hands. And redwork has a long tradition: those charming, simple abecedaires that young girls created to demonstrate their skills have an enduring charm. With this design, I again started with an antique in my…

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Another Spring and Hannah Hodgkinson

Hannah Hodgkison is another charming visitor: a tiny, bright and cheerful little sampler that caught my eye. Without a date or a place, we could not locate Hannah in the historical records, but spending time with her work, I can’t help but think she was a bright, cheerful little girl. Her colour palette is unusual…

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Lavenia Compton 1838

An antique reproduction Lavenia came into my life unexpectedly. I couldn’t believe I found her, sitting quietly and demurely, unnoticed and unclaimed. I understand now why antique samplers are always referred to by their stitcher’s names, as if they were a person themselves: I feel like we met that day – over distance and over…

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