X Stitch Magazine ‘Final Twist’

I am home from a fantastic Spring Knitting & Stitching Show at Olympia. It always seems to take me a few days to resurface after such a intense week, but I love it!!!

One of my favourite aspects of the shows is that it is such a wonderful opportunity to meet up with like minded makers, to swap ideas, to be inspired by a varied selection of work and to sometimes kick myself for not coming up with a particularly brilliant design first!!!

Jamie Chalmers aka Mr X Stitch is always on hand with his Royal School of Needlework students to showcase the best in funky, contemporary embroidery. His latest venture is a ‘cross stitch magazine for the modern world’ embracing contemporary cross stitch with contributions from some of the best known designers as well as some newbies like myself.

The first edition has the theme of ‘revolution’
I have moved away from my usual critters and come up with an optical art design based on a torus donut to give the impression of a twisting, three dimensional shape. There is a sneak peek of a corner of the design below as well as the header for the Kickstarter site for this new publication .

Please take a look as it should shake up the world of cross stitch – just click below

X Stitch Magazine WordPress Banner


Funky Chunky Cross Stitch

For such a long time I have wanted to make some cross stitch kits that would appeal to children. Having started sewing at a very young age I was keen to encourage a new generation to fall in love with needles and thread.

Much of what I have seen for children has been disappointing, cutesy designs in bubblegum pink shades of acrylic yarn that is impossible to work with and never gives a quality finish….. It always worries me that an early disappointment puts children off sewing for life.

I came across the plastic canvas, quite by chance, in my local craft shop and it immediately fired my imagination. It is really firm so no need for a frame and the holes are well spaced giving a really easy surface for stitching. All the designs are stitched in just four or five colours of beautiful wool tapestry thread from Anchor and to give these critters some extra cheekiness I have added wooden beady eyes.

I hope you like these fellows and remember they don’t need to be just for the children!


A Little Valentine Bear

My husband is the sort of person who, if he needs something, will just pop out and get it, making buying a gift almost impossible. Added to that I haven’t managed to find a Valentines card that I liked this year, so he is getting an embroidered bear. This little fellow will not be a surprise from a mystery admirer as he saw me stitching!

I just sketched the outline using a Frixion pen onto some natural Essex linen and then raided my stash of embroidery thread and beads to stitch this little fellow in a 5″ hoop.

He really didn’t take long at all and once finished I just held him carefully against a hot iron to remove any remaining pen marks left on the linen.


Remembering Mary Wondrausch

When my husband and I married my parents commissioned a celebratory slipware plate from a local artist and potter, Mary Wondrausch OBE. At the time I had not realised quite how special this present was. For a start, it had to be collected in person, by appointment only, from her home and studio, Brickfields, in the village of Compton.

My goodness, what a treat, Mary was utterly unique, a real English eccentric with an absolute passion for art and cookery. She was so generous with her time, spending a good part of the afternoon showing us around the studio and demonstrating her slipware technique using bicycle inner tubes. We were then give a tour of the garden; introduced to ‘Pidge,’ a grey plastic shooting pigeon who sat on a pile of green glass sea glass in a ceramic urinal, shown the garden screen covered in ‘Barbie’ dolls which led to the private, grass amphitheater where, Mary told my husband, ‘she liked to dance naked!’

We returned to visit Mary a couple of years later to collect my sister’s wedding plate. Again, we were given free reign of the studio and I found one of my most treasured possessions, a sgraffito plate celebrating the Queen Mother’s centenary, pushed under an old garden bench! Mary then took us though to the kitchen….Oh, my goodness, it was quite unbelievable. Every surface was covered with her collection of old metal meat grinders and there were at least ten small enamel saucepans on the Rayburn each filled with wild fungi she had collected with her friend, Clarissa Dickson Wright, earlier that morning.

Mary died 26th December 2016 at the grand age of 93….. she was still painting!

Words really cannot describe this remarkable woman so click on either picture for a video.



We Have Some Winners

Hooray, we have some winners for the Knitting and Stitching Show tickets.
Congratulations Milla, Rebecca and flowerpot1981. Please let me know which minibeadwork kit you would like or take a punt on one of my new chunky cross stitch kits, they are lovely, super easy and great fun to stitch – honestly!

If you are still hoping to come along to the show then please take advantage of voucher code EX17 for a discount when booking your tickets on the Knitting and Stitching Show website.

Give us a wave if you see us at B66 …. we should have some new goodies.


WIN!!! … Tickets for the Spring Knitting & Stitching Show, Olympia

Horrah, the first sign of spring, tickets have arrived for the Knitting and Stitching Show, Olympia, London, 2nd to 5th March 2017

This should be a lovely day out. Lots to inspire and plenty of fabrics, threads and general loveliness to stock up on for all those projects you are planning for the year ahead.

I have three pairs of tickets to give away for this event and to get you in the stitching mood either a minibeadwork kit and frame of your choice or one of my new chunky cross stitch kits – they are almost ready so it may be a pre-production kit – very exclusive!!!!

If you would like a chance to win please leave me a message below or via email – epavier@annsorchard.co.uk

All entries need to be in by midnight 27th January 2017 and three lucky winners will be drawn on Saturday 28th January 2017.

Best of luck and give us a wave if you are heading to the show – stand B66


Antique Inspiration

It was a very chilly -6°C this morning but I wrapped up well and was determined to head to the local antiques fair at Ardingly with the intention of finding some furniture for our entrance hall. A sideboard or chest with lots of storage for my precious fabrics and yarns would have been perfect!

Alas, none of the furniture quite fitted the bill but the great joy of an antiques fair is all the other unexpected treasure that is on offer. There is often a lot of vintage clothing or curtaining made with really quirky fabric. Chairs may be in pieces but the seat still covered with beautiful needlepoint and then there are always unique pieces of art!

Probably much to my husband’s relief I only made a couple of purchases, including this pair of Staffordshire rabbits. I have never seen a pair quite like this and I think they may be an imported Chinese interpretation, but at only £20 they were, ‘cheap as chips,’ and are crying out to be made up into embroidered cushions.