A shoal of fish for coastal homes and beach lovers

Shoal is made up of eight fish, to embroider en masse or individually.


It’s for coastal homes or those who love the beach and ocean, for stitching as hoop art, a feature cushion or split up for sets of placemats, napkins or tea towels.

Fish scales are always fun to embroider as there are a number of different stitches that are perfect for portraying these. Shoal includes a few interesting ones!

The PDF pattern is available as an instant download from Etsy.

Little Samplers, for learning embroidery and new stitches

These Little Samplers are designed to help you learn embroidery and new stitches. Smaller designs are easy to finish and so you get to experience that feeling of satisfaction at having completed a design fairly quickly, which is what keeps us inspired and wanting to do more, wanting to move on to another project.


There are eight embroidery designs with three or four stitches in each, so nothing too overwhelming. And in the true sense of an embroidery sampler, they’re a good way to learn new stitches or use as practice pieces if you’re already up to scratch.


If you’re completely new to hand embroidery, take a look at Embroidery Basics. It’s a six-part series that takes you step-by-step through the basics of how to do creative surface embroidery. It’s for beginners as well as those looking to refresh their hand embroidery skills and knowledge, and includes video tutorials. You’ll find more detailed information on how to do this style of embroidery, as well as tips and tricks that make embroidery easier and more enjoyable to do, in Embroidery Tips, Tricks & Techniques.

Once you’ve mastered the stitches in the eight Little Sampler patterns, move on to 120 Embroidery Stitches, my ebook of hand embroidery stitches. It comes in PDF format, which is convenient for storing on your phone or tablet for stitching on the go or when you’re travelling and on holiday. And because it’s a high-quality PDF, you can also print it out and bind it into a traditional book if you prefer.

120 Embroidery Stitches contains all the stitches used in my designs, so it’s useful if you want to move on to bigger or more involved embroidery patterns. There are also eight more Patch Samplers that accompany the book, one for each stitch family. And you can get these samplers, plus both ebooks at a bundled rate.

Each of the eight Little Samplers is available individually. They also come bundled into the four 3-stitch designs and four 4-stitch designs as patterns that are available at a lower rate:

All of the above, plus a bunch more embroidery patterns, are available from my Etsy shop. Happy stitching!

Water Tote, a free pattern to help the environment for World Embroidery Day

World Embroidery Day is coming up on 30 July and, as in previous years, I’ve come up with a free embroidery design to encourage and celebrate hand stitching. The difference is that this year’s free pattern will hopefully also help the environment, in particular our oceans.


We’ve all seen National Geographic’s iconic plastic bag iceberg cover and read about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch and Dutch inventor Boyan Slat’s ambitious sea-cleaning system called Wilson. Plastic has captured the public imagination, with plastic drinking straws rapidly being banned around the world and single-use plastic alternatives such as beeswax food wraps becoming more widely available.

Grocery stores remain problematic, filled with plastic packaging, a lot of which many consumers feel is unnecessary. But with plastic-free stores such as Nude Foods and The Refillery opening up around the globe and public pressure on the rise, big retailers are already following suit and will hopefully also start to increase their investment in the science behind more eco-friendly packaging options because, ultimately, plastic has to be reduced at the source.

One way to encourage this as consumers is to reduce demand wherever possible and an easy start is plastic shopping bags. While many grocery buyers have gotten on board by bringing their own canvas shoppers, there are still far too many plastic or plastic-coated bags bearing the names of clothing and other brands being toted around malls and shopping centres. They’re ostensibly made of thicker recyclable plastic, but no plastic is always better and so I’ve come up with a tote bag design that folds up small and won’t weigh you down when shopping.


The idea behind Water Tote is to make one or two (or more) fabric bags to use when shopping for clothes, toiletries, stationery and the like. Basically, items that don’t spill, drip or leave crumbs and aren’t generally as heavy as groceries. If enough of us decline a plastic or plastic-coated bag at checkout, perhaps retailers will stop offering them altogether or come up with a more environmentally friendly option. It’s a small step that will hopefully lead to bigger change.


Water Tote is made from lightweight cotton fabric and embellished with embroidered water droplets to remind you why you’re making the effort. You can up your environmental cred by using hemp or linen fabric – even better, upcycle old bed linen, use fabric handed down from your grandmother or embroider a tote you already own. And if you make a few, you can stash them in various places so you always have one to hand or dish them out to family and friends.

The PDF pattern includes instructions for the embroidery as well as how to sew the tote bag, and is available to download for free. And if you need help with the stitches, you’ll find written and illustrated instructions for all the stitches used in the water droplet design in 120 Embroidery Stitches. You can read more about the day dedicated to embroidery on the Täcklebo Embroidery Academy website. Happy #WorldEmbroideryDay.

Anatomical Crab, plus new pattern bundles

A clawed crustacean is the latest design in the growing range of Anatomical creatures available for you to embroider.


Anatomical Crab is in the familiar style of my other Anatomical designs, with a lifelike shell and claws embroidered using a number of different stitches. It brings the number of creatures now available to eight, alongside eight Anatomical insect patterns.

Although worked in what are instantly recognisable as crab colours, there was a temptation to make this design a blue crab. Less common, it’s nonetheless a nice idea for an alternative colourway.

In addition to being available as an individual PDF pattern, Anatomical Crab is available with three other recent Anatomical designs – a snail, a flying fish and seahorses – as Anatomical Creatures II, as well as bundled into an Anatomical Sea Creatures pattern with the seahorses, lobster, flying fish and turtle. I’ve also updated the original Anatomical Creatures pattern, which includes a bat, frog, lobster and turtle.

The PDF patterns are all available as instant downloads from Etsy, with the bundled patterns priced at a lower rate:

And if you’d like to have a go at making the origami crab in the photo, follow this video tutorial by Craftygami.

Veg Box I, a collection of embroidered vegetables

There’s something about getting a box of fresh produce delivered to your door. Aside from supporting local farmers and eating in season, there’s an element of surprise to it (even if you picked the contents beforehand) and anyone who doesn’t enjoy getting a delivery, well…


These are the first of what I hope will be many more embroidered vegetables – I can already see them on tea towels and kitchen walls. They actually make good embroidery samplers and beginner projects, too, with just a few different stitches in each design.

The PDF patterns are available individually as instant downloads from Etsy:

There’s also a bundled pattern with all five designs in one at a reduced rate, called Veg Box I.


Each pattern also includes two different sized printable recipe cards – one 4x6 inch card and another 5x7 inches – with 10 cards featuring five different veggie designs in the bundled pattern. These are standard recipe box sizes, but you can easily resize them to suit your needs when printing them out.