Anatomical Creatures: An embroidered bat, frog, lobster and turtle

I loved designing and embroidering the Anatomical Insects, as did a lot of you. And to be honest, I just wanted to do more of them. I’d embroidered all the insects I could visualise in stitches though, so started thinking about other creatures that would work well in my style of embroidery.


I like ceramics (I have a Pinterest board devoted to the art form) and when I came across a mug with a little lobster etched into it, I knew I had my first creature: Anatomical Lobster.

My grandparents had bats nesting in the eaves of their farmhouse and, as kids, we’d head outside at dusk armed with wooden tennis racquets to “get the bats” – a wholly unsuccessful but highly fun half-hour of swooping and whooping for a bunch of young siblings and cousins. And so Anatomical Bat made its way into the range.

Both of these were mostly single-colour creatures and so the next one had to be more colourful. I’d had the vague thought that a frog might deliver on colour and when I came across photos of the red-eyed tree frog, I could instantly see him in stitches and so Anatomical Frog was quickly added to the range.

I’d had some photos of turtles tucked away in my ideas folder for a while, because the shell offered interesting stitch opportunities. What I wasn’t expecting was the rest of the turtle to be so well suited to embroidery. Anatomical Turtle uses varied and interesting stitches while still looking lifelike and staying true to the spirit of the Anatomical ranges.

The designs are available as individual PDF patterns:

And as a single pattern containing all four creatures at a bundled price:

The links above take you to my Etsy shop, but they’re also available on Craftsy.

Easy, breezy butterflies

I loved Henri Charrière’s novel, Papillon. So when I made the decision to let go of most of my books a few years ago, this was one of the few printed copies that I kept. Charrière had a butterfly tattooed on his chest, earning him the nickname Papillon. And his story sprang to mind when I was thinking about what to call this collection.


The six butterflies that make up the Papillon range are not new designs, I did them a few years ago. With spring coming to the northern hemisphere, I thought it a good time to re-release them. There are smaller, individual patterns for a quicker stitch and then I’ve bundled them all into one pattern for bigger projects, where you get six for roughly the price of four – I'm thinking mixed with designs from my Wild Nature and Anatomical Insects ranges to create bigger embroidered panels or quilts.

The patterns are suitable for all skill levels, from beginner stitchers who want to learn and practise, to more advanced embroiderers looking for a quick project. They're also all available on Craftsy.

There are some interesting stitches and stitch ideas in the designs. A double row of two different stitches not often paired creates a nice, strong outline and small, tufted circles add texture. There are some not too common variations on chain stitch, a bit of mark making or patterning using stitches and a colour switch halfway through a row of embroidery that works well to get two colours to flow seamlessly into each other.

The Papillon butterflies are quick and easy to embroider, in a fun selection of bright and breezy colours.

Skinny Fish and a new stitch

This one's a bit of an embroidery sampler, with 22 different surface embroidery stitches - including one new to me that I've not used in a pattern before.


Skinny Fish uses quite a few of DMC's new thread colours, from eggplant to alizarin to apple green. The lighter, brighter greens among these new colours are particularly nice to work with as there aren't actually all that many vibrant greens in the DMC range, so a few new ones have been a welcome addition to my floss box.

The design offered a good opportunity to play around with different stitches. It's a small thing, but changing the size of the fly stitches in a row, from big to small to big to small again and so on down the row, gives a really nice effect. I flipped a blanket stitch variation upside down, basically doing it as a left-handed embroiderer would, and so that was an interesting experiment. And then there's a new stitch in there as well: fly stitch filling.


Technically, I used a variation of fly stitch filling. The traditional and variation are new to me, so not included in 120 Embroidery Stitches (I can see the need for a follow-up stitch ebook already...). So the instructions for that one are included in the pattern.

The Skinny Fish PDF pattern is available as an instant download from Etsy and Craftsy. It's a fun project that doesn't take all that long to embroider, especially if you split the fish up and do just one at a time. And it works really well as a sampler with all the different stitches used, if you're keen to add some new ones to your stitch arsenal.



Dogs in a Park, if you like dogs and embroidery...

We walk in our local park at least once a week and some of the dogs and their owners have become familiar to us, if only by sight. It was just a matter of time before I embroidered them.


There's the border collie who runs up and down alongside his walkers, crouching with frisbee in mouth, waiting for a throw, which comes when they hit the big open field. I love watching him at full speed, racing low to the ground, and the effortlessly graceful way he jumps and catches that frisbee every time. 

The English bulldog makes me laugh, with his snuffling heavy breathing. I can almost see him rolling his eyes and sighing as his owners cajole him around the park when he'd probably rather be snoozing.

The French bulldogs are a bit more sprightly and inquisitive, with their scrunched-up faces. And the Scottie dogs will always be among my favourites with that distinctive shape and those long "eyebrows" - there are a few that trot around on their short little legs.

We often end up grabbing a bench near or en route to the dog park for a bit, to enjoy the outdoors and watch the antics. This is the view from the bench under the oak tree:


Dogs in a Park is similar in style to Birds on a Wire, Cats on a Wall and Succulents on a Sill. And it can easily be split up into individual dogs as well.

The PDF pattern is available on Etsy and Craftsy.

Hearts, embroidered and sewn

I've given a few of my older designs some love, re-releasing three heart designs with new improved patterns.


The heart gift bag is a special way to wrap smaller gifts and I like that it can be reused, to wrap another gift or to store jewellery and other smalls, rather than thrown away like paper wrapping. The pattern includes instructions on how to make the twisted cord, which is quite fun and could be delegated to family members or friends so they feel part of the making process. Sewing instructions are included and the bag can just as easily be made out of smaller pieces of fabric in your stash without the embroidery, and using ready-made cord or a length of ribbon, to cut down on the making time. There's also a variation for if you don't have a sewing machine. So lots of options with this one in terms of making it up and beyond the obvious heart connotations.

Patchworkers and quilters will enjoy the smaller scale of the heart cushion, with the embroidery adding another level to traditional piecing. The pattern is for a 40cm scatter cushion with a flange, which is optional and could be left off. It includes the designs with cutting lines for 18 embroidered heart blocks that use a variety of stitches, as well as instructions on how to piece the cushion front and then make up the cover. You'll likely want to match your thread colours to your fabric so there's a tip on how to do that, too.

The hanging hearts are decorative, adding a 3D element to a collection of wall art or hanging off a doorknob, drawer handle or dressing table mirror. The pattern includes instructions on how to make up the hearts in addition to the embroidery instructions. And the embroidery designs could also be used independently, to embellish tea or hand towels, or anything else really. Like the gift bag, the hearts can be made without the embroidery, perhaps as a way to display favourite scraps of fabric. And there's an alternative option for making the hearts if you don't have a sewing machine.

All three patterns are available on Etsy (links above) as well as from Craftsy.