Category Archives: Embroidery

Bustle & Sew: DIY Embroidery Kits


A few weeks ago I received one of the brand new DIY embroidery kits from Helen & Rosie, the mother & daughter duo behind Bustle & Sew, the successful monthly magazine and patten company based here in the UK.

I have long been a fan of Bustle & Sew, their website is a treasure trove of embroidery, applique, softie and sewing patterns with an instantly recognisable country vintage style. I follow them on Instagram and love seeing their beautiful creations popping up daily in my feed.


The DIY Embroidery Kits are a new venture from Bustle & Sew and contain (almost) everything you need to stitch up a sweet embroidery hoop  in one of six designs. All you add is 10 inch square piece of fabric of your choosing.


I had long been looking for a project to use the cute Pink Toadstool fabric from Riley Blake Little Red Riding Hood collection and decided this would be the perfect project to use it on. The Bustle & Sew embroidery design comes printed on a piece of adhesive fabri solvy which you simply stick to the front of your fabric and stitch through.

It was so simple to stitch up over the course of a few evenings and if you are a newbie to embroidery the instructions contained in the kit will teach you how to stitch each embroidery stitch used in the pattern.


When I had finished stitching my design I simply hand washed the embroidery and the water soluble Fabri Solvy washed out leaving behind my finished embroidery creation.IMG_6390

I had some left over quilt binding in my scrap bag measuring 1 metre 15cm which was enough to wrap around the outside of the 7 inch embroidery hoop to finish off my hoopla!P1017912


The Bustle & Sew DIY embroidery kits come in six designs which you can find on the Bustle & Sew etsy shop


Bustle & Sew chose a couple of fabrics from the Homemakery for their samples so if you want to recreate them at home the top row is Tilda Stine in White, Sevenberry Cottage Floral in Blue, Dashwood Studio Suffolk Garden Yellow Fern, the bottom row is Dashwood Studio Teal Flurry, Dashwood Studio Prairie Stitchy Ikat and Lecien Petit Fleur in Cream.

I really enjoyed stitching my Home Sweet Home kit, the instructions contained in the kit are really comprehensive making the kits perfect for beginner stitchers.  The kits themselves come beautifully wrapped and would make a great crafty gift, alternatively if you prefer doing the stitching yourself the finished embroidery hoopla would make fantastic gifts for friends, family or yourself!

Happy Stitching!

Kate signature

Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery: Story Time Sampler – Fabric Options

The Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery Story Time Sampler

If you are thinking of stitching along with the Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery Story Time Sampler you will need to choose some cross stitch fabric! For the Story Time Sampler the Pumpkins are using a 32ct Lugana in Storm from Picture This Plus the fabric isn’t available in the UK but its a dark grey with a hint of blue/purple to it.

When picking your fabric here are a few things to consider:

  • Price – Aida & Lugana Evenweave are made from cotton so are a little cheaper than Belfast & Cashel which are made from Linen.
  • Texture – Aida is a little stiffer to the touch then evenweave.
  • Colour – You want to pick a colour you like and one which makes the colour of the Embroidery Threads pop! The colours in the Story Time Sampler are made up of Neutrals and Brights.  Owing to the number of Neutral Colours in my opinion it rules out the White and Cream Fabrics so its best to go for a Natural or Coloured fabric. For some of the fabrics I have listed below there is one colour of embroidery thread which may be similar to the base colour of the fabric, I have noted it and whilst it is similar to the backing fabric it hopefully won’t detract from the overall picture.

Before I go onto the photos please note I have tried really hard to get the colours on the photos right on these but at the moment with the miserable grey weather and short daylight hours I can’t photograph and edit the photos in daylight so I have tried my best but colour variations may occur!

32 Count Evenweave

Belfast is a 100% linen evenweave if you want your sampler to end up the same size as the Pumpkins this is the one for you! In terms of colours its probably a good idea to steer clear of white or cream colours as there are quite a few lighter colours in the embroidery threads which may not show up as well on a light colour background.


Belfast in Raw/Natural is a good all rounder the colours pop and the neutrals are different enough that they don’t blend in with the background.

Belfast Natural

Belfast in Summer Khaki has a bit more of a yellow tone to it than Natural above, like Natural its a good all rounder the colours pop and the neutrals are different enough that they don’t blend in with the background.

Belfast Summer Khaki

Smokey Pearl is a grey-blue colour, if you want more of a blue tone to your backing fabric its a good option, the one light blue embroidery thread (Antique Blue) still stands out against the fabric.

Belfast Smokey Pearl

Misty Blue is a darker blue grey toned fabric the colours work well there is one close match with the antique blue embroidery thread but its not enough to rule it out as a fabric option.

Belfast Misty Blue

16 Count Aida

If you are new to Cross Stitch and want to go with an Aida fabric, 16ct Aida is recommended for this pattern. As before using a light coloured Aida will probably result in a few of the lighter toned embroidery threads not showing up as well as they would on a darker coloured background.


Aida in Misty Blue is a good match ,all the colours pop and there aren’t any embroidery threads which are too close a match in colour.

Aida Misty Blue

Nougat is a good option if you prefer a brown tone to your backing fabric, the lighter neutral embroidery threads are different enough in tone that they won’t blend in with the backing fabric. Aida Nougat

Pewter is a good option if you are looking for a grey backing fabric all the embroidery threads pop against the backing fabric. as with other grey fabrics the Antique Blue is the only close match.Aida Pewter

25 Count Lugana

Lugana is a slightly cheaper option than Belfast as it is made from Cotton rather than Linen. At 25 Count it will result in a larger finished sampler size of 11 x 15 inches rather than 8.5 x 11.5 inches on 32 count fabric.Lugana

Antique Violet is a really fun option for the Sampler the colours definitely pop on this background if you are looking for something a bit different this could be the one for you!

Lugana Antique Violet

Light Mocha is a good neutral with more of a brown tone to it, the brighter embroidery threads pop and the neutrals coordinate well.

Lugana Light Mocha

Light Khaki is very similar to Light Mocha only with more of a yellow tone to it, as before it works well with both the bright and neutral embroidery threads.

Lugana Light Khaki

I really like Granite as an option as every colour in the Story Time Sampler palette pops. A good choice if you are looking for a darker background.

Lugana Granite

Pewter is an option if you are looking for a grey background, there is one close embroidery thread match which stuck out to me and that is the Antique Blue Embroidery Thread, but it wasn’t enough to rule it out as a possible option.

Lugana Pewter

 28 Count Cashel

Cashel is another 100% linen evenweave fabric and has that lovely linen feel. At 28 Count the finished size of the sampler will be slightly larger than the 32ct fabric and measure 9.5 x 13 inches


My top pick using Cashel is Natural as all the embroidery thread colours pop!

Cashel Natura;

The Cashel version of Granite is a little darker than the Lugana as a result some of the darker embroidery threads don’t show up as well, but still a valid option if you are looking for a darker backing fabric.Cashel Granite

Confederate Grey is another option if you are after a grey linen, there are a couple of closer matches on the embroidery threads which caught my eye, namely the antique blue and brown grey. They aren’t deal breakers however!Cashel Conf Grey

Flax is a shade lighter than Natural above and whilst I love how the colours pop I felt the neutrals were a little close in tone and a darker fabric might be preferable. Cashel Flax

Phew we have made it to the end, as you will see there are lots and lots of options for you to consider when picking a backing fabric for your Story Time Sampler. Once your fabric arrives it is a good idea to sew a zig zag stitch around the edges of your fabric to prevent it fraying as you stitch.

I hope this post helps you pick out your backing fabric, I really like a natural linen look to my Cross Stitch projects so I am thinking I will probably go with the Cashel in Natural. Oh the decisions!

Good luck picking your fabric and don’t forget you can find the Story Time Sampler thread packs and all these Zweigart fabrics on the website,  there is still plenty of time to consider your options before stitching begins on the 15th January!

Kate signature

PS. Don’t forget to sign up for your Story Time Sampler pattern before the end of December, come 1st January VAT will have to be added to the price of all digital downloads sold to EU customers.

Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery: Story Time Sampler

Have you heard of the Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery? Based in California, the Pumpkins, aka best friends Amanda and Ashleigh, design the most adorably cute kawaii cross stitch patterns around, definitely not your grandmas cross stitch!

If you follow me on Instagram you will know that I have been stitching along with their Christmas Celebration Sampler and I have enjoyed it so much I cannot wait for their next release which will be with us very soon!

Introducing….. The Story Time Sampler!

The Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery Story Time Sampler

The Story Time Sampler is a year long stitch-a-long project with a literary theme! Each month the pumpkins will email you part of the sampler so come December 2015 you will have a finished sampler ready to take pride of place on your wall! So far you can expect to stitch Alice in Wonderland, Little Women and Sherlock Holmes!

We are thrilled to have teamed up with the Frosted Pumpkin to provide thread packs and fabrics for the Story Time Sampler. If you fancy stitching along you can find thread packs here and I have a separate blog post with some fabric suggestions coming soon!

Thread Pack Story Time Sampler

If you are new to Cross Stitch you might find the following useful.

A bit about Cross Stitch fabrics

  • You can Cross Stitch on either Aida or Evenweave, Aida is easier to stitch on as there are visible holes in the fabric which you cross stitch through, it does mean your finished design can have a bit of a holey feel to it, but cross stitching on Aida is a quick and easy so perfect for beginners.
  • Evenweave is basically what the name implies the threads are evenly weaved so there are no obvious holes to stitch through. As a result its a little trickier to cross stitch on evenweave as you have to make sure each stitch is worked across two strands of evenweave, this sounds much harder than it really is,  once you get in the swing of things its easy. If you are not sure which fabric to use I would definitely recommend an evenweave as the finish (in my eyes!) is so much nicer than Aida.
  • Cross Stitch fabrics come in “counts” the count refers to the number of threads per inch of fabric. So a high “count” fabric means there are more threads per inch than on a lower count fabric. e.g. a 32ct fabric has more threads packed into an inch of fabric than 28ct which has less threads.
  • Using a high Count fabrics result in a smaller finished design, if you think about it you are fitting more stitches into an inch which reduces the finished size of the design. If you use a lower count the finished design will be slightly larger than on the higher count fabric.
  • The finished Story Time Sampler will measure 131 stitches wide x 180 stitches long. That works out at 11 x 15 inches on 25 count fabric or 8.5 x 11.5 inches on 32 count fabric. You would want at least 2/3 inches extra fabric to border your finished sampler.
  • To translate Evenweave count to Aida count simply divide by two. So 32ct Evenweave becomes 16ct Aida, 28ct Evenweave becomes 14ct Aida

A bit about Cross Stitch Needles

The best needles for cross stitch are tapestry needles which have a blunt point and a large eye, making them easy to thread! Tapestry Needles come in different sizes, as a guide:

Size 26 Tapestry Needles are used for 32ct Evenweave / 16ct Aida

Size 24 Tapestry Needles are used for 28ct Evenweave / 14ct Aida

Size 22 Tapestry Needles are used for 25ct Evenweave

This is just a guide and it’s really not the end of the world if you used a different size needle!

I love the John James Crafters Collection cross stitch needle packs as they have all the above sizes packed into mini envelopes!

Other useful bits

To stitch along you will also need a hoop or embroidery frame, a pair of scissors to snip your threads and a box or tin to store your threads and bits and pieces. To stop my threads getting in a tangle I have wrapped them around pegs and written the thread number on the side, thanks pinterest for that great idea!

Story time Threads

If you are planning on stitching along with the Story Time Sampler in 2015 make sure you sign up over at The Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery before the new year. Prices will be going up come January 1st once those pesky VAT MOSS laws come in and VAT has to be added to all digital downloads.

Happy Stitching and I will be back tomorrow with some fabric suggestions!

Kate signature

Homemakery How to: Valentine Embroidery Hoopla

Valentines Embroidery Hoopla

With Valentines Day just around the corner this cute embroidery hoop incorporates sweet embroidery with needle felting to create a gorgeous Valentines hoopla which can be displayed all year round.


9 inch embroidery hoop
Beige linen measuring 12 inch by 12 inch
Prym Mark & Erase Pen
Red & Pink Natural Wool Roving
John James Cross Stitch & Embroidery Needles – Embroidery Size 7
DMC Embroidery Thread Pack – Flower Garden & WhiteEmbroidery Threade
2 Red Buttons
1 FQ – Sevenberry Light Pink Ticking 
Red Stripe Ribbon 16mm

Love You Always Embroidery Pattern (click to download)


Needle Felting Pen
Needle Felting Mat
Clover Rose Needle Felting Mold


1. Download the Love you always embroidery pattern by clicking on the link above and print out onto A4 paper.

2. Trace your design onto your linen using the Prym mark and erase pen. The simplest way to do this is to washi tape your design and linen to a window then trace over the outline with the pen.

3. Next needle felt the hearts, if you don’t want to needle felt sew on some felt or simply embroider around the hearts, its up to you! If you are needlefelting use the Clover Rose mold and pink and red natural wool roving and needle felt onto the linen. If you are new to needle felting see our beginners guide to needle felting blog post for a step by step guide.

Tracing & needle felting

4. Next begin the embroidery:

Valentines Embroidery Hoop

  • for the Love You Always text we backstitched using red DMC embroidery thread 817, each stitch measures c.4mm long.
  • for the green leaves we used back stitch for the stem and lazy daisy stitch for each leaf in green DMC embroidery thread 954.

Leaves & Lettering

  • For the flower we backstitched around each petal in blue DMC embroidery thread 813.
  • For the little stars we stitched 4 straight stitches crossing in the middle in white DMC embroidery thread Blanc
  • We customised our needle felted hearts by stitching initials on the small hearts and outlining the larger heart in straight stitch.

Embroidered Needle Felted Hearts

5. Sew two small buttons in the centre of your flowers and your embroidery is complete!


6. Now to decorate your hoop. Cut your fabric into 1 inch strips about 15 inches long, you will probably need around 4 or 5 strips. Place some glue on the inside of the hoop, pva or craft glue will work fine. Stick the end of one strip to the glue and holding it in place keep wrapping it tightly around the hoop until you come to the end of the strip. Secure the end to the inside of the hoop with some glue, apply more glue to the inside of the hoop take the next strip and repeat until you finish wrapping your hoop.

Covering embroidery hoop with fabric

7. Leave your hoop to dry and trim off any loose threads. Put your finished embroidery back into your hoop and cut off any excess fabric. You can also back your embroidery with some felt at this point to hide the back.

8. Tie your ribbon onto your hoop with a big bow and your Valentines Embroidery Hoopla is complete!

Completed Valentines Embroidery Hoop

Happy Stitching!

Kate signature