Cactus Embroidery – Slow Sewing

Christmas 2019, I was going to spend the festive season with my boyfriend’s family for the first time. So I wanted to take something crafty, but compact, to do. Embroidery! I thought – so went to Etsy to find a kit to challenge my stitching skills.

After much browsing I found this cactus kit from Oh Sew Bootiful, which came with everything I needed. Including a comprehensive guide to the stitches I would need to master.

One of the stitches I found the most challenging, which involved watching a few YouTube tutorials, was the French Knot. I still need to practice it, because my knots are still a bit hit and miss. But this cactus ended up with a series of very good knots!

I particularly liked how there was a variety of stitches recommended in the kit. But you could decide which stitch worked best on which cactus. Although I did largely stay true to the cover illustration, there were some cacti that I went “off script”.

By the start of the first lockdown, I had completed a decent amount of the kit, but then the distractions of baking bread and making scrubs meant that the kit was relegated to a shelf.

However, by the start of lockdown 3, most of my crafting materials had been packed up (we are in the process of trying to move). I left myself 3 unfinished projects, one of which was the cactus embroidery.

So with fewer distractions, and the addition of a fabulous needle holder from the Dinky Trinket Co on Etsy, I finally completed it.

The next challenge is to find a way of protecting it in a frame. When I am back in school I might have a go at making one on the laser cutter. I would like it to have a glass front with a wide wooden frame and a way of hanging in on the wall. But that is a challenge for the future!

For now, I’ve started my next embroidery. This time it’s blackwork and I’m learning how to do Holbein stitch…

My logo is a flamingo. I didn’t choose this, it was given to me by a group of teenage boys as a thank you for all the work I had done with them. However, despite originally being a bit perplexed at their choice of logo, I have come to understand how it came about and more importantly to love and embrace my branding!

Back in 2017, my child was taking their GCSE exams. This was such a stressful process for them that I had to wait in the school’s reception area in case something happened and I was needed to provide calming support.

This meant several hours of sitting and waiting, in case I was needed (spoiler – I wasn’t, thank goodness!). So I crafted. I chose small projects I could easily put down if needed. And my main one was cross-stitch. I choose a kit from the Geeky Stitching Company on Etsy.

This was the finished cross-stitch, which now hangs in my office at school. At the same time, I was supporting a fledgeling racing team. The boys (the pupils from my school) were building a racing car with a volunteer engineer (now my boyfriend). At the end of the racing season, the boys and my now boyfriend presented me with this logo as a thank you for everything I had done.

Fast forward 2 years and this logo adorns everything. From my school cup (teachers live off caffeine).

My school apron, which I blogged about here.

Even the racing cars, which we still race, and which I still run (albeit with significantly more pupils).

So in case you wondered why my logo is a flamingo (an engineering flamingo, in case you hadn’t spotted the gear on the wing), now you know!

Every 6 (or 7) years I design a cross stitch that represents my life at that moment in time. It started in 2000 when my daughter was born. Last year I designed the 3rd cross stitch and started embroidering it. Finally a year later it is finished (I will be honest and confess that it was in hibernation for about 7 months of the year!).

I designed it using an iPad app called Stitch Sketch which was really easy to use.

Here you can see a QR code I turned into a cross stitch pattern. It’s also quite useful that you can choose to design in normal RGB colours, or using the DMC colour chart.

I printed out the various design I made (some were purchased from Etsy and adapted) then stuck them together the old fashioned way using masking tape.

So here is the finished cross stitch:

As you can see, now my daughter is a teenager our life has become very geeky! I am also very proud that the QR code works, when you scan it you can read ‘Katie and Charlie 2013’.

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    In which I attempt to make a giant quilt, for the first time!

    Read more…


  2. Cactus Embroidery – Slow Sewing

    It’s taken just over a year, but this embroidery is finally finished!

    Read more…


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  1. Alison Glass Lumen Quilt

    In which I attempt to make a giant quilt, for the first time!

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  2. Cactus Embroidery – Slow Sewing

    It’s taken just over a year, but this embroidery is finally finished!

    Read more…


  3. a bowl of mushroom ragu and pasta

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    Read more…


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