Author Archives: Kathleen

Where Am I Going Now

For those who know of me and my work. you will know that I have for the last 25 years had a passion for wielding my soldering iron and melting / cutting through organza to produce lace-like / cutwork looking textiles.

I still very much have this passion but during lockdown, I had some enforced spare time on my hands and decided to challenge myself to finally get to grips with a sewing machine with an embroidery unit and the software premiere plus by VSM Husqvarna now relaunched as [new updated version is my Sewnet]. With their continued support and encouragement, I have found a second passion that allows me to turn any of my own drawings into digitised embroideries that can be stitched out and repeated to the same accurate design every time.

Coles Sewing Centre in Nottingham have been tremendously supportive. Rose and her excellent team have supported me whilst I gain my confidence in delivering classes for those students who like to put their embroidery machines through their steps.
The team at VSM Husqvarna Redditch are excellent and are always on hand with the support that I am very thankful for. Their machine support and opportunities to try out new machines over the years have finally, eventually led me down this avenue at a time when I was looking for a new challenge.

This last year, I have actually taken delivery of my very own newly released Designer Ruby 90 and am so enjoying experimenting with what it can do whilst still continuing to push my own creative free-motion machine embroidery and mixed media explorations. In a nutshell, I am into everything to do with creative sewing and when i get a day off from teaching I just want to play, learn and pass on what I discover to my students.

Digitised appliqué, filling stitches and outline running stitches

I am fortunate to be part of a bigger family of crazy, lovely machine people who allow me to experiment along side them and develop projects which they all seam to enjoy pushing forward to bring their own personality to my original project. My family at ‘Keep On Sewing”, led by Pam Neave and some very special people who keep us altogether are a valuable part of my evolution and I just love it when I am invited to tutor for them. This group is so valuable to all of you out there with embroidery machines, that you are not getting full value from because you do not have somewhere to meet with like minded people who own digitised embroidery machines. I can honestly say that people travel from all over the country to be part of this group. Its amazing and made so much more by the hotel, food, fun and good humour that surrounds it.

Layered and soldered organza.
Digitised waterfall panel taught at Keep on sewing in coventry last October 2021

Just before lockdown, my local shop Tudor Rose Patchwork in Bedfordshire gave me the opportunity to start a digitising group at their shop and although lockdown stopped us for a while we are up and going again and now have a well populated quarterly workshop class where i get to practice on them and they tell me where it doesn’t work and then i improve it. [They are such a good bunch and very patient with me]

Weve had a few problems where I have been completely stumped and in a corner. But that’s where our lovely Husqvarna representative Louise is so valuable. She has gotten me out of a sticky situation on several occasions and I can’t thank her enough for giving me little tips and the confidence to try other things.

Floating card stock to embroidery xmas cards

I am writing this blog because I value all the people that have helped me on my personal travels to understand, achieve and have a chance to try something very different.

5 years ago, I would have been very rude about digitised embroidery machines as i like many others considered these sewing machines to be cheating. That was until some determined people educated me and pushed me to try it before I knocked it. Now I know better than to slander what I do not understand fully. Creative free motion machine embroidery, patchwork, hand embroidery and many other textile crafts take many hours/years to perfect the skills needed to create unique individual textiles. The same can now be said about learning how to use a modern software package that will give you the ability to create anything your heart desires once you can master getting it to talk to a machine [your tool] that stitches out what you have spent hours designing and making sure that your actions are understood by the machine.

Of course, the software package has inbuilt programmes and designs and you can obtain three packages starting with Silver, that a beginner can play with and create no end of interesting layouts to stitch out but I assure you if you get hooked it won’t be long before you are downloading the silver package and then the full works that the platinum package has to offer.

Soldered and Layered organza
Designed using software and stitched out on a designer ruby 90
hand-embellished with sequins and gold work couched cords

I now have yet another bow to my strings and although at the moment I am designing project-based workshops that are helping me learn and understand more about the software each time. I can already see that given some more free time I will be using it alongside my free motion skills, mixed media skills and hand sewing skills to create some really interesting textiles. The sky’s my limit and I really can’t wait to explore it.

All I need to do now is add a scan and cut machine and a heat press to my ever-growing collection of crafty machinery, plus another 12 hours to my day and I will have cracked it.

So next time you are letting loose about it not being proper sewing, remember that it takes time, practice and skill to conquer all these machines and to learn how we can make them work for us within our individual fields of craft.

If you do not agree with me then that’s your prerogative but don’t discard these fantastic machines and their software opportunities until you have tried it. Tried and tested is a good motto to stand by.

Layered and soldered elephants
Appliqué and lined design to make a functional box

Launching My New Gold Work Book

Here’s my first dabble into publishing my own Gold Work designs. This is for you to learn the traditional techniques of Gold Work with my own unique brand of contemporary glamour. It cost £10 And there are 11 projects and several patterns for you to play within this compact A4 edition.  Published to give you access to my designs and to encourage you to explore and play around with traditional and everyday gold bling in a relaxed manner. The book is for all levels and I actively encourage you to change and add a little of yourself to each project you try.  For too long many have felt that they couldn’t attempt this glorious heritage embroidery skill. Now is the time to have a go and find out if it is your thing. If it is then you can move to other techniques, authors, further reading and more expensive materials knowing that you do indeed like Gold Work. You will also know whether you’re a traditional kinda embroiderer, a contemporary kinda embroiderer, or a bit of both.  Whichever you turn out to be is really irrelevant, as we need to push the boundaries and take our creativity into the future. I hope you enjoy using the book.  

You can find it in my online shop here.

Kathleen x

Fairy houses and wonky houses weekend in Cloughton, Scarborough

Well I just thought I would share with you the wonderful weekend I just spent teaching the East Yorkshire Embroidery Society group who met at CloberHill , Cloughton, Scarborough.

Although I had a very unpleasant journey from Bedford to Scarborough, once I got there the conference hotel , amazing staff and ladies on the weekend retreat where amazing.

Not my normal technique based workshop but my oh my we had some amazing results mixed with great food, excellent company, fantastic facilities and wonderful sea views.

The ladies of EYES worked so hard to complete their Womky Houses and Fairy houses with great results, jolly companionship and a keenness to get to grips with their sewing machines. We had such fun freeing ourselves up and letting go with basic machine skills. I think everyone found their inner child and enjoyed the feeling of all is okay and if we do something concidered wrong that we can Fidery fiddle and adapt skills to get what is in our minds eye.

I love teaching these workshops as they are not what I normally do or are known for, but allow me to let the inner child out and respond to nieve and whimsical expressions that I don’t normally allow. Those who know my work will know that I generally deal with organza, layering , water soluble, reverse Applique and finally the use of a soldering iron to create see through organza lacy panels full of colour that let the light shine through them and make them translucent in appearance.

In order to run a successful business I find that you have to adapt to groups and guilds requirements where I teach a wide variety of workshops to  keep me out there and actively allows for experimentation in other areas of my work.

I love to interact with groups and give them what they require to run successful retreats and workshops that help their groups grow and establish  strong roots to push forward in all avenues of textile crafts and embroidery skills. .

I have no problem tailor making workshops to individual groups needs and find this a rewarding challenge to meet groups needs, embrassing the challenges they set for me.

All in all I love a good challenge to meet a groups needs and have thourougly  enjoyed this groups criteria and hope that they go on to extend their inner child as they create Fairy houses and Wonky Houses.


Sensational soldered mini journal. Febs new project box is launching

Now that Christmas has well and truly passed. I have found time to get myself together and organise the next project box. I know many of you over the years have brought soldering irons from myself and Margaret Beal and many of them haven’t seen the light of day for some time. So I thought it was time to get them out and get creative. This project box does not require a sewing machine unless you discover a need for one.

This is all about cutting shapes, making marks and holes and soldering shapes on to a decorated surface to produce a soft wrap to your journal. (Journal materials also included)

They were designed for some classes I ran for ICHF for Kim Thittichai at the sewing for pleasure shows a couple of years back and popped up as a good idea to make a project box that was an afternoons work with good results.

If your interested pop over to my web site shop and order your from the Project box section. I will take orders over the next two weeks and then make them up and dispatch the first week of March.

If your a busy person and don’t have much time to play these project boxes are great to sit down with and get stuck in to without having to first find everything needed. All you will need with this one is a soldering iron and a glass chopping board or smooth tile.

They are ideal to gift to crafty friends, keep in your handbag, etc.

I hope you have fun and don’t forget to email me your finished pieces

Happy soldering and mark making



Layered and sketched florals


New layered and stitch sketched floral panels now available on the web site shop under machine embroidery kits. Elegant see through panels made using water soluble film. Practice your free motion machine embroidery sketching. Each kit comes with all materials and thread so you can get started straight away. £15 each 

2019 Student Exhibition at Tudor Rose Patchwork 19th – 20th Jan 10am-4pm daily


Come over to Tudorrosepatchwork patchwork shop, Oakley, just outside Bedford 19th or 20th Jan and see what our talented students have been up to throughout 2018. Bring the hubby and park him in the coffee shop whilst you look round the exhibition and the shop. Then settle back and he can buy lunch too

we hope you will be able to come and share this couple of days with many of our students who will be available to chat with you if you have any questions

we look forward to welcoming you

Kathy, Sandra and all the crew.

2014 Student Exhibition 2-4

2014 Student Exhibitions 3-3