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How I REALLY Designed the New Stumpwork Sampler

It's taken me nearly 20 years to figure out how I actually design a new embroidery (or any) project. And to be satisfied that it's the best way for me to do it.

The 2012 Original Monster

So, high on my priorities list right now is getting the lesson plans ready for the big Stumpwork Sampler 2023 course, which starts in January - and in order to do that, I have to have nailed the design to within about 10% of it's final form. And I've been putting that off...

...until I can really get to grips with my drawing skills - I mean, how can I design something new, after all these years, if I'm still not good/fast enough at drawing my designs? I'd better go and do some drawing exercises, asap!


This Stumpwork design has been taunting me for months - I delayed the start date because I wasn't happy with my first effort. All because I was trying to get my ideas on paper in pictures, rather than what I was originally trained to do - use words.

I read English at Uni a million years ago, and if there's one thing I can do, is get my ideas down on paper in prose. When I started my training at the Royal School of Needlework, my designs were first doodled in words, and only later did the pictures come. For years I've been thinking that this was a temporary approach, that I would do a 'better' job once I'd cracked the drawing thing. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE drawing, doodling and playing with watercolours, but I'm not proficient (yet).

Now THAT'S a full on design!

So here is the 'nearly there' design for the new sampler - in all its doodled, post-it noted, scribbled glory. After this, I dived onto my ProCreate app on my iPad, and if you want to see what the real thing looks like, you'll have to either join the class, or wait until December 2023 for the online Exhibition of Student Work!

Happy Stitching,


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