Friday, 3 March 2017

Jo from Serendipitous Stitching

I hope no-one minds but I'm starting with me!  I'm such a narcissist LOL

1. Please introduce yourself - name, where you are from, family, pets etc.

I'm Jo, a stitcher from the East of England, married with two boys still in school.  I work part-time as a bookseller and also run a Baby & Toddler Group as well as helping out in school when I can.

2.  How long have you been stitching and how did you start?

Like many of us, my first experience of stitching was a Binca mat in Primary School which my Mum kept for many years on top of the TV (when TVs were broad enough to be used as an extra display space, unlike today's flat screens!).   I didn't really think about stitching again until 1993 when I saw a friend making a Country Companions piece for her young son.  The subject matter didn't appeal but the craft did so I went to the local John Lewis department store and bought an Anchor mini sampler kit.  Then another one.  And the rest is history!

3.  How long have you been blogging and what inspired you to start? Is there a story behind your blog title?

My first introduction to stitching on t'internet was through the cross stitch forums on Yuku.  I noticed that many people had links to their blogs in their signature and started to explore the blogosphere from there.  I saw everyone joining in with the TUSAL and wanted to be part of that.  Of course, you need a blog to take part so that was the incentive to start mine!

I thought long and hard over the name.  I wanted something more than "Jo's Stitching Blog" as there are so many people called Jo, I wanted something unique.  I love words and wordplay so wanted to have alliteration in there.  I thought about all the times the perfect design just appeared at the right time for me and Serendipitous Stitching was born.  Yes I do sometimes regret the name when I have to type it in freehand LOL.

4.  How would you describe your stitching style? Are you a serial starter, a rotator, a OAAT (one at a time), highly organised, random and eclectic, etc.?

I used to be a strict OAAT stitcher, until I joined a Mirabilia Mermaid SAL.  Now I would say I am definitely an Organised Rotater!  I have four SALs which start on the 26th of each month with the Now I Know my ABCs, then I stitch the next letter in the Stitcher's Alphabet by Brooke's Books in preparation for The Alphabet Club on the first Saturday of the month.  Next I stitch the piece for the Hallowe'en Ornie SAL followed by the piece for the Christmas Ornie SAL.  After all four of these I turn to my Focus piece for the month.  Oh yes, there is also my evening stitching - currently the border on Joan Elliott's 12 Days of Christmas and my Ten-a-Day piece!  So I stitch a minimum of two pieces a day, usually three.

5. Do you have a favourite designer or style of design you are drawn to?

I always say I have four favourite designers - Nora Corbett, Joan Elliott, Teresa Wentzler and Just Nan.  There is usually at least one piece in my annual list by each of them.  I do love samplers and fantasy, particularly dragons.  I like a design I can really get into, something with speciality stitches or metallics, lots of detail.  Spooky Hallowe'en designs are another firm favourite.

6. Which piece are you most proud of in your collection?

My first large Teresa Wentzler design is a real Rite of Passage for many stitchers - The Castle, you know, the one with the large dragon wrapped around a castle on a rocky outcrop!

7.  What has been your worst stitching disaster?

Let's just say that Jack Daniels and Coke does not mix well with whitework!  Never, ever leave your stitching on a table when your friends are drinking.  It made a nice practise piece instead.

8.  Which new technique would you like to try, either stitching, finishing or another craft?

Beading.  As in making things with beads rather than adding beads as an embellishment to stitched pieces.  Here are three blog posts which are making me want to take up this hobby!

D1D2 - De Rose Vetues
Needle, Pen and Sword - Beaded Box
Caring Stitcher - Beaded Apple

9. Do you have a box of finished-but-not-fully-finished pieces? Or is everything FFO'd? What's your favourite way to fully finish a project and what do you do with them?

I have a folder full!  I recently put all my finished smalls into one place and the plan is to FFO at least one each Sunday (if I am not working).  So far, so good!  I scrapbook a lot of my smalls, it's a nice cheap hobby as the 12x12 pages are less than £1, you buy bulk pads from The Works sometimes and I use simple card mounts.

Here's a nice Spring themed page:

I also started finishing projects as low-sew Cubes, completing 18 for the two Primitive Hare series!

10. Which of your projects most represents "you"?

I like to change and adapt designs to suit my space and style.  Joan Elliott's Christmas Angel is a perfect example of a design I loved but didn't have time to stitch it all, or the space for another big design on the walls.  I bought a multi-apeture frame and stitched parts of the design to fit in the spaces.  Cross Stitch Collection featured this in one issue and Joan herself commented on when I posted in the Facebook group.

11. Tell us a secret about yourself. Or a joke. About anything!

A secret?  I'm secretly a narcissist but you already know that!  So here is a pun, as I said in Q3 I love words and word play.  This is my own design I made for a giveaway:

The first (lumpy) ornie I ever made!

Anything you would like to add.

A little Thank You to everyone who joins in with the community activities on my blog, the Blog Hops and the SALs.  They would not happen without the support of my lovely followers.  Not much point of a blog hop with only one participant!

Also a Thank You to everyone who voted for me in the British Craft Awards last December.  I didn't win but I did get Bronze!  I got a lovely email letting me know I came in third place.  The winner is still a mystery to me because no-one has announced it on their blog.  Immediate Media didn't send me a medal but they did send me a badge for my blog!

I hope you all enjoyed this first post on our new blog.  If you would like to be featured, please email me and I will send you the questions.

Happy Stitching
Jo xx


  1. You should quite rightly be first :-) great questions and interesting answers, it's always good to learn a little more about fellow stitchers.

  2. Not narcissistic at all, just demonstrating how it will work. I'm looking forward to gettiong to know lots of new bloggers through this

  3. It's your new blog idea so it's good you are starting it. I loved everything you wrote, it gives an insight on who the lady behind all the stitching, the blogging and the hopping is!!!!! I adore your framed lady in pieces! I have a frame similar to this, a wedding gift,and would love to make something similar. I will take a photo of it and show it to you, maybe you will give me an idea of what to stitch inside!AriadnefromGreece!

  4. This is going to be so nice learning more about each one of us. Of course we should start with you! I love your blog posts and all the fun things you find for us to participate.

  5. Well of course you had to test the waters and be first! It's so nice to learn more about you and I'm looking forward to the weekly interviews.
    I love The Castle, I hope to get to it one of these days!

  6. Yay! I loved this Jo. Congratulations on your award! :D

  7. Congrats on your award! Thanks for the shout out :) I love your Joan Elliott piece. I've always been attracted to those frames but never could figure out what I could do with them. You're giving me plenty of ideas :)

  8. I love this idea, and I'm glad you were first, it's so nice getting to know you a little better! I'm chuckling to myself here because we have similar tastes, I too stitched the dragon wrapped around the castle and it was my first Teresa Wentzler design! I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE how you stitched the Christmas Angel, she is also in my stash. You are so very creative!! And this is why I like blog hops so much, because you find all kinds of different ideas! Congratulations on your award, but secretly I believe you deserved first place!!

  9. Great questions and fantastic answers. I love learning more about you and look forward to seeing the next bloggers of the weeks. Thank you for hosting!!

  10. Lovely to read all about how you started stitching and blogging. Congratulations on the blog award too.

  11. Congrats on the blog award, clever girl.

  12. It was very interesting to learn more about how your blogging and stitching adventure started!
    Love the Christmas Angel ..... such a brilliant idea! All your blog hops are such a great way to get to know other other bloggers, and discover different stitching ideas!
    This new blog is yet another marvellous idea, well done Jo!
    And congrats on your award!
    Barbara x

  13. Really enjoyed reading your answers. Only right you were the first poster, now we all know what to look forward to each week, going to vet fun meeting new people.

  14. Of course you should be first! Go ahead and call it narcissism if you want, but I think you're just showing us the way. Good questions and I enjoyed reading your answers. What you did with the Christmas Angel is clever and absolutely brilliant!

  15. Oh my ive learnt something more about you too gorgeous stitching to go with the questions .. im half way through the castle ....looking forward to seeing other bloggers of the week and will promote as soon as my poorly lap top comes back fixed xx love mouse xxxx

  16. I really enjoyed this post Jo. It was fun to learn more about you.

  17. Jo, as I have said so many times, you are such an inspiration and this blog is another one of them. I loved reading all of your answers and your Joan Elliott Angel is one of my very favourite pieces of yours ever! Congratulations on your Bronze placing (I definitely think that you should have come first, but hey, Bronze is great, too.). And really, we all owe you a very big thank you for being such a great blogger and a great friend to us all. xxx

  18. No objections whatsoever against you being the first to answer the interview questions :)))
    Great questions, great answers and great pictures. No wonder that the lady in Q#10 was featured in CSC. Such a fantastic display.
    I'm looking forward to the next bloggers of the week. Thank you for making the blogging world even more interesting for all of us.

  19. Quite right that you should be first! It was really interesting to read more about your stitching "history" and see some of your gorgeous finishes again. Thanks for taking this on, it was one of my favourite features in CSC too.

  20. Like everyone else, I enjoyed reading about you and your stitching. To be honest, I would have been disappointed if you hadn't been first as this blog is your idea.

  21. That was wonderful! I really enjoyed reading more about you and "getting to know you" better!

  22. Love this. Getting to know you has been a real bonus of Blogland. I like the multi aperture idea and may purloin that myself:-)

  23. How nice to introduce us this lovely "Mrs Jo" the right one to inaugurate the Blogger of the Week. Your supposed narcissim brings me to a proposal, if you need one day a new title for some crazy event, what about "Strange Case of Dr Joskill and Mrs Serial Stitcher"? I do hope many friend of yours will agree to participate and present their stitch world to us. xxx

  24. A lovely start to Blogger of the Week Jo,love the clever way you have done the header and who better to be first than the author of the blog:)

  25. This is a wonderful idea! Great first blog post! ;)

  26. Perfect way to start. You have the best ideas - your Joan Elliot is ... I can't even come up with the right word. You have really motivated me as a stitcher - that's the truth

  27. What a wonderful first post to this blog! I'm looking forward to see all the other wonderful stitchers and bloggers on here in the future, and I'm excited to be a part of it as well. Your stitching is lovely, all of it!

  28. Love your interview! The stitcher pun ornie is perfect :)

  29. Great idea to have a blogger of the week and nice to learn a little bit more about you. Plus huge congratulations on your award!!

  30. Pleased to meet you Jo! You have done some beautiful stitching. I love the idea you had for the Joan Elliott's Christmas Angel, how clever! And The Castle is stunning. I may steal your scrapbook idea, hope you don't mind! :)


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