Friday, 17 March 2017

Lesley from Lesley's Stitching Diary

Please welcome our third Blogger of the Week, the lovely Lesley from

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


My name is Lesley. I live in the North West of England, in rural Cheshire with my husband of nearly thirty four years. We have two adult sons and two gorgeous grandsons aged twelve and seven.

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

I have been stitching since May 1994.
I fell into stitching rather than making a conscious decision to start.
I went to a local Craft barn with a friend out of curiosity and a small cross stitch kit caught my eye because the little flowers were stitched in my favourite colour palette, purple.
The kit contained a small card and envelope so I decided to stitch it for our younger son's teacher as a good bye gift. He was seven and moving out of her class to the juniors.
I made the rookie mistake of using six strands in the first few stitches, a lesson learned early on.
I was amazed it looked like the illustration on the kit when I had finished.
Buoyed by my success I returned to the Craft Barn and purchased a design by Sylvia Clarke, a Nasturtiums flower tile. It was colourful and I liked the border pattern. At this point I had no idea about fabric, threads or back stitch (fortunately there was no back stitch ) I loved stitching it and that was the start of my cross stitching adventures.

Nasturtium Flower Tile designer Sylvia Clarke

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

I started my blog in March 2011. It was, if I remember correctly, called Home Is Where The Heart Is. I was going to blog about all sorts of things but I started to use it more and more for my stitching so I changed the name to Lesley's Stitching Diary. I have since started again after a Picasa Photo disaster in late 2012 in which I deleted nearly all my photos from my blog!
I had been reading and following a few blogs for a couple of years before I set up my own blog. I can remember the delight of finding cross stitching bloggers from other parts of the world. It was like opening a door and finding treasure. I loved the different styles and finishes and reading about what other stitchers like to stitch. It was great because none of my friends are crafty and up until then I was literally on my own in my passion for the crosses.

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 was originally a 'one at a time' stitcher until I joined a stitching forum in 2009 and signed up for a few exchanges which meant I had two projects on the go at times.
I have decided that I am most comfortable if I have no more than four projects on the go at one time. I tried a rota a couple of times and failed to keep to it. I like to be organised.

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

I like a lot of different styles but a few designers come to mind immediately

I like Ursula Michael's Word designs. They are fun, easy to stitch and personalise.
The simplicity of Little House Needleworks and Country Cottage Needleworks designs appeals to me.
I like the small Prairie Schooler designs. Brittercup designs is another.

I like Barbara Ana's Hallowe'en designs and a new-to-me designer,  Deborah Dick of Tempting Tangles designs.

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

That would have to be White Lightning by Dimensions Gold. I stitched it for our younger son as a gift to mark his graduation in 2008. I started it in 2008 and it took two years of stitching to finish and one year out. The design has a 3D effect achieved by some of the stitches being four, five and six strands. I have never gridded any of my work and on this occasion I was fortunate that it all matched up, especially as I kept stopping and starting the project.

White Lightning. A Dimensions Gold kit. Original picture by John Seerey -Lester

7. What has been your worst stitching disaster?

I had another Dimensions Gold design in 2002 called Magic In Motion. The subject was a colourful Wizard on black aida. I persevered with the fabric because I loved the Wizard. About a third of the way through I realised the fabric was in the wrong orientation and my Wizard would have no robes where his legs were. There was nothing I could do, the thought of frogging so much gave me nightmares. I gave the chart to someone who was willing to do the thread conversion and was going to use the chart.
A few years ago I tried to find Magic In Motion but it had been discontinued, then I saw a chart for sale on eBay, it was in pretty good condition .It is now in my stash, I have my fabric (not black) and I have done a thread conversion, so one day my Wizard will be stitched.

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

I have already taken the bull by the horns and started knitting. I completed two pattered blankets last year. I have nearly completed a scarf with various stitches incorporated into it, and knitted on circular needles, a first for me.
I am itching to start my first pair of socks. I am going to try the circular needle method and the double pointed needles method.

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 framed quite a lot of my pieces because they are too big to make into small ornaments. I have stitched quite a few as gifts.
As the years have gone by I find I enjoy the process of stitching more than the finishing. I do have a few not fully finished pieces and no idea what to finish them into. However, when I stitch my Christmas ornaments for the family later this year I will be fully finishing them.

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

It is hard to pick a project that represents me because I have cross stitched a lot of different designers' styles.
I also love hardanger stitching so, after some thought and a look in my stitching folders on my computer I would have to go with a piece I stitched for our elder son and his wife in 2013 for their wedding card. I designed it as I stitched and I love just seeing where the design takes me using the techniques I have learned. There is a small amount of cross stitch in the design too.

Wedding Card

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

I am a collector and drinker of tea. I love my cuppa or brew as we say here. I have quite an array of different teas, loose leaf are my favourite. I am lucky that younger son and his fiance travel a lot. They have brought tea from Vietnam, Japan, Canada and Austria as well as gifts of tea from Fortnum and Mason. I love Chai tea and Lapsang Souchong. My latest gift was Russian Caravan tea which is delicate in taste. I have them all to myself when our sons are not around (they also like different teas) because my husband is a coffee drinker:)

12. Anything you would like to add?

I like to stitch on 14 and 16 count aida because it is easy on my eyes, although I will use 28 and 32 count if it is absolutely necessary and of course hardanger fabrics. Apart from the purple spectrum I like oranges which is one reason I am drawn to Hallowe'en designs.

Thanks to Jo of Serendipitous Stitching for putting the questions and for you coming to read them.


  1. Oh Lesley I enjoyed this post about you very much indeed! The Nasturtium Flower Tile is so wonderful, I loved seeing your early work. I really loved seeing White Lightning again!

  2. Hello Leslie, nice to read about you.

  3. Great to meet you Lesley! Oh the white tiger is gorgeous!AriadnefromGreece!

  4. Hello Lesley. The 'White Lightning' design is impressive.

  5. Nice to meet you Lesley. Gorgeous stitching.


  6. It was so fun to read about Lesley. What a great way to meet other stitchers. I look forward to the next Blogger of the Week Post.

  7. Thank you CJ.I enjoyed the first two bologgers of the week.I think it is a great idea too.

  8. Very interesting interview, I love learning about other stitchers!

  9. Always nice to meet a fellow stitcher and blogger. I'm off to visit your blog!

  10. Great to get to know you a little Lesley - I look forward to seeing more on your blog

  11. Thank you for sharing your stitching adventures. It was such a wonderful read

  12. Thank you Rachel,Rhona,Nic and Melinda for visiting:)

  13. Fun to learn more about you, Lesley :) I always enjoy visiting your blog!

  14. Wonderful "interview" Lesley - I always enjoy visiting your blog and it's nice to see you as the focus blogger here :o)
    Hugs x

  15. Thank you Carol,Noni and Irene:)

  16. I totally agree with you on what you say about the blogging world. I also love being a part of it and wouldn't want to change to a different platform.
    It was so nice to read your interview and to learn so many details about you and your stitching.

  17. Lovely to read about you Lesley. White Lightning is fabulous.

  18. Thank you Brigitte,finding stitching blogs really did inspire me to learn more and experiment with fabric and threads.
    Thank you sock made:)

  19. Another awesome interview. A great look into Lesley's life. I already enjoy following her blog. Thanks Jo for another great post.

  20. Oh wow, your White Lightning is amazing! So nice to learn more about you.

  21. Lovely to read more about you Lesley, especially your stitching history! Your Nasturtium tile is very pretty and White Lightning is simply stunning! I love the wedding card too, it's difficult to believe you made it up as you went along.

  22. Thanks Katie,Astrids Dragon and Justine.White Lightning was quite ambitious for me at the time.When I had completed it I felt I could do anything!!
    I had an idea in my head for the card,Justine,it sort of grew from there:)

  23. Nice to find out a bit more about you Lesley
    I love the nasturtiums piece, they are my favourite flowers

  24. I can very much relate to that stitching disaster, having narrowly avoided a similar one just recently...I'm glad to hear I'm not to only who made a mistake like that! And I just love that white tiger you did.

  25. Glad to meet you Lesley. White Lightning is a beautiful piece and I am sure your son treasures it!

  26. Thank you Leonore and Faith.

  27. Great to meet you Lesley. The White Lightening is such a beautiful piece - I'm not surprised it took 2 years to sew x

  28. Great post, Lesley. I so enjoyed learning more about you - I love tea, too.