Charlotte Harding heads near Hastings to find out about a business bringing stitching to a new audience.
Parents are the ones we look to and are always on hand to pass down knowledge and skills.
For Liz Padgham-Major it was her mum who was the inspiration for her business The Accidental Stitcher.
“You don’t like to think you will turn into your mother,” she says.
“I started doing knitted sculptures and then my mum, Margaret Major, introduced me to stitching, she is a miniature stitcher who has written books on it so I never thought I would do it.
“But the style I do is a lot freer.”
Liz designs and creates stitched items such as personalised cushions, necklaces and hand embroidered abstract hoops to decorate your home with.
“I do freestyle embroidery,” she explains. “Whereas cross stitch you follow a pattern on the piece whereas I have a much freer style and build up the layer of colours with the thread.”
Sharing her passion for stitching has seen Liz create kits that people can try at home.
The kit contains everything you need to create the wall hoop including instructions, a hoop, loads of cotton DMC threads and faux suede for hanging.
“I digitally print my design onto the fabric and then people can follow it but they can be free and do what they want with it,” explains Liz.
“I had one woman who asked for more thread as she wanted to build the picture up more so I sent over another 4m and she sent me the picture, it looked amazing.
“I love that you can follow a pattern or if you want you can be more creative.
“For beginners it is a great place to start as you can learn the basics as your confidence builds.”
Liz says the style of embroidery she uses is more modern than cross stitch which more people are used to so it can be very daunting.
The kits can be done in an evening, which Liz says appeals to many people.
“I want people to slow down or just stop and focus on something else,” she says.
“Life is so manic that it is nice to have that time to yourself.
“I love that you can get some fabric, needle and thread and just create something beautiful that you can be proud of.”
In the past Liz says that a woman bought ten kits for a hen party where they could sit and stitch and others have given the finished product as a gift.
“I am always working on new ideas,” reveals Liz.
“For my daughter I printed one of my watercolours on fabric and then stitched her name over the top.
“I am thinking of creating these for kids to do with thicker thread, my ten and nine year old had loved trialling them for me and doing what they want, but they are very arty and creative.”
Liz left college about 20 years ago where she did fine art. Her career went into teaching and doing workshops but when she had her daughter ten years ago she decided that she wanted to spend more time at home with her before she to went to school aged five.
For her designs Liz likes to use plants and her reason is quite interesting.
“I kill every plant I have ever had,” she laughs. “So this is my way of keeping them alive and bringing the outside in.”
Embroidery feels very reminiscent of a Jane Austen novel but with cactus and abstract prints I can’t imagine one of the Bennet sisters doing it, Liz is truly bringing stitching into the 21st century and giving people the excuse to stop and do something for them.
For Liz’s shop visit Etsy - www.etsy.com/uk/shop/lpadgham