I've long been a fan of Jenny Blair's bright and beautiful embroidery kits and patterns. As well as being a great designer, Jenny is also very generous with her knowledge and her website is packed with great stitching tutorials, tips and freebies.
Jenny's latest creations are Mr and Mrs Deer, which you can make with her PDF pattern and tutorial. I was so pleased to be able to team up with Jenny to put together a special pack of 100% wool felt and DMC embroidery threads to make this sweet couple, so you can get on with the fun bit!
And to share the love, we are giving you 15% off both the PDF pattern over at Jenny's shop and the thread and felt supplies you need from Cloud Craft with code DEERLOVE15 (valid until 14th February 2016).
When we first had Jenny's kits in the shop they sold out very quickly but I'm pleased to say they are now back in stock. This time we also have the Little Fawn kit, which is my favourite! I asked Jenny if she would tell us a bit about her business and stitchy inspiration.
Tell us about ‘Jenny Blair’ and Bloom and Sew and how you got started.
I've been creating, sewing and painting for as long as I can remember, and always had the dream of making this my 'job' but never knew quite how to go about it. Around 6 years ago, however, discovered blogging and 'Etsy' which suddenly opened the door for me to take my first steps. I was working part time as a midwife and my youngest was just a toddler so I would stitch and paint in whatever spare time I could squeeze in (usually when everyone was in bed) and sell what I made in my Etsy shop. Over the next couple of years I slowly developed my confidence and learned some new skills ( Photoshop & computer design), while also working out what I enjoyed making and what would actually sell (and looking after my family of course!). Fast forward to now and I've been self employed for 4 years with a growing sewing business. I offer my designs as embroidery kits and patterns, host stitch related workshops alongside selling original stitched items in my online shop and in some galleries around Scotland. It still surprises and delights me that I've made it this far!
What do you love the most about embroidery?
I can keep my fingers busy while letting my mind wander …....
What’s your favourite stitch?
Satin stitch hands down. It's so smooth and shiny....
What’s the most treasured tool in your sewing box?
My pinking shears, they were my Nana's and are still kept in their original box. I don’t use them very often (they weigh a tonne!) but I do Iove the occasional glimpse at them in my sewing drawer.
It seems that lots of your designs are inspired by the natural world. What’s your favourite place in the world?
I grew up in a small Scottish rural town nicknamed as the 'Gateway to the Glens', where childhood was spent outdoors roaming the surrounding countryside, and weekends/holidays spent hiking and camping in the National park. I spent a few years in my early twenties travelling around the world and despite discovering stunning new places I always hankered after those glens...that's where my heart belongs.
What would you most like to do, other than running ‘Jenny Blair’?
This is going to sound a bit clichéd but right now there is nothing else I'd rather do. When I left my midwifery post I made a promise to myself that from this point on I would only do what made me happy....and if not I would change it and find what did. So I guess if there was something else I would rather be doing there would be no more 'Jenny Blair'!
Do you have a stitchy top tip to share?
The one that has worked best for me is that enjoyment is the most important part of stitching rather than how neat the stitches are or how tidy the back is. Just have fun!
What’s on the cards for ‘Jenny Blair’ in the future?
There are a few things on the horizon, which I am excited about and involve sewing 3d things rather than embroidery. I'm also busy working on some new embroidery kits which I hope to launch later in the year. I have a few wild dreams that I'm working on to come into fruition in the future..but you know what they say about telling people your secret wishes ….... ;)
I hope you love Mr and Mrs Deer as much as I do. Thanks Jenny! x