I was born and raised on the Northern Beaches of Sydney NSW. My love for sewing came about when I was in early high school. I chose Textiles and Design as one of my electives.
When I was around 14, we had an assignment to do for class. I enlarged and traced a large picture of Mickey and Minnie Mouse onto a piece of calico and outlined the design with a couple of basic stitches. I made it into a cushion and gave it to my younger sister Marnie for her 10th birthday. She still has that cushion nearly 40 years later! It was my first and only dabble in hand stitchin’ until I was in my early 30s.
I went to TAFE in Port Macquarie NSW and studied Fashion and Design, then went on to do Post Grad courses in Applied Clothing and Furnishings and Décor. After I had completed my studies I ventured out on my own designing and manufacturing children’s garments. I did this for several years whilst raising a young family. I moved to Bega NSW where my fifth child and only daughter, Hannah, was born. As soon as she was born, all my supressed feminine creativity came bubbling up and I began designing cloth dolls for her. Friends and family noticed her cloth dolls and soon I was making them for others. My neighbour Patty became my best friend and she taught me everything I know in the hand stitchin’ and quilting department. We joined forces and became business partners selling our exclusive designs of dolls, bears, quilts and garments to boutique shops on the south coast of NSW. Several years later, the partnership dissolved as I relocated back to northern NSW.
My own children were so interested in learning to stitch that I taught them all. Some took to it more than others. I found it hard to find suitable projects for them to learn and keep their interest, so I developed my own creative designs. The monotony of stitchin’ outlines of the designs became exciting once colour was added to the interior spaces and buttons were added for an extra dimension/texture. My kids have entered projects into craft and regional shows over the years and have been acknowledged for their workmanship.
In 2003, my eldest son Benjamin decided to do a stitchery of Mount Fuji for his Year 6 major project as they were studying about Japan. He entered it into a regional show and was age champion for his piece. I love this creation and it hangs proudly in my home. In 2006, my then 12-year-old son Noah won the 11-18 years category in the Homespun Inaugural Young Designer of the year competition. He designed and made his first patchwork quilt. My ‘Super Stitcher’ was Isaac, my fourth son. He has completed the whole range of the Kitz 4 Kidz ©. He also received many awards for his stitchin’ works. My second eldest son Aaron didn’t do much stitchin’, but he was given the creative licence to make amazing platters of food for us whilst we did. Those humble beginnings turned into a career as a chef.
After the successful beginning of my own children’s stitchin’ experience, other children also wanted to learn. I began teaching regular classes and workshops and I put together the range of Kitz 4 Kidz © so that kids all over Australia and overseas can learn stitchin’ in a fun and creative way. Soon my students were entering their own creations at regional shows and it was often a sea of young people’s stitchin’ on display.
I became a regular contributor to the three leading craft magazines in Australia providing them with my designs and comprehensive instructions on how to reproduce them, becoming a household name in the industry.
My two younger children and I moved to rural Darwin, Northern Territory, in 2011, when my first grandchild was born. It wasn’t an easy adjustment at first. The NT heat can be relentless, and I missed the cooler weather and the four seasons. After a few years, we adjusted to the heat and we all decided to call Darwin home. Now all my children have flown the coop and live independently. I can now focus on my business and go back to what I am most passionate about. I hope to impart to many students in the region the love of simple stitchin’.
Classes for Kidz stitchin’ have just begun and shortly to follow, there will be adults’ Stitchin’ & UFO get togethers and classes. School holiday workshops are also in the pipeline. So, stay tuned.
Keep an eye out on the programme for up and coming classes which will be posted on the Just Stitchin’ Facebook page. Don’t forget to like us and tell your friends about Just Stitchin’.