I started stitching canvaswork about 20 years ago, having previously stitched a few crosswork charts. The very first design I stitched was Spirit of the Southwest by Susan Portra – not the smallest of designs to start with!! I did not have a clue what many of the threads were and so took the easiest (but not cheapest!!) option of buying it as a kit. By following the instructions carefully I was able to complete it in a few months – I even managed to master tidy French Knots thanks to Susan’s wonderful instructions. Many of the threads were only available from the USA – and in those days there was no internet. I also found a framer who was able to cut a mount to fit the outline. After a couple of holidays in Florida I discovered another designer – Jean Hilton. I spent the next few years stitching as many patterns from these two designers as I could get my hands on and my holiday spending money would allow!!
With the internet becoming more widely available I was able to find more designers, although most of those I stitched were still from the USA.
I started charting and selling my own designs nearly three years ago, when I was given the opportunity to cut down my working hours and spend more time stitching. Previously due to a very long and busy working day, I had found it hard to concentrate on my own designs and would spend my evenings following the instructions of other designers to help relax. Although I followed the instructions for the designs I would very often change the colours/threads that were specified, either because I did not like the colour or I could not get hold of the thread here in the UK.
My very first charted design was Seasonal Cross and went on sale in March 2010 and Needlework by Nikki was born.