Category Archives: Inspiration

#threaduary : an everyday stitch project to help creative block

what is threaduary?

  • primarily an instagram project although it can be shared anywhere
  • a daily stitching project, a time to experiment or finish off that 'thing' you've been meaning to for ages, an excuse to take some time to make something and to feel really good about it
  • you can make anything you like, set yourself a goal, a realistic goal. It could be a full project that you want to do a little of each day, it could be experimenting in a style or material you've not tried before ,or even a new subject.
  • post a photo  of your project or inspiration each day using the hashtag #threaduary and tag me (@marnalunt) in it so I can see what you're up to.

In October I took part in #stitchtober which I saw Adam Pritchett doing on Instagram, this was a variation on #inktober created by Jake Parker.

I was feeling pretty crap at the time and felt I needed a focus of some sort to help me out of my personal rut. It was great, I decided that I enjoyed stitching botanicals and had not really had the chance to play with full thread painting only using botanicals as a subject.

So, why not use this as a way to play? I did the full 31 images but I didn't stress too much if I missed a few days or wanted to go out and miss a day. I caught up with it because I really wanted to finish 31 images but really it didn't matter if I didn't want to catch up. There were no rules and it was refreshing that it was my own determination and excitement that made me finish the project. I always set off with the best intentions and then quickly lose patience and skip off in another direction. Finishing it gave me a real sense of achievement that I was much in need of at the time. It's actually an awful lot of work doing a whole completed flower each day. One flower might take three hours another might take eight, so it might be useful to set a time limit during the day. 

During this month ff stitching I had a lot of time to think. And as an artist I find I spend a lot of  time thinking and considering and researching , sometimes I think more than I make. When I don't have time to do this thinking and considering I often end up getting creatively stuck very quickly or end up spending more time figuring things out in the middle of the project because I didn't think first! Having said that sometimes you can think too much and then you never make anything. Oh the hard life of an artist!

Anyway we all know how rubbish the winter months can feel. We want to hide away, curl up and wait for spring. But a great way to keep ourselves going is to make stuff, make stuff that makes us feel good. These winter months are slow, we have no money or inclination to shop till we drop, the days are short and gloomy, but they are a great time to experiment before life gets busy again.

I want to use this month coming (February) to play, practice and see what floats my boat. In January I seem to always revert to drawing, everything stems from drawing to me and it's important for me to practise that everyday. So this January I have concentrated on drawing flowers because I always go back to flowers. No matter what I feel flowers will always see me right, and if nothing else it s a great excuse to have some bright blooms in the house. An unending source of inspiration.

My aim and reason for making #threaduary is this.
  • An excuse to experiment... try out new base materials leatherette, neoprene, weights of cloth.
  • By daily practise I'm interested to see how my work develops throughout the month.
  • If I want to miss a day I can, as long as it is to do something that makes me happy and good for my mental health.
  • My chosen subject is seasonal botanicals, drawn from life rather than photos. So I'm limited to what is in the florist (usually spring blooms at this time of year). 

That's all. The more complicated you make it the more likely you are to fail and this is about making you feel good, as soon as it doesn't make you feel good why do it? So it would be great if you wanted to join in and have a go at stitching something each day of the month. But if you just want to follow the hashtag and see whats going on that'll be fab too. You can follow the hashtag on Instagram or just follow me and then you'll see it too.

What to expect to see from me during this month.
  • Daily photos of the work I produce.
  • A weekly blog with a round up of all the daily instagram posts, how I felt about making them and what I learned.
  • In the weekly blog one free design will be included for you to print and use yourself, either as a colouring page or a guide/outline to stitch yourself. The design will be from one of the pictures I have stitched that week.

A big thank you to.....

DMC have very kindly given me the threads to use in this project, they aren't paying me to do the project, it's all me. It's not a sponsorship or all that malarky but I haven't often used their threads for a full on project and as part of the experimental nature of this project I wanted to use just one brand. I thought it would also make it easier for those of you who wanted to join in to know exactly what colours I use. I reached out to them and asked if they would send me some threads that I can use and they said yes. They have been very kind to do this as I asked for a lot because I use so many bloody colours, I have to say I have always seen how much they support embroidery artists and I do think its a great attitude and thats why I thought I'd get in touch in the first place. So go have a look at them, they have tonnes of free patterns, you could use some for your #threaduary project, how ace would that be? 

Hand embroidery patterns and mindfulness

embroidery patterns to download

We have a  new range of hand embroidery patterns that can be downloaded directly from the website featuring pretty snowglobes with cityscapes.

Snow globes are magical and this time of year is perfect for creating these pretty city designs, complete with little flakes of snow (we’ll teach you how to do that stitch!)

Make pin cushions, christmas decorations or frame your finished design, you could even embroider the patterns directly onto clothing or homewares.


Your finished embroidery will make thoughtful gifts for family and friends, whether you’re embroidering for yourself or for others, these patterns will provide a perfect starting point to practise mindfulness.  You will soon find yourself relaxing into the designs.

You can read all about how embroidery can help you to learn the art of mindfulness here – Embroidery and Mindfulness

Learn Basic Hand Embroidery Stitches Online

Don’t worry if you’re not sure how to get started with hand embroidery.  Sign up to our newsletter for instant access to free online hand embroidery lessons, plus all of the patterns come with help sheets to get you started.

thread therapy online hand embroidery lessons



a brief history of embroidery

This little blog explores the traditional craft of embroidery through the centuries and establishes the embroidery evolution from primitive stitching to contemporary textiles. Delving into the origins of embroidery and how it has shaped the world of textiles that we know today …

So what is Embroidery? ‘Embroidery is the handicraft of decorating fabric or other materials with needle and thread. Embroidery may also incorporate other materials such as beads, pearls, quills and sequins.’ I know, a rather generic definition taken straight from the dictionary, but stay with me!

Although the art of stitch is considered a simple process of passing thread through fabric with a sewing needle, embroidery is a historic craft which joins together hundreds of cultures and countries, with traditions spanning across thousands of years, it’s a diverse handicraft that holds many concepts and connotations.

I could start by making reference to maybe the Bayeux Tapestry or delving into the history of oriental embroidery, although a truly fascinating subject in its own right, I’ve decided to touch on a history of embroidery that we can all relate to. This is a blog that looks at the role of embroidery in the lives of women & communities and how this has established our perception of embroidery in the modern day.

A History of Samplers

The embroidered sampler could be considered a favourite pastime for textile traditions and holds a very rich history in British textile heritage. With examples spanning back to the 14th century and still created in modern day, a history of samplers deserves its very own blog post! Dating back to years gone by the sampler was in fact a rite of passage for young girls, a means for educating young women with vital skills to be used during married life. Consider it a stitch dictionary, a means of recording embroidery stitches, a practice of pattern and decoration. Embroidery was traditionally a craft for women, during years within the Tudor and Stuart periods it was considered inappropriate for girls and women to be educated, reading was prohibited leaving a woman restricted to more domesticated tasks.

Linen Sampler Embroidered with Silk, Unknown Maker, Germany 1500-50Photo: V&A Archives, Linen Sampler Embroidered with Silk, Unknown Maker, Germany 1500-50

The V&A Museum has around 700 samplers in its collection; a visit I couldn’t recommend enough, exploring embroidered samplers from hundreds years past is quite simply mind blowing. Studying a sampler gives us such a great insight into the life of the embroidress’, it paints a story that official documents never could. You’ll be surprised to see such young ages exquisitely embroidered into the sampler.

Embroidery is something which typically is passed down from one generation to the next; I have very fond, happy memories of both my Grandmothers and my mum teaching me to sew. Think back to who first taught you to sew on a button? Who sat with you as you threaded your first needle? Who helped you to knot the end of your thread? More often than not it will be someone very close to you. Not only did you learn vital skill, but an experience of bonding and creating with a loved one, a traditional skill that has been passed down from generations before you and something you can pass on to younger generations too!

Sewing Circles, ‘Stitch n Bitch’ and Community Quilts

Sewing in groups, in workshops or within a community is somewhat of a tradition, think of the WI, or maybe you’ve attended Marna’s embroidery courses? The term ‘Stitch & Bitch’ was coined just after WWII, where communities and groups would form to share knitting, crotchet and embroidery skills, but groups like this extend further than establishing a new hobby or skill, it’s an opportunity to bond with others, perhaps share news and worries with friends, stitching topics of the group into the textiles. Sewing could be considered as a form of therapy, a means of focusing life’s tensions and issues into a creative and constructive project.

dalston-darlings-quiltPhoto: Liberty, Dalston Darlings Quilt

With the Women’s Institute celebrating their centenary year, I couldn’t miss this group of inspirational ladies out! The wonderfully British institute is still going strong, still steeped in tradition but propelling into the modern era. Working alongside Liberty of London two WI groups; the Dalston Darlings and the Shoreditch Sisters, created two inspiring community quilts, which have taken pride of place in the Liberty window displays. Constructed with Tana Lawn Liberty fabrics and decorated with endless applique and hand embroidery, the quilts evoke themes of community, feminism with the history of Liberty and the Arts & Crafts movement sewn into the seams.

Male Embroiderers

A history of embroidery tends to be somewhat stereotypical, a very sexist notion in this day and age, enough to make Germaine Greer squirm! Yes some areas of embroidery were considered women’s work, a domesticated craft for the female species. But there are very interesting, quiet elements within history where fellas embraced embroidery! Hooray!

To be an experienced sailor back in the 19th Century meant that you had to be competent with a needle and thread, if you were at sea for months at a time, repairing boats sails, sailing kits and uniforms were a necessity. However, sewing at sea propelled into complex needlework, known as ‘woolies’, sailors would embroider images of the ships that they served on.

During WWI, men who were severely injured were given embroidery projects as a form of rehabilitation, often considered as a solution to shellshock. Last year, St Paul’s Cathedral displayed an exquisite altar cloth; hand stitched during the war, by over 133 First World War servicemen – an early example of art therapy, which the British Army still uses to this day.

www.lacdao.comPhoto: St Paul’s, WWI Altar Frontal

Military quilts are an amazing example of sewing for rehabilitation; the V&A’s exhibition ‘Quilts 1700-2010’ revealed a phenomenal array of quilts created by servicemen recuperating from their war wounds.

military_quilt_brayleyPhoto: V&A Museum, Military Quilt, Francis Brayley, 1864-1877

The Subversive Stitch and Contemporary Embroidery

Contemporary craft is an ever evolving world which pushes boundaries past twee cushion covers and tea towels. Embroidery has taken on a new revolution, pushing past immaculate embroidery stitches and challenging our perceptions of a once domesticated task.

A fantastic example of subversive stitchers are infact the Suffragettes (my heroes!) although maybe not an obvious choice it demonstrates the power of the gentle art of sewing!

Hand embroidered flags, banners, rosettes and sashes were worn, paraded and displayed each presenting the uniform Suffragette colours, phrases such as ‘Votes for Women’ ‘Deeds not Words’ and possibly the most powerful ‘Democracy Begins at Home’. The banners were exquisitely crafted, carefully appliqued and decorated. A homely, quiet and domestic task of embroidery and sewing played a role in producing an effective propaganda tool, broadcasting their right for the vote, the right for freedom of speech and the absolute right for equality.


Photo: Wikipedia, Suffragette Banner – Musuem of London

This aspect of the Suffragette movement inspired Tracey Emin to get stitching with her collection of quilts and appliqued bags, adorned with angry statements and often sad stories contradict with the painstaking, quiet action of sewing.

Tracey Emin

Photo: Tracey Emin, ‘I do not expect to be a mother’ 2002

Creating a message and portraying a concept is a difficult task. Contemporary embroidery pushes boundaries, banishing domesticity, it’s more than executing uniform stitches. It challenges our perceptions and our opinions. The art of stitch is a hugely subjective, it envelops our heritage, embroidery is a craft which we call all relate to in some way. With the help of Marna and textile artists across the globe, the quiet craft of embroidery is reaching a revolution within the art world.

handmade rosette tutorial

The Little a Rosette Tutorial

I’ve been making these rosettes from a number of years now and I’ve given workshops on them and done talks about them. This time last year me and my rosettes were featured in Good Homes magazine and I’ve been inundated with orders particularly for weddings ever since. I am emailed and messaged every week by customers telling me they’ve been copied which is a shame, but we live in a world where this happens frequently. Rather than let it upset me any more I thought I’d share with all of you just how to make them, it’s not hard. Just takes a bit of time and a good sense of colour and fun. I’ve been supported hugely by you all and so I thought I’d do this tutorial to say thank you. You can use this to make your own styled rosettes and make them your own, customise them, add bits and experiment. Thanks for supporting me and spending your hard earned cash buying from me over the years, kissy kissy.

handmade rosette tutorial
I’m not worried about telling my ‘secrets’ because when you buy from me you’re buying not just the product but my knowledge of colour, my choice of fabrics and vintage buttons and pearls? So this is how I make my rosettes, all you have to know how to do is back stitch. And if once you’ve seen this tutorial, you want to buy some of my colour choices and button selections then you can buy one of my rosette kits from my shop;)

So let’s get started.
What you will need:

A selection of fabric
A selection of ribbons
Pearls or buttons
Fabric glue
Fray stop
Blue water soluble pen
Badge pin
Needle and thread

When choosing your fabric you want a piece of felt to use as a base, a backing piece to cover your workings, and four to five different patterned fabrics for layering. It’s up to your personal choice. I often use a plain one, one with spots, stripes and vibrant pattern and a softer coloured piece. I find the vibrant patterns work best with slightly toned down, less busy, fabrics. The darker colours to the back and the less vivid to the front or your writing won’t be seen.
Your ribbons want to compliment the colours of the fabrics, I use a lot of ribbon, I just think its more lavish. You can find many of the ribbons I use in my supplies shop. I love textures, thick velvety with soft satins and cotton.

How you make the rosette:
1/ Place the felt at the back and chose what order you want your fabrics to go. Then cut them into circles with the larger being at the back.

2/ Arrange you ribbon on top of the felt and glue in place.

Place the fabric on top of the ribbon and glue in place.
3/ Write on your rosette with the blue soluble pen whatever you like, I chose kiss me because its valentines day coming up, but can also be used on New Years Eve too.


20130213-194903.jpg Now glue on your pearls.
4/ At this point I let the glue dry before then stitching everything in place. I use glue as well as stitching because then I know everything is fixed very firmly and you won’t find pearls pinging off left right and centre. A badge gets a lot of wear especially when made for special occasions, there’s much hugging and jumping around generally or at least there should be!!
5/ I hand stitch all my products but if you don’t feel comfortable doing this there are may others ways in which you can achieve a lovely finish, they’re lots quicker and easier and just as much fun. You could machine all the items together, you could just stick with the glueing (sorry about the pun;)), both work fine. With the writing you could use fabric pens or stamps with fabric ink.
I like the effect of hand stitching, I like thick layers of lavish fabric and lashing of ribbon dripping down from a colourful gem like circle. I don’t like the stitching or the rosettes to look too perfect, to me they’re a bit soulless and look shop bought or factory made and and that’s not my style.



I don’t use a bond a web fixer on the rosettes because I like the fabric to have a lip around the edges, for them to curl up and move and be flexible, I find them to be more jolly that way. I want the wind to ruffle them.
6/ I use a hand dyed woollen thread when stitching the words, again I do this for a reason, I like the way the texture works against the rest of the fabrics. When I make something I think about every tiny detail, there’s always a reason for these little touches and a choice of material used and the suppliers I chose. The threads are just the right shade to go with the ribbon and fabric, i often use vintage silk thread too but only when that precise colour is available. I think I may sound a little deranged, well that wouldn’t be far wrong, I don’t always get it right, if only I was perfect (do not tell my children I’m not, if they sense weakness I will pay;)). When things go wrong, I just start again, swearing as I go;)
7/ Now for the backing. You don’t want all those workings showing, not pretty, so I use a plain piece of fabric to cover it, just glueing it in place, then glue or stitch on your badge back and cover that working again with a smaller piece of the same backing fabric.


8/ Now turn your rosette to the front and give it a squirt of water to get rid of the pen marks.
9/ Fray stop time! Some of the fabrics I use have a very lose weave, like the Harris Tweed and linen. I love these textures and want them to look a tiny bit shabby but to too much, they’ll just fray too much and look shabby in a not so cool way if not treated, so I coat these edges with lashings of lovely stinky fray stop, cor it’s a bit pungent. Works beautifully though.

And there you go once its all dry and gleaming you can pin it on and wear it with pride.
I hope you really enjoy making this and have lots of fun wearing it. They are gorgeous things to make for your kids, or fun hen nights but to name a few uses.
If you want an extra special one from me I’m always happy to oblige, hopefully from seeing this you’ll see the time and thought that goes into producing these and that I want every one of them to be very special and unique.

I have created this free tutorial for use at home and not for resale, this design has been registered officially and the copyright belongs to me. By all means use this for gifts and personal use but please don’t profit from my hard work and time. If you want to reproduce any information or photos please ask permission first. Thank you.

the art of making

The Art of Making

First published May 20, 2016 

This year has been quite a corker, it’s my 40th birthday in August and it has spurred me on to really take stock and enjoy life more so you will have seen I’m a little quieter on the old posting thing. I’ve been branching out on a few new projects (one of which you will see on the tellybox in the coming months) mainly around teaching and inspiring people to get involved with using their hands to make things to bring wellbeing and calm into their lives, I’m very passionate about this subject, and you’ll know why from my last post.

Hope + Elvis + Marna (low res)-118
The way I see it is that you (and me) buy professional beautiful works of art from us makers/crafters/artists whatever you want to call us. It not only helps small businesses and the economy but it keeps true traditional artistry alive when done at its best. It creates jobs, keeps individuality and personality and independence on the high street alive so we’re not taken over by discount stores and the mass produced often unethically sourced crap.

I want to spread my love of making to everyone, that doesn’t mean copying others, by the way, undercutting them and then just selling stuff themselves. That’s not really what this whole craft revolution should be about.

Artists aren’t doing it to make a quick buck, they very rarely live in big houses and go on fancy holidays and shop at Harvey Nicks, they get by usually on a lower than minimum wage and work all hours because they LOVE with a deep passion what they do. They train for years, they learn business skills, legal skills, marketing strategies on top of the artistic skills, techniques and raw talent they have. We need to create and we’re more than happy to do that and suffer the consequences of riches and fancy cars. We make it look easy because we’re THAT good because we are trained professionals. Our soul, personality, and essence is contained in each little piece of joy that we produce.  The creative process is about making something truly yours, (not a copy or an imitation) that’s the whole point, making something that shows the world who YOU are, not showing together yet another knock-off, we have enough cheap imported tat to do that, we don’t need more devaluing our skills and expertise.

Hope + Elvis + Marna (low res)-189


I’m often asked ‘Aren’t you worried doing workshops that you’ll just be showing everyone how to steal your work?’
Well you know what, there will always be people in this world that are selfish and after an easy buck I can’t stop that, I can’t change their inner thinking as nice as it would be. What I teach in my workshops and retreats is the skill to make something that brings you joy. I have a definite style, it comes from deep within me, I can’t teach that. I can tell you how I see things, the colours, textures, and processes I use to achieve my work but I don’t know what I’m going to produce from one moment to the next so I can’t see someone else doing that, being able to preempt my next move or read my mind. I will always move forward and have new ideas because I am a creative and an artist and me, just me. I teach you how amazing it is to make something that came out of your very own brain and out through your hands and into something that is ALL YOURS.

So create for yourself? yes yes yes. Create as a business? yes yes yes but do your research first.
Hope + Elvis + Marna (low res)-207


I am saddened when I see people try to obviously emulate my style especially when they under charge and make me look like I’m ripping people off, which by the way I would never do!! But I do value my experience, my talent and my time. I charge based on costs and time and experience, I am happy to be transparent about my costs if anyone has a problem with it. People rarely have a problem with it though because they do value creativity and the importance of it.
I have tailored my business to work in this new way because when I started out as Little A Designs (now trading under my own name) I was copied to such a huge extent I was personally and creatively broken. My logo was taken, imitated and my brand devalued, my website design was stolen, even the words I’d written from the heart were copied and pasted into other peoples websites, my designs were ripped off and undercut, everything I cared about and showed the world was taken. So I had to rethink. I had to make something even more me. To separate myself in some way from what others could emulate.
I guess in hindsight this was the best thing for me because I am now in a very happy, a lot prouder and calm work wise. I know what works for me and my family life, what I can give to people mentally and still have the energy to live and have fun. My style has evolved and now is a better representation of me than it ever has been.
Lucky me for learning all this so soon into my career. But sadly it’s not the case for everyone.
drawing the details


Two dear friends have been copied extensively in recently months and I’ll tell you what it feels like, firstly, pretty shitty.  You feel isolated, you feel violated and sick and frightened that people will not realise how hard you have worked and how precious those original ideas you created are to you. You can feel paranoid and angry but more than anything you feel really hurt. I felt personally invaded. And I wanted to give up. But then I reminded myself why I was doing this whole thing in the first place. I picked myself up after a little cry and got busy being better.
Hope + Elvis + Marna (low res)-50


All ideas are inspired from somewhere, there is always a source for all our ideas whether it be a past master artist, the landscape, a sculpture or everyday object but what makes artists really great is the way in which their own mind interprets that inspiration and makes these evolved ideas solidly their own. I don’t just mean altering it a little, I mean finding a new take on it, problem solving, experimentation and enjoying the simple art of making something new. If you want to set up a business to sell your art it’s not just the piece of work you need to be able to make,  you need a business plan, you need to know how to cost your work competitively but realistically, you need to know the legalities of copyright infringement, tax, accounting, this makes you a business and a valid artist and not a just a hobbyist.

These are important facts that many don’t consider when they see something on Facebook, Etsy, Instagram or at a craft fair when they see some work and think ‘well I can do that’. But if you have already thought of all those considerations then FANTASTIC! Research that someones not already doing it (because even if you haven’t copied them, there may be someone out there doing the same thing as you, in which case if they got there first it’s their Intellectual Property and as much as you may not like it you’re just going to have to come up with a way of doing it differently).

Hope + Elvis + Marna (low res)-217


All that being said ( I got a bit carried away there, it’s not quite what I intended to go on about but it’s out there now, haha) making things with your hands is the best feeling in the world and anyone can do it. And I want everyone to do it!! Go to workshops, learn from true artisans, have a go, let go of your insecurities and experience a new skill.

In todays society we are always on the go. I know I am rarely without my precious phone in my hand. We never stop working, we never stop comparing, we just never stop and we become exhausted and lost in the cyber world. So now, more than ever, is the time we are all looking for something else to do with our hands, something constructive, a new skill that takes us back to a quieter time where we can relax with simple repetitive movements. There has been a resurgence in the creative arts recently and it is now a scientific fact that sewing, knitting, crochet are great stress relievers and act as a form of therapy.

Embroidery was used to help treat shell shock in soldiers that fought in the Great War. This is exactly one of the reasons I transferred my skills from painting to embroidery. To provide myself with an outlet that would sooth my heart. I had only ever tried the odd piece of cross stitch as a child and so have completely retrained my self and learnt embroidery from nothing. Yes I have a basic knowledge of  perspective, proportion etc but these are not things I concentrate on or impact my stitched work at all. So what I’m saying is that you can do it too! Regardless of any previous artistic capabilities.

Hope + Elvis + Marna (low res)-309


The reason I feel so passionately about this is that, art and embroidery saved me from severe mental health issues, it continues to save me as I go through issues with chronic pain, it has given me a sense of self, independence and belief as a mother and carer of a child with complex needs, I don’t want to be defined by my disabilities. Being creative is an essential therapy for me every single day. It is quite often not important what the finished piece looks like, it is the journey it takes me on that is rewarding. But obviously if it happens to look great then thats even better. My creativity and personality is what defines me.

I believe that embroidery can be as all consuming as you want, you can use a pattern you’ve bought in a book or magazine, and turn off your mind from the business of the outside world or you can immerse yourself in a complex design that makes you problem solve and challenge yourself.

Its so easy to get started now too, you’ve got nothing to lose, creativity can be shown in so many ways, through music, writing, embroidery, paper cutting, card making, the list is endless. There are no rules to follow. You can make it up as you go along. Don’t expect immediate perfection, an artist trains every day, like an athlete. You wouldn’t run a marathon without training, so be kind to  yourself & celebrate each step. The secret is never compare yourself to others, make what makes you feel good.

‘To practice any art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow. So do it’

Kurt Vonnegut

Hope + Elvis + Marna (low res)-484


Photo credit: Eve Photography
Venue: Hope & Elvis
Flowers: Kirsty from Darling & Green
Tutor: Marna Lunt “Spring florals in stitch’ one day workshop

To book onto one of my courses if this has got your creative juices bubbling pop over to my website and have a look whats on offer.


Mollie Makes Issue 40 Cover Project

A3 Mollie Makes Board 1First published June 2014

Dreams have been coming true in Lunt Towers this last two months, so much so I haven’t actually had to to tell you all about them. So, like buses, I’m going to tell everything and you may be inundated by exciting posts with many pretty pictures all week.


First up is the marvellous Mollie Makes magazine. I was featured in the magazine a few months ago when I contributed with a project on how to create a embroidered hoop with inspirational quotes. They were so pleased with how that project went they asked me back but this time do a cover project. I nearly wept. For a magazine to take notice of you and ask you to do something for them that they believe will help sell their magazine is an honour and really boosted my confidence. It’s easy to forget about the outside world when you’re creating on your own and this made me realise that people do like my work and appreciate the care and individuality I strive for. They saw that I was a capable artist of many things and trusted I could make something wonderful for them even though they’d never seen any specific examples.


Anyway, good things, hard work, happiness all round. Time to up my game further and blow their socks off. Nothing like a challenge to really make me shine.

So here is what I created. I’m really proud of it and love the textures and layers and the sparkle the sequins give. A floral sash made from fabric and pearls with a bit of hand stitching. The full project can be seen in their issue 40 which is available as a back issue.




diy snow globe

How to make your own DIY snow globe

(first posted – Dec 22, 2015)

For anyone who knows Marna; knows she is an absolute snow globe fanatic, with an impressive, extensive collection sat alongside her signed poster of the Chuckle Brothers!  So what better theme for a DIY Christmas project than a snow globe tutorial?? This is a great child-friendly craft tutorial, perfect to get you and your little ones in the festive spirit, great for creating your own Christmas decorations or a little stocking filler for someone special.


What you will need…

  • Jar and lid
  • Water- resistant glue
  • Water
  • Glitter – any colour of your choice!
  • Small Figure or toy, cake toppers are the perfect size!
  • A splash or baby oil

Let’s get started!

Christmas Snow Globe Project

Line the bottom of the figure with some water resistant glue, stick to the bottom of the jar. -this can be a tricky operation, so watch out for little fingers getting stuck! It can be a little fiddly to get everything stuck inside at once, so I would recommend adding each figure at a time and allowing the glue to dry.


Now it’s time to get messy with the glitter, you can use as little or as much glitter as you would like, you can mix up the glitter with sequins too! As a good measurement, cover the bottom of the jar with glitter.


Then fill the jar with water, and add a splash of baby oil, this will help the ‘snow’ to fall nicely through the water. A non-scented cheap and cheerful oil works the best! Then squeeze out some glue around the seal of the jam jar lid, and close the jar as tight as you can, leave to dry.

Snow Globe Tutorial

And there you have it!

This is a great way to use up old toys, or ornaments thrifted from a charity shop your world is your oyster when it comes to making your own snow globes, why not add mini Christmas trees for a full festive effect? This would make a wonderful personalised touch for around the table on Christmas day!

I hope you enjoyed the snow globe tutorial, feel free to tweet Marna your festive crafty makes. I just wanted to point out how fab Marna’s snazzy new website looks, just wonderful! Wishing you a very happy Christmas and a marvelous new year.

Anna x

patchwork curtain

A quick patchwork curtain

I’ve been meaning to make this little curtain for ages now, and since thinking about it I’ve seen it done in so many magazines and books so I’m not doing this as the originally planned tutorial I’m just going to sjow you what I did because it’s easy and so much fun.

What I used
Fabrics from my many piles
Sewing machine (you just need to sew in a sort of straight line)
Ironing board

Now I have to confess I approached this as a painter and not a seamstress, because that’s what I am. I’m very impatient and when creating for myself I have the boring preparation bit I just want to do it. This is a totally different way from when I’m creating work for customers because then it has to be perfect. For my own home it’s more about the fun of making it than how straight the seams are and precise measurements.

Firstly I got together a little mound of fabric which went nicely together, I thought pale greens yellows and pinks this sheer effect curtain would be used in my bathroom to provide a bit of privacy but it didn’t need to be lined or dark. I wanted the sunlight to shine through and be pretty to look at like a lovely colourful cheery painting. I started by finding two pieces of my favourite pretty liberty fabrics that were already in pre cut squares, a nice easy way to begin until I got a feel for it. I didn’t know exactly where I wanted each fabric to go what shape it would be I just thought one thing would follow the other. I always find my work comes out nicest when I just stop trying so hard.

So I spread the fabric out, pressed it (this is the most important bit really, press before sewing then after) and place my fabric right side together and pin, the sew down the edge. When you open them out, both good sides should be facing up, seam at back, and give it another press. I basically did this for every piece of fabric that I chose. I chose the next piece of fabric and held it near the small beginning of a curtain got my scissors out and chopped away then pressed, then sewed, then pressed. And so on….

Tis is just the way my brain works, I realise many would prefer to have everything cut out and pinned first and that is a more methodical and professional way of doing it, certainly a lot easier way to write a tutorial for people to follow, but like I said this is just a little look what I did this weekend.
Once I got into the swing of things I started making little squares of fabric and sewing them over the top of purposely left gaps to give a different layering and texture. I overlapped linens and made slightly more interesting shapes based on the vintage linen and the patterns they have. This is going to sound so poncy but I let the fabric tell me where to put it. I enjoyed it so much and felt a real sense of achievement afterwards.

All I did to fix the curtain onto the pole was turn over the top and sew it all the way across making a sort of loop that you thread the curtain pole through. You could tie ribbons on and use them to tie your curtain up. I may have to make one for my shed next, hmm what colours this time though……





Photo credits: Marna Lunt 2013



Embroidered Lamp – Mollie Makes Embroidery Magazine


Embroider your own lampshade!

It is so good to at last be able to share with you a new embroidered lampshade project I made for the brand new amazing (and awesome) Mollie Makes Embroidery Bookazine which comes out today. It has been edited by the incredible Lara Watson aka @laramcspara and is full of wonderful hand embroidery projects. There are so many fun and creative ideas to try out from pillowcases, banners and clothing to trainers! I know what I’ll be doing this weekend.

I am very proud to say I have TWO projects in the issue for you to make, an embroidery hoop AND an embroidered lampshade project. I got my copy in the post today and I have to say it’s brilliant!!

So many fab projects and really good info, really inspiring. Go buy now!

You can order a copy here –

and here’s a little peek inside! (This is just a sampler)

If you need to brush up your embroidery skills why not sign up to my free online embroidery course today – hours of videos teaching you over 30 hand embroidery stitches.

PS A big thanks to Charlotte Eve for taking the beautiful photos for me. Xx

Hand Embroidery Retreat – Thread Therapy

Mindfulness and Embroidery aka Thread Therapy

Just a few weeks ago we said hello to some wonderful guests at our spring Thread Therapy retreat. Three of them came all the way from AMERICA just for it!!  We’ve added a few photographs from the weekend we spent stitching and relaxing in the beautiful village of Lealholm in the North Yorkshire Moors National Park.

Everyone made really rather a lot of very cool stuff, lanterns, wall hangings, a large lampshade, various hooped art. You see you don’t have to simply make a lampshade you can make anything you want. I have so many projects for you to chose from and all the materials here to do it. We concentrate on hand embroidery (no machines are there as it’s not part of my process), I am there to teach you, guide you and inspire you to create what makes you happy, so you can come time and time again and always get something new from the experience.

People travel from across the country as well as internationally safe in the knowledge that we will do everything for you to make your stay amazing and an experience you will cherish and remember.

Before you scroll through all the pretty prictures from our March retreat, here’s what one of our guest’s felt about her weekend of Thread Therapy.

“I was expecting sewing, I was expecting to meet new people and I was expecting (or at least hoping for) a bit of me time! But what I wasn’t expecting was how hugely therapeutic the whole weekend was. It was emotional. It was educational (but not only in a ‘learn these stitches’ kind of way.) It was fulfilling, and it was a start to discovering more about myself and where I am right now. Which I really didn’t expect. Marna is so right calling the retreat ‘Thread Therapy’ because that is truly what it was.”

You can read her full blog post about the experience here.

We still have a few spaces available on our Thread Therapy hand embroidery retreats in 2017, you can find out more by clicking below and also sign up for our free online hand embroidery course.
Find out more about Thread Therapy retreats for 2017

Thread Therapy March 2017

A little glimpse of our latest hand embroidery retreat… bliss!

new year, new me?

New year new me Marna Lunt blog

Do I really need to make a better version of myself because it’s January? Well I think in an ideal world we could all be better people in some way or other, couldn’t we?  

Let’s just take it as a given that we are all the kindest and most respectful people we can be, because we try to be that all year, every year, hopefully. In the last year the world has gone through a large change, one of uncertainty, of fear, of lose. I think we’re all feeling that a bit. In the face of that I am going to continue being kind, honest, tolerant, patient, open minded, thoughtful. That’s how I can affect others on a day to day basis and that’s not going to change.

New years resolutions

Every year I find myself thinking the new year must bring a fresh start for me, a new beginning with the longest list possible of things I MUST do or I’ve failed. Not this year. This year I’m just going to be a bit kinder to myself, stop setting unrealistic goals for myself. I spend most of my time winging it. I have absolutely no idea how I’ve accomplished as much as I have so far in business, pure luck mainly and a lot of pain and stress that really wasn’t clever or necessary. I never plan anything, I’m very spur of the moment, I hate planning, I just want to make stuff and as lovely as that seems it really does have a big knock on effect. Especially to my health, and after pretty much completely breaking myself last year that all seems a bit silly now.

So is this year going to be a fresh start? No. I can’t completely change myself and my nature just because it’s January. A complete change would need to be made slowly, over time, and surely you essentially are what you are? Thats the point of individuality and personality. I’m never going to suddenly start going to the gym every day, to have more confidence, to behave in a way I have never done before. To decide to do that because of a date is the most rubbish reason of all to me. I know I wouldn’t see it through and then fail and then feel crap. So lets be realistic. What can I actually do, in my work, to make myself happier? Not changes exactly but maybe add a few processes.

Stop writing bloody daft lists!!

Like I’m going to stop writing lists?! NO!!  I LOVE lists, but I need to write the right sort of lists. Lets not write a list of what I feel I ought to be doing whilst comparing myself to others on the internet. Realistic lists that I can actually affect and that are in my control.

Stop trying to do too much!

It’s highly unlikely I’m going to stop doing too much, that’s too big a step to do instantly. That’s quite a lifestyle choice.  My general outlook each month is to let my brain try and do a million things at once, never finishing anything quite how I want to before starting on the next project, so loads of projects end up whirling around my head all at once and I freak out. Feels a bit pants being like that. I’d like not to do that quite as much. Stick to the blooming realistic list Lunt!! Stop going off on one you numpty! I’m going to do all the stuff I need to (the clue is in the word NEED to) but I will use a process that makes things more manageable instead of terrifyingly chaotic.

Keep in mind who I am and accept it instead of fighting it.

I have discovered over this last year of therapy that I am an introvert. Yes, to those that know me and have met me that probably seems mad. But I am. I find social situations really really hard. Exhausting actually. I simply can’t change this, no matter how much I want to be the life and soul of a party, the most fun person in the room, the popular one in the cool gang. I need a huge amount of solitary time. I need quiet. I need space. If I don’t have those things I quite literally lose my mind. I MUST make sure I make time for head space. I’ve accepted that and embrace it. I used to think of it as selfish, but no it’s not, it’s sensible self preservation. The people that need me can’t access me unless I do this, that’s not selfish.

That doesn’t mean I don’t like the company of others. For instant I love teaching. That means travelling a lot and meeting new people and giving everything I have to those people, at that time. Not a normal habitat for an introvert BUT one which in small doses I LOVE LOVE LOVE. And you know why? Because I actually really like attention. I am most definitely an attention seeker. And I can be really good fun, honest. Love and attention from others gives me life affirmation. It makes me feel I have a purpose, and who doesn’t want that! I always saw that as a negative too, something that should be hidden. But admitting that feels rather nice.

Still finding my place in the world.

Last year I turned 40 and you would think that at this stage in my life I’d have pretty much figured out what I’m doing…..

Oh no no no.

Couldn’t be further away from the truth. I am a muddle, I’m still very childlike and insecure. I lock away my feelings and rarely deal with emotions. I just ‘get on with things’. “Must remain positive under all circumstances.” Thats got me pretty far in life but there comes a time when your bucket just gets too full and overflows. The only way to resolve this is to actually feel those emotions that have been hidden for all those 40 years and go through the pain barrier. Thats what I’m doing now.

I am raw, I am experiencing things mentally and emotionally that I really don’t want to but in order to move on I have taken the decision to be better at my life. To explore and feel life in a healthier way and that takes more time than I thought, years in fact. I am beginning to figure out my worth and my place in this world and it’s quite confusing. But that’s okay, because that is normal.

I have lived in the spotlight of social media for a good few years now and so everyone has seen my creative journey, how I have experimented with my own style and found what I liked, what works and doesn’t work for me. Some will like it, some will be disappointed, I would have preferred to have figured all this sort of stuff out before I launched a business but it didn’t work out that way and thus the constant changes. Experience has taught me a lot, I know loads of stuff now, technically, but still am unsure whether I have found my ‘thing’. I am open to change, not too much, but a little, one step at a time. I’m pretty much sure I have my own style artistically, but accepting that has been harder than I thought. Being good enough, for me, is a challenge. Because of my lack of confidence and lack of a sense of self, I am easily distracted and this is where I try far too many things. Accepting I am good enough will always be a struggle but at least I am now aware of this.

And back to the planning thing. A lack of planning and time spent considering myself and my work ends in a mush of I wanna do everything. Lesson learnt. Take a breath, step back, take some time and think. Put the processes in first, write them down instead of keep them in my head.

So new me? No.

Enhance what I have already accomplished in a clearer, healthier way.

Embrace the me that I already am instead of trying to change me? Yes.

Blimey that was deep. I’m off for a lie down.

illuminating embroidery 2016


The New Year is upon us, and I’m not sure about you but I have eaten far too much chocolate…. more than I care to mention. This is the time for us to reflect on the past year and look forward to bringing in the New Year, but instead of setting unrealistic resolutions, which are quite simply going to give us all the post-Christmas blues, why not start on exciting new adventure? Don’t ban the chocolate, take up a new challenge and discover a hobby you knew you had!

Now this isn’t a blog filled with a hard sell, quite frankly Marna’s gorgeous work speaks for itself – her passion and contagious creativity is enough to make anyone want to get stitching, but before Marna’s head gets too big, why not set yourself task for 2016 learn something new, meet new people and get creative! SO LET’S GET STITCHING!


Sewing for some screams back memories of strict embroidery lessons, perhaps sewing means stitching endless name tags into school uniforms or maybe you have no idea where to even start! But never fear Marna is here to give you tip top advice and give you a wonderful head start so you can release your inner artist.

Illumintaing Embroidery consists of four fabulous online embroidery workshops, each consisting of easy to follow videos hosted by the one and only Marna Lunt (because everyone should have a little bit of Marna to brighten their day!)

Marna works hard to bring you fun and informative video tutorials, where you can learn from the master, discover the tricks of the trade and grow to be an expert embroiderer. The Gentle Art of Slow Stitch 1, 2 & 3 are designed to be watched around your spare moments, you’ll also receive course PDF’s with all the important bits on which are yours to keep forever!

What’s more there’s a fantastic community on the Illuminating Embroidery Facebook group, where you can meet your fellow course mates and showcase your work! They really are a friendly, accommodating bunch that are every welcoming and always supportive!

Whether you’ve been stuck at home all day with the kids, or you’ve had the day from hell in the office, sewing is absolute escapism where you can indulge in gentle and rewarding stitching. Take your embroidery with you on the bus, sit and relax in your lunch hour or get serious in your studio Marna will be your friendly mentor and helpful guide, so you can unleash your creativity for 2016.

Speaking as your average Joe Blogs (no pun intended honest!) I work your boring 9-5 job and stitching (and blogging of course!) is my happy place, a wonderful way to unwind after a stressful day and escape from life! Whether you fancy turning your hand to lampshade making or embroidering your very own wall hanging, there’s no better feeling than sitting back and admiring your hard work where you can think to yourself …. ‘I made that!’

Take a look at and explore the world of Illuminating Embroidery Workshops, set yourself a wonderful resolution for 2016!



DIY autumn crafts project – pumpkin pin cushion

The school holidays are fast approaching and the cold weather is unfortunately setting in but don’t fear, here is a sweet little craft project to keep you and your little munchkins entertained! A perfect sewing project suitable for adults and children with an autumnal twist, the fabric pumpkins are a great decoration idea for Halloween, or you can double this up as a pincushion for all your future sewing projects.


This is a simple, child friendly sewing project that’s great for not only teaching kids how to sew but gives them a good understanding of simple pattern cutting, creating seams and most importantly it’s great fun. Perfect for using up those pesky fabric scraps you have lying about, but also great if you want to break into those delicious fat quarters that you’ve not been sure what to do with. You can use a sewing machine or stitch the pumpkin by hand too!

What you will need…

  • Pen, paper, scissors and a round template – a saucer is the perfect size to start with.
  • Coordinating fabric scraps (OR if you’re feeling adventurous mismatch!)  around 8” square
  • Dressmaking pins
  • A sewing machine OR good old needle and thread!
  • Thick embroidery thread or crotchet yarn
  • A large needle (be careful of little fingers!)
  • Polyfil or toy stuffing
  • Buttons & ribbons


Let’s get started!

Start by drawing around a plate (or a compass if you’re feeling fancy) to create a your template, cut out and pin to your fabric. Because you need two perfect fabric circles, you can save time by pinning and cutting your two fabrics at once.


Now cut your fabric into quarters, if you’re finding this a little tricky use a coloured pencil or tailors chalk to mark it out before you cut, or fold your fabric and cut long the fold.


Take your first two quarters of fabric, make sure that your fabric pieces don’t match. The patchwork pieces should alternate so that the same patterns won’t meet each other.

Place the quarters on top of each other so that right side of both fabric pieces are touching. Pin & stitch along the straight edge. **HINT** Allow around half a centimetre of seam allowance for all the seams that you sew, mark this out on the wrong side of the fabric for little ones!


Repeat this step so that you have 4 half circles. Now stitch your halves together,  so you have two patchwork circles.


Now, place your pieced circles on top of each other so the patterned sides are touching, keep in mind your alternating pattern (think Battenberg cake!) Stitch together your two circles along the round edge, you can tack them together to save little fingers from sharp pins! Make sure that you leave a small opening so that you can turn your pincushion inside out.

Make small little snips along the edge of your sewing, being careful not to snip through your stitches!! This will give your pumpkin a rounder shape, so the more snips the more shapely your pincushion will be!

Turn your sewing inside out and get stuffing, make sure that you add as much polyfil as possible so your pumpkin is lovely and plump! Use small hand stitches to sew the seam shut.


Now, thread your big needle with a good strong thread, starting from the bottom of the pumpkin push the needle straight through the middle to the top, and pull back round to the bottom once again. Using your four seams as a guide, repeat this step so the cushion is broken up into ‘8ths’.


Now your pincushion is looking pumpkin like its time to add the finishing touches using buttons and folded ribbons for stalks and leaves!


Because the stitched pincushion tutorial teaches sewing basics, they are hugely versatile, why not cut larger pieces of fabric and make a cushion? Get your kids making Christmas decorations for the festive seasons! The world is your lobster! Just remember that practice makes perfect, so keep going.


I hope that you enjoyed this tutorial, and you have great fun bonding with your little ones with this sewing project. Do feel free to post pictures of your pumpkin pincushions, it’ll be great to hear from you! Share them on Instagram and take me Marna in them (@marnalunt)and then use the hashtag pumpkinpincushion, then I can find them and say hi!!

99 Problems and a Stitch Aint One.

I’m the husband of an artist.

I’m not particularly “arty” myself.  Part of my job as a Director of Sales and Marketing requires some creative flair but this is usually in the form of a brief given to someone much better qualified to implement as part of a campaign.

I, like many “blokes” am not a fan of shopping.  My shopping filter works like this:-

Buying Chart

(By the way – this artwork is purely my own work)

I don’t find much pleasure in many material things – unless they are practical or necessary.  I’m not miserly or cheap but “nick-nacks”, ornaments or soft furnishings just don’t feature on my radar.

Most of us have our the daily crap to deal with e.g.

04:05 Up with kid 1 – nightmare management

05:07 Kid 2 – early rising syndrome

06:01 Sod it I might aswell get up now

06:23 Realisation I’ve got into the shower and there is no towel in the bathroom

06:47   Kid 2 – suspected diarrhoea (“can we get away with sending her into school anyway? – everyone else does it…..”)

07:01 Mouldy bread and no cereal – improvised breakfast with googly eyes from the craft drawer and a carrot

07:40 Teeth cleaning tantrum (children not adults)

07:55 Missing shoe – damn it why aren’t they ever both in the shoe rack at the same time!

I could go on and easily get to 99 problems, then I could address the after lunch issues….

I’m the one missing out though – my wife not only creates beautiful pieces of art, she also adores them herself.  They bring her pleasure (much more so than the 83 year old bloke over the road who is essentially an intermediate courier for all of the “nick nacks” etc she buys online but is never in to receive from the courier).

And you – reading this blog, you are enlightened.  You enjoy beautiful things surrounding you.  They enrich your life.  For every missing plimsoll or unexpected car part invoice you seek solace in a bespoke cushion, unique landscape lampshade or embellished print – I salute you.

If it wasn’t for you many of us would live in soulless houses with 1 in 10 of the barren walls defaced with an IKEA print and sofas without a cushion in sight.  We’d never have candles to light for ambiance or receive “ooh where did you get that amazing x?” comments from guests.

And we’d miss it.

For all the problems we all have, I for one have realised that I need to embrace “the stitch” as it not only enables my wife to channel her artistry but the things she creates are nullifying school head lice warning letters, chipped windscreens and broken nights sleep around the world – in the form of beautiful pieces of unique artwork.

Mr Marna Lunt – Textile Artist Husband