My Etsy Shop

Friday, 27 November 2015

Atta boy, Clarence!

Well, how did this happen? We're just four weeks away from Christmas Day! It'll soon be time to break out the festive movies (if you haven't done already!) I'm already itching to get the decorations out and I thought you'd like an early gift. You can download this pattern FREE from my Payhip shop.

This sampler is a bit of a clue to my favourite Christmas film - It's A Wonderful Life. If anything's going to give you that warm and fuzzy festive feeling then it's the scene where George Bailey is reunited with his family and friends and is made to realise how loved he is by them all. Just then, the little bells on the tree start to jingle.

"Look, Daddy! Teacher says 'Every time a bell rings an angel gets his wings.'"

Clarence has finally earned his wings after saving George. Hurrah!

If you've seen this movie in colour, you'll know that the bells on the Bailey family tree are gold but I stitched this before I'd seen the colour version. Please feel free to stitch them in gold instead of silver if you wish. The bells motif is also perfect for greeting cards and other smaller projects.

I feel I've really made progress this year in many ways so I though this would be a nice way of saying thank you for all the support I've had.

Have a good weekend and happy stitching!

You can find more Christmas designs and free patterns on my website:

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Mini Hoop Robin

A little while ago I was asked to make a special present for my neighbour Becki. Becki had seen my collection of bird designs and told me she wanted a version of the robin for her grandma.

I suggested a mini version that could be framed in one of the perfectly made tiny hoops from Dandelyne. These hoops are all hand-finished by Sonia Lyne at her home in Melbourne, Australia. Although this is on the other side of the world to me, it's well worth ordering these beautiful accessories and playing with ideas for them.
I'm challenging myself to do more freehand embroidery and this was the perfect opportunity to do something outside of my comfort zone. After all, this is the only way you can grow, isn't it?

I'm happy with how this one turned out but I need to keep to practising the technique until I'm more confident with it.
One of my plans for next year is to create more mini hoop pieces of various kinds so I'll be working on design ideas over winter. Some of them will be inspired by ancient Celtic art and others by nature. I'm really excited about this new endeavour and about being part of the awesome mini hoop community.
My bird designs are all available on Etsy and in my Payhip shop.
Click here to find out more about Dandelyne.

Thursday, 15 October 2015

Etsy Shop's First Birthday

A whole year has gone by since I opened my Etsy shop. I had been on Folksy for some months before then but things didn't really take off. I still have my Folksy shop as an option for the future but I don't believe it's the right place for digital patterns and so I moved this part of my business to Etsy.
I am truly grateful to everyone who has bought patterns, favourite listings and followed me on social media. Self confidence has always been a major problem for me so it really means a lot to know you appreciate my work.

I've learned so much in the last 12 months and I'm getting better at everything all the time. I'm already making plans for the designs I want to release next year and I'm coming up with ideas for new products.
Running your own business can be very stressful and frustrating at times but it's also hugely rewarding and liberating. To celebrate this anniversary and to say thank you to everyone who has supported me, I am offering 15% off all patterns in my Etsy shop until midnight 18th October (Sunday).
You can visit the shop either by clicking on the listings at the top of this page or by following the link from my website

Thank you and happy stitching!

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

New Pattern: Kells Corners

It's now October and this year seems to be flying by! I've been working on ways to use up my ridiculously large stack of craft papers and various bits and bobs. I've already come up with some hand-stitched Christmas card ideas but that's for another time.
I've also added a new Celtic pattern to my shop. This one has a very different look to the others. It is based on a little geometric motif at the corners of a portrait of St Matthew in the Book of Kells. 
Kells Corners
It fits perfectly into a 7-inch hoop but would also make a great cushion cover or a design for a tote bag.
You can of course stitch it in any colours you like, and that little space in the centre is the perfect place for a button.
When you've stitched it, you can either frame it as pictured at the top or turn it around and frame it so that it looks more like the bottom picture.
You can buy the pattern on Etsy and Payhip (remember, if you live in the UK you won't have to pay EU VAT if you buy through Payhip).

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

An October Wedding

Do you remember when I said I was working on a wedding sampler but I wasn't able to say too much? Well, even though the wedding isn't until Monday, the bride-to-be has already opened her presents so I can now show you what I made...
I went for a relatively simple design overall but with Celtic knot detail at each corner. This is the first time I've worked white thread onto white fabric. It was certainly a challenge and I'm glad I decided to do just the corners but I'm very happy with the result.
The central motif is a Claddagh - an Irish symbol made from three components: a heart for love, hands for friendship and a crown for loyalty.
Emma, the bride-to-be was so happy with it she cried! She sent Mum a message saying how she loved the personal nature of the gift.
I'm sure there have many more brides who have received beautiful handmade gifts this year from relatives and friends who have taken the time to create something special. Those of us who love embroidery are always happy to have an excuse to use our skills for such projects. My hands have been busy with a couple more smaller projects but I can't show you them just yet.
I'll reveal all in my next post.


Monday, 14 September 2015

New Blackwork Pattern - Durrow Celtic Knots

I'm very excited about my latest blackwork pattern. It is another version of my Durrow Celtic Knots design. I stitched the blackwork version of it a couple of years ago and I've been wanting to share the pattern with you for a really long time but I had some technical problems to overcome. I won't bore you with the details but after a bit of tweaking, I have now been able to put the pattern in the shop.

The pattern has the same layout as the cross stitch version but is worked entirely in back stitch (or Holbein stitch if your prefer.) 

At each corner is an area of beautiful and intricate blackwork. These sections can be used for smaller projects like greeting cards or coasters.

This is certainly not a pattern for the less patient stitcher but if you love blackwork and are looking for a challenge, then this is the perfect place to find it! Whenever I work large patterns, they remind me that not everything in life can be achieved instantly. It is no bad thing to have to wait a long time to finish something and in the case of this embroidery, it will certainly be worth the wait.

I have worked this pattern in traditional black but you should feel free to use whatever colours you like.

It is one of my plans to have more blackwork patterns on sale as it is a form of embroidery I really do love. Keep checking back as I have several more in the planning.

You can also find two cross stitch patterns based on this design from the Book of Durrow. You can find them all at

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Robins are for lfe, not just for Christmas!

Here we are in September again. It's almost a whole year since I rescued that poorly hedgehog* (wonder what it's up to now?)
I've been very busy for the last couple of weeks re-formatting all of my patterns and updating my shops with new versions. I've also built a brand new website. You can find links to both my shops and this blog as well as the two free patterns in my Payhip shop.
So, you're wondering what this all has to do with robins? Well, I've just added a brand new pattern to my collection...
This sweet little robin redbreast compliments my bullfinches. I have several more which will be available in the near future and others in the planning. (Did I mention I love birds?)These bird designs are really easy to stitch and I would have finished the robin in one afternoon had I not decided to change the shade of orange I was using. I was also distracted by Frodo and Sam making their way through the Dead Marshes in The Two Towers so you may well finish it sooner than I did!
Like the bullfinches, this robin has been designed to fit into a 4-inch hoop but he also makes a great motif for Christmas cards, should you want to get a head-start on making some of your own before things start to get really busy.
However, as the title  of this post implies, robins can be seen all year round so he is definitely not just for Christmas! To stitch him for yourself click here.
*To read about my hedgehog rescue, click here.

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

New Pattern - Festive Bauble

I mentioned in an earlier post that I was giving my Festive Bauble design a makeover. I released the original last autumn, along with two other Christmas designs. While I'm happy with the Noel Sampler and I Will Honour Christmas, I felt there was some room for improvement with the Festive Bauble.

I decided to change the colour scheme to give it a different look to the other Christmas patterns. It now has a modern silver, purple and turquoise palette and a touch of silver metallic thread to add some sparkle. I have also resized it so that it fits neatly into a 7-inch hoop.
Everyone has their own preferences for Christmas colours and you may have your own ideas on how you'd like this bauble to look. You can make it look as modern or as traditional as you like. Match it to your own festive d├ęcor or make it look completely different.
If you're not a fan of metallic threads, you can always use stranded cotton or attach some beads instead. A length of narrow ribbon would also work well.
You can buy this pattern either by clicking on the listing at the top of the page or click here to go to my Payhip shop.

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

New Pattern: Ahenny Celtic Cross

I've just added a new pattern to both my Etsy and Payhip shops.
Ahenny Celtic Cross is already one of my favourites and was a joy to work on. It is inspired by knotwork carved onto the North Cross, one of the two high crosses at Kilclispeen Cemetery, Ahenny, County Tipperary, Ireland.
The two stone crosses are all that remains of a monastery that was on the site and are believed to date from the eighth or ninth century. They are amongst the earliest examples of ringed crosses.
This pattern is perfect for those of you who love Celtic art or who want to stitch something connected to ancient Ireland.
This will be the last Celtic design I release for a while as there are other design projects I'll be concentrating on for the next few months. My main priorities are forthcoming bird collection to compliment my popular bullfinches design and the Leopold alphabet.
Unfortunately, the Pentrich revolution embroidery project has been cancelled due to lack of support. This is very disappointing for me and the organisers of the project but they still have plenty of other things planned. I may still be able to donate a contribution to the art exhibition if I can find the time to make something.
I have also updated my logo and Etsy shop banner to freshen things up a little. I'll be updating all of my pattern cover pages with this new look too.
To buy the pattern, you can either click on the Etsy listing at the top of the page or click below to go to my Payhip shop.

Monday, 27 July 2015

Etsy prices - EU VAT update

I wrote in an earlier post how EU VAT is affecting sellers of digital products, no matter how small the business is. To recap, any business, regardless of its size, is now obliged to charge EU VAT to customers that live within the European Union.
In January, Etsy announced they would put systems in place to deal with this tax. Last week the system was introduced and so if you live in an EU country, you will see that my prices have increased. The price that you see will have increased by the EU VAT rate in your country. For the UK, this is 20%.
The price is calculated and added automatically and Etsy will take care of the tax. Unfortunately, because I'm not selling directly to customers in the UK, the tax still applies to sales to UK customers.
This is completely beyond my control and Etsy are only doing what the law requires them to do.
If you buy from my Payhip shop, EU VAT is added at the checkout.
There is a strong campaign to get the EU to introduce a reasonable threshold that will mean small businesses no longer have to charge this tax. If you would like to know more about how EU VAT will affect you as a business owner or customer click the link below.

Thursday, 23 July 2015

Making Plans

My floss box
It's that time of year - the Summer Slump, but that doesn't mean I'm not capable of creating heaps of work for myself. I've been really busy making plans for what I want to do over the coming months.
You may have seen my Leopold B design. Since I first stitched it, I've been planning to create a whole alphabet but until now I haven't got around to it. I've decided to shrink the letters so they each fit into a 6-inch hoop. It's going to take a while before they're ready to go on sale but I'm very excited about how they're going to look.
I'm also creating a series of bird designs to go with the bullfinches which are already on sale. Here's a sneak-peek at some of them. There's also a robin which will be ready later this year.
I'm also giving my Festive Bauble design a makeover: I'm changing the colours and resizing it as I wasn't completely happy with the original. That will also be available later this year.

I've been commissioned to make a wedding sampler which I have to keep secret for now but I'll show you how it turns out once it's been delivered to the happy couple. The wedding is in October so you'll have to wait a bit longer to see it!
I also have plans to give my online shops a new look. It all needs freshening up a little bit so this is another ongoing project for the next few weeks. I can't wait to put all the pieces together and when it's ready I'll tell you all about it here on Beneath the Hawthorn Tree.
As far as the blog itself is concerned, I want to add more tutorials and hints and tips etc so I'll be making a list of ideas for that. I'm also planning on launching a new personal blog for nature notes and musings as I want this blog to be focused on embroidery and crafts.
This is only part of my to-do list so as you can see I have plenty to keep myself occupied! I'll keep you posted on everything. In the meantime, you can follow me on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook as well as popping into my Etsy and Payhip shops.
Make the most of the long days while they last!
Happy crafting! 

Thursday, 2 July 2015

New Pattern: Gallia, Goddess of Gaul

We've been enjoying beautiful weather here in the Amber Valley for the last few days so I've been working with the window open. As I write there are swifts, swallows and house martins flying over and the roses are in full bloom.
It's that time of year when we can enjoy crafting outside for a change. I have just added my latest pattern to my Etsy and Payhip stores: meet Gallia, Goddess of Gaul.
This design is based on an image found on a Roman coin dating from the middle of the first century. The region that the Romans called Gaul covered much of central Europe from France to Switzerland and parts of Italy, Germany and the Netherlands. You may also have heard of it as the home of Asterix and his friends!
There are a number of variations on this image on different coins. Some are described as being a captive Gaulish woman but others are said to show the land of Gaul represented as a goddess. There is a reference to Gallia in an inscription on the remains of a Roman garrison near Hadrian's Wall called Vindolanda but very little is known about her. It may be that she was more of a symbol, like Britannia or Marianne.
Whatever she may have meant to the people of Gaul, she is a strong image of ancient womanhood. Rather than being made to look pretty, she has dishevelled hair and a defiant gaze which speaks to women in the 21st century.
You can buy the pattern by clicking on the Etsy listing at the top of the page or by clicking here to go to my Payhip shop.
(c) Karen Eley/The Hawthorn Tree


Saturday, 20 June 2015

An experiment with variegated thread

I posted the above picture on Instagram. It's my Summer Solstice pattern with a skein of DMC stranded cotton, shade 90. As you can see, it perfectly matches the shades I have chosen for the pattern and I think it will make a great alternative if you want to give your version a completely different look.

I received a comment from Elizabeth Braun of the Sew In Love blog who correctly pointed out that variegated threads can give "a random, unpredictable" result and may not always work out the way you want. This is a very good point and I thought I'd better do some experimenting to see what happens.

Here is a length of the thread. Usually when I work with stranded cotton, I use a length that reaches from my finger tips to about an inch below my elbow but with variegated threads, I like to use a length that has all of the different tones in it. This is because you always lose a little of it when you cast off and snip the thread. This means the tones may not change as smoothly as you want them to.

The tones in this thread change from a deep, golden yellow to almost white.

Next, you have to think about how you're going to work your stitches. I usually work in rows making the first diagonal in one direction and then coming back making the second diagonal. You may prefer to complete each cross as you go. I wanted to see what difference each of these techniques would make to the appearance of the variegated thread.
I began with my usual method.

My first length got me this far...

When I threaded my second length, I threaded the opposite way to the first so I could carry on with the tone I had finished the first length with. Here is the finished circle...

It looks better in 'real life' but you can see it gives a very pleasing result.
The second circle (on the right) has been worked one cross at a time. There isn't a huge amount of difference in how the individual tones look but this technique uses more thread and so there is a bit more variation in the overall result.

I also stitched a circle working one cross at a time in a clockwise spiral, starting at the bottom.

I think they have all given interesting results but I prefer the first one because I like the subtle blending of the different shades.

The circles I used for practising are smaller than those in my design and so you may get different results when working on a bigger scale. However, I definitely think it's worth thinking about and having a play with. As with most of my patterns, Summer Solstice (and it's sister pattern Winter Solstice) has the potential to be adapted to different colours and there's no 'wrong' way of stitching it.

Have you ever used variegated threads? What projects have you used them for? What did you think of the results? Let me know in the comments below or by getting in touch on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.

To buy the Summer Solstice pattern and browse my other designs see my website

You can read Elizabeth's blog Sew In Love by clicking here.

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Wise Little Owl - A Free Pattern

I have just reached a little milestone on Instagram by gaining my 100th follower. I am very grateful to everyone who has supported me and my work so far and I now have a little treat for you all.
Last year, I bought some cute little owl buttons from Pocket and Pin, an online haberdashery full of exciting things. As soon as saw the little owls I knew I wanted to use them - but how?
Looking through a magazine, I found an article on antique samplers and one of them, made by Sarah Doggett in 1815, featured many motifs of plants and birds. One of them was of a bird perched in the branches of a tree. I knew then how to use the owl buttons!
I have adapted the motif so that it fits neatly into a 4-inch (10cm) hoop and there is a little space for the owl to perch.
As a thank you for all the support I've had so far, you can download this pattern for free from my Payhip Shop.
If you'd like to follow me on Instagram, you can find me as @HawthornTree_xs
Thank you and happy stitching!

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Something Old, Something New

If you've already had a look of the patterns I have available, then you'll know I have one based on a carpet page from the Book of Durrow. This is an ancient manuscript dating form the 7th century and is believed to be the oldest of its kind. It is currently housed in the library of Trinity College, Dublin.
A carpet page is a page that is covered in artwork rather than script. You cannot help but think of the monks who meticulously marked out the design before carefully drawing it and adding the right colours. The palette for such designs was fairly limited at the time as the colours were all derived from natural materials, and some of them were very expensive.

The modern stitcher has no such problem, we can choose from hundreds of colours and several different threads. I have stitched both of my Durrow-inspired designs in modern shades.
It occurred to me that not everyone is as obsessed with Celtic design as I am and not everyone would want to take on a project that is as large as my original pattern. So, I have adapted it to fit into a 7-inch hoop and I've stitched it in a fresh set of colours to give it a different look to the original. Of course, if you would like to choose your own choice of colours then please feel free to do so. Simply use my pattern as a guide. 
You can find the pattern in my Etsy shop by clicking on the listing at the top of the page or you can click here to go to my Payhip shop.
I'm currently working on a fun little pattern that I'll be releasing as a freebie very soon. If you'd like to keep in touch you can find me on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
Photos (c) Karen Eley 2015