How to do What Delilah Did

23 Jul

I was lucky enough to interview the lovely Sophie behind What Delilah Did.

Her new book is called Storyland Cross Stitch and it’s a really lovely whimsical collection of cross stitch projects influenced by fairy stories, but with a darker, rather gothy edge. Check out this Big Bad Wolf, I love the silhouette of the unfortunate birdie he’s chomped:

Big Bad Wolf from Storyland Cross Stitch

Sophie aka Delilah (the business name comes from the name she gave to her headless mannequin in a previous career as a fashion stylist, and to her first stitched profile – nothing to do with Tom Jones) also had an inspiring story to tell about how, like lots of us, she was creative at school but floundered a little afterwards, trying various careers but not knowing what to settle on.

After coming across an antique embroidered monogram, she realised that the cross stitch patterns she wanted didn’t exist so created her own and posted the images on Flickr. Such was the demand that she founded an Etsy shop, which became a business (with kits stocked in Liberty, no less!) and she went full-time in February this year. The dream, huh?

But Sophie had lots of wise (and inspiring!) things to say about making and starting your own creative business that I just wanted to share with you:

“It’s almost a compulsion to make things – because I don’t really have a choice, I imagine something and the only way I can get it is to make it. I feel happiest when I’m making things – especially when I’m stitching.”


“I do it [at Delilah] all myself. I’m very passionate about British production. While I do outsource some [products],  I make everything myself on my website, do the styling and photographs myself. I love what I do.”


“When you have a creative business, you spend 70% + of your time answering emails and doing the business side. But despite the deadlines it’s my dream job.”


“If you want something enough and are prepared to work for it, you can do anything.”

Storyland Cross StitchPlease do check out What Delilah Did and the new book.


This week I have…

31 May


Daydreamed: about my holiday next week
Made: a secret project for Cloth magazine
Bought: compost – so excited about repotting all the poor waterlogged plants on my balcony…
Read: Life and Fate by Vasily Grossman
Drunk: Lemsip. Uh oh…


Flower Power

22 May

So last night I was lucky enough to go to Pinned It Made It‘s Mexican-themed craft night – if you haven’t heard about Pinned It Made It, it’s a rather brillo idea where monthly craft nights are inspired by projects and ideas on Pinterest.

Last night’s PIMI had a Day of the Dead theme, with floral head garlands and skull make-up taught by the team behind Wild by Nature, and cocktails from Ilegal Mexcal.

It was a treat for me because despite having lived in east London for about four years, I had never been to the Hackney Downs Studios before – it’s a really awesome gallery, project space and studios, with all sorts of intriguing shops. My only quibble would be the rather scary vertical bikeracks – I feared Rhonda might just come crashing down on my head.

Anyway, so here are the gorgeous fake flowers that made the basis of the garlands:



We had about seven or eight flowers each, and were taught how to attach them to wires, and to use floristry tape to bind the flowers onto a piece of string to make the garland. Helpfully we were fuelled by these:


It was surprisingly easy and effective. I want to wear mine to at least one of the weddings I’m going to this year (don’t tell the bride…)




This week I have…

17 May



Practiced: drawing and painting – I had forgotten how fun it is!
Watched: New Girl
Read: The Sea Inside by Philip Hoare: wonderful so far
Fretted: about everything, so:
Made: a big change. More news soon!



Just Sew Stories goes international!

15 May

JSS German

This week I have…

10 May

brightonVisited: Brighton
Read: Lee Miller: On Both Sides of the Camera by Carolyn Burke and Pretty Nostalgic magazine
Made: Continued with the lilac Rowan Kidsilk Haze jumper which sheds like a literal beast
gazpacho soup
Daydreamed about:
New York – one month to go!

Nothing to see here…

8 May

Let’s just pretend the -slight- hiatus didn’t happen…

One of my adventures over the past few months was to Lincoln (via the wonderfully gothic Newark, which has a violin-making school!). While there, I hunted down the gorgeous Rock + Paper + Scissors. It really is the most beautiful shop, selling locally made crafts, books (including mine!) vintage goodies and lovely tea and cake. I would recommend popping in.