Mini-hoop tips and inspiration

So, I’m really excited about the mini-hoop swap! There are heaps of people signed up (the biggest swap I have ever run, I think) and there feels like there’s a real mini-hoop buzz going around! If I wasn’t having a duvet-day, feeling sorry for myself and full of cold I’d be rushing and leaping around in excitement..

If you want to get started buying your hoop and supplies, then today is the start of the 10% off offer at Cloud Craft – just use the code HOOPY10. This is valid until 8 February, so hurry along!

Cloud Craft

Here’s a direct link to the preferred hoop for the swap…

So, if you’ve not made a mini hoop before… Sonia, who invented the brilliant Dandelyne mini-hoop, has put together a really nice little tutorial on YouTube:

Top tip – you don’t necessarily need a glue gun – hi-tack glue is equally as effective for holding everything together.

But what to put into your hoop? Well, there’s all kinds of a different embroidery techniques, but there’s also patchwork and appliqué options – or maybe even crochet or weaving. Here are some of my favourites – I hope will give you lots of inspiration!

Clockwise from top left: Blackwork in purple by The Salty Stitchers; Monochrome mandala by High Stitch; Cross stitch heart by rubysewoh / Danielle MatthewsDNA cross stitch by Cute Cosy Crafts
From left to right: Foundation piecing by Love You Sew (Cristy); Tiny hexies by Willow and Trout Makerie (Kylie)
Cute felt cat appliqué by Lyndsey Thomas
Adorable kawaii book by Wild Olive
Sweet umbrella stitching by Haruki
Butterfly hoop by Loopy in Love

Hope your brain is buzzing with creativity right now! Have fun with the swap… and don’t forget that 10% discount with HOOPY10 at Cloud Craft.

Mini-hoop swap 2: Sign-ups


Mini hoop swap patchwork heart log cabin
Reverse appliqué heart, log cabin patchwork mini-hoop, using Liberty fabric scraps and Kona solid in ivory by Very Berry Handmade.

After the success of the first hoop swap trial, I am so excited to announce that the sign-ups for the second Very Berry mini-hoop swap are now OPEN!

The rules:

55mm miniature embroidery hoop frame DIY kit - 2.2" hoop frame set ONLY - unique Dandelyne miniature hoop

  • You can use another brand of hoop if you like, but not more than 2.5 inches (64mm) in diameter please. If you are outside the UK, then you can find a list of Dandelyne stockists just here.
  • There’s no theme for the swap – but please take your partner’s likes and dislikes into consideration.
  • Participants can be from anywhere in the world, so you need to be prepared to post your completed hoop to anywhere in the world.
  • You must have a public Instagram account for this swap, and commit to at least ONE swap-related photo. Please use #veryberryhoopswap on pics relating to the swap. If you don’t fulfil this obligation you will be unable to join in future Very Berry swaps.
  • This will be a secret swap, rather than a partner to partner swap (i.e. you won’t be sending to the person who sends a hoop to you).
  • Any textile art is acceptable for the swap – please don’t think you have to limit yourself to handstitching, cross-stitch or embroidery.
  • Please don’t include anything else in the swap parcel – other than a card/note with – I don’t want anyone feeling put off the swap because of the cost of extras.
  • Please sign up by midnight on 15 July – leave a comment on this post and fill in the swap form – partners will be assigned over the weekend. If you haven’t heard from me by the end of 18 July, please get in touch.
  • Posting week is the 5-10 of September (or a little earlier if you are overseas).

Don’t forget, use the code HOOPY10 to get 10% off all supplies for the from Cloud Craft – Nicole has everything you could need to make a beautiful little hoop!

Cloud Craft



Textile Artist Trading Card Swap: Sign Ups

I’m pleased to tell you that the Very Berry Textile Artist Trading Card Swap is here (shall we call it VBATCS? Errr, no, definitely not – readers out there with experience of childbirth might know why…). Anyway, enough of that obstetrical diversion, here’s the button!

Textile ATC swap button

Textile ATC Swap: Something New

I thought it would be good to have a theme, but wanted it to keep it fairly vague, so the theme of the swap is Something New… This seemed like an appropriate choice for Springtime, and it’s relevant because I know some swappers will be making ATCs for the first time. Also, I really wanted to incentivise you to try some new skills and techniques, if you’re in the mood to have a go.

If you are pushed for time, don’t worry, your ATC doesn’t have to be hugely ambitious, just fun! For the ATC I made for this blog post, I wanted to try a few different embroidery stitches that are new to me, such as the spiderweb (bottom middle square) and the French knot with the stalk (top right). I combined these with chain stitches, buttonhole stitches. and backstich, which I can do pretty well, so it was a bit of a challenge, without being overwhelmingly tricky to do:


A few rules…

Your ATC must be 6.4cm by 8.9cm  (2.5″ by 3.5″), but you can use the card in either portrait or landscape orientation. Don’t make the card too thick though – no more than 3-4mm (1/8″) please.

The ATC must be predominantly textile, but you can use any techniques that you want to try, e.g. embroidery, patchwork, beading, cross-stitch, fusing fabrics, colouring fabrics, using fabric paints or ink stamps. There’s masses to choose from – I’m going to do some blog posts about different ideas in the next couple of weeks, but in the mean time, here’s an intro to fabric ATCS and here’s some Flickr inspiration.

The back of the ATC needs to include, at the very least, your name and the date. It is also preferable to include your email address, and, if you have given the ATC a title, you can include this too. Here’s the back of my ATC – I used a waterproof micron pen to write on the fabric (can you tell how much I was trying to keep my handwriting neat – I appear to have regressed to seven years old!), which I then bonded to the felt backing of the ATC. I covered the edges in rather wobbly chain stitch:


The Swap Basics…

  • You will make 1 ATC and received 1 ATC in return. Serious bit: Before signing up, please think for a minute whether you can put aside enough time to make something lovely and thoughtful for your swap partner, and whether you will be able to meet the deadlines.
  • Please sign up by leaving a comment on this post and dropping me an email at veryberryhandmade (at) gmail (dot) com by Thursday 25th April.
  • I will send you an email with a few questions (just a bit of basic info for the swap) on Friday 26th April and you must respond by Tuesday 30th April. Partners will be assigned by 2nd May. 
  • It will be a secret swap so please don’t let your partner know who you are!
  • Participation is open to anyone anywhere in the world (the ATCS wont be too pricey to send), so please be prepared to send overseas if you join in (but I will *try* to make exceptions if you are really stuck for cash… just let me know).
  • Cards must be posted during the week 3rd-8th June (or a little earlier if you are posting overseas and you can manage it).
  • Please do not include anything else in your parcel, except a little note if you like!
  • Once you have received your ATC, you must get in touch with your partner to say thanks… (I know, I don’t need to say this…!).
  • If you blog, use FB, Twitter or Instagram, please feel free to share your ATC swap progress, and definitely share pictures of the ATC you receive from your swap partner, if you can.

I hope you feel as excited as I do, now that this is underway! I’m looking forward to hearing from some enthusiastic ATC swappers…