About Coal House Designs


Coal House Designs was established in 2001 when I picked up my copy of Easy Cross Enterprise. I started cross stitching in 1994 following back surgery, when my Mum bought me a needlecraft magazine with a free sample attached. I was immediately hooked and before long was designing custom cross stitch pieces with graph paper and a pencil.

I moved to computer design and roped in my parents to help stitch my designs. Yes, even my Dad, a big, strapping ex-miner of 35 years underground, picked up a needle and stitched some beautiful pieces. Sadly, I was not so used to taking photographs back when I was cross stitching, so I don’t have a proper record of the work we all did.

Coal House Designs – Original Photo to Chart Conversions

We created original and unique cross stitch pieces that travelled the world. Here’s one example of three photo-to-cross stitch projects that were part of an exhibition in Australia. These were all stitched by my Mum, Winifred Richards.

Original Exhibition Cross Stitch | Coal House Designs

There is also a small book of my cross stitch designs, published years ago by an American company, so I did make it into print too!

Unfortunately in 2005 when I was told that arthritis had worn out my thumb joint and I had to stop stitching I couldn’t face designing and not ever stitching, and so Coal House Designs went into retirement. It was a huge blow; my disability put extra strain on my little joints and wore them out quickly.

I found digital scrapbooking a great replacement, a little kinder on the hands and learned a whole lot about image resolution and taking digital photographs. That knowledge would have been invaluable in my cross stitch career because many of the photographs I did take are way too small to show off the designs properly!

Coal House Designs – in 2015

Free Cross Stitch Chart - Snooker | Coal House DesignsTen years on and I had an itch to see if I could design something small and in the process completely smashed to pieces the Easy Cross disk as I was installing it!

Fortunately I was able to get a replacement, but for a moment I did wonder if the smashed disk was a sign I should leave well alone.

I came up with a small coaster design, I Love Snooker, and fell in love with designing again and didn’t mind too much I couldn’t stitch my creations. I thought someone, somewhere, might like these little designs and it seems a shame not to share them.

Cross Stitching in 2016

Technology moves on; an upgrade to Windows 10 meant changing software to PC Stitch and I questioned whether to continue. A new physiotherapist mused that with some helpful massage my days as a cross stitcher may not be over – and he’s right; since January 2016 I have managed stitch again, usually no more than an hour at a time but there are no adverse effects so far and I can still feed myself!

With that encouraging sign 2016 could be a good year for Coal House Designs cross stitch – designing and stitching.

Thank you for visiting today, I hope you find something you like.

jane