Hello, I'm Claire Brown, cross stitcher extraordinaire. I sprang on to the UK cross stitch scene in 2004 and have been instrumental in "making cross stitch cool" ever since.
Back then, I started out as Miso Funky and then The Bellwether but now I'm just plain old me - Claire Brown XStitch. Where once I designed charts and kits, as well as produced my designs on accessories and homewares, I'm back after a hiatus and focusing on bringing you the tools to make your own cross stitch the best it can be.
I've contributed to several books and magazines on the topic of cross stitch and modern craft and I also co-founded the UK's most popular kawaii blog, Super Cute Kawaii, now run solely by my good friend and cute things designer, Marceline.
Along with my BFF Jo, I started Glasgow's first non-shit craft fair back in 2005. The scene has since flourished and the city is now awash with creative folks. I'm going to claim at least a hand in making that happen.
Want a laugh? Read on for my journey through the cross stitch world to the present day!
1991 - Gain needlework badge at Girl Guides with a cross stitch spectacle case (possibly through bribery).
1993 - Make a terribly squint apron in Home Economics class. Give up delusions of becoming domestic goddess.
2001 - Pick up cross stitch for the first time since school. Cross stitch a mouse in a hat on the beach. Put it in a drawer and forget about it - cross stitch is too twee for me.
2004 - Re-learn to knit along with my friend, Jo. Knit lots of scarves. People start to ask where we got them. An idea is born.
2005 - Bored at work one day, Jo and I hit on the name Miso Funky for our fledgling craft business. Book our first craft fair, which is deemed a moderate success.
2006 - Put the feelers out and discover a whole community of frustrated designer-makers in Glasgow who are crying out for an event to sell their work at - the Miso Funky market is born and our first market at Hillhead Library is a rip-roaring success.
- Founded Glasgow Craft Mafia with some of our new crafting friends. Get our first press big break in Sunday Times Style magazine
. The Miso Funky market goes from strength to strength in various locations in Glasgow and Edinburgh and we attend events as far afield as Newcastle and Belfast. Audition for Who Wants To Be A Millionaire but don't get through.
2008 - Big changes as I move to Thailand for a large part of the year, Miso Funky becomes a one-man operation and cross stitch becomes the main focus of the business. Wind up Miso Funky market to concentrate on world domination.
Take part in a documentary by Enterprise Nation
and am featured in their book Working 5-9
. Take part in several exhibitions around the UK.
- Contribute to this book.
Have the busiest year since Miso Funky records began. Leave Glasgow Craft Mafia and move into a dedicated workspace then move back to my home office - I'm a home girl at heart.
2011 - Exhibit at my first trade fair and my first Renegade Craft Fair.Pass my driving test. Acquire a house in the country and a dog and level up on the game of Life.
2013 Change branding to The Bellwether. Invent more awesome cross stitch.
2014 On July 31st, The Bellwether closed its virtual doors to take a hiatus. Don't really take much of a break and so...
2015 Return to creating awesomeness with a gradual re-stocking of the virtual shelves. Take another break during 2016.
2017 In October 2017, The Bellwether emerged from its slumber with a new product line and a collaborative zine in time for Christmas!
2018 Operations ceased whilst I had a mid-life crisis.
2020 I'm back, baby. You can just can't keep a good Claire Brown down.