Hello! My name is Barbara Jessop and I would like to welcome you to The Needle Workshop web site.

Having sewn since I was a small child, it was almost inevitable that at some stage it would become a large part of my life. After leaving school, I went to college and did a course in Business Studies but sewing was not far away! After getting married, I went back to college and took a City and Guilds Advanced Course in Dress. Having made clothes and soft furnishings at home whilst our two boys grew up, I gradually became involved in teaching crafts and needlework at adult evening classes. A lack of available materials at the time led, in the mid 1980s, to my starting a business selling needlework materials. I made my first two padded box kits in 1987 for a class I was teaching. They were so popular that my students wanted other shapes and sizes, and so the padded box side of the business begun. Since then, we have made many different designs - some have stood the test of time and some haven't!

In 199394 I took my City and Guilds Part 1 Patchwork ad Quilting course. In 1994 my husband John took early retirement from the motor industry and, in a complete change of direction, joined me in the needlecraft business. We decided at that point to trade under the name of The Needle Workshop as I was still running workshops for all kinds of needlework. Since that time we have developed the publishing and retail side of the business, and are now concentrating on patterns for Patchwork, Applique, Quilting, Fabric projects and our popular Padded Box kits. All the patterns and kits we sell are designed by me and then handed on to John for checking and, in the case of padded boxes, for drafting the exact sizes from the sketch I give him.

As many of our customers know I was taken ill with Guillain-Barre Syndrome in October 2010 and was in hospital for a year. Due to the complete paralysis I suffered for a number of months the damaged nerves have left me with paralyzed legs from the knees down hence a wheelchair. I have now had four operations on my hands to make them work a bit better. They were paralysed for over a year and I was terrified that I would never be able to use them let alone sew. At last four years on I can use my machine with the foot pedal between my knees and although hand sewing is slow it is possible. Being able to use my hands again to draw and sew is such a very wonderful gift which I will never take for granted again. John has had to retire from cutting the card for our box kits due to his age and illness and caring for me, hence the change from Padded Box kits including the cut card to patterns with measurements and templates for our customers to cut their own card. From now on I will doing what I like best, designing whatever takes my fancy with no deadlines, like shows, to meet. A new chapter is opening, hopefully with a blog and Facebook, which I mean to enjoy and I hope you will enjoy it with me.