Backside of the Hoop with Kari Lockhart


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Backside of the Hoop with Kari Lockhart by Random Acts of Amy January 2016

Hello, and welcome back to Random Acts of Amy for the January 2016 edition of Backside of the Hoop! I hope that you’ve started your 2016 with all kinds of goodness. I’m excited to feature Kari Lockhart of Oh My Heart this month. Kari and I met on Instagram last year, and became fast friends over our combined love of embroidery and florals. I love her style, and her wedding bouquet necklaces are beautiful mementos of a woman’s wedding.

Tell us about yourself
My name is Kari, I am a 26 year old wife and cat mom, living in rural Alberta, Canada. I own the shop Oh My Heart, featuring intricate and feminine embroidered goods, including the original bridal bouquet portrait. I started this business on March 10, 2015 to help supplement my husband’s income as we further reduced our work schedule to be more involved in volunteering in our community. As a fairly new Etsy shop owner, 2015 was an exciting adventure with lots of learning and effort.

You can find Kari online in her Etsy shop Oh My Heart Embroidery and on Instagram at @ohmyheartembroidery.

Backside of the Hoop with Kari Lockhart by Random Acts of Amy January 2016 Backside of the Hoop with Kari Lockhart by Random Acts of Amy January 2016

When did you start doing embroidery?
I don’t remember the exact point at which I made my first stitches, but at the age of 4 my mom gifted me a kid’s sewing machine from Sears. I’ve been addicted to a thread and needle ever since. It wasn’t until February of 2015 that I sat down with the serious intent of learning the actual techniques and stitches of embroidery.

Was there anyone who taught you, or are you self-taught?
I’ve always learned best teaching myself. However I must admit, the advent of Google and YouTube tutorials have been a great assistance.

Where is your favorite place to embroider?
While I have a tiny studio I rarely stitch in one place. At any given time you will find pieces of thread stuck beyond the vacuum’s reach all over our house. All in all, I do tend to gravitate to bright, airy spaces as I feel these influence the pieces I create.

Backside of the Hoop with Kari Lockhart by Random Acts of Amy January 2016

Show us your backside…of your hoop!
Backside of the Hoop with Kari Lockhart by Random Acts of Amy January 2016Have you always finished off your pieces this way? Have you tried other ways?
The first hoop I sold was actually the first time I ever had to back a hoop (and boy was I scared). I quickly experimented with different materials to create the blackout backing as well as its position- against the fabric or on the outer edge. But since that first try I’ve been happy with the outcome and haven’t experimented further.

What are the advantages in how you finish your pieces?
Fabric selection is very limited in Canada. To offer the colors I like, sometimes the weight of the available fabric isn’t ideal. With a complete blackout piece I don’t need to worry about thread being visible on the front when it shouldn’t be. With customers in mind, I also feel this is the tidiest way to finish my work and give a professional look.

What is your favorite part of the embroidery process? Your least favorite part?
My favourite part is honestly, stitching. Throughout the years I’ve always desired to be accomplished in painting, but alas I’ve had to realize it’s just not in my skillset! When I stitch, it feels almost like I have a paintbrush in my hand and this gives me such a great creative outlet. But let’s be honest, I hate setting my pieces. For the most part, I make jewelry. Getting fabric to lay evenly and securely in a tiny space is stressful and monotonous to say the least.

What are your top three favorite stitches?
I’m addicted to French knots, the daisy stitch, and the good ole straight stitch.

Backside of the Hoop with Kari Lockhart by Random Acts of Amy January 2016

What is your favorite brand of floss? How do you organize your floss?
DMC! I’m super happy to finally own every single DMC color available. I organize my floss using clothes pins hung on nails, fastened to strips of baseboards horizontally hung up and down my walls. But as you can imagine, winding over 400 colors is quite time consuming. I don’t have a final photo of my storage solution yet, but I’m looking forward to finishing that project over the winter.

Backside of the Hoop with Kari Lockhart by Random Acts of Amy January 2016

Do you create your own patterns, or purchase patterns from other artists? If you create your own, how do you go about creating them? Where do you find inspiration?
Actually, almost all of my pieces are freehanded with no pattern. More recently I’ve created patterns for some of my larger hoops simply to ensure conformity when creating made to order pieces. In these instances I’ve just traced over a photo of a piece I previously created freehand. I’m fairly new at selling embroidery so truthfully, I seem to have more ideas than time and have yet to search for inspiration. Boiling it down, I’d say nature itself gives me all the ideas I need.

What’s up next for you? Are you excited about a particular piece you’re creating? Will you be in an upcoming market or craft show?
I was super excited to be a contributor to the very first issue of the new Maker’s Movement magazine released January 1, 2016. In it I wrote a piece speaking of the ancient language of flowers and the messages they conveyed. Along with, I created a line of embroidered necklaces carrying very specific messages of love, friendship, and comfort over loss. I look forward to expanding this line, creating not only aesthetic pieces, but highly sentimental jewelry. I also have a huge list of new designs, products, and collaborations I can’t wait to get to. Finally, I can’t forget to mention my ever popular bridal bouquet portraits, as I have some exciting plans for those!

What a great embroidery story! Thank you, Kari, for sharing it with us all. I’m excited to get my hands on a copy of Maker’s Movement magazine to check out your article. And I look forward to seeing your new designs on Instagram.

Are you interested in being interviewed for an upcoming edition of Backside of the Hoop? Fill out the contact form below.



2016 Goals and Resolutions to Live a Life of Purpose


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2016 Goals photo

There’s a movement started by Ali Edwards called One Little Word in which you pick a word of intention for the year. It’s built around scrapbooking and a course that Ali designed. I’m not interested in scrapbooking or taking the course  (although I did it in 2011 and 2012), but I do want to set a word for the year, and intention. It would be my touch point, a mantra of sorts, and a reminder of my goals. I’ve decided that my word for 2016 will be Purpose. I want to have more purpose in my life in all aspects. Whether it be my small business, day job, home, relationships, etc., they need to be lived and nurtured with more purpose.

I’ve also come up with a list of resolutions, or action items I’ll work on throughout the year. I’m a big fan of New Year’s Resolutions, and feel they can be set on any date of the year, but they do feel so fresh and new at the beginning of a calendar year. This is a living document that I’ll review it regularly to determine the validity of each of the items, and add and take away as needed.

  1. Blog at least weekly, with the goal being two to three times a week.
  2. Write at least one book review a month. Contact publishers to get review copies. Review a mix of craft books and fiction and nonfiction books I read for pleasure.
  3. Read and review ten nonfiction books.
  4. Clean up the categories and tags on my blog.
  5. Get published in a magazine, either online or in print.
  6. Participate in and blog about Try Something New Every Month.
  7. Make a static front page for my blog.
  8. Create a backyard bird/butterfly/bee habitat. Choose plantings that will provide food, shelter, and beauty.
  9. Continue publishing Backside of the Hoop on a monthly basis. Reach out to a variety of needle artists from around the world.
  10. Work with a graphic designer to create high quality patterns for sale.
  11. Get projects in the house, yard, and garage done. Identify what needs to be done room by room, space by space, and do it!
  12. Exercise at least three times a week. Continue to work on the C25K app.
  13. Complete a 5K.
  14. Use reusable shopping bags.
  15. Continue to downsize my possessions.

As you you can see, I have my work cut out for me, and 2016 promises to be a busy and productive year!

Try Something New Every Month 2016


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Try Something New Every Month

One of the goals I’ve set for myself for 2016 is to Try Something New Every Month. This is a challenge co-hosted by Stephanie of Swoodson Says and Rebecca of Hugs are Fun. I think it will be fun to stretch myself, and I’m also looking forward to talking about what I’m doing her on my blog. You can find the official post here, that outlines what to do each month, and information on linking up if you want to blog along, too. Below is the monthly list, and I’ve included my take on what I’ll craft each month.

January: Quilting. I’m going to try my hand at English Paper Piecing by making a mug rug.

February: Tactile Craft (such as paper mache, clay, soap, or candle making). I’m going to work on silk ribbon embroidery.

March: Painting. I’m going to paint a large cross stitch pattern on one of my walls.

April: Edible Crafts. I’m going to work on stumpwork fruit.

May: Hand Sewing. I’ll work on a small hand sewing project.

June: Heavy Craft (leather, wood burning, glass etching). I’m going to work on wood burning AND glass etching.

July: Yarn Craft (knitting, crocheting, weaving). I’m going to try my hand at weaving.

August: Printmaking (paper or fabric). I’m excited to try this one, and hope my friend Sarah will help me out.

September: Machine Sewing. I’ll probably try my hand at sewing a cute A-line skirt.

October: Needlework (embroidery, cross stitch, crewel, needlepoint). I’m going to try crewel, which is a needle art I haven’t tried yet.

November: Paper Craft (origami, scrapbook, calligraphy). Calligraphy is something I’ve always wanted to try; maybe I’ll make some kind of fancy card for Christmas.

December: Choose your own! Hmmm…I don’t know yet what I want to try, so if you have any suggestions, I’d love to hear them!

I hope you’ll take this year long journey with us. If you do, let me know your blog name or Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest handles so I can follow your progress. Don’t forget to tag what you do with #TSNEM

Backside of the Hoop with Kayla Dickens


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Knotty Dickens row

Can you believe it’s the last day of 2015?! I cannot hardly believe it. It feels like 2013 was a couple months ago, and what the heck happened to 2014? On this last day of 2015, I’m going out with a bang by featuring my pal Kayla Dickens of the cleverly named “Knotty Dickens” shop. Kayla and I met on Instagram, and quickly formed a kinship over our love of hand embroidery, font, and florals. I’m so excited to feature her for my last Backside of the Hoop interview for this year, and here it is!

Tell us about yourself


I’m Kayla, creator, maker, doer, owner of all things Knotty Dickens.

When did you start doing embroidery?

In the fall of 2014, thanks to Instagram, I absolutely fell in love with hand-embroidery. (Seriously go checkout #handembroidery, #hoopart, and #embroideryhoop.)  I’ve always had a love for arts and crafts but something about hand-embroidery just made my heart skip. Around the same time, I also found out that I was pregnant with our 4th baby. We have 3 children, a Daredevil and Twins, so I was excited but so nervous (I mean this would have made 4 babies in less than 4 years.). After some complications I found out that I was experiencing a molar pregnancy and there wasn’t a baby (more about that below). After my emergency hysterectomy, I decided to finally start living a full life. My old-soul-lover-of-knitted-sweaters-and-vintage-floral soul that I used to embarrassed about is finally blooming. I’m not completely sure what held me back before but you’ve officially been warned: Kayla is an old lady and loves it! 

I made my first freehanded embroidery hoop as a commemorative piece for my family photo wall. After completing that, I knew I needed to embrace the need for needles and thread. 

So that’s the short story. If you’d like to learn more about my experience with my molar pregnancy then checkout my blog at  

Was there anyone who taught you, or are you self-taught?

I taught myself by playing around and watching YouTube videos.

Do you still have the first piece you created?

I do still have the first piece I made. It’s actually the one I made to commemorate my loss. I was still feeling pretty sad about my hysterectomy and had reached out to my support group on Facebook. Someone said, “Other ways people have used to work through grief: plant a tree in the baby’s honor (you can talk to it, visit it, nurture it and watch it grow), commemorative jewelry, prayer, acknowledgement ceremonies, etc. do what works for you. Take one day at a time. Focus on getting through today and deal with tomorrow when it comes.”

I looked around. What could I do? There was a note from one of my dearest friends (BFFAAANAC) which she gave me after my first ultrasound showing there wasn’t a baby… and then I decided to make an embroidery hoop to hang on my wall. I plan on hanging it next to our family photo on the wall.


Where is your favorite place to embroider? Tell us about it. Why is this your favorite place?

My favorite place to stitch is in my recliner. I bring over all my supplies on my end table and just go for it.

Show us your backside…of your hoop!



Have you always finished off your pieces this way?

After reading, “Although the threads of my life have often seemed knotted, I know, by faith, that on the other side of the embroidery there is a crown.” – Corrie ten Boom” I decided to always leave my hoops open. You see, on the back side of all beautiful embroidery work there is a mess of thread. It almost looks like knotted jewelry. But when you flip that baby around, it’s a beautiful piece of art.

Have you tried other ways?

For the most part, I leave my backs open. Probably 98% are open unless someone asks. I close it up with matching fabric – but it’s not my favorite way of doing it.

What is your favorite part of the embroidery process? Your least favorite part?

My favorite part of stitching is how relaxing and therapeutic it is. I love the rhythm and watching something come to life. Sometimes my least favorite part is the brainstorming of new work. There are days when I just stare at a black piece of fabric and busy myself with other work.

What are your top three favorite stitches?

I absolutely love the daisy-stitch, the classic back-stitch, and French-knots. And the woven-wheel-stitch.


What is your favorite brand of floss? How do you organize your floss?

DMC Embroidery Floss is my favorite and absolute go-to. I love to organize my floss in the standard DMC box that you can get at any craft store. I think it’s better than storing it on clothespins (though I know those look super cute for photo props) because it is portable. I do a lot of my stitching on-the-go like at the park while my kids play or in the car when we are taking a long trip. I love that box has a lid and it won’t spill out all over the place. It’s probably how I will always organize it.


Do you create your own patterns, or purchase patterns from other artists?

I have created a few patterns since opening my Etsy shop. When one of my pieces becomes popular – and since I personally don’t like working off patterns – I create a pattern, for others to use, from my own free-handed work. So I am actually making the sketch AFTER I’ve embroidered it. It’s a little backwards, but it works.


What’s up next for you? Are you excited about a particular piece you’re creating?

2016 will be my 2nd year of business. I have many new products coming out and I am making sure that I always have a section in my shop that is “ready-to-ship.”

Thank you so much, Kayla! I loved reading about your embroidery story and process. Kayla’s work is stunning, and I hope you’ll check her out further on Instagram.

Next month I interview Kari Lockhart, so stay tuned for her interview.

I’m planning big changes to the Random Acts of Amy blog in 2016, and I hope you’ll join me as I expand my blogging chops. Please be safe tonight, and I wish you a happy and profitable 2016!

Would you or someone you know like to be interviewed for Backside of the Hoop? Fill out this short form for your chance to be featured!




Backside of the Hoop with Mary Corbet


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Mary Corbet on Backside of the HoopI’m excited for each month’s Backside of the Hoop post, but, I have to admit, I’m feeling a little fangirl with this month’s! This month I bring you Mary Corbet of Needle ‘n Thread!! Mary is such a wonderful resource for needleworkers of all kinds. Whenever I want to learn a new embroidery stitch, I go to Mary’s YouTube channel first. I subscribe to her Needle ‘N Thread blog posts via email AND in my Feedly feed so that I’m certain I won’t miss anything. I have wanted to interview Mary for Backside for quite some time, but hadn’t worked up the courage to ask her. But then one day I thought to myself, “Why not just ask? The worse she could do is ignore my request or decline it. OR, she could say yes, but I’ll never know unless I ask.” So I did, and here you are…

needle n thread logo

Mary Corbet of Needle n Thread

Tell us about yourself

Needle ’n Thread began more or less by accident in 2006, when my brother suggested I write a blog about embroidery. I was teaching embroidery to children in my community during the summers, and he encouraged me to extend the classroom through blogging. Blogging in a structured, systematic way was just starting to explode back then, and I didn’t really know anything about it. But it sounded fun, so I figured why not? It struck me as a good way to spread the love of surface embroidery!

On Needle ’n Thread, I share tips, techniques and tutorials for hand embroidery, along with videos, lots of free patterns, information on resources, book reviews, thread talk, and more!

If you love surface embroidery, too, why not connect with me online? You can find me in the following spots:

When did you start doing embroidery?

I started stitching when I was about 10. I’m self-taught. When I began to get serious about embroidery after high school and through college, there wasn’t much information on surface embroidery available here in the States, and the internet had not come into its own yet. So I bought a lot of old, used, forgotten books at used book stores, for a dime here and a quarter there, and that’s where I started really exploring the art of embroidery.

I don’t have the first piece I embroidered as a kid. I can’t even remember what it was! Probably a Disney character or a Christmas ornament in cross stitch…

Where is your favorite place to embroider?

In my dreams, some day I will have the ideal studio / workroom for embroidery, and I’m sure it will be my favorite place to stitch. It will be light and airy, filled with natural light, and organized from the ceiling to the floor. It’ll include plenty of work space, clear table space, and even some comfy chairs for casual stitching. Yep! I can dream!

But in reality, right now, I do all my embroidery at a table in the middle of my garage, which was remodeled for household storage and provides a bit of a workspace. On a good day, it looks pretty much like this:

Mary Corbet of Needle 'n Thread workplace

When I’m really stuck into a project, though, my work surface looks like this:

Needle 'n Thread work top

Show us your backside…of you hoop!

The backside of my embroidery? Well, if you insist!

Here’s the back of a piece of my embroidery while it’s still in the hoop:

Backside of Mary Corbet's Hoop

Most of my embroidery gets finished in a frame, unless it’s on some sort of usable item, like a tablecloth, or a monogrammed hankie or something like that. My framed work is always covered with museum quality glass, to ensure that the threads and fabric are minimally affected by the environment. This helps the piece withstand the test of time. Since I work with a lot of real gold threads and silk, protecting the embroidery is important to me.

What is your favorite part of the embroidery process? Your least favorite part?

My favorite part of the embroidery process would be the embroidery. My least favorite part of any enjoyable project is coming to the end of the project. It’s like coming to the end of a really good book!

What are your top three favorite stitches?

Oh golly. I don’t know if I can narrow down just three favorite stitches. That’s a hard question! I love embroidery stitches in general. There are well over 400 documented embroidery stitches, and while I don’t use them all (by a long shot), I do love variety in stitching – which is why I love surface embroidery! You can never get bored with it!

But, if I had to narrow down three stitches that I love, based on their finished looks, I suppose I would say stem stitch (it’s versatile – it can be a line stitch, a filling, it can be shaded), satin stitch (when it’s done right, it’s so beautiful!) and long and short stitch (which is the perfect filling stitch for shaded, realistic embroidery).

Here’s a recent project that employs all three of them:

Needle N Thread embroidery

What is your favorite brand of floss? How do you organize your floss?

I admit unabashedly that I’m a thread junkie. My favorite threads? Au Ver a Soie silks, hands down. But I save those for special projects. For everyday stitching, tutorials, demos, and more casual projects, I like DMC coton a broder, floche, and regular floss.

My threads are organized in different ways, depending on the type of thread. My silk threads are organized by type and by number, in drawers in Bisley collector cabinets (which are terrific for archival storage, and which protect the threads from dust and light). Cotton threads are sorted by color families. And then I have special drawers for other threads, too, like wool, gold, and synthetics.

embroidery floss storage

Do you create your own patterns, or purchase patterns from other artists? If you purchase patterns, what are your favorite places to get them?

Sometimes, I create my own patterns. Sometimes, I stitch purchased patterns or kits. And sometimes, I like to embroider old designs from books that are now in the public domain. It just depends on which bug strikes hardest.

When I purchase patterns or kits, I like to buy them directly from the designer. Doing so helps support the designer. Also, commercial “industry” kits (like those found in Big Box stores) tend to lack the higher quality materials and instructions that can be found in embroidery kits assembled by individual designers.

What’s up next for you?

I’m really looking forward to 2016! I’ve got a new website design for Needle ’n Thread coming out that will improve functionality and organization, along with some exciting new features that will unfold as the year progresses. I’m working on a couple new instructional e-books, and I’m actively seeking a solution for offering classes locally, which I hope will come to fruition before the summer. I plan to get back to teaching kids during the summer, but I don’t have a space for it just yet. It doesn’t sound like a lot, but I have a feeling 2016 is going to be a busy year!

Thank you so much, Mary! It’s fascinating to read about your embroidery story and process, and to see the backside of your hoop :) You are an inspiration to many, and I am thankful for what you do, and how open you are to sharing your knowledge.

Next month I interview Kayla Dickens of Knotty Dickens, and that interview will be published on Friday, December 18, 2015.

If you’d like to read more Backside of the Hoop interviews, you can find there here.


Would you or someone you know like to be interviewed for Backside of the Hoop? Just fill out the contact form below, and you could be selected for Backside of the Hoop!