Self Employed Mums – Hop Stitch Jump – With Catherine Knowles.


This is a fantastic and very unique product from Catherine, I am sure you will enjoy getting to know about her business and what it is all about

Who are you? 

I’m Catherine, although like most of us, I answer just as readily to ‘Mummy’! I’m 35 and have a real love of stripes and rainbows, and a penchant for wearing a false moustache! I’m mummy to Beatrix, Jasper and Abel, and wife to Paul.

Gorgeous Creation from Hop Stitch Jump

Gorgeous Creation from Hop Stitch Jump

What do you do?

I make pretty things! More specifically, I make fabric keepsakes and gifts. My business is called Hop Stitch Jump and my signature work is Doodlebroidery, which involves transforming children’s drawings into wall art using freemotion embroidery.  There are no fancy computer programs involved; I use a regular domestic sewing machine and have a very keen eye!

Why did you start?

Before parenthood, I was pretty much defined by my career as a teacher. Like all teachers, I worked really hard, long days and committed myself to the job and my students. I went back to work full time after my daughter was born, but returning to the classroom was far more difficult than I expected and I felt as though I wasn’t being the best mother, wife or teacher I could be. At the same time, the school I worked in underwent radical changes in management structure and it was clear that its ethos was becoming increasingly removed from my own picture of the ideal, and so it became a little easier to plan to take some time out of teaching and concentrate on my family. After I had my second child, the rainy day fund was hit by a downpour and I started looking at new ways to save money. Hop Stitch Jump began with me making presents for friends’ children as a way to cut back on spending and quite literally snowballed from there.

How fabulous is this??

How fabulous is this??

Do you enjoy what you do?

I *love* working with the amazing masterpieces that little artists create, and I feel very privileged to be able to share an insight into their beautifully creative minds! I try really hard to stay as true to the original drawing as possible. If I’m honest, I’m more concerned that the children are happy with my finished work than the parents who pay me for the commission!

Have you always wanted to be self employed or is it something you have just worked your way into? How do you work it around children and family life?

My dad has always been self employed and I spent my late teens in our busy family newsagent’s shop and family pub, so I was well aware of the hard work involved in working for yourself! From first qualifying as a teacher, I never considered that I would do anything different, so I suppose I expected that I would always be an employee. I do think that being around so many people who ran their own businesses gave me the confidence to give it a whirl when the time came, though!

My children are six, four and almost two, so my days are filled with three school runs, playgroups, clubs and classes and all the usual housey chores and distractions. I work in the evenings and at weekends, which is great for the most part as it means I am always around for the children, although at my busiest times I find it hard having to miss out on weekend fun with the family and often go for weeks without sitting on my sofa!

Awww so cute, How special!!

Awww so cute, How special!!

Is your partner supportive?

My husband has been wonderful and has spent more than his fair share of evenings covered in stuffing and cutting out pattern pieces! There have been times when I’ve expected him to say it’s time for me to return to the classroom and start earning some ‘proper’ money again, but he has been brilliant!

WOW, What little girl wouldnt love this?

WOW, What little girl wouldnt love this?

Where can people find you?

I’m most active on Facebook at Hop Stitch Jump Facebook Page but people can also drop me a line at catherine@hopstitchjump.co.uk or contact me through the fabulous Created In Yorkshire shop in The Ridings, Wakefield.

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