Today I want to introduce you to another great designer in the world of cross stitch. Her name is Clare Bray of Climbing Goat Designs. I stumbled upon Clare through another cross stitcher, Timothy Johnson.
Tim is doing great work with a charity project for the victims and first responders of the Pulse Nightclub shooting in Orlando, FL. I wrote a feature on his story and if you have not read that yet, please take a few minutes to read it here now. It’s a VERY inspiring story!
Now on to Clare’s story.
Clare lives with her adorable pooch in a lovely area on the southern coast of England. I asked Clare how she came up with the name of Climbing Goat Designs and this was her response:
” I’d seen pictures and stories about tree-climbing goats in Morocco, and goats teetering precariously up steep cliffs, and thought they were basically awesome! I am crazy about animals and wanted a fun and funky shop name which matched my spirit, and it just fitted!”
I am going to let her Clare tell you her story in her own words. Hope you enjoy!
Meet Clare Bray
I was a volunteer for the charity Post Pals, and had heard of LQUK through that as they often gave quilts to the sick children we supported. I joined the LQUK group to ask about applying for a quilt for someone else. Soon all these lovely cross stitched pictures were appearing in my Facebook feed.
I enjoyed commenting on them and they brightened my day, but I didn’t want to stitch myself as I thought it was too small and fiddly.
I had taught myself some graphic design in order to make charity calendars for Post Pals. I offered to make one for LQUK, as I was enjoying looking at all the stitched pictures so much and thought they would look great on a calendar. I’ve now done three LQUK calendars which have raised a good amount for the charity.
How Clare Got Started Cross Stitching
Spending a lot of my time dealing with all these pictures of beautiful stitching, I was finally tempted to give cross stitch a go! I wanted to make something for my godson’s christening, so I went to the local craft shop and bought a kit of a little sheep. I stitched the sheep, personalized it with my godson’s name, framed it and felt incredibly chuffed.
Next, I bought a much bigger cross stitch kit online and gradually stitched that up for my mother. She still has it up on her wall.
In between working on the piece for my mom, I signed up for my first Love Quilts square. It was amazing seeing pictures of it on the final quilt.
And here is the final quilt!
These are 3 more quilts where a couple of my designs were used by other stitchers.
I’ve been ill since I was a young child with Crohn’s disease, ankylosing spondylitis, and M.E., and I’m still very disabled by these conditions. I’d never been able to work and always desperately wanted to, so it’s a dream come true to now not only have a job but also a job that I enjoy so much. I have a physics degree and wanted to become a scientist. However, this was impossible with my health.
My health was deteriorating steeply, and at a time when my life was mainly defined by hospital appointments and loss, doing a few minutes of cross stitch each day meant that I felt I was achieving something.
How Clare Got Started Designing
One day I decided that I wanted to start designing my own pieces. I found some squared paper and sellotaped several pages together to form a huge sheet to plot a picture on. It was much too big and it was very difficult to work out what I was doing. I switched to graph paper with smaller squares and got on a little better, but it was still very slow going.
I signed up for my first Love Quilts label, which is the square on the quilt that’s personalized for the child. I spent a long time designing a magician frog to go on it, as well as doing all the lettering from scratch. The frog is still my profile picture on Etsy which is a nice memento!
This was my pattern I designed and graphed out for the magician frog.
And here is the finished result!
After a few more designs I was still finding paper slow and cumbersome. I decided to download a 30 day free trial of a cross stitch charting program and drew a pattern on that. And that was pretty much it – I was hooked and it feels like I’ve done little else since!
I spent a long time researching different cross stitch programs and eventually chose a professional standard one. I spent months reprogramming parts of the program so that the finished charts were exactly how I wanted them.
Eventually, I opened my Etsy shop, Climbing Goat Designs, in early 2016, wondering if anyone would buy anything at all. Sharing my first designs on Facebook was terrifying!
But they started selling quickly, thanks to my lovely customers, and I have been expanding the shop ever since.
My rainbow butterfly design is my bestseller and has particular meaning as that was the design picked by Timothy for his Rainbows for Peace and Comfort project, as described by Fae in an earlier blog post. Climbing Goat Designs had only been open for a few months when Timothy chose my pattern to be the group emblem.
It was such an amazing experience to suddenly see so many people stitching it, and for such a good cause!
Many of my designs have also been stitched for different Love Quilts groups – in the UK, US, Australia, and Germany – and it’s so special seeing them on the finished quilts.
Another design which is particularly important to me is the savannah elephant, as that was the first in my Animals at Home series.
I remember sitting on the sofa drawing it and being so absorbed in the design coming together that I forgot to eat and ended up very hungry!
My turtle in that series is my second best seller, but the whole series is very popular and I enjoy adding new animals to it.
I love that I never know what new experience will come along next. I’ve been featured in Cross Stitch Collection and have been commissioned for several issues of XStitch Magazine. Here is a picture of that feature.
Some of my patterns have gone viral on Pinterest and I was a featured designer on Reddit.
Here are just a couple more of my designs.
I’ve talked to so many lovely customers around the world. It means a lot to me to hear that my designs are often helpful to them in difficult times of their lives, just as cross stitch was to me.
I do a lot of pet memorial patterns and it’s a real honor to be chosen to do them, as well as some very tragically for children who have passed away.
I also do many personalized new baby samplers for new arrivals, so I feel part of the joyful times of life too. Some people stitch the patterns in the hospital or while recovering from operations. Others just use them to relax after a long day at work.
I can’t wait to see what other adventures I might have and to carry on doing my drawings!
So now you have met yet another great designer. If this is your first introduction to Clare and her designs and you go browse through her patterns, if you find one you like and purchase it, I would appreciate it if you would leave me a comment below.
It will bring me great satisfaction knowing that my story has had a positive influence and helped to support a great designer of the cross stitch industry!
Please be sure to leave me a comment as to your thoughts on this story. I love to hear from my readers!