Pins and needles kept me on my toes for twenty years!
Posted 2 years ago and submitted by Pete Underhill | Share link:

On the twentieth anniversary of our connection, there’s an interesting story about how I managed to hook up with one of my long-term clients.

Many years ago, my wife would trawl the internet for infringements of my intellectual property, particularly my Bad Taste Bears brand. One day, she asked if I had heard of Heritage Crafts. I’d not, but it transpired that they had been using some of my designs without my knowledge and reproducing them as cross stitch kits. The kind of thing where you get a piece of fabric, the yarn, a needle and a chart to follow etc., etc..

I contacted the company and found that my agent, with whom I’d recently parted company, had granted a licence for my designs without informing me, not paid me any royalties and had trousered the proceeds! Apart from them being mortified that I’d been stitched up (Ha! ‘stitched’ – geddit?) by my ex-agent, Heritage told me they were relieved I’d called. They wanted to produce more of the kits using different designs, but didn’t know how to get in touch with me. Result! That was twenty years ago, and I’ve worked with them ever since because, most of the time, they are a joy to work with.

It took a while for me to come to terms with the transition of my art into cross stitch. For the techies, traditional printing requires an image of around 300dpi to be reproduced with 133 or 150lpi halftone screen. Consider then the effects of having your work reproduced at 14 lines per inch. It’s a bit like having your work reproduced in Lego. Admittedly, there is the assistance of outline stitching, but that too is constrained by the weave of the fabric, so the brutally low resolution isn’t absolute, but it can be a jolt to the system requiring a readjustment of expectations. Once that is overcome, the designs flow thick and fast. In the last twenty years, I’ve won a ‘Best Cross Stitch Kit’ Design Award, attended heaps of trade shows and managed to avoid appearing on dedicated crafty TV channels!

Here is a selection of my contribution to Heritage Crafts’ significant presence in the world of cross-stitch.

More stitchy goodness can be found at their website.

Pete Underhill
Hinckley, United Kingdom
Tel: +44 1455 233442…

An illustrator specialising in art for children's books, design solutions, advertising and editorial features. Much of my work is produced using traditional methods, however, digit… Show more.

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Profile updated 12th July, 2020
Member since 25th July, 2012
"I met Pete through Hire an Illustrator some time back. He was hired to create characters for a children’s product. His work surpassed all of my expectations. He was thorough and professional, and made collaboration easy. Pete has since been rehired several times for various projects and is an integral part of the company. His consistency, timely results, and absolutely exceptional work are unparalleled. He brings valued input, feedback, and creativity that has propelled this brand’s development. We would not be where we are without him.”
— John Haber, Nogginsland Inc.