“From rug maker to bag lady”
Janet Granger has a wealth of experience and variety at her fingertips, literally, with her hand-stitched miniature needlepoint
By Jill Mundy[As featured in Dolls House World magazine, issue 242, Nov 2012]
Her enthusiasm for stitching began as a child and she has been running her successful business for sixteen years.
In 1984 Janet bought a Georgian doll’s house and started to decorate and furnish it. “At the time there was hardly anywhere to buy carpet kits, so I thought I’d have a go at designing some myself “.
Janet had started her working life in public libraries, where she loved the books and enjoyed meeting the public. She didn’t like the limitations of working for a large organisation though and her own business has given her a lot more flexibility.
There is no ‘typical’ day at Janet Granger Designs but this suits Janet well. “I love that my work doesn’t follow an organised pattern.
Fulfilling orders tends to be the first task, then making sure adverts and deadlines get done… then maybe a bit of designing, if I’m in the mood.”
Whatever she has been doing, Janet likes to clear everything away at the end of each day. “I am obsessively tidy, so my office is like a show home, with nothing left on the desk overnight.”
The company is run by Janet and her husband Chris. As Chris is good with the technical side of things, they were one of the first miniatures businesses to have a website.
“That was back in 1997. My husband is wonderful at website design and my website now has over 200 pages, with loads of information, as well as a well-organised shop section.”
When they allow themselves time off from the business, Janet and Chris have a hobby that involves travelling all over the UK. “I love doing Dances of Universal Peace” Janet told me. “It is a form of spiritual dance, a bit like circle dance with singing, celebrating all kinds of religious traditions.
The words are not often in English – they’re usually in the language of the religion being celebrated, such as Hebrew, Arabic, Maori, etc. It’s very energetic and I love it.”
Having honed her skills over the years, there are still times when a design doesn’t quite work out as planned. “Sometimes, I think I’ve chosen the right colours for a project but, as I’m stitching it, I realise the colours aren’t working well. But things can always be unpicked – even though that can be soul destroying!” Janet’s favourite item usually tends to be her most recent. “I always love making the newest item in my range. Working out how to get a new line on sale is what I love to do. Once all the problems have been solved, I need to move on to something else.”
Janet believes her needlepoint kits are unique in that everything a customer needs to complete their order is included. “Even metal bell pull ends, wooden tapestry frame pieces or wallhanging poles. The instructions supplied are very detailed but if you really get stuck, visit my website.
All the kits and charts are available from www.janetgranger.co.uk or by post from Janet Granger Designs, Rose Cottage, Leek Road, Waterhouses, Staffordshire, ST10 3JS. A paper catalogue is available for £2.50 or available as a free download from the website.