IT was last January when Ami James first picked up a needle and thread, as she was looking for a new hobby.
Fast forward one year, and the 32-year-old has just opened her own haberdashery shop in Swadlincote, to help other people to get involved in the crafty pursuit.
And her success is two-fold, as the mum-of-one has done it all while trying to deal with serious bi-polar disorder.
Mrs James told the Mail: “It’s going very well. I have been quite weary, but I think it has helped.
“It’s just me, so it’s been hard work.”
The shop, which is called Simply Needlecraft, opened on West Street on Saturday, with deputy chairman of South Derbyshire District Council, Councillor Pat Murray, officially cutting the ribbon.
The business, which started out as a stall on Swadlincote Market, was set up last year, after Mrs James found she had a knack for needlecraft just a few months into her new hobby, which she started to help her deal with her bi-polar.
“I find it very therapeutic, because it gives you something to focus on and something to work towards,” she added.
Mrs James was diagnosed with bi-polar after being admitted to hospital with depression in 2009. She spent several years going in and out of hospital, and has been on medication since then. She started sewing last year as part of a new year’s resolution to reclaim her life.
In starting the business, she could only hope others had a similar passion to the one she has developed for needlecraft and cross stitch.
“When we started, we didn’t know how people would take to having a haberdasher in town, but we were really busy,” Mrs James added.
She said she had been surprised by the growing popularity of needlecraft, which she put down to the subject becoming popular in the media.
“I think it’s programmes like the Sewing Bee, and things like that, that have got people dress-making. A lot of people are doing it instead of buying something new.”
She has experienced an increasing demand for wool, she said, suggesting more people are getting into knitting.
The shop, which will sell thread, wool and accessories for sewing, among other things, also has an online presence.