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Goodbye For Now, Au Revoir, Do Svidaniya, Adios…


Goodbye for now….


Hello Stitching World


My hope is that what I have to share with you today will be met with understanding and acceptance of where I find myself in my life right now.


From time to time, throughout one’s life, one needs to take stock. Inevitably we tend to do this after life-changing events, in my case the death of my husband, André. For those of you that are widowed, you will understand the toll that it takes. Losing a spouse involves not only unbearable grief but also, tasks and burdens that were previously shared become yours and yours alone at the same time as losing the companion with whom you shared your thoughts, fears and joys.


I started Crafts Unlimited in June 1988 – nearly 28 years ago. Since its’ inception it has been my passion, my focus and one of my greatest joys. Throughout that time, I have tried my best to provide products and services of a high standard. Over the years the business has grown, so much bigger than I could ever have imagined. I have written 11 books, taught lessons to more people than I can count, exhibited in so many countries and made so many wonderful friends;  friends that cover the globe.


It has, however, got to the point where it has overwhelmed me, so after much deliberation and heartache, I have decided to hang up my hat and to close Crafts Unlimited within the next few months.


I am currently working from early in the morning to past midnight 6 days a week, and to be perfectly honest, I am exhausted. For the sake of my health I need to reduce that load and that is why I have made the decision to close, take stock and go from there. Should I decide to start my business again in the future, I will do so on a much smaller scale in order to allow me more time for the other things that I want to do in my life.


There are many of you that sell my products; use them to teach classes or buy them for projects of your own. It is for this reason that we will stay open until the end of April or latest May 2016, trading as usual. During this time, you will be able to order whatever you think you may require for now or in the future. We are already working with a reduced staff compliment, so it is possible that I will have to close the order book before our closing date, particularly if the orders become too large to handle. I will have to monitor that and act accordingly.


Throughout my weeks and months of deep and careful consideration about this, I came across the following quote:


There’s a trick to the ‘graceful exit.’ It begins with the vision to recognize when a job, a life stage, or a relationship is over — and let it go. It means leaving what’s over without denying its validity or its past importance to our lives. It involves a sense of future, a belief that every exit line is an entry, that we are moving up, rather than out.”Ellen Goodman


This comes so very close to describing my own personal thoughts. I look back at so many wonderful pictures, notes and interviews that I have done and find it hard to sum it all up. I live in Newlands, Cape Town, close to Kirstenbosch Gardens, which is quite possibly the most beautiful garden in Africa. We moved there from Johannesburg in 2003 and have never looked back. I started crafting as a young child. My mum is an artist and she kept us – her five children and all her friends – amused in her beautiful studio. We spent so many happy hours there and I have been involved with crafts ever since.


I remember a painting that I did in watercolour as a youngster for an art competition. It was a landscape in pinks, blues and greens. I attended art lessons and learned a lot about mixed media. I have spent my life surrounded by crafts of all kinds. From painting to pottery, stained glass to silk painting, making cards to mosaics and then the fabric arts. I started with patchwork, migrated to appliqué, took a detour through candlewicking which I combined with silk ribbon embroidery and quilting. But ribbon embroidery took over as the craft that I stuck with. Whether it is working on my blog, creating new designs for my books, teaching online, working on new concepts or painting ribbons, there is not a day in the week that I do not do some craft or another.


Whilst most weekends are for hiking and spending time with nature, this also inspires me to create new designs and concepts. I am always inspired by flowers, the countryside, animals, sunrises, sunsets….I could go on. There is so much in the world around us, quite apart from books and art, kindness and mindfulness, all of which can provide inspiration. I started teaching fabric craft in the early eighties and have taught ever since, not only in my own country but also in far flung places like Australia, Ukraine, Russia, England, France and others. As a result of this teaching I have made so many good friends; not only amongst those I have taught, but also other teachers, designers and authors – people like Hazel Blomkamp, Emma Kriegler, Trish Burr and last but not least, my friend and publisher, Wilsia Metz. She is an incredible inspiration to me.


I have a medical background, but running a craft business from home has given me the freedom to create at my own pace, in my own time, without having to work normal hours. I have had the pleasure to nurture and train my staff in my own way (without all the red tape and restrictions that I might have encountered in the corporate world). At times it has been challenging and has sometimes required courage and positive energy to keep myself and my staff motivated during the hard times, but this has always been more than balanced by the good times and the lovely people that I have come into contact with on a daily basis. Like all things in life, there have been incidents that have been highly amusing and downright hilarious, if not embarrassing.


I would like to thank each and every one of you that I have been in contact with over the last 28 years. Thank you for your kindness, your support, your encouragement and your friendship. I could not have done what I have done without you. I will keep you all informed as things progress over the next few weeks.


Please stay subscribed and please stay in touch.


Click on the image to enlarge


Goodbye for now...




Di van Niekerk



50 Responses to Goodbye For Now, Au Revoir, Do Svidaniya, Adios…

  1. Wavatar Judy P says:

    I truly wish I had found you before now, as your shop and blog are already closed. I can still enjoy your videos. I wish you peace and happiness, and hope that you are healing. I lost a husband, but after we had divorced. Still, he had been a part of my life for many, many years and I still loved him and grieved for him. Then I also lost a son in an auto accident. So I understand your grief. I moved from my home of over 20 years to live near my daughter.

  2. Wavatar Charmaine says:

    Di, wishing you the very best for the future. May the pain of your loss be softened and shared by the hundreds of people whose lives you have touched through your creativity. Your artwork, together with our individual flair that we’ve added to your designs, adorns many walls. You will be sorely missed. A tragic day for ribbon embroidery enthusiasts and the industry as a whole. You’ve given so much but now it’s time to take care of yourself for a little while…

    New Zealand

    • Wavatar Sarah Tickenoff says:

      having just come across your good-bye, I feel your pain and have an understanding of the changes you are making in your life. Many of us have gone thru this experience, and share with you the joy you will experience once you begin your journey on the new path! Good Luck, God’s Blessings.

  3. Wavatar seema desai says:

    Dear DI,

    Iam very sorry for your loss, I understand you need time for yourself,
    but you will be missed so much, and your talent.
    i have enjoyed making your 1 st and 2 nd panel,and lot of my friends have not seen this kind of embroidery and they all compliment me.
    Thanks to you , for introducing me to such beautiful and breath taking ribbon work.
    I have most of your books and some of your other panels, will start my rose panel soon.
    Take care
    Seema Desai
    Houston Texas

  4. Wavatar PJ Hansen, USA says:

    Di. I just now took the time to read your latest blog entry. You will be missed!

    I also understand your grief, the man I married years ago has Alzheimer’s and he has been gone for about 10 months now, although his body is still around.

    Hugs and love are being sent your way. Take whatever time you need to get through the grief stages.

  5. Wavatar Mandy Currie says:

    Dear Di
    Let me first say how sorry I am to hear of the loss of your husband. I hope and pray you will find peace and hope for the future. God bless you always.
    I feel as if I’ve known you for years, you have been a personal inspiration to me for so long and of course to the world of embroidery. You will be well missed. Your books and designs have been a constant source and once I found it your blog such a pleasure. I do hope we will hear from you now and again once you’ve had some time to heal. God be with you in this new season of your life.
    Kind regards Mandy

  6. Wavatar Linda.Boudreau says:

    God will richly bless you as you have blessed us all with your creative beauty and desire to make the world a beautiful place to live. Please rest. Reduce the stress, grieve gently and take time to truly smell the flowers that you have shared with us. Please do not disappear for too long.
    Linda in Nova Scotia

  7. Wavatar A Friend says:

    I was very sorry to hear your news but totally understand your decision. You have brought a lot of joy to many people. You need to take time for yourself. I hope you find peace and calm very soon.

    My thoughts are with you.

    A friend – UK

  8. Wavatar Pauline Richard says:

    Di: I am a member of Virtual Threads and was sent your goodbye email. I, also a widow going on 8 years now, truly feel your grief and decision. May God be with you in your time of special need and guide you through the healing process. My husband of 46 years died in 2007. How long were you married to the love of your life. You never forget. He is always in your heart and everywhere you go in your home or elsewhere, memories will pop up and bring a tear or laughter. Be strong, rely on God’s help and He will see you through this. Love always. I feel I am a friend.

  9. Wavatar Becky Williams says:

    Thank you for bringing beauty into my life. Please be gentle to yourself in these trying times.

  10. Wavatar Adele Dimopoulos says:

    Have read this with great sadness for the loss of your husband. I enjoyed seeing his photos that accompanied your blogs. Now you must grieve and readjust. Closing your business is such a wonderful gift to yourself but it must be so very painful also. Thank you for all you have done for others over the years. Adele

  11. Wavatar Bénédicte Bourrelier says:


    DI merci pour ces merveilles désolée je comprend

    Je vous souhaite un long chemin de Lumière

    je vous embrasse Bénédicte

  12. Wavatar Валентина says:

    Дорогая Ди, Вы приняли решение, очень важное для Вас!
    Вы так много сделали для нас всех, где бы мы ни жили, на каком континенте не занимались рукоделием. Я бесконечна рада знакомству с Вашим творчеством, с Вашими книгами, рада тому , что участвовала в Ваших конкурсах. Все это открыло для меня новую страничку в жизни. Спасибо Вам большое! Все, что Вы сделали всегда будет с Вами, потому что это красота!
    С уважением, Валентина Илькова. Россия.

  13. Wavatar Helene Allari says:

    Je suis triste pour vous Di, et je vous souhaite beaucoup de courage. Vous avez pris une décision que chacun peut comprendre. Vous nous avez donné beaucoup de moments de joie et de partage. Nous vous en remercions. Je suis avec vous par le coeur et la pensée. Je souhaite que vous trouviez dans vos créations à venir le réconfort nécessaire dans l’épreuve que vous vivez.
    Je vous envoie d’affectueuses pensées

  14. Wavatar Sobia says:

    Dear Di,

    Truly sorry for your loss and I totally understand you… please take your time and your come back will be much awaited… May God comfort you and give you courage to move forward.. wishing all the best…

  15. Wavatar Linda Perrin says:

    Dear Di,

    While I understand and respect the decision you have made, and of course your health and wellbeing must be paramount, I will miss new patterns and designs of your creation. When it comes to ribbonwork, you are the true expert! Your flowers are beyond compare! I am so glad that I had the foresight to buy every book on my list, and I will now go back online to see if I have missed any! Please take care of yourself and your family first, and we, your fans, will be waiting if and when you decide you are rested enough to start again! Wishing you the best!

    Linda Perrin

  16. Wavatar Marie-Claire says:

    Je ne trouve pas les mots pour écrire se que je ressent ,nous devons respecter votre desission COURAGE .Je ne vous oublie pas merci pour tout Marie-Claire (Belgique)

  17. Wavatar Becky McGinnis says:

    Dear Di, May you be comforted and strengthened in this decision and know that thousands, if not millions, of needle artists around the world are praying for you and waiting for you if, and when, you wish to come back. Your work is timeless, elegant, and inspiring. God bless.

  18. Wavatar Sandra D in Joliet says:

    I’m so sorry to hear you’re closing but I truly understand that you must put your health and well being first. Please take care of yourself and stay busy doing what you enjoy. It’s so easy to get into a pity party mode on a daily basis if you don’t.

    I bought several of your books but I kept putting off buying any kits because I couldn’t find a stockist in the USA online. I wanted the lovely cottage with swans in a lake but I found several other ones I like. I am going to bite the bullet and order some items and wait for them to come all the way to the States. No more time to procrastinate.

    I hope to see a blog note now and then from you to tell all of us you’re doing well.
    Sandra D in Joliet, IL

  19. Wavatar andrea schwarz says:

    Dear Di! i feel very sorry! i wish you good friends they guide you through this bad times. Thank you for all your wonderfull ideas and great books. so if i make a flower or anything else i will think of you! Good bless you!

    Andrea schwarz (vienna, Austria)

  20. Wavatar Shirley Jacobs says:

    I wish you all the best in this new chapter of your life. Thank you for being ever so generous!

  21. Wavatar Debbie Calvert says:

    You have brought beauty and art into the world. Your contributions will always remain. May God bless you abundantly as you move on.

  22. Wavatar Joanne Heck says:


    I am sorry for your tremendous loss, yet find myself satisfied that you are doing what you need to do.

    You have taught me so much! Thank you for sharing your knowledge, creativity, and self! I will always remember you as a woman who brings much beauty into the world. I wish you peace and blessings.


  23. Wavatar Elza Bester says:

    Dearest Di,
    Reading through all these comments above just shows how much you are loved by the embroidery fraternity. As Elize van Zyl in her comment said so poignantly when she looked at her wall she saw your ideas hanging there and the good memories that went with it. I too have your panels hanging on my walls and it will always be a reminder of you. The most special one will always be Waxie.
    That little bird took me on a journey that will stay with me forever. I met Roby the artist who painted Waxie and you at that time. How fortunate can a girl be? Then there is the image of the Quails you printed for me and I embroidered it as a gift for her. Thank you once again for doing the printing. When I got from you, my first thought was: It is so big and will I be able to do justice to such a marvelous painting? You know what, you gave me the strength to do it.
    I wish you only the best with this new phase in you life and remember that very same life will forever be intertwined with all of us who are going to miss you tremendously xxx
    Lots of love, Elza Bester. Cape Town xxx

  24. Wavatar Barbara-Helen Hill says:

    Blessings. Grief is a process and I honour you for taking time for yourself.

  25. Wavatar Maria from the Netherlands says:

    Dear Di,
    Thank you for everything you have done and especially your beautiful books and DVD’s.
    I have learned a lot.Enjoy further life in good health.
    Thanks again, greetings Maria

  26. Wavatar Mary ann says:

    prayers and hugs,will always stay in touch,love your work

  27. Wavatar Viv Trent says:

    Dear Di,

    This must be a sad moment for !
    Which I am also sure has not been an easy decision for your either.
    Di, we all have a seasons in which we live and this season has now come to an end.. And a beautiful new season is about to start… I wish you many blessings for your new Season.
    Love Viv

  28. Wavatar Stephanie Williams says:

    Thank you for sharing and providing so many of us with your beautiful ribbons and books that have given us directions and guidance that we can use for future years of stitching enjoyment. We have all been blessed that you shared your beautiful embroidery and stumpwork skills with us. You have given us all so much inspiration. I completely understand that you need a well deserved break. I wish you much enjoyment in the years ahead. Thank you!!!

  29. Wavatar Sandi Murray says:

    Di, my deepest sympathy for your loss. My God hold you in his arms as you process this new chapter in your life. Although it is a loss to the crafters
    World, I’m sure that everyone understands the need to simplify and reflect. Warmest regards, sandi

  30. Wavatar Elize van Zyl says:

    Di, ek is so jammer oor jou man se afsterwe! Ek sit hier en kyk na al die goed teen my muur – jou prente wat ek altyd direk van jou gekoop het, en borduur het. Hulle het almal in my ma se huis gehang en ek onthou hoe opgewonde was sy oor elkeen. Na haar dood het almal teruggekom na my toe en hang hulle nou hier in my huis. Jy los wonderlike herinneringe in so baie huise oor die wêreld heen. Ek was deur die jare n groot bewonderaar en jou werk. Mag dit met jou baie goed gaan. Mag die Here Sy hand van seën en genade oor jou hou – vandag en elke dag vorentoe. Dankie dat jy jou wonderlike talent met die wêreld gedeel het. Ek voel geseënd om n klein stukkie daarvan in my huis te hê. Ek wou nog soveel koop en nou is dit te laat! Maar ek is dankbaar vir die wat ek wel het.
    Seën en liefde!
    Elize van Zyl

  31. Wavatar Pat says:

    This is very sad – a great loss to the ever decreasing world of craft.

    My best wishes to you, Di, and may you continue to grow and prosper. Take some well deserved rest – we will all miss you.


  32. Wavatar Emma Louise Kriegler says:

    Dear Di,

    Always sad to hear a business close but life goes on and new challenges are there to be met and I hope with the same joy as the last challenge. You deserve the rest and the time to heal. I have known you for almost 14 years and we have had much fun and to-the-point discussions. Mostly fruitful, I did enjoy those.

    May your next projects be just as much fun.
    May we continue on the friendship and have many more projects and fun to share.
    I am sure you are only side tracking not lost from the embroidery world that we all are so attached to.
    Embroidery in ribbon has been given through you, to many people so much joy and stress relief.
    I wish you well.
    Till next

    Love Emma.

  33. Wavatar aasiyah says:

    Dear Di.
    Your work has always been amazingly beautiful and so inspiring.
    Good luck with your future endeavours. Live life for yourself.
    Take the time you need but don’t forget to show us pics of what you up to.lol. always enjoyed it. All the best

  34. Wavatar Debbie Vrdoljak says:

    Dear Di, You will not remember, me but I worked with your Mum many years ago —(we did Liebengutfarben and bottled paints together). I have followed your craft story with great interest. Sorry to hear your sad news. I am sure people will understand your need for time and peace.

    Take care

  35. Wavatar Trish Burr says:

    Di you are without doubt the originator of embroidery in South Africa- the first to have the courage to open a shop and share your beautiful craft with others through workshops and books. Many can testify to this and you will always be remembered for your kindness and helpfulness with customers and students. I remember how you supported my idea when I wanted to create a DVD, you put me in touch with the right people and encouraged me to do it, no competitiveness just a willingness to motivate others to share their craft as you had done. This is a remarkable quality and I know it will take you forward into whatever you decide to do next with your life. We have had many overseas trips together and shared special moments and I know that I can still pick up the phone to get your advice on aspects of my embroidery and business because you are the best! lots of love and exciting new adventures. Trish

  36. Wavatar Charlaine Exall says:

    Words Fail! All I can say is a very big thank you that you were willing all these years to share your God Given Talents with us.
    We will miss you!

  37. Wavatar Marianne Squire Maszer says:

    My sincere sympathy and empathy….

  38. Wavatar Victoria LeMaire says:

    Thank you Di it has been a joy to see your designs over the years. I admire the courage you take to make this decision and will miss your talent. Thank you!

  39. Wavatar Diana Kiley says:

    A hard decision but you must take care of yourself first. I wished that I heeded my inner voice. You have been an inspiration to thousands. Bless you in your new life.

  40. Wavatar Heather J Seamons says:

    My very best wishes for your future. I have so enjoyed using your designs in the past especially the Faeries. Thank you to all you have given to our stitching community

  41. Wavatar Dominique Bouix Moret in french Guiana says:

    Thank you for everything dear Di,
    my english is too bad to express what I had like to say but its from heart

  42. Wavatar Rosermary Frew says:

    Your an inspiration to many – for your work, and for the insight to see that you need a change. Well done, congratulations, enjoy the next phase of your life in whatever form it takes. Thank you.

  43. Wavatar Maria de Lourdes Matos says:

    Di, I solely understand you. This must be heartbreaking and after so many years together, it must be tough. I sincerely hope your prompt recovery, with I know it will take some time.

    God will be with you to lead the way. You will be in my prayers. You have so much talent and really hate to see you leave, but I also understand you must continue to live. Maria L. Matos-Rios, Guaynabo, Puerto Rico

  44. Wavatar Sheila Lampkin says:

    Di, thoughts are with you, I hope you can take comfort from the beauty around you and the joy your craft brings you. Thank you so much for all the guidance and inspiration you have provided many people over the years.

  45. Wavatar Sheila Landry says:

    Thank you so much for the gifts you have given. I found you just over two years ago and am proud to say I completed your “A Perfect World” sampler within a year’s time – my personal goal. With the knowledge I gained from that piece, you opened a new world of creating for me that I will carry with me all my life. Your legacy will live on through all of your students.

    Personally, I am happy you are taking care of yourself. Being kind to yourself and listening to your heart is a gift that you deserve.

    I will miss you and your inspiring newsletters and designs, but my heart is happy for you. Much love to you, Di. I am so grateful that our paths crossed in my life. <3

    Sheila from Nova Scotia

  46. Wavatar Leslee McFerren says:

    I must tell you that I fully understand your decision, however your leaving feels like a death in my family. I have only been trying ribbon embroidery since I survived breast cancer and retired, but I’ve been so inspired by you and all you do. I’ve found such joy and peace in the embroidery that my husband has been fully supportive of the small projects I’ve tried. My hope is that you will be able to guide us to other resources for this craft once you retire. The stockist in my town has little to no stock left and doesn’t appear to want to replace it leaving me with no where to turn.
    Nevertheless, many wishes for a beautiful and artful future are being sent your way. I will truly miss your talent, caring and inspiration. Thank you for everything. Leslee McFerren Houston, TX.

    • Wavatar Kathy Thompson says:

      Hello Leslee,
      If you ever need silk ribbons I can email you a color card, both plain colors and variegated, in different widths from 2mm – 13mm and a few wider as well.
      I feel so sad for Di but fully understand her decision. She has been an amazing inspiration to the embroidery world and will not be forgotten.
      My email address is kathryn@judithandkathryn.com
      Kind regards,

  47. Wavatar Christine Stephens says:

    Blessings be with you, Di. You’ve been a great gift to us all. This verse is called “The Presence” ~

    Let us not look for you only in memory,
    Where we would grow lonely without you.

    You would want us to find you in presence,
    Beside us when beauty brightens,…
    When kindness glows
    And music echoes eternal tones.

    – John O’Donohue

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