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Barbara's interest in cross stitch was founded on a year long stay in Minnesota USA in the early '70's. The American market was sophisticated and impressive. Years later, around the late 80's that interest had become a business opportunity; after showing a small range of twelve designs to the U.K. and European trade markets Barabara Thompson Designs was in business.

Barbara and Ann founded the partnership in 1988; Barbara being the sole designer and Ann the business head, and from the classic 'kitchen table' start the partnership was soon selling extensively in the U.K. and Europe.

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A first book "Your Home in Cross Stitch" was published in 1993, reprinted in '94 and produced in paperback in '98.

A second book "The Victorian Home in Cross Stitch" published in '96 is available in the UK and USA.   Both books are published by David and Charles.

n 2008 Barbara and Anne decided to retire from the day-to-day details of producing and distributing the kits, and this work was taken on by Classic Embroidery who are a well-established producer of needlecraft kits, with some 600 designs in their range.