Friday, March 9, 2012

Whirlwind of a week!!

I've been pretty quiet lately, I apologize for that, but I expect that trend to continue for at least a little while. Why?

I'm taking the first step in what I hope amounts to becoming a full-time needlework designer, with a part time job on the side for extra spending money and to get me out of the house a couple days a week.

As it stands, as many of you know, I work full time and design "when I have time" and model stitch "when I'm not too tired". What that means is that I release a couple of designs a year and have a backlog of designs just waiting to be stitched. Model stitcher you say? Well yes, that IS the obvious solution, but I can't often afford one as things currently are.

So after a lot of weighing pros and cons, I've signed up with Hoffman Distributing, and my designs will be available from them soon in addition to being available through European Crosstich. The pros? Well the obvious one of course, they're huge and they deal with thousands of shops worldwide. The cons? A lot more time on my part, and some initial investment costs to get up and running.

See, I never had to print my own charts before, so I never considered the cost of paper, ink, which printers are best, which bags to use... I just paid ECS to do it for me and all I had to do was design and stitch and do chart layouts.

After a whole lot of research this week, doing cost analyses, etc. I bit the bullet and ordered the latest and greatest in printing technology, the solid ink printer, namely the Xerox ColorQube 8870DN. No, it wasn't cheap. But I expect with the amount of printing I'll be doing and the seriously low cost of ink to run it in comparison to every other printer on the market, it will be well worth the cost. I read every review I could get my hands on and the only major drawbacks reported? It's a bit slow to print the first page. Don't particularly care about that. It's lightning fast until it hits a few hundred pages and then it slows down to 10 or so ppm. That's still a lot faster than my current printer AND I'm unlikely I'm going to be printing 1000 pages at one sitting anyway so it's not a deal breaker. And apparently it's a little loud. Well my current printer drowns out the television so I'm not too worried about that either. The selling point on this baby? The ink. It doesn't use cartridges, it uses solid cubes of colour. The cubes are sold in packs of 6 each. To buy a pack of each is a total of $600, but here's the catch - each pack does about 17000 pages of printing. Every other printer I priced with cartridges in that same price range did MAYBE 3000-4000. Okay so I don't expect to get the quantities they suggest, but even at half of that, my printing costs end up at around 7 cents per page - colour OR B&W. The next best I could find without spending several thousand more on the printer was 20 cents per page, and that was only achieved by using aftermarket cartridges. Some of the printers I priced out were going to cost me upwards of $10 to print one chart!!

BTW, if you've ever wondered why charts are getting expensive, THIS is why!!

The funny thing was while doing this research, a lot of people questioned why I would spend so much on a printer. They got theirs for $100 six months ago and they've NEVER had to replace the cartridges. Of course my question to them - how many reams of paper have you used? Most said they haven't used a whole ream in that time. Me? I'm looking at several reams a month, possibly more if things go well. Try that on your little $100 printer and tell me how much ink you go through. Actually having printed charts on my current Canon printer, I can answer that - on this printer I can do about 10-15 charts (roughly 200-300 pages) before I have to replace the cartridges. A set of cartridges for this printer is $65. That means each chart would cost me $6.50 using my current set up. Plus distributor fees, plus shipping to the distributor, plus bag, plus paper. Figure around $10. My wholesale price isn't $10 on most of them. So you can see why these little "suggestions" had me laughing and fuming at the same time. ;)

About bags... thanks to Deb of Tempting Tangles, I was able to locate the clear plastic zip loc bags everyone uses, at less than half the price they sell for here in Canada. THANK DEB! However, the shipping is a nightmare. It's almost as much as the bags and MORE than the shipping on my printer (which is coming Purolator even). However, it's STILL less than buying from anyone here. I priced them out all over the place, and without shipping the bags are more anwhere than they are from this place WITH shipping. But honestly, who would have thought zip loc bags could cause nightmares?

I'm going to be spending the next few days "revamping" my charts a little, correcting typos and silly little things (not on the charts but in the instructions) and adding the alphabet to the flower designs - how the heck did I miss that??? I'll also be adding that here to my site for anyone who purchased it before.

Of course just in time for my printing mania, I've thrown my back out again. Not sure how, yesterday was relatively quiet and I think the heaviest box I lifted was 60lbs. Possibly standing in one spot slicing bacon all day? Or falling asleep on the sofa last night, that's a more likely culprit.  So now because sitting at the computer is killing me, I'm going to go load up on Robaxacet and lay down and watch some Big Bang Theory and clear my little head for the rest of the day. Not a whole lot I can do until everything gets here anyway! 


  1. Congratulations on your new endeavor! I wish you all the best. You and I both messed up our backs -- mine from setting up a meeting room with 98 chairs and three heavy tables. Ugh. I hope you feel better soon.

  2. Wow, how exciting!
    Shame you have to spend time doing boring stuff like researching printer ink but at least it's done now and you can get on with the designing.
    I don't know too much about modelstitching but surely there are people who would do it for a free chart? Or is it a case of having to pay someone to ensure reliability?

  3. I totally understand your choice of printer for all the reasons you stated as well as a few others you may not even yet be aware of at this point in time.

    You are embarking on quite an exciting journey and I wish you much success! I will be looking for your designs in more and more locations!

  4. Greetings from the Maritimes...I am sure that this new venue of selling your patterns will be well worth it.
    I am so happy to hear that you will be selling through Hoffman. I had my local stitch shop look at your patterns on ECS, but they don't order from them.
    Another thing that I couldn't wait for was to get the Just Cross Stitch magazine with you being feature in it. I did many trips over to Chapters, just to make sure that I didn't miss out.
    Keep designing the beautiful charts...

    PS..Hope things improve health wise.