Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Autumn comes a little early

While temperatures here in Southern Ontario are still skyrocketing (though today isn't too bad yet), Autumn has arrived here in my house. :)

I finished stitching Autumn over the weekend. Well MY weekend anyway, which is Sunday and Monday. :) This is my favourite of the bunch so far, the colours are SOOOOO pretty. 

Thank you to everyone who commented on my question - I think you guys nailed it. I will be selling these as individual designs, and will post the instructions for "merging" them here on my blog with information in each design about where to find them. 

I've gotten a good start on winter, and I think it may surpass this one as my favourite when I'm done - I've only stitched a couple colours so far, but I have to say Valdani has some awesome blue-greys and silver-greys.

Still a lot of work to do on it. I would like to add some more diagonal bands to the corners. Diagonal charting is always a challenge, but I'm finding it quite fun. Haven't decided if these bands will be monochrome as originally planned or possibly using the colour from the tree as well to tie things together. I also want to rechart the verse in a different style of alphabet, for me, something just doesn't feel right yet. This was going to be a Nashville release, but if I can make everything click before then I will release it for the Online Needlework Show in October.

I have to admit to one thing that is bugging me about this design and I have no doubt I will get a lot of flack about this from stitchers who decide to do the piece. Usually I try (I don't ALWAYS succeed) to limit the cost of materials when possible, even though I use a lot of the more expensive silks and linens, because I know not everyone can afford to spend hundreds of dollars on materials for a piece. Personally, I don't mind because I love the expensive stuff. ;) But I can understand how spending $100 or more for materials can be prohibitive for some which is why I always try my best to provide a decent conversion to DMC and/or any other materials I'm asked about. With this piece, I did really go all out, but with the changing seasons, it wasn't really possible to repeat most colours in multiple seasons and keep the feel I wanted. In total, with all four pieces and the borders, it will be 21 colours. Doesn't sound that bad, and if the skeins were average sized, like six or eight yards, you'd be using more than half of each so it wouldn't seem so bad. But I really have this feeling of guilt because these balls of silk from Valdani are HUGE. They're not six or eight yards, but 23 meters (about 25 yards). I don't know if I've even used a quarter of any one of them. So anyone doing these in the suggested threads is going to have a LOT of leftover thread - probably enough to stitch the design 3 times over - and that makes me feel guilty. That said, I wouldn't dream of changing the colours or brands to something else - I picked these because they are absolutely the best match to the picture in my brain and that IS my ultimate goal. It's a fine line really - some of the most fun projects to create are the ones where you just completely let go and play with colour and texture - but where do you draw the line and say "okay, maybe I'm going a little overboard here"? Maybe it's just me? While I'm a designer, I am still first and foremost a stitcher. I guess I see things from both sides and it's a battle that is and always will be constantly raging inside me.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012


I can't believe August is already almost over. Where did the summer go? Not that I'm complaining, it's been a hot, humid, horrible summer. The past few days are the nicest it's been since May or June! And honestly, I cannot wait for autumn, it's my favourite time of year. :)

I've been working away on stitching sampler of seasons, and I was hit with brainwave. Since I was planning on releasing the ornament "A Northern Christmas Expression" as a standalone chart for Christmas at the Fall Online Needlework Show, why not make it a worthwhile project. Instead of one ornament, why not several? And a sampler too, using all those motifs? So I've been trying to come up with something. Will I be able to get the materials, stitch and release it in time? Who knows. I'm going to try though. Today's project is to figure out what materials I'm going to need and get them ordered, that way when I DO finish designing this thing, I won't have to wait to start stitching it! PLUS, this is a great opportunity to use the awesome Petite Silk Lame braid for a project. Thinking Petite Treasure braid too. And beads! And crystals! Yeah, I'm thinking lots of sparkly bling for Christmas. :)

Speaking of A Sampler of Seasons, I've finished Spring and Summer. Spring went lightning quick, Summer was a labour of love - I made a mistake early on and had to frog and restitch a fair bit of it. The second time around wasn't near as fun and I kept putting it off. I got a start on Autumn, hopefully I'm a little more careful with my counting this time. :) These aren't due out until Nashville Market, but I'm trying something new - preparing projects WELL ahead of schedule instead of racing around at the last minute.  These are stitched with Valdani's silk floss on 34ct Wren Wing from Legacy Linen and I must say I really love this floss. The colours are just lovely and it stitches like an absolute dream. Plus it's really affordable - these are HUGE skeins, 23 yards of six strand floss for $6. Awesome, no?

I would LOVE to get people's opinions on something. I'm having a bit of a dilemma with regards to how I should release these. Because of the enormous amount of specialty stitches involved, releasing them as one design will be rather expensive for printing - probably more than 40 pages. So if someone just wanted to buy it for ONE of the seasons it would be really expensive. I was thinking they would each get released as a standalone design. But what about the instructions for putting them together as one sampler? Release it as a freebie? Include it with each design (which then drives up the price of each)? Release a "combo pack" with all the seasons and the additional instructions? Release them in stages, season by season and release the instructions with the last part? I really don't know what I want to do. Problems arise no matter which way I think about it. Releasing them individually AND as a package deal presents a problem for shops - which do they purchase? It also poses a dilemma for Valdani - do they do threadpacks for each (which is redundant for stitchers since some colours are repeated and one skein would be enough for all four seasons) or a combo pack for the whole thing? And if I do it as one design, what if a stitcher only wants ONE season? I'm leaning towards one design. It's less work for me because I only have to stitch one model rather than five, less involved for shops since I can't see them buying both individual seasons AND a compilation, less involved for suppliers and it's just easier all round. And from the feedback I've gotten, it seems like most people would want to do the whole thing rather than parts, but I would love to know what everyone thinks.

And now to guzzle lots of coffee and set myself to work on the sampler for A Northern Christmas Expression - the ideas are there, but my brain doesn't seem to want to process right now. UGH!

ETA: I almost forgot to mention earlier - another project I am working on. I got news from a fellow stitcher recently that Hand-Dyed Fibers would be discontinuing silk floss in the near future. I've used these threads in several of my designs and while I always include a DMC conversion in all of my charts, I will be working on updating all future printings of these designs with conversions to other brands of silk floss. I will also post these conversions here on my site for anyone who already has the charts. Best wishes to Vikki in all her future endeavours.