Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Some ideas for The Learning Sampler

For those who don't use Facebook, one of our big discussions has been what colours everyone wants to stitch their version in. :)

Over the past couple days I whipped up a few different mock ups so people could see different ideas. I always try to encourage people to use what THEY like. My tastes in colours aren't everyone's cup of tea, and I know a lot of people WON'T buy a design they really like because they don't particularly like the colours used. I like trying to get people to think outside the box - what are YOUR favourite colours and how can we make the design fit? Here's a few ideas.

Original reds

Blues - Any blue will do, just pick six shades from light to dark, and a white.

Greens - again, any shade will work, it's literally whichever one strikes your fancy - six shades, light to dark and a white.

Mauves - this is one of our stitchers colours - it's based on Silk Mill series 3392-3397 with 3400 instead of white, and her fabric is PTP Fog. I've done up DMC and Anchor conversions for this if you want them, just email me. :)

Monochrome - pick your favourite colour and go with it!
Multicolour - brights, more muted colours, pastels, anything goes.

Conversions to other brands in the reds as charted: https://docs.google.com/file/d/0Bw7hbQqMHyjGQUFnQVo5TTFkNEk/edit?usp=sharing
Conversions to other colours in several different brands of thread: https://docs.google.com/file/d/0Bw7hbQqMHyjGbHNoMTA1UjhhclE/edit?usp=sharing
Conversions for a multicolour version in solids and variegated threads: https://docs.google.com/file/d/0Bw7hbQqMHyjGYnZQRmt6dFlLc00/edit?usp=sharing

Sunday, July 28, 2013

And some MORE news to post...

I mentioned before that I will be adding a new line of designs, these will be called Northern Expressions Needlework INK - a line of tattoo designs drawn and inked by my son. The first three will be available on August 1st, and here they are:


Red Riding Hood's Revenge

Dead Dave
If you're curious about how these will stitch up, here is a work in progress picture of Hootie (lots more done since the pic, just too lazy to take a new one at the moment!).

The colours in the picture do not do it justice - they are so much more vibrant IRL, but I can't seem to capture them in a picture.

And here he is as a tattoo! Excuse the blood this picture was when he was VERY freshly inked!!

I have several more ready to chart, so there will be new designs added as I get them done. If things go well, two of my son's colleagues at Shogun Tats are interested in having their artwork charted as well so those may follow. For now, these will be available only as PDF files directly from me. If there's lots of interest, I'll offer them through shops as well.

This is a totally different type of project for me, and I'm hopeful that people love the artwork as much as I do - of course I'm biased. ;)

Saturday, July 27, 2013


... The Learning Sampler, for all those afraid of specialty stitches but wanting to learn - or just those who like the design and want to stitch it. This will be an 18 part stitch along design, a small piece released each month beginning on September 1st, 2013 and running until Feb 28, 2015. You can join at any time during the 18 months. The registration for this design costs $20 and can be paid via paypal. You can either message me on Facebook or send me an email to northernexpressionsneedlework@gmail.com and I will send you an invoice for the total. If you want to pay by another method, please contact me and we can figure something out. Once your payment is received, you will be invited to join a private Facebook group where the parts will be uploaded each month - if you're not facebook savvy, I can email the parts to you each month instead. I'm easy. Please give me at least a day to respond to emails/payments etc, I will try to process them as quickly as possible, but sometimes I'm away from the computer stitching.

The design is a pick your own type of idea, you choose your favourite fabric and thread colours, I'm stitching mine in the reds but there's no reason you can't do whatever colours your little heart desires! I will post and/or send out floss and fabric requirements later this week or when you register, whichever comes first, so you will have lots of time to order materials if you need them.
Edited to Add: For anyone who would like more detailed information about this project, a materials list and stitch list can be found here: https://docs.google.com/file/d/0Bw7hbQqMHyjGQm4xaWlwSVpqQVU/edit?usp=sharing

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Designing is great, but now a new problem emerges...

As I mentioned in my last post, I have been on a creative streak, and I'm still going. It's been too hot to stitch much so I've been glued to the computer and am pumping out new designs and coming up with new ideas at a rapid pace. Loving it, BTW.

The problem that emerges... now I have to get all of this stuff stitched!!!! lol

I think this is a GOOD problem. :)

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Designing again

Finally!!! It feels pretty darn good.

A couple of weeks ago I was almost at the point of throwing in the towel altogether. I'll share with you a little story that kind of shows how messed up my mind really IS right now. As many of you know from reading my blog I have been working on A Sampler of Seasons for a couple of years now, and have posted pictures of its progression along the way. Well a couple of weeks ago, one of my dear friends and readers sent me an email that sent me into a rage and distressed me beyond belief. It took the reasoning of some other dear friends to calm me down. So what did this email say? That I had been ripped off by another designer who had released a series almost identical to my own. I went and looked at them and they were pretty darn close. I had been working on the idea for close to two years and it literally destroyed me to think of scrapping all that work. Thanks to some friends that I vented to, I was able to realize that the idea itself wasn't a new one, and that similar themes had been out for a long time, and that it was just coincidence. And of course because these friends are biased, they also convinced me that mine was better. lol So after a lot of wavering I decided to finish it. And honestly, this whole episode is what I think sparked a very big outpouring of creativity and made me really passionate about designing again. On that note and again with the logic of friends, I've decided that I will no longer share WIP pictures or teasers of future designs, just in case. This will probably be difficult - I'm a big mouth as you all know and I am pretty much incapable of keeping a secret. lol

I've finished charting the big design I was working on, the seasonal sampler, and am hoping to finish the model stitching, putting together the chartpack and printing it for the distributor this month. I also managed to sneak in a couple of new ones while I was in Patternmaker, so I've got lots to model stitch in the near future.

One of those new designs is a "spinoff" of the original company, in that the design is NOT my own but my son's. I've begun charting some of his original artworks that he's used in tattooing. I'm trying to get a balance somewhere between say Heaven and Earth Designs - a literal stitch by stitch translation of the artwork - and Mirabilia - more of a "representation" of the original work. In other words they look pretty much like the original, but without the confetti, if that makes sense. It's a lot more work than I thought it would be, mostly because I won't rely on the program to position the colours - rather I import the picture and then trace over it myself, choosing the colours and shading independently of the program. The first I did is a tattoo I myself have. I'll begin model stitching him as soon as I finish up the seasonal sampler and am hoping to be able to release it in autumn. Initially, these will be available exclusively through me in pdf format until I can gauge whether or not there is interest from shops.

That brings me to an announcement. I have made another decision about the business that will no doubt please some of my customers. As of August 1st, I will be selling my charts in PDF format. With the recent increases in postage prices, especially international shipping, it's becoming more and more clear that there has to be an alternative. The charts will be priced at MSRP. I will not sell them for less, even though my production cost is less, for one reason - I will not undercut shops that I have already been selling through for many years and want to continue to sell through. Another note of difference, these PDF files are not resellable or transferable so if you want to sell it or give it away at some point, I encourage you to buy a printed chart from a shop.

I've been hesitant about this for a long time. As a crusader against infringement, I can't help but see how much easier it is for criminals to upload a pdf file as opposed to having to scan a printed design. The companies that sell in pdf format are some of the most heavily infringed. However, I've also come to the realization that printed files are being infringed at lightning pace anyway, mine included, so I may as well just give in. Of course I will still fight against infringement, but I won't let it make me fearful of selling in electronic format any longer. 

I should go back to model stitching, but it's so darn hot and I'm tired of having to wash my hands every few minutes! Thining maybe it's time to invest in an air conditioner. lol