Sunday, November 9, 2014

A celebration sale

Hi all! I've been quiet again, because I've been working on Christmas stitching and can't share a whole lot of pictures as they're surprises! lol

However, as of this morning I have reached 1000 likes on my Facebook page. I'm so excited!! I decided that this is definitely worthy of celebration, so I'm having a sale in my Etsy shop through the end of November. The sale code is CELEBRATE25 and will give you 25% off on any purchases.

If you're not an Etsy user or would prefer printed charts, you can also contact me via email. :)

Saturday, September 20, 2014

A New Release, some news and a WIP

I feel like it's been ages since I updated but it's only been six weeks. I have so much going on these day that it's hard to keep up! On one hand, time seems to fly by, my little newborn nephew is almost 2 months old already. On the other I look back on things that happened a month ago and think... wow, it's only been a month?

I have a new release this week, it's the fifth in the Shades series, Shades of Orange.

It's stitched on 40ct Honey Nut Linen from Sassy's Fabbys, and it uses 2 different colours of Classic Colorworks Silk floss (formerly Crescent Colours Belle Soie). The model was stitched by Nicola Maltby and it came out beautifully if I do say so myself, though I suppose I'm just a little biased. I'm not an orange person, but this may just win me over! It's in transit to Hoffman and has been sent off to Dinky Dyes as well for shop purchases. I've also added it to the Etsy shop for pdf purchase.

I haven't been stitching a whole lot myself. After finishing up Twisted Rainbow, I did up a Halloween Freebie for Pumpkin Seed Stitchers Facebook Group. I love Halloween, but I'm not really a Halloween stitcher. I admire all the pieces, they're really pretty and wonderful, but I just never really got into it. BUT, I had a lot of fun with this little piece.

It's stitched on 32ct PTP Fresco (which is a little more pinkish than it shows in the picture), using Carrie's Creations Silks and Mill Hill Petite Seed Beads. I sent it along to my distributors as well to send out to shops with orders. The Facebook group is lots of fun, every month of the year there is a new Halloween freebie (this month was my month!). I will make it available to everyone at a later date, but for this month it's just for group members - please feel free to join us! There is also a group called Candy Cane Stitchers, and as you can imagine, each month is a different Christmas Freebie. I've got a design coming in that group as well.

After I finished that up, I started on a stocking for my new nephew, Easton, and worked on it for about three weeks. Then the cooler damp weather arrived and my arthritis kicked into overdrive, so I haven't picked up a needle much at all. I've been trying to get September's birthstone done, and I feel terrible that I haven't yet, but I just can't hold a needle. It's actually a challenge trying to type some days. :( It is improving though, so hopefully I'll be back to my normally lightning fast self soon. :)

Speaking of the stocking, here it is so far - not quite finished, but after I finish the next two birthstones I'll get it done. I can't put it off too long as I have to send it away to have it sewn together - I'm just not a seamstress. lol

Apparently I forgot to take pictures before I put it away, as I'm 2/3 through the bottom half now too, but oh well. lol I'll show it off when it's done.

This stocking has taught me several things. One, never, ever, ever again will I use aida. I hate it. I mean I replaced the cardboard like cheap fabric that came with the kit with slightly less cardboard like DMC aida, but it's not much of an improvement. I figured it was fully covered so why bother with nicer fabric. It's really terrible, that's why I should have bothered. No offense to the aida stitchers out there, it's totally me, I can't stand the stuff. I should have thought ahead and ordered some white lugana or jobelan with it, but I didn't and I'm regretting it. Two, never, ever, ever will I do another Dimensions kit. ICKY!!! Not only did I throw away the fabric, but the floss as well - at least most of the colours. There were a few I couldn't match up to DMC. It's horrible! 5 bloody strands? I'd rather do two strands and full cross stitches. If I'd been thinking at all, I would have. I did replace the a couple of the "unblended" reds, the green in the lettering and the white in the candy canes with Petite Silk Lame, and the whites in Santa's beard and coat with Wisper to give it a little more pizazz. Third, cotton floss and I do not mix. Even DMC. Perhaps it's the combination of cotton and aida, as I use DMC on linen occasionally and it doesn't seem to bother me nearly as much. If you've used silk and linen for any length of time you notice it glides through the fabric effortlessly - and quietly. Cotton floss and aida makes this grating sound that just irritates me. And because I'm using so many strands in the needle in places, I have to use a larger #24 needle and force it through the holes. Evenweave just has so much more give, the needle slides through the hole much more easily. With this I have to yank on it like crazy - it's possible that this has contributed to the arthritis issues with my hands as well. Call me an elitist. I know I am. I'm spoiled by years of silk and linen and once you're hooked it's hard to go back. All that said, it does look nice and will be a really cute stocking when it's done.

Since I haven't been stitching much the past couple of weeks, I've been working on charting some more designs. Quite a few are freebies that I'm doing for charity. I was approached by a stitcher asking about a possible Awareness style design for her son's epilepsy and autism. I found these absolutely adorable little awareness butterflies by artist Donnee Spencer, and she gave me permission to chart them, so I am. I had initially thought to make them small but they have these lovely rounded flourishes that just don't work well in small size, and I tried to round them out with fractionals and backstitch but I was not happy at all with the result. So I stuck with all cross stitch and a bigger size and I'm much happier with them. I kept them simple with only a couple of colours each, they could be stitched on any count of fabric and they could even work with variegated flosses if you so choose. There are quite a few for different diseases, and I will probably add a few of my own for other diseases Donnee didn't have made up already. Keep an eye out here or on my Facebook page, as I will be making them available soon, I'm just working on getting the balance of them charted. :)

Next week, if/when I get some time, I really need to update the WIP page and the finishes page here on the blog - I've been sent some absolutely wonderful pictures by stitchers and I have been terrible about trying to keep up with it.

Also I would love some input from everyone. The Learning Sampler is soon coming to an end. We're working on part 14 at the moment, though everyone is at different points in their stitching, and the last part will be sent out in January. It has gone really well, and I've had several people ask if I'll be doing another stitch along when it finishes. I will be asking around before I decide for sure, but I have two different designs, Not Quite Whitework (which I've already started stitching) and Positive and Negative, which have layouts that would break down into parts easily. The first is predominantly specialty stitches - a lot of pulled work and textures, and the second is predominantly cross stitch and assisi stitching (which is still just cross stitch) and a couple of specialty stitches. I'm debating whether I'll make either or both into stitch along pieces and release them in their entirety after the SAL ends. Tentatively thinking that if I do, I will start Not Quite Whitework in March or April (giving me some time to get it stitched up ahead of time) and Positive and Negative in the late summer sometime. I'd love to hear your thoughts! If I don't do them as stitch alongs, I will of course release them in shops as per usual.

And one last order of business... I'm finally getting around to having a website set up. My hubby is working on one for his boss right now, but will be starting mine when he finishes that. I will likely be moving my Etsy shop to a built in cart system, and this blog over to the website when it gets finished. I'll keep everyone updated on that as it progresses.

I had been feeling like I haven't accomplished much of anything of late, but as I type this I realize I've been just as busy as always, just with things other than model stitching!!

Have a great weekend everyone!!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Another correction to Twisted Rainbow

Sigh. I really do proofread and have multiple people proofread for me as well, but sometimes things fall through the cracks.

On the key for colour #17, it shows a filled star as the symbol, on the chart it is two dots side by side. For colour #18, it shows two dots side by side, on the chart it is a 2. 

They have been corrected and the correct version is now in the Etsy shop and with my distributors so it will be correct in future orders, and only in the specialty stitch version - the cross stitch only one is correct.

I feel completely awful about this and I'll make sure I check even more in future. Thank you to Barb who notified me.

Friday, August 8, 2014

A correction to Twisted Rainbow Sampler

I'm usually really careful with making sure everything gets proofread several times before release and this one was no exception, but occasionally things will get missed.

In the materials list for both the specialty stitch and cross stitch versions of Twisted Rainbow Sampler, there is a mistake in the DMC conversion.

Where it reads DMC 3811, it should be 3812. Sadly the colours aren't very similar either so it will be pretty noticeable if you're going to use the DMC.

This will only affect those who purchased before today, and possibly the first shipment to Hoffman. I have sent them the correction to include with orders though so they should be okay. Any orders placed through Dinky Dyes are already corrected.

Here's a link to the corrected materials list page:

I really hate it when this happens! I'm so sorry!! 

Monday, August 4, 2014

And one more new release!

The much anticipated Twisted Rainbow Sampler is finished!! It really came out beautifully, the colours are just fantastic. Being the crazy person I am, I stitched it on black linen, but it really does show off these colours beautifully. :) The threads I used are from Thread Pickerz and they are just lovely. The floss pack contains all 18 colours, and is more than enough to complete the design. If the bright colours are a little too much for you, Eileen also does a gorgeous pastel pack - same colours in very a pale pastels - which would be gorgeous too! The fabric I used is 32ct Onyx from Weeks Dye works - it comes in a huge range of different counts - 30, 32, 35, 36 and 40, so there's a count for anyone's liking! Alternatively, you can get black in standard Belfast linen or Lugana, I went with the hand dyed as I used a hand dyed for Twisted Band Sampler and wanted the sizes to match up. :)

And for those of you who don't like specialty stitches or can't see to stitch on linen....

....there's also a cross stitch only version. As of today, both this and the Twisted Band Sampler cross stitch version will both be available to wholesale customers from Dinky Dyes. :)

Both are up in my Etsy shop now for customers who prefer PDF. :)

You'd think I have some time to relax, but alas, I have a freebie to get stitched up this week and some new designs to chart, and two more birthstones to finish by month end, and a whole bunch of new butterflies to chart.... It never stops but it's great to be busy. :)

BUT... I am taking a day off this week to go visit my sweet little nephew! :D

Friday, August 1, 2014

New design release

Hello all! It's been a very busy month here at Northern Expressions. :) I'm almost finished Twisted Rainbow - if I get my butt in gear I may finish the stitching today and get the instructions written over the weekend. :)

I've had a very exciting week! My model stitcher, Ellen, sent me a message late last week that she had finished Shades of Blue and it was coming home. Now I love blue, and of course I love the design, I did design it after all, but oh my, I was not prepared for how beautifully it turned out. I had a lot of help picking the colours from Dinky Dyes (when it was still Jo at the helm), and her selections could not have been more perfect. It turned out better than I could ever have hoped. The colours are so soothing and tranquil and lovely.

It uses three different Dinky Dyes blues, and it's done on 40ct Nantucket Sky from Hand Dyed Fabrics by Stephanie. It's all cross stitch, so you could do it on any type or count of fabric you like. :)

I also had a wonderful surprise this week... I'm an auntie!! My nephew, Easton Sparrow Bonnett was born on Monday, July 28. And yes, he IS named after Jack Sparrow. I love it. :D He's so perfect and precious and I love him like crazy already. :)

And now back to work.... I should get lots done today... Facebook is down! lol

Friday, July 11, 2014

Three new releases!

It's been a busy couple of weeks. I was on hiatus for a month or so when my stitching mojo just disappeared - which strangely coincided with the arrival of the nice weather finally. Hmmm... suspicious, no?

But I'm back at it with new found enthusiasm now. :)

The next two birthstones, July's Ruby and August's Peridot are now available and on their way to Hoffman and Dinky Dyes. Both are stitched on 32ct Raw Belfast Linen and use Soie D'Alger, Delica Beads and Swarovski Crystals, but include a DMC conversion and alternate bead suggestions. I can't believe I'm up to August already, it seems like I just started these!!

Also new this week and on its way to Hoffman and Dinky Dyes is Shades of Red. The model was stitched by the talented Darla Bohn. :) This one uses Classic Colorworks Silks (formerly Crescent Colours Belle Soie) in two colours and is stitched on 40ct Raffia Cream from Sassy's. I've included a conversion to Dinky Dyes (though the original colours are a bit darker) and a DMC which is fairly close.

I'm currently working on the model for Twisted Rainbow, a companion piece to Twisted Band Sampler, which will make it's debut at the St. Charles Needlework Market in August. It's been a blast to stitch so far, the colours are just so pretty! Since it uses the same number of colours as the original it could be done in the same colours, I just fell in love with this threadpack from Thread Pickerz so I'm using it. :) I'm also working on charting it in cross stitch only, both will release at the same time, though the cross stitch version will only be available directly from me. As I've said before, it gets too confusing to try to release multiple versions of designs to distributors and shops.

I'm also working on stitching a new large specialty stitch sampler called Not Quite Whitework, which should be coming out in September. It's been a joy to stitch so far, but since I KNOW I can't get them both done in time for St. Charles I had to make a call so this one will follow shortly after.

Also to come over the next year are 9 more Shades of designs - 12 in all, the final four birthstones, and lots more I'm plotting out. ;) It's been a great year so far and I hope to keep up that momentum.

Have a great weekend everyone! I'll be stitching up a storm. :)

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Birthday Sale

It's been a quieter month here at Northern Expressions. I've been working a little on model stitching, but mostly I've been tackling my spring cleaning and enjoying the fresh air (when it's not raining). I decided that I was working FAR too much and needed to take a time out for a week or two. 18 hours a day, 7 days a week is too much. Unfortunately it puts me a couple weeks behind, but I was stressing too much about it and I really needed to step back for a few days.

July's Birthstone is underway and will be coming in June, along with August's Peridot. :)

Since it's my birthday this week, I decided to have a sale in my Etsy Shop until the end of May. All charts are 20% off, using the coupon code BIRTHDAY20.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

New Release: Pearl

Yes, ANOTHER new release - I've been a busy girl this month. :)

This is June's Birthstone, Pearl. It's stitched using Soie D'Alger (with a DMC conversion included), Swarovski Crystal Pearls and Delica beads (conversions included). I love how this one stitched up, there are a lot of eyelets, and while they're not hard, they can be a bit tedious. They really add a great texture though, and the little pearls are so elegant looking - I think I might  like them better than the bicones!

Also... with all the models I've got stacked up to stitch for release over the next year (about 20) and all the stuff I've already got started in Patternmaker (32!!) I've started designing something else new. Depending on how quickly I get it charted, I may sneak this one in this year. It's a companion piece to Twisted Band Sampler. Not sure what I'll be calling it, but I was inspired when I saw Eileen's colour selection for her Twisted Band in her own silk threads.

Seriously, how could I resist? The thread pack is available from Eileen, though I don't yet see it on her website, Thread Pickerz Silkz, you can contact her through the site. :) And of course seeing the photo on black - well you guessed it, I'll be designing the new one for black fabric (though it will look gorgeous one white as well).

And finally, Marjan has already finished her Learning Sampler! She's been working ahead of the rest of the group, and sent me the pictures this morning.

She stitched this on 40ct linen, using the recommended Silk Mill colours (the same ones I'm using for mine). It turned out beautifully. I'm not even finished my own yet, so this is the first I've seen it completed!!

It's been a busy week, printing, packing and shipping last week's new releases, finishing up Pearl and getting colours sorted out for a couple more new designs that will be coming later this year. I've got a big package coming from Dinky Dyes for several of them, and I just know I will want to start ALL of them right away. Still on the hunt for a couple of colours of fabric, one for Shades of Plum and one for Shades of Purple. I had both already but after some dye lot issues with floss, I had to change the floss colours and now they don't match the fabrics anymore. ARGH! Hopefully get that sorted next week. I know I can't start them all right now, but I do like to have the materials ready to go for several - as you've probably read on here before I've had issues before with missing or nearly missing release dates because I was waiting on materials - so now I make sure I have them months ahead of time!! What's funny is that I love the original purple and plum fabrics so much I've started designing stuff to use them for because they're just too pretty NOT to use. :)

And now that I'm all caught up on work stuff for the day, I think I may go stitch for a while. I just started Shades of Rose last night and I'm loving it already - the colours are just yummy! The floss is obviously Dinky Dyes, the fabric is from Hand Dyed Fabrics by Stephanie called Elizabeth and it's a lovely pale pink!

One last note today - one of the main reasons I haven't been keeping my blog updated regularly is because it's just not getting any traffic anymore. The only comments I've had in months are the hundreds of spam comments I have to delete every day. I'm debating whether to discontinue it and just continue these updates on Facebook alone. I'm hoping to have time to get my own website set up over the summer, so I may hang onto it until then.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

New Releases for the Online Needlework Show (and one I forgot to post last month)

I've been terrible of late trying to keep up with blogging, Facebooking, emailing and everything else internet related. Sometimes you just get overwhelmed with it all!

First, the newest birthstone design, May's Emerald:

I especially love this one, but I'm biased - it's my own birthstone so I suppose I'm allowed to be! As with all of the birthstone designs, this one is 100x100 and uses a single colour of Soie D'Alger (DMC conversion provided), Swarovski Crystal bicones and Delica Beads (several bead conversions included). It's worked in lots of different stitches to give lots of different textures. :)

And just in time for the Online Needlework Show (April 17-22) are two new designs, Shades of Wine and Spanish Diamonds.

Shades of Wine, the second in the Shades series is stitched in 3 colours of Dinky Dyes silk floss. I stitched mine on 40ct Alabaster from Sassy's Fabbys, but because it's all cross stitch, you could stitch it on any count you're comfortable with. :) I'm so pleased I was able to finish this one in time, I started it back in February when I was testing out the colours, but only stitched a little and didn't pick it back up until the end of March. I think in all I finished it in 2 weeks. I don't know if I'm happier that I got it done in time or happier that I can sleep again!

Spanish Diamonds is very little cross stitch, instead it uses eyelets, rhodes, four-sided, ray, satin and various other stitches to make up the intricate diamond patterns. It's stitched in 5 shades of Silk Mill floss, and I used 36ct Aerial Linen from Picture This Plus. You can of course use any count, but linen or evenweave are recommended because of the stitches used. This 31 page chartpack includes diagrams for all sizes and shapes of stitches used. This one stitches up surprisingly quickly!

These will both be available to shops on the Dinky Dyes page of the show. 

Lots of other stuff going on this month here at Northern Expressions. I'm working on the next birthstone, June's Pearl, which will be coming out later this month. Then I need to get to work on the next few bands of The Learning Sampler to stay ahead of the group - though Marjan is almost finished hers and already working on Part 17!! 

In May I will be getting in some much needed charting done, I've got a bunch of ideas for next year that I really need to get to work on - some new Celtics, some Vierlande inspired designs, some butterfly and dragonfly designs and hopefully a home and garden sampler. I'll also be model stitching my heart out on a new large sampler design that I'm so excited about! I finalized the colours on it yesterday with Kathy at Dinky Dyes and I'm really eager to get stitching it now! It's called Not Quite Whitework, and is done with lots of pulled work and filling stitches, and uses an array of white and almost white pastels. I'll also be working on the next Shades design - when I decide which one I want to stitch next (they're all designed and kitted already which makes it even harder!!)

I also need to get stitching on a Christmas stocking for my new nephew who is due to arrive in August! I'm FINALLY going to be an auntie! I'm so happy! This will be the first time in a decade or more that I've done a Dimensions kit. Not sure if I'm excited or dreading it. Not a fan of Dimensions kits, but my brother's fiance picked it out and it IS a really nice one.

And finally, I know many of you read a vent on my Facebook page a couple of weeks ago as yet another of my designs had been infringed. I have to say, I was really touched by the messages I received from everyone - it IS nice to know that all the hard work is appreciated. It's hard to describe the feeling when I come across one of my designs on these sites. Anger, obviously, and disappointment, but there is also this feeling of violation that is so hard to put into words. My immediate reaction is always why do I bother, but the answer to that is simple. I bother because I love what I do, and as long as hubby and I can keep making ends meet each month, I'll keep doing it.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

New Release: Diamond

The sparkling Diamond is April's birthstone and the fourth in the Birthstone Series. It is stitched on 32ct Raw Belfast Linen and uses Soie D'Alger silk floss, Delica Beads and Swarovski crystals. Very hard to capture how sparkly this one is!! I can't wait to get started on the next one for May, since it's my very own birthstone, Emerald.

I've had a couple of stitchers send me pictures of their finishes that I'd like to share as well. First, Amanda sent me her Twisted Band Sampler, stitched in the AVAS silks:

And Richard sent me his finish of Forget Me Not, stitched with the Gloriana threads on aida:

I think today will be a good day to stay in and stitch/design - it's supposed to be pretty yucky - rain, snow and freezing rain. It's been a pretty nasty winter, I'm really looking forward to spring!

Thursday, January 30, 2014

A new release and a not so new release

I'll start with the new first. :) This is Shades of Gold, the first in a series of twelve shaded designs featuring bands and motifs shaped in to geometric patterns. Each design uses 2-3 shades of the same colour and is stitched on a coordinating fabric. Shades of Gold is stitched with Gloriana Florimell on 40ct French Vanilla linen from Sassy's Fabbys. The series started out as just this one design, but while sketching the layout for it last summer I came up with ideas for several other layouts, then while picking out colour schemes, found several other colours I wanted to use so had to come up with more layouts... and on it went. ;) I hope to be able to release these one every 2-3 months. The retail price for each one will be $16.

The not so new...Well some of the ladies on Facebook are doing a Stitch-A-Long of Twisted Band Sampler starting in June, but some of the people interested were hesitant about the specialty stitches in it. They approached me a couple of weeks ago and asked if I would be interested in designing a cross stitch only version of it for their SAL members. So I have. :) I tried to stay as faithful as possible to the original design and here's what I came up with:

The cross stitch only version is available only as a PDF - it's too hard to juggle two different versions in print - and is up in my Etsy shop now - or you can email me to order. The price on it is $12 as it's significantly less pages of instruction than the original design.

I'm sending out part 7 of The Learning Sampler in a moment, if you don't receive yours, please let me know!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The Learning Sampler - WIP pictures

Here are some updated pictures from The Learning Sampler SAL. :) We are currently up to part 6, part 7 will be sent out this weekend, though a couple people have jumped ahead.

Cornelia's WIP up to part 9

Jeanne's WIP up to part 6

June's WIP up to part 2

Lotti's WIP up to part 6

Marjan's WIP up to part 8

Nicola's WIP (restarted with different colours) up to part 3

Hope everyone is enjoying this frigid snowy weather! We haven't had a real winter like this in a while in Southern Ontario so I suppose I can't complain too much. It's great stitching weather, which is good because I've got LOTS of new stuff to stitch. I've got one new release for Nashville market, I'll be posting a sneak preview later on in the week after I finish the chart pack up. And with that, I'm going to go finish it!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

"March"ing on...

Aquamarine is done! I love these smaller designs - all these finishes make me feel so accomplished. lol

The design uses a single colour of Soie D'Alger, along with a matching Delica Bead and Swarovski Crystal. These designs are mostly specialty stitches, combined to create different effects and textures, and the chart includes diagrams for all stitches used. The entire series is stitched on 32ct Raw Belfast Linen from Zweigart.

So excited to finish this one because it means I can get back to work on another new series. The first will be coming out just in time for Nashville market. :)

Thursday, January 2, 2014

New Release: Celtic Valentine

A new year's finish! :)

Celtic Valentine uses Dragonflylotus Designs threads on Sassy's Fabbys 36ct Brownie Sundae, Delica beads, Swarovski pearls and Kelmscott Designs buttons. As always a conversion to DMC/Mill Hill is included in the chart.

Lots more new stuff coming soon, the next Birthstone design, Aquamarine will be out next week, and later this month I'll be releasing the start of another new series of geometric cross stitch designs. :) Busy busy.

The latest part of The Learning Sampler went out on December 31st, if you haven't received it, let me know!

Hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season. :)