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.