Supporting Independent Designers

Good morning folks!  I thought I would share 3 of my favourite independent designers from the cross stitch world. Although I purchase my threads directly from DMC as I love their quality and colours, I try to purchase kits and charts from other designers not linked with big companies to support their work just as so many customers support mine.

  1. Sparklies – this UK based company not only designs and sells their own kits, but has an amazing range of hand-dyed fabrics and threads for sale too.  Most bespoke fabrics that I have lusted after come from the US so it is lovely to find a company here providing such a great range too.  I have my eye on a couple of fabrics for my next big project (see below) and can’t wait to start!!Sparklies Dragon
  2. Ink Circles – I have just found this designer and all I can say is WOW!!!  Their Cirque des Cercles has now become my next big project (and I might even have to hide my WIP away until I’ve done this one).  I have a whole house to renovate and stitching this in muted blue tones will fit perfectly with my guest room colours and make a gorgeous feature for the room.cercles
  3. The Nutmeg Company – you’ll find a unique range of 3D cross stitch kits designed by Meg Evershed here and this Blue Bandbox is definitely one of my favourite items.  You can stitch everything from cottages to penguins to Christmas trees and it is a great way of getting your stitching off the wall (especially if you are running out of space).kgbbbluebox

 

So, there you have them – three wonderful independent designers who would love you to pop over and check out what’s on offer.  As a seller on Etsy, I’m putting together a list of my favourite instant chart downloads to share with you next time.

H x

Love my Chemistry!

Having an Etsy shop is allowing me to add charts that I would never dreamed of having on my website along with my very prim & proper name samplers!  I have this past few weeks been adding some Chemical Element charts that spell out words and with 5 uploaded already, I am looking forward to creating more.

GeNiUS

Not only do I get to figure out more words as I go, but I am also revisiting my happy days at school and university studying geology (yes, a bit sad I know, but I am most definitely a nerd and very proud of it!).

So, if you fancy stitching any of these, pop over to my Etsy Shop’s Chemical Element section and have a browse – and if you think of any wonderful words that I could add that would be great too…

Until next time, happy stitching folks!

H x

 

Name Sampler Competition Time

I love a good competition & this one is very popular with my customers and newsletter subscribers.  All you have to do is come up with a new design theme for my personalised Name Sampler range.  Here are the two previous winners:

WinnersBoth of these designs are now really popular with my customers & yours could be next…

All you have to do is tell me your idea in this quick survey and I will decide on a winner from all the entries received by midnight on Friday, 11th April 2014.  But while you are thinking about your amazing design remember:

  • it needs to be adaptable (for lots of different names)
  • it should differ from those already on my website
  • to give as much detail as you can – I struggle with one word entries!

If your idea fits all of these conditions then go ahead and enter.  The winner receives a full cross stitch kit personalized with the name of their choice before anyone else gets one – it’s worth £29.99 and I throw in free postage as well (wherever you are in the world!).

So, get thinking & good luck.

H x

 

How to cross stitch a QR code

Being somewhat of a geek, I have been so excited recently to start transforming QR Codes into cross stitch patterns.  The process is quite an easy one, but takes an eye for detail and a love of all things geometric!  So I’ve decided to share how it’s done and hope that you too can have a go at creating some eye-catching nerdy cross stitch…  Continue reading

Super Stitchers Club

Hello everyone!

Having restarted this blog back in January I have been busy designing a brand you range of charts (launching soon) and creating an exclusive new club – the Super Stitchers Club which I launched today!

I am really excited about this new way of connecting with my loyal customers and there has been an amazing response already in the few hours since it has been launched. Continue reading

Neatness counts

I recently replied to a comment in a cross stitch group on Facebook asking whether anyone thought it was important to have a neat reverse to your stitching.  I posted the photo below taken of my celtic heart design showing both the front and back of my own stitching:

Does it matter how neat the back of your work is? I think so…

Comments flew in from far and wide with many people of the opinion that I must have OCD to keep my stitching that neat.  Some thought it was a waste of time and that it must take me weeks to make sure that everything looks so nice on the reverse and others said it didn’t matter at all what the back looked like as no-one would see it.

Well, I do care about how my stitching looks, both front and back, but do I take ages worrying about the back and checking it looks OK?  NO!  It’s neat on the back because I have been stitching for over 25 years (makes me sound very old) and you just get used to it.

But why do I think it’s important that the back is neat?

  1. Lumps and bumps on the back mean that framing, stretching or even making your design up into a cushion will leave the front looking uneven and it will be noticeable.
  2. Long lines of thread from one place to another show through to the front of the fabric – especially if the thread is a lot darker than the fabric you are stitching on.
  3. It can use up a lot more thread if you run thread all over the place or don’t stitch in a systematic way and if you’ve bought a kit you may well run out of thread before you finish your design.

So whether the reverse of your stitching looks like mine or better or worse, you (and your framer) are the only people who will see the back your work, but try to recall my reasons for neatness next time you start a new piece and see how you get on…

Plans for the New Year

2013 is finally here and I have big plans for my cross stitch business this year.  As much as I love designing and stitching, it really must start paying some serious bills so here’s what I’m doing:

Advertising – I spent far too much money in all the wrong places last year and a quick survey of my customers in December showed that over 80% of them found me via Google and not via all the shiny printed adverts I’d paid for.  So this year I’m going back to basics and making sure my website and images are great and setting myself a challenge of paying for no advertising at all!  I sell worldwide and I doubt whether my latest customer in Mexico found me through the Birmingham News in the UK…

Designs – one of the problems of working for myself is that I find it hard to get motivated with new designs, especially if the existing ones are already selling OK.  My customers are asking for more though so I am planning to release at least one new personalized name sampler kit each month in a new theme – just picking the themes is going to be difficult now.

Organization – I used to be a great organizer – and then I had children!  All of my organizational skills seem to have been sucked into making sure they get to school on time, eat on time, do their homework on time and get to bed on time.  So when it comes to my business, I have really neglected it as it’s had to fit in around them.  However, this year will be the first year that both of my children will be at school full time so now I have no excuses and plan to get myself organized!

I’m sure there are more things that I could and will change and look at during 2013 but these are my Big 3!  I find it easier to focus on a few points than crushing myself under the weight of what I should have been doing all these years.  I’ll keep you posted on how I get on…

Pitfalls of working for yourself

On the whole I love being my own boss.  I get to work around my kids and their schedule and can work at any time of the day or night if I have orders to do.  Days can be spent outside in my lovely garden during the Summer and orders can be stitched by the fire during Winter.

My latest order all designed and ready to go – even on a Saturday night I find it hard to switch off…

But this fantastic flexibility comes at a price.  It’s Saturday night and I have returned from a course today to find myself sitting at the computer doing yet another order.  I find it hard to switch off.  None of my customers expect me to work on the weekend, but as I am used to fitting things in when I can, I am the one making myself sit here to keep on top of the orders I have coming in.

So tonight I am consciously going to make myself turn off my PC by 8pm and spend some time with my very patient, but also very busy hubby…  I think we both deserve it and my orders can wait until Monday morning like the rest of the working world!

Festive Cheer

Christmas Owl Cross Stitch chart

I have some very loyal customers and great followers on Facebook, so every now and then I like to run little competitions and give away some of my charts and designs.  Today I decided to ask if anyone on Facebook would like something festive designed especially for them and my ‘regulars’ all responded.

Originally I had said I would choose the idea I liked the most but when I saw that all four responses were animals, I decided to chart them all and send a copy to each of those fans who had replied.

This lovely little owl is my favourite of the bunch, but I also did a pug dog, a sheep and a robin – all with Christmas hats on to show their festive spirit.

A great way to end a great week and say thank you in just a small way to those people who keep me motivated to keep designing.

If you would like a copy, then just click on this  Christmas Owl link to download the PDF chart and share in my early festive cheer.