Monday, April 22, 2013

A Novel Idea

While working on the magnets for the Finland Handcrafters Team, I decided to offer some designs on evenweave. There are very few sellers out there that do this. Most stitch on 14 count Aida or perforated plastic (which is also 14 count). Some do stitch on 18 count Aida, but very very few use evenweave. I happen to love working with this, and I will offer it with some appropriate designs.

I have also started grouping items into sets, especially as I complete enough designs to have it make sense. The first up is a set of 3 butterfly magnets, available in either fabric choice.

Set of 3 Butterfly Magnets on Aida
This is a picture of the Aida version. The evenweave version is on a lovely 32 count antique white Lugana.

And yes, that is the same lavender butterfly that was featured in the earlier post on Aida versus Evenweave. I do give a nice break on price for buying the set, plus it is only 1 item for shipping which saves you even more. As I add more to the categories, I will add a listing for any 3 magnets. 

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Don't Be Afraid of Evenweave

Many cross stitchers will stitch on nothing but Aida because it is easy to find and easy to work with. It comes in a lot of sizes and colors and you can find it in many shops. Aida can have a "chunky" look to it because of the way it is made. Here's an example of 14 count Aida, and you can readily see where your needle should go.

14 count Aida

Evenweave, on the other hand is harder to figure out in the beginning. Here's an example of a 25 count Lugana. The holes are not as obvious as this (and all evenweaves) are made up of one thread running vertically and one thread running horizontally. By way of comparison, Aida has clusters of 4 threads.

25 count Lugana
But why torture yourself for something that is supposed to be relaxing? For one, fractional stitches are a breeze on evenweave. For two, your work looks so much more elegant on it. If you are stitching that is fully covered by stitches and doesn't have a lot of fractionals, Aida is a great way to go. But, if you are on the curious side, give it a go.

Evenweave comes in so many different styles and counts it can be very confusing. Linen is probably the best known but is the hardest to work with. It can have uneven slubs because it is a natural plant fiber. I know, uneven spots in evenweave sounds like an oxymoron but it is really not. Evenweave means the loom has been set for so many stitches per inch in both directions. My recommendations for a first project are Jubilee, Monaco, or Lugana. All have nice rounded threads, come in lots of pretty colors and counts, and are very easy to work on. If you are used to 14 count Aida, look for 28 count evenweave. For your first project, I will suggest 25 count Lugana as it is a little bit larger. You are stitching over 2 threads, so you take the thread count and divide by 2 to get how many stitches per inch.

To start cross stitching, locate your starting point on your chart. Everyone starts in a different place. I usually like my work to be centered so that I have enough excess for framing or mounting. Find the spot closest to your starting point where the vertical thread is on top of the horizontal one. This is where your needle goes. Check this blowup of evenweave. I have a red dot next to the hole where your needle will go for the first stitch. See it? Just remember, you want to ride on TOP of the bridge to enjoy the view.

Doing the magnets for the Finland Handcrafters Team gave me a chance to do a side by side. Here's the same exact design done on 32 count Lugana (left) and also on 16 count Aida (right). Personally, I think the one on Lugana is just a bit more special. This is the one that will be going into the special promotion basket. (For more information, check my earlier post!!) These have not yet been blocked, sorry!!

Side by side - Evenweave on the left, Aida on the right

And here are the finished magnets. The evenweave magnet is on the left.

See how much more delicate the butterfly looks when stitched on evenweave? It's really all about using the materials at hand to make our creations come out the way we see them in our mind. There are just so many lovely lovely fabrics to choose from these days. Don't limit yourself to just working with Aida!

If you are still lost, there are tons of videos out there that show you exactly where to start. Take an easy design, a piece of evenweave, grab a cup of coffee and spend some quiet time bonding with your fabric. I can guarantee that once you try it, you will be hooked and actually look forward to stitching on these exciting fabrics.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

More new goodies on the way!

So, it is almost spring here in Central Finland. The temperatures have been above freezing both night and day for a couple of days now, and our snow is rapidly melting.

I am part of a group of artisans from Finland called the Finland Handcrafters Team. We recently added our 100th member and decided we wanted to do a group giveaway. 10 of us have pooled our efforts and will be offering items. You don't have to buy anything, but of course, we love it when you do. Some of us are making special items just for this, while others have picked favorites from their stock. I will be posting pictures over the next few days on My Needle's Song Facebook Page. You can also follow the progress on the team's Facebook Page or Blog. Either way, I will keep you all informed on what is being offered, what you have to do, and by what date.

Here's a real rough picture of the butterflies I am turning into magnets:

These will be ready later this week along with some other treats.... Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Shhhh... Fingers Have Been Busy!

I know the silence between posts can be deafening, but.. there is always a good reason behind it. Most of the time it is because I am stitching or designing away. Lately, it has been stitching, though I do have a couple more of my own designs going into my shop this week.

I have had this small sheet of designs finished for about a week now, but I didn't want to go through the process of washing and ironing just this tiny sheet of designs. The smaller ones at the top will be made into Charmers, which are great for hanging on purses, backpacks, cellphones, or just about anyplace you need a bit of bling. Here's one of the US designs finished...

They either get attached to a lobster claw or directly to the mobile phone cord. I think I like the lobster claws better because you can clip them to more places.

The boots are an experiment, inspired by a dear friend back in Texas. Normally, I finish these tiny designs with a fabric background and a sealer. This time, I am going to try making a two-sided Charmer. It's a question of whether or not the sealer does a good enough job. I should know in just a day or so, and I will let you know how this goes. If it works well, then I will be doing more of them.

Since I didn't want to just do the one small sheet of designs, I stitched like a fiend and just barely finished 16 more message magnets, including one more Finnish design.

Other hot news.... I now have a 2nd shop open. I like Etsy as a marketplace because there is just so much there, and it is really geared towards the handcrafters. One downside is I need to relist (and pay) for the listings every 4 months. Plus, each magnet and charmer has to have its own listing. So.. I have a second shop open now at Storenvy. There is no listing fee, and I don't have to relist my items. You will see Christmas go up on Storenvy first, then on Etsy around September 1st. I will always have all of my listings up at Storenvy, where I will only have the most current ones at Etsy.

One other addition - I added storefronts right on my shop's Facebook page so that you can look and shop without ever leaving Facebook. When you decide to buy, you will be taken to the correct shop and can check out securely. Both sites take PayPal, which means you never give out your precious credit card and banking information to anyone but PayPal.

If there is a special design or message magnet you are looking for, or you want different colors than what I have done a sample in, by all means drop me a message and let me know. I can do most of the customizing for the same fee as the sample, and it should only take me 1 or 2 days to stitch your special request. I do love challenges...

And now, time to get these pieces into the wash so I can get them finished. Enjoy!!