Blackwork Biscornu – New for Needlework Expo

Here is the last of my new designs for Needlework Expo. In addition to cross stitch, I also do blackwork and have some blackwork designs available in my Etsy store. Here is my new one.

If you’ve never done a biscornu before, never fear! There are plenty of tutorial videos to be found online on how to assemble. For this design, you would stitch these two square pieces and then follow instructions on how to stitch them together. A little stuffing and voila! a biscornu!

Make sure your LNS is registered for Needlework Expo! If you like this pattern, ask them to order it for you!

The Labyrinth of the Reims Cathedral – New Expo Release

Here is my next Needlework Release: The Labyrinth of the Reims Cathedral. I am always on the lookout for interesting and inspiring images. When I was looking up labyrinths one day, I came across this one – so unique for its geometry. At first, I was simply enjoying the challenge of charting it. But then, the enjoyment continued as I started doing research about the Reims Cathedral (about 90 miles outside of Paris in France) and its labyrinth. I’ve including a great deal of historical information in the pattern.

I stitched this on 32 count Exotic Orchid Zweigart lugana. The black you see is one strand of DMC Etoile in 310 – and I needed 2 skeins. The fillings inside the labyrinth, the border, and the stitch pattern in between were all stitched with Kreinik cord #105C. (This is NOT Kreinik braid – it is a finer metallic thread and pretty easy to stitch with.) This design certainly lends itself to being stitched using any two colors of thread.

Make sure your LNS is registered for Needlework Expo! If you like this pattern, ask them to order it for you!

Elegant Lace – New Expo Release

I’m pleased to be sharing with you today one of my new releases for Needlework Expo taking place at the end of August. This is Elegant Lace. If you are familiar with my work, you may recognize that this is one of a series of designs I have created based on actual pieces of lace. For this piece, I chose to stitch on 36 count Silkweaver linen in the color Forest. For the denser areas of stitching, I used one strand of DMC Floche in white. (Two strands of DMC floss can be used instead of the floche.) For the lighter areas, I used one strand of DMC floss in white. I love the effect of using two different thread weights.

Make sure you LNS is registered for Needlework Expo! If you are interested in this design, make sure to let them know!

It’s time for some sneak peeks!

In about two weeks, Needlework Expo August 2021 will begin! This is an online wholesale market for stores to purchases new patterns (and fabrics and accessories and…) directly from designers. You can go back to Needlework Expo in March! blog post and Needlework Expo Wrap-Up blog post where I wrote about this in a little more detail if you are interested.

I have four new patterns that I will be releasing at Expo. Like many designers, I’ve been putting out some “teasers” in the cross stitch world on Instagram and elsewhere – and here they are for my blog readers! Look for full reveals soon!

What have I been stitching?

Over the last few months, there’s been a lot of stitching! The cross stitch pieces…well, you’re going to have to wait a little to see those. They are my new releases for Expo at the end of the month and I’ll start sharing them soon.

I worked on a needlepainting embroidery piece – this is Japanese Anemone from the book The Kew Book of Embroidered Flowers by Trish Burr.

I also did some geometric embroidery after discovering wolfratsen – I think I first saw her work on Instagram somehow. Lover her sense of both color and geometry!

Most recently, I’ve been working on a little piece here and there, mostly during Zoom when I can have my camera off and am just watching a listening to a presentation. When I was packing up to move, I, of course, unearthed all kinds of things, purchased with the best of intentions to “give this a try.” This is Swedish weaving/Swedish embroidery/Huck weaving – take your pick of the correct name, because I’m really not sure of the difference between them. Something a little fun and different

I realize I am showing a variety of needlework styles here and it is something I talked about on my latest Flosstube video. Go check it out if you are interested.

More to catch you up on soon!

I’m back!

Long time, no see! I actually have no idea how many people will read this – it’s been so long since I’ve been actively working on my website and publishing blog posts regularly, it wouldn’t surprise me if almost no one reads these words.

If you’ve stumbled on here soon after this post is up, you might say my website is “under construction.” I’ve been playing around this afternoon with backgrounds and fonts and such and have kinda made a little bit of a mess. The kind of mess that you sometimes have to make before you can clean things up and organize them best. Please bear with me. I decided I need to jump in, getting my feet wet with a blog post, and I’ll work on cleaning up my mess over the next few days.

So, where have I been, besides completely ignoring this blog and website? Well, I actually moved this spring. It was not planned and not at all how I expected my life was going to go. From the time I found out I needed to move to my moving day was all of seven weeks. A bit of chaos, you could say! But, sometimes the things we don’t necessarily plan for work out for the best and that is where I am right now.

Because of the upheaval in my personal life, I haven’t put out any new WorksByABC designs since March’s Needlework Expo. Never fear! There will be new patterns in just a few weeks, designs that will be new for Needlework Expo – August edition. More on that soon!

In the meantime, thanks for coming back!

Needlework Expo Wrap-Up

What can I say? – it was wonderful to be participating in my first wholesale needlework market last weekend. Just to catch folks up, as I wrote here, the Nashville Needlework Market – which is the wholesale in-person shopping experience for store owners and designers that typically takes place at the beginning of March – was canceled for 2021. Just like so many other conferences and events. (Hey, but we are on an upswing in the world and let’s keep moving forward and keep positive, right?) Janis Note, of the Noteworthy Needle, took it upon herself to organize a virtual market instead. Nearly 100 exhibitors were on board – mostly cross stitch pattern designers, but also fabric and thread dyers and accessories makers (think needle minders and grime guards). Just about 200 stores registered. What an awesome coming together (virtually) of our needlework world!

So, how did this work? Exhibitors logged into their accounts and went to their “booth” and started a video chat. Sat in front of a computer screen and waited for someone to “enter”. Meanwhile, store owners logged in, began in the “Main Hall” where they saw a long list, with pictures, of each of the designers. Click on any of them and it brought the store owner to the designer’s “booth.” For the sake of making this simple, it basically brought them to a webpage. At the top, along with an introduction of whatever type, most designers had instructions on how to order. You could click “video chat”…but you could also just message the designer or, as many of us did, offer a link to an order form, a google form, etc. On my end, I was in front of my computer for three days, just waiting to hear the doorbell sound (yes, it really was a doorbell!) and for someone to appear on my screen. Did I have some stitching and other things with me at all times to keep busy? Absolutely. I will say that most of my sales came from store owners using my google form, but I absolutely loved when I got to speak in person. A couple even came to say hello and chat a bit, but also saying that had just ordered through my form.

During our “practice run” a couple of nights before the Expo began, we discovered that we could open a second tab on our computers and use that to go visit other designers. If someone came to your video chat while you were talking with a fellow designer, you would hear the doorbell and be able to immediately leave the chat you were in by switching to your main tab. Awesome. It gave a little of the flavor of being in person, of meeting some fellow designers. A couple of times, I went to say hello to someone, immediately saw that they had a customer and easily left and came back at another time. In addition, at the end of the days, there were some Happy Hour open rooms. A little chance for the mixing and mingling that typically happens in Nashville during those end of the days’ hours.

Now, doing a market this way flipped a few things around. The need for invoicing, packing and shipping…all of that doesn’t happen for Nashville. Designers show up with lots and lots of copies of patterns. Store owners go around and purchase on the spot and take patterns away with them. This is called a Cash-and-Carry market. There is also the whole effort of packing up, traveling, possibly shipping if driving is not possible – a lot of work for a designer to get to Nashville. But, when it’s done, the designer’s work is basically done.

Instead, for the virtual Expo, there was no need to “guess” how many patterns to bring and certainly no need to make travel arrangements. However, there was the word of sending invoices, recording payments, packing up orders, and shipping them out. I personally think that this work is probably easier than the work it takes to get to Nashville, but what do I know. Hopefully, by this time next year – after a Nashville Market 2022 – I’ll actually be able to make that statement, or amend it, because I’ll have some experience.

I am so glad that I had the opportunity to meet folks and get a better sense of the wholesale needlework world thanks to this Expo. Janis’ plan is to have a fall market, likely the last weekend in August, just in time for September 1st releases. You bet I’ll be taking part. The vision going forward – an in-person Nashville Market for the spring, a virtual market for the fall. Sounds like a great plan to me.

Last New Pattern for Needlework Expo – Matzo Cover

If you’ve been with me this week, you’ve seen my last few posts here have been sharing with you my new designs that will be debuting at Needlework Expo in just a week!

Today is the final of these five patterns – Matzo Cover

Let me get this out of the way right away – matzo, the cracker like food that is eaten at Passover, has a variety of English spellings. Because it is the transliteration of a Hebrew word (that’s the Hebrew right there, on my piece), there is not necessarily one “correct” way to spell it in English. (Relate this with the multiple ways to spell Hanukkah, Channukah, Hanukah, etc.) I actually did a little poll on a Facebook group – not which one was “right” but simply which way was the way you thought it was or should be. With matzo, matzah, matzoh, and matza being the options offered (all four are found, to one degree or another, online), matzo and matzah were the most popular. Kosher for Passover products from the biggest companies (Manischewitz and others) spell it matzo. So I stitched that. But, knowing that matzah seems in use quite often as well, there is a chart provided with that spelling also.

So, why a Passover cross stitch pattern? Passover is not really a holiday where Jewish people decorate, in the traditional sense. That doesn’t mean that nice dishes and glasses and table decor doesn’t come out – they most certainly do. At a Passover seder, the home “service” for this holiday, usually occurring on the first and second nights, there is always a plate of matzo on the table. While many just use a napkin to cover the plate, it is absolutely a place for a little decorative touch. So, a stitcher can create a matzo cover for themselves. Any fabric can be used, any size can be used. The stitched area is not large and so the overall dimensions (10″ x 10″? 12″ x 12″?) can be whatever the stitcher wants. For this model, I did a hemstitch edge to give it a nice finish. (Tutorials can be found on YouTube, although I very much used the book Hemstitching by Marion Scoular.)

And so there you have it folks – my five new patterns available first to shops at Needlework Expo next weekend (March 6 – 8). There is so much excitement in the cross stitch industry for this event and I am very much looking forward to being a part! Here’s hoping many store owners come by my booth!

Needlework Expo Reveal – Evolution

Today I’m sharing the third of my five Needlework Expo releases. You can see and read about Renaissance Band Sampler here and Rosebud Lace here.

I present to you today Evolution:

My designing interests go in a number directions and one of them is geometrically inspired patterns. This is one such one. To be specific, this design comes from my experiences in learning about Islamic design – now there’s a whole side topic that I should share with you some day.

What began as a fairly common motif in the islamic design world – the 8 petal star-like “flower” – evolved into an exploration in shape and color. What if the motifs evolved into completion? What if the colors got richer and deeper the more complete that evolution became? Here is the result of that playing around.

The principles of colors used here are simple. There are four color families of DMC – blue, green, purple, and rose. For each of those colors, I needed three shades – a dark, a medium, and a light. I was then able to expand the shades to be a total of five by combining strands. In order from lightest to darkest: two strands of light; one strand light and one strand medium; two strands medium; one strand medium and one strand dark; and finally, two strands dark.

I love the overall effect.

More reveals coming!

Another Reveal for Expo – Rosebud Lace

I’ve written about the Needlework Expo coming up next weekend here and here – so feel free to go back and get the background information if you need it 🙂

Today, I want to share with you my next new design – Rosebud Lace.

If you are familiar with my designing style, you will know that I often take inspiration from pieces of lace. This is no exception. I love playing around with the texture and depth you can see when some thread variations are at working. Meaning, many of my lace pieces are not just a standard two strands of floss stitched over two linen or evenweave threads. For Rosebud lace, there are three different parts to the stitching. What shows up in the picture as the most “dense” looking spots are full crosses using two strands of floss. What shows up in the picture as the lightest or least dense areas are stitched with one strand of floss in tent (half of a cross) stitch. And the areas that are midway between those two types are stitched using one strand of floss, full cross. I stitched this on a 28 count evenweave fabric that I dyed myself using indigo and purple Rit dye. (At some point, I should write a blog post about my – very limited – fabric dying experience.)

Again, you can check the Needlework Expo website to see if you LNS is registered. They can get this pattern for you if you are interested!

More reveals to come!