For customers of my miniature needlepoint kits worldwide, here are the Last Posting Dates for Christmas, for parcels sent from the UK:
Australasia, Africa, Far East and Middle East – Friday 4th December.
Eastern Europe, USA, Canada and Japan – Thursday 10th December.
Western Europe – Friday 11th December.
UK – Monday 21st December.
I get parcels out within 48 hours of you placing your order on the website, so please allow for that when calculating how much time is needed.
I’ve also got an update ‘Newsflash’ about payment methods: We now take PAYPAL, in addition to Visa, Mastercard, Solo and UK Maestro. This means that you now have more options when you are going through the checkout process. You can choose to use the credit card that you have previously registered with Paypal, or you can choose to have payments debited directly from your bank account. This last option is useful for people who do not have a credit card, but still wish to buy online.
Since my previous post, it’s been bugging me as to why the interest in doodle embroidery has caught on. Partly, it’s due to a couple of authors bringing out books featuring that style of embroidery, so that it’s been put in the public eye. I think at least one of them has a business selling the designs featured in the book she’s published.
I’ve no problem with that – I did the same when my book ‘Miniature Needlepoint Carpets’ came out in 1996. Now, it’s only available second-hand, though – it’s been out of print for over five years. Blame Guild of Master Craftsman Publications – they decided to remainder it, not me! Most of the designs from the book are still available individually as chart packs from my website, though.
What interests me, in particular, is what grabs the imagination of the public and makes them think ‘Mmm, I’d like to do that’, once they see a certain style appearing, that’s new to them. Is it really the idea that they want to stitch something, but think that, as they’ve got very little time (apparently – see the previous post on this subject!), they choose a project from the perspective of the time it will take to finish, rather than the enjoyment they will have while they are creating it?
When I used to sell my miniature needlepoint kits at needlecraft shows around the country (I don’t attend shows any more, I sell only from my website), people would sometimes ask, ‘How long will this one take to complete?’, and that always bemused me, as I’d never think of the ‘time cost’ when I’m considering buying a kit. What’s more important to me is the aesthetic look of the finished item, the interest I’ll get from doing (learning to do?) the various stitching or other techniques needed, the colour scheme and where I’ll put the finished item, etc. etc. Possibly the cost is a factor. But the number of hours it’ll take is virtually irrelevant – I’ll stitch it till it’s finished.
It would be like asking in a restaurant ‘How long does it take to eat that?’, and if you’re told ‘twenty minutes’, then you’d choose something smaller/easier to chew up. Doesn’t make sense, does it? You’d choose your food, hopefully, on how it tastes, not on how quickly you can stuff it down your throat.
I was thinking about how I actually start designing, today, as I can sometimes go for weeks without any inspiration, and then, like buses, several ideas come along at once.
The embroidery design inspiration process, for me anyway, is a strange thing. I can be inspired by so many things for my doll’s house embroidery kits – colour schemes, historical artefacts, shop window displays, nature – almost anything, really. But one thing that I know now DOESN’T help, and that is to push an idea out when it isn’t ready. In the past, I have felt pressured to perhaps ‘get four designs out this month’, or something like that, and forced myself to sit down at the computer and produce something. But it simply doesn’t work like that, so I don’t try any more. With writing, I can do it, but with embroidery, it has to come of its own accord.
Also, I have noticed that my design spurts are linked to my hormones! Not to put too fine a point on it, there are times of the month when I can design stuff that I’m really pleased with, and times when what I design is only fit for the round filing cabinet on the floor. Unfortunately, though, part of the ‘hormone effect’ is that the rubbish that I design at the ‘wrong’ times, seems fine for a few days, until common sense returns and I can see it for the drivel that it is. I have noticed that colour schemes, in particular, are affected by the hormone effect – shades that look strange together look vaguely alluring when it’s the wrong time for me to be trying to design. It’s a bit like having cravings for foods which don’t go together, I suppose!
When I am designing a ‘good one’, though, the test that I apply is quite simple – I keep on tweaking the pattern until I start to get the itchy feeling of ‘I want to start stitching this one NOW!!’ Then I know it’s finished – if I keep going, I’m just going to overdo it.
My customers often send me photos of their stitching, and I love seeing them. My customers are so creative, it’s great to see the many different ways people can use the embroidery kits to make their doll’s houses come alive. This week, I’ve uploaded a new batch of images to the Customers’ Gallery page of my website. Here’s a taster of what you’ll see there:
Sue from Berkshire owns this beautiful house, and has been making the soft furnishings for it for several years. The house was lovingly made by her father, with great attention to detail.
This cosy bedroom features the needlepoint carpet called ‘Carole (pastel)’. It measures about 8 inches by 5.
The wallhanging to the left is based on the William Morris tapestry ‘Orange Tree’, and measures almost four inches square. It is stitched in Anchor stranded cotton. The carpet is stitched in Appleton’s crewel wool.
Janet B from Birmingham is a very keen stitcher, and owns several doll’s houses. Here is a picture of the bedroom in one of her doll’s houses. Isn’t the teddy cute?
The most recent photo I’ve had sent to me is from Susan C. She made a ‘hobby room box’, in contemporary style, and filled it with miniature versions of the hobbies that she enjoys – such as miniatures (obviously!), knitting and using her computer. She used one of my chart packs to create her own colourway of one of my carpet designs (this one is called ‘Josie’). I think it’s come out beautifully, and really sets off the room.