last week my dear friend Kaye wrote me asking if I was interested in an Around the World Blog Hop invitation – of course I said yes, although due to the move I wrote this post a few days ago and scheduled it for the due date. safety first! 😉 check out her post about this over at Kitten Stitching. ❤️😺
I hope you enjoy my little dissertation on the matter, I have been asked these questions many times on various media and ended up writing the same thing over and over again – so I thought it was about time I took the chance to discuss everything in detail and from now on refer everybody to this post ;) I added a link to it in the about me page as well so every new reader that is curious enough will get a chance to find it and understand how nuts I am about stitching ;)
now here are the Around the World Blog Hop Q/A:
1. What am I working on? these days I’m working on a project called Once Upon a Time by The Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery. it’s a fairy tale themed monthly SAL that began back in January 2014 but I finally got the chance to start last August. I’m working on the fourth block, Goldilocks and the Three Bears and I plan on getting at least 3 blocks (which means an entire row of the sampler) done by the end of this month. this will leave me halfway through, with 6 more blocks to stitch (4 of them before I’m caught up, since November and December, obviously, haven’t been released yet).
2. How does my work differ from others of its genre? oh dear, everybody reading this blog or following me on social media knows I never end up stitching anything as charted. I always add buttons or extra bits, use speciality stitches, and choose my own colour palette. I started years ago with Gloriana, AVAS and NPI silks, then in 2012 I discovered Nina’s Threads and never used anything else since then. I use her hand dyed linens as well, the colours look gorgeous and very unique, plus they save me the trials (+ time and money) a linen-only dyer requires when it creates tones that don’t necessarily go together with threads dyed by others.
in the past I found myself kitting up projects thinking oh, this fabric will be perfect with these thread colours! only to find out they didn’t – and I had to invest time, money and threads on more supplies, with no clue as to how to use the ones I got in the first place.
the same thing happened with thread colours, when mixing let’s say WDW and GAST, or even hand dyed with solids, you never know if they’ll work until you put them together into xxx and see if the magic happens. on the other hand, when purchasing fabrics and threads from the very same dyer (big guys like Weeks Dye Works, or an independent smaller gal like Nina) I find there’s a high % chance the colours will go together no matter how wild you go with your combos. there’s a difference, which brought me to trying Nina’s creations for the first time: price per value.
of course I’m not debating quality, WDW threads and linens are fantastic, as well as all top class hand dyed fabrics and fibres like GAST, PTP, Lakeside, Silkweaver, silks, etc. what I’m focusing on is how much thread do I get for the skein price? and how long will a full-skein last me on my go-to stitch count? will I get consistent skein lengths? now, these are crucial aspects when it comes to stashing a specific thread brand. for years I’ve been looking for a high quality dyer that sold thread skeins that costed X and were always Y meters long.
as many of you know, WDW and GAST are big companies, they dye immense batches of threads and sometimes their skeins end up being shorter than they’re supposed to be. when you purchase them, especially online like I do, you can’t really tell, and many times I got skeins that were almost half as long as the price I payed for. now, I understand this is not their fault, and I never found it worth complaining, but I did feel the need to research someone else to build my hand dyed stash on – it made much more sense in perspective :)
this brings me to another topic: hand dyed vs. solid colours. this is another cost-effective choice, which might not sound reasonable unless you take a few things into consideration. first: I’ve been through the I’ve-got-to-get-all-the-DMC-colours-‘cause-I’ll-surely-need-them-at-some-point phase when I first started stitching and guess what? didn’t happen. 1. first, when kitting up big projects from said kind of stash you end up purchasing some colours even though you have a skein already because what if I run out of #435 halfway through and the one I get later on is from a different dyeing lot?; 2. secondly, in order to get proper colour change with solids you need at least 3-4 shades of green (which means 3-4 8 meters long skeins), 3-4 browns, etc. so you end up purchasing A LOT of skeins you might won’t need ever again, or you will have to get anyways (see of point 1). of course if you’re going to stitch Chatelains, Wentzlers and such you will need all those different solid shades, they’re mostly charted for solids and that’s that. :)
other than that, for the majority of designers I learnt I really don’t need to use a gabazillion of greens or browns or reds. what I usually need is one hand dyed green, brown, red, etc. (a light one and a dark one, when necessary) and they cover so many tones and undertones throughout the length that the piece ends up looking stunning (even better than with solids, IMHO) and I didn’t even have to thread different stuff on my needle – time *and* money saving! 😉 if you put everything together, what happens is that I:
- purchase less skeins because I have many tones covered by one hand dyed thread, which saves space and money
- spend less time threading –> time saving
- make really good use out of all those hand dyed skeins because Nina’s Threads are always 8 meters long (just like DMC), not 4,5 like WDW or GAST (which are not even length-consistent 😬). you do a little math:
- a DMC solid skein costs me 0,90 euro each, but most of the time I’d need to get a gabazillion of colours
- a WDW 5-yards skein is 2,12 euro whereas GAST is 2,01 but in order to compare them to Nina’s skeins you need to adjust these prices because Nina’s Threads are 8.7 yards long (so in many cases in order to get the same amount of thread you get with one of Nina’s skeins, you need two WDW or GAST skeins).
and how much are Nina’s threads? 2,65 euros! VERY close to a WDW or GAST skein which is almost half as long! the economical aspect is the reason that made me try Nina’s Threads back in 2012, the reason why I never went back (and probably never will) was reinforced by their looks; the fact that they complement each other really well, two colours rarely look oddly off when put together; they are perfect matches with her hand dyed linens; and last but not least Nina’s a great person, a terrific supplier to deal with (taking custom orders, handling my insane requests and never-ending email orders, safe and quick deliveries with Hungary-Italy not being subject to custom fees) and all in all I love supporting independent people who devote their time, passion and talent to let others have a really good time – so just like supporting designers and crafters, I love to purchase from what has now become a friend, which reminds me to point put the fact that this post (as well as everything I stitch/write about) isn’t sponsored by anybody 😉, as a matter of fact Nina doesn’t even know I’m writing this – and if she’s reading I bet she’s blushing from head to toes! 😜❤️
3. Why do I write/create what I do? I assume this refers to the modifications, I mean, why do I stitch is such an obvious question!* :D it’s not that I dislike what designers do – but generally I just feel the need to see it’s my own piece I’m working on. I want to challenge myself with different colours, push myself out of my usual comfort zone – which brought me such delightful surprises (remember when I used nothing but #52 and #53 Zweigart linens? :D ).
* I stitch so I don’t kill people, of course! ;) that’s my therapy, my stress-release and endorphin-producing activity – I could never give up the immense satisfaction it brings, the challenges it makes me overcome, the steps I need to figure out when finishing something, the process of learning how to handle different materials, the experience of producing something with my hands, or taking the idea I have envisioned and translate it onto a gridded piece of paper and then fabric cuts.
4. How does my writing/creating process work? it usually starts from a chart or a stitched up preview, I envision my own version of it (colour-wise and stitch-wise) and write notes about it in a file I keep in a folder in my laptop, all organised by designer. I write down suggested materials and everything necessary such as chart packs info, links, thread lists, possible linen choices, etc. when I finally get to starting the piece, I print the page, make a b/w working copy of the chart and start scribbling on it with coloured pens and pencils. sometimes I print the chart beforehand and work on it months before I actually put my plan into action. ;) of course inspiration works its own magic and at times takes me very far from where I started, other times I end up with exactly what I had planned months before. I also use a notebook and pencil to write down finishing ideas, measurements, supplies etc. I rarely follow the original colour palette, so my colour choices don’t work as truthful conversion; when I fall in love with a piece I already see it with my own colours in my head, many times I just go oh, these flowers will be in Burgundy, or Hellion, and this? Lagoon, for sure! :D sometimes I have second thoughts about the colour of a specific motif (a house or a dress) and go through a few colour changes before I’m grinning at its sight, but it’s always worth the time and stress ;)
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now the Around the World Blog Hop rules say I need to invite three more people.. I’m not really keeping up with my blog reading these days (read these past 5 months) so I have no clue if many of you already did it.
what about this: whoever feels like sharing their answers to these 4 questions (or just a few of them) is more than welcome to write about it, then add a comment here so that I will update this post with a link to their contribution :)
- What am I working on?
- How does my work differ from others of its genre?
- Why do I write/create what I do?
- How does my writing/creating process work?
of course you can adjust them to whatever you craft/passion is :) you need to have a blog, write a post (even a short one!), say I invited you and add a link to this post and eventually tag three more people to do the same (adding their respective blog links). easy peasy :)
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Taras and I wish you a wonderful week! ciao!