This e-book contains all eleven of the Let There Be Night Stitchlings.
Our first big digi-pat conversion! You’ve been asking, and now you’ve got it: the Let There Be Night Stitchlings in digital download form.
Save the patterns on your hard drive or a thumb drive and print only the pages you need. Use scrap paper then fold the pages, write on them, let the kids play with them; you can always print another copy if you lose or destroy the first.
Even better, we’ve put all eleven patterns together in a single file. How convenient!
Better still, buying the whole collection is cheaper than buying the patterns individually.
And best of all, we’re joining the Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday hoopla and putting the whole package on sale! We’ll call it our
From Black (and White) Friday through Cyber Monday, November 26, you can get the complete Let There Be Night Collection for more than 50% off. Individually, the eleven patterns are normally $66, this weekend you can get them all in the e-book for $30.
No standing in line at midnight. No racing for a limited quantity. And no shipping charge. No puzzle to solve. No secret back-door entrances. No convoluted steps to take.
Nope, it’s all pretty black and white.
If you’ve ever wanted some or all of these patterns, now’s a great time to go get ‘em.
Last week, we resurrected the Clownfish Puzzle pattern. I told you it was intended to be the first in a series of patterns. Does Puzzle Pisces come to mind? Well, that’s not it. Nope, Puzzle Pisces was already in print when we designed the clownfish.
The Story Behind the Stitchery
The Colorful Critters tree frog stitched as a puzzle with two pieces missing.
In the beginning, the clownfish pattern was to be the first of the Colorful Critters collection, which initially was intended to be a series of puzzle patterns. Indeed, I stitched the frog and butterfly as puzzles before deciding to scrap the puzzle angle.
One reason for dropping the puzzle aspect was that we didn’t like missing pieces being stitched in white because the raised texture seemed all wrong for what should be a hole. But we didn’t like leaving those pieces un-stitched, either; something about the fabric color—which I loved—just wasn’t working with the idea that there was supposed to be a hole there. We wanted it to be white or some color different from the fabric.
Also, perhaps more importantly, with the butterfly, we lost the puzzle pieces in the black pattern of the wings. I could imagine the complaints, “All that backstitching and it doesn’t even show up???”
The black lines of the puzzle pieces get lost in the black patterns of the wing.
So we decided to try the animals without the puzzle lines, and ultimately decided we preferred them that way. We cut the clownfish out of the mix and added an angelfish instead. Goodness knows there’s no shortage of cool colorful fish to choose from, right? (Someday, I’m going to stitch a parrotfish. I love parrotfish!)
These two models continue to sit in my collection of rejects waiting their turn to be useful. Don’t be sad: My reject collection is a lovely, hopeful, and cherished thing.
My Partridge Family Critter Pillow!
Recalling the origin of the Colorful Critters collection inspires me to have some fun with them. We’re going to bundle them all together and offer the collection at a special rate. The normal price is $6.00 per pattern or $30 for the collection of five patterns. Now, when you purchase the bundle, you can get 33% off: that’s all six patterns for $20.
I thought the phrase “It’s two, two, two treats in one” was from an old Tootsie Pop marketing campaign, hence the title of this post and our own campaign. However, a quick search suggests it might have been a Certs thing instead: two mints in one, a candy and a breath mint.
If that’s the case, this title is a smidge less clever and relevant, but still within the reaches of my tricksy brain. I will not call this “A Certs Treat.” It doesn’t trip off the tongue as gaily, and Certs are almost never a Halloween treat, as Tootsie Pops and this treat are.
Here’s the Deal
Our treat is two, two, two treats in one: a picture e-book and a pattern.
You do NOT need a Kindle to purchase or read this e-book. There are free apps that allow you to read it on your computer or smart phone. I know. I have the app on my computer.
The Story Behind the Stitchery
From sketch to stitched.
My friend and Ari’s Garden business partner, Linda Stanek, is the author and illustrator of this book. The story went through our critique group a number of times, so I contributed my two cents to the text.
For years, I’ve encouraged Linda to illustrate—she’s always considered herself primarily a writer—and she has finally done it! Personally, I think her illustrating talents are as strong as her writing talents.
I wanted to help promote her book and asked if I might convert one of her illustrations to a cross stitch chart. She agreed. Unfortunately, because of the details and curves of the illustrations, the resulting design was bigger than I had in mind to do.
So I gave Linda a sheet of graph paper and limitations on curves and asked her to chart a Jack O’ Lantern just two inches or so wide. We decided the finished product would be a tag for a treat bag or a necklace with a Jack face that glows in the dark, like the Jack tree in the story.
Linda follows instructions as well as I do. She freelanced and added the bat, assuring me that I could disregard it if it didn’t mesh with what I had in mind.
Since I love the art and surprise of collaboration and didn’t really have anything in mind anyway, it meshed just fine, and I proceeded to add my two cents with some loop-de-loops and (my beloved) wonky-eyelet spider webs. As always with embroidery, the combination of simple elements yields an interesting piece of needlework. We’re both tickled with it!
About the Book
When Old Jack feels the chilly air, he knows it’s time to create the Jack O’ Lantern Tree. Calling on his fellow pumpkins to participate, their first attempt fails. But wise Old Jack urges cooperation and kindness, and the next attempt yields the desired result: a tree filled with light and good wishes for all. Inspired by the “Jack O’ Lantern Spectacular” at Roger Williams Park Zoo in Rhode Island, Stanek’s pastels on textured paper lend a misty mood to the rhyming text.
Check out this great video Melissa made about our webinar, Best Photo Forward: Refining Photos of Fine Embroidery.
I’ve gotten some questions about Photoshop Elements, and I thought I’d share answers here.
What is Photoshop Elements 10?
Adobe Photoshop Elements 10 is the software Melissa uses to fix photos in this webinar. It is the #1 consumer image-editing software. It is not the same as Adobe Photoshop, which is used by professional photographers and graphic designers. Photoshop Elements is significantly cheaper than Photoshop ($99 US as opposed to $699 US), and it offers shortcuts for both learning and using. It is powerful but easy to use.
Read Adobe’s Top 10 Reasons to Buy Photoshop Elements 10.
How Do I Buy Photoshop Elements 10?
If you are interested in buying Photoshop Elements 10 or upgrading from an earlier version, you can do so directly from the Adobe website. All the options seem to indicate they are upgrades, but once you click “buy,” you are given a drop-down box with the option to buy the full version or the upgrade.
If you access the Adobe website through Melissa’s Adobe affiliate link on this page, she will receive a (very) small commission from your purchase. Your purchase price does not change. Plus, the page she links to shows the full version right off the bat.
Alternatively, if you want to order through Amazon, I have an affiliate link on the sidebar here.
You do not need the software to follow along with the webinar, but Adobe offers a trial period for the software, too. You can download the trial software to use during and/or after the webinar to see if you like it.
Melissa and I asked what your biggest image-editing problems are, and you told us. Thank you! In exchange, we offer a free ticket to the Best Photo Forward Webinar to a random commenter.
I consulted the Random Number Generator today, and the winner is
Kerry is an excellent crazy quilter. Take a look at her work on the KerryKatieCakes blog and be inspired.
Kerry made a commitment on January 1 to stitch for 15 minutes every day. Her reason?
If I stitch for 15 minutes, I am likely to keep going and stitch longer. If I don’t stitch at all today, I likely won’t stitch tomorrow either and inertia sets in. Next thing you know, your muse has flown the coop again… So, 15 minutes a day minimum! (Try it – this works!)
Excellent advice, Kerry! I think I’ll join Kerry in her commitment this summer when gardening tends to bump stitching down on my priority list. I need to make time for both.
Congratulations, Kerry! We’ll see you on March 20th for the Best Photo Forward webinar, and together we’ll learn to make digital images of our needlework look (almost) as awesome as the real thing.
Best Photo Forward webinar with leading Australian digital scrapbooking teacher, Meliss Shanhun.
When I surveyed Needlework Nutshell subscribers (rego box in the sidebar) several months ago, I was surprised and excited to discover more than 80% of respondents are either in the craft business or would like to be. Who knew?! I get business-related questions from readers, to be sure, but it never occurred to me that so many people might be interested in the answers. Naturally, I want to help, and here, I think, is a good first step.
The business angles of my fellow Nuts (if you are a Nutshell reader, you are a Nut—deal with it) varies: Some sell (or want to sell) the crafts they make; others sell patterns; others sell supplies; others teach; and so on. What we all have in common is a need to post images of our work online, whether it’s on a website, Etsy, Pinterest, Facebook, Flickr, or somewhere else.
Crafts never look as good in images as they do in person, and even if we sell in person at craft fairs and trade shows, we will likely want to reach a wider audience online to draw more traffic to our venues. Any way you slice it, we need the best possible images of our work.
If you or your best friend is a professional studio photographer, then you are in luck. If you can afford to hire a professional studio photographer, then you are in luck, too. If you’re eagerly waiting for Plan C right now, join the club! (Remember, Mike is a nature and wildlife photographer, not a studio photographer.) We will point and click and hope for the best.
And then we’re going to work magic with our computers.
What? You don’t know computer magic? Well, guess what. My friend, Melissa, does, and she has agreed to teach us her tricks. Woo-hoo!
Our Instructor: Melissa Shanhun
Meet digital scrapbooking pro, Melissa Shanhun.
Melissa Shanhun is a leading digital scrapbooker from Australia. She teaches hands-on workshops in Perth. So who wants to go to Australia with me to learn digital image magic?! Just kidding. Sort of.
Melissa also offers webinars; that is, live, real-time seminars on the Wide Wonderful Web. And, afterward, recordings of those webinars for us slow learners who need to see things a few times to really get a handle on them. (Cut us some slack; our brains are just jam-packed with cool knowledge. Do you know that Alaska is the only US state name that is typed with letters from a single row on a standard keyboard? See what I mean? Jam-packed, my brain is.)
Here’s the scoop: I’ve persuaded Melissa to teach us how to adjust our embroidery images with PhotoShop Elements to make them better reflect the true awesomeness of the real things.
Check out the difference! The image is squared. Colors are brightened. It's got a whole new frame. Wow!
I have struggled with digital images of Funk & Weber patterns for twelve years. Mike and I have taken hundreds of pictures. Ideally, we wait for good weather, take them outside, and pretend they are moose and caribou. Those tend to be the best photos, but even then, they aren’t perfect: Sometimes the piece looks curved or out of square; way too often, the colors aren’t quite right; and then there’s the problem of reducing a large piece to a thumbnail image that actually looks a little like the real thing. These things still drive me nuts! Arghhhh!
It's like a new image altogether. Come learn how to make your photos look more like the real embroidery.
I will take care of your registration for the webinar. You will receive email confirmation and a link to click on March 20th that will take you to the webinar site. We’ll watch Melissa work her image magic and hear her explain what she’s doing—with her cool Australian accent, no less, mate!
I’ll probably just be ooooing and ahhhhing or asking questions. We’ll all be able to type questions into a chat box.
Afterward, you’ll receive info via email with links to watch the recording and download accompanying materials.
Of course, I’m here to answer any questions you have, and if I don’t have the answer, Melissa probably does.
The Whole Shebang
When you register, this is what you receive:
Access to the live workshop
Handouts and resources used in the event
Ongoing access to the workshop recordings
Sample files so that you can see follow along with the demonstrations
BONUS Photo Fixes for Real People – a jump start on using Photoshop Elements to improve your photos (Valued at $20). In this, Melissa teaches us how to digitally turn overcast skies blue; clean food from a baby’s face–or, um, mine; create a great group shot with everyone smiling; and remove red eye.
BONUS Jen’s Top 10 Ways to Use Images of Our Embroidery (priceless, as you know).
But of course I’m holding a contest—and you don’t even have to solve a puzzle to participate! All I want is for you to comment on this post, telling me the biggest problem you have with your digital images. What problem would you like to learn to solve? Who knows, maybe we can solve it. You have until midnight (Alaska time) March 8th to post your comment.
A winner will be randomly selected, notified, and posted here on March 9th.
Stitching and Finishing Cross Stitch and Embroidered Boomarks
Receive the Bookmark Tips, Tricks, & Brilliant Ideas e-book free when you subscribe to The Needlework Nutshell.
I don’t want to think about, let alone admit, how long I’ve been saying I would collect and assemble the myriad bookmark tips, tricks, and tutorials I’ve posted over the past five years in The Needlework Nutshell, on the Funk & Weber website, and on the Stitching for Literacy blog. I also don’t want to think about the posts and articles I missed: There are over 1,200 to sift through! Who knew?
I do, however, want to tell you about Bookmark Tips, Tricks, & Brilliant Ideas (and, apparently, I also want to type that over and over. Whose idea was it to give it such a long title, anyway?)
First of all, this is a work-in-progress. The compound adjective “ready-made,” as in “ready-made tags,” will be properly hyphenated in the Table of Contents in the future (I know you feel the same relief I do), and I will add posts and articles as I continue to uncover and develop them.
Why a Bookmark E-book?
A window bookmark. When I first published the idea for window bookmarks on the Stitching for Literacy blog, I hadn't actually made any. It was just an idea. I've made some now, and I really like them!
Every year during the Needle and Thread: Stitching for Literacy Bookmark Challenge, I’m peppered with questions about how to finish bookmarks. Invariably, I search the Stitching for Literacy blog for links to useful posts and wish I had an easy way to find tutes from old newsletters.
I like writing the blog and newsletter because it forces me to generate ideas, some of which turn out to be good, especially when critiqued and improved by readers. The blog and newsletter are a sort of public needlework playground.
But blog posts are quickly buried, and newsletter articles, while archived, cannot be easily searched. The good stuff–or suddenly-relevant stuff–gets lost within the mountain of other stuff.
Part of the reason I wanted to redesign the Funk & Weber site was to organize How To tutorials to make them accessible. I wanted to make the Bookmark e-book to organize and make accessible the tips, tricks, & brilliant ideas we’ve shared in the past.
The e-book currently contains the following:
Online Resources - links to step-by-step tutorials on the Funk & Weber site.
Bookmark Forms & Backings
Hooks & Ribbons - So the embroidery can be visible.
Stitch Bands - Three ways to finish those short ends.
Card Stock: Ready-Made Tags
Card Stock: Stitching Cards
Card Stock: Self-Made Backing - Includes printable templates.
Card Stock: Window Bookmarks - Includes printable templates.
Stitching on Card Stock - A how-to.
Protective Vinyl Sleeves - We carry them, as does Gayle at Accents, Inc.
Sisu’s Pocket Bookmark - A step-by-step tutorial.
Outreach Patterns - Patterns plus the super-quick finishing method we use during outreach Make-It-Take-Its.
Bookmarks 101 Class - For a more in-depth exploration of finishing techniques.
How to Get the E-book
The e-book is free when you subscribe to The Needlework Nutshell, our free e-newsletter. There are rego boxes all over this site—there’s even one that pops out every seven days and hits you over the head—but just in case you haven’t seen one (trust me, it’s possible), well, this one’s for you:
If you’re a Nut already, and this post is news to you, your SPAM filter might be over-zealous or perhaps you’re behind in reading e-mail (ahem). You know what to do, but be prepared to pay–pay me a compliment, of course!
I hope you find this e-book fun and useful, and I hope you’ll join me and fellow Nuts on the stitchy playground in The Needlework Nutshell.
And now that you’ve gotten your free e-book, click one of the share buttons below and tell your stitchy friends how they can get theirs. Thanks!
Have you been waiting for news of our Needlework Show puzzle contest winners? Yeah, me, too.
After the show, I asked the random number generator to select three numbers. It did, and I sent notifications to the winners. Two of the three responded promptly, and I hope they now have their prizes in hand. I still haven’t heard from the third winner! Go check your email and your SPAM folder.
I sent an email earlier this week saying she had until Monday to contact me, and if I didn’t hear from her, I’d pick a new winner. So who knows; you might be a winner yet!
The answer to the Funk & Weber Designs October, 2011, Needlework Show puzzle contest.
The online Needlework Show is October 20 – 25, and, as has been the case for all of the show’s ten years of existence, Funk & Weber Designs will be there with a puzzle contest!
This is the wholesale trade show that’s open to the public for viewing, so carve out some time to come stroll the aisles. You’ll see new patterns, old favorites, fibers, tools, doo-dads, specials, door prizes, games, and contests.
News and nonsense about needlework, reading, writing, life in Alaska, and any other ding-dong thing that strikes my fancy. From project tutorials to books on my nightstand to gardening to travel to sourdough bread and waffles to wildlife and photography--it's all fair game. "Focus Schmocus" are the magic words here.
Keep In Touch
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...or The Nutsletter. Get notices of updates, news, tutorials, specials--all the good stuff--in your Inbox.
And now when you subscribe, get a free copy of Bookmark Tips, Tricks, & Brilliant Ideas, chock full of stitching and finishing ideas, patterns, templates, and tutorials.
I am ahuge fan of The Great Courses. They are great for watching or listening while stitching. And they're great in the car, on the mp3 player or iPod while gardening or picking blueberries, etc.
Join us as we stitch bookmarks and encourage kids to read. Visit your local needlework shop, guild, or the Stitching for Literacy website to see how you can get involved.
Jan teaches Riley to stitch a bookmark during a Stitching for Literacy outreach program at an Anchorage Public Library.