Sales of Kits and Patterns
Updated July 2021
In the future I will continue to have small sales as they are so much easier for me to ship.
Keeping Track of My Sales:
If you sign up for my Newsletter will your inbox be flooded? No, I send out a Newsletter a few days before a sale and that's all.
My Newsletters are one page long, with date and time, of a sale and usually a listing of what is in the sale.
Requesting Old Patterns
If you wish to request an old design of mine, please email me with your request. I will do my best to bring back your requests in future sale.
Queendom Website’s Own Jargon
MacSoph is my trusty little Apple MacBook computer.
Back in the late 1980’s DH and I had an SE and an English friend named that computer ‘Sophie Enchilada’ a bit of ridiculousness that stuck and our computers have been ‘Soph’ ever since.
DH is my 'Dear Husband' who helps me with Mail Jail. He does some of my bookkeeping and he and I drive together to the post office because of parking.
The main thing to know about DH in connection with Queendom Website is the concept of ‘First Thing in the Morning’.
First Thing in the Morning means just that to me: it is the first thing I do in the morning.
DH has a different concept: First Thing in the Morning can often mean before 4:00 in the afternoon. DH isn’t a morning person.
This arises in connection with ‘Mailing Packages First Thing in the Morning’.
How Queendom Website Got its Name
Not long after MacSoph and I started our website, a friend said to me, your website is just like your own little private kingdom.
I replied, “yes, but not a kingdom, it’s a Queendom and I am Queen.”
And that’s why I usually have an abundant number of crowns and Things Royal on Queendom Website.
E-Week is my big once-a-year sale usually in mid-October. I have other sales during the year but E-Week is my extravaganza.
E-Week is named after Merchandise Night at seminars. Merchandise Night at seminars is an evening when teachers and other vendors sell their wares for 2 hours or so. Now I have E-Merchandise Week, shortened along the years to 'E-Week'.
During E-Week, Early Morning Surprise Windows happen on Saturday morning at 8:00 sharp California Time.
Surprise Windows have special items, often limited in number, for a short period of time. If I do say so, they are a special part of E-Week and they are great fun!
Mail Jail is the shipping division of my little business and it is the main reason I don’t have things for sale on Queendom Website all the time.
Every needlework teacher knows about Kit Hell. That’s the time before a class when you do nothing but order supplies and then divide them up into kits.
Even though I am retired from travel-teaching, I still have a bit of Kit Hell in my life.
If you have ever spilled 10,000 seed beads, you will know about Bead Mania.
This is all the Queendom Website Jargon I can think of right now. If I think of more of it, I will post it here.
Queendom Website's Production Team
Queendom Website's staff includes:
Queen Consort (DH) who helps with bookkeeping and is an occasional staff writer (when I can talk him into it).
and Queendom Website's Faithful Subject, MacSoph (my trusty little MacBook computer).
July 9, 2019 Tuesday
The First Day of My Remodeled Website
My New Year's Resolutions for 2021
1. Take all the pent-up anxiety about perfection and redirect that energy toward creativity. Open up your minds and think of creative possibilities you can bring to your needlework, ways that will personalize it and make it distinctly yours. Here are two ways to start:
Oops you made a mistake and you face a lot of ripping.
Ask yourself, is it really a mistake or a variation?
You do have to rip if you crossed most of your crosses in one direction and suddenly you started crossing them in the other direction, yep no way around that. Why? The real reason for good technique is that it allows all your attention to focus on your design (where it should be).
You don't have to rip if you made a leaf one row bigger than the design called for. This is obsessive behavior that needs redirecting in 2021.
You do need to rip if you make something so large it is out of scale with the rest of the design; you do not have to rip if it is barely noticeable.
You do not have to rip if you mixed up colors and the design is not exactly as the designer's model. For heaven's sake, if it looks OK, stop obsessing.
You do have to rip if a color or texture is not in harmony with the rest of the design.
You do not have to throw away a design if you run out of a dye lot.
If it looks like you are headed toward thread shortage, don't use the thread to the last strand, save at least 1/4 of it. Buy some more and decide where and how to introduce the new dyelot. I actually prefer to work with multiple dyelots. If you pay attention to lights and darks etc., they can bring an added depth to your design.
2. In memory of Audrey Francini, my generation's greatest needlewoman, slow down. Needlework is not a speed contest. Audrey was the slowest stitcher I have known. She was also the best. I have a couple of great stories about Audrey and her speed, I'll tell them in the next couple of mornings.
3. Forget about the Needlepoint Police. They don't exist except in their minds. You may meet people who think they know it all. Good for them, I applaude their confidence, but I don't buy into it.
I have probably told this story a dozen times but it is worth telling again and again. Years ago a friend wrote to me and asked, will this Kreinik braid look good with this silk?
I replied, beats me, try it and see.
Friend: whadaya mean you don't know, you're the teacher.
My reply: if the Immortal Artists Of The Western World don't know without trying, how would I, one mere mortal needlework teacher? (There's a bit more to thsi story too, I'll tell the rest another time).
All this goes to say once again, there is no real right and wrong, there are problems of course. The best way to find solutions is to think creatively.
Those are my New Year's Stitching Resolutions for 2021.
Reminders for me as well as for all of you.
Monday July 26, 2021
Part of my reason for changing course is that I am having computer problems. I didn't know whether I could fix them myself or not.
This morning I found out I can't fix them myself, I have to send in my computer for repairs and I don't know how long it will be away.
Sunday July 25, 2021
I am changing course for a while: I want to finish shipping my Hearts Sale and I have to take a few personal days also. I will be back with my Painted Canvas vs Counted Needlepoint columns as soon as I finish shipping obligations and life settles down a bit.
Nothing wrong, DH and I just have a list of things we have to do. We've put them off and off and off, and finally DH said, we have to do them, we can't keep putting them off.
Saturday July 24, 2021
Painted Canvas vs Counted Needlepoint: Assessments
I had intended to work on this yesterday but something came up at home and took my day away. I am running behind and will try and catch up today and tomorrow.
Friday July 23, 2021
Painted Canvas vs Counted Needlepoint: Assessments
My English teacher began my change from Painted Canvas to Counted Needlepoint not because she had a prejudice but because she exposed me to so many techniques beyond needlepoint stitches.
Finally one day a catalogue phoned me and asked if I could paint 12 dozen of a thimble ornament in my portfolio. I think the catalogue thought I would be ecstatic; instead, I asked for a day to think about it. I thought it over, phoned back the next day, declined the offer, put down my paint brush and (except for occasional washes on canvas) I never picked it up again. In the end I didn't want to paint the knurling on 144 thimbles.
So why did I change from Painted Canvas to Counted Needlepoint? I will show you some examples tomorrow.
Thursday July 22, 2021
Painted Canvas vs Counted Needlepoint: My Own History
I came to needlepoint backwards: I painted canvases before I learned how to stitch. The shop I painted canvases for taught me how to stitch so that I would paint better.
If I divide my long needlepoint tenure into parts, there are three: my early years painting canvases, my travel teaching years and my Queendom Website years. I painted canvases for about 10 years, travel-taught for the guilds about 25 years and have run Queendom Website for 13 years.
As many of you know, I am married to a retired history professor; several years after I began painting canvases, DH had a grant to work in England and while he was busy, I went to the Royal School of Needlework.
Schools go through their ups and downs; it has an illustrious past of producing wonderful wonderful needleworkers and the woman I took lessons from was one of those people.
In my time at the Royal School, the school was in a slump. Needlepoint in the U.S. was a craze, we Americans migtrated to the Royal School, it had stopped its rigorous program and ittaught series of 3 lessons essentially for American tourists.
My teacher was an acid-tongued Brit who made the Americans cry, so they fired her. I followed her and in the time I spent with her over the next few years, she taught me how to stitch.
It was the beginning of my transfer from Painted Canvas to Counted Canvas
Tuesday July 20, 2021
In constructing a stitching plan for a painted canvas, you have a number of tools: those tools obviously include choices of stitches, choices of colors, choices of thread. So how do you decide what to choose? Here are some considerations:
Contrast in Density
Contrast in Scale
Contrast in Texture
Contast in Color
Chances are the artist who painted the canvas took care of the colors, but you will have to deal with the other three. As a rule, I rely on a combination of scale and density. A few notes on both:
Lowest density: plain canvas, a very important tool to remember.
Highest awkward density: too much sloppy compensation. If you have too much high density compensation next to other high density compensation, the line of your design can become muddied.
Paying attention to scale: too many big gloppy stitches together are a sure way to muddy the design and ruin its line.
If you have a big gloppy stitch, consider a simpler smaller stitch that supports the appearace of the big gloppy stitch instead of fighting with it for attention.
Testure: the sad temptation is to throw every thread you own on a single piece. Restrain yourself. Have some texture that draws attention, but then add something more restrained that allows your eye to enjoy the texture and then rest.
Enough for today. More tomorrow.
Monday July 19, 2021
A Very Basic Design Concept
Several years ago a friend took a special online class about choosing stitches for a painted canvas. She had a large elaborate canvas and one of the first questions she asked the teacher was, where should she start?
I was listening to Fiber Talk with Gary and Beth over the weekend, and they asked the same question.
So I thought I would answer.
Where to start isn't an arbitrary decision. If you follow the general guidelines for a visual presentation, you start with the focal point.
So what is the focal point and how do you decide where it is?
The focal point is the first element you see when you look at a design. For example, if you are stitching a figure, the focal point is the face.
If you're unsure about the focal point on your canvase, here is a trick to help you decide: Blur your eyes so that everything is in soft focus and look at your canvas. What do you see first?
Why is it important to work the focal point first? When you begin stitching a piece, you have the most options and you can use these options to make the most important element shine.
The focal point sets the stage for everything else. It sets up all the other elements, it guides all the rest of your choices, for their job is to support and enhance the focal point.
I think it is wise to follow this order even when you are stitching a design where someone else has made all the design decisions; it is essential if you are the one making the design decisions, ie working on a painted canvas without a stitch guide.
Sunday July 18, 2021
Last night I watched the final hour of a netflix program, The Queen's Gambit. I had no idea that a series about chess could be so tense, so captivating and in many ways so very sad. It certainly calls forth the dark side of genius.
On with work today, and maybe a bit of stitching. I have had some long sessions of Tent Stitch, now nearly at the end of them and I'm eager to get on with the design.
I have written about this before, but my present design calls it to mind again. Continental and Basketweave are often the first stitches a needlepointer learns -- I was certainly one of those.
Then most of us discover all the different stitches that make life more interesting and many of us move on from Continental and Basketweave. I was one of those, but now in my stitching life I have returned to extravagant uses of Basketweave, often as a first layer, and then I stitch on top of the basketweave.
I didn't intend for the design I'm currently working on to be so much about Basketweave, but so it has evolved.
The way I design is different from most people: I find a starting point and stitch, but I try not to fix my ideas in cement. I prefer to let the design evolve as I stitch, very true of this one. It has a life of its own and is leading me along.
Makes for interesting stitching, even if there is a lot of Basketweave.
One effect about this design: I have changed the direction of the Basketweave frequently and the play of light is wonderful as a result.
On with work and hopefully I will have a chance this afternoon to finish the basketweave.
Saturday July 17, 2021
DH and I had a lovely do-nothing day yesterday, a nice way to celebrate our years together.
Back to work today. And a little stitching too. Stitching these days is half playing in my bead boxes. I have made little flossie bags of the different beads I've collected. I dump out these little baggies and spend endless magical time auditioning them and planning new projects for them.
Gradually I have built up my collection of little glass beads set in metal. For those of you who have my Queen Victoria design, these little glass beads form her diamond necklace. They come in 'clear crystal' (colorless like diamonds) and in many primary colors. My challenge is always finding a quantity large enough to use a lot of them on a single project and also have enough for kits.
I've been very lucky. I found the majority of them about a year ago but then just lately I have found some more. I just found a very small light blue-gray color that matches a color of Soie d'Alger that I use frequently. When I have the chance, I buy them and add them to my stash.
The fun of course comes in playing with them by arranging them on a design. I think of these session as 'Bead Auditions' and it has always been a favorite activity. I use it as a reward: so much work accomplished, so much time playing with my beads.
And so I will pass the day today.
Next mailing: Monday.
Friday July 16, 2021
I have had my spectacular scissors for several months but they are not officially mine until this morning. They are officially an anniversary present from DH. (DH loves Carolyn because she does his shopping for me -- lovely arrangement, thank you Carolyn!)
If I saw only a photo of the scissors, ie I hadn't seen them in person, I would be surprised by how small they are. In the photo they look to me like they would be large. In fact, they are the same size as normal needlework scissors, 3 3/4" tall.
The handles are flat and wide. The scene of two women sewing is different on the other side. If you hold the scissorsup to the light you can see that the Art Nouveau scrolls near the blades and again near the finger rings are pierced, a nice detail.
The blades are steel, the handles silver, the join so careful you don't see it at first.
The scissors are French and were originally part of a set in a plain case. Made in the early 20th century, they won a prize for design in a 1908 French exhibition and one of the sets is in the British Museum, something I learned quite by accident.
I first saw the scissors about 35 years ago, when I was photographing collections for my Thimbles Book. It was the only time I've seen them in person. Carolyn said she sold the set for someone one time, and she bought this pair for herself years ago, and those are the only times she's seen them.
As a needlework tools addict for a longer time than I care to think about, I am excited and delighted to have them. They are quite simply the most spectacular scissors I've ever seen.
I'm taking the day off today; back to work tomorrow.
Thursday July 15, 2021
How extraordinary can a pair of scissors be? Tomorrow morning I will post a photo of a pair of scissors quite simply the most extraordinary scissors I've seen.
So when Carolyn was weeding her collection and they were among her weedings, I begged for them, DH bought them for me and tomorrow morning they are officially mine.
I first saw a pair about 30 years ago and never forgot them I've seen them in person only once, but I've seen photos of them. They're in the little French scissors book (the only scissors in the book with two photos), they won a grand prize for design in 1908 at a French exhibition and they have a place in the British Museum. Carolyn said she has seen them only twice, as part of a set and her pair.
So what is so extraordinary about them? Not the material, they aren't gold and they don't have diamonds, etc.: not the age, they aren't 250 years old, they were made in the early 1900's. This time it is all about the design. Quite simply, the design is extraordinary.
Yes, I'm a scissors addict. I know some of you are too, and I hope you will enjoy seeing them. Excitement! I can't wait till tomorrow!
Meanwhile, I am on my way to sit in front of my little printer and type shipping labels. Yes, first Travel Hearts will be in the mail this afternoon.