Follow Me!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Getting Paid: My First Commissioned Project

I recently was approached by another stitchy friend (of the knitting variety) with a Janlyn shawl kit. She had mentioned she had a friend who purchased it because she liked to shawl, but wanted someone else to cross stitch the tea roses that were meant to embellish it. My friend mention that I might be able to do it, so she brought it into work to look at.

Oh. And she wants to PAY ME.

So, I have never been paid to stitch anything. I usually make things as gifts - purchasing patterns, fabric, and floss and paying for the framing myself (someday I plan on putting up a blog post about my framing procedures). Occasionally someone will purchase a kit and ask me to stitch it, but I never have charged. I have though about selling my work, but there is a lot I need to  be clear on since I have yet to create my own designs and copyright rules sometimes make it difficult. But someone who needs stitching done does not infringe on any of that. It is kinda like asking someone to come in and paint your living room. You are paying for a service.

Flattered that my friend would think of me, I agreed to take a look at the kit. Here are some pics:

 Here is the shawl with floss and an image of it completed. It is actually very large.


This is a close up of the shawl. You can see the tea roses that are meant to be stitched along the edge of the shawl. Each design in no bigger than 5 x 5. This why I agreed to the project.



There are 9 designs in total. They are fairly simple (no half stitches or french knots) and minimal back stitching. There is also only about 7 or 8 colors, which means it is not a complicated design.

Payment was also something I needed to consider. I have never asked for money for my stitched projects so I was unsure on how to determine to charge a fair and reasonable price. So I did a little detective work. It seems many cross stitchers tend to charge by the stitch, customarily $.01 a stitch. Others charge a flat rate. Since I am NOT going to count stitches (no way!), I decided to give the customer (my customer - weird!) a choice: $8.00 an hour or a flat rate of $100. She chose the $100. Which works out to about 12.5 hours of work breaking each design to not quite an hour and a half per design. I know it might be on the lower side as far as pay goes, but this is my first paid gig and it is in a medium I am not too experienced handling - I think it is fair. Of course if it was a framed piece of art I would probably be more inclined to charge $10 and hour (pretty standard) plus supplies because I am more comfortable and much more experienced stitching on plain fabric. I go on a new stitchy adventure. I am nervous but really excited. i plan to post updates about this project, so visit often. And of if all goes well, I may make this a side business. Wouldn't that be cool?

Wish me luck!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Blog Hop #16: Oops, I Did it Again! Losing Needles

Dang! Missed Blog Hop #15. That's a bummer. Oh well. Moving on...

 Hop #16 asks:
"How many needles have you lost? Feel free to estimate. Tell us your best 'lost needle' story."

 Good Lord! Quite honestly, I don't even want to know! The thought of someone in my house stepping on a wayward needle scares the crap out of me. I think my husband is the most fearful. When I am working on a project (usually sitting on the couch) and I say, "Uh, oh...I dropped my needle." this look of fear comes across his face and he answers with a very nervous, "Well, you better find it!". I always laugh...but it us a nervous laugh.

So...I don't know how many. Probably dozens. Hopefully, they have been vacuumed up never to be seen again. Luckily in the 15 years i have been stitching, I cannot recall anyone in my family stepping on one.

So, I don't have a really good "lost needle" story. What I do have are many, many "found needle" stories. Such as flipping couch cushions and finding several needles that I never knew were missing or my husband spotting one randomly sticking out of the carpet. I have found needles in my car, at work...even in my closet under my shoes. Really?! I find the less needles I carry with me, the least likely I am to lose them. Too many needles, too many opportunities to drop one here or there and not think much of it. I do think the longer I have stitched, the less the needles have been lost. Maybe I am more aware of my supplies and how they are kept so I don't lose track of them as often.

 But there is always that chance of one escaping...

  Stitching the Night Away Stitching Bloggers Blog Hop
Visit all the blogs in this round of the Stitching the Night Away Stitching Blogger Blog Hop:
Find the instructions on how to participate in this round by clicking here.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Blog Hop #14: Looking Back on 2012

The first blog hop of 2013...woo hoo! Here's the prompt:

What was your biggest stitching accomplishment in 2012? 
What was your favorite stash acquisition in 2012 and will you be using it in 2013?

Hmmm...good one. I would have to say my greatest accomplishment was the mere volume of items I created this calendar year. I am a gift giver - so I am sure I have given at least ten separate finished items to friends and family over the last 12 months. Mostly for new babies (three, I think) and close to a handful of small (and not so small) personalized items to friends. I was also able to complete two things for myself... or my home at least. That is a feat in itself! I hardly make a thing for me to keep. I hope that will change for the year 2013. :)

Two fairly recent stitchy related acquisitions I hope to make good use of are a floor scroll frame and a LED floor lamp. Both of them were "adopted", so they were previously loved. But I am uber-excited to test them out together. The scroll frame stand was purchased from Craig's List for $25 and the lamp was salvaged (for free!) from a lonely existence living in the corner of a dark room. I have used the frame quite a bit - it is most helpful for large pieces like my monster of a mermaid project. The lamp is quietly waiting to be put in use for the first time. Since I got it right before Christmas - I haven't had a chance to try it out.

Together, I have a feeling they will be most helpful in assisting me over the next 12 months of creativity and gift giving fun.

Happy New Year, my stitchy friends!

Stitching the Night Away Stitching Bloggers Blog Hop
Visit all the blogs in this round of the Stitching the Night Away Stitching Blogger Blog Hop:
Find the instructions on how to participate in this round by clicking here.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

For Funsies: Gift Giving

I wonder how surprised you would be to find out that I have hardly any needlework that decorates my home. Most of what I do, I give away. There is always a new baby, a wedding, or a birthday that warrants the opportunity to give something stitchy to a loved one.

Sometimes I grumble about it. How many pieces I am working on, how fast or slow a project is going, what projects are waiting in the wings...but the truth is I really love doing it. And for the most part, people seem to enjoy the things I make for them as well. There is something about handmade gifts that mean more than a board game or book or CD. It makes me happy that people proudly display the things I make for them at home and in their offices. Warm and fuzzies....that sort of thing.

I like to think my gift giving is a little more special than most. First of all, it tends to be unique and quirky. I am a pop culture freak and I enjoy giving gifts of non-traditional designs that reflect that. People who see it tend to be really surprised and impressed that you can stitch a picture of Lucille Ball or quote Darth Vader in humorous and beautiful way. I also build my pieces, opposed to buying kits. I purchase or acquire a free pattern, I buy  the fabric and embroidery thread individually, and I frame everything myself. Most of it has been self taught, so there have been hits and misses but in the end, there is something awesome that has been created.

Overall, I am grateful for my love of this art, the people who support and admire it, and those that are gifted with it. Its a process, from conception to gifting. I enjoy every part of it. And I like to be a prime example of why cross stitching is not a dying art, how you can create items that are new and relevant, and turn the heads of those who think they know otherwise.

This isn't your Gramma's cross stitching!

Blog Hop #13: My Stitchmas Wish

The holidays are right around the corner and gift exchanges are happening everywhere you look. If an amazingly magical Stitchmas Santa were to fly overhead and bring you one stitching wish, what would it be?

I didn't have to think much about my Stitchmas wish, so this was Ottlite! 

I really need one of these. I currently try to do stitching at night using a regular floor lamp but find it not worth the trouble. It is heavy and big and because it uses regular bulbs, it is HOT. I like to sit on the couch and watch television with my family but the light is not very focused so it is quite the distraction for others in a dark room. I also have a small Ottlite with a magnifying glass that comes with a small tabletop stand and can be clipped onto a scroll bar or floor stand, but the light is not enough to focus on large pieces art and my chart at the same time so it is really slow work to stitch and keep referring to the pattern for reference.

The main reason I haven't purchased an Ottlite is because they are so dang expensive! For the work I do, it probably would be worth the money to invest in one. I would definitely be a more prolific stitcher and make progress on projects if I could stitch at night after I have come home from work. Particularly in the winter when it gets dark at 5pm.

I suppose I will break down and spend the $200 eventually. But who knows? Maybe this will be the year Santa brings me one!! Stitching the Night Away Stitching Bloggers Blog Hop
Visit all the blogs in this round of the Stitching the Night Away Stitching Blogger Blog Hop:
Find the instructions on how to participate in this round by clicking here.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Blog Hop #12: Giving Thanks

When it comes to the stitching part of your life, what are you most thankful for?

Hmmm. Good question. I guess I am most thankful for the fact that I am able to stitch to the extent that I do. Crafts can be expensive - any kind of crafts. It is unfortunate, because people are crafty because they love it. I don't think I have heard anyone say, " Oh, great. I have to be crafty for several hours today. What a chore." Right? Sometimes I wish I had MORE time to stitch. But I also recognize there may be people who have the time to stitch, but just don't have the funds. I am a pretty giving person, so if I ever get the chance, I'd would  and could share my immense stash wares. Just so someone can get a little joy.

I guess the other thing I am grateful for is how much my friends and family like my work. I bring smaller projects to work so some people ask me questions and want to know more about it - what does it mean, who is it for, that sort of thing. I have a blog, so I keep a lot of others updated on my WIPs and finished projects. People seem genuinely interested in what I am doing. I also give most of the things I make away as gifts. It is what I do, I enjoy it, and I like to share it. For the most part, people are very thankful and appreciative of what I make them (mostly framed pieces). I think there was only one time I had someone tell me directly,"I don't like cross stitch art, so don't make me anything." I was taken aback just a little bit because besides being a bit hurtful, I thought it was incredibly rude. I guess not EVERYONE likes things cross stitched, but jeez. I am sure there is a better way to express it than saying I hate it so don't bother making something.

Overall, I am grateful I have picked it up and enjoy it so much. It keeps  me busy when I am bored and gives me a sense of accomplishment and pride when I can display it in my home (or in other's homes). I probably will do it forever...or until my eyes stop working. I enjoy it too much to give it up!
Stitching the Night Away Stitching Bloggers Blog Hop
Visit all the blogs in this round of the Stitching the Night Away Stitching Blogger Blog Hop:
Find the instructions on how to participate in this round by clicking here.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

WIP: Sea Goddess

My current WIP (work in progress) is a Joan Elliott design called "Sea Goddess" (you can see a finished one here) I am stitching for my daughter. I started it in the Spring, made some good progress on on it, and promptly ignored it practically all summer.It was just so dang HOT! Anywho, I recently picked it back up again and am currently working on her hair. Here is my progress so far:
To tell you the truth, her hair (something I was looking forward to) is giving me fits. There are three colors of browns in there and those empty spaces? Those are where beads will go. At some point I miscounted  and instead of frogging it, I tried to adjust for it. To someone else, it may not evident. But of course *I* am disappointed and frustrated with the mess I have made. The two things I do have going for me is, 1.) there is no backstitching in her hair, so it is easy to adjust and hide, and 2.) I do believe at this point, it is only in her hair I miscounted and will not affect the overall design. I was told by other stitchy friends that the beads should come last and those spaces should be left empty (something I didn't know when I started this project) but they also said it is perfectly fine to place beads over the stitches if I need to. That makes me feel a little better. So I will finish up her hair and get working on the seaweed that is weaving through her locks. Wish me luck!