In this episode I will be chatting all about my process of making a cross stitch kit, using my Little Llama Cross Stitch Kit as an example.
What you will hear:
I chat about the idea that creativity meaning problem solving; an idea a first heard of from Todd Henry, author of Herding Tigers but not an idea I particularly understood. That is, until I watched a programme about Ancient Monuments and how people built them with little tools and no machinery. One interesting example is that the Colosseum in Rome had a retractable roof, where as it took until 2009 for Wimbledon to have a retractable roof built. I think this shows the other side of creativity and how it definitely isn’t all about being able to draw or sew and you can channel your creativity in different ways.
You could ask 100 cross stitch kit makers to tell you their process for making a kit and probably hear about 100 different responses. I very much doubt that 2 kits are ever made the exact same way but I have had some questions about the process I go through for mine and so I thought I would tell you all! I’m using my Little Llama kit as an example today because he has been my most popular kit this year and I took a few photos of his process which I can show you below.
First of all I need an idea of what the kit will be. I have so many ideas. Probably too many actually and it is something I’ve had to learn to control so I don’t go making all the things and sell no things. The Llama idea came from my Facebook group. This year I have decided to release a new animal kit every month as a sort of little challenge to myself. So in January I asked for people’s favourite animals and picked some from that. A Llama was the one I chatted most about so was in the front of my mind and so I decided to start with him. And like when you buy a new car, you’ve never seen the new one before until you buy it and notice it everywhere; once I had decided to start with a Llama I spotted them everywhere – on cushions in Asda, on fabric on clothes and on home prints. I didn’t mind this though as I am quite a trend led business, so I knew he would be quite popular when I launched him.
The next step in my process is drawing the idea, which I do with good old pencil and paper. I had a little look on Pinterest for some llama images and started some sketches. I usually draw around 2 or 3 different ones then draw my own from those sketches. And I had decided that the animals kits were all going to fit in 4 inch hoops so I had to shrink it down a bit too.
After I have drew the rough sketch I colour it in. I so wish someone would make coloured pens or pencils to match the DMC thread colours. It would be amazing! However, for now I just colour in a similar colour to what I think it will be stitched in just to get an idea of the palette. Then I draw around it in a black marker.
After this I trace it onto graph paper and match up the lines with the squares and start drawing my little x’s to make the pattern. The graph paper I use is simialr to what 14 count aida would be so I know that if the pattern on the graph paper fits in a 4″ circle then it will fit in a 4″ hoop. If its a little bigger then I stitch it on 16 count aida instead which is what I did with the llama.
Then it’s the slightly tedious part of putting each square on my graph paper into PC stitch on my laptop. I don’t mind too much as my patterns are usually quite small, but it can get a little boring for bigger patterns.
But after this it’s the fun part of finding colours! I usually have an idea of the colour numbers I need as I tend to use the same colours, just shifting shades slightly. For my llama I used a purple I had used in my Less House More Home pattern and some extra colours from various other kits. In fact, there are 11 colours in my llama even though hes pretty small. If I’m struggling finding a colour on PC stitch though, I do have a full, physical DMC thread chart which is so helpful.
And then, 99% of the time I will stitch the hoop before releasing it as a kit or pattern. I need to know how much thread to put in the kits so I keep track of that as I’m stitching it and it’s much better for photos to have the physical hoop stitched too. And sometimes your pattern can look so different in physical form than digital that you might need to make some tweaks or change some colours.
Once it’s stitched I photograph it and launch it. I won’t talk too much about that side of it as it’s a little business-y and will probably take another episode to talk about. Since recording this I have decided to do a podcast episode on photography so keep your eye out for that (expected release is July 2018).
Summer Stitch Along
This year I am running a Summer Stitch Along that will run from 10th June 2018 – 12th August 2018. Don’t worry if we have started when you are reading this, you can join in when ever you like! And if it has finished, join my Facebook group for updates on future stitch along’s. You can read more about the details of this years here though.
And don’t forget to enter the Stitching Selfie competition.
Pattern of the month
This month isn’t quite a pattern of the month but a WIP bag! I seen these bags on @coffeeandmaking Instagram feed and knew I had to have one (or 3), even though I sell WIP myself because these are amazing. They’re from Sarah Ashford Studio on Etsy and cost just £7 or 3 for £20. They’re see through and large enough for an 8″ hoop and on the front are vinyl words such as stitch, WIP, magic happening. They’re honestly fabulous and mine is currently holding my Satsuma Street, Emerald City WIP.
Key Links And Resources
Carefree Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License