Sunday, July 24, 2016

Fall Lineup

Things are always quiet in the new release arena after returning from Nashville in the spring. It's a time to take a breather and prepare for the coming months. I'm happy to share a number of new releases now as we go into the next "show season."

Norden is one of the major US distributors for cross stitch charts and supplies. They are hosting a fall show opens August 8th where shops will be able to order new charts and limited edition kits exclusively through them.

Ink Circles is releasing two new charts for the Norden Fall Show. If you'd like to get copies, ask your favorite shop to tune in to the Norden Show.
Dreidel, Dreidel cross stitch chart by Ink Circles
Dreidel, Dreidel

Arranging Vegetables cross stitch chart by Ink Circles
Arranging Vegetables
Here are two more that I released earlier this month. They should be available through just about every shop, as they've been sent to all of the major distributors.

Reflections of New York City cross stitch chart by Ink Circles
Reflections of New York City

Reflections of Scotland cross stitch chart by Ink Circles
Reflections of Scotland
And stay tuned, because I'll have yet TWO more charts coming for the Fall Harvest Market Hop in September.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Picking Colors

I showed photos of two new releases this week, and it's gotten me thinking about picking colors. Monochromes vs. fully dictated palettes.

Tapestry - in 13 colors of Gentle Arts Threads.
I absolutely love how this came out, and judging from your comments on Facebook you do, too. However, this is probably the only coloration most of us are going to see for this design. There might be a few of us who swap around colors for something else, but most people who stitch it are likely to pick up the Gentle Arts thread pack or grab the DMC or other substitutes. The gold will likely stay gold. The two blues will likely stay two blues. (See below for the color list.)

Flower Power - a monochrome
Flower Power, on the other hand, is presented to you in a monochrome. When you start stitching, we are going to see this on a wide range of hand-dyed fabrics. You are going to choose all sorts of different threads. Many of you will use multiple different threads - making different colored flowers, or even multicolored flowers. And because I didn't specifically tell you what color to put in what spot, you will be creative and you will make awesome things from this. And they will be unique; and they will be special.

When I tell you all the colors, I take this creativity away from you, or at least make it more unlikely that you reach for it. Will it blow your mind if I tell you that all of these mandalas started out as monochromes, and that you can add as much color as you like? I don't add color until the end. Make a photocopy of your chart and break out some colored pencils. Add as much color as you like. Or, pick one nice color and go to town, enjoying the shapes as the stitched take form. There is no right answer - just do what you like to do.

Tapestry before I added the colors
BTW - don't you love Moire patterns (the weird lines artifact)
You can choose from many ways. Unfortunately, I usually only get to show you one way on the cover. That is why we all get so excited when photos of different versions are shared on the social media. Let me know what you come up with. 

To make Tapestry with the colors I've shown, you will need these Gentle Arts Thread (5 yard skeins). A few were so close to the 1 skein mark, I've rounded up. The fabric used was Weeks Dye Works Parchment linen in 30 count. Size is 199 x 199.
Pine (2)
Mulberry (1)
Grecian Gold (2)
Cinnamon (2)
Soot (1)
Wood Smoke (1)
Dark Chocolate (1)
Barn Grey (2)
Brethren Blue (2)
Briar Rose (2)
Apple Cider (1)
Garden Gate (2)
Piney Woods (3)

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

It's not just for cross stitch any more

My biggest announcement of the year! I love coloring mandalas, and now YOU can color my mandalas too. I've been working on a coloring book, and now it is ready. It's got 20 different mandalas ready for you sit back, relax, and color.

Ink Circles is publishing a coloring book. This is what the cover looks like.
It's called Peace of Art, a little pun because you will be creating a piece of art and you will be enjoying the peace of this relaxing art form.  If you've been watching at all, you'll have noticed a stream of interviews/programs/studies in the social media that tout the benefits of coloring as an adult hobby.

In what may be either a brilliant or a foolish move, I have chosen to distribute through Amazon as my primary fulfilment vehicle. You'll get Prime 2-day shipping; you'll get their price breaks (if they discount it); you'll be able to write and read reviews; I'll get a huge potential audience.

If you're not seeing the link directly above because of Adblock or your firewall, you'll need to go to Amazon and search the old fashioned way. It says order, but technically it is "pre-order" until Nov 10th.

Some of the choices I made in putting this together that might set my book apart from others:

  • Single-sided (8.5 x 11"), so you can cut out pages and frame (or hang on your fridge) without losing a second page.
  • Cardstock pages, so you can use colored pencils OR marker, or maybe even watercolor pencils without the page bleeding through or rippling.
  • Spiral wire binding, it folds back flat to whatever page you choose. No coloring in the binding area.
  • Spiral at the top: both my kids are southpaws. That side spiral gets in the way, so this works great for right or left handed colorists.
  • A color test area on each page so you can check if your shading works or that pink is as bright as you hoped. It's designed such that it can be cut out to make a bookmark afterwards.
One of the 20 pages. You can see the binding and the bookmark in this photo.

Pick the colors that make you smile. Relax, there is no wrong way to do it.

Complete with a real ISBN: 978-0-9969675-0-1
I feel so official!
I'll be adding this to the Ink Circles site for ordering, as well as my Etsy shop, in the interest of complete marketing options, but don't feel bad getting it from your cheapest easiest source. (Only feel bad if you are getting it illegally from a scanned pirated posted copy.)


Saturday, October 10, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving Canadians!

There is a lot of weird nonsense going on in the world right now, but there is also plenty to be thankful for. Monday is Thanksgiving Day for our Canadian friends, of which I am happy to have many. I was pleased to be asked by Thread & Eye in London, Ontario (the same shop that let me pilot the Roll Your Own Mandalas) to extend my Reflections series to include Canada. Challenge accepted.
Reflections of Canada 
Canada has no shortage of cool cultural icons, and I tried to balance some from both from modern society and the native peoples. Throw in a few common non-human residents and add a generous sprinkling of the traditional maple leaves and... Voila! Reflections of Canada.

Ingredients: Hockey sticks, teepees, Inukshuk, beavers, pine trees, Parliament building, geese, moose, totem pole, RCMP, the CN tower, dogwood flower, and maple leaves.

This chart is currently available exclusively through Thread & Eye. Neale and Kathy are happy to do mail order.  It's shown stitched in Dinky Dyes Warratah silk on 32 count Vintage Smokey White linen by Zweigart, but it will obviously adapt to just about any color scheme.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Freshly Harvested

Ask your favorite LNS or ONS for these fresh picks from Ink Circles
This fall was the first in many years when the TNNA (national trade organization for needlework) didn't organize a fall needlework market for wholesale buyers. To fill the gap, two different efforts created new shows using new concepts as a way to bring a surge of fresh designs for the fall.

Norden Crafts generated quite a buzz last month with their show and over 120 new designs from your favorite designers, everything ordered through and shipping from Norden. This month, the gals from Shepherd's Bush coordinated an online show where contributing designers made little mini-shows on their own websites and handled orders directly.

It may have been a bit tough for individual stitchers to sort their ways through these new formats, but recognize the result being HUNDREDS of new designs being made available in the cross stitch market within the last month. With that, I salute the efforts made for both shows and proudly present to you the six new designs released by Ink Circles, including Second Spring in collaboration with Hands On Design. Contact your favorite shop to order any of these charts. I do have an online web shop, but I don't add new releases for a few months in an effort to give shops first crack at sales.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Love and Let Love

Here is a special mandala for you. Some of you...if you're not into this sort of thing (tolerance) please just scroll along to the next blog/post - no comment is necessary. If you'd actually like the pattern to stitch this gratuitous profusion of rainbows, hearts and little ♀♂ in various combinations see below.  

Uses 10 skeins of DMC (3 of which are black); 115 inches square; suitable for aida, beads, etc.
Colors called for, but you can pick your own rainbow.

READ ALL THESE WORDS BEFORE YOU BUY: A pattern for this cross stitch design is being offered in pdf format, rather than the usual norm for me which is printed only. Also unusual, is that I am not specifying a price; you put in a number that is right for you, like a tip jar. I'll be donating the funds from this one to an appropriate local org. This is NOT an automatic download - you have to wait for me to email you the file, which I will make every effort to promptly do. I will send it to the email PayPal tells me, unless you say differently. I will not be doing anything ever with the email you use other than sending you the file. The file you receive is copyrighted and is NOT to be posted on any web site or forum, disassembled, scanned, etc. If your friend wants a copy, please send them the link instead and encourage them to chip in a buck or two.

If you run a shop and are interested in printed copies of this, send me an email and I'll be happy to set you up.

Friday, May 29, 2015


I've apparently not posted since January? That's a bit embarrassing, and not for want of content. Some mandalas to stitch... here are the monochromes.
A Holly Jolly Mandala
A Spirited Mandala
Wings and Things