Monday, October 31, 2011

Rubber Meets the Road

The first steps down a new path for Ink Circles have been taken.  A lot of you know how much I love ink work, and many of you have heard me explain, "Sorry - this new drawing I did just won't convert well over to cross stitch."  We could go into the basic 17 types of symmetry and which ones would convert nicely and for which order (fold) they would work, but we'll save that for the math blogs.

A friend convinced me that my non-stitchable designs, however, WOULD be pretty cool as rubber stamped images. So, here is a peek at a few prototypes. I wanted to have a few in hand to play with before ordering up the etched metal plates and investing lots of moolah. I found a company that would make up a one off using a LASER to etch the design into real rubber.  Simon Stamp seems to have done a nice job, with the design printed on the back of the wood block - nice professional touch.  This won't be the same company the final ones will be from, as I'll be switching over to a company that's business model is to economically make bulk quantities. 

The designs are 4" across. It's my thought that it should give a big enough motif to be the main design on a card or something.  Anything smaller and it might be too hard to color or layer.  I'm hoping to offer both wood-mounted and cling-style.

Below is my original painted version of the right-hand stamp.  I hope that crafters will find these fun to make and color. Tomorrow they are going to be sent off to my friend Diane in Virginia. I can't wait to see what she does with them. She makes amazingly awesome layered and embellished things and has promised to make up some samples to show them off and explore some different ways to use them.  She'll also be able to confirm whether image size and level of detail is optimal.

Initially, I'll be focusing on mandalas, but might dabble in Celtic or ...
I'll be sure to share more with you as I move along the path and definitely a heads up when they are available for sale.
I'm anxious to hear from you what you think regarding anything from mount types to images to sizes.  And, if any of you have any experience making/selling stamps I would love to hear any input you have from that angle.  

Thursday, October 20, 2011


Okay, I'm done freaking out about this.  A few days ago I showed you Metamorphosis. The picture was taken in my front garden in diffuse daylight. I thought it looked pretty good on the screen with the light orangish fabric (somewhat overexposed) and the sweet purple asters.  I tootled over to the print shop later that afternoon to review the final proofs (truly a just-in-time job to make the online show deadline.) I was horrified.

Those flowers - BLACK background with gaudy dark smudges.  The fabric had become a creepy yellow color.  Everything was dark and ugly.  No can print. You can read all you want about subtractive colors and additive colors that translates to the pictures that look nice on your screen usually suck when you print them. I hadn't ever seen one of mine come out quite this bad.

An amazing thing, I was going to take a picture to show how unlike the screen photo the hard copy was. I had the screen and the print in my camera viewfinder and damned it the two colors hadn't changed yet still - the print actually looking more appropriately orange and rich than the screen. Oooh, mind games.

I have since retaken photos in just about every light setting, using every camera setting, every photoshop tweak I knew, every publishing program adjustment, and I still struggled.  Maybe it's just harder with the more saturated colors.  I want the printed photo on the chart to be accurate enough in color that if someone were to order the same fabric, they wouldn't be surprised when the parcel arrives.  It might be a touch more orange than you like! Now it looks super-orange on the screen, particularly with the new backdrop, but it prints so much better than the first.

Well, the online show has officially opened - I can tell, because "interesting things" have started showing up in my inbox. I'm waiting for my printer to call that the charts are ready for pickup. I have about 2 TB of garbage photo attempts to clear off my hard drive.  I think it's time for a cup of tea.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Changing Time

Just a few more days before the Online Needlework Show starts up (October 20-25.)  In my last post, I showed you the new Love Letters that I had finished up. Here is another preview for your perusal.  I give you...
Metamorphosis. Below, it presents a bit of an optical illusion to me - it looks like the photo is crooked, tilting down on the right. It also presents a bit of a challenge chart-wise. Like Namaste, 81/2 x 11" paper is not optimal for displaying long skinny things without lots of blank page.

This is the first in a series of charts where I’ve used Quaker motifs to illustrate a particular concept, in this case the transformation from one form into another. In seven steps the pot of flowers motif morphs into an octagonal design.  Seven shades of Gentle Art Sampler Threads also gently transition as the motifs change.  

I was going to call this Evolution, but didn't really want to get into any creationism-sparked arguments nor did I want to defend that an octagonal motif was somehow fitter than a pot of flowers.  So I leaned back on my initial inspiration, which was more Escher-like than anything, and settled with Metamorphosis.

If you get my newsletter (that was just mailed this afternoon) you got to see a sneak peek of a third new offering that I'll have for the Online Show. It's a piece by my Mum and is a bit different than your typical Ink Circles style, so we are releasing under her business name Norsk Needlework.  If you didn't get the newsletter, you'll just have to sign yourself up for such things so you don't miss anything.  Meanwhile, the design in it's entirety will be revealed at the show, along with all sorts of other cool thing from many designers.

Just a reminder that the Online Show is open only to Local and Online Needlework Shops.  We still invite the public to view and provide input to their shop owners.  In this economy, we're seeing a lot more of shops ordering only when nudged by their customers. So make your wish lists heard!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Love Letters

After some initial confusion on assembling the metal frame (I only had three parts left over) I think it worked out even easier than the wooden ones. This is a new piece that will be available next week at the Online Needlework Show.

This is the second piece in a series called Love Letters. Each is a small sampler with an alphabet and a heart motif done in a particular style.  This one is Art Nouveau.  It's stitched up on Picture This Plus linen 32 count Mello with Gentle Arts Sampler Threads.

You may recall Love Letters - Celtic:

The next one I'm working on is Fraktur. Then what???