Thursday, March 12, 2015

Stitching Plans by Suzanne

The habits and practices of needlepointers are so fascinating to me.  There are some of us that look at a painted canvas and bubble with excitement over the possibilities that start forming in our heads about threads and stitches and embellishments. These are the folks that buy a piece because they can see how they want to stitch it and enjoy every step of the process - the planning, the diagramming, the searching for the right stitch, the shopping for perfect threads.  There are some of us that look at a blank canvas and stay brain-blank except for the joy and love for the piece and the hobby.  Those folks are ones that prefer a stitch guide - they love that someone else has done the selecting, the planning, the practicing, and occasional guesswork for us.  And many of us are a combination of those two...anywhere along the spectrum. 

Even for me, many times I pick a canvas because it's meaningful to me and I know it will memorialize a sentiment or because I just absolutely love it or because it would make the perfect gift for someone....but I have absolutely no idea what to "do" with it.   Other times, I pick a canvas because almost immediately I start seeing exactly what to do with it  - I draft stitches in my head, mentally pull the perfect threads, and ultimately design my own unique creation/stitching plan.  Just like many of you, some times I buy a canvas because I saw how someone else stitched and I just want use their guide and do what they did without having to think much.  If you are a regular here, then you also know I hardly ever follow a stitch guide exactly because getting started and seeing someone else's ideas inspires my own.  

I hope you all do this - never worry about straying from a stitch guide suggestion.  After all, that's all it is - an idea or recommendation.  It's not a rule or a commandment.  And if the writer has never stitched the piece, then it really was an educated guess on their part and if it doesn't "work", then you pick something else for sure.  I promise you that, as stitch guide writers, we don't mind.  Stitchers are such a polite and caring group that we worry ourselves silly we might offend someone if we don't like their suggestions or thoughts in a guide.  Really, the writer's goal is to guide and inspire you...and we would all be so happy if everyone ended up with a completed piece they can truly call their own and be joyfully proud to have created.

The ultimate point of this post is this:  I am a person who takes her place at many points along this needlepoint spectrum. I like doing it all.  At times, I am the purchaser and follower of a stitch guide.  At times, I am the author. 

Since I have had so many questions about the availability of my stitch guides, any guide that I have written can be purchased by emailing me directly at  I will send an invoice via email or through PayPal and ship the guide directly to you when payment has been received.  I can send a PDF copy via e-mail or a paper copy via postal media mail  - whichever you prefer.  I hope to post a complete list of available guides soon. I will also happily work with shops who would like to purchase my guide to sell with canvas/thread kits or who would like to enlist my services as a teacher. 
My new format is called a “stitching plan” and it is my hope to provide the at-home stitcher with as much of the information they would need to carry out the stitching suggestions as possible.  It is much more than just a list of threads and stitches.  I may include variations for complicated stitches to accommodate every level of expertise.  I try to include notes about any issues that one might encounter while using a particular thread or executing a specific stitch.  I may include possible thread substitutions suggestions.  I want my stitching plan to be a way for a stitcher to increase their overall knowledge of needlepoint techniques, threads, stitches, etc.  And hopefully be able to use this new information in the future with other projects/opportunities. 

These little snippets gives you an idea of how I approach developing a stitching plan...

Every guide starts with a full color photo like this:

Every guide has contact information and general notes:

Every guide has a complete list of threads and supplies needed:


Each area to be stitched is listed on its own page for ease in following and some include close-up photographs such as this...
or this...
or hints and tips about thread choices, etc.
 I also include a separate "shopping list" at the back of the guide.  If the guide is printed and bound, then this page will be loose so that you can use to mark up while you shop through your stash or at your LNS. 
 Those are just a few examples of what's included in "Stitching Plans by Suzanne."  Some plans are more extensive than others, especially if I plan to teach a class on that piece.  Some special-request guides or older guides may be more simple.  Some of the older guides that haven't been updated to the new format will still be available for nominal fee or free.  I make every effort to ensure the accuracy and completeness of each plan; however, it is possible that you may need to adjust thread quantities depending on your own personal stitching style or make minor adjustments to the suggestions based on your skill level.   Occasionally threads get discontinued and I will update if possible but you might have to make a substitution through your LNS/thread source.
While I really enjoy this process, it takes a lot of time and creative energy to do this so at this time, I am only writing guides for pieces that I have stitched.  In general, I am not hiring out for custom stitch guides since they are so costly, in both investment of my time and price to the consumer - and because there are many competent custom stitch guide writers available in the current marketplace.  However, if you have a special request or just need minimal stitch advice/suggestions, feel free to contact me for consideration/quote.  I will be teaching some classes and will post as those engagements are confirmed.  Do not hesitate to contact me regarding pieces that I have stitched or am teaching. 
Please let me know if you have any questions.   HAPPY STITCHING!
 P.S.  I will be teaching the super fun Santa (by Raymond Crawford) pictured at the top of the post in June 2015 here in Lubbock, Texas - stay tuned to this blog or contact me for details.      <<< insert happy dance here >>>


Anne Bloom said...

Your Stitching Plans sound wonderful. The format is well thought out and very clear. Good luck with your venture!

Anonymous said...

I am excited about your plan. Been a big fan of yours so will be the first to order a plan.

Cathy said...

Congratulations. Exciting to personal know you.