Friday, March 18, 2016

Owl Sitting on Books—My First Foray into Cross-stitch Design

Last spring, I read an article that changed my life. And I almost didn’t read it. I filed away the email it had come in, but something compelled me to go find and read it. I am so grateful I did. From the article, I learned of selling cross-stitch designs on Etsy.

I have loved cross-stitch since I really learned how to do it, back in 2007. Throughout the years I have enjoyed cross-stitching presents for family and friends. I have used designs I found in books and online, and I frequently modified them to fit my needs (keep watch for a future blog post about this). However, after reading the article, the idea of creating my own designs hit me with full force. I have an Etsy shop that I've sold some jewelry and finished cross-stitches through. But as far as the cross-stitch goes, no one is likely to pay for the full time it takes to cross-stitch a design. So, cross-stitch design sounded like an excellent way to pursue my love of cross-stitch and make a living (hopefully at some point) by it.

I decided to give cross-stitch design a try. I pulled out some graph paper and began designing. One of my first ideas was a bookmark of an owl sitting on a stack of books. After a bit of trial and error, I had a design I liked. I then added color using colored pencils. Once I was satisfied with the design, I began stitching it.

              Initial Sketch                          Graph Paper Design

I also looked into cross-stitch design software. I found one I liked, but I was hesitant to make the investment right away. I thought  I should work harder to sell some other things on my Etsy store before buying it. But, my husband convinced me to buy it right away, and I have not regretted it. It is much easier to design with the program than with pencil and paper. I still sketch out ideas on paper, but the bulk of my designing happens on the computer.

While I worked on this design, I kept having ideas for other designs—a series of owl sitting on books bookmarks. My husband thought it was overkill. But the ideas seemed to grip me and wouldn’t let go, so I designed them all, and am pleased with how they turned out.

Original, Spring, Graduation, Autumn, Christmas

Each bookmark features the last name of two authors. There were so many to choose from, and Dickens ended up getting used twice. With the owl sitting on books cross-stitch patterns, I am including the three cross-stitch alphabets I used on these patterns. This way the pattern can be personalized.

The journey of creating these designs wasn’t always easy. For example, as I worked on backstitching the Autumn Owl Sitting on Books, I realized I’d made a mistake in the cross-stitching. There was no easy way to fix it, so I ended up cross-stitching that one again. Also, in cross-stitching the Christmas Owl Sitting on Books, I felt the books overwhelmed the owl, and I was not sure what color would be best for the author names. I created an ornament design to explore what would look best for the author names (keep watch for a future blog post about this) and cross-stitched another Christmas Owl Sitting on Books with the new, revised pattern.

Despite the trials of the journey, it has been one I have thoroughly enjoyed. And now, I’m pleased to announce that the designs will be available on Etsy next week. I will be releasing one design each day, culminating with the release of the combo pack on Saturday. Each design will sell for $5, with the combo pack selling for $20 (if you buy the combo, you will get 5 designs for the price of 4). Below is the release schedule. I will update it throughout the week with links to the Etsy listings.

Monday: Owl Sitting on Books
Tuesday: Spring Owl Sitting on Books
Wednesday: Graduation Owl Sitting on Books
Thursday: Autumn Owl Sitting on Books
Friday: Christmas Owl Sitting on Books
Saturday: Owl Sitting on Books Combo

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