Happy New Year!

comments: 16


Good morning! And happy new year!

My, my. Where do the days go? I've been busy as a bee. Have you ever heard of the Nashville Needlework Market? It's a needlework trade (wholesale) show that is organized by Needlework Retailer magazine and takes place near Nashville, Tennessee, every year. Needlework designers and manufacturers of fabric, floss, and supplies come from around the country (and the world) to exhibit their designs and products. Retail establishments, including brick-and-mortar and online embroidery stores, also come from around the country to shop for products to carry in their stores. This is a cash-and-carry show, so designers bring thousands of paper patterns (along with as many stitched samples as they can fit on their displays in their hotel room) and sell them directly to store owners at the show. Each designer and manufacturer gets a room in a big hotel (it's a hotel that is organized around a central atrium) in which to display their wares. Shop owners have the weekend to visit almost 150 designers' rooms, see their designs, and purchase patterns (and supplies, etc.)  Last summer I was having lunch with my dear friend Beth Twist of Heartstring Samplery who is a longtime cross-stitch designer and exhibitor at the expo. She generously invited me to share her hotel room and exhibit Posie alongside Heartstring Samplery this year. I was so excited and touched that she would offer to do that! It's too far for me to travel right now, so I have a wonderful new friend named Natalie who will be going in my stead and representing me there. She is an avid stitcher and has always wanted to go to the market, so I think it is going to work out great (though oh my gosh, do I ever wish that I could go myself — hopefully someday!).

So since it was decided that Posie would be participating, I have been working to get ready for this show on March 3-5, 2023. Early in 2020, before Covid hit, I had begun working on reformatting all of my cross-stitch patterns to make them appropriate for wholesale. Basically I needed to do several things: Firstly, I wanted to update older patterns that had been designed using my older templates so that they would all be on my new template (the one with the mint-green cover). This took a while. Secondly, for wholesale, I really needed to remove a lot of references to very basic beginner stuff, like how to do a backstitch or separate your floss. Pattern-page real estate is precious and most people who are shopping at needlework stores know how to do these things and don't need written instructions (though I do have stitching tutorials on my web site for them, just in case). Thirdly, the industry standard for needlework shops is to use black-and-white symbol charts, not color charts. So I needed to reformat all of my old charts, because even though they used colored boxes with symbols, a lot of the symbols I used were the same for different colors, so obviously that doesn't work.

I mean, it's bonkers to me that it took me three years to finish this, but it did. I have twenty-five older patterns and three three new patterns (two kits) that I will release for you this spring. Not a huge catalog compared to some designers but I am really proud of the work I've done over the years. It's been kind of an emotional experience to go back through all of these designs and revisit them again, and think about what inspired them again, and just get reconnected with them. When I finally sent all of the older twenty-five to the printers last week, I stood up from the computer and felt such relief. I am so happy to have that project finished. I'm now waiting for the patterns to be returned to me, and then we will be here stuffing 2,500 patterns into bags for the show (and I still need to send the new three to the printer).

Then this weekend I worked on framing all my stitched models. I had some of them stretched and framed but lots of them were not, because I tend to take my cover shots as just flat-lays that are stretched but not always framed. I actually really like finishing work. First, you need the right frame, and that can be sometimes fun, sometime frustrating. I tend to purchase a lot of my frames on eBay or at antique malls or Goodwill. Vintage frames can have really bizarre, nonstandard sizes, but for some reason I have been soooo lucky finding exactly the right bizarro size for something I've already designed and stitched. Many of my designs are done on 32-count fabric and work out to finish at about 6" x 8", which fits really nicely in an 8" x 10" frame, so that's pretty easy, especially if you don't mind modern frames. Sometimes I'll buy inexpensive modern frames (sometimes even plastic) and paint them with acrylic paint. Anyway, once you find your frame, you just need to make sure you will be able to drop about a 1/4" piece of fabric-wrapped foam core into it, and have it be pretty flush with the back. I remove all of the glass, backing, and any old hangers or hardware that might have been part of the frame. Once I've done that, then I can measure the exact size that I need to cut the foam core.

I measure the foam core (I buy these in bulk, but you can get other sizes, and also black) and cut it with an X-Acto knife, trimming it always about 1/16" scant to leave room for the pins and fabric to wrap around the foam core and still fit into the frame opening. Then I wrap the stitching around the foam core and secure it with 1/2" sequin pins. (For a tutorial on this, see here.) Then I add a piece of brown paper to the back with 1/2" heavy-duty double-sided tape (you can use a paper grocery bag if your tape is sticky enough — I find that double-sided Scotch tape is not) stuck all the way around the back edges of the frame. Then I add a little hanger. These D-hooks are really nice, too, and are used with picture-hanging wire. I've used those when I haven't been super lazy, and they do make for a nicer finish.

I finished eleven different pieces over the weekend and I had a whole little workshop going in my office. I watched Indian Matchmaking while I was doing it and now Andy wants to watch it with me (and I want to watch it again, so yay). At some point we all went out the antique mall in the rain to look for more frames (I still needed seven more to finish everything!) and found three great ones. I ran out of foam core, so now I'm waiting for more of that to arrive, too. But it feels good to finish all of these things that have just been hanging around, half-done, for a very, very long time.

Anyway, I'm sorry if this is sort of a boring, pedantic post about the little details, but it's literally all I've been doing for weeks and I don't even have a single other thing that I can think of to talk about.

What have you all been up to?


My intrepid assistant, Agatha Paulson.


That's so exciting that Posie will be at market! I hope you do better than expected. Congrats! :)

You had me at pedantic! It is so much fun to become immersed in your creative endeavors. Best of luck with the market.

How exciting, and also very satisfying I imagine to get everything done and finished. I love hearing about the little details, you always take so much care over it all. I have one of your older designs (Winterwoods ABCs) and I still love it, I know they will all be popular. I really love Night Neighbourhood as well, all those divine little houses. I hope the market goes well, it sounds brilliant. CJ xx

Congratulations! That's such a huge milestone, preparing your patterns for wholesale and then getting *thousands* of copies ready for sale. Wow.

Indian Matchmaking was a hit here, too. We apply Seema's 60-70% rule to just about everything in our lives right now!

Details are more than needed,but the excitement and joy from the experience make them essential to knowing what is happening in your life. Being exposed to new stuff is never bad. Good luck in making it to Nashville some day and with the event this year from afar.

Wow! Lots of work. I love how you use vintage/unique frames. Congrats on going to the Marketplace.

I love hearing about the nitty-gritty details! And it's fascinating that that's how the wholesale embroidery show works; I would not have expected it to be cash and carry when it's annual - I would have expected some easier re-ordering, but maybe embroidery stock doesn't rotate very fast?

I don't know if I have ever commented before, although I am a long-time follower. Your blog is a beautiful, warm and welcoming place and reading your entries always gives me joy (even detail oriented process posts!). Happy New Year!

Kristen from MA says: January 19, 2023 at 08:59 AM

You're going to Market - congratulations! From everything I've read/heard, it is an incredibly hectic couple of days. Glad you found someone to represent you.

I loved hearing about the details of market prepping! This is a fantastic opportunity and so glad you could virtually take advantage of it. I live in Seattle so know the must-run-errands-in the rain feeling. I have been pouring over Ravelry and swatching different yarns on different needles to knit a sweater this year! I crochet alot (your Sunshine Day afghan on my lap currently) but am just a beginning knitter. I decided last night i am just not there yet in my skill level and picked the sophie scarf to practice my garter stitch and get better at even tension, etc. And learn what an I-cord is. Have you watched The Addams family sequel with Wednesday all grown up? I have her crocheted cuff and collar in my queue as well: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/wednesday-addams-collar-2.

I also really enjoyed the Makanai (Netflix): about two bestie japanese girls who move to Kyoto to become Makai, geishas in training. It is so lovely but don't watch while you are hungry, the food cinematography is out of this world.
Will definitely check out Indian Matchmaking.

This is so exciting! Congratulations!

I think you like cosy murder mysteries?

You might get a kick out of Monica Ferris's Crewel Yule which is set at the Nashville Market - if you've not read it already :)

What an amazing cat eye view. I imagine it's trying to figure out how to reach the dangly bits in the first photo.

We should all be as crafty-busy as you. I picked up three pairs of knitting needles since first being laid low by COVID. It altered my brain but seems to have left the knitting knowledge intact. Will test the sewing skills someday soon. Here's to creativity! And actually doing.

Be well

I love the details about the framing. I must confess that I am not good at framing pictures and find it intimidating. I appreciate all the information and love that you use vintage frames. Also the fact that the work can be placed in 8" x 10 frames. Yay for Posie!! Best of luck in Nashville!! Oh, look at Agatha! She is so big!!

So much work! I bet it feels great to be done with it.

So glad to hear you're taking the plunge at Market! You have a unique design style and we need more of that. Best wishes on your new endeavor!

Oh I wish anyone could come to the needlework market in Nashville! I would come just to meet you in person and see all your wonderful patterns and things that I have admired over the years. I live less than three hours from where that is being held. You’ll love the hotel!

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About Alicia Paulson


My name is Alicia Paulson
and I love to make things. I live with my husband and daughter in Portland, Oregon, and design sewing, embroidery, knitting, and crochet patterns. See more about me at aliciapaulson.com