Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Here to Stay

One of the guys in my Fred Meyer photo/electronics department yesterday commented, as he handed me my packet of photos, "I picture the walls of your house just covered in counted cross stitch". True dat. Those boys in that department all know me on sight, and most likely have left their fingerprints on more than a few of your chart cover photos. I was really, really happy when they dropped their prices down to .13 cents a photo (from .19 cents!), because it sure is nice being able to get all of my pattern assembly parts in my little town... Where everybody knows my name... and they're always glad I came... (are you singing now?) Before their price adjustment, I was driving 45 minutes away to get my prints done at Costco.
I bet you thought that I had a fancy photo printer and a fancy copier just sitting here at home, always at my convenience, didn't you? Nosirree, chickadee! I keep a small stock on hand of the cover photos for my patterns, just enough for individual sales through my etsy shop, and do those individual copies on my little desktop printer, which eats through ink like nobodies' business. But when one of my distributors places an order, I have to pack everything up and drive ten miles to the UPS Store, where I make my copies. There, my kids are on a first-name basis with the owners and other workers. Those kids have it down to a fine science. If there are no other customers, they can race back and forth across the lobby, or have conversations with one of the employees, but as soon as a customer comes in, they plant their little hineys beside me and my favorite copier. Sometimes we are there for an hour. In which case, we often hop over to Sparky's for a breadstick while the copier is running.
Copies done, photos picked up at Fred's, I then drive home and sit myself down at my kitchen counter and fold, paste, stuff, fold, paste, stuff, fold, paste, stuff, for... forever. Usually accompanied by my laptop and a movie. Each one of your patterns is handled by me at least 4 times before heading out in the mail, and probably takes 5-10 minutes of my time, if you count travel and logistics.
There. Now you know. When you order a pattern from me, not only are you buying a design that spent hours being transferred from my brain to my charting software, and then another double-digit amount of hours being stitched, framed and photographed, you also bought a pattern cover that was another several hours being put together with all of the extra little tidbits I like to add (stories, research, inspiration, instructions). Its not an easy job, I tell you. But, the great part is that I actually LIKE each and every aspect of this work. I LIKE designing the patterns and covers and researching and telling and building relationships with local store workers and training my kids how to behave in public and sitting at my counter watching movies, folding, folding, folding. Okay, so maybe I don't like the fold, paste, stuff part, but that is a pretty small part of the whole, and I can handle it for now. Until the day comes when this job actually pays enough to get a big fancy printer that can do all the work for me. But I'm not holding my breathe. I'm just happy to be able to stay home with my kids and also do something that uses my creative side.
That's also why it hurts to find out about all of the pattern piracy going on these days online. I don't want to know that all of my hard work is being traded for invisible gold coins, or being illegally copied and sold as if it was the real thing. Know who you are buying from! Make sure they are legitimate! And if you get a bad feeling about a seller, or have reason to believe they are participating in pattern piracy, let us designers know! Read more here.

I had absolutely no intention of telling you all of that this morning. What I really logged on to comment about is that not only did the geekiest of the tech nerds at Fred Meyer recognize Counted Cross Stitch from my photos, but I also spotted Counted Cross Stitch at Chevy's this weekend.
You know that when a Tex-Mex restaurant chain uses Cross Stitch on their menu... what? We are mainstream? Current? Trendy? Ha! Well, maybe not, but at least we are such a part of pop culture we get a nod from the graphic designers who drive the ad campaigns. And I'm okay with that.

Cross Stitchers Never Say Die!


Vickie said...

Hooray! Never say die!! :)

Chocolates4Breakfast (TerriBoog) said...

I have to say, when I got your Never Let You Go pattern in the mail, I thought it was awesome. A beautiful photo with lovely paper! I truly appreciate the work you put into them. I love it when I get a pattern that is not on cheap paper with a crappy photocopy of the pattern. Thanks for not doing that! Well done!

Mouse said...

do you know that is something I actually would enjoy doing the folding and packing etc as I love to put the first fold in letters etc ... sad really eh and it is soooo nice when you can get things done locally too .... love mouse xxxx

ine said...

Reading this I'll cherish Anna's Prayer even more.
I was so glad finding this pattern at my favorite needlework shop.

When I think of it...better get started stitching her!!!

greetings from the Netherlands

MoonBeam said...

Thanks for telling us your story.


Cathy B said...

Thank you for your efforts Beth. It was interesting to learn about the process you follow from an idea to the finished product. Love your designs!

Donna G. said...

Great post! Thanks Beth.

Catherine said...

I am glad you love what you do! The quality of your charts is wonderful and of course your designs are some of my favorites!
Love the menu!!