Thursday, March 26, 2015

Fresh NEW designs blooming at L*K!

Spring has sprung in my yard! Every year I'm excited...same flowers, same blooming bushes and I'm crazy excited every spring to see them open their smiley faces.

It seems a little early to me, but who's arguing with flowers before the Easter bunny arrives? Having everything greening makes better hiding places for the eggs. As we prepare to move soon, every time a holiday passes I think..."sigh...the last Thanksgiving/Christmas/Easter/etc. in our old house" and so it goes.

Here's the view out my 2nd story office window. The neighbor's pear tree is gorgeous this spring (for the last time...sigh).

I've been busy in my little L*K studio even with all the spring distraction, so here's the new batch of fresh designs!

#170 How To Be a Mean Mother
I found this saying when my kids were young (back in the day) and I ran across it again recently. I did some editing and updating, and it's ready to go again!  Good parenting never goes our of style...right?

S118 Collect Moments Snippet
Flora's been busy again, creating another little vintage-style masterpiece. There are 2 designs squeezed into this Snippet... a little square (perfect for a  pin pillow or lots of finishing options), and a matching fob.

K79 A Little Wedding Kit
You asked for it... another Little kit to add to our Little Kit collection. This is the quickest, sweetest wedding/anniversary chart you'll ever stitch... and it's personalized! Kit includes 32 ct. lambswool linen and antique gold key charm. The main design is stitched over 2 threads, but the personalization is done over one thread so ANY names will fit in the space.

F151 Today Choose Joy 3 Little Words Flip-it
F152 Never Give Up 3 Little Words Flip-it
Our Flip-it series continues with more 3 Little Word wisdom. Stitch them all together, or choose your favorite 3 Little Words to create your own personalized stitchery. Stay tuned for our upcoming online contest to submit your favorite 3 Little Words. We'll vote and the winning sayings will be graphed and posted FREE on the L*K website.

Need some new spring releases in your life? Contact your fave needlework shop and make sure they're ordering the newbies from L*K!  

We're shipping to shops on Monday, April 6. We moved up our shipment to make time for a "spring break" visit from our daughter, Sarah. She teaches high school in downtown Chicago and their spring break is SO late - the week following Easter. Whatever/whenever...we're excited to have her in Kansas for a few days...visiting our new "still in progress" house, seeing our new L*K office (already re-located), visiting her sis in KC,  and generally relaxing and having fun together!

I hope it's springtime wherever you are. If not, THINK spring!

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Our market BUZZ - mystery design revealed!

It was a blast to travel to Needlework Market last week in Nashville, but,  in the immortal words of our own Kansas gal, Dorothy (from Wizard of Oz)...."there's no place like home"!

Thankfully, the weather cooperated as we made the 5 state trek to Nashville - to and fro. OK...we drove through 4 hours of rain coming home, but it could have been much worse (and I'm sure it was, for those traveling in other directions).

Alas...after my 18th year at Nashville, I have grown accustomed to the routine, and almost forgot to take
pics....big OOPS!  I have absolutely no pictures of us or our best pals we enjoy seeing every year. But, lots of shoppers snapped pics of Alan and I with their cell phones to share with their customers. I'm sure pics of me with one eye closed are out there somewhere.

Here's the view off our balcony inside the Embassy Suites atrium. There's our colorful banner on the lower left. I'm looking down on the dining area, which is a BIG part of needlework market. Don't cut in line to get BACON at the breakfast buffet - could be injurious to your health. Same goes for the bar line at Happy Hours at dinnertime. The needle ladies (and men) love to eat, drink and hang out together.

And here's the view of the L*K sign/suite from way across the atrium. We always request to be next door to our good friend, Judy Whitman, from JBW designs. This year Judy brought her husband, Dick, a market first-timer! Dick did an outstanding job in his rookie appearance at market. Judy says she's renewing his contract for next year!

I bring along a big roll of black paper and make a few impromptu signs as we set up. Alas, they are chalk, and you can see the smeary flower in lower left corner as customers lean on the door. No landed in the trash as we tore down.

Another chalkboard sign over our Inspiration Boxer sale. We make piles of all the Inspiration Boxers B33-B50 on the little bar area in the room. Conveniently, we use the drawers underneath to hold additional inventory. 

Finally, here's the elusive BUZZ kit!
More and more, designers release photos of their new market goodies BEFORE market. That allows shops to do pre-orders, plan ahead, etc. But some shopowners don't like this, and want to be surprised at market, and rewarded for their attendance. So we do BOTH - it's impossible to make everyone happy, but we try.

The BUZZ kit was this year's "wait until market" kit. I'm happy to say the little BUZZ kit was a hit!  We had some special fabric dyed just for this project and it's gorgeous. We got lots of compliments on this one. Kit includes 28 ct. Verdant linen, a couple mother-of-pearl buttons for the flower centers and pattern. Lots of BUZZ-y fun!

Our projects were small this year, so we made some blowup posters of the new kits so everyone could see when the room gets crowded - which is often.

Above are a couple other NEW kits.

Hip Hop - includes 30 ct. cream linen, fabulous finishing fabric for front and back, orange polka dot ribbon, flower button, yellow buttons and beads, and complete finishing instructions.

Limited Edition (fabulous) Farm Fob - This 2 sided project includes pale linen (assorted shades will vary slightly), antique gold rick rack. lots of rusty beads, and complete finishing instructions for 2 sided fob. These little critters will be gone soon...headed back to the farm.

A Little Gray Hare Kit Limited Edition Kit- Everyone at market had the same question...."did your little gray hare every reappear?" and the answer was "NO". Our previous post was about the mystery of the disappearing bunny. Our sweet bunny model went AWOL a couple weeks before market. Thank goodness he posed for pics before hopping away. 

As I stitched furiously the week before we left to create a new model, everyone quipped "well now the bunny will shop up for sure". But he didn' has come and gone...still no bunny. Maybe he'll reappear for Easter?

This kit contains beautiful hand-dyed 32 WDW seafoam linen, sweet coordinating backing fabric, WDW overdyed threads, pink rick rack, pale pink beads, egg template and complete finishing instructions. 

Meanwhile, I'm keeping a close eye on the NEW bunny model. He disappeared briefly in our room at market while we were setting up....hmmmmm. And then, when we returned home, he was the absolute last thing we unpacked. I was wondering if he was going to reappear or not....or maybe he ran off with the first bunny?

Happy Stitching, everyone!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

The Mysterious Case of the Disappearing Rabbit!

We've all heard about magicians making rabbits appear out of a hat. But we've got a twist on the rabbit theme here at L*K....our little rabbit has DISAPPEARED!

More specifically, our kit model for A Little Gray Hare Limited Edition Kit (premiering at market soon!) has mysteriously vanished.

Honestly, this is one the cutest models I've ever done. I adore this little guy. I didn't originally plan the design to be an "egg". My finisher, Mona, came up with the brilliant idea. (If you aren't into eggs, it would be darling finished differently - that was my original plan).

During our recent office move, I put A Little Gray Hare in a zip bag - for his protection.. The model got carried to/fro the new office/old office/my family room during the kitting process. After a few hectic days, I realized he wasn't sitting on my desk with my other new models. Alan said "no worries, he will show up".

But now we've looked high and low, far and near, and in all kinds of unexpected (wrong) places. The needlework detectives are working overtime, but this case is still open....our BUNNY is gone!'s a little embarassing to go to market with hundreds of this Limited Edition kit, but the sweet model is MIA. While we've been searching for the elusive hare, I had my printer make a big 16" x 16" poster of him. Perhaps I should have added the caption...WANTED!

So now I'm stitching away on a replacement model. I cracked open one of my own kits (a new experience!) and got to work. After one fabulous basketball game shared with friends, he's almost complete!

During this "hare-raising" saga, I keep thinking about this beloved children's book. The bunny keeps playing hide and seek, but he's always found.

Will we end up with TWO bunnies eventually? I figure the best way to find the original is to stitch another. You know how those bunnies tend to multiply....

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

"with a little help from my friends" (getting ready for market!)

We're headed to Nashville Needlework Market soon, but things have been in "high gear" around here since 2015 began. No matter how prepared I think I am, getting a batch of newbies ready for market, in addition to the regular release schedule, is HECTIC (7 days a week & evenings!). 

Here's what's coming SOON to your favorite needlework shop! Some of these projects are Limited Edition, so make sure to pre-order and add to your stash.

K77 Hip Hop Kit
Time for a little Easter fun! We've got lively chicks, lots of eggs, carrot and flowers, all done in cheerful spring colors. Kit includes 30 ct. creamy linen, JABC flower button, super AWESOME finishing fabric, polka dot ribbon and complete finishing instructions. This gorgeous finishing fabric inspired the whole project. There's enough included for front and back. Time to HOP!

K80 Farm Fob Kit (2 sided fob!)
This farm fresh design is our last minute addition to the market mix. Just last week, I was busy stitching and miraculously it came together (with the help of super-finisher, Mona). Kit includes stitching fabric (some assorted pale linens and evenweaves I discovered when we moved our office!), antique gold rick rack and a stash of little rusty beads. Mona wrote some easy-to-follow instructions so your fob can look farm fresh, too!

A Little Gray Hare Limited Edition Kit
This kit was featured in our previous blog post (scroll back for the whole story).  It's full of goodies...hand-dyed WDW seafoam linen, 8 colors of WDW overdyed threads, teeny pink beads, pale pink rick rack, finishing fabric for back, egg template and complete finishing instructions. Get this one's hare today, gone tomorrow!

K78 BUZZ Kit
No, this chopped-off photo it's not a mistake! This one is a surprise - complete photo will be revealed at market (gotta keep some suspense!). I'm still obsessed with BEES, so it's a bee theme (you guessed it). 

I worked with Marilyn at Picture This Plus to design a custom linen for BUZZ. It's called Verdant (definition: green, leafy, luxuriant, lush), and it's an awesome shade of yellow green. Kit includes Verdant 28 ct. linen and 2 mother-of-pearl round buttons. It's bright and fun, yet has some vintage appeal... it's cross stitch fusion!

Marilyn just delivered our gorgeous Verdant linen last Thursday (she made a road trip to Wichita). We were in a time crunch to get this one ready, so we asked for "a little help from our friends". We buckled down and got all the fabric cut, folded and ironed, sacked the buttons and prepared the printing. 

Then last Sunday afternoon, we hosted an impromptu "Open House/Volunteer Day" at the new L*K office. Friends came and went all afternoon, toured our little office, enjoyed a few snacks, and tried their hands at putting together kits.

I meant to take lots of photos (sorry to those not pictured), but stayed busy giving tours, and keeping these talented new kitters busy. We set up a couple extra work tables and the rookies got going. Talking, laughing  and snacking while working were strongly encouraged.  

Before the afternoon was over, the entire batch of BUZZ kits were finished!  Several friends arrived later, and alas, didn't get to slide kits into zipper bags...darn (their loss). 

It was really fun to have my fabulous friends visit the L*K office and try something new. Maybe they'll want to change careers? I was fortunate to have a couple bankers, attorney, elementary librarian, school bus driver, legal secretary, medical receptionist, construction company owner, oil exec, insurance adjuster extraordinaire, college professor, children's author, accountant, retired teacher (and others) and even a wheat farmer helping me out!!! 

YIKES...hope they don't ask me to do their jobs. I told them the only qualification to be a kitter at L*K was to be able to close a zipper bag. Little did I know that sliding the kit contents IN the bags would be challenging for some.

Shout out to my fabulous church friends who keep me inspired (and help me in a pinch!). LOVE you all!

We'll get by...(and get to market)...with a little help from our friends!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

A Little Gray Hare!

It's that time of year again....Nashville Needlework Market. In a couple weeks we'll be loading up the car and traveling across 5 states (Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee) to the annual cash and carry market.

We've been working hard on some special goodies for market, and here's the first we want to share.

A Little Gray Hare Limited Edition Kit

Our friendly distributor, Norden Crafts, approached us many months ago and asked us to do a Limited Edition kit for them. What does this mean? Well, for shops it means that they can purchase this kit only from Norden Crafts. It won't be available directly from L*K. The Little Gray Hare will be MIA in the L*K market booth. 

For stitchers everywhere, just contact your favorite needlework source and request this kit!  It's "hare today, gone tomorrow!". We're only making a limited number of these this spring.

We're including all the supplies on this one (what were we thinking?). We used beautiful overdyed seafoam linen (Weeks Dye Works), 8 luscious shades of WDW thread, petite pale pink beads (on the eggs), light pink rick rack, and coordinating finishing fabric. Our finisher extraordinaire, Mona, has written complete finishing instructions, and we're enclosing an egg template. 

Here's a quick look at the evolution of A Little Gray Hare:

After I did the design on my computer, I stitched the model. While I stitch, I make notes about thread colors and amount, fabric choice, and other ideas. It looks like I originally called this "Good Hare Day" or "Happy Hare". I like "A Little Gray Hare" much better! I often make little design changes while stitching, so those are noted and corrected, too. Look closely at the 2 designs - I couldn't decide until I was stitching, and chose the right hand one!

Since it's a kit, I start calculating supplies (applying my math know the ones your high school teacher told you would be necessary for a successful adult life), and get everything ordered.

I mail the completed model to my finisher Mona, and wait for something fabulous to arrive in the return mail. Mona and I will chat about possible finishes, and she texts me photos of finishing ideas. Then we decide together what will look best (and what I can effectively "source" for supplies). 

The cones of Weeks Dye Works threads arrived first. I forgot to snap a pic when they were full, now they're almost gone...

and they've been transformed...measured, snipped and coiled into little 3" x 3" thread packs. Alan has perfected an ingenious method of pulling all 8 colors at once. Still, it's a lot of work!

The fabric finally arrived last Friday. A big, beautiful box FULL of seafoam linen.
So you know how I spent a long weekend.

Notice that I'm wearing my Klutz glove. No more accidents with me and the rotary cutter. That ER is no fun!

Here's our dining room table decor (definitely no eating occurring!). Going clockwise from upper left: pink rick rack, cut/folded/ironed seafoam linen, pretty finishing fabric (for back of egg), folded pink instructions, and egg template.

And, of course, the beautiful covers! I had so much fun designing this pretty cover and photographing A Little Gray Hare on a bed of pastel eggs.

I can't imagine how many hours have gone into this prep, but it's finally time to get our assembly line going. . really was "time" a couple weeks ago, but we'll get it finished. Maybe a little help from our friends? I've had an extraordinary offer from a group of able assemblers...will keep you posted!

Monday, February 2, 2015

Coming soon - 3 Little Words & more!

Here's the scoop we've been promising on our new 3 Little Words Flip-it series!

I'm really excited to share our new Flip-it series with all of you! I looked everywhere for little bits of only 3 words! After I chose my favorites (the hard part!) I graphed them in groups of 2 sayings. There are 7 different Flip-its in the series, so that's 14 little phrases. Stitch them all together, stitch them separately, or choose your favorites and create your own personalized inspirational stitchery. These little treasures are QUICK, fun and a great way to begin 2015!

  • There are 7 designs. Each Flip-it has 2 sayings, so there are 14 sayings in all.
  • We stitched the series on 32 ct. lambswool linen (choose your favorite light-colored fabric).
  • Each 3 Little Words Flip-it will have the same embellishment pack with olive button.
  • All 7 designs fit vertically. Total stitch count, including FREE border, is 95W x 388H.
  • We'll post a list of FREE instructions for combining the whole series on our website. We'll include thread list, design template and extra border design.
  • Stitch them all together, or mix and match your favorite inspiration designs to create your own inspirational sampler.
  • Thread list: One skein each, unless otherwise indicated. Weeks Dye Works bright leaf, Madison rose, deep sea (2), chestnut (2), grits, guacamole, oscar (2), verdigris. Classic Colorworks boysenberry.
We've packed a lot of inspiration into 3 Little Words! To get all of you involved, we will be hosting an online contest to submit your favorite 3 word sayings! We'll select 10 favorites, then hold online voting. Once the winning saying is selected, we'll graph it and post it on our website for a FREE (optional) addition to our 3 Little Words series.

The first 3 titles will be shipping to shops everywhere on February 10:

F148 Be Kind Always

F149 Forgive Move On

F150 You've Got This!

And that's not all that's coming soon! If you need any of these goodies, let your favorite needlework shop know so they can preorder.

K75 A Little Luck
Remember when we asked for ideas for more "Little" kits? We're using them! This quickie project is perfect for St. Patrick's stitching. A Little Luck comes with 32 ct. lambswool linen, and golden horseshoe charm and beads.  A bit 'o luck included for FREE!

S117 Be Silly Flora McSample Snippet
Our little sampler girl, Flora, is doing a series of Snippets this year. Each design has vintage motifs and a sampler feel...and they're sweet, quick and CUTE (just like Flora!). This is a classic saying from Ralph Waldo Emerson, and we think it's perfect for right NOW

K76 ABCs of Faith
We're pleased to bring you another ABC kit. This design has beautiful colors and is kitted with Weeks Dye Works threads and DMC for some of the small bits. We worked really hard to create the ABCs of Faith text (prayer was involved!). We hope this stitchery is a blessing to you as you stitch and enjoy later. 

We're busy assembling all of theses new goodies in our NEW office! After a hectic long weekend, we've almost completed the move to the new office space. What a change to be working from a different place!

Here's the new, improved, larger shipping area. There's a bit of every L*K product there - easy to reach, package and ship.

This is the boring back room with big boxes of chartpaks, Snippets and Flip-its in their original boxes from the printer. My desk is not ready for the camera! 

Have a great stitch-y week, everyone!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Things Unseen Mystery Sampler REVEALED!

Part 3 of the Things Unseen Mystery Sampler shipped last week. I realized everyone else was busy sharing the "big reveal" photo, so I had better get with it!

Above is the whole Things Unseen Mystery Sampler! You can see all 3 parts put together, and also the fun embellishments. If you're stitching along with us, don't forget to check the L*K website for some small corrections we have posted on our Boo Boo page.

Here's the Part 3 cover. I had fun designing this vintage looking cover for our "big reveal".

I wanted to share my finished BONUS project with you! It looks so pretty all framed and complete. Check out the embellishment on this pic, too.

Finally, I've put this little "double bonus" pin pillow project to work on my busy (cluttered) desk. This project was included with Things Unseen Part 2 (along with the rick rack). It brings a little smile to my face every day. The embellishment pack also includes the goodies (pink mother-of-pearl heart button and beads) for this pin pillow.

What's next at L*K?

*We have a bunch of new goodies coming soon! Scroll back 2 posts to see all the pics and info. We're planning to ship these to shops around Feb. 10. Just waiting on our printer to deliver a couple things and we'll get to work with assembly.

*A Little Luck (coming in Feb.) is already assembled and waiting for it's turn with the shipping department (that's Alan and I). 

* On my next post, I'll share a bunch of details about the new 3 Little Words Flip-it series. We're really excited to get this one going. We're preparing a Blog Contest so you can contribute you own favorite 3 Little Words of inspiration.

* I'm also working on 4 new kits for our upcoming Nashville Needlework Market. I've got the models stitched, and I'm busy pulling together all the supplies. 

* Oh yea, we're in the middle of moving the L*K office (previous posts). Every day we make lists and transfer stuff back and forth, as needed. Alas, we're losing our quick 25 step commute to work, and replacing it with a 5 minutes drive. Sure hope to conclude the move soon...bring on the needlework elves!

Happy Week, everyone!