Thursday, 20 December 2007

'The Wagon' Get Together

I hosted a GT for stitchers from The Wagon BB last Saturday. A few non-wagoners from Houston came as well and I think there were 15 people all up, so a good gathering. We had good company and good food and I think we all ate way too much.

It was Kat and Melissa's birthday this month and there was birthday cake!

Here is a photo of some of those that attended.

This week I've been dyeing ready for Nashville. I keep changing the number of new colours that I'll release but there will be 7 or 8. I'm also dyeing silk for Janie's wonderful new designs. She is going to blow you all away again next year with her new releases. I've seen the most wonderful photos but of course I am sworn to secrecy until Janie releases the images, which should be sometime in January.

Janie and I have been working on several collaborations, one of which will be a Nashville exclusive. Only stores who attend Nashville market will be able to purchase this unique collaboration pack. I'll be posting about all the new releases here and on my website as soon as the photos and information is made public.

I will have two new releases at Nashville, one of which is a new quilt block and I will also be releasing The Min Min in chart form. This design was previously published in the October issue of The Gift of Stitching . I'll add my usual recommendation here for this wonderful magazine. If you don't have a subscription, you really are missing out. Your local needlework store can purchase subscription cards direct from me.

Tuesday, 11 December 2007

December already!

I know I'm repeating myself but... Where has the year gone? It seems like it was Christmas only a few months ago and here it is again.

Which means I am elbow deep in dyes organsing the new silk colours for release at Nashville and making sure we have plenty of stock for all the new designs that are being released at market.

So, what have I been doing since the last time I posted? Besides dyeing, Ian and I went on vacation for a week which we both really enjoyed. I managed to make progress on the lace for my daughters wedding dress while we were away. Her dress will be purple and silver and I am beading the silver lace with swarovski crystals. I have finished 5 yards and have 3 more to go. The photo below doesn't show how lovely it is but it gives you an idea.

My friend Fran is going to come over after Christmas to help me sew the dress, so I need to get a move on with the lace. The wedding is just before Easter 2008 and I want to ship the dress home in January to make sure it fits.

Saturday I am hosting a GT here for any members of 'The Wagon' who can make it and some local Houston stitchers. I'm looking forward to having everyone here. If I remember, I'll take some photos to post.

Thursday, 15 November 2007

I Have the Time

I finally have a chance to blog again. I don't know if I will have something to say each day, but here I am.

It's been an eventful few weeks with The Needlework Show, the Houston Quilt Festival, organising the Fall LE packs and a wonderful trip to San Antonio.

Frances and Sharon, the two lovely ladies from Stitches From the Heart in San Antonio, invited me to attend their birthday celebrations last weekend. They have a really nice store with a great variety of stock and nice big stitching table where customers can sit, stitch and chat.

What a great group of ladies I met on Saturday. Everyone was so friendly and we managed to have a good chat while everyone was stitching.

L-R Jackie, Benji, Nancy, Valerie, Earline

This is Gail, a fellow Aussie who is in San Antonio while her husband is on a year's work contract, and Charlotte.

Carol, Me, Valerie and Dr Chris H, with Frances in the background, admiring two of Janie's (The Cat's Whiskers) beautiful models.

This is the very clever Carol and Benji and the model of The Dreaming that Benji stitched and Carol finished. It is totally amazing and I love the colour scheme, 124 Luna Park and 109 Peridot. The finishing is perfect and shows off the colours in the stitching so well. It is so different to my model and their variation blew me away!

If you are ever in San Antonio, make sure you call in and say hello to Frances and Sharon and if you get an opportunity to sit and stitch with any of these lovely ladies, make sure you do it!

Friday, 19 October 2007

Everything is Happening

I've had a reprieve from surgery on my shoulder. It is very inflamed and the Dr gave me a cortisone injection, some anti-inflammatory pills and I need to start physical therapy next Tuesday. I see the Dr in 3 weeks to see if things are any better.

I have to say, I did not enjoy the injection and my shoulder is very sore at the moment.

But, work goes on. The Needlework Show has started and I've had over 1000 entries so far for the competition for the set of silks. Thank you to everyone who entered and I'm sorry but I'm not able to acknowledge all the entries. Most I've seen are correct but I did have a few entries that made me laugh at the silk names they came up with.

My Limited Edition Fall pack is in the works. I have the silk dyed and hope to have everything ready to ship by the first week in November. I'll be taking names until November 4th or until sold out.

The packs are $26 and for this you will receive 2 Limited Edition silks, 2 Limited Edition stranded cottons, a piece of 18 x 13 hand dyed fabric, a small design and I always add something extra to all the packs.

If you would like to reserve a pack, e-mail me at

Tuesday, 16 October 2007

It's Been So Long

I can't believe it has been so long since I blogged. As I am sure you can probably guess, life has been hectic and there hasn't been enough hours in the day.

There is lots happening at Dinky-Dyes, but I am supposed to be slowing down. I've injured my shoulder and need to see an orthopaedic surgeon this Friday to see about getting it repaired.

Of course I have way to much to do and have tried to put aside some things but I've been as busy as ever. I'm working on the new Nashville release colours and developing new silks for Janie to use in the new LE packs we'll release at Nashville.

The Fall Collaboration packs are shipping this week. What a gorgeous lot of goodies we have for you. There is fabric from Country Stitch, Polstitches and Jayne's Attic, cotton threads from Ozark Sampler and Carrie's Threads and of course silk threads from me. The guest designer is Marc from Needlemania and he has created a lovely design for us. There is also a small design from each of the dyers taking part in this pack so over all, real value for the $48 price. I still have 2 packs remaining if anyone is interested.

The Needlework Show opens tomorrow, Wednesday and I have a great line up of products in the show. In fact everything on my website can be ordered during the show.

We have released many new products over the past month and will be releasing 4 new silks at The Needlework Show.

Once again Dinky-Dyes is donating a full set of silks to a lucky shopper but there is a question you must answer correctly. Make sure you log onto the show for your chance to win.

You can find all the latest news from Dinky-Dyes by following the 'Latest News' link on our homepage.

Friday, 31 August 2007

We have new releases!

My friend Janie from The Cat's Whiskers and I have another Collaboration pack. It is Christmas Ornament pack and it contains the charts for an ornament designed by Janie and one designed by me and all the silks needed to stitch them.

If you would like a closer look, go here

I have also released Lightning Ridge, which is the 4th in the Quilt Block series.

The others are Southern Stars, The Dreaming and Terra Australis.
The 5th in the series, The Min Min will be in the September issue of The Gift of Stitching magazine.

Our new Lapel Pins have arrived! I love collecting different pins and decided I would have Dinky-Dyes pins made. We also now have fun multi-coloured Dinky-Dyes pens.

I will have these lovely pins on sale at Hershey but if anyone not going to Hershey would like one, just send me an e-mail.

Tuesday, 21 August 2007

Yarn Dyeing

Dyeing yarn is so slow. Since I'm not set up for dyeing yarn the way regular yarn dyers are, It's been slow going but I have made some progress. I dyed striped sock yarn yesterday and really like the end result.

Here is a photo of some of the yarn on the drying rack.

The violet yarn at the top is Wool, Mohair and Polyester and the blue yarn next to the violet is Superwash Merino and Nylon sock yarn. On the next row is a variegated tan Merino and cotton yarn and the striped yarn is a Merino, Silk and Nylon sock yarn with a silver thread through it. The silver adds a nice shine that can't be seen in the photo.

The striped yarn below this row is the Superwash sock yarn again and beside that is turquoise yarn with the silver thread and a blue and turquoise variegated yarn which is 100% superwash Merino. It feels wonderful!

Now it is dyed I'm not sure how to prepare it for sale. Maybe I'll just tag it and wind it back into a skein. I do have a ball winder so that is another option.

Sunday, 19 August 2007

What I've been up to

I've had a productive weekend. Ian was taken on a fishing trip by a business associate (and came home with about 50lb of fish) so I had the house to myself and managed to get quite a lot done.

I caught up on all my silk dyeing, sorted out a huge bag of silks for the winding ladies, dyed the first of the box of yarn I have and even managed to do some stitching.

I have dyed some yarn before but forgot how different it is to dyeing silk. You have to be really careful not to felt it but you also need to turn it to make sure there are no white spots. Yes, I have a few white spots on the blue yarn so will need to re-dye those patches tomorrow.

There is a variety of yarn but my favourite is the merino and silk sock yarn with a silver thread running though it. I dyed some a variegated turquoise colour today and I love it. I plan on having a variety of different yarn for sale at Hershey CATS. If I remember correctly I have quite a few different hanks of different silk blend yarn. Well, of course everyone knows how much I love silk!

Oh yes, the stitching. I have been working on Love by Papillon Designs. I love the way this design flows and I am using 3 colours of silk. A new variegated silk #137 Riverina (combination of #119, #132,#136 and blue) that will be released in October, 139 Boulia (a deep purple) a Nashville 2008 release solid silk and #136 Sea Grass. I love the way these colours look together. Riverina was dyed especially for my friend Debbie from My Big Toe Designs and will be seen in a design that will be released in October.

Back to the dyeing. I recently dyed a Limited Edition silk to celebrate our 5th birthday in business. A special promotion began in The Gift of Stitching this month and you will find out more about the LE silk next month. Don't have a subscription? That can be easily fixed. Just follow this link or have your needlework shop contact me about subscription cards.

Last week I had a couple of visitors from College Station. I won't mention any names because I didn't ask if I could do that but I did see some wonderful stitching that used Dinky-Dyes silks. The following designs have either #85 Fantasy Blues or #96 Christmas Pines in them. They are Majesty, part of the 'Legends of the Dragons' collaboration by Teresa Wentzler, Jen Aikman-Smith and Karen Weaver, Dragon Dreams 'I Believe' and a lovely Celtic knotwork piece whose designer I don't know, sorry.

Oh, did I mention that I don't eat fish???

Friday, 10 August 2007

And the weeks disappear

I always intend to blog more often but I'm always too busy doing something else. So what has happened lately?

Our Green Cards were approved. My husband and I are now official permanent residents of the USA. No more leaving the country every 2 years to renew our visas. It also means that my husband isn't tied to working for the company who sponsored our visas. If a better job comes along, and they will, he can accept it if he wants to.

I am now distributing for Judith Tuttle from Twisted Oaks designs. I'll have stocks of all Judith's new designs for your LNS to purchase.

Janie and I are releasing a Christmas Collaboration pack next month. No photos yet, but there will be an ornament design from each of us as well as the silks needed to stitch both designs.

I guess the big news is that Dinky-Dyes will have been in business for 5 years this October. I have been working with Kirsten from The Gift of Stitching, who I also represent here in the US, on a special promotion in her magazine. It all started this month with the announcement of a design competition for magazine subscribers.

The prizes include a full set of Dinky-Dyes silks as well as charts, fabric and threads donated by my friends in the needlework industry. Total of all the prizes is around $1000 so well worth entering.

If you are a subscriber of The Gift of Stitching, get designing. If you don't have a subscription, why not? You are missing out on a great magazine, some fantastic upcoming designs and some wonderful happenings over the next 3 months.

Ask your local Needlework Shop if they sell subscriptions for The Gift of Stitching Magazine and if not, ask them to contact me so we can get you in on all the fun.

Saturday, 28 July 2007

I have found my helpers

I had many replies from ladies who have more thread stash then I am sure they could use in a lifetime and I have chosen two to help me. One has an amazing personal thread stash and the other works at an LNS that I know stocks just about every thread there is, so I'm well covered.

As soon as they have conversions worked out, I will post them on my website and BB. Of course not every conversion will work for every design so if anyone needs a final opinion, I will always be available to help.

The Limited Edition Summer Pack is all dyed up and the threads ready to be wound. I will start shipping at the end of next week.

I just LOVE some of the colours in this pack and perhaps a similar thread will find it's way into the regular line at a later date.

Here is a sneak peek of the threads and fabrics. I have also designed a cute Summer book mark to go with the pack.

There are still a few packs not spoken for, so if you are interested, e-mail me.

On a personal note, my only daughter is getting married at Easter 2008. She is the only girl amongst 4 boys in our family so I am very excited. I will be making her wedding dress with Fran's help and I can't wait to get started. My daughter isn't a girly girl but has found a photo of a dress she loves and I am going to be stitching on lots of crystals and beads to make sure it is just right.

AND.... My second son and his wife are expecting a baby in February and this will make grandchild #6. I have a feeling this one will be a girl and if so, we will have 3 girls for me to spoil with lots of pretty things and 3 equally spoilt boys.

Wednesday, 25 July 2007

I need help

Are you the person I need?

This morning I had 2 more requests for help converting other companies threads to mine. Of course I Like to help but each request means I need to log onto the website of the opposition and check out their threads and then find some of my silks that will work in their place.

It all takes time, which I don't have a lot of these days. While I was dyeing up another 100 hanks of silk today (this takes a long time) I had a thought. Why not look for someone who could work on conversions for me so I'm here asking for your help.

I know there are hundreds of stitchers out there who collect many different threads. Is there anyone who would like a full set of Dinky-Dyes (RRP $550) to work on conversions to other threads?

To do the job properly you will need to have a large selection of other brands of hand dyed silks and cottons and be prepared to compare photos on the net for any threads you don't personally own.

I will look at all e-mails I receive and choose the person who is most suitable to complete the task for me. If you are interested, please send me an e-mail ... and tell me what threads you personally own and how you would go about working out conversions. If two or three people want to pool their resources and work together, that is ok too. I just need to end up with conversions that are as correct as possible.

So, if you have every thread ever created or even a really good stash of threads and are interested, send me an e-mail!

Wednesday, 18 July 2007

What's New

Well, I've finally found the time to post again. The last two weeks have been so incredibly busy and I've been flat out trying to keep up.

I'm also working on the Summer Limited Edition packs which will go out at the end of this month. For those who haven't heard of these packs, I put one together for each season and they contain 2 skeins of LE silk and 2 skeins of LE cotton thread and a 18" x 13" piece of hand dyed fabric and a small design. The sell for $25 and are very popular.

I also managed to finish designing a couple of new charts and have a few more to finish and I have decided I want to stitch 'Love with a Capital L' from Papillion Creations. Yvonne has some lovely designs but this one is my favourite.

While I was poking around in my store room yesterday, I found Long Dog's Rosemarkie that I started this time last year and haven't had time to get back to. I love the way it is turning out. I have used 3 colours. #87 Yalling up, #88 Saltbush and #92 Eungella for the backstitching. I need to try and find the time to finish it but it isn't going to happen any time soon.

This is Rosemarkie and it is stitched on a piece of lavender cashel that I dyed.

Monday, 9 July 2007

Back to work

We arrived back in Houston on Saturday night with no airline dramas except for circling Bush International for about 20 minutes waiting for a storm to pass over and the airport to re-open.

I might have been on vacation but work never seems to stop and I started yesterday by dyeing up 8 hanks of Limited Edition silk for a special order and today packed up nearly 20 orders and shipped them out. I have a few more to do tomorrow because I need to have a few colours wound.

While I was pulling those colours for winding I did a quick stock take and have a tidy pile of hanks ready to send out to be wound. This dyeing, winding, packing and shipping cycle never seems to end. It is a lot of work but very rewarding.

I have to say again how much we enjoyed Williamsburg. It is such a beautiful area and both Ian and I (my educational background is mostly History and Art) loved all the historical exhibits. We spent time at Jamestown on Friday and the Galleries of history there are also amazing.

Here are a few photos. The first is the avenue of trees leading up to the Governor's Mansion in Colonial Williamsburg.

Below is the Coat of Arms surrounded by weapon decoration in the entry hall of the Governor's Mansion. All those weapons would certainly give the impression of power which is what was intended.

The last photo is on a coach on one of the streets of Colonial Williamsburg.

We also made a visit to Williamsburg Winery and had a lovely lunch there and we managed to buy some very good wine. I think one of the highlights of the trip for Ian was the Royal Cream (SP) ale he had in Colonial Williamsburg. He asked for it at other places but couldn't find it again. A friend had told him to try it because it was really good and Ian agrees!

Wednesday, 4 July 2007

Happy 4th to my US friends

We are having a great time relaxing and looking around this beautiful area of Virginia. I LOVE,LOVE, LOVE all the trees! They are magnificent!

We are staying in a beautiful time share resort in Williamsburg and I think this would have to be the nicest, cleanest and best appointed time share place we have ever stayed. It is Fairfield Kingsgate in case anyone is interested.

I am sitting in the rec centre at the moment using the free wifi. We can get dial up in our rooms but this is much more social and quicker.

We have had quite a week until now. As I mentioned in previous writings, we originally came to Virginia to go to a wedding last Saturday. Well, due to the storms and total chaos at Atlanta airport where we needed to connect to Newport News, we were totally delayed on Friday night and didn't get to the wedding Saturday morning. I was furious, frustrated and have decided I never want to go near Atlanta airport again but unfortunately we need to connect through there again on our return flight. All I can say, is thank goodness for the Delta Club and Continental Presidents club's free drinks and food that made the whole saga a touch (only a touch) more acceptable.

We checked in here Saturday afternoon and slept in late on Sunday t catch up on some of the sleep we missed Friday night. Monday we spent the day at Colonial Williamsburg which is a totally amazing place. It is like a step back in time and we both thoroughly enjoyed our time there. I was checking out the various pieces of stitching in some of the exhibits and the skeins of yarn and threads. All I can say is I'm glad I don't need to stitch with any of it.

Yesterday we went to Busch Gardens Europe amusement park. It has been voted the most beautiful amusement park in the world for several years and you can certainly see why when you get there. This is another great place and since neither DH or I like riding the roller coasters we stuck to riding the train around the grounds and then wandered through the various 'countries'. We listened to a band and singers and ate wonderful food in the Piazza in 'Italy' and saw and pantomime and then the amazing Irish dancers and singers in 'Ireland'. I do have to say we enjoyed seeing the number and variety of roller coasters and watching everyone screaming their lungs out on the 'Griffin' was very entertaining.

I do have some photos but they are on the camera back in our suite so I will have to add them some other time.

Monday, 25 June 2007

Rain, Rain Go Away

I am sick of all this rain. It has either stormed and rained or just rained for what seems like weeks. When it isn't raining it is so hot and steamy and the grass and weeds grow far too quickly. Not to mention that it plays havoc with my dyeing. I'm lucky that I have so many drying racks but I like having lots of bright light when I am dyeing so I can see the colours properly.

The rainy days haven't been entirely wasted because I've been designing. I have finished a new Quilt Block and a little Celtic Cross and I have another Celtic design half finished. Janie and I are also going to be releasing a Ornament Collaboration soon, just in time for Christmas stitching.

This week has also bought me some charts from other designers who have used my silks. My friend Debbie, from My Big Toe Designs has a new design 'The Looking Glass' that uses my silks. She has also re-stitched 'Doro Theos' (below) with my new black #130 Black Coral and #91 Jarrah. You can find Debbie's designs in most needlework stores so keep an eye out for the new one.

Judith from Twisted Oaks Designs sent me the chart of a really cute new design, 'Coq Au Pins' which is a collection of stitching smalls including a chicken pin cushion that is so sweet. Be on the look out for that one as well.

We are leaving for Virginia on Friday for a weeks holiday and when I get back, I'll be dyeing my Summer Limited Edition Pack. I posted a message on my BB asking what colours customers would like to see this time. If you usually order these packs, go to the BB and have your say.

Tuesday, 19 June 2007

I see a Light

At the end of the tunnel, that is. Most of the orders have gone out. I am waiting on new stock from Heirloom Embroideries in the UK to fill the couple of back-orders I have. I can finally see me having everything finished in time for us to go off on holiday for a week.

Yesterday I spent all day dyeing silk. Tomorrow I need to dye cotton. I must say I enjoy dyeing the silk much more then the cotton but then I am a self confessed silk snob.

Here is a photo of one of my dyeing racks loaded down with hanks of freshly dyed silk.

Today, I plan on sending out the orders that came in yesterday, packing a box of cottons for Tina, one of my winders and then cleaning my office. When I am preparing for a show and for a few weeks after, my office and workroom looks like a bomb has hit it. There are boxes, papers, charts, threads and other bits and pieces everywhere. At the moment I can't see the top of either of my work tables and am dodging boxes everytime I move.

By the end of the week I just might be able to make a start on those new designs that are running around in my head.

Friday, 15 June 2007

Another week bites the dust

Honestly, I don't know where the weeks go. When I was younger the weeks seemed to drag by and now I wonder if I've missed a few days somewhere. I have been busy packing orders and planning out what I'm going to be doing in the coming months.

One thing I can't wait to try is dyeing some yarn. I did dye some up last year but being at Columbus market and seeing all that lovely hand dyed yarn has me inspired. I found a wholesaler who have a wonderful range of undyed yarns so I will be placing an order as soon as I get time to work out what I want.

This is a photo of some of the yarn I dyed last year and the scarf I knitted with one ball of yarn. I have plans for some lovely bright colours in sock yarn and ... well, lets just wait and see what eventuates.

I have ideas for a few more designs and I'd really like to start working on them now, but... I'm still packing orders! Next week I need to dye top up stock so maybe after that I'll be able to start getting these ideas down on paper.

Dinky-Dyes will be closed from June 29 to July 8. Ian and I are going to Virginia Beach for the wedding of the son of one our friends. I managed to get a time share exchange and we are going to spend the following week in Williamsburg, VA. Ian's birthday is July 1 so it will be wonderful for him to have a week off work and what a great place to celebrate 4th of July.

I received a cute photo this week. There is a group of stitchers who usually go to Nashville CATS. Since there was no CATS in Nashville this year they organised a GT at one of the ladies home. I don't want to use names, because I didn't ask permission to do so but the hostess e-mailed me and told me how much fun they had at CATS with my OOPS packs. She said they would take them to the stitching lounge and tip them all out then play and trade. She asked if she could buy some OOPS packs to share with the ladies going to the GT.

Well, I just happened to have a few packs floating around that I sent off to the hostess and this week I received a lovely e-mail and two photos.

The OOPS packs were appreciated and as you can see the tradition of tipping all packs out and sharing continues. The kitty represents one friend who couldn't make it at the last minute. They didn't want her to miss out on the fun.

Tuesday, 12 June 2007

Stitch Maui 2008

I'm still packing orders. The crud I bought back from Columbus got much worse and I did nothing all weekend. The Dr has given me antibiotics and cough syrup and I do feel better this morning. Today will be full on packing orders.

So, I know you are wondering what Stitch Maui 2008 is. Well, my friend Keri Duke from Keri Designs who lives in Maui and I are planning a stitching retreat in Maui in October 2008. We had several meetings in Columbus and decided on dates and put more ducks in rows.

There will be several teachers at the retreat teaching Needlepoint, Cross Stitch, beginner Hardanger and Silk Embroidery. Keri and I will both be teaching and we have two other friends of mine, a well known cross stitch designer and a hardanger teacher, ready to pack their bags. I am still looking for another cross stitch designer to join us.

I can't let all the details out of the bag at the moment but I will be releasing information as we get things finalised. If you would like to be put on a mailing list to receive updated information, e-mail me at

If you have read previous posts in my blog, you will see how beautiful Maui is and we plan on giving you plenty of time to explore as well as stitch. It is going to be a very casual week and you can pick which classes to do. You don't need to sign up for all the classes offered.

Here are two different links to Maui websites so you can start planning what you want to see and do while you are there.

I had better get to work of packing orders. More to come.....

Wednesday, 6 June 2007

I'm back from Columbus

It has been a while since I blogged. The days rushed by before market and I was so busy trying to have everything ready to take with me, I had no time to post.

Fran and I picked up Kat on the way to the airport on the morning on March 31st and we were off to Columbus. We had to get a mini van from the airport with all our luggage - 6 large suitcases and assorted stitching bags, lap top cases and handbags. We stayed at the Courtyard Marriott - Downtown and although the hotel wasn't new, it was clean and the staff were wonderful. The buffet breakfast was pretty good too!

Thursday was a rush. We had about 2 1/2 hours to get from the airport to the hotel then off to the class. I wasn't looking forward to that but it went really well. I threw in a few Aussieisms like 'Spit the Dummy' or 'For Ron' and Fran the handler played translator. I think all the people in the class just liked listening to me talk!

Friday was set up day. I thought I had everything but I had left the chains for the thread display at home. Laura saved the day by calling into a Home Depot to buy more for me on her way down from Canada. I am distributing for Laura through the US now and she had her stunning new designs and hand dyed fabric on display in my booth.

We had a 20 foot booth and since I had asked for, and received a corner booth, I left one end open to make it appear less cluttered. Above is the top end of the booth with the thread wall, the two needlepoint models and some of mine and Janie's designs. Below is a close up of the thread wall.

It is much less work setting up for an 'Order Only' show because we only need to take display stock and don't need enough to fill orders.

This photo shows 1 of the back walls with Janie's lovely pieces on the table and my designs hanging behind.

At the other end of the booth was the new designs from Enchanting Lair, Heirloom Embroideries and my display for The Gift of Stitching. All the stores who looked were very impressed with Kirsten's magazine and we did sell some subscription packs. Hopefully, more stores will contact me in the coming weeks to purchase subscription cards.

We did very well at the show with the orders rolling in from existing customers as well as a lot of new stores. Needlepointers were impressed with the silks and I had quite a few orders for full sets from various designers.

One of the best parts of going to the shows is socialising. Fran, Kat and I had so much fun with Pam and Ruth from 3 Stitches, our local Needlework Store and a new friend Edith Anne. Connie from Designs by CJ also joined us for dinner one night.

My website has been updated with the new silks and Janie's new designs, including our new collaborative effort - a class design that I taught at Columbus. It includes the chart, designed by Janie with full colour coded instructions, buttons and a new limited edition silk. It is also available with the fabric on request.

I have more to tell you but I need to start packing all the orders from Market.

Thursday, 24 May 2007

The Road to Columbus

One more week before I need to be in Columbus. Toni bought back the last of the new silks and the new limited Edition silk today so they are all wound and ready to pack.

I am teaching a class next Thursday at 5pm with 5 other designers, Jen Funk Webber, Heather Holland-Daley, Jenny Hart, Karen Kluba and Kat Rocha. The class is called Beyond Embroidery Boundaries and each of us have a half hour to teach our technique.

My part of the class is - 'Techniques for stitching with Hand Dyed threads' and as I have mentioned before, my Aussie buddy Janie, has designed a class piece using the limited Edition silk and this class will be available for stores to purchase and teach to their customers.

Friday night I'm taking part in the 'Sample It'. This is a chance for stores to come and buy one packaged product from each of the vendors who registered for 'Sample It'. Since Columbus Market is an order only market, stock is shipped after the designers arrive home and 'Sample It' is an opportunity for stores to buy something from designers that they can take home and show their customers. I am going to have packs of my 10 new silks for sale so I'll be busy this weekend packaging them.

The catalogues, colour cards and silk lists are now printed and ready to pack. I've started putting the silks on our thread display and have packed all the models.

My trusty helper Fran is coming with me and with our allocation of 4 suitcases and 2 carry on bags I hope everything fits. No doubt I'll be paying for excess luggage. I just hope we will have room for clothes!

Monday, 21 May 2007

I hate Mondays

I hate Mondays and I imagine there are thousands, if not millions of others out there who feel the same. It's not as if I have to get up and out the door to a regular job, so I guess it is a hang over from when I was gainfully employed in a full time job. Those were the days when I ONLY worked 8 hours a day..... but then again, I had to get up and go to a workplace on Mondays.

This Monday was spent dyeing silks, packing orders and trying to stretch and pin Flamenco and the Wedding Sampler. The mat board I have won't work so I need to take a trip to pick some up. Maybe that will go on tomorrows job list along with a hundred other things that need to be finished before Columbus.

I the midst of dyeing I had a call from our Vet. Ian had taken the kids (4 legged variety), Bronco and Peaches, for their annual check up and blood tests on Saturday. That in itself cost a small fortune and much more then our own yearly check ups but he did come home with a little bag with heart worm tablets and some free shampoo and chewy rawhide things for each of them.

Bronco (in the front) promptly ate his but Peaches has been walking around with hers and hiding it from Bronco. Unfortunately, she heard a noise outside and ran to bark at the offender and Bronco pinched it. Peaches wasn't impressed and ticked him off so he has been making himself scarce this afternoon. She is sitting happily in her basket under the table in my office with her chewy thing sitting beside her.

Anyway, I digress. The Vet rang and something showed up in Bronco's blood tests so he needs to take pills for the next 6 months. They are both 9 years old this year so I guess we have to expect things like this to start happening. They are great company and real poeple dogs and hate it when the suitcases come out to be packed for a trip.

Saturday, 19 May 2007

Where has this week gone?

I can't believe that it has already been a week since we left Maui. I've been so busy the days are flying by. I need to find a way to add another 12 hours to each day.

Things are falling into place and I think I will have everything done in time for Columbus. Some of the new threads are coming back from the winders and I've finally sorted out the order forms and the new ink stamps and printed out 6 months copies of The Gift of Stitching Magazine.

Oh, I don't think I have mentioned that. Kirsten, who I spent time with when I was home earlier this year, has appointed me the US distributor for her magazine, The Gift of Stitching. It is excellent value for money and keeps getting better with many recognised designers contributing beautiful designs.

Anyway, Kirsten now has subscription cards that can be sold by needlework stores and I'm going to be marketing them here in the US and hopefully selling heaps to all my customers. The idea is you buy the card from your LNS, take it home and log onto the magazine website and register by putting in the unique number you find on your card. It is also an excellent small gift to slip into a card to send to a friend. I'll be introducing them at Columbus and hope the stores can see the potential that I do.

I finally managed to be away from my laptop long enough for DH to scan the new silks for the colour card and I've decided to post a sneak peak of the 10 new colours.

The new names are: Parrot Fish, Illawong, Black Opal, Black Coral, Desert Pea, Rose Bay, Jindabyne, Shark Bay, Dandenong and Sea Grass. They will be available for your LNS to purchase either at Columbus or if they aren't attending Columbus, the week following the show.

Thursday, 17 May 2007

Busy, Busy, Busy

The last few days have been hectic. I've been dyeing top up stock and extra stock to send home to Marilyn for the Aussie orders. Besides this, I've been trying to finish preparations for TNNA and have finally organised the electricity and furniture for my booth. There are so many costs involved in attending shows but I'm hoping for a good response and tons of orders.

Another of my model stitchers, Jann Gray, has just send me a photo of the piece she just finished stitching. It isn't the best photo but I thought I'd post it for everyone to see.

I designed this for my son and daughter-in-law for their wedding and I'm sad to say, I'm still in the process of stitching their actual wedding sampler as I wanted to do it myself. I was right on schedule then the new year came along and I was so busy with orders and preparation for Nashville, that I had no time to stitch. The one Jann has just done is going to be a model and it will be released at TNNA.

I still haven't decided on a name so if anyone has any suggestions, let me know!

Monday, 14 May 2007

Back to Work

I arrived back in Houston yesterday morning and slept most of the day. Today it was back to work to ensure everything is ready for the TNNA wholesale show in Columbus. I leave on May 31st as I have to teach a class that evening but the show opens on June 2nd. There was something wonderful waiting for me when I arrived home. Ginny Zimmerman is a wonderful model stitcher and has stitched several models for me but this time I had her stitching something different. I have collaborated with Leigh from Leigh Designs and Janet Perry from Napa Needlepoint to have Flamenco and Rhumba, two of Leigh's stunning hand painted canvases stitched.
Janet wrote the stitch guide which shows which Dinky-Dyes silks are used and where and which speciality stitches to use. Rhumba should be back from my other model stitcher, Linda B sometime in the next week or so.
Ginny did a fantastic job stitching Flamenco, but then I knew she would. It is hard to see the beads or speciality stitches but I think my silks look wonderful in this design. I can't wait to see Rhumba.
Toni, my 'chief' winding lady bought me back some of the new silks today. I love all the new colours and they look wonderful wound up. There are 3 new multi-coloured variegated and 7 solid colours. I am trying to bulk out the solid colours so it will be easier to work conversions from other silks and DMC and I'm trying to get to the point where there will be several different shadings in the same colour range and ensure that there will be 3 or 4 solid colours to match up with each variegated silk.

Friday, 11 May 2007

It's Friday

Aloha! So today is our last full day on Maui. We leave tomorrow afternoon for Honolulu then a direct connection through to Houston. I was so tired last night I went to sleep as soon as we arrived back at our apartment, woke up and ate dinner then went back to bed.
I think while I am at home I run on adrenaline as I work from the time I wake up until I go to bed and I've found when I am on vacation and once I start to relax, all my body wants to do is sleep. Pity we don't have another week here.
Yesterday we met up with Keri (Keri Designs) and her friends and that turned into a lovely lunch at a little place with a name that I can't remember. The food was superb and I'd definitely go there again.
We also made the trek up Haleakala, the dormant volcano that last erupted about 200 years ago. It takes a while to drive up those winding roads to the peak which rises 10,000 ft above sea level. It is rare that Haleakala is cloud free and yesterday was cloudy but the views from up there were still stunning.
Both these photos of the shoreline of Maui were taken from around 6,000ft.

The Silversword (below) has been bought back from the edge of extinction and is a stunningly beautiful plant. There are some lovely specimens growing near the peak of Haleakala

The other photo is part of the crater of the volcano. It is huge and there are numerous hiking trails for the adventurous tourist. I'm afraid I'm not one of them but I really enjoyed the experience of looking out over the barren landscape to the rolling mountains, rainforest and ocean far below.
I've come to the conclusion that Maui is a stunningly beautiful place and one of the few places I've visited that have impressed me. Coming from the beautiful area of Australia (the Whitsundays) that I call home, a place has to be pretty special to equal or surpass that and Maui has done that.
Even though I've had time to look around Maui, this trip hasn't been all 'play' and after spending the day with Keri today and talking through our plans, it is time to let the cat out of the bag.
We are planning a stitching retreat here in Maui. There will be classes in Hawaiian quilting, needlepoint and cross stitch with well known teachers, including Keri and myself, (although I don't really count myself as being that well known) and plenty of free time allocated for those who want to explore this magnificent island.
Since the retreat is in the early stages of planning, I can't give you any more details but those interested have at about 18 months to save your pennies for the stitching retreat of a lifetime.
Husbands are more then welcome and there is plenty of fishing, golf and exploring they can be doing to keep themselves occupied.
Since this will be my last entry from Maui..... Aloha and I'll catch up with y'all when I'm back in Texas

Wednesday, 9 May 2007

Day 4 update

The Luau last night was great. We went to the one at the Grand Hyatt. There is another that is better but it is booked out weeks in advance and we didn't realise.
The other one is supposed to be more authentic and although the costumes were clearly costumes, we still enjoyed ourselves. We were lucky to be at the top of the table right near the stage so we had a wonderful view.
Plenty of good food... pork, beef, fish and veggies and salad and yummy sweets.... and great singers and dancers. They preformed dances from not only Hawaii but also from Tonga, Fiji, Samoa and New Zealand and were extremely good.
The firedancer pictured was excellent and must be very practiced or very lucky as he doesn't seem to have any burns on his body.
Today we went to Hana about 2 hours drive from Kahana where we are staying. The road is built around the mountains that border the ocean and is very winding and very narrow in many places.
There are many bridges over the gorges and they are 1 lane and we would often find ourselves rounding a sharp hairpin turn to find another car right in front of us. Top speed for the 30 miles was around 20 MPH and down to 10 MPH on the really tight corners and bridges.
First stop was a State park with a beach of black sand. Actually a lot of it is pebbles of volcanic rock that get smaller and smaller closer to the ocean but it is a very beautiful place. The water is a magnificent colour and contrasts wonderfully with the black of the beach.
We sat here and ate our sandwiches and watched the mongooses running around looking for scraps and raiding the rubbish bins. At first I thought they were ferrets but we were corrected by the driver of one of the tour buses. There is no way I would want to drive up there on a tour bus! It is bad enough in a car.
After lunch we drove about 10 miles to the other side of Hana to Oheo Gulch also known as the 7 Sacred Pools. They are a series of waterfalls and ponds coming down from the mountains and running into the sea at Haleakala National Park.
As with most areas of Maui I've seen so far, that place is stunning. This part of the island is remote with rough rocky headlands that fall into the ocean and rainforest on the mountains.
Tonight is a quiet night at home and an early night. Tomorrow we are off to spend the day with Keri from Keri Designs and her stitching group and tell them all about Dinky-Dyes and show them my threads and designs.

Tuesday, 8 May 2007

Maui is beautiful

Aloha! Today is our third full day in Maui. It is so much like home (the Whitsundays) and I feel really comfortable here. The same colour water and the same huge flowering trees and same yummy tasting fruit. Fran took us for a quick look around on Sunday and we went to an Arts and Craft fair at the local community centre. There were lots of beautiful hand crafted products on sale and I picked up presents for my grandchildren... all 5 of them. (It's a long story but we have 2 new grandsons aged Matthew 7 and Tyron 8 to add the the mix of Kayla and Jabob who are 6 and Miss Madison 4) I also found a suitably bright Hawaiian shirt for Ian. Sunday afternoon we sat on our balcony that overlooks the pool and waterfall and stitched. Yesterday we visited the lovely Dolphine and Ruth Ann at The Needlework Shop and they were very happy to see us. We went through all the products available from Dinky-Dyes and I think they were suitably impressed. Although not a large needlework store, they have some lovely handmade needlework accessories unique to Maui and well worth a visit if you are ever in this part of the world. Photo left to right: Me, Anita, Ruth Ann and Dolphine. At 4.30 yesterday the resort had a local dance troupe to entertain (and free Mai Tai's). They sang and danced and explained many things about Hawaii, it's culture and how much work goes into perfecting the dances. They were wonderful and we had a great time. Today I need to stay in and catch up on some work and prepare order forms and catalogues for TNNA in Columbus in June. Fran and Anita are going to the beach and maybe snorkelling. I don't do salt water... to many nasties in the ocean where I come from, such as box jellyfish and Sharks so it has been many years since I ventured into the ocean. Tonight we are going to a luau and I'm really looking forward to it. I'll be sure to take some photos to post. Aloha!

Friday, 4 May 2007

I have a Blog

I've been thinking about creating a blog for a long time but just never seemed to find the time. Or when I did have the time I didn't think to create a blog.
So, now I have a blog. I have to admit I pinched the name that Whiz gave me on The Wagon. It seemed to fit and I like it.
This week has been really busy. I finished dyeing up the 10 new colours ready for release at the TNNA Market in Columbus in June and packed and shipped nearly 60 orders from the Needlework Show. Toni my chief winding lady has been and collected all the new silkies and labels and it is over to her and her crew to have them back to me on time. This new release will bring the number of Dinky-Dyes silks to 136 dyed colours and our natural silk makes 137 lovely silkies on the market.
Janie has sent me our new Collaborative Design that I am going to be teaching at TNNA. It is stunning as usual. This is going to be a class piece for stores to teach their customers so I hope they all like it as much as I do. Here is a sneak peak for you all.
It is called Summer Breeze and has a specially dyed silk of the same name. The class pack contains a comprehensive chart with full colour photos and instructions, the skein of silk and 2 pearl buttons.
After all the extra hours I've put in during the last 2 or 3 weeks, I'm looking forward to leaving everything behind tomorrow while I head off to Maui for a week. I'm going with 3 of my friends Fran, Lisha and Anita and 2 other ladies who are Lisha's friends that I haven't yet met.
There is going to be some work with a visit with Keri from Keri Designs and her local stitching group and a visit to a needlework shop. I met Keri at the Houston Quilt Market a few years back and I just love her work and it will be great to catch up with her again.
The rest of the time in Maui, I plan on chillin out and taking it easy. I'll make sure I take some photos to post.
Later Gater