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How to Learn How to Needlepoint

How to Learn How to Needlepoint

Have you always wanted to learn how to needlepoint but don't know where to get started? If so, this guide is for you! I'm sharing resources on where you can learn how to needlepoint. 

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Creating my own Fabric for Finishing

Creating my own Fabric for Finishing

Here I go again, raving all about how I love the design process lol! But in all seriousness, I try to look at needlepoint finishing as an art form. I take my finishing very seriously – and often hold on to stitched pieces for months before I send them for finishing just so I can find the perfect fabric, trim, accessories, etc.

 

This canvas was a gift from my boyfriend over the summer. We were in Disney one weekend and he called up Lycette and spoke with Mama L (who is just the sweetest!!!). The canvas was waiting for me at home when we got back & I stitched it up so fast. If you’re interested in this canvas, it is by Jessica from Lycette and you can purchase it by calling her shop or online! I try to support other needlepoint designers when I can because that’s how we keep this industry growing.

Back to the canvas. I stitched this canvas fairly quickly and knew I wanted it to be my vacation clutch. The best part about a clutch? It has two sides so each side can be a statement! I knew I wanted to make something completely unique for the other side.

 

In my early e-commerce days before I was a needlepoint canvas designer, I created patterned fabric. I loved the challenge of designing repetitive patterns. I studied under Kaeli Smith, who has her own apparel line that you’ll love if you love Lilly Pulitzer. She actually produced a line with a pattern I designed one summer! Some images are below. I honestly think that wearing a fabric that you created is one of the coolest feelings in the world. I still create patterns for fun from time to time, and if you’re interested you can shop them here on Spoonflower. I also have a Pinterest board that I am constantly updating with my favorite fabric. 

 

So for this finish, I knew I wanted the fabric on the other side to be beach or tanning related. I spent weeks looking for a fabric but couldn’t find anything that I loved. I tried to design some patterns and came close to ordering this one, but it just didn’t feel right for this finish. The only rule I had was that I wanted a fabric that had similar colors to the needlepoint.

 

 

I went back to the drawing board. I was scrolling through Instagram and came across this photo from The Skinny Confidential. Unfortunately, I did a reverse-image-search and couldn’t find it anywhere. I was hoping it was an art print and I could contact the artist to purchase – but I think Lauren’s team created it. I started to look into vintage maps to find something similar. Maybe an artist had created a cool map design of a beach I had been to? But again, I couldn’t find anything I loved.

 

 

As I was searching for vintage map, somehow I came across old Coppertone ads and it clicked. I loved the irony of having a Coppertone design on a “Gone Tanning” canvas because I am crazy about sun protection. I attempted to find vintage Coppertone fabric, bags, or anything of the sort. The only thing that turned up was this Coppertone bag. I came across 3 online, but all had discoloration, stains, and the color palette didn’t fit the needlepoint canvas. I was hesitant to use a fabric that had been stained to create a clutch. 

 

Because I’m obsessed with Captain (my goldendoodle), I thought “How cool would this be if the dog could look like Captain?”. I decided to use the bag as inspiration and create my own sketch with custom colors. I spent a few hours drawing a similar design on my iPad and trying to match colors to the canvas. Below is the final sketch I created!

 

Next, I needed to find a shop who would print my fabric. I considered creating a canvas from this drawing, but decided it would be better to just have it on fabric. I didn’t want to turn this into a pattern because I wanted the sketch to be a large motif on the fabric. I reached out to several different stores and finally decided to work with this Etsy store because they totally understood my vision. As you may have guessed from above, I’m really picky about fabric and finishing, so I was really happy to work with a company who just understood and delivered. 

About 2 weeks later, the fabric was at my door and it was perfect! I will definitely use them again to order again. This isn’t a sponsored post and I paid full price for my fabric – I was just thrilled to find someone who understood my vision, was responsive, and helpful. I’m already dreaming about my next project through them!

 

Now, this stitched canvas and fabric is off to Lycette for finishing! I will post a final picture & update when it’s finished, but I am so excited to see the results. Stay tuned!

 

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The Design Process: Needle Minders

The Design Process: Needle Minders

Good news: the ginger jar needle minders are back in stock! Shop them here. They are also available in our Needlepoint Essential Bag which has 8 items. 

Before I get started, I wanted to take a moment to thank you all. In my first launch, I sold out completely in less than 48 hours (this is insane to me and I still cannot believe it). I ordered 100 minders thinking I would maybe sell them all in 2 years...but definitely not 2 days. We're hoping to always have them in stock, but if you ever see this blog and they're not in stock, please sign up for my mailing list to be notified when they are restocked! 

 

I can't thank you all enough - from the people who purchased, to the people who shared my products, to the people who even just liked my photos - thank you, thank you, thank you. If you don't know, I run this small business all by myself, so it means so much to me when you choose to support me in any way that you can. My friend Jessica Tongel Designs shared a graphic on her Instagram the other day and I think it's an amazing reminder as we go into the holiday season. Even just liking a post can help a small business owner grow, and I'm so appreciate for any way that you can support me. Thank you.

 

With that being said, I wanted to share the design process of my needle minders. 

As I’ve mentioned before on Instagram, I’m always interested in the design process. I love learning how other creators and designers find inspiration and how they see a product through from concept to physical product. Other than designing needlepoint canvases and small art projects, this was the first product that I was able to design from concept to physical product. Here’s how I created my needle minder.

The Issue:

Recently, I’ve been trying to expand my product offering on my website. I’ve always loved the practicality of needle minders, but could never find one that I loved or fit my taste. I looked at purchasing some needle minders for my shop created by other designers, but again was struggling to find one that fit my aesthetic or ones that I loved. So, I sat down, and thought “If I could make my dream needle minder, what would it be?”. The answer? A ginger jar.

 

The Design:

I have a Ginger Jar design that I illustrated on my iPad several years ago (the image above). I have sold it as a sticker and art print on Redbubble, so I used that for inspiration for my needle minder. Because a minder is so small, I knew I would have to simplify the design to make it work. I went through SO many renditions of simplified sketches – so many that it would make your head turn. I have attached a few of the ideas below, but I cannot count how many there were.

 

Finding the Factory:

While I was working on simplifying the design, I was reaching out to companies and factories that could produce these for me. It was a bit difficult because there aren’t many companies that make needle minders, but after weeks of searching and taking to companies, I finally found the perfect one. I'm proud to say these were made in the USA! 

Unfortunately I won’t be giving my factory information out because they aren’t taking new customers, but I’m more than happy to create custom needle minders for needlepoint artists and stores. Shoot me an email for more information.

Below are some of the simplified sketches I had created. These were just iPhone shots I sent to my sister of my iPad, so I apologize for the low quality. I didn't love any of the sketches so I continued to create renditions until I created something that felt right!

 

Finalizing the Design:

After I had simplified several sketches, I nailed it down to the 2 below. I actually had my Instagram followers vote & let me know which design they preferred without them knowing what the designs were for. After their feedback, I decided on the final design. I sent it over to the company and they sent me a proof (the larger photo on the bottom). 

 

The Physical Product:

Several weeks later – my design was delivered! I am beyond ecstatic with how these turned out. I tried to find a good balance of something that looked professional but also hand-drawn. I’m obsessed with symmetry (you’ll see that if you buy my canvases), but I actually chose not to have this design perfect symmetric because I felt it takes away from the hand-drawn design.

The magnets are incredibly strong (yet safe) and it’s the perfect size – big enough but not too big. I’m so incredibly proud of how they turned out and I am really excited to see how you enjoy these. Below is a picture of the proof (top right corner) with the final product. 

 

The Packaging:

Along with the design of the physical needle minder, I wanted to create cool packaging. If you follow me on Instagram, you may have noticed that I’ve been trying to add some special touches to my packaging – stickers, tissue paper, and several other branded touches.

I decided to design a cardstock packaging. Each needle minder will come shipped on this cardstock – with the front of the minder on the front of the card and the magnet of the minder on the back. I have a few versions of the cardstock that says "Needle Minders" at the top, but the overall design is the same. 

I think I finally covered all of the details – but as always, if you have any further questions please feel free to comment or email me at MorganJuliaDesigns@gmail.com for more information. I cannot wait to see these minders on some of your canvases!

As a reminder, my designs are copyrighted, so I ask that you please do not download any of the images below. While I trust all of my readers, there are some people who stumble across my site with not the best intentions, and I will pursue legal action if I find out that my designs have been used without proper permission. If you would like to use my designs, please shoot me an email and we can legally work something out! Thank you!

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Introducing Ginger Jar Needle Minders

Introducing Ginger Jar Needle Minders

I’m SO beyond excited to announce the latest edition to my store…needle minders!

I have never been able to find a needle minder that I loved, so I created my own. I hope you love it! This design was created by Morgan Julia, is exclusive to our shop, and is copyrighted. It is one-of-a-kind and not available for purchase at other locations. If you're interested in how I designed my needle minders, I have a whole blog post on it that you can read here

Read on to hear more about the details and when they are launching. If you're more of a visual learner, head over to my Instagram TV to see a video explaining how they work!

What is a needle minder?

If you’re new to needlepoint or have never heard of a needle minder, let me give a little background. A needle minder is a magnetic pin that adheres to your needlepoint canvas. It can be used for any craft that involves needles, not just needlepoint. Because it is magnetic, it can hold your needle while you are not stitching to ensure that you never lose your needle. These are very useful since needles have a tendency to go missing. The best part is that you can continue to use your needle minder from canvas to canvas.

How do you use it?

There are two parts to this needle minder: the ginger jar front, and the magnet backing. To use this needle minder, you lay the front on the top of your canvas. Then you carefully slide the magnet behind your needlepoint canvas. The needlepoint canvas is sandwiched between the front and the back of your needle minder. The magnet is incredibly strong, so when you need to put your needle down simply place it on the front of the needle minder. The magnet on the back is strong enough to hold your needle on the front of the canvas. 

What's so special about this needle minder?

Well, it's one of a kind because it was designed by me! I wanted it to be very easy to use which is why it only has two parts. I wanted it to be cute and functional. This needle minder is 1.25" tall. It is not available anywhere else and there is no design that is similar. 

When are they launching?

We have 2 specific launches for the needle minders. Our email subscribers will be able to purchase before the general public.

The needle minders will be available to purchase for our email subscribers first on Thursday, November 7th at 6pm EST. Our email subscribers will be emailed a special link to purchase before the general public. If you want to sign up for our emails, please head to this link and insert your email.

They will go on sale for everyone on Friday, November 8th at 11am EST on MorganJuliaDesigns.com. All needle minders are ready to ship and will ship within 1-2 business days.

 

What is the price?

The price per needle minder is $12. As a reminder, we offer free U.S. shipping on orders over $100.

What else can needle minders be used for?

If you don’t stitch, these can be used as pins! You can attach the front to your clothing and use the magnet on the back of your fabric to secure the pin. Because it is magnetic and there is no post or backing, the pin will not create a hole in your clothing. I’m sure there are way more uses, but this is my favorite!

Anything else we should know?

We do not offer returns on any of our products, including these needle minders. However, if there is an issue with any product you receive, please email me.

Will these be available for wholesale?

If you are interested in purchasing these for wholesale, please email me at MorganJuliaDesigns@gmail.com to discuss.

I also offer the option to design custom needle minders. Please email me to discuss.

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The Canvases I'm Packing for Vacation

The Canvases I'm Packing for Vacation

As I prepare to head out of town for a much-needed vacation, I thought I would give you a little peek at the canvases that I am packing. Frankly, I haven’t had enough time to stitch my own projects because I have been so busy with orders (thank you all!) This is a great problem to have. 

If you're new here and want to learn a little bit more about me, check out this blog post.

Side note: the last time I was on vacation I was considering taking the leap to launch Morgan Julia Designs. I'm SO happy I did!

 

 

Before we get started, I wanted to fill you in on a little secret: I will be launching a new collection of canvases this Winter. I brought a few of those to stitch, and I’ll note which ones, but they won’t be available for sale until early 2020. If you sign up for our emails here, you’ll be the first to know when they launch.

 If you’re interested in how to pack your needlepoint for a trip, my friend Jessica from Lycette has a wonderful blog post on the topic

I’m including some of my extra tips below. 

Traveling with Scissors:

  • Always pack your canvases in your carry-on to ensure they can’t get lost.
  • As Jessica stated, TSA will let you travel with scissor blades under 4 inches for domestic flights. The bamboo scissors I sell are TSA safe and travel approved!
  • International countries may not allow small scissors. If you’re traveling internationally, pack other items that can cut your thread such as a dental floss container, nail clippers, or a thread cutter.
  • If you check a bag, throw an extra pair of scissors in there. In the rare case that your scissors are confiscated on your trip down, you can have a back-up pair for your trip home.
  • If I have time (and remember) before I pack, I’ll choose one project and cut threads for it. That way if I lose all my scissors, I can still stitch.

Traveling Tips:

  • Separate your projects into individual bags with the tools you need. That way, you can pull out the project bag instead of having to dig through your carry-on for all your supplies. You can read about my favorite project bags on this blog post.
  • Pack a few needles in various places: your wallet, a Zip-lock, in a project bag, etc. Needles have a tendency to go missing – especially during travel.
  • Remember if all else fails and you lose supplies on your way down, Amazon ships almost everywhere so you can easily buy supplies.
  • Take more canvases than you need! That way you have more to stitch in case there are delays.
  • Upgrade yourself to first class so you have plenty of room to stitch. (Just joking…kind of)

Okay, now the moment you have been waiting for, here are a few of the canvases that I am bringing to stitch.  

Canvas #1: Champagne Dreams

I have been wanting to stitch this canvas for months. I worked on the design for over 2 weeks (this is probably my record) just playing with colors, font, size, etc. The background was originally a forest green and off-white stripe, but I think the two-toned pink fits it much better. It is on 13-count mesh and meant to be finished as a sleeping mask. I have been working on 18-count mesh a lot lately, so I think this will be a nice break and it should be a fairly fast project.

This is a new Morgan Julia Designs Canvas and will be available early 2020.

 

Canvas #2: Pop the Bubbly

Can you tell there may be a theme to this new collection? On vacation, I love to start every day with a mimosa. This canvas reminds me of that. It is on 18-count mesh and the size of an ornament, but it could be finished as anything. I’m really excited about this canvas because it’s a great way to get creative with thread. I’ll be stitching the green bottle with velvet and the ice bucket with sparkly thread.

This is a new Morgan Julia Designs Canvas and will be in early 2020.

Side note: One of the places we love to vacation to is the Ritz Carlton in Cancun. (I know Cancun doesn't have the greatest reputation, but it's a wonderful resort destination). Last spring, we were sitting in the club level drinking champagne. I was stitching Pip and Roo’s Whispering Angel canvas, and a little girl came over and sat right next to me. The first thing she says is “I LOVE your napkin-thingy”. I kindly explained that it was needlepoint, she watched me stitch for a bit, then went back to her parents. It was a really cute moment and we joke about it now. Maybe I should re-name this canvas “Napkin-thingy”. Thoughts?

  

Canvas #3: Oysters on the Half Shell

Remember how I said I was so busy? I haven’t had a chance to properly stitch any canvases from my last release. I’ve done some test stitching to make sure the colors and designs looked good – but it’s just like a draft and I haven’t had a chance to nicely stitch them for finishing. I’m so excited to stitch these oysters. This canvas has been a best-seller from my most recent collection and it will sell-out before the holidays, so if you’ve been thinking about grabbing one get one now!

If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen I picked up Frye Werks FT25. Nicole Letts (@NicoleMelv on Instagram) mentioned I should use it for the oysters and I think I’ll do just that!

 

Canvases 4-7:

I’m a notorious overpacker, so of course I’m packing extra canvases (even though I don’t need to and probably won’t even touch half).

  • My boyfriend requested another belt so I’m bringing that to stitch. The design spells out a phrase that he asked for in sail flags. Gotta love a man who appreciates a needlepoint belt & sail flags.
  • I am also bringing an American Sails canvas to stitch for a patch on a Boat & Tote.
  • I picked up this adorable Lycette canvas that I want to put my own spin on. As you know, I love gold bamboo, so I picked up some thread to make the border gold. I love that the foo dogs are in my favorite colors: light blue & navy blue.
  • The final one I’m bringing is a secret. It’s the only canvas I’ve had time to stitch lately and I am about 75% finished. I promised myself I would finish it on this trip so I won’t touch the others until this is done. It will be available in my winter collection and I may even post a picture of it on Instagram, so follow @MorganJuliaDesigns to see. 

Okay, that’s all! And that’s more than enough. Who knows if all 7 will actually end up in my bag (probably not), but at least you get to see a glimpse of what I’ll be stitching over the next few months. Let me know which is your favorite in the comments below – I love seeing which canvases other stitchers love. 

This blog post may include affiliate links - which means I get a small commission if you click and/or purchase something from these links. It doesn't cost you anything or change your purchase experience. Thank you for choosing to support Morgan Julia Designs!

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My Favorite Needlepoint Project Bags

My Favorite Needlepoint Project Bags
I've seen this question over and over: "What is the best bag for needlepoint projects?". I'm here to spill my favorite brand: Stoney Clover Lane.
(Side note: this is NOT in any way sponsored. I've bought all their products myself & honestly love every single one of them.)
Stoney Clover Lane is an accessories brand started by two sisters: Libby and Kendall. I've followed them on Instagram for awhile and recently they've blown up! They're most known for their bags, pouches, and patches. They have two stores: one in Palm Beach and one in the Hamptons. What I love most is that the company was started by two smart young women. I own plenty Stoney Clover and can say it's very high quality. 
Here's why I love it:
  • Their bags are perfect for travel and are easy to throw in a larger bag.
  • You can customize your bag with their adorable patches
  • High quality materials.
  • Perfect for needlepoint - and everyday.
  • Clear bags and pouches help you see which project is in which bag. 
  • Easy to clean, yet protective. 
  • *Side note, their bags are better sized for smaller projects and carrying needlepoint tools & accessories. 

Canvas Featured: Chill Pill

Need I say more? One of my favorite things about Stoney Clover is that their bags and pouches are versatile. It can store a needlepoint project, but when you're finished you can use it as a clutch or a pouch for storage. They're cute enough to be worn out instead of just being hidden in a bag. Most of their items can be customized. If you like to travel lightly - pack a needlepoint project into a pouch and then use the pouch as a clutch at night!
Here's what I own:

So, which is the best for needlepoint projects? Personally, I think that any of their clear pouches are best for needlepoint because you can easily see your needlepoint canvas and thread. However, I like to have some that are not clear in case I'm working on a project with "bad words" or something I want to keep secret. 
Best Pouches and Bags for Needlepoint Projects:
Any Stoney Clover Lane product makes for a perfect gift for bridesmaids, family members, friends, or fellow needlepoint addicts. Just think how CUTE a pouch would be with patches that spell out "NDLPT"! I'm also tempted to stitch an ornament and have it sewn onto one of their woven clutches because I love them so much. If you're stuck at what to order, their Instagram has so much great inspiration.
More Stoney Clover Lane that I love:
 
Lol, I think I've said enough about them now to have you convinced! If I missed something or you have any other questions, feel free to message me on Instagram or email me at morganjuliadesigns@gmail.com. If you have a Stoney Clover Lane product, let me know in the comments below!
Some links may be affiliate links. This means I make a small commission on anything you buy through the links. It doesn't cost you anything. Thank you for using my links; they help me continue to design and sell full time!
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