A friend asked the other night how long it takes to write a stitchguide. I answered her question honestly as one business person to another and I got to thinking that this was something you may be interested in knowing too.
Everyone’s process is different, but here’s my process for writing a guide that I am not stitching.
For me the first step is thinking and exploring possibilities. What is the focal point of the canvas? What can I do to make this canvas really special? What techniques do I want to use? A lot of this is done while driving or in the shower, but still it is time. It is time that I don’t even factor into the following equation.
When it is time to start writing, I may need to stop and take a photo so that I have a roadmap of the piece. That photo requires opening Photoshop and color balancing the photo, changing its color format and size so that it prints well.
Ok, back to writing. just in the photography, I’ve already spent about 45 minutes and I haven’t even started writing yet.
Typically when I am writing I do start with an existing guide and make a copy of it so that all of the formatting is there. I want the guide to be pretty and easy to read. Each area of the canvas needs its stitches planned out. I may already have the stitch diagramed, I may not. If I don’t, more time is spent drawing the stitch. Sometimes I just need to tweak a stitch and other times I may need to change the stitch order so that a certain effect is achieved.
You would be amazed at the time these details take. With each section you are selecting not only the perfect stitch but the perfect thread and color. You may have an idea in your head for a stitch that would look super in Soie Perlee but alas, that color doesn’t exist in that thread so you need to step back and revise.
The longer you look at a canvas, the more details appear. Sometimes you will see something that springboards a new idea and causes a previously written section to be scrapped. It does happen.
Hours, sometimes days later the designing, writing and typing is complete.
We aren’t done yet. Next I need to type a complete thread list so that we know all of the ingredients in the design.
And then there’s the photo. I like to have photos on the front of the guides that show all the pretty threads and beads used. That takes time to set up and again process the photo.
Finally, the pieces come together and the guide is turned into a pdf for easy printing. My files are typically too large to email because of the number of hi res images and diagrams in them, so I print and bind them.
At this point an average guide has taken anywhere from 6-20 hours. It could be more, but I don’t want to know. The hours typically aren’t consecutive as we get interrupted a lot. This doesn’t include typing all the threads a second time into the database to sell the threads to the customer or putting the product on the website, instagram and facebook so that I can sell more of the same design. There’s lots of moving parts.
There is no way to effectively charge for all of the time and technology that goes into a stitchguide. I’m not complaining. If I was complaining I wouldn’t keep doing this. I’m not getting rich doing this, but I do have bills to pay, a mortgage and kitties to feed. I do it because I love it and I’m good at it. And because I truly love you!
Mary Legallet, Amy Bunger, Laura Taylor, Robin King and so many others are all doing the same thing to bring you a beautiful guide. Hang in there with us when we get backlogged. We can’t just give birth to these things in no time flat at the quality you deserve. They all get born eventually and they are worth so much more than what we charge.
The same can be said for finishers. They aren’t getting rich either. It takes a long time and a lot of care to assemble your masterpiece. They are worth it too!
Thanks for listening. Big Hugs.