Marilyn says...

Informative comments or articles posted by Marilyn on the USENET newsgroup rec.crafts.textiles.needlework


"Free" Designs

April 15, 2002

Please accept the Free Designs on this site as my way of saying "thank you" to my loyal customers. These designs can be copied and shared with others for hand stitching only. Free doesn't mean that you can sell the finished stitched piece on eBay to make money. You can't do this. You also can't use the designs for machine embroidery, greeting cards, or other reproduction because I still own the copyright for these designs and I reserve all rights to them, including the right to license them for other uses. Simply can't make money from my work if I don't make money from my work. This message is meant to explain the details for those who were wondering. Thank you and enjoy stitching my gifts!


October 26, 2001

I have an egg I have been hatching for months now... I haven't made it public yet but I'll share it with you if you like?

For years I have had to fumble with terrible colors and I prayed that every new release of new colors would be the ones I luck! I even went to these companies and laid out the colors that we designers are begging for....deaf ears! If the designs of needlework have progressed to the realm of fine art, then we should have a palette of colors that represent fine art, not dingy dusty threads from bygone years that don't even have a number system to identify them as color groups! (Don't get me started.)

I have talked about them on RTCN and even had a naming contest where many names were suggested and "Needlepaints" was decided upon. For the last 10 months I have been working with several manufacturers to get the right quality of thread. It's a 6 ply 100% Egyptian cotton but it looks like the "S" word -ilks which I can not say. It fits in with the DMC cotton threads and is the same weight.

Designing has changed in the last 10 years. Customers want more detail and more realism. The line is being planned for many other designers to use.

Dear Ms. Leavitt-Imblum:

John Carpenter asked that I inform you that your NEEDLEPAINTS application was filed with the United States Patent and Trademark Office on April 2, 2001. If you have any questions concerning that application or any of your other trademark applications or registrations, please do not hesitate to contact me.

I don't intend to compete with DMC; they will always be the main source for my color palette. In fact, I am hoping that DMC will reproduce my colors that are so badly needed by the designers. Then I won't have to go through all of this expense and worry.

I feel that the creation of these colors is my gift to the stitching world. This is not a profit move at all on my part or a way to discourage copies as some think. Not all of the colors will be "Needlepaints" on my designs...just the ones that no one else makes.

So many designers have reached for these colors and have had to use yukky substitutes. These are for special touches. I don't think anyone can claim that I have weighted down my designs with fancy baubles or buckets of beads to create the effect of a lovely design. The "Needlepaints" are my way of creating the dreamed of colors.

But when I decided the colors of my dreams (which these are), I especially looked very carefully to make certain that no other company had ever done these colors. There are millions of colors you know. I'm sure in 12 months someone will copy my colors, and they will be close but not exactly what I have chosen. Picking colors is an exhausting ritual that takes so much time; there's only a certain time of day that the colors are right. The shades of thread change with how the light hits them, and then when they are done in different stitches they look a different color altogether.

So there will be no substitutes on my charts, but I will promise you that any store that orders them will get shipment in 24 hours. I've made the manufacturers know that this is how it has to if gremlins get in the process, I will myself try to go around any back door I can to get the threads to you! That's why it is important that you tell your stores to order them as soon as they are ready. No store will want to stock a new line of floss if no one will buy them.

All of the lavenders will be numbered in the first 100 starting with 2001. Then the Blues will be in the second 100 starting with 2101 etc, Then the greens will begin in the third 100 of 2201 etc, and so on until we have a rainbow effect and you will be able to tell what color it is by the number. Each series of shades will number 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006; isn't that a novel idea? Numbers that actually proceed to follow the shades used!

All 17 colors of Needlepaints will be released on October 24, along with the NEW design "Angel of the Morning" (L&L53). Each range of shades starts at the palest pale and goes to darkest dark. They are 100% colorfast! Ten meters per skein, each sold individually.

The colors of Needlepaints are:

Note that Needlepaints are no longer as available as they once were. See our Needlepaints page for substitutes.

Distributors will send them to your stores, and you will be able to find them at online stores. Wherever you buy my patterns, they will have the threads. Tell your stores you want them, and they can order them from the distributors. Distributors will be contacting the stores about them. To pre-order would be best; a store owner should welcome your telling them about the new floss.

The Needlepaints will be available as separate single skeins of color. In the Angel of Mercy II, I included the floss so that people could sample it. I will continue to put the floss into the Angel of Mercy II. That is the only design that will include the floss.

Needlepaints are no longer shipped inside Angel of Mercy II.

All future use of the Needlepaints will be purchased in addition to the chart. We will be kitting "Angel of the Morning" in January, so for those who are too far from a store, these will have the exact materials needed -- fabric, floss, beads, special braids and two needles -- one to bead and one to stitch.

Here they are. I hope you love them as much as I do!

Angel of the Morning (L&L 53)

October 26, 2001

My very best angel of all time will come out in October. Her name is the Angel of the Morning, I have played with the light so it looks as if she can see the light of the universe shining onto her soul. The light hits her face in such a way that you can see the inspiration pouring into her heart. It isn't the morning like with a rooster crowing, but a design with "Light," and that is why she is so named. I love it, but I worry until the world like you sees it!

Many times I just play the music and follow my hands as they make the design happen. My daughter was even looking for a certain book and walked over to my tables piled with resource books. She lifted one book up, and the one she needed was underneath it! I told her those were just the miracles that happen when you work on an angel!

As for telling you about a design early, the creative process for a design can be very exciting. Something happens, and it is almost magic, and it overwhelms me with excitement! I sit alone in my studio. No one else cares what I design (family and friends). If I tell them about it they say "Oh that's nice." They don't know anything about cross stitch. If it were up to me I would post daily of the progress of my work. I'd show the bits and pieces as they come, right online for all to see. I also let the children open a present on Christmas eve, I can't keep secrets at all -- especially the exciting ones.

All summer long my daughter Beth (Elizabeth Post) and I worked on this angel. We couldn't come up with the right name for this angel reaching towards the light. So we called her the Angel of the Morning. Once the towers fell and I looked at her again, I knew exactly what she represented.

She is what we all feel.....everyone who sees her feels it too!

So instead of the December release that she was to be, we all worked night and day on her. The models were 80% finished. Frames had to come in, proofs checked, symbols changed, copies sent out, a rush frame job taken to Fed Ex on Saturday for delivery this morning to be photographed. The photographer has taken 2 days off of his time, the printer is taking half the normal time, and the workers are all giving the best of the better of their best for this Angel.

I haven't talked about her over the last 4 weeks because I have been so busy. Some suggested calling her the Angel of the Mourning. You can call her what ever comes to your mind when you see her.

If I died tomorrow and this was my last design I would be happy. Her release date will be October 24 due to everyone's heroic work to get her to you ASAP!

She is on Blue Spruce Linen (2 over 2) from Zweigart. She needs 5 of the newest "Needlepaints." We are hoping they all will be ready the next week!

PB11 will be the one to find from Rainbow Gallery. The others are PB01 and PB03. Stitch count of 180 x 258, 11 1/4" x 16 1/8".

Love to all; may she reflect the part of you that is closest to the sun! That spectacular shiningly beautiful morning..September 11

If I could change one thing on the graph (and it is too late): I have used a solid square and a square with a dark circle in it for two of the symbols. The two symbols are right near where the wings connect to her body, and you guessed it -- they are right near each other. So keep a close watch for these very close looking symbols.

When you do the backstitching make sure you use long stitches when ever possible. I like the shine it gives to the glittery colors, and on the hands it makes them look so much more realistic.

Oh....the cape has a golden edge to it, and some of the model stitchers did the gold first because it gave them a nice edge to follow. I wouldn't recommend doing this because when the darker stitches are filled in they cut the gold edge up into tiny X's instead of a tight row of gold.

Please don't download the picture of her and pass it around. I want this angel to be seen, but I want it to be because a stitcher took the time to create her. Lots of these patriotic or inspiring images are being treated as if they are free and as if no one will get angry if the copyright is broken. Not so here, as you all know by now. I design for the stitchers, and that is the only way to see these creations.

When you stitch her you will be the one to show the image to your friends and family. That's how it should be. I protect the stitcher's integrity.

I did something else when I was putting the finishing touches to my new angel. As she rises from the darkness I added stars. Only each star is a little different. Most of them have no bead in the center. This is because they represent the heroes who have died. They are gone, but their light still shines in the darkness.

It's fine to add star centers if you like but I thought they were more meaningful without the beads. I'm going to look at the numbers for the stitches today and see if maybe her wing stitches come close to the people we lost. I wouldn't be surprised if they did.

So you can see what I mean when I speak of her coming through me and my daughter but not from us. She was first called the Angel of Truth, then we called her the Angel of Faith, then we called her Angel of the Morning, but we still didn't understand her meaning until the day the towers fell.

Oooops! back up a bit. On this angel I did not include the 2 over 2 face. Her face is so perfect as it is and it would be ruined if done over 2, so as it says on the chart. 1 over 1 face ONLY. If some one wants to take each section of four stitches and make a solid single stitch you are more than welcome to try.

For those of you who just can't do the over one face, make a trade with someone who can and maybe you can stitch the darkest areas of the gown in exchange for their doing the face for you.

Pretend I am seeing it with you -- that's how I feel. Each section was stitched as it appear to me and my dear Beth. We both agree that we did this together absolutely. Like spiders spinning from each other's souls.

The models were done by a great group of stitchers, they did wonderful stitching work. The hair isn't really as red as it looks in the photo, but I think someone along the line "boosted" the reds. Her gown has many more folds in the dark areas. The picture in the graphpak shows this in more in detail.

The halo is all cross stitch with a gold band inside of the circle. I couldn't take the chance of that halo being crooked! I do suggest that you backstitch the gold thread on the halo in larger stitches rather than tiny bitty ones. The gold hits the light and really shines super done that way!

Thank all of you for your kind words. Remember someone other than me planned her to be here now -- the same Person who knew what would happen on September 11, So we are being taken care of, and we should enjoy our lives as much as we can.

I still have to say that I watched her grow, and as each new part happened it was a surprise and a glimpse into another world for me. The real puzzle was what she was doing, asking for. Was she getting light? Was she receiving light? Try naming her before the towers fell! We went through litanies of names, and we couldn't figure her out.

Guess we weren't supposed to; all we did was let her come through. I feel humble and blessed to be a part of her message to us all. Goodness will win as it always does, and we should be like her, trusting in our future.

Thank you so much!
You are all more than kind!


P.S. ~Connie~ wrote:
> Oh, c'mon,!!!
> You are not the only Juice Newton wannabee. <vbg>
> One more time... 2, 3, 4,
> Just call me Angel of the Morning, baby..
> Couldn't resist..
> ~Connie~

OK....if you all promise not to tell.....
It was in my head when I was designer her too!

She was the Angel of Truth
then the Angel of Faith
and when I called her Angel of the Morning
I was singing away for days!!!!!
You promised not to tell anyone!

Angel of the Morning Face Alternatives

January, 2002

Marilyn has suggested several alternatives for those who cannot stitch 1 over 1 on 32-count linen, and for those who prefer to stitch on Aida. If you are in either category, we hope you will find a suggestion among those listed below that will work for you.

One possibility is to stitch this design on a large piece of 18-count Aida, "4 over 2." The finished design would be quite large, but you would be able to stitch the face with two strands of floss over each woven square of the Aida.

Another possibility is to trade work with a stitcher who would do the face for you in return for your doing another portion of the chart for her. We have encouraged shop owners to set up local bulletin boards for their customers to facilitate this, so that stitchers could even trade for other services, such as an afternoon's babysitting, etc.

We also invite you to join us in the Yahoo! Group, MarilynsGarden. Several very generous members have offered to stitch the face for others at no charge.

Here's another possibility for the Aida stitchers: When you come to the area for the face, take your needle and pierce each woven square of Aida in its exact center. Now visualize each woven square to accommodate four tiny stitches. Then make one tiny cross stitch, with one strand of floss, in each quadrant of each woven square. The face chart will fit perfectly.

Earthdancer Notes

September, 2000

Judith Coleman Lackey from Raleigh, NC, provides the following tips for stitching Earthdancer:

"First of all, I washed and ironed my Earthdancer before adding the specialty threads. You won't want to wash her after the Wisper thread and suedes have been attached.

"Web of Dreamcatcher: Be sure to cut out the beige sections of the thread before starting. If you are using the natural linen called for, the beige sections will become 'lost' on the fabric. Use LONG stitches, going from one point of the dreamcatcher to another.

"To begin, I anchored the thread (one strand) under her hair. You will need to use fairly long lengths of thread, as you have to carry it over fairly large areas. Each stitch goes from one 'intersection' to the next 'intersection.' Be sure to count, count, and recount. Complete as much as you can, and anchor the end under another cross-stitched area. A word of caution: Keep holding your work up to a light to see if the thread is showing through the back. You'll have to be careful when stitching this part because you do not want the dark thread showing through. Sometimes, you might have to 'weave' your thread under the thread on the back to get to the next intersection. This is OK. Again, you do not want to carry your thread, as it will show through.

"For the outside rim of the dreamcatcher, I cut one continuous strand of the blue suede. I held the suede against the outline of the dreamcatcher to get an estimate. Then, I added another 6 inches 'just to be safe,' as this must be one continuous strand. Secure the suede under her hair and bring it to the top of your fabric. Gently lay the suede on the top of your fabric along the 'points' of the dreamcatcher. You will notice that these 'points' have beads. Secure the suede at these points with single beads. I attached them using the loop method. When you bring your thread up from the back to make the first part of your 'x', place the suede over that spot. Attach the bead. Pass over the suede before bringing your needle back down through your fabric. Pass your needle through the loop on the backside to complete the first part of your 'x'. Then bring your needle up from the back, go through the bead a second time, and complete your 'x'. This will result in the suede lying under the bead, and the bead will secure the suede in its proper place. To end off my thread, I removed one of the two strands of floss on my needle. With the needle and remaining strand, I went under the stitch a couple of times. Then, I tied the two strands of floss together with a teensy-tiny square knot. (Couldn't think of another safe way to secure it!!) I hope this makes sense!!"

The Lost First Design......

September, 2000

A single design of mine that no one has would fetch a lot on e-Bay. There is such a design, you know? It was done as the very first design and was a take-off on another pattern. I had stitched it for only my home but put it out in a pattern when I thought these would only be sold in my neighborhood (boy was I wrong). It has a barn and white house with bird feeder and there are quilts on the buildings. I called it "Song of a People." After a few sales I discontinued it and later used the name with permission from the poet who first wrote it. Only the new "Song of a People" is entirely different.

This model stitched by me is hanging in Yoder's restaurant in Middlefield, Ohio.....the couple of hundred patterns I gave to an Amish charity, and they sold them along with jelly by the side of the road. A woman wrote to us saying she had a copy and could we please explain why this design wasn't online with the others. So some people out there have this first lost design. I remember after I finished graphing the chart saying "Well I'll never do another one of's too much work!" I was wrong again!


Copying Patterns

July, 2000

"In the past week, many of the large and small designers have become aware that our patterns are appearing all over the Internet and, you can if chose, download our work for free.

For all of the loyal, dear supporters of my designs, you may read no further...this does not apply to you.

When I design something, I could whip it out quickly and be done but I don't. I ponder and fuss and redo and worry and keep redoing until the design is as perfect as I can possibly make it. There is a spirit in my work that I pass on to the stitcher of my work.

This is my work...I was a mother of 4 children on welfare...I have no college degree...I put this together with hours and hours of my life! This is my income. This is my hand outreaching to others who feel as I do. When you copy and pass on my work without me getting my 60 cents (yes that's it, 60cents), you slap me in the face. It's not good advertising for my images to appear without the copyright information or to pass on a pattern. The goodwill of this craft has been shattered by this new wave of thieves with no integrity.

You aren't a good friend if you pass on a pattern for free.
You are not helping that could be putting them in legal peril.
You won't find peace in stitching stolen angels.
You are closing stores. Over 75% of the LNS have shut down.
You aren't helping the poor...they have computer.
You won't find acceptance or love by cheating.
You don't need a working copy. I provide replacements.
You can crawl into any evil little corner but you can't hide from yourself.

You will be found and you will be held responsible for every act of theft that you are guilty of. You can afford the fabric and the floss, which costs much more than the pattern, but without the pattern, what do you have?

Women have come far in the last 25 years and having the same respect and legal protection as a man's intellectual property, is something that I will see happen. Maybe when you lose your homes and cars, you will know what the law, you are laughing at, can do.

I ask all of the people who have ever purchased any of my patterns to speak out against this policy in every wicked little corner of the Internet that they see it go on. Speak out with your feelings. Let these people know what they are doing is wrong!

The let me know because I will put you on the "Happily Ever After List". This means you will get a free pattern every time I release a design for the rest of my life.

I have never actually sued anyone in my life, but this has me so upset I am determined to make an example of any one of you. Maybe the one who starts the group or maybe the one who scans my design or maybe the one who downloads it!

It's a shame the good people... the ones who support their designers have to be anywhere near the ones who are doing this terrible sneaky, backstabbing slap in the face of the designers.

You know who you are and now many will search for you because we want more stores and more patterns and more designers. Do you want to go to JoAnn's and hunt for a piece of even weave? I remember when I did!

Marilyn Leavitt-Imblum"

The Instrument in "The Angel of Spring"

June 3, 2000

"Recently I was asked what the instrument on "The Angel of Spring" is. I replied that it was a magical angelic artistic license sort of thing totally made up Imagine my amazement when I was sent the reply from.....that there really is an old instrument almost exactly like what I imagined. It is call a rebec. If you would like to read more about this beautiful old rebec, then go to the site below...they also tell you how to make one! Now there's something to do with all of our extra time."


"Large Design Firms"

May, 2000

"Did you know that there are no "large design firms"?

There are publishers who purchase from artists and pay the artist pennies and go on to make large profits. The artist then may make $30,000 a year if more of their art is sold.

For the most part, designers are single-family artists who support themselves by learning how to manage a business, which is not what they ever wanted to do when they chose to be creative people. It's hard work and now it is even more important to make sure the designer gets every penny they deserve.

Up until 3 years ago, I literally "worked in the attic" and I am one of the more successful ones. To hear the term "large design firms" (and I know this person meant no harm) makes me feel like such a large company won't miss a couple of royalties. Kind of like cheating the insurance company or the IRS.

Every design you stitch meant that someone spent months of thinking and arranging and worrying over "does two blues look better than 3 yellows or will this gray mean you do not have to backstitch"? The end result is that you can happily stitch the right number and get the great results. A person, an artist made those decisions so that you can make something lovely from floss and fabric.

Let's decide to support every designer's wish so that you can stitch images only seen on fabric. If not, the artist might sell them for wallpaper or sheets. Yuck!

Just my opinion...I have been wrong before"


Alternate Hair Colors

April, 2000

"I've noticed people looking for alternate hair colors for "In the Arms of an Angel".
Here would be my choices.
There are seven shades in her hair. Make a list of these shades with light on the top and dark on the bottom.

Dark golden brown would be as follows:

Reddish Brown would be as follows:

Any shade can be used by this method. Just start with the lightest at the top of the list."


Comments on "In the Arms of an Angel"

September, 1999

"When I designed this angel, I felt very need of hope...I made all of the lovely fabrics because I couldn't decide which ones to chose from so I used them all. It was the curve of her arm that decided the way the child would be was the music I listened to "in the arms of an angel" that inspired me to use the colors of hope when all seems lost. I hid a golden rose in her dress hoping that someone would find it as an unexpected gift....the blood red rose of her heart in her hand as she holds it our for one more try. Her golden wins not in flight but on earth...holding the breath of new life (I love the way the baby's head looks so real).

If you look very closely she really has three wings. There is a special band of angels who are the closest to God and they have three wings (I was told this by a dear friend who was a nun).

The baby's blanket protects the mother as well as the child...and the starts of heaven move in circles around her head because she gazes at life...a new beginning."


"Celtic Christmas" Background

June, 1998

" I did "Celtic Christmas" last year and from my small bit of knowledge what makes her Celtic is as follows:"

The border is reminiscent of the Celtic motifs from the Book of Kells, which is an illustrated manuscript of the Bible. Done by hand, the Bible was copied and embellished with Celtic artwork using stylized knots and animals. (They would copy plant and animals directly as it might offend their spirit).

The young maiden carrying an Advent wreath and the word NOEL, are symbols of the early missionary work of the monks that evangelized the British Isles. At one point, they were banished from Ireland and Scotland to wander and settle in the Italian Alps.

MLI states on her web site that this work was inspired after she attended a Loreena McKennitt concert. Loreena McKennitt is a Canadian performer best known for "The Mummers' Dance" which has been on local pop radio. Her albums are anthologies of Celtic and folk songs, but not quite in the manner of Enya. She does use antique instruments and dress during her performances. She also has a web site.



March, 1998

"Here goes...again I'll say it....and I'll add what I haven't before...will all of you dear honest stitchers who wouldn't dare hurt a fly listen between the lines.

If I state online in public that you may make a copy for whatever reason then I am telling the world that anyone can make a copy. I can't say "yes" for some and "no" for others. The law doesn't work that way. There are people just waiting for me to slip up and give them permission to turn my images into t-shirts and calendars and greeting cards etc...without art to put on an object all they have is a blank piece of paper.

Another reason for me to say "no" is that the copying of my designs has gotten so out of hand that the loss of business has closed many LNS and we have lost good designers who couldn't make it through the tough time. I know of some stores who refuse to sell materials to a stitchers arrive with a black and white photocopy in hand. You can't use the thread twice of the fabric twice but the work that goes into the pattern is somehow thought to be free. If you only knew what I go through to make these designs... or maybe you wouldn't care. I could print my designs in a way that would make it difficult to copy them but then it would also make the designs difficult to stitch from. Why should honest stitchers suffer through a gray on lavender chart?

For now...when a stitcher is in public and she pulls out a photocopy she has to wonder who sitting around her wonders if she didn't pay for the chart.

We will enlarge charts for those who can't see them and we will replace promptly any worn out or marked up chart. Ask anyone who has done it.

I am not the enemy of stitchers...I'm not looking forward to legal seems the ones who have a "collection" of my designs that are "filled in" with shared copies have some guilt feelings. Maybe I should have a day like the library does when you can send me $3 for each copy you have acquired and we'll be even. (send without return address).

By defending my copyrights and calling this work my intellectual property I am trying to give dignity to what has been called "women's work". I am also trying to give more credit to the artists who for years have worked for pennies in this industry. In most cases the publishers make 98% of the profit or more in some cases.

So buy mine and others work from your local store...who has the fabric and beads and new fibers right in front of you. Most importantly has a real live person who can answer questions for you. Don't take free copies from friends because it hurts the designer and it isn't fair. If you create a design ask for at least 20% in royalties. It only takes $20 to legally copyright your work but you will have to stick your neck out to defend those designs or your copyrights don't mean a thing.

Now I have to go over to my art board and do some more work on the design you are waiting's been 5 months so far and it needs two more months to complete. I could just make the gown one color and put a ruffle on it and send it out but I won't. I'll give it the very best I am capable of even if it means I won't have time to do my other crafts, oil paintings and watercolors or my knitting and quilting, oh, did I mention a family and my two adopted children.

I care greatly with the stitchers who buy my designs and I promise to do back flips (funny if you know me) to help anyone of you with a problem...just call me and see!

(Putting my soapbox back in the corner)"



September 8, 1997

" Dear Stitchers,
While being in between designs I clean my studio. Filing piles of collected paper and floss that accumulates on many tables. Stacks of unread notes are sorted until I find clear wood that is the basis for my new inspiration. I save the notes from stitchers for the last, many are letters and e-mail sent to the office that is printed out for me to see.

As I read these letters that speak of sorrow in your lives, that thank me for my designs... I am overwhelmed by your kind works.

During this week of funerals there has been a heavy cloak of sadness in my heart. We who are left to burn with life must daily face the wind. I thank you for these words that wrap around my soul... your kindness has given new focus to my search for beauty.

We are gretel-women following threads to find the place inside that we call home."

Thank you,


June 17, 1996

" There is a reason for such seemingly nit picking about copyrights... For years (maybe centuries) anything to do with a needle has been regarded as "woman's work" ...without respect... something we do to keep our silly hands busy. It's my belief that what we do is intellectually valuable art. Only when what we create is treated with respect ourselves first... will the world give us the justified respect due for the images we create. "

Marilyn Leavitt-Imblum


February 14, 1996

"As to kitting....

It's impossible to say yes you may kit little designs but no you can't kit the big designs. It gets confusing and some see it as an option to kit everything.

Kitting is a very profitable addition to a designers income. Many designers sign contracts to let others kit for them but they are given royalties in exchange. After all, without the pattern all you have is a pile of supplies. Customers think of kitting as a convenient collection of can be much more. There is the labor of assembly and the printing of instructions and higher shipping charges if done by mail. Then there is an additional charge place on the kit that is profit. Profit is a variable that can be terribly misused. Many who kit use cheaper fabric and threads and I have seen many with no where near the right quantity of thread. We reserve the right to kit all of my designs because we are extra careful that you receive only the best quality and more than enough supplies. If you purchase a kit with our name on it you can be certain it will be complete. If a store makes up a pile of supplies they must sell it separate from my pattern and their name must be on the should not in anyway represent that my company had anything to do with it. They can't use my package topper or use borders that look like it is from my company.

Some examples that curled my hair are... I saw one of my free bookmarks stapled to a bag of $1 worth of supplies and the price was $5! I saw a kit of an angel with one skein of floss for each color! I get phone calls from justifiably angry customers who have a kit that isn't complete and I don't know where they got it.

We do kit our designs and they are for sale to stores through distributors. Stitchery carries almost all of our kits and they purchase them from us. Because of the subtle colors in my designs that are used in place of acres of backstitch it is very important that substitutes aren't used. You won't get the same effect that I see when I design.

As for teaching a class using a bookmark, you may place the supplies in a small bag and sell it separately to the customer. If you staple the bookmark to it a customer may feel they have to buy the whole thing just to get the design. They may look at the supply bag and say I don't need that because I have most of those materials already. If you can only obtain a design by the purchase of extra materials you don't need...then go to another store. The truly honest "peddlers" (and I think of them as treasure chests of the spirit as well as the material items) deserve your support. These stores are concerned with process of creating beautiful needlework and financial gains are just the means to enable them to continue doing what they love."

(getting down off of my soap box)
Marilyn Leavitt-Imblum

Computers and Stores

January 29, 1996

"A stitcher said, 'Actually I was just telling the owner of my favorite needlework store about this newsgroup, this past week. She seemed somewhat interested, particularly when I mentioned the names of some of the designers that we can ask questions of directly. But as a shop owner she commented that the information superhighway has caused her problems because the customers are finding out about new patterns before they are even put into print. She said it is becoming more and more common for customers to come in the store and become frustrated because the pattern they heard about on the internet wasn't available in the shop. She says that half the time what they are looking for isn't even in print yet. She feels like this makes her look like she's not keeping up with what is out there, even though she tries very hard to do so.'

Many store owners have mentioned this worry to their distributors who have in turn mentioned it to me. My answer is that nothing can replace the actual visit to a real store with real people, touching the fabric and seeing the true colors. Computer images never capture the detail of designs.

The paper work involved in running a store can be overwhelming which leaves little time to wander around in cyberspace. When a customer comes in with word of a new design a store owner should thank them and ask them to print out what they found. This makes the owner as up to date as the computer customer without spending computer time or expense. Only a small percentage of customers have computer access. Having a noteboard with printouts from the designers can be used as something to bring more people into a store. Anything I, Marilyn, have written on a computer newsgroup can be reprinted in a store newsletter as well. When several people ask about a design that is due to come out soon it gives the store owner an idea of how many to order.

The whole thing comes down to the spirit in which the information is shared and received. We are all in this together and the goal is to create as much beautiful needlework as possible in one very short lifetime."

Marilyn Leavitt-Imblum

Angel of the Sea

January 22, 1996

"Angel of the Sea has a baby for several reasons. I have baptized my children in the ocean, my blonde daughter has a blonde baby daughter and we live by the sea, many people asked for an angel of the sea to protect their family who work or travel on the ocean and I felt it represented the small and precious gifts of the sea. It could also mean the Christ Child the great fisher of souls held in His mothers arms. She also seems to float carrying what is closest to her heart over the crashing waves. Everyone can imagine their own interpretation and it will be right for them."

Marilyn Leavitt-Imblum


January 9, 1996

"Changing purchased designs is how I started. Sometimes I'd add a border just to quit the design sooner. Sometimes I would take pieces from one design and combine it with others, blending the best of both. Of course I thought everything I did was clutsy. When I did an original piece and showed it to my store owner she said make it up and she would sell it....I used Xerox copies at .15 and photos from the One Hour Photo store and got zip lock bags at the grocery store. Total investment of under $50 (maybe more like $20) When these sold out in 2 days at the needlework store I kept going. Anyone can see if their work will sell with only a simple investment. Let the store hang the model and see what happens. It used to be, you would have to spend $4000 for color printing to get designs out there. All good designers don't have that kind of finances to risk. I did have another income in the first 2 years to pay living expenses while I reinvested profits and expanded my designs. When I first took them to stores to see if they would buy them...I would lay the designs sheepishly on the counter and them go spend money on thread and fabric in the store so the owner wouldn't be have to feel awkward about not buying them...funny thing is they all bought them?"

Marilyn Leavitt-Imblum

Muted colors

November 27, 1995

"The colors for the samplers are much brighter than they appear after a printer and computer scanner get through with them. A better sense of the colors can be obtained by "pulling" the threads asked for. Actually most of the colors are darker than most sampler designers use. Muted wool natural shades appeal to my dreamlike view of samplers. They are the paths our ancestor stitchers left to lead us. When we improve the craft making new samplers it is in honor of the tradition that I use such colors. Blending the past with the future makes a wholeness that feels right to my heart."

Marilyn Leavitt-Imblum


November 4, 1995

"If you purchase one design you may make one design and sell it. If you make 10 from the same pattern then you must purchase and prove that you purchased 10 designs etc.... You may make a (one) quilt from one design and you may show that quilt and have newspapers and newsletters reproduce the quilt IF IT HAS MY NAME (please spell it right) as the designer mentioned. You are responsible for how this image is used. You are not permitted to sign a paper giving anyone else permission to reproduce the image you have re-created. I own the image. You may sell the one quilt or cross stitch piece. You may NOT use the image to make repeated copies for profit as in printing calenders or multiple copies in any way. (The Bride Quilt appears in a calender for 1996 and we have taken care of it's use.) If this isn't perfectly clear don't feel bad took me 5 lawyers and 2 years to "get it"."

Marilyn Leavitt-Imblum

Design Time

November 4, 1995

"Some designs can take a year...some as little as a month. I usually have several started, following one along until it stops "talking to me". Then move on to another. After pages and pages of drawings the image is placed on a computer (as of a year ago...before that I inked in all of the symbols by hand!). Once in the computer (that was meant to save me time) I spend 3 times as much time reviewing choices for colors and movement of objects! I use a NEXTSTEP computer and the program was designed by Jeff Adams my son. Many have asked to purchase this program but after 5 years of work and because it is sooo spectacular we are keeping it a secret. When I like it on the computer, it is printed in symbols for the stitcher. After seeing it stitched I make corrections. Then begins the printing process and packaging which (unless I get out the whip) takes a month. By the time a design is released I am already working on the next and of course I like the one I'm working on the best. I also can not keep secrets and start spilling the beans too early on these newsgroups but I get impatient too and wish you could all stare very hard at the screen and look over my shoulder. Most of your suggestions are on my todo list!"

Marilyn Leavitt-Imblum

Graph with grass

October 31, 1995

"When I first started doing the amish designs we had an amish family packaging the charts. They would sit around picnic tables in the evening and sometimes the children would help. I picked up a graph once and saw a piece of grass, nice and green and newly cut in the bag. I never told the family, they would have been horrified. I also left the grass in the bag....wonder who ever got the graph with grass and what they thought?"

Marilyn Leavitt-Imblum

Model Stitchers

October 30, 1995

Mostly my stitchers come from these newsgroups! You send in a 3-inch square sample of 32 count 2 over 2 linen. It needs to show some examples of "1 over 1" stitching and beadwork. I give it a grade and you are put on the list. We return your sample. You can send in a finished design of mine, but make sure it is insured, and we will insure its safe return.

When you send in your sample, please also include a list of the Told in a Garden (including Told in a Garden, Lavender & Lace, and Butternut Road) patterns that you have stitched. This is very important: Let us know how many hours a day you are available for stitching.

We have several designs coming out and many stitchers are needed. Your complete confidentiality must be promised before a design is sent to you.

You can send your sample to: model stitchers not needed at this time

We look forward to hearing from you!

Marilyn Leavitt-Imblum


October 29, 1995

"When we kit a design we have someone count the beads out exactly ........(I love dots) then we measure them using a baby medicine scoop then add an extra 1/4 of a teaspoon just to allow for the flying beads that escape. As for giving the quantity of skeins used, it's really hard to estimate because of the way people stitch. Have you ever turned over someone's work and found twice as much thread on the back? Then there are the backs that look like NO thread was ever wasted. I have had 80 year old women write to me and say "You didn't give me enough thread in the kit" Of course we always send more.......I can imagine how I will stitch when I'm 80...IF I'm even able to!"

Marilyn Leavitt-Imblum

Graph Information

October 26, 1995

"Everyone should know that all of my designs are forever in print. If you don't see them at your local store please ask them to order a design for you. Any statements that I make on this page are free to be reprinted in a newsletter by a store or copied and shown to your local store owner. Design photos are copyrighted and cannot be reproduced for any other use. If you have stitched from a pattern and it has become frayed or ripped or damaged you may return the abused graph to our offices and we will send a new copy fresh and perfect at no charge to you.

Marilyn Leavitt-Imblum


October 10th, 1995

"I'd like to open a discussion of embellishments. Does beading or ribbon work add to or detract from your stitching? Do you think it will preserve into the future as well as plain stitching? Do you think glitsy bobbles take the place of poor designwork? Would you do a piece that costs a lot more for the trinkets and looks lost without them? Do you know how to use the flower ribbon? Do you like it? Does one or two sparklies look good and add the "amen" to your work or do you prefer solid stitched designs? I'm asking because there is a new line of lovely crystal shapes that would be fun to sprinkle across a design but I hesitate because it feels like a move away from the fabric and thread magic. Please let me know your thoughts"

Marilyn Leavitt-Imblum

Model of Queen Anne's Lace

May 5th, 1995

"The model of Queen Anne's Lace came back! It took the stitcher 23 days to complete (I don't think she slept much) The total amount of #4 Braid needed is 3 spools of each color. Most stitchers said they just broke into the third spool and they stitch very frugally! The colors again are #102 and # 221 Kreinik #4 Braid."


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