Welcome to my blog. I'm probably very much like all of you who love the needlearts. My life revolves around family, friends, home and all things that help to make for a more contented life. When time allows; cooking, gardening, decorating, and collecting are my joys. I look forward to sharing all of these things with you. I also hope to keep you up to date on what is going on at Homespun Elegance, in regard to the needlework designs and the "Plain & Fancy Wares" that we offer.

Wishing you "Many Happy Stitches".

Saturday, October 5, 2013

In Response To "An Open Letter To Homespun Elegance"

Good Morning Everyone!
Something happened yesterday to make me question
myself and my designing, but after talking with some
people in the industry that know me and my work, 
I am feeling a little better.
I've been in this wonderful needlework business
for 34 delightful years (est. 1979) and the reason I 
have stayed in business that long is because I love
it so.  One of the many benefits of being in
this industry is that it is made up of kind and caring
people.  I started this blog nearly three years
ago with a great deal of uncertainty about
whether or not I could really do it.  You have
all kept me here with your encouragement,
heart-felt concern, appreciation of my work and 
your friendship.  I've never been the recipient of 
anything less than that until now.

I will continue designing MY OWN way~ 
(using whatever stitches I desire-
you do not have to use Colonial
Knots if you don't want to-
Substitute cross stitches, beads, seed
stitches, etc.)

Using hand-dyed fibers and linens~
(that sometimes fluctuate in dye lots)

Using MY OWN color palette~ 
PS~a great deal of time is spent in the 
preparation and proofing of my publications.  Floss  
is given to my model stitchers and it is returned to me
with the completed piece.  Don't get me wrong, we do
make mistakes, but No mistakes were made in
the floss colors in the designs in question.

By the way, everyone knows that photography
never reflects exact color and I DID NOT do
the photography for the designs in question.
Unfortunately, one of the first things I learned
in the beginning days of my business was that I
cannot possibly please everyone.
Hoping you continue to do
 "Many Happy Stitches"
Homespun Elegance~


  1. I absolutely agree my friend ~
    being a designer it is very difficult to please everyone, but it is fun trying!
    and I also agree with you regarding thread/floss colors, especially when using hand dyed flosses...the dye lots change and we as designers can't help that one bit. Same thing with hand dyed linens ~ they are 'named' the same, but there are sometimes great variances in the colors. That should be taken up with the folks who dye the threads/floss/linen.
    I love your designs, knots or not.
    Keep being you and creating from your heart ~ you have a gift and are always willing to share it with us all. Thank You!
    Blessed be,

  2. I'm old enough to learn that in every walk of life, someone's going to complain about something. Obviously there are a lot of people who love your designs so you must be doing something right. :-)

  3. Sandra,
    I'm so sorry you experienced something that made you question yourself. I always feel when I design something it's part of my heart and I'm sure you feel the same. I agree with Lori in that thread and linen colors are out of your hands when they are hand dyed. No two can ever be the same. But that is what I love and makes a piece unique. Keep doing what makes your heart sing.

    I also wanted to say how adorable your little Avery is with his pumpkin hat! Big hugs, Lori

  4. Don't change a thing in the way you design, it's easy if someone doesn't like your designs (besides something being wrong with them) then they don't have to stitch them; maybe their not a very talented stitcher and have to blame the pattern or threads. Dye lots can be so different; it's not anyones fault if their's is different than yours. Tell that person to get a life...:)

  5. Sandra: Your designs are a delight to me. Keep them coming, please! With so many color choices in the many different threads out there, stitchers can always find something to satisfy their "color eye". To my way of thinking, you lay the foundation in your designs, we, as stitchers, and individuals, create our cross stitch art from that. That's the fun in cross stitching. Thank you for sharing your designs with me. Keep up the good work; God has given you a gift. Judi in Tulsa

  6. Keep up your good work and this blog. After all, we need our Avery fix every now and then! Really, I'm flabbergasted that someone would complain about floss color! Love your designs!

  7. Part of being creative is having the courage to do things your own way. I love your designs

  8. I love your designs!
    Of course anyone can change the colors as they wish!
    i do it all the time.
    Some people just have to have something to complain about.
    I wouldn't even give it a second thought!

  9. Sending you a (((BIG HUG))) Sandra. I've learned in the last few years to design with my heart and also with my gut. I think you do that too. Don't change and don't let one sour grape ever ruin it for you, my friend. Most stitchers know about the way floss and linen work. We love you and your designs. Keep having fun!

  10. Hello Sandra - I commented on the open letter in question with the following message: 'As you know I absolutely adore HE designs very much and never seem to have a problem with them at all. If I dont have the required floss I look at the finished picture on the chart and have a tendancy to pick the right colours from my stash so I am not sure what to say to you. My JCS Christmas Issue is on its way to me - imagine my delight now you have shown me the Noel Bird by HE - I cannot wait for it to drop through the letterbox now xx - I don't have an issue with your work at all only that sometimes I have a little longer to wait for them to arrive in the UK. Love your work and all you do to keep me stitching my friend xxx

  11. I read and commented on the original letter too. I think the "tongue-in-cheek" aspect of the blogger's post was missed by some of the people commenting on here. Obviously it is harder for you Sandra to see the humour because it is your work being the butt of the joke.
    Anyone who regularly reads the blog will know the author has a wicked self-depreciating sense of humour (the elephant in a shawl image springs to mind!) and she regularly blogs about her failed attempts to master a certain piece or stitch.
    Maybe it's because I am English and we have a quirky sense of humour? Maybe it's because it's not my work being questioned? But I read the original post as an affectionate tease on behalf of a stitcher finding the funny side of her inability to reproduce your beautiful designs as they are pictured.
    BTW I always substitute DMC because we just can't get the gorgeous hand-dyed threads in the UK unless we pay their weight in gold!

    1. well said! It is all in making fun of herself.

    2. Jo, I think you hit the mail on the head!

  12. Hello Sandra, the open letter was pointed out to me the other night, and I was simply appalled. I have stitched many of your designs over the years and have enjoyed them all. Don't change a thing. As a new designer myself, I have also learned that you can't please everyone all the time. I will also continue to follow my heart and instincts and design my way.
    All the best, Tanya

  13. I read the original post and I want to say think your designs are wonderful!!!!! Dye lots change and you have no control over that, I adjust colors to suit my taste all the time. And I to all the people that thought it was a 'funny, tongue in cheek' I have to say didn't see any thing affectionate or amusing about the post, it is not funny if it's at someone else's expense, it's just unkind. You keep doing what you are doing!!!!!!!!!

  14. I was not happy with the open letter when I first read it. I actually thought it was mean and cruel. Yes, the writer often times writes with a bit of wit and sarcasm (including demeaning posts about where she lives) but I believe this time she went far beyond humor. Here's a vote for you and your work and your wonderful posts about Avery. Sign me a very satisfied customer. Please don't let one person stop you from sharing your talents with many many other needleworkers.

  15. Hang in there Sandra! Such an open letter attack on a blog posting is so unkind, and so unchristian. Not sure what God she loves....

  16. I have been stitching your designs since the beginning and love them. Keep designing just as you do. If someone is not happy (I saw the blog which had this letter) or can't say something nice don't say anything at all.


  17. Hi Sandra. Just wanted to say that I have been stitching your designs for more than 30 years and still love them. Please keep designing the way you have for years, many of us love them and look forward to each new release. Thanks for all the happy stitches. Cindy

  18. I too read the original post and I thought she was just being tongue and cheek as well. I didn't take it as real criticism at all. I think long-time stitchers know quite well that colors on monitors and photos together with dye lot changes need to be considered when you select a pattern. I just change colors, threads and fabrics as necessary. And there are many substitutions for French Knots so that should not deter anyone. I've stitched a number of HE designs and loved every moment of every one of them. I guess you have to toughen up when you put yourself out there to the public.. but you're strong.. you can take it and we'll all benefit in the end!

  19. Heartless insensitve woman

  20. Hi Sandra
    You keep on doing what you've been doing please!!!!
    Some stitcher's just want it to look just like the picture OH PLEASE use the creative part of your brain we all have one don't we?? You have enough stitchers out here that have followed you for years .If you didn't make her buy the pattern or stitch it, let it go, it doesn't matter .
    have a wonderful Sat
    Darlene N

  21. Sandra, I must agree with several of the comments already written on this post. First, your designs and color choices are lovely. Second, however, the writer of the open letter has an unusual sense of humor, and while she was probably frustrated with color changes, she also was expressing herself as only she can. Not having a local needlework shop, I understand the frustration of colors not being what you expect after you have paid for them. Reds that are brown, greens that are teal - these are frustrating as well as expensive.

    I often brag that the cross stitching community is actually a loving, caring family. One need only look back at all the Pumpkins for Cathey to believe that. Some of the comments here, though, are abusive and cruel, even going so far as to say that she can't possibly be a Christian! This is sounding like the volley going on between Miley Cyrus and Sinead O'Connor and I sincerely hope this isn't the support you had hoped for by responding. The open letter writer has removed that post. I hope you will do the same.

    1. There isn't any "volleying" involved. This woman's poor attempt at humor was just too much for those of us that love and admire Sandra and her work. Get used to us supporting her, and pushing back if she is insulted again.

  22. I just read the open letter. I don't follow those types of blogs. If I come across a design and it has French knots in it, heck with it, I'm going to put in my kind of French knot! Or a bead. That easy! Nothing to complain about! Some people just want to complain...

  23. No Calamity Jr how can you say that the comments here are abusive and cruel did you not read her post which was far beyond abusive and cruel - and her post is still there !

  24. Dearest Sandra: I have not seen or read this letter you are blogging about, however I think your Designs are lovely please donot change a thing.
    I always buy extra threads because in the past I have found very very profound differences in dyed threads.
    I am saddened that a stitcher cannot or will not try to make or replace a certain stitch with something else, I have done this several times when I cannot get my queens stitch to look good, sometimes a differenty stitch looks much better.
    Some peopel complain if the sun comes up[ and then they complain if the sun goes down, so sad for them.
    As far as a Christian person goes any negative comments are just not Christian like.

  25. Hello Sandra - I have completed many of your designs going back to the early 90's and have enjoyed every one. Your designs are always fresh and interesting, as well as fun. Phooey to the naysayers - if they don't enjoy working your projects, then find something else. I for one, am a solid fan!
    Colleen in Canada

  26. I love your designs. I appreciate the time, effort, energy, and love you put into each one. Don't change anything!

  27. First let me say that your designs are GORGEOUS and I love them!

    As for the 'open letter', I felt they were trying for humor but it got away from them and went a bit far in the blaming of HE. It was meant to be funny because of how addicted to your designs they are.

    For those who laughed and agreed with the post, I think it goes back to their frustrations with threads and dye lots. I cross stitch because it calms me and yet when threads that I have ordered online arrive, I feel the need to scream. It's not just that they aren't like their photo - they're not even remotely close to what they're named after. Pomegranates are red both in real life and in photos. I was shocked when I received BROWN thread labeled "pomegranate". Seriously, the blame is in the dye lots and labeling - not you or any other designer.

  28. there always have to be one in every bunch. your designs are beautiful.

  29. Sandra, I didn't read the "Open Letter" post, nor do I care to if the writer was so insensitive and, obviously, clueless regarding the ins and outs of dye lots and the heart you so clearly pour into your designs. Huck Finn said it best, human beings can be awful cruel to one another.

    All that being said, I've been an HE fan since my earliest stitching days and continue on even now. In my correspondence with you--you helped me track down a sampler pattern after my Army movers lost a box of needlework--you have been gracious and patient.

    Please keep designing. As for me, I'll anxiously await each Cinnamon Santa and dream of new samplers.

  30. Sandra,
    Love your designs. Love to watch as you post about your grandson growing up! Glad I missed reading the "open letter". You do good work. Please "keep calm & carry on". Life is far too short!

  31. Just realize that you do please MOST of us!! My DD is an artist so I am familiar with some of the negative things that come the way of artists! Very sad!

  32. I have not seen the "open letter" that prompted this post but I can assure you that I enjoy your designs thoroughly. In fact, I am eagerly awaiting the delivery [from 123stitch] of one of your recent re-issues of your Santa ornaments. I gave away my favorite ornament [one of your Santas done in a crescent design] when my grandson admired it. As you know, there is no resisting the appeal in a four year old grandson's eyes. I had given away the chart to another admirer and so, was delighted by the reissue. I can make another now for myself. I have no complaints about your palette, your specialty stitches, etc. I think your designs are charming and as elegant as your company's name.

    P.S.: Having failed to master the Colonial knot, I simply stitch French knots instead. Not a problem!

  33. Love reading your blog, but more, I love your designs! Thank you for the gift of such creativity!

  34. Goodness Sandra,
    This is so sad that there are people (or someone) who just isn't happy unless they make someone else feel less worthy and capable than themselves - they have low esteem and not good thoughts about themselves or what they do so they need to pick on someone else - they may think they are better but deep down they don't really think like that so they find someone they can pick on.
    Your work is FANTASTIC...as a sewer and designer I understand completely what you are saying.
    I do not do things exactly as the Colonial stitchers did and will never do it that way because my way works and my instructions are understood by my customers...that's all that count's and the end result is good.
    I hope you can ignore this kind of bad feed back from whoever - keep going forward dear friend.
    You offer so much to all of us - even me who doesn't do this kind of stitching.

  35. Sandra ~ I love your designs and I am so happy you will continue with them! We are all allowed to express our opinions freely, however I am sure there are more who love your work than a very tiny percentage who, for some strange reason, have trouble with any of your designs.

    Keep up your fantastic work!!! I am in awe of all designers who create such beautiful art for us to stitch.

  36. Sandra, I did not see the post, but get the gist. The writer was angry because she could not master colonial knots and something about color. Well, I have never even mastered french knots...I keep trying but no. I have never destroyed piece I just do another stitch. Strange but I can do queens stitch. Their are times when colors given by designers would not be my choice so ( don't tell anyone I change them) there I have said it. Dye lots change tell any knitter this they know, the same happens with anything dyed. Sandra, I love your designs have a few hanging in my home and more in stash. You cannot please everyone.

  37. Keep doing what you have been doing for years. I L-O-V-E your designs!!!!

  38. ohhh dear seems like some one was having a rather bad day when writing that letter to you ...first of all it is a stitcher's prerogative to stitch a design to the exact requirements of the designer or simply change it to suit themselves ... obviously this particular person isn't used to dealing with different dye lots of threads or that when doing patterns photography it doesn't always convey the colours due to many reason's light , filters ,what is next to the piece etc etc .. and there are lots of good sites out there that can show peeps how to do colonial knots or advice that says do a french knot or use a seed bead ....
    All I can say is keep designing ... with all the best will in the world no one can please everyone and its a shame that they had to send the disgruntled letter in the first place .... (((hugs)) love mouse xxxxx

  39. having read the original post, i agree with Calamity Jr and reiterate that the writer is a big fan of your designs and was poking fun at herself for being unable to stitch as she would like, according to how you designed it. she has removed her post.

  40. Dearest Sandra,
    I can't think of one designer that I love more than you. I have been addicted to your designs for years, and carry an abundance of them in my shop! I didn't read the post in question, but I understand that it was meant to be more humorous than serious. That being said, those people like us that are in the art field feel that our designs are our "children". I feel that way about my framing. When you pick on our "children", you are picking on us! I'm really sorry this happened, and I'm glad you can put it behind you. Personally, I can't wait to see what you design next! Much love to you my friend.

  41. Sandra, I would like to tell you that I love your designs! I have a huge collection of your designs(I will not live long enough to stitch them all--but I must have them!) I have stitched many of them and have never encountered an issue. I also love the hand dyed threads and am aware of the dye lot differences..but I will always use them. Please keep giving us HE addicts your lovely designs.

    Judy Heartland stitcher