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Mill Hill Magnifica to Delica Beads Conversion

Mill Hill Magnifica Glass Beads

If you’ve managed to get your hands on Magnifica beads over the past 18 months, consider yourself lucky.

These beads have been “temporarily out of production” for almost two years as of this writing (Jan 2024).

Wichelt does still intend to resume manufacturing of these beads at some point, however, the timing depends on factors out of their control.

In the mean time, what can we do?

Delica Bead Conversion

A good alternative to Mill Hill Magnifica beads are Delica Miyuki 11/0 seed beads. Like Magnifica beads, these are very uniform consistently cylindrical glass beads.

I hoarded the last stock of Magnifica beads to the best of my ability (there are a few I simply couldn’t get my hands on) and then bought the physical Delica color card (the one with REAL beads). Here is my best effort a conversion. Most of these are quite good. In a few cases I had to use the same Delica color more than once as the conversion isn’t exact. Where I wasn’t quite satisfied, you’ll see a “?” next to the delica number.

Mill Hill Magnifica to Miyuki Delica Beads Conversion

You can buy Miyuki Delica beads at any bead shop, including online. They are readily available and are an excellent substitute for Magnifica beads until the latter come back into production. Happy Stitching!

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Ankle Surgery

THANKSGIVING UPDATE: Surgery went very well! I am approved to walk in a walking boot! I will be “flying” through orders over the next week at the top speed my foot allows. If you’re waiting for an order or an update you will have one within a week. So thankful for the surgeon who did a wonderful job on my ankle, and for a speedier-than-expected recovery!

I have a broken ankle – not very much fun. I am having surgery on it Thursday, November 10.

I will have help to keep orders, etc. going out during my recovery, but there will be some delays to “typical” timing.

As you can imagine, I am not getting around the fastest. New orders are taking around 10 days to ship. Believe me, I’m not happy about it either.

After surgery I will need to stay off my foot for about 2 weeks. My mother-in-law will be helping out during this time, and she is wonderful, but of course she does not know the inventory or the systems the way I do. Please be patient with us through the coming weeks.

We should be full-strength again by January.

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Fabric Lead Time Updates

There are all kinds of fabric supply constraints right now – from the dyes used to color it, to the textiles themselves, to the containers and ocean-going boats used to bring it from Europe (where all of the fabric we carry is manufactured) to the USA.

“In Stock”

If you order a piece of in-stock fabric, you can expect it to ship within a week. Please note – the inventory on our website is by square inches. If you order a very large piece, or long dimension, there is always a possibility that I won’t have the right dimensions to send even if it is labeled “In Stock”. For an example, 30″ x 30″ is 900 square inches. 15″ x 60″ is also 900 square inches. If I have a 30″ square piece, and you order the 60″ long piece, we need to wait for the next bolt, even though the website will show 900 square inches in stock. I try to keep customers informed of these situations. Similarly, If I have 900 square inches in stock, the website will say “In Stock”. If you order 1000 square inches, there will be a note on your order that 100 square inches are backordered. Please ask questions any time you have them.

Backordered “Standard” Fabrics

Lead times on standard (not hand-dyed) fabrics fluctuate widely; at this writing the longest open backorder we have for a standard fabric is 10 weeks. This is due to the constraints noted above. We order all of our fabrics wholesale through Wichelt Imports. They do a fantastic job, and they ship backorders very promptly once they receive inventory. I have no control over what is backordered at Wichelt, just like they have no control over what can or cannot be manufactured by Permin or Zweigart based on material availability.

So, unfortunately, no – I can’t give you a firm ETA on when your backordered fabric will arrive. But I can assure you that you will get it as quickly as possible. All of us (shops) are waiting in the same queue.

Backordered Hand-Dyed Fabrics

Lead times on hand-dyed fabrics are best described as astronomical. If you order a hand-dyed fabric that is not in stock, be prepared to wait the better part of a year for it. Nine to ten months is par for the course right now. If you need it soon, I recommend you pound the pavement to find it in stock.

All shops are in the same boat. We are all doing the best we can. Many shops have simply disallowed ordering of out-stocked fabric. Others have continued to allow backordering, at standard sizes only and strict No-Refunds policies, sometimes with a discount. I have decided to continue allowing backorders of custom sizes with a “cancel-anytime” refund policy. I believe we are unique in that approach and I understand it’s not for everyone. It’s specifically geared toward the stitcher who wants a specific size of a specific fabric, isn’t in a huge hurry for it, but wants assurance that it will come… “set it and forget it”, if you will. The process is simple.

  1. You order it.
  2. I check to see if I already have it on the way, if not, I order it and put you on the list.
  3. We both wait, sometimes for a long time. If you cancel, I refund you.
  4. Fabric comes.
  5. I cut it and ship it.
  6. You get it.

We do have a fair amount of hand-dyed fabric in stock, and are happy to recommend substitutions for anyone who asks. I will not substitute unless you ask me to. Otherwise I assume you want what you ordered, and would rather wait than substitute.

I write back to all order inquiries. It might take me a few days but you will get a response. Questions and even cancelations are welcome at any time. I hope our world climbs out of this mess and someday our needlework fabric will arrive on-demand again. Until then, I am doing my best to have patience and thank you for your understanding.

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Lavender & Lace Needlepaints Conversion: 2101 – 2106

Welcome to the third and final entry in this conversion series. I expected to publish this 3 months ago – but life got in the way! Better late than never, though….

There are only two designs from Lavender & Lace that use the 2100 “Robin’s Egg” Needlepaints series, but both rely heavily on them…and in both cases, they are used in conjunction with the 2001-2006 Lavender Blue series. So, we will be keeping that in mind as we explore this color conversion.

The 2101 – 2106 “Robin’s Egg Blue” Series

Marilyn’s Recommended Substitutes: DMC 500 – 504

It’s not too bad, all things considered.

Marilyn’s recommendation is to use the five DMC shades 500 – 504 to create six shades. Ostensibly, you would blend 500 and 501 to get 2105. If you’re too lazy to blend (no judgment here!), Anchor 879 sits nicely in the gap between 501 and 500.

It’s too green, all the way through, but especially on the dark end, but it’s not irredeemable. And if you’re stitching pine boughs (like on Secret Santa), you’re likely to be happy with the result.

If you’re stitching Celtic Summer, I personally would err on the side of blue rather than green. So let’s explore our options in that regard.

A Flash of Blue Silk

Probably not a surprise, there is no blue conversion in DMC or anchor that is remotely satisfying. So, over to the silks we go. Again, Needlepoint Inc is my go-to, since their luster is subtle, dye lots are relatively stable, and they make complete sets of shades.

Here, I think your main choices are Williamsburg Blue, Jade, or Iris Blue – or some combination thereof.

Iris Blue is definitely Blue. Jade is Green and rather bright in the midtones, though an excellent match on the light and dark ends. Williamsburg is very nice in the deeper tones but a little gray on the lighter shades. But there are definitely some choices to work with here.

But how do they play together?

Here is a look at the original combination of Needlepaints 2000 and 2100 series. It’s good to understand the goal!

And here’s a look at two potential substitutions – the DMC cottons and a mix’n’match Needlepoint silk with Celtic Summer in mind. Bear in mind the silk comes with an extra cost – it’s about $5/skein at this writing. So, choose what works for you!

So What’s the Upshot?

Well – you have choices, and you can’t go too far wrong sticking with the recommended cottons. If you purchase a kit from us, you can expect us to substitute as follows:

For Secret Santa, the DMC 500 – 504 range plus Anchor 879.

For Celtic Summer, NPI 522, 524, 323, 324, 325, 327 ( a mix of Jade & Williamsburg).

And that’s a wrap! I hope you enjoyed this conversion series. Be sure to check out the other two posts in the series:

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Lavender & Lace Needlepaints Conversion: 2007 – 2011

Welcome to the second part of our three-part series on Needlepaints conversions! Today we will be tackling the Orchid range. Be sure to check out the first post about the 2001 – 2006 series.

The 2007 – 2011 “Orchid” series is used in a number of designs, but mostly is used for a few flowers here or a ribbon there. There’s one design where they play a starring role, though – Angel of the Morning. The Needlepaints shades are central to how she seems to rise into the light from the deep dusky night. I have to believe Marilyn Leavitt-Imblum created these colors with that specific design in mind.

So lets dig in. I only have 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2011 in my possession at the moment so we’ll have to compare from those.

The 2007 – 2011 “Orchid” series

Marilyn’s Recommended Substitutes: Rainbow Gallery Splendor & Mandarin

I’ll reiterate my endorsement of Rainbow Gallery threads for their quality. Splendor is a 12-ply silk, and Mandarin is a 6-strand bamboo fiber.

Marilyn’s recommendation is to use one Splendor shade and four Mandarin shades: from lightest to darkest, S811, M807, M851, M899, and M866. I don’t have all of these in stock at the moment but I do have S811 and M866 – the “bookends” of the range.

The color conversion is decent. The lighter shade is more lavender than orchid, and the dark shade is brighter and purpler than the corresponding Needlepaint.

Because of the change in fibers (DMC & Needlepaints are both cotton) from cotton, to silk (shiny), and then to bamboo (matte), there will be a difference in both thread weight and sheen when using these substitutions. It is only noticeable upon close inspection, but it’s there.

As with the Lavender / Blue range, this color conversion is not close enough to permit single-substitutions – you will have to go “all or none”.

And that brings me to an important point – this color range, even though it is only 5 shades, twists. NP 2007 has an almost pink cast to it. NP2008 forms a bridge into NP2009 which is a a dusty orchid purple, which deepens to NP 2011 which can be described as a rich, dark grape – a deep purple wine color.

And that is the biggest challenge with this conversion. The originals have a warmth that many of the suggested replacements lack… including these.

The upside of this conversion is that it has the designer’s stamp of approval. And Rainbow Gallery makes nice threads. It will feel special.

The downside is that it’s purple. Color-wise you can do as well with cotton. Like so many of the others we will explore here, it lacks the depth/warmth of color of the originals. This one involves mixing & matching fiber types. Finally, these can also be hard to source, especially if you don’t have a local needlework shop to special order them for you.

DMC & Anchor Conversions – Violets, Lavenders, Heathers, and PURPLES, oh my!

Let’s unpack these. The first one is the stuff of internet lore – in series, DMC 211, 210, 553, 327, 154. I have to hand it to 154, it’s as close as I’ve seen to NP2011 in cotton. It’s not quite as deep but it has the rich deep grape color that you’re looking for. As for the lighter end of this conversion, it’s very bright and much bluer than the original.

The second one is also DMC – 153 (which, incidentally, is as close to NP2007 as you’ll get in cotton), followed by 554, 3836, 3835, and 3834. The shading here is truer, but as you can see there simply aren’t enough shades of it. It doesn’t get nearly dark enough – and 554 is an outlier in here, it’s too bright. If you’re thinking – well, I’ll just skip 554 and go 153, 3836, 3835, 3834, 154 – don’t get ahead of me, there’s a picture of that coming!

The third image is the Anchor 95 – 102 series which is occasionally mentioned. As you can see, 95 is all right but it gets very bright and very purple quickly. If you’re stitching the flower wreath of the Spring Bride I think this would be an excellent palette to choose from. If you’re stitching Angel of the Morning, I think it’s far too bright.

The fourth is Anchor 95, 870, 871, 872, and 873. These may be good substitutes if your preference is for a more antique palette but again it doesn’t get quite dark enough – and the middle shade doesn’t reach the vibrancy of NP 2009.

After all of that, if you’d like to stick with cotton, one of these – or a blend – is where I would land.

DMC 154 anchors both of these conversions on the dark end. On the left is Anchor 95, 870, 872, 873, and DMC 154. You could maybe blend some 96 or DMC 3836 into the 870 to liven it up a bit. It has the duskiness needed and moves nicely to the almost-pink lightest shade. On the right is an equally nice DMC option – it’s a little brighter but depending on your preference that may not be a negative. If I was going to do Angel of the Morning in cotton, I would use one of these conversions.

Silk, How Do I Love Thee?

As I mentioned above, the thing that gets me about this color range is the twist. I ran through all these cottons and I had not captured it quite to my satisfaction.

I had to dig into the silk.

This is Needlepoint Inc stranded silk. The base of this conversion is their Soft Mauve range, though I do like the addition of a Wisteria blend for NP 2008. This set, in my opinion, would do the Angel of the Morning justice. It twists the same way as the Needlepaint series, starting with an orchid pink and turning through dusty purple and into deep wine. To get there gracefully in just five shades (the NPI range has seven) I would do some blending.

The conversion is: NPI 601, 603 + 781 (I would take one strand each), 604, 605 + 607, 606.

Bear in mind that it is silk, so it will have more luster than the cotton around it, though NPI is on the subtle side for sheen. I don’t necessarily see this as a negative for the Angel of the Morning – if her cloak shines a bit, all the better.

In conclusion – if you purchase a Lavender & Lace pattern kitted up from us that calls for the Orchid Needlepaints, we will send you whatever we’ve been able to get a hold of for Needlepaints. For those that are out of stock, we will substitute as follows:

If you buy Angel of the Morning, where these play a starring role:

  • NP 2007 = NPI 601
  • NP 2008 = NPI 603 & NPI 781
  • NP 2009 = NPI 604
  • NP 2010 = NPI 605 & NPI 607
  • NP 2011 = NPI 606

If you buy a design (Spring Bride, Angel of Healing) where they are supporting actors:

  • NP 2007 = DMC 153
  • NP 2008 = DMC 3836
  • NP 2009 = DMC 3835
  • NP 2010 = DMC 3834
  • NP 2011 = DMC 154

I hope this encourages some of you to tackle Angel of the Morning. She is, in my opinion, Marilyn Leavitt-Imblum’s most spectacular angel, even more meaningful because of her post-9/11 release. Her colors are absolutely stunning, and you can still do them justice with threads we have available today.

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Lavender & Lace NeedlePaints Conversion: 2001 – 2006

Needlepaints have been in short supply for what seems like forever. What is a Lavender & Lace enthusiast to do? There are various color conversions floating around on the internet – including one sanctioned by Marilyn Leavitt-Imblum herself – but as someone who has stitched the Celtic Ladies with the “real deal” Needlepaints, so many of these conversions are… unsatisfying.

You are going to spend months stitching a Lavender & Lace design. You are going to frame it and hang it and stop to admire it repeatedly for the rest of your days on the earth. (I do, anyway). You’re going to want it to look “right”.

Since I have the benefit of being a shop owner and am surrounded by colors to choose from, I’m going to take you through some options and their pros & cons, from my point of view.

This is the first in a 3-part series on color conversion options for Needlepaints! Part 2

Let’s take it from the top.

The 2001 – 2006 “Lavender Blue” series

Marilyn’s Recommended Substitutes: Rainbow Gallery Splendor & Mandarin

Rainbow Gallery makes really lovely threads. Splendor is a 12-ply silk, and Mandarin is a 6-strand bamboo fiber. Marilyn’s recommendation is to use five Splendor shades and one Mandarin: from lightest to darkest, S931, S932, S1029, S1030, S1076, and M896. Here’s what it looks like (I am out of stock on S1030 at the moment but you get the idea):

In terms of a color conversion, it’s OK. The Rainbow Gallery threads are definitely more blue than lavender, and it’s rather a shame there isn’t one more shade of Splendor deep enough to match 2006. The M896 feels like a compromise – “this is the closest we have, so that will have to be it”. It’s not quite dark enough and it’s a little “off” in color compared to the other substitutions, too. This color conversion is not close enough to permit single-substitutions – you will have to go “all or none”.

Because of the change in fibers (DMC & Needlepaints are both cotton) from cotton, to silk, and then to bamboo, there will be a difference in both thread weight and sheen when using these substitutions. It is only noticeable upon close inspection, but it’s there.

Pro: Designer’s stamp of approval. High-quality, delightful threads.

Con: Color-match is just middling, especially at the dark end. Involves mixing & matching fiber types. These can also go in and out of stock.

DMC Conversion #1 – “Old” colors

This is a conversion that has been floating around on the internet for years. I have never posted it or recommended it to a customer, because frankly I just don’t think it’s very good. It is (light to dark): DMC 3743, 160, 161, 158, 823, and 939.

The dark end of this conversion (NP 2006 to DMC 939) is pretty good. But it falls apart in the lighter shades.

158 is too bright.

160 and 161 are too blue.

3743 doesn’t match the other DMC suggestions at all. The transition from 3743 to 160 will forever be jarring.

That’s not to say that if you use this conversion, your work won’t turn out lovely. You could convert to any number of different colors. Marilyn’s designs will always be lovely.

But the fact remains that she went to the trouble of creating Needlepaints because the colors she envisioned weren’t available in DMC.

And she wasn’t wrong.

Pro: DMC threads will match the rest of your project in thread weight and sheen. They are widely available and you may even have them in your stash already.

Con: I don’t like the color match or series. I just don’t like it. Call me a snob if you will – it’s just not for me.

DMC Conversion #2 – “NEW” (2020) DMC colors

When we got our first shipment of the 2020 DMC colors (01 – 35) the first thing I did was dig through for potential Needlepaint substitutions.

And finally, I think we can actually get close. Behold.

DMC 26 is a dead-ringer for NP 2001. And DMC 30 is a very passable substitute for NP 2002.

Now, if you’re a color snob, you may want to consider blends on the middle two shades. For NP 2003, DMC 31 is very close but could be blued-up a touch. I’d do a 1:1 blend, DMC 161 & DMC 31 for NP 2003. If you are stitching with three strands as opposed to two, take 2 strands of 31 and one of 161.

NP 2004 really is squarely between DMC 32 (which is a touch purpler) and DMC 336 (which is a touch bluer). I’d do a 1:1 blend there as well. If stitching with three strands, two of 336 and one of 32.

That said, if you hate blending, you’d probably not know the difference. You could directly substitute 31 and 32 for NP 2003 and NP 2004 in series – and I even think you could mix and match.

Not within a color (e.g. don’t start off with NP 2002 and switch to DMC 30 mid-stream). But you could certainly use what Needlepaints you have been able to source (we currently still have NP 2001 in stock, much good as it is without the others!) and substitute DMC for the others.

Pro: DMC threads will match the rest of your project in thread weight and sheen. They are widely available and it’s a great excuse to pick up some new colors. The color match is pretty good especially at the light and dark ends.

Con: There’s still nothing exactly like NP 2003 and NP 2004. It’s probably not a coincidence that those two have also been the colors that have been the most challenging to keep stocked / manufactured over the past 15 years.

I am excited to finally have a DMC color substitution that I can whole-heartedly recommend for these designs. If you purchase a Lavender & Lace pattern kitted up from us, you can expect that we will send whatever Needlepaints we have been able to get our mitts on, for those which are out of stock we will substitute the 2001 – 2006 Needlepaints series with DMC as follows:

  • NP 2001 = DMC 26
  • NP 2002 = DMC 30
  • NP 2003 = DMC 31 & DMC 161
  • NP 2004 = DMC 32 & DMC 336
  • NP 2005 = DMC 823
  • NP 2006 = DMC 939

I hope this helps you lovely stitchers out there, and inspires some of you to take up these stunning designs! Stay tuned for our recommendations on the 2007 – 2011 and 2101 – 2106 series.

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COVID-19: Yes, We’re Open

We continue to process and ship orders as normal up here in Minnesota. We are under a stay-at-home order, but since our business is currently online-only (no public-facing retail shop), we are allowed to be open.

We are not experiencing any significant delays in processing right now. Most orders will arrive with 1-2 weeks. If you order something on backorder, those are a little more unpredictable. We will do the best we can to give you a good estimate of timing. We’re working hard to make sure the inventory on the website is always up-to-date.

We hope you stay safe – and sane – during this crazy time. Here’s to continued health and lots of time at home to stitch!

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Mirabilia’s 25th Anniversary

Congratulations to Nora Corbett and Wichelt Imports on the 25th Anniversary of Mirabilia Designs!

What was old is new again

To celebrate this wonderful milestone, five out-of-print designs were re-printed and are being made available as Limited Edition special releases. Each shop is only allows ten of each, and they will retail for $20 each. We’ve ordered the maximum quantity for each of them. They are:

  1. Design #2: Fairy Moon

    MD002 The Fairy Moon by Mirabilia
    MD002 The Fairy Moon by Mirabilia Designs
  2. Design #51: Seaside Kingdom

    MD051 The Seaside Kingdom
    MD051 The Seaside Kingdom by Mirabilia Designs
  3. Design #57: The Queen Mermaid

    MD057 The Queen Mermaid
    MD057 The Queen Mermaid by Mirabilia Designs
  4. Design #62: The Lady of the Flag

    MD062 The Lady of the Flag
    MD062 The Lady of the Flag by Mirabilia Designs
  5. Design #75: Butterfly Fairy

    MD075 Butterfly Fairy by Mirabilia
    MD075 Butterfly Fairy by Mirabilia Designs