Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Wanted: Project Testers!

I am so grateful and appreciative for the marvelous response that so many of you have had toward the prospects of being testers! Thank you! Because of this great response, I am no longer able to accept additional testers at this time, but would love for you to please leave me a message if you are still interested. I'll contact you if I have some available spots come open, or if I have any special projects that require additional help. Thank you once again! ~Shelli

Remember the game of telephone that we used to play as kids? We'd sit in a circle or a long line, and whisper a message from one person to the next until the last person revealed what he or she heard the message to be?

Most of the time, we got a great laugh, as the end message was very different from the original! My teachers in school used this as a vivid object lesson of how vital clear communication is in life, and how easily information can become confused if we're not careful.

A quote on my Mary Engelbreit Calendar this year by George Bernard Shaw makes me laugh: "The single biggest problem with communication is the illusion that it has taken place." My thoughts immediately shot to my handsome hubby and myself. Can anyone relate? (Uh,love you, honey!)

Anyway, my point in all this, is that as a pattern designer, and writer of instructions, I want my "original messages " or pattern instructions to my customers and fellow crafters to always be understood and as accurate as I perceive them to be in my own brain. My goal is to make certain my instructions are clear and easy for everyone to follow.

So, I'd love your help! Each month I provide "You Can Make This" with a project that they offer to the public for free through their newsletters. In addition to that, I'm constantly working on my own patterns and designs for hand and machine embroidery. If you would be interested in being involved with "Needle in a Haystack" and being a *tester* for these types of projects, please read on:

Here's how the testing process works:

1. First of all, let me know in a comment or through my email address what you might be interested in testing, and please make sure I have a way to contact you:

*hand-embroidery patterns (no sewing involved)

*sewing projects (no embroidery involved)

*a combination of embroidery and sewing projects

*quilting projects

*machine embroidery designs

*any other combination of the above

I'll keep your name and email on file and contact you when projects become available. Do not feel like you are required to test everything that comes along just because you signed up! I'm a busy mom, too, and I know that some times of the year are simply more crazy than others, and sometimes I can't take on one more thing. Signing up simply let's me contact you when I have something, and you are always free to choose to test, or wait for another opportunity. And of course, if you ever want to opt-out and not have me contact you anymore, that is certainly fine as well!

2. Whenever some of my patterns or projects are ready, I'll contact you via email to see if the timing is good for you, and if it is a project you'd like to work on. If the time is just not right for you, or it's simply not a project you want to invest in, as I said above, there is never an obligation! I'll contact you with other projects at other times and if it works for you later on, that will be great!

If you are interested at the given time, I'll follow up by sending you the instructions. My request here is that you please commit to the project at this point if at all possible (of course, I understand emergencies, and when things go awry!) and return the feedback to me within 2-3 weeks of receiving the instructions.

3. You create the given project as outlined in the pattern, take a photo of the completed project to send me (the photo will be uploaded to "You Can Make This"--I can do this, or you can yourself as well. It will serve as a motivation and inspiration for others to give the project a try, as well as a testimonial of its worth) and provide me with feedback: clarification of measurements, any parts that were unclear to you, grammar or spelling errors that I somehow overlooked, etc. Of course, I'd also love to hear the positive stuff as well, if you have any thoughts to offer!

That's it! But, I'm sure you might also be asking yourself..."What's in it all for ME?" I'll tell you:

*You will be one of the first to have one of these patterns in your hands before they are released to the public.

*Your project photo will be posted to the product pages of You Can Make This, You Can Quilt This, or SWAK Embroidery, so you can show off your talents, creativity, and expertise to the internet world! Again, your work will serve as inspiration and a springboard for other sewers/embroiderers/crafters or possibly beginners who might become excited to try something new.

*From these patterns, you can make the projects as much as you'd like for gifts and at times for sale, depending on the various copyright guidelines for each pattern.

*After I receive everyone's feedback for a given pattern and make any necessary changes, I will send you the finalized copy for your files that will be released to the public.

*No matter if the pattern is a project for YCMT or a pattern for sale from "Needle in a Haystack", it is yours to keep for free.

*And of course, you will have a newly finished item of home decor to display, or a gift to give a friend that you didn't previously have!

Being a tester is a great opportunity to dust off those stitching/quilting/sewing skills and try some things that maybe you haven't done for a while. If you're like me, sometimes an outside motivation gets me going, and gets me out of my comfort zone a bit! PLEASE let me know if you are interested by leaving me a comment. I'd love for you to be involved!


  1. I would love to be involved! Any projects but quilting. Thanks.

  2. I would also love to have so many cute things! Too much fun. I don't know how to do much of the above but it would be fun to learn it all. I will do any of them.

  3. After October 31st I'm totally interested! Hand-embroidery and simple sewing, please...

  4. I would love to be a tester. I can embroider, applique, light sewing. Just let me know

  5. I would love to be a tester for you! I can embroider and sew. Thanks for the opportunity.


  6. I would love to do this! I am always looking for new ideas and projects. I am intersted in all of them!


  7. I would love to be a tester. I can embroider & crochet the edges of baby blankets & burps, I also can do the applique's. You can contact me @


  8. I would love to be involved as a tester for hand embroidery! You have some great stuff! You can contact me at

  9. count me in. I can do everything but machine embroidery.


  10. I'd love to be considered for sewing patterns! :)
    susan dot fairchild at gmail dot com

  11. I would be happy to test products. I can do sewing and hand embroidery. The others are on my list of things to learn, but I don't know how yet!

    kwaller01 at yahoo dot com

  12. This is CRAZY. I was just thinking today how this would be a dream "job" for me. I was a ginny pig for a quilter awhile back since I was the first to try her pattern and I gave a lot of good feedback. I will totally do any of them except the machine embroidery because I don't have THAT kind of machine.

    I am SOO excited.

  13. I would love to be one of your testers. I'm available for all but machine embroidery. I'm looking forward to try out the patterns. Thanks for letting us be testers.

  14. Whoops e-mail for Sandy

  15. Shelli you know I am a knuckle head at this stuff. BUT I LOVE YOU & just wanted you to know that and I am so constantly amazed at your wonderful talents! You're the BEST! Dana ;)

  16. Hi Shelli! I am happy to help you out - obviously, I LOVE your projects. As you know, my handwork schedule is insane, but would love to help out with machine embroidery (my favorite), sewing, and quilting.

  17. I would love to help out!! I can do anything but the machine embroidery.


  18. What a fantastic idea Shelli!!

  19. I would like to be a pattern tester for hand embroidery; embroidery plus sewing; quilting.
    Thank you

  20. hey Shelli,

    This is a great idea! I would love to be a tester as well! I can do anything except machine embroidery.

  21. I would love to be a tester. *hand-embroidery patterns and simple sewing.


    denise @ opposablethumb dot com

  22. Count me in. Only this time I would rather it didn't involve photos, paper and glue. I am not interested in it leading to a job working with a warehouse full of crabby middle aged women. Nor would I like to ever have to try and explain any idea or concept to anyone - especially business minded men. As long as I can just create, enjoy and help you out along the way I would really like to play. I should add a big thank you for the above said craziness, I learned a lot from the experience. It makes me appreciate where I am today. Thanks Shelli!

  23. Hi Shelli!

    I am very interested in being a project tester! The only problem is that I am an extreme beginner! I am taking a beginner's sewing class at a community college and I have never embroidered, quilted, etc.. but I would love to try them all! In preparation, I will start practicing other projects now! I hope you will let a beginner like me be one of your guinea pigs! :)


  24. I would love to be considered for testing your darling projects. I can do hand embroidery, with NO SEW projecs.
    Thank you so much for the opportunity.

  25. If you ever need another hand embroidery tester, I would love to do it :).

  26. I have been stitching my heart out and have started a "Traveling Crafty Girls Club" in my neighborhood. We have so much fun doing stitcheries, qilitng, sewing and socializing. I would love to be a tester for you. Please do keep me on your list..thanks:) Happy Stitching.

  27. Luv2cre8, I would love to have you join me!! Can you leave me an email to where I can reach you? Thanks!

  28. Sending you an email now with my info, I'd love to get involved!

  29. Hi
    Just found your site today! I would love to be a tester of anything!!!!!!!!!

  30. Well it is a long list, but I would love to be a tester. I am going to retire at the end of the year and finally have the chance to work on crafts, sewing etc! I am so ready to leave the corporate world. I belong to a local community ladies club who meet every Wednesday to teach each other new crafts. We do fund raising and Chinese auctions and donate the money to worthy causes.


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