The Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery

Behind the scenes at The Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery

thefrostedpumpkinstitcheryfinished

thefrostedpumpkinstitcheryteatimestitch

thefrostedpumpkinstitcheryteatime

sugarissweetsamplerfinished1

Is there anything happier than a little pile of finished projects?

Today I’m going to share a few behind the scenes personal thoughts and some inner workings of The Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery!

Last  Fall Ashleigh & I decided to do things a little differently and I wanted to share some business-y stuff with you today! And a lot of it is personal but let’s have a real life talk this Friday k?

When we design a pattern, it’s now stitched three times before it’s available for sale. Yup! Three times! One of us will stitch it using whatever specific floss the pattern calls for, then one of our sample stitchers will use all DMC and one sample stitcher will use all Cosmo.

We started doing this for a few reasons:

  • Sometimes colors don’t convert quite right. Example:  we pick a DMC pale pink and we think we’ve matched the Cosmo pale pink version but when it’s stitched up, it doesn’t look the same.
  • Testing the thread quantities. Everyone stitches differently and depending on your method, you could use more or less floss than we do. When we have *big* projects, we want people to only have to purchase supplies once and have those supplies last the entire year.
  • We have the budget to help two stay at home moms earn a little extra money. We pay them the industry standard, give them all the materials and we let them keep the finished project. In return we have the peace of mind knowing our pattern works well!

When we decided to stitch in addition to hiring people, I was more than happy to let Ashleigh do the majority of the stitching. She’s a beautiful cross stitcher. I am *not* the best stitcher. And I’m *really* hard on myself. I overly analyze every single stitch, I’d stress out that I was too slow, I’d compare myself to friends who have been stitching 20 years, etc. But! Partnership doesn’t work like that! I felt super guilty because Ashleigh already has a ton of work (she does all of our PDF building, graphics, shop maintenance, etc) and hello, I spend 70% of my day encouraging people to try cross stitching or go from aida to linen. Time for me to BUCK UP!

Sooooo in September/October I started stitching The 12 Days of Christmas with the knowledge that we’d be using my project for all the photos, pattern covers, etc. NO PRESSURE OR ANYTHING RIGHT?!

It ended up being a really enjoyable project. I’d get up in the morning, have coffee and listen to podcasts and just STITCH. It became relaxing and I started to learn what works for me and what doesn’t. I think this project I fell in love with cross stitch and now it’s pretty much all I want to do!

What works:

  • I love using hand dyed floss. I find it inspiring in the same way I find hand dyed yarn inspiring, it’s subtle and it’s beautiful to watch each stitch develop. If I had the chance, I’d stitch EVERYTHING using hand dyed floss. But I know not everyone has the budget for it which is why our patterns contain DMC/Cosmo conversions. 
  • I prefer to make each individual stitch, rather than the Danish Method of doing a row of  bottom stitches, then coming back and completing the stitch.
  • Loop start method. It doesn’t work for hand dyed floss and some traditional stitchers don’t like this method because your causing half of the thread to twist into it self but I really like it.

What doesn’t work:

  • Waste knot method of starting. I somehow never catch my ends.
  • Stitching on smaller count fabric, I tried 32 and thought I was going blind. This is constantly drama between Ashleigh & I because she LOVES smaller count fabric!
  • Stitching at night. I just can’t, I prefer daytime stitching.
  • Big blocks of color! I prefer stitching lots of little bits of color.
  • I haven’t found my preferred hoop/frame/stand yet. I love the tight tension of QSnaps but they can hurt my hand after holding them for a while and they do squash my stitches (I stitch loosely). Scroll bars are awesome but mine is a strange size.

So back to business, before we release a pattern, it’s been stitched three times which is awesome! From a business stand point, this is a big deal.

Why?

Because before the pattern is even sold, we have a fair amount of money invested into it. Smaller projects we have $200-300 and larger projects like Once Upon a Time we have easily double that.

In terms of business, this where we are different and it’s risky. We could very easily post on facebook and ask for sample stitchers in exchange for free patterns, we’ve done this before and it’s totally fine, lots of designers do this and there is nothing wrong with it. At all! We could provide the materials to our stitchers but keep the finished project to use for our photos. We could ask for free thread, fabric and supplies from the shops we work with to keep our costs down. There are a LOT of options that would involve less monetary risk for us but at the end of the day, I want to be the best small business owner I can possibly be. I want to be fair. I worked for many, many, many years for free and you know what? It stunk. So my business = my rules. Are our sample stitchers getting rich? No. But they have a regular income that they use for fun money or dance lessons for their kids or whatever they want. This way there is no question of what we expect from each other!

In addition to sample stitching we have a team of three proofers! These ladies check all the patterns for errors. We have two who proof exclusively larger patterns and one who works just on the smaller patterns. They are paid per PDF. Why do we hire people to proof our patterns? Because when you buy a cross stitch pattern for $19.95, I want to be dang sure you are getting the best we can personally give you for your hard earned money. Ashleigh & I literally look at these charts for 8+ hours per day, mistakes slip by us. And since our charts now come in color + b&w, printer friendly + mobile device friendly, that is a LOT of things that have to line up and keep track of! Do little things still sneak by eight sets of eyeballs? Sure! We are human. But we try really hard to avoid that at all costs!

I still get butterflies in my stomach right before we release a new pattern, what if we missed something! What if no one likes it? “What if” is a line of thought I’m constantly struggling with, especially now that we do have people who depend on us! Ashleigh just bought a house. Chop & I are currently saving for a down payment for a home. We have three shops who carry supplies for the patterns, that’s a leap of faith on their part. What if everyone downloads it illegally and we only sell two copies? (this is a major concern 24/7 for all designers. Seriously.) It’s a little nerve wracking (ok, very scary sometimes!) but at the end of the day, I realize we are working harder than ever and I truly believe that hard work pays off. We both have become big on taking leaps of faith, celebrating small successes and enjoying what we do. After a particularly trying time, a few facebook friends said “you guys should just design what you LOVE, with materials that make you happy and ignore the rest” and they were absolutely right. I think when you love what you do, it’s infectious. I know I personally support small businesses who I watched go from a tiny shop to a legit big deal. I am SO emotionally invested in their success. I’ve never even met half of these people but watching them achieve their dreams is so incredible. I am a huge small business cheerleader. Sometimes I take a step back and see that we have our cheerleaders too, I can think of five people off the top of my head right now who have bought every pattern we’ve ever made since the beginning. These are the people who I wish I could hug (I got to do this at Stitches West to two girls!) and say “hey, thanks for believing in us when we kind of had no clue what the heck we were doing but we really wanted to do this”. These are the people who I want to look at our patterns and think “dang, I’m proud of you girls!” It’s kind of cheesy but it’s totally true. Because I know I have friends who when I see their success, I want to squeeze them to bits.

In the past two years, we’ve grown SO much as small business, as designers and as a partnership. Am I saying we have it 100% figured out or we are the best in the business? No way! I don’t think we ever will. We are constantly evolving and learning what works for us. We have a lot of things we are trying and some things work, some don’t! Are there days when I want to cry when I see someone taking our hard work and copying it? YES. I wish I could say I’m joking but there is another monthly sampler that is literally a copied & pasted version of ours. NIGHTMARE! But are there days when someone I admire mentions us on their podcast and I do a dance and call Ashleigh screaming with excitement? YES. Do I see someone who’s blog I *love* cross stitching one of our patterns and fall out of my chair thinking “how do they even know we exist?!” YES. The excitement typically outweighs the negative because…well, I get excited real easily. We’ve sold patterns to over 20 countries world wide and I get REALLY excited when I have to google where one is located (Andorra! <3!) Do I sometimes text Ashleigh and say “Did you see so & so’s finished project?! omg so cute!” YES. CONSTANTLY.

This little pile of finished projects will hopefully provide some eye candy for you today. I guess the point of this post is just to share with you what we try to do as Pumpkins and maybe inspire you this weekend to try something new or take a leap of faith on something you’ve been thinking about?! Or maybe make you excited and think about your own personal success! Also, I struggle with sharing and being personal on my blog. I went from being incredibly open/bordering on TMI to sort of becoming a clam. I sometimes think that blogging requires a cape and a monogrammed leotard because being open about your life, goals and how you choose to do things takes courage.

I hope you have a good weekend <3

Zombody Loves Ewe Socks

socksonalog

zombie

wstripedbranch

stripedsocksbranch

flamingo

sprunrightround

I finally finished a pair of socks!

I feel like these took me so long, my left hand gets super grouchy if I knit a ton so I have to take days off which is totally a bummer. Nothing makes me happier than a pair of plain socks on my needles, I like being able to work on them with friends or in the car and not have to do a whole lot of thinking!

The yarn is Zombody Loves Ewe by Desert Vista Dye Works it was a Valentine’s Day present from Chop. I liked working with it because I’m such a sucker for a speckled yarn, the decayed bits cracked me up!

I truly love knitting the Fish Lips Kiss Heel, it fits so well and is really fun to knit. I know I sound like a broken record but if you haven’t tried this heel yet, give it a try! It’s super satisfying.

Naturally I’m already plotting a new pair of socks. I saw this braid of fiber a few months ago and pretty much died. I loved the colors so much but I’m absolutely not a spinner! I tried in college and just failed at it. I’ll just live vicariously through you guys. I fell over when I saw that Mutant Flamingo was now available as sock yarn! I literally texted Ashleigh and did a little dance of excitement. Can you see the little speckles?! It’s so cute, plus I’m a sucker for anything zombie/mutant themed. Also: cat label!!! <3

My knitting time is also slim because I’ve been cross stitching so much and to be honest, I’m addicted! I’ve been enjoying my afternoons just cross stitching and listening to music. I feel pretty lucky that people seem to enjoy stitching our patterns, it just makes us design more and work harder. When I go a few days without stitching I start to miss it! I’ve started becoming border line obnoxious to Ashleigh, I text her cross stitch work in progress photos about a million times per day. It just doesn’t get old!

I took a few photos of a new project we dropped off to be framed, I’m going to share them later on this week. Cross stitch is surprisingly tricky to take photos of! One of the projects is on this hand dyed green fabric that is so hard to capture, it’s really unique. I think I love indie dyed linen just as much as I love indie dyed yarn. We recently contacted two different thread manufacturers to hopefully work with later on this year. Both are really beautiful and smaller companies who I think if you like to stitch, you’ll like to use their thread!

Are you guys familiar with Welcome to Night Vale? It’s a very spooky pod cast that is presented like a community broadcast and it.is.weird. In the very best way! Chop & I have been listening in the evenings and sometimes we just look at each other and go “WHAT THE WHAT!!!!!” It’s very dry and twin peaks like. I’ve also started reading The Coldest Girl in Coldtown which is also spooky and strange. I read The Darkest Minds this weekend and I was kind of let down. I loved Liam (darlin’) but I couldn’t muster any feelings towards Ruby.

:):)

Once Upon a Time Sampler: March is for Three Little Pigs!

wolf

marchwolf

threelittlepigsfb

Hello March!

And Hello Little Pigs!

One pig was smart and built his home out of bricks. The other two guys? Not so much. They made it out with just the hand knit sweaters on their backs! That wolf, eek! He’s a real grouch. He’s the first of two wolves in this pattern.

I just finished reading Siege and Storm this morning. I have mixed feelings about it! I really enjoyed the story but I felt so annoyed by the two main characters! But then the last 15% sucked me back into the story. People usually ask me if I’m a quilter or a knitter or a cross stitcher but by far, my favorite past time is reading. I’m totally a reader. I’m looking forward to starting The Undead Pool tonight!

I cast on last month for a new Brandywine shawl. I switched from keeping track of which row I was on from paper to adobe reader…well I updated the app and lost my row! So I picked up where I thought I left off and I am WAY wrong. Now I have 3-4 rows of mistakes but I’m not sure I have it in me to pull it completely apart! I’ve done 10 or 11 repeats of the second chart, oi! Sometimes I wish I had a knitting fairy god mother who I could mail project when I get stuck! haha!

We went and saw the Lego movie today…everythingggg is awesomeeeee!!!

;)

Sugar is Sweet Sampler: Sneak Peek

sugarissweet14

sugarissweet13

sugarissweet11

Helllllo Sneak Peek!

Tonight is a super fun night for Pumpkin Fans. We have our March Once Upon a Time Sampler PDF mass email scheduled and ready to go at midnight PST. The subscribers will be the first people to see the full version of Sugar is Sweet Sampler!!!!

These photos were taken last month and are *not* the complete sampler! They are just a sneak peek! :):) There is one more special element on the top that we want to keep a surprise! Over the course of the next year, we’ll be releasing a total 5 of these alphabet samplers. They range in subject matter, some are symmetrical like this one, others aren’t. All of the projects are approximately the same size and stitched on hand dyed fabric using solid floss (ie- not overdyed threads)!

In addition to Once Upon a Time subscribers receiving the first look at the brand new pattern, they’ll also receive a promo code for the Sugar is Sweet Sampler! Woohoo!

If you aren’t a subscriber, don’t worry! The pattern will go live tonight at midnight in our shop!

This project is *really* beginner friendly. It’s small- just 6.1 x 6.1 inches. For ease of stitching, start in the middle of your fabric with the middle of the chart- it’s the alphabet. Then you can work outwards. It’s very instant gratification, the desserts stitch up very fast! You’ll have generous borders and it could be framed, turned into a wall hanging or even a little pillow! I had mine framed  but I almost turned it into a zip pouch.We are stitching it on hand dyed opalescent fabric, it’s a silver-y gray with subtle brown smudges. It’s really unique and beautiful.

The palette for this project is sophisticated and sweet! It’s an assortment of pink, dark brown, pale yellow, mauve, beige and peach. It was a joy to stitch it because it’s so different than anything we’ve done in the past! I literally had to force myself not to share photos of the WIP every five seconds on instagram! I think it’s one of those projects that you could hang in a nursery and it could stay hung up all through childhood and into teen years. I plan on hanging mine in our kitchen!

We’ve teamed up with our three favorite shops for supplies for this project making supply purchasing super easy!

Picture This Plus

The Cottage Needle

The Workroom

All three shops also carry an amazing assortment of supplies and notions! If you can, try and support independent shops before heading to Michaels/JoAnns!

I’ll be posting some photos of the March edition of Once Upon a Time Sampler tomorrow :):)

Have a good weekend :):):)

Stitches West Recap

newyarns1

needlerunsthrough

newshawl

sneakpeektreat

Last Friday I went to Stitches West and it was a BLAST!

I wore my Follow Your Arrow Shawl and I’m so glad I did! I was worried it was dorky to wear something you’ve made to a knitting show but nope, everyone was wearing handmade stuff! I stopped so many people to compliment them on their knit goods! Everyone was really friendly.

I had a list before I went of patterns I wanted to buy yarn for, I printed the ravelry info page for each one so I’d have the yardage, a photo and suggested yarn all on one page. I’m not sure I’ll have time for it all but I’m really excited. It’s definitely going to keep me busy for a long time.

I mentioned a few posts ago that I’ve been sick lately, of course the day before we left I had a weird flare up and combined with nerves, by the time I got home I was a mess. I pretty much hate my stomach! I spent all day Saturday reading in bed which was both awesome and sad! We’ve had absurdly gorgeous weather here (70s!) and I wanted to do something outside, like go fishing or something!!!! But I did re-read Daughter of Smoke & Bone and wowowow. I first listened to the audiobook when it came out and gave it 4 stars but I didn’t quite connect with the last 1/4 of the book when we learn about Madrigal. I’m not sure why but this time I really, really, really fell in love with this book. I ended up reading Days of Blood and Starlight next and again, totally in love. I was SO glad to have Zuzana in this book, she cracks me up. I started reading Night of Cake & Puppets this morning because clearly, I’m obsessed. I think the world building in this series is so amazing. I want blue hair. I want to visit Prague. I wish I could meet Brimstone. I’m reallllllly into this series. Have I made that clear?! ;)

Ok, so back to yarn. Sunday night I went out for tea with Chop and cast on for Multnomah by Kate Ray with some new Miss Babs Yummy in Verrassing. Her booth was just beautiful and I know, I know, you shouldn’t use super variegated yarn for lace but I’ve been dying to knit this shawl for years and this yarn just puts a smile on my face. It’s not a color I’d normally wear but wearing my hot pink arrow shawl gave me a little more bright color wearing confidence.

A few people on instagram asked if I’d share shop links so if you are itching for some new yarn & treats, here you go!

 

I’m working on cross stitching a new pattern, the one I mentioned previously that reminds me of things like The Great Gatsby, Downton Abbey and Art Nouveau all mixed together. It won’t be released for a little while, we are shooting for potentially the first week of April. I’m stitching it, along with our two pattern testers. Then the pattern will be sent to our awesome proofers and if all goes well…NEW PATTERN TIME!!!

We do have a new pattern coming out on MARCH 1st!!! It’s part of our new alphabet sampler series. We have a total of five alphabets of different themes that are really fun. These are really different than our previous patterns, a little more sophisticated! I’m going to share photos on Friday, I took photos as I went because I *love* WIP (works in progress) photos and it’s just cute to see a pattern grow!

:):)

Follow Your Arrow & Cross Stitching

arrowblanket

followarrowfolded

followarrowfinished1

flosses

crossstitchnew

sugarloafthreadholder

Hi!

Happy Tuesday!

This weekend I finished my Follow Your Arrow Shawl.

And I have so many feelings!!! (I’m waving my hands around like a maniac- be thankful you can’t see that.)

Ok, first off. What an incredibly enjoyable knit. I literally didn’t want it to end. So, so, so much fun! I dragged this shawl with me everywhere. I’m currently wearing it as a lap blanket while I write this.

Second off. I can’t figure out how to wear it! Ha! Typically I wear triangular shawls with the point forward, like a kerchief. This is a different shape and when I wear it that way, it looks as if I’m wearing a bib. Not the best look.  I tried to wear it traditionally, with the narrow ends around my shoulders and I look as if I’m pretended to be a super hero. Oh dear! I also ADORED knitting with these colors but wearing them…oh boy. I don’t know if I can wear that much hot pink near my face without looking like a clown! ;)

It honestly doesn’t matter though because I adored knitting it. And it matches my compound bow. Once I figure out how to comfortably wear it, I’ll take more photos & do a big blog post with details.

I started working on cross stitching a new pattern that we are planning to release this spring and it’s cuuuuute! For some reason it reminds me of a cross between The Great Gatsby & Downton Abbey. I made a new little Hoop Travel Bag to carry it around in. Porkchop bought me a fat quarter bundle of Catnap for Christmas, I keep trying to sew stuff with it but it’s very rare for me to own an entire line of fabric at once so I sort of want to use it all in one quilt but finally I decided CAT BAG!!!!

Last week Ashleigh & I received the sweetest surprise from Rachelle of The Cottage Needle! She had Sugarloaf, The Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery’s official mascot, turning into a knitting needle gauge and a thread minder! EEK!!! Adorable right?! I am so into cute notions and this is like a little dream come true! I asked her if she could order more and she can if you like him too!

On Friday Porkchop is taking me to Stitches West, I’m pretty excited, I’ve never been before. I’m hoping to find a skein or two of some yarn to turn into special socks. Is anyone else going?!

Hello February: Stitching, Knitting & The Olympics

paletteoffloss

owlslove1

onceuponatimesamplerjanfeb

zombodylovesewe

desertvistadyeworks

followyourarrowsunday

followyourarrowshawlsundays

Last week was SO nice. It rained, which we desperately needed here.

I spent four days watching the entire last seasons of Grimm, Lost Girl & Sleepy Hollow while stitching up a brand new sampler. I absolutely loved stitching every.single.second. of this new pattern. Unfortunately we can’t share any peeks until right before we release it which REALLY bums me out. I personally love seeing lots of in progress photos (don’t worry- I took a million) but sadly, there is another “designer” who has been borrowing large sections of our patterns and including them in hers! Gross! So Ashleigh & I have decided to keep this under wraps until we are ready to release it. It’s currently being framed, we are hoping it’ll be ready to be picked up next week. I shared a little photo of my floss remains, just because I couldn’t NOT share it!

The new pattern is something completely new for us, it has a traditional element that we’ve had a lot of requests for but completely fresh and the colors are unlike anything we’ve done before. I’m not joking when I say I’d be up, coffee in hand and cross stitching by 7 am each morning because I couldn’t WAIT to work on it. It has inspired us to shake things up and try new things. If maybe you want to cross stitch something modern but kawaii isn’t up your alley- be prepared to love this sampler. Ok. No more talking about this project! ;)

February’s Once Upon a Time block is soooo cute! We did The Frog Prince and his little crown kills me. If you are thinking about joining us this year, consider signing up soon because March 1st the price rises to $24.95! We’ve had so many people tell us how much they’ve enjoyed it so far and that totally makes us SO happy.

We also re-released our Owl Always Love You pattern! It is FAST, I stitched it in just a few hours onto perforated paper, I originally was going to make it into a card for Chop but decided to frame it. :):) It’s a good pattern for someone brand new to cross stitching or if you want a little Valentine’s Day decoration.

Once I finished my work for the week, I dove into knitting my Follow Your Arrow shawl. Normally I’ve been finishing the clues early in the week but this week I only knit a few rows per day to really enjoy the process. You’ve heard me say this before but since I normally only knit socks, there is something very comforting and therapeutic about a big knitting project sitting in your lap as you knit. Then on Friday…it was on. All knitting, all the time.

It turns out I *love* watching the Olympics. Like, completely and utterly obsessed. Like, installed the NBC app so I can keep up with the medals. Like, cried when Hannah Kearney got the bronze. Like, bought an Olympic themed knitting bag (you can get one too!!!). So, while it rained all weekend, I camped out on the couch and cheered my little heart out for Team USA. But really, I cheer for everyone. I felt like my stomach was in knots the whole time. I’ve been watching curling today which is less stressful, no helmets to crack open! ;)

Chop surprised me with an early Valentine’s Day present- a skein of Desert Vista Dye Works Somebody Loves Ewe! He totally gets me. I saw Andi mention a thread in her ravelry group…so I went over and saw socks…you know what happened next. Yarn was balled, sock was cast on and started while watching men’s alpine skiing which is terrifyingly awesome. That drop with the lake in the background! oh my glob. The thing about striped socks is it always turns into “just one more stripe”! ;)

:):):)

See you later January!

personalsockyarns

arrowknot

arrows

arrow1

monkey

snowwhite

owlslove

I definitely didn’t mean to leave everyone for practically the whole month of January.

I was working through some health stuff last fall, it’s something that has been bothering me for years and I finally decided to get a second opinion. Which turned into twice a week dr’s appointments (lots of knitting time!) and all was going ok-ish until the past few weeks when everything sort of imploded. I’m always trying to look on the bright side of things because there is always someone out there who has it a lot worse than you, but I’ll admit I’m feeling not myself lately! Major GrumpChop Status!

On the bright side, hanging out on the couch has given me a LOT of knitting and stitching time!

I decided to make my own personal yarn club this year, I filled up a Buffy bag with yarns I reallllly want to knit with in 2014. So far I’ve made one pair of socks and cast on for a second. I’m making toe up Monkey socks with Miss Babs Northumbria Deep Sea Jelly Fish! I’ve been keeping this project in my purse and haven’t really been knitting on it during the evenings becauseeeee….

My 2014 big knitting goal was to knit another shawl! I picked two colors: Madelinetosh Sock in Pop Rocks & Dragonfly Fibers Djinni Sock in Winter Woods. A few days later Ysolda started sign ups for Follow Your Arrow and I was totally in. I absolutely LOVE where this shawl is going. It’s funny because I don’t ever wear bright colors but knitting this is pure joy. I find it really comforting and relaxing. Each clue has been very achievable, it takes me about two afternoons of knitting. I’d consider myself an advanced beginner in terms of knitting skill level. I’ll admit that every Monday morning I look at the spoilers before I pick my clue, lol. The European folks usually have a few photos up by the time I have lunch. It is really hard to pick though but I keep leaning towards the girl-y lace-y options. Again, not very like me but it’s totally a blast!

In the afternoons I’ve been cross stitching too. I’m working on my Once Upon a Time Sampler. I’m excited for you guys to see February. I think my favorite month is November, I’ve been debating turning that one into a zip pouch or something. I stitched up a little  owl Valentine’s Day pattern too. I’ll have more details on it once we release it :):)

I saw a few people had questions about framing. We have our projects professionally framed. I’m still working on the best way to take photos of finished projects for the pattern covers and how to pick mats that look nice with frames! Sometimes we go to a local framing shop, other times we go to Michaels. Both times (in Chico, CA) we’ve had good experiences. The only thing I recommend is be patient. Maybe have a snack before you go in. ;) Lately I tend to get incredibly overwhelmed very fast and just pick ANYTHING to get out of the store and had my most favorite project, 12 Days of Christmas, framed with a horrid red mat! What on earth was I thinking?! I need to go back and get it switched out. That being said, framing is expensive.

I framed myself above little owl project myself this afternoon because it fit in this frame nicely, it came with the double mats already. I got it at Michaels-abuy one, get one free deal and since I stitched it on perforated paper, I just popped it into the frame and held it to the backing with acid free archival tape. I think it was around $34.00 for two frames, both with double mats. One is wood, one is white. There are all sorts of ways to frame projects yourself, some people use framing fabric adhesive and tape their projects around mat board, there are also mat pins and lacing as options. I’m waiting for a few books from amazon and the library about finishing your cross stitch, once I have more details I’ll report back.

I am not sure why my blog hates firefox, it’s the browser I use! I’ll have Chop look at it this weekend and see if we can get the comments fixed. When in doubt, you can always email me at: thefrostedpumpkinstitchery at gmail dot com :):):)

<3

Keeping Organized & Inspired for Once Upon a Time Sampler!

stitchingtray

catminder

clips

notionilove

openin

writeon

markingthecenter

Tomorrow between 12:05 am and 12:30 am Once Upon a Time subscribers will receive their first pdfs!!!! I can’t believe it’s already starting!

Once Upon a Time is a year long stitch a long where the pattern is a mystery but it’s fairy tale themed. Each month on the 1st you’ll receive a piece of the puzzle and at the end of the year, you’ll have a finished heirloom quality project! Sounds fun right? It totally is!

The best parts are:

  • You can sign up at ANY time. We know mystery patterns are hard to commit too so we keep sign ups open year round, you can watch the project as it progresses!
  • You can go at your own pace. With PDF patterns, there is no waiting. Once you download it, you can begin instantly. OR you can download it and work on it whenever you have time!
  • It’s kawaii. Kawaii is Japanese for CUTE! And we designed it based on my collection of Japanese fabrics, it’s inspired by so much in my personal quilting stash.

The project is BIG. It measures 11.5×17.75 inches and it’s 173×246 stitches. Yup! That’s a lot of stitching!

So how do you stay inspired and excited about this project for the next year? I’ve got a few helpful tips and tricks!

  • First & foremost, download your pattern as soon as it arrives. And be sure to read the email! We share tidbits about the fairy tale and  what specifically inspired us.
  • Keep your supplies in one handy spot!

Keeping your supplies organized for this project is super important! We hired two cross stitchers to stitch the entire chart to test it and at the end of the year you’ll have very little left of certain colors.

  • Keep your threads together. Find a method that works for YOU! I find keeping the skeins on O Rings works for me. You can find these rings at Michaels, JoAnns, WalMart, Target, office supply stores, etc. They are simply metal rings that open and close. 
  • Save your thread! This is a huge one! Don’y ply down your floss and throw the other 4 threads away. Keep them with you! I use a really cute cat thread minder and it helps! I always know exactly how much of a color I have.
  • Most of us can’t dedicate an entire room to crafting so find an a way to keep all your Once Upon a Time supplies in one place. I use a metal tin I bought at JoAnn’s two years ago. I keep all my floss for ONE project in it along with the notions. If you keep your supplies always together, you don’t have to worry about losing things during the year. Some people sew project bags or buy them on etsy and even gallon ziplock bags work! There is nothing worse than getting ready to sit down and stitch and realizing your scissors and needles have wandered off. Stitching time is precious.

On that note:

  • Stitch at your own pace. Maybe you can only stitch on your lunch breaks or while your baby naps. That is A-OK! This project isn’t meant to be finished in an half hour. It’s meant to be worked on all year long. It’s designed to constantly inspire you. You’ll find some months you may get the block done the first week the pdf comes out, maybe you’ll fall behind a few months, but honestly- as long as you are having fun and enjoying the process, don’t stress over it. At the same time, there are also people who I know are SO EXCITED that they’ve sent alarms so they can start as soon as the pdf arrives! And that is a-ok too! Don’t compare your stitching journey to someone else’s. We have people who have been stitching for years and we also have people who this is their first project! Cross stitch = happy time!

If you are a technology user utilize apps!

  • When the email arrives you’ll see a button of Sugarloaf saying “Click here to download your pattern”. At this point you’ll be routed to a download, be sure to SAVE it! Depending on your internet connection, it may be slow to show up. Don’t worry, it will show up, if you hit refresh too many times you’ll be locked out. Once you save it, download the Adobe Reader app- it’s free and it allows you to mark directly on your pattern! You’ll hover over the top right hand side of the PDF and you’ll see an arrow with a box. If you click this, you’ll see a box pop up that says “open with” and you can pick Adobe Reader! I like this app because you can write on the pdfs! Meaning, if you need to step away from your project, you can mark where you left off.

If you aren’t a technology user- don’t worry! Ashleigh has specifically designed the patterns so they can be printed in very high quality. You’ll find you can tape the two charts together to make counting super easy. If you are using paper copies, I like using highlighter tape to keep track of where I am.

Be sure to read the stitch guide. You’ll want to start in the center of your fabric and work your way outwards- especially if you aren’t using the recommended fabric. Simply fold the fabric in half horizontally and again vertically and mark where the lines meet. You’ll line this spot up with the center of the chart. I mark mine twice, once with a marking pin & I draw on the fabric using a Clover Air Eraseable Chacopen. I have marked quilts for many, many years with this pen and I’ve never had it stain or not come off. This is a personal preference, some people like to thread baste, some like to use pencil, some measure borders. Ashleigh found it easiest to stitch the monthly dividers first, then stitch the border. I found it easiest to stitch my monthly divider over to the border and stitch the entire border, I haven’t done the monthly dividers yet. It’s totally up to you! I know quite a few people will want to stitch January’s block ASAP and there are others who will want to do the frame first!

Here are some notions I personally use:

  • 11×17 QSnap. Size depends on how often you want to move your fabric around. I’m using an 11×17 but it is heavy and cumbersome. You can find QSnaps at The Cottage Needle & The Workroom.
  • Clover Wonder Clips. I use them to tuck the linen away while I’m stitching.
  • Needleminder. I collect them- they are just magnets that sit on your work so you don’t lose your needle when stitching!
  • Needle Threader!
  • Thread Heaven- I don’t use it as much as I used too but it’s helpful in preventing snags.
  • Bohin needles- I prefer a size 28 tapestry but if you’ve never stitched before, go with a 26. 28′s are smaller and can slip around a little too much if you are just starting out. A tapestry needle has a rounder blunt tip rather than an embroidery or hand sewing needle- this is to avoid snagging and damaging your fabric as you stitch. I use a smaller size because I find it easier when stitching on opalescent fabric.

I like this website for technique tips, it makes the most sense to me personally. When stitching with a solid color, I like to do the loop start method. If you are using Weeks Dye Works for the border, don’t use this method to start, use the running under method we explain in the stitch guide. The loop method will break up the variegated colors and you don’t get as dramatic of a result.

Tension takes some getting used too, it’s something I still need to practice on a regular basis. You’ll want to make nice, neat x’s without pulling the thread too tight and distorting the fabric or too loose. Don’t worry if you don’t get it right away, you have all year to work on it!

I’ll post my Once Upon a Time project, some changes I made and I’ll also post  some of Ashleigh’s project tomorrow! :):)

 

Day Four at The Stitchers’ Village

Christmas on Gingerbread Lane - Cover Christmas on Gingerbread Lane - Final Cover

 

Patty invited Ashleigh & I to take part in The Stitchers’ Village 12 Days of Christmas!

Stitchers’ Village is a neat online needlework community with activities and chats! You can click on each building and visit different designers. To keep up to date with cross stitching info in the community, you can sign up to be a member.

If you click the tree in the middle of the village, you’ll be brought to a click-able room that has free ornament designs! We have a little gingerbread theme pattern for you!

Since I didn’t get a chance to blog this weekend with the holiday promo code, I’m going to give my blog friends a special chance for 25% off your total pattern purchase! From now until 12/06/2013 at 12:00am PST you can use  promo code PORKCHOP in our shop! Woo hoo!

CONTEST HAS ENDED AND COMMENTS ARE CLOSED!