The Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery

Whoa Nelly.

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I’m so incredibly envious of all the folks I see mentioning that fall is coming! Cool weather! Leaves are turning!

It’s not even remotely like it here. The only thing that I’ve noticed is it getting a little bit darker earlier on our evening walks.

So I’m pretending that it’s happening here k?

I cut out a new quilt yesterday! I haven’t sewn since I made my mod blocks quilt in May. That’s crazy right?! I had almost a full day off from work yesterday and I decided to just put on some favorite music (lately I’m obsessed with old Death Cab Cutie) and just cut it out. I have two that I want to make, one sort of Autumn/Thanksgiving-ish and one Mystical/Fantasy-ish. I only got one cut out yesterday but I’m ok with it! I used a Moda Grunge that I haven’t tried before, it’s sort of a cream with darker cream splotches. I can’t seem to find it online but I’ll keep checking. I have no idea when I’ll be able to sew it together but it was fun to cut it all out!

On a whim the second week of August I went by my local yarn store and picked up two DK weight yarns. I thought I’d try my hand at a Great Divide Shawl! I got a skein of Juniper Moon Findley DK in Buckwheat & Sweet Georgia Superwash DK in I think…Cayenne? Don’t hold me to that, I’ve misplaced the tag. I cast on using size 9′s (pattern calls for 8′s) and just got obsessed with it! It’s a *very* fun and addictive pattern. I could definitely see myself making multiples of these. I’m knitting it a little looser and English style. I haven’t decided my border color yet- I have a skein of Tosh DK in Dahlia which just might be one of my new favorite colors. It’s the prettiest wine-y plum. And then I have a skein of The Verdant Gryphon Traveller in Maijishan Grottoes. Which is also gorgeous but I’d originally planned on knitting a hat from it. Tough choice! I got some new stitch markers for my birthday that I stuck on my shawl Pecan Pie from Sweet & Savory Trinkets & S’more + PB&J From Sucre Sucre Miniatures!

I haven’t been knitting as much as I’d like. At all. If it was up to me, I’d be have that shawl, some fingerless gloves and a new pair of socks done. My hand has been bothering me on and off all spring and has gotten much worse this summer. I’ve visited a few doctors about it and I’m not 100% in agreement with them so I’m trying acupuncture for the first time this week! I’m equal parts nervous and excited to try it. I’m giving it a shot until October when I have an appointment for a second opinion then I’ll see an neurologist for an EMG. It’s so incredibly frustrating to be surrounded by amazing yarn, great projects and not be able to work on stuff! But when I do take the time to knit, I enjoy every single second of it. Cute stitch markers, super nice yarn and a great pattern. It’s a special treat to be able to work on it here and there.

I’ve been reading a TON. I think because I used to knit in the evenings, now I’m reading more! I’ve really gotten into the BookRiot blog & podcast! If you haven’t checked it out and you love to read, you should. I also found The Readables BookTube Channel and she’s so adorable. I’ve started reading comics and I was so excited to see that Chico has a great comic book store, BaT Comics!  (Next to a pie shop and one block over from the bookstore. See you later money & waistline ;)) The owner is super nice and really knowledgeable. I’ve been collecting a few series and have totally become obsessed with Manga this summer as well. In some ways not being able to sew and knit as much has inspired me to step out of my comfort zone and try new things! Positive thinking right? Chop surprised me with a strange stuffed boar this spring, who I’ve referred to as Boarish Yeltsin, I decided he needed his own instagram account so I could share all my book-ish things. I love sharing what I’ve been finding at my local library- I got these on Saturday:

Our library has started using Axis360 and I’ve been REALLY liking it. Lots of brand new eBooks, you should definitely see if your library offers it! I’m currently reading Unbreakable and I kept thinking “is this Supernatural?” This morning I checked out GoodReads and read some reviews, yep. Supernatural! I’m not far enough along to say if this is a good thing or a bad thing.

Before this summer I was a monogamous reader, just one book at a time. But now I have an eBook (for reading in bed at night), an audiobook (for listening to while I work) and a paper book (daytime reading) going at all times. I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to keep up with the characters in each story or get plot lines mixed up but so far it hasn’t been a problem. I get really excited when I get to switch between them as well.

I’ve been cross stitching a ton lately. Like, nonstop. And I’ve been enjoying it so much. If you’ve been reading my blog you might recall that I’m not the most confident of cross stitchers so my goal this summer has been to practice, practice, practice. Which has been a little tricky since my hand hurts and I’m sure it’s contributing to the problem. But this is my job! I look forward to my mornings with coffee, my project and a book (or music!). I’ve made 3 bookmarks for myself, I stitched two of our new mini patterns AND we decided to use my personal project (remember- our patterns are stitched by ladies other than Ashleigh & I to test them) for the cover sample for The Mysterious Halloween Town. I feel fancy! ;) My stitching is not perfect but it’s definitely getting better! I started stitching our new Autumn Harvest Festival pattern on a super pretty hand dyed aida and I really am enjoying it, it’s so soft and dreamy. Also, we’ve added two permanent promo codes if you are interested: PARTYTIME which is $2 off 3 or more mini patterns and 15% off 5 or more patterns in a single transaction with PUMPKIN the 15% off one can add up super fast and if you buy some of the bigger patterns, it ends up being close to getting a pattern free which is always nice!

I hope you had a good summer :) My summer blogging hiatus is over and I’ll be back to posting more often :):)

Favorite Projects & Books of Summer (so far!)

Here is what I love about summer:

  • extra daylight
  • iced drinks 24/7
  • sunsets
  • ice cream
  • napping

Here is what I don’t love about summer:

  • fire season
  • heat
  • feeling sweaty
  • heat. have I mentioned heat?

I made this insane goal that before the temperatures get cool (which is like…November) I want to have a little wardrobe of new knit goods to wear.

I want:

  • a hat
  • a cowl
  • a shawl
  • a pair of fingerless gloves.

I’ve accomplished one! I finished the cowl this weekend, I made Zuzu’s Petals from Madelinetosh DK Twist in Modern Fair Isle. I thought the pattern was fun and well written and I know I chose yarn that doesn’t do the pattern justice (I’m forever picking yarn that doesn’t show off lace…eek!), I’m looking forward to wearing it!

I started knitting the fingerless gloves. I’m using zombie ViXen by Susan Claudino and it’s been REALLY fun! Have you ever looked through her patterns? She is so good at knitting creatures, she gives them freaking eyebrows. That detail kills me! I forgot how great cables are to knit. The yarn is from Spun Right Round and it’s called Combat Boots & Babydoll Dresses. Totally 90′s and I *love* it. It’s kind of a pale oat-y color with tiny flecks of orange, aqua and mauve.

I have no idea what I’ll do for a hat or a shawl. I really love Moonraker, it’s super unique and looks like it would be a really fun knit!

One of my favorite projects from this summer so far is my Quilt to Read Under. The pattern is ModBlocks by Johanna Masko. I had literally ONE weekend to make a quilt. My sewing time is super limited so when I have time, I want to make the most of it and get something great accomplished. I *love* Joanna’s patterns. They are direct and to the point. Really clever. Easy to understand. Sometimes I just want to read the directions and end up with a great quilt with zero math or thinking on my part. It drives me nuts when I buy a quilt pattern and it has a ridiculous amount of waste and strange cutting instructions.

I picked a bundle of colors that I normally wouldn’t go with but this year I’m crushing on lilac REALLY hard. Patchwork is always a very special thing to me, I like to take my time picking fabric to tell a story. I really wanted a new little lap quilt to take on a road trip to Modoc County we went on and I knew I wanted it whimsical and a tiny bit edgy. It has some silk. Some chambray. Linen. Double cotton gauze. Some old favorites and some new. I wanted the size to be small but the fabric to have a big impact. And maybe have a little fairy tale sweetness without being too saccharine. I love this quilt. FIERCELY.

I named it a Quilt to Read Under because I like dragging it to my chair and having it in my lap while reading. And this summer is alllllllllll about reading.

Here are my very favorite books I’ve read this summer. You should read them. Seriously. They are all very different and very good!

  • To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before- Jenny Han It was quirky and sweet!
  • Sinner by Maggie Steifvater I’m a huge fan girl of Maggie Steifvater and I went into this knowing that it wasn’t meant to be part of the Shiver series but more of a stand alone and wowowowow. With each book she writes, she just gets better and better.
  • The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson I was so confused for the first 1/2 of this book trying to put the name to the character. Who was the prince and who was the assassin. Just when I thought I figured it out…nope. This was a fast read for me, one afternoon! I just was super into it! And it’s an excellent cliff hanger.
  • The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen I went into this book knowing nothing about it, only that I wanted to read a fantasy with a strong female lead. This is one of those books where you watch the character go from UGH to YAY. I love good character development.
  • All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr This book. If you read just ONE book this summer, make it this one. Truly. What a beautiful and haunting story. It took me about two weeks to read this simply because it’s lushly written, I didn’t WANT to stop reading it but it’s such a HARD subject (WW2) that I’d find myself having to pause to catch my breath. It’s incredibly paced as well. Marie’s story is going to stay with me for a long time.

We have about A MILLION new patterns in the shop. Truly. So many people asked about my scissor fob that Ashleigh made me last summer that we did the pattern for it. And The Mysterious Halloween Town club is now two clues in and I LOVE IT! Once Upon a Time is growing and it’s insane! It feels like just yesterday we were stitching January’s block! My birthday is next month and we always pick our favorite things for our birthday month, mine I think will surprise people and I super hope everyone likes it! And speaking of birthday months! It’s Ashleigh’s birthday today! We always have a BIG promo code on her birthday- this year it’s 26% off your entire purchase with promo code BIRTHDAY

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It expires on Monday, July 28th at noon PST. Also, Picture This Plus has a huge fabric sale on July 25th so it’s a good opportunity to stock up on patterns + supplies!

:):)

 

Summer Reading

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2014 is the Summer of the Book around here at Casa de Porkchop.

I’m just sitting over here, reading & obsessing over books. 24/7.

I want to visit my local bookstore that Saremy introduced me too and pick out books based solely on their covers, pretty much EVERYDAY.

I’ve become obsessed with taking my Studio Calico bits & bobs and making bookmarks with cross stitched pieces from our Summer Sampler. I think frappuccino is going to be next because it’s adorable. I’m also slowly but surely working on sewing a book cover because my books keep getting smushed in my backpack.

Here is my summer reading bucket list:

  • Read a classic I’ve never read before! I started Jane Eyre this morning and I bought a super pretty copy of Sense & Sensibility
  • Read more YA! Favorites have been: We Were Liars, Sinner, Ruin & Rising and These Broken Stars.
  • Tackle unfinished books! It’s very, very, very rare for me to not see a book through. I was slagging along with the first Game of Thrones FOR TWO SUMMERS NOW and I can finally say not only did I finish it but I loved it!
  • Finish trilogies! I am the worst at loving the first two books in a series and being afraid the final book will make me hate the series so I just don’t read it and then inevitably I get spoiled and super annoyed. Terrible right? But I’m also the girl who (spoiler alert!) once I saw Mary & Matthew get married, stopped watching Downton because to me- that was the perfect ending! I finally finished Hunger Games with Mockingjay (loved it) and Immortal Instruments with City of Fire (blah!). I have 3-4 more series that I have to finish up.
  • Read more physical books! This is a big one for me. I’ve owned a kindle since they started selling them and I *love* e-reading. But I do think a lot about indie vs amazon so I am buying more locally and supporting the library. Also, we are house hunting and I heard a rumor that Chop is going to help me build some bookshelves so clearly it’s my job to buy more books ;)

I’ve been going back & forth about updating my blog this summer. Part of me wants to take the summer off and part of me feels like I shouldn’t. We (The Pumpkins) have a ton of new patterns (and some are limited edition!) and have been super busy getting stuff ready for this winter so I feel like I have a LOT to say but at the same time, I don’t want to sound like an ad 24/7!

In knitting news, I’m working on Zuzu’s Petals in Madelinetosh DK- the color is Modern Fair Isle (it’s the project that isn’t a sock in these photos!) and it’s pretty! One of my summer goals is to make a “fall wardrobe” of knit goods. I want to make a cowl, a shawl, a hat and a pair of mitts. I have until about November because that’s when it starts to get cool-ish here. I’m just knitting away slowly but surely, a few rows here and a few rows there. It’s nice!

Also, I find myself listening to this concert over & over through out my day. It’s funny because I technically think of them as a winter band (do you do this? think of certain bands and albums for different seasons?!) but I just love listening to this! I also recently got the audio version of my favorite book, The Raven Boys and o m g. It’s read by Will Patton and just fantastic, so if you are looking for a new audiobook, pick that one!

:):):)

The Mysterious Halloween Town!

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It’s Mysterious Halloween Town Club Time!

Thank you all so much for saying YAY to more sneak peeks! Today I thought I’d share with you just a tiny bit of my Mysterious Halloween Town!

If you maybe don’t know me or have never visited my blog, you may not know about my obsession with Halloween. I *love* it. I start decorating in August around my birthday. I’ve made 5? 6? Halloween quilts, ignoring the fact that it’s too hot here for quilts in October. I got married on October 30th. I think it’s pretty much the best holiday. Also: candy.

Last year we launched a super pretty and super special pattern, Halloween Spooky Sampler! Ashleigh & I were very nervous, it was our first time designing a pattern that used both hand dyed floss and hand dyed fabric. Plus it had that big lace-y border! But it turned out you guys REALLY liked it, it’s one of our best selling patterns. I’m glad you like Halloween as much as we do! Seriously.

We listened to your feedback, we always do! You wanted more time before the holiday to work on your project and you wanted colors with more variegation.

While Ashleigh & I can’t control each individual skein of floss (remember- they are hand dyed, making each skein unique which is super cool!), we did pick colors that are very, very, variegated. And we decided to start the club in June with four monthly installments released around two weeks after Once Upon a Time so if you want to make both projects, it’s totally achievable! It also gives everyone over a month to source supplies, including our international friends! The timing is also so if you are like us and want to work on your project leading up to Halloween, the last PDF goes out in mid-September! We also decided instead of sending monthly emails that occasionally get caught in spam, we now provide a direct link for you to access your pattern each month in the introductory PDF. I *wish* we could work out something like ravelry’s pattern delivery system for the future but we are trying this for this pattern and we’ll see how it goes!

The colors are *super* unique in this pattern and we wanted to make that clear from the very beginning. Bubblegum pink! Lavender! Moldy and acid-y greens! Lots of black! It’s a very bold palette of colors and super fun to stitch with. We are also using two brands of hand dyed embroidery floss, both Weeks Dye Works and The Gentle Art. If hand dyed floss isn’t your thing, the pattern does include the DMC/COSMO conversions but keep in mind that your project won’t look the same as the sample! The fabric we picked is a new Picture This Plus color called Wren! We are using it in the Crystal Cashel base which means it has opalescent thread woven in it. Opalescent = Sparkles!!! It’s a very pretty warm gray that white looks really neat against.

Sooooo what will you be stitching? Oh just the cutest Halloween Town EVER! It’s 11.4 inches long and 5.2 inches tall, so a long landscape! It has two buildings including…a BAKERY. And it has some trick or treaters- including Frankenstein that I’m sharing a photo of! See how neat that floss looks? His hair is Carriage Black and it looks so cool! The little owl was my favorite part to work on, he’s stitched in Bubblegum & Lavender Potpourri, it was kind of tricky to take a photo of but one of his ears has two very dark purple stitches that I *love*. It has a few little Quaker elements, a lot of Kawaii elements and basically…it’s adorable!

And I’m still stitching my personal project! I’ll try and sneak in more photos but I don’t want to spoil it too much for anyone, I know a lot of you like the mystery and guard it fiercely!

In addition to stitching, I’m also in the process of re-reading The Mortal Instruments series because City of Heavenly Fire comes out later this month! eep! eep! I’m both excited and nervous to read it but I’m sure I’ll share those thoughts with you later on!

I hope you liked these peeks of Mysterious Halloween Town Club and have a good Friday!

PS: It’s 90 degrees out and all I can think about while stitching a Halloween pattern is having a hot chai latte! lol!

Once Upon a Time Sampler: May

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How is it already May? My brain is still stuck in February and I have no idea why!

I realized earlier last week that I didn’t blog about April’s Once Upon a Time block! I’m not sure why, I love those bears so much!

This month is Jack and the Beanstalk! The cow just about kills me. I’m so glad Ashleigh designed the little bird- we are currently experiencing an epic spring migration and every free moment I have I’ve been out bird watching. I’ve been able to add 4 new birds to my life list. High 5!

It should come as NO surprise that we are launching a Halloween Club tomorrow. I’ve been working on it for the past few weeks and here is something I’m currently struggling with and maybe you can share with me your thoughts!

When we started TFPS, we just built super cute simple little charts and had computer generated covers. Now either Ashleigh or I stitch a version, plus two other ladies stitch for us as well. I *want* to share more photos of my personal projects but I’m afraid it’s confusing to you guys! I’m afraid when you see my WIP, it might make you think that the pattern isn’t finished or fully designed yet.

Last year when I was stitching Woodland Sampler along with you guys, a few people asked if we were just designing each month as we went which is/was definitely NOT the case. Since our business has grown, we have so many small elements that have to be completely spot on before we even release the pattern! For example: thread quantity! For huge projects like Once Upon a Time, that pattern had to be completely stitched before we told shops like The Cottage Needle & The Workroom which colors and quantities of floss to order. Which means, even though in my photos you see blank spaces, that chart is completely done and has already been stitched up twice!

I definitely want to share more photos with you guys because I *love* WIP photos. I love taking them and I love watching someones project grow each time they post. But I don’t want to be redundant and explain “Yes, this pattern is finished. This is my own personal project” in every single blog post because I’m afraid the handful of regular readers will think “Amanda! We already know this!”

For the past month or so I’ve been working on my Mysterious Halloween Town Club and I’ve been wanting to share lots of photos with you but it’s tricky deciding how much to post, when to post it, etc! I’m the *worst* at marketing and definitely need a class on it! I don’t want my blog to become a giant ad but at the same time…GUYS IT’S A FREAKING HALLOWEEN CLUB AND I LOVE HALLOWEEN AND I WANT TO SHARE WITH YOU A HUNDRED MILLION PHOTOS.

So what do you guys think? Photos of cross stitch WIPs, are you into them?! Does it confuse you or does it make sense that I’m sharing my own projects?!

Behind the scenes at The Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery

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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

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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!

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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

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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

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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!

:):)