Posts filed in: Shop Talk

Basil Fox Back in Business

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Just a quick note to let you know that dapper little Mr. Basil Fox's softie kit is back in the shop with several shirt options (even a new, 1/4" magenta gingham, which is adorable). I also added some fabric/yarn options to Maggie Rabbit (who was sold out, too, in case you were waiting for her) and Juniper Kitty. Just click on the little thumbnail photos on the product pages to see the options, and be sure to choose them from the drop-down menu when ordering!

Thank you! I'll be back soon with a post, but I'm doing some housekeeping today, so . . . working on my to-do list! :) Feels good. Xox

April Flowers

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Oh my goodness, thank you for the sampler orders. Thank you VERY much!!! I am so happy. I truly appreciate your orders and all of your sweet words. I'm really excited about this project and this kit and I really can't wait until they start arriving in mailboxes and you get stitching. Stacy is packing and shipping like a rock star. I'm very proud of this one and I truly hope you'll be pleased! Thank you so much for your interest and your enthusiasm and your support. It means the world to me.

Answers to questions, mostly about what was represented by certain letters: Yes, J is for Jam (or Jelly, or Jar); V is for Violet (after my sweet Violet girl); P is for PIE (blueberry, in this case). AND yes, there is a PDF pattern available if you have floss and fabric of your own — it is available for immediate download here.

As far as making the design in a fabric of a different count (i.e.: one with fewer stitches per inch, presumably), yes, you can do that. Please read through my tutorial which includes a discussion of stitch count (and how it's related to the "thread count" of your fabric). Theoretically, you can work a counted cross stitch pattern on any thread count evenweave fabric you prefer, though it's important to have an understanding of how changing the thread count will change the look and the overall size of your motifs and your entire design. Most cross stitch patterns will give you the dimensions in stitches, as well as inches (or centimeters) on whatever count fabric has been used for this sample. In this case, the finished size of the design area (that's from stitch to stitch, not including any margins) on My Sweetiepie is 13.1" x 10.3" (33cm x 26cm); that's 210 stitches wide x 165 high on 32-count fabric. If you are using a different thread-count fabric, it's important that you recalculate the dimensions in inches or centimeters so you know how much fabric you will need (plus framing and handling margins). For instance, if you are using 28-thread-count fabric, that's 14 stitches per inch; divide 210 stitches by 14 to get the width of the design area in inches, and divide 165 stitches by 14 to get the height (of the design area) in inches. It works out to be 15" x almost 12". So you'll just want to make sure you understand that before you use a fabric with a different thread count.

Ahhh, the days have been busy! Four days, no naps. You know what I mean. Funny things being said. Yesterday, after dinner, I'm in kitchen loading dishwasher, Mimi's in high chair in dining room, starting to wimper.

Me: "Meemers, are you sad?"
Amelia: "Yes."
Me: "Why, honey?"
Amelia: "Because I want to go to sleep in my little crib!"

Later, we're both lying in the big bed and she's pretty much completely asleep. She suddenly pops straight up and says, loudly, as if startled, "I love APPLES?!?!?!"

I whisper, "Yes, you do." She lays back down and goes to sleep.

Easter was lovely. On Saturday there was a neighborhood Easter-egg hunt, which was very sweet. We had brunch with my family on Sunday and then spent the rest of the day gardening and going to the park. She got a watering can from the Easter bunny and watered in all the new plants. Remember my wildflower garden from the seed packs in the parkway beds last year? Well, tons of those flowers were perennials, and they're coming back. I threw a whole bunch more seeds in, too. I thought they were incredibly pretty, though the beds got pretty scrappy as the really hot weather moved in. But, what didn't. I get pretty scrappy when the really hot weather moves in. 

Today, though, it's wonderfully cold. Birds are singing. Flowers are blooming. Leaves are busting, so juicy looking you want to munch a mouthful like a little bunny. Favorite spring dinners? Any suggestions? I need cooking inspiration, yet again. Last night I made my shrimp bowls. Thinking about doing that again, with quinoa and chicken. What are you making? What's good?

***Her sweater details are here, and her dress and pinafore here. :)

My Sweetiepie Sampler Kits Now Available!

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Well, good morning! Do you know your ABCs? We're learning them here, and we want to share ours with you!

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My Sweetiepie ABCs Cross Stitch Sampler Kit is now ready to order here!

You can click on both of those images above to see them enlarged. :)

This counted cross stitch sampler was inspired by the delightful experience of living with two-year-old Miss Amelia Paulson while she learns, among billions of other things right now, her ABCs. It is stitched on 32-count linen (that's 16 stitches per inch) with two-plies of DMC six-ply cotton embroidery floss. Suitable for boys and girls of all ages, it is, to date, possibly my favorite thing I have ever designed.

Finished Size of Design Area: 13.1" x 10.3" (33cm x 26cm); 210 stitches wide x 165 high on 32-count fabric

My Sweetiepie ABCs Cross Stitch Sampler Kit contains:

One 20" x 18" (51cm x 46cm) piece of 32-count Zweigart Belfast linen in Stone Gray
(79) 24" (61cm) lengths of various colors of DMC 6-ply cotton embroidery floss
Stitching instructions
Illustrated stitch tutorial for special stitches
Color cross-stitch chart with symbols
One piece of chipboard for creating a floss organizer
*Frame not included.

You will need your own:

#24 tapestry needle(s) for cross stitch
Embroidery scissors
4" (10cm) embroidery hoop
Frame and framing supplies

If you are new to counted cross stitch, or need a refresher on the basics, please see my "how to do counted cross stitch" tutorial here.

This is not a hard project, and can definitely be done by beginners, but it is big! And the stitches are small! And there are a lot of colors! There are 47 colors in this sampler. But come on, that is why it is AWESOME!!! Using so many colors gives these little motifs so much depth and richness, especially relative to each other. Besides, you don't want this project to go fast. You want to sit with this and watch every episode of Outlander and then start the new season (which just started).

That said, I think one of the "hardest" parts of making this sampler will be organizing the 79 lengths of floss (in 47 colors) that you will receive in the kit. The floss will come to you in three separate hanks, with about twenty-six or -seven 24" lengths in each group. The pattern includes a list of floss colors and numbers, along with their symbols as used in the chart, organized into the three groups. I've included a piece of chipboard (thin cardboard) and the instructions for making floss organizers like mine.

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To help you separate the colors, which can be a bit tricky but not really too bad (since you are given the number of lengths included and the color name, which provides a general description of the color itself) I've put some large photos of my floss, all organized, up on my web site here. This should help you figure out how to tell the colors apart, relative to each other. 

Remember, you need to separate two plies away from the six-ply embroidery floss length to work the cross stitches throughout the sampler. Special stitches, including backstitches and French knots, use one or two plies, as indicated in the instructions. If you don't know how to do these stitches, I've included illustrations and directions for working them in the pattern.

The chart you will receive is quite large, larger than the actual size of the finished piece, and it is broken into four separate one-sided pages. You can use them individually or cut them out and tape the chart together, overlapping the grayed areas. Each color has its own symbol, keyed, as I mentioned, to a list of color names and DMC's assigned floss-color number. To work the design, you follow the chart, counting stitches as you go.

It also really helps to have something dark on your lap as you stitch. The holes in the fabric that you need to stitch through are so much easier to see.

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Also, as you probably know, I also carry my favorite supplies in my web shop, should you need lovely, high quality tools. For this project, we have:

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Gorgeous little embroidery scissors.

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Hardwicke Manor 4" hoops.

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Twill tape to wrap around the inner hoop. You don't need to do this, but it's nice, and provides more tension to keep the fabric from slipping out of the hoop as you stitch.

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And size #24 tapestry needles for cross stitch on linen.

All supplies will be shipped along with your kit.

We do ship overseas! To place your order, you will be required to read this information, which contains details about international shipping and customs fees you may incur when ordering outside the U.S. (If you are overseas, the shipping cost charged by Posie does not include any further charges you may incur when importing goods.) To see the shipping-only costs for your order and location, just place the items in your cart and choose your location (or enter your zip code, if you are in the U.S.) and it will tell you how much the shipping is. As usual, I have a sincere request: Please check on and update your shipping address correctly in your Paypal preferences so that there is no confusion when we go to ship. If you do need to add things to your order or change your address after you've placed the order, just email me and we'll figure it out, no worries! I just like to remind people of this ahead of time, because it's a bit easier.

What else do I need to tell you. I don't even know. Other than that I am crazy excited about this! If you do have questions, please ask them here and I will pop back in throughout the day to answer. Thank you!!! Xoxoxoxoxo, A&Co.!

Pretty Petals

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Oh, apple trees! My favorite of the flowering trees. So humble and sweet and pretty. And their scent. My gosh, I love them.

I made a pillow and a pizza and more dresses. Thank you so much for all of the zipper advice! I tried what sounded like the easiest thing, and sewed straight down both sides from top to bottom (instead of going down one size, across the bottom, pivoting and coming up the other side) and it worked perfectly! Yippee. That was nice! Thanks! From left to right I used Simplicity 6713, c. 1966, and added a few inches to the length (fabric from JoAnn's); McCall's 8152, c. 1965 (fabric is Liberty Tana Lawn Mae [D]); and McCall's 9525, c. 1968, and added 12" to width of the front skirt, and 6" to each of the back panels, as well (fabric is from Mill End Store). These are rainy-day dresses, things you would wear at Bloomsbury while pressing flowers gathered in the bluebell woods. I soooooo enjoy sewing for my boo. I can't stop.

It's been raining here a bit, and I have been happy. The gardens are just exploding. Everything is fresh and fragrant and frothing with green. Our walks are filled with rainbursts and wild rambles, just to stay outside for longer. The sky the other night was so dramatic, with layers of cloud and light and dark. When I look out the windows in the early evenings, everything glows with bloom and late light.

Slowly but surely, My Sweetiepie ABCs sampler kits are coming together. The materials are finally starting to come in (it takes forever for this stuff to come in). The fabric has arrived in Wisconsin and is being folded. The embroidery floss is on its way, and then will get pulled (all 79 strands per kit, egads). I'm just finishing up the pattern, then that will go to the printer. More on all of this in a couple of weeks, when we're closer to being finished and ready to put them in the shop. I'm ridiculously excited. Oh I love seeing a plan come together. It's kind of thrilling, honestly.

***Oooops, forgot to link to the pizza — it's here, and I added some fresh mozzarella this time, too. Got a bit soppy, but if you let it stand for a few minutes, it's still very delicious.

More Maggie Kits Now in Stock for Easter!

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I was supposed to tell you this two days ago but I am a little behind, I'm sorry: We have more Miss Maggie Rabbit softie kits now in stock for Easter! Yay. This is good. I love Maggie. We put together a whole bunch of kits with various Liberty of London dress fabrics and yarns that we have used previously, or used for other animals. Available right now (in limited quantities) are:

Danjo

Elysian

Betsy

Meadow

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Each of these images will link to the Maggie Rabbit kit page, and then you can choose your option from the drop-down menu (click on the tiny arrow at the right edge of the product options box to see the drop-down menu). To see the original post I wrote about Maggie Rabbit (which has answers to some questions you might have), click here. To see so many adorable Maggies that people have made over the past two years, click here!

My new ABC cross-stitch kit, along with more Juniper Kitties, Basil Foxes, and even more Maggie Rabbits will be available sometime in April — but not before Easter, so I wanted to make sure we got these out to you in time to fill baskets.

Thank you, thank you, thank you! Back very soon with arboretum pictures. Xoxo, A & Co.

***If you would like a kit for another animal, all of the animal kits can be found here. Digital PDF patterns (and more sweaters, clothes, and accessories) patterns can be found here. Thank you!

***I'll remove any of these fabrics that sell out, so no, you aren't seeing things if you come back and something's missing! That means it has sold out. Sorry! And thank you very much!

Swirlywhirl, and Slow

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January. What would I do without you, specifically your frowsy second half, after the holidays and the birthdays and the outings? Because there are the lights . . . and the burnt-out lights and the only-half-put-away decorations and the only-half-put-away presents and all the things, things strewn here and there and everywhere, things that only appear here in the second half of January, somehow, and somehow my normally compulsive tidying impulse just drifts away like a little piece of fluff on the sodden winter wind. Bye-bye. There it goes! Instead I settle, and heavily, into the downy puff of calico on our sofa, let Amelia watch too much Peppa Pig (but she's so soft and snuggly, tucked under my big, soft arm where she fits so perfectly, when she's watching!), and cook giant batches of things to freeze for three more dinners, or twelve more breakfasts, all to minimize my time away from needle and thread. Because when I get an idea, especially in January, make way, all you other things I should be doing (cleaning! taxes! grocery shopping!). I must sew.

Could anything be more antithetical to my life right now than making tiny cross-stitches on 32-count linen? Oh my stars, it is slow, so slow, and so small. I couldn't decide if this was a good or a bad thing. For sure, it is stark relief against the background of days with a whirling, twirling toddler, who once again has started dragging the chair all over the house and getting into everything on every surface: the basket of punch cards and keys and stray coins we keep by the front door; my dish of extra buttons from new clothes, and jewelry, and random push pins (?) I apparently (though I had forgotten it, until she found it and strewed the contents around the room) keep on my dresser; the houseplants that are (leaf by leaf) being denuded of leaves; the Lenox wedding-china teacup she brought to me, holding it up in both hands as if presenting a rare bird. I gasped to see it and r u s h e d — you know the oxymoronic slow rush you must do so as not to completely freak her out and cause her to just wig, and throw it? — out of the kitchen to pluck the cup neatly from her little hands and try to determine how she managed to (silently) finagle the elaborate system of ponytail holders we have holding the china-cabinet doors closed (since the attempt at installing the baby lock on that door actually broke the door frame, etc., etc.). When her hair slides loose from its braids, and she is rushing from one of her work stations (the mail basket!) to the other (the dining-room lamp cords!), she looks like Animal from the Muppets (Andy's favorite childhood character, conveniently) in the midst of an epic drum solo. Our house is only so babyproofable. Not babyproofable enough, right now. Winter in Portland: You don't know what raining means until you have a careening, ambitious toddler that can't go to the park every day.

Nevertheless, oh my darling girl, how I love the torrent of language that is flowing from her lips. Almost constant chatter, and much of it starting to make sense, and the sense it makes is so sweet and so funny and so fascinating to me. Wow. The babble, the questions, the songs, the pretend noises (dinosaur! kitty!), the shouts, the calls, the exclamations (yuck-y! mine! no! yes!) the thrilling sentences ("I want to play with this one!"). A jumble of expression, numbers and colors and songs and letters like a burst of confetti thrown into the air every minute. How could I not make an alphabet sampler for my tiny love who is just learning, right at this very moment, the ABCs? I couldn't not. I have never had such fun designing anything, or done it in such a real-time way.  Amelia takes the half-finished sampler from my hands, and names her world: apple, boat, kitty. Egg. Umbrella. Zebra!

I did the designing part quickly, like I do most everything else these days, rushing to finish plotting out every stitch on every single letter and image in one free afternoon. But then the stitching part — oh, that's the slow. And, well, now that I'm committed, it's a lovely, lovely slow. I had forgotten how lovely embroidering can be. I let myself completely settle in. It happens at night, after baby bedtime. Every night this month, by the white light of my hideous full-spectrum lamp, I stitch a motif, and a letter, and maybe half of a next one, drawing the thread through over and over again, finding it restorative after a season of so much activity — holidays, parties, events, trips, hikes, presents, people, etc., etc., etc. — and days of so much swirling, twirling toddlerness.

It's been a long time since I've designed a cross-stitch sampler, and I wanted to make this one a kit to use up the pretty substantial overstock of floss (from ornament kits, embroidery kits, and animal kits) that Stacey recently catalogued. There is a lot, and the palette is so pretty, I think. Most of the other cross-stitch pieces I've designed (and there have been quite a few that I never talked about here, because I did 1/3 of my second book on cross stitch, and none of those could be shared while in progress, which doesn't suit me) have been on 28-count linen. I thought it was my preferred. I do love it. But I couldn't get the color I wanted — Stone Gray, this sort of clay-colored, rosy gray — in 28-count (Cashel linen), only in 32 (Belfast linen). (To refresh your memory about cross-stitch counts, my tutorial on counted cross-stitch is here.) I pouted. I whined again about the cross-stitch industry (oh, fun!). I looked at and tested out about ten different colors. But I wanted Stone Gray. So I grudgingly started stitching on the 32-count, and I worked a few motifs on other colors of 28-count just to torture myself. And what happened was (you saw this coming, I know), I fell in love with the 32. Smaller, yes, but not even appreciably more "difficult" than stitching 28-count, and the motifs wind up looking tighter and brighter and more saturated, and that just feels right for this (rather large, in fact) piece. So now I love the 32! This almost never happens, but it did this time. Then the distributor called and said that Zweigart would custom dye, in Stone Gray, the yardage that I wanted for the kits in 28-count linen. And I said no. Now I'm sticking with the 32. So that's how that all went. And let's hope we can get this fabric.

Did you need to know all this? Probably not. But such is the exciting life of a cross-stitcher. I could hardly keep it to myself! And who else could I tell but you???

I love the design process so much, especially when it's not for a book, where there really isn't time to tweak the colors of the design. When I design on my own, I get to take my own time, and redo stuff until I'm happy. You don't know if colors are really "working" (that's relative) until you've stitched them. And they totally change depending on what background color (and, to a lesser degree, what count of fabric) you're using. I love all of that. I love working it out, and balancing it, and shifting it. I love obsessing about one color over another, changing the placement of an eye or mouth, or just swiftly rendering something to capture the feeling of energy that can't be belabored. You're seeing the first draft of it all here — these are not the final motifs or colors, but they're close. It's a funny life, in a way, to care about such little things in my few quiet hours of the day. It must provide some sort of weird balance, somehow. I don't even know. But it gives me something. It always has.

These are January thoughts, in the year that my baby girl is two.

***Answers to some questions here (more or less copied from the next post): The muffins were made from this recipe, and the Mammagetti is an old family recipe that came from my mom's mother. I think that's my sister's handwriting on the card. My mom said that when she was little she would often have ice-skating birthday parties and then everyone would come back to her house for Mammagetti. It is kind of a strange recipe — I made it for the first time last week in about ten years. There is an absolute ton of vegetables in this thing, so use a huge pot. My mom says that you really do HAVE to add the cheese. It totally changes it. And you really do have to cook it that long, I guess. As far as the "cheese container" size goes, I think the one I added was 8 oz. Re: the line in the recipe that says "fill to almost with water" [sic]: My mom says to just add 2 cups of water. Obviously, you can substitute fresh grated Parmesan or your own favorite spaghetti sauce for the Ragu, but this was the way we always made it in our family. It's a nostalgia thing. I love this but, ironically, my sister doesn't (anymore). I serve it over thin spaghetti with a big blob of ricotta and a big glass of milk. Sunday-night winter dinner. Yummy stuff.

A Cold Day Outfit Kits and Pattern (and Ornament Kits, Too!)

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If your Little Animal Family is getting chilly, you might want to consider making them a duffel coat, stripey sweater, jeans, boots, and a scarf this fall. Introducing A Cold Day Outfit Kit, available in two colorways. One is with a blue coat, butterscotch-stripey sweater, and an oatmeal-colored scarf:

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Or with a pink coat, blue stripey sweater, and a pale pink scarf:

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Yay! I'm excited about these!

Each kit includes a printed pattern with stitching instructions and photos, an embroidery tutorial,  knitting patterns, and all full-size pattern templates. Each item page also contains a detailed list of what materials are included in each kit and what else you will need to have. You can choose your colorway from the drop-down menu. Each kit costs $30 each, plus shipping. Fabrics and yarns are not interchangable between kits, nor do we sell yardage of or individual pieces of felt or fabric.

If you would prefer a downloadable PDF pattern only for the Cold Day Outfit, please get that HERE.

Please note also that the Cold Day Outfit kits and pattern do not include instructions or materials for making the actual animals themselves. Please see the whole collection of animal kits or animal patterns for individual animals and their original outfits.

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And now I want to say that I'm really happy to bring back last year's kit, NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS. The Night Before Christmas collection sold out too quickly last year, and I felt bad that some of you who have been collecting my ornaments for a long time now did not get a chance to purchase one. So we have reissued a limited edition of this kit this year, and it will be in the shop until it sells out. 

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It has a Nestled Child, all snug in her bed with her kitters . . .

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There is a mouse we call Notevena, and she is definitely stirring . . .

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And there's that everpresent little dream I dream each year: How I would love (for my baby girl) to wake up to the new-fallen snow!

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We also still have limited numbers of previous years' kits, including 2012's kit, WINTER CABIN:

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There is a Lighted Window, to welcome all passersby . . .

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There is a Western Bluebird, to provide the winter song . . .

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And there is a Whistling Tea Kettle, to make the Earl Grey . . .

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And 2011's kit, SWEET HOME:

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It includes a Blue Door, with a wreath to welcome you home . . .

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A Glowing Candle, to light the night . . .

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And a Wild Bunny to keep you company . . .

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We also have 2010's kit, SNOW DAY:

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It includes a Red Wool Coat, to keep you warm and dry . . .

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A traditional Norwegian Selbu mitten, to keep your hands toasty . . .

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And a Polar Bear, far from the Arctic Circle, peeking out from behind the trees.

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 2009's ornament-making kit, WALK IN THE WOODS, is entirely sold out! I'm very sorry!!!

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And last but not least, we also have the first, 2008's kit, ICE SKATING AFTERNOON, as well!

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There's the Hot Cocoa Cup, to warm you up:

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The Ice Skate, with pom-pon for good measure:

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And lastly, the Gingerbread Girl, the sweetest of all:

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Please click on the links for each of the kits above to take to you the web shop pages, which list what's included in each and what you will need to have. Each ornament kit costs $30 each, plus shipping.

About the skill level needed to complete these: In previous years I said that, while I don't think of these kits necessarily as a children's or a beginner's project, if you have some experience working some basic stitches, these ornaments take more time and patience than skill. I will include directions on transferring the designs to the felt, and basic diagrams for completing the types of classic embroidery stitches you will need to know — backstitch, lazy-daisy stitch, satin stitch, French knot, and blanket stitch — but once you are comfortable working those stitches, if you just take your time and settle in, you will be fine. Someone asked which the easiest kit is, and I have to agree with Lori (I think it was my dear Lori) who said the Walk in the Woods kit is the easiest. Snow Day is the hardest, I think.

All six ornament patterns are always available as downloadable PDFs HERE. A list of the specific felt colors and piece sizes and floss colors you need can be found HERE. You will need that list, so don't forgot to click on it (and a link to it is available on each of the product pages, as well). If you are purchasing a kit, you do NOT need to purchase a pattern. Printed patterns come in each of the kits.

I also have supplies like glue (though we can't ship that internationally; see below), sewing needles and tiny needles for adding beads, wax-free chalk tracing paper, and water-erase fabric markers that will help you make these ornaments. You can find them all HERE (and the specific items you need for each kit are suggested in the item details for each kit, too). I have a limited supply of these items, so if you are interested in them please order soon. I doubt I'll be able to restock before Christmas.

Yes, we do ship internationally, but please read the following before placing your order: All international shipments are sent via USPS first-class international mail (or Priority, depending on their weight) and are charged a higher shipping fee depending on the weight of items and the destination. Shipping fees are added automatically when you place your order; to calculate them you need to walk through steps 1 and 2 of the ordering process. Once items leave the U.S. they are not able to be tracked past their last location here. It is happening more and more often: You — especially if you are in the United Kingdom — may also be charged import taxes, customs fees, duties, or other charges by your home country when you receive the shipment; you are responsible for these. Unfortunately I can't control where, why, or how customs agents determine whether to charge you or not and, after shipping thousands of overseas packages through the years, there doesn't seem to be a lot of rhyme or reason to who gets charged. Please note that the USPS does not allow us to pay any taxes or fees for you on our end, prior to shipping. I mark all of my shipments "merchandise"; please don't ask me to mark them as gifts because it is illegal to do that, and I won't. Thank you!

The only thing we cannot ship internationally is the fabric glue, because it is prohibited. If you are overseas and you do accidentally put it in your cart, we will refund that part of the order and ship the rest of your things.

Because we are shipping so quickly, please make sure that your shipping address is correct when you place your order. In some cases, we are shipping orders the exact same day the order is placed, so it's important that you check your address on your end properly before submitting your order, because once it's out there, it's out there! If you do need to change your address, or anything about your order, or add things to your order, etc., please email me immediately. I will not be able to change your original order for you (because the system won't let me), but what I will do is cancel the original order and have you place a new order with everything you need in it. This will be Stacey's first time shipping a lot of orders at once and I would love for this to be as manageable as possible for her (so that she stays with me forever). That said, of course if you do need to change your address (before it is shipped), or anything about your order do not even hesitate to email me immediately and I will help you with whatever you need!

Thank you, thank you, thank you for all of your support of these animals and these ornaments over these many (many!) years. It has been such a great adventure for me to design these things, and the greatest privilege to make them available to you. My trusty crew (Stacey, Greta, Susie, Andy, and the amazing fabric-cutting and floss-packaging ladies, Dana and Sarah at Spooltown) and I design, write, illustrate, photograph, assemble, and ship every one of these kits all by ourselves. There are now thousands of Posie critters big and small on and under Christmas trees all over the world, and it's my true honor and sincere delight that you have welcomed all of them into your homes. I have so many more ideas I want to explore. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to do that, and share my ideas with you. Your interest and enthusiasm is so very, very appreciated by every one of us here, but especially me. Thank you so much, dear friends. Thank you.

New Animal Sewing Kits, a New Web Site, and a Brand New Look for the Blog!

comments: 134

Well, good morning! Yes, you're in the right place! Welcome to my new . . . everything! I have so much to tell you. But first let me tell you about the newest members of the Posie Little Animal Family.

There are four new members of the family. The first is Miss Juniper Kitty. She wears an empire peasant dress, a knitted wool cowl, and removable Wellington boots. She has two dress and yarn options. This is Emma and Georgina dress fabric with Lemongrass yarn:

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EmmaGeorgina

And this is Edenham dress fabric with Dark Magenta yarn:

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Edenham

Next there's Miss Dandelion Doe. She's a shy little doe in a mini-dress, knitted kerchief, and removable embroidered boots. Here she is in Fairford dress fabric with Blue Fog yarn:

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Fairford

And my personal favorite, Thorpe dress fabric with Arctic Moss yarn:

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Thorpe

Then there's Miss Phyllis Mouse. She, too, wears a mini-dress but with knitted wool leg warmers and moccasins. Here she is in Elysian dress fabric with Lavender Cloud yarn:

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Elysian

And this is the lovely turquoise colorway of Betsy dress fabric with Lullaby yarn:

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Betsy

Mwah. Love her.

Okay, and then we have the long-awaited and ever-dapper Mr. Basil Fox, here sporting a gray gingham cotton lawn shirt with denim jeans, a scarlet wool scarf, and removable boots:

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He has four shirt/yarn options:

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Sage

Blue

Pink

And of course last but not least, you know Miss Maggie Rabbit. We still have kits for her, and she has a new scarf color to go with her Meadow dress fabric:

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Hello, little girl. It's good to see you again! :)

CLICK HERE to see all of the KITS in the Little Animal Family!

And CLICK HERE if you'd just like to download the digital PDF patterns for any of these animals.

Each kit includes a printed pattern with stitching instructions and photos, an embroidery tutorial, a knitting pattern, and all full-size pattern templates. Each item page also contains a detailed list of what materials are included in each kit and what else you will need to have. You can choose your fabric/yarn from the drop-down menu for each animal. Each softie kit costs $34 each, plus shipping. Fabrics and yarns are not interchangable between kits, nor do we sell yardage of any fabric.

All of the clothes and accessories that have been designed for these animals are interchangeable between animals. Dandelion's knitted kerchief includes ear-holes that only really fit her and Maggie, but the kerchief can be worn as a little shawl by the other animals. (And Basil's pants and shirt are pretty much the same pattern as the original Little Pants and Shirt for Rabbits pattern, FYI.) But if you purchase a kit for one of the animals, you might also want to look at the rest of downloadable animal patterns for making more clothes and accessories for your particular critter.

Yes, we do ship internationally, but please read the following before placing your order: All international shipments are sent via USPS first-class international mail (or Priority, depending on their weight) and are charged a higher shipping fee depending on the weight of items and the destination. Shipping fees are added automatically when you place your order; to calculate them you need to walk through steps 1 and 2 of the ordering process. Once items leave the U.S. they are not able to be tracked past their last location here. It is happening more and more often: You — especially if you are in the United Kingdom — may also be charged import taxes, customs fees, duties, or other charges by your home country when you receive the shipment; you are responsible for these. Unfortunately I can't control where, why, or how customs agents determine whether to charge you or not and, after shipping thousands of overseas packages through the years, there doesn't seem to be a lot of rhyme or reason to who gets charged. Please note that the USPS does not allow us to pay any taxes or fees for you on our end, prior to shipping. I mark all of my shipments "merchandise"; please don't ask me to mark them as gifts because it is illegal to do that, and I won't. Thank you!

Because we are shipping so quickly, please make sure that your shipping address is correct when you place your order. Since Greta is literally moving to Ohio tomorrow, but wanted to be in on this first day of the sale at least, we will begin shipping orders today, so it's important that you check your address on your end properly before submitting your order, because once it's out there, it's out there! If you do need to change your address (before it is shipped), or anything about your order, or add things to your order, etc., please email me immediately. I will not be able to add anything to your original order for you (because the system won't let me), but what I will do is cancel the original order and have you place a new order with everything you need in it. I do not accept phone orders, or checks in the mail.

My best advice is that if you like a particular fabric/yarn combo, do not wait to order it. I can never predict exactly how things will go, but in the past, new kits have sold out very quickly. (I will update this page as things sell out.) We WILL make more kits if they sell out, but we will use new fabrics and new yarns, because it's just a lot more fun that way. I rarely like to do the exactly same thing twice! But we can talk about that more if/when it happens.

Last but not least, before I let you go I just have to say exactly how incredibly thrilled I am to show you my new blog and web site designs, built by the amazing, lovely, and extraordinarily talented folks at Aeolidia. I'll talk more about the process of how this all came together after I get some sleep, but for now I just want to invite you to explore these new designs and thank you so much for being here!

P.S. If you have any questions or problems today, just let me know in a comment and I will answer here (as soon as I can). Thank you!

***Okay, a few answers  sorry for the delay! Regarding skill level to make these: So, I always say that you need more enthusiasm than skill to make my projects  although they aren't designed specifically for beginners, my patterns do include step-by-step sewing instructions with photo illustrations, along with drawings and instructions for particular sewing and embroidery stitches. That said, in the pattern I do encourage everyone to practice stitching on scraps of felt, or to make a practice dress (or shirt, or pants) out of other fabric first, to practice. The clothes  especially Phyllis's and Dandelion's dress  are challenging, because they're really small! If you have clothing construction experience it helps, because you understand the order in which dresses (and shirts) kind of get put together. That all said, as I also always say, it's just stuffed animals, not brain surgery! So just go for it and have fun! I have had several people write to me in the past year since Maggie was developed to say that she was the first thing that they've ever made and they enjoyed making her very much, so I think you can do it! And if you ever don't understand something, just let me know and I will help you!

***I don't teach people how to knit in the knitting patterns, however. You do need to know how to knit  cast on, knit, purl, increase, decrease, cast on in the middle of a row (I use backward loop), and read knitting directions  in order to follow the directions for the knitwear. There are so many videos online that can teach you these basics, so if you have a hankering to knit, these patterns are small and pretty simple, and are good first and second projects.

***I've gotten a couple of emails from people who are having trouble finding their digital patterns after payment. So, after payment is completed, the screen will display a link toward the bottom of the box that says "Click here to download your pattern." Just click it, and then save your pattern to your harddrive. Then print it out for your use. If you should miss this link, a separate email  not the order confirmation or the Paypal, but an automatically generated email from the server that hosts the patterns  will be sent to you at the email address you used to place the order, and that will also include a link to download your patterns. These emails do bounce sometimes, so do check your junk folder. If all else fails, don't even worry  just email me and I'll send them to you via email, no problem!

Tuesday, May 27th

comments: 28

At 10:00 a.m. Pacific Standard Time is when I'm planning to make the four new animal kits (and their respective PDF patterns) available! I'll post all of the information and links here, so stay tuned!

Thank you and have a wonderful weekend, everyone! xo

A Busy Week

comments: 108

Oh, busy days! Andy has had four days in a row off so I've been flailing around in the studio trying to get my new animals and their stuff pulled together. Many, many, many, oh most pictures I've taken this week have looked thrillingly like this:

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And this:

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Oh, and this:

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And far too few have looked adorably like this:

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MWAH. MWAH. MWAH. Eskimo kiss.

Well, it's one of those weeks. Time to make the doughnuts. I get up and showered as early as possible. I'm combed and coffeed by 7:00 a.m. most days. It's still dark outside then, but each time I look up from the work the sky is glowing a lighter shade of ultraviolet. There are four new animal kits (and patterns) in the works: Juniper Kitty, Dandelion Doe, Phyllis Mouse, and Basil Fox. The girls each have new dresses in two new Liberty fabrics, new boots, and new knitwear (cowl, kerchief, and legwarmers). The boy has a gingham shirt (in four color options), jeans, boots, and a scarf. There's also a separate kit/pattern for a hooded duffle coat, jeans, striped sweater, and a different scarf. And a pattern for the minty bed, and a kit/pattern for a nightgown, and all of the bedding. When I write it all out like that, I can see it's a lot. I've ordered nineteen different fabrics from seven different distributors or manufacturers, and thirteen different colors of felt from one. One hundred and eighteen cones of floss in thirty-seven different colors. Eleven thousand gray mini buttons. Twelve hundred 3/8" snaps. Two hundred and ten cones of sport-weight yarn. Sixteen different colors for that. Oh, and there's a teddy bear. I forgot about the teddy bear. Make that fourteen colors of felt.

It's both exhiliarating and terrifying. I've been making kits for a long time now, and I love it. I do truly love it. Of all of the things I've done in the past fourteen years of having a business, this has been the best for me, and the thing most suited to my abilities and interests. Certain things that I've done were so ill-suited to my abilities and interests (owning a shop, for one; I really have no words to say how miserable that made me) that when I get stressed out about these kits, I just remember how much I hated those things. But this part, this part where I'm figuring, and measuring, and ordering, and simultaneously designing, oh lord. It stretches me out flat. I burble and stagger. At night I sit like a zombie, watching my Alaska shows: Alaska: The Last Frontier. Buying Alaska. Coast Guard Alaska. Alaska Fish Wars. Railroad Alaska. Ultimate Survival Alaska. None of us can figure out exactly why I am, apparently, obsessed with Alaska. I don't even think I am actually obsessed with Alaska. (I also don't seem to be able to tear my eyes away from House Hunters International, though I have absolutely zero plans to ever move from this house.) Baby Mimi goes to bed between six and seven p.m., and oh, my goodness, that girl is a good sleeper (and is, once again, sleeping through the night, no problem). Isn't it just kind of a great moment when, after ordering fabric all day and being told that they have bolts that they don't actually have when it comes time to ship, and that four of the prints you've wanted are discontinued, and you'll have to pick other things even though you already have ordered several other things that go with those original things that you can't get, so you'll have to spend hours desperately scouring the internet to get those things somewhere else or give up and pick other things, isn't it sooooo just kind of a great moment when at seven p.m., after you've put your babylove to bed and put on your nightgown and taken out your contacts and brushed your teeth, you come back downstairs and pick up your knitting and then you get to watch a new episode of Railroad Alaska??? I mean, does it get any better than this, people?!?!?!?!?! No. Not for me. Ordering twenty-nine bolts of fabric does not seem as scary and difficult as, say, using an avalanche cannon, or trying not to get hit by a gigantic ice dagger. Or even using a dilapidated outhouse in the dead of winter. Perspective.

So, we're almost at the point where all of the ordering has happened, and the stuff is starting to come in, and the preparation of all the stuff begins. I work on the sewing and the knitting and the photographing and the writing, and the girls work on the floss-pulling and the button-bagging and the felt-folding. We are having all of the fabric cut now by Spooltown, the little factory down the road. Greta and I will go there today and drop off some fabric that's already come in. They'll fold it for us, as well. At night I talk to the animals and make sure we're getting it right: Do you want the pinkish dress, or the yellow? You want the yellow. That's what I thought. We usually agree.

My plan for 2014 is just . . . not to rush. When I decided to stop designing ornament kits last year, some of it had to do with the schedule that designing for a specific date — like a holiday — forces upon you. It turns out that it's almost never the actual work that is so difficult, it's the deadlines that make it so tough (for me, anyway). Since I work for myself, and only ever want to work for myself, this is something I can control. This is one of the perks. (There are downsides, trust me, but this is one of the perks, especially as a working/stay-at-home mom.) So, we're looking at this spring, sometime. I'm not going to set a date until we're very close to being done. But it feels good. I love working and I'm so lucky to have such excellent people helping me. So lucky to have them.

Thank you so much for all of the birthday wishes! We finished the cake a few days ago, and then there was another one over the weekend, because my brother-in-law's birthday is two days after mine, and my mom's is the day after that. I think everyone's quite partied and present-ed out. It's finally back to regular days. I'm looking forward to it, truly.

About Alicia Paulson

About

My name is Alicia Paulson
and I love to make things. I live with my husband and daughter in Portland, Oregon, and design sewing, embroidery, knitting, and crochet patterns. See more about me at aliciapaulson.com

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Photography

Since August of 2011 I've been using a Canon EOS 60D with an EF 18-200mm kit lens and an EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro lens.