Like many other people, I deal with anxiety (and depression). This is something I have dealt with since before COVID, although living in the middle of a pandemic did crank my levels up a few notches. As I’ve become more familiar with how my anxiety works, I’ve also discovered that the types of entertainment I gravitate towards are usually much more soothing for my anxiety.
About three months ago, I found myself drawn to a set of Facebook ads for a company called The Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery that specializes in adorable cross-stitch patterns and kits. Years ago, I did some really gorgeous dragon-based pieces from another pattern creator, but it was a hobby that got set aside when we started having a house with grabby toddlers in it. I didn’t really have a good place where I could do this hobby that kept little hands away from needles and super sharp scissors. By the time our kids were old enough that we were not concerned about this, and I had better hobby space, it had sort of fallen off my radar and I never got back around to it.
The patterns seemed to call to me, I liked the happy and adorable little scenes which appealed to my aesthetic in a way a lot of other patterns did not. I debated back and forth a few times, but right around my birthday there was a sale on some of the everything-included kits, one of which was a fun design called Animal Almanac that features fun little animals in scenes specific to seasons and months. I finally made the call and ordered it, and was super excited when it arrived on my actual birthday.
The kit including the special colored fabric for the project, all the threads and access to a digital copy of the pattern. The pattern is part of what the company calls an SAL (Stitch Along). This SAL is intended to last through 2020, so each month all subscribers get an updated pattern in their inboxes with the next section added on. I may have been starting part way through, but it didn’t matter. I could catch up as my stitching time allowed and still finish the project with everyone else who began it back in January if I liked. It felt like a really cool subscription box, only you don’t miss out on the cool stuff past boxes if you join late! Once the SAL is complete, both physical and digital copies of the pattern become available to buy (you may have to get the fabric and floss on your own if the site is sold out) so anyone who finds out about it after the fact can still get in on it.
I broke into the kit right away because I was super excited and got to stitching. I realized pretty quickly in that the whole thing was pretty soothing for my anxiety. The patterns have a decent balance of detail without being too tricky, so they’re pretty friendly for beginners. It’s an activity that requires just enough of my attention span to distract me from more active anxious thoughts, but it’s not so intense that if I’m having a anxiety patch that it’s too overwhelming for me to approach as an activity. The happy little pictures that start to appear bring me joy and the excitement of seeing the next pattern section has been good for my COVID morale too. A few days after my birthday, a shorter Halloween-based SAL called Midnight Way released with four sections that came out in two week periods. I snatched it up while full kits were available. I was able to work on that one as it released and bounce back to Animal Almanac as I waited for new sections to release. With my Animal Almanac subscription giving me a year-round discount code of 15 percent off my purchases, I have definitely picked up a few more kits along the way too. I won’t be running out of projects anytime soon.
Things Stitchers Should Know About The Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery Products:
The designs bounce from cute holiday designs, to fairy tales, to even a National Parks-based design. They’re fun and appealing and even my kids love the designs. They use full stitches and back stitching, which keeps things approachable for beginners, but they still have enough detail to be fun for more experiences stitchers.
As for the actual pattern itself, the digital pattern is easy to print and has both color and black and white options. I really like the colored option, but people who like to highlight or mark off sections they complete may prefer the black and white (you get both in the set). My bigger Animal Almanac pattern even shows things in two sizes, one with 4 panels per page and another with 1 panel per page. The latter can really be helpful for having something that is easy enough to follow. Physical patterns are also available for anyone who may prefer those. The patterns all offer a guide to the colors needed in two different brand choices and a basic primer on how to stitch for beginners. The fabric brand and color from the demo image is included on the product page. Most individual patterns range from the $5 to just under $20 range, although discounted pattern bundles are available for more. You can find all of the patterns here.
Kits are limited and offered in both linen and Aida fabric choices (Aida is easier for beginners to start with), with patterns, threads and other special notions included (like specialty thread, beads, etc.). They sometimes include a set of needles, sometimes do not. They do not include hoops or frames. The kits tend to range from $40 to somewhere in the $50 range depending on the size, which is pretty fair, especially compared to if you had to buy all of the pieces individually. When I can, this is my preferred way to buy because it has everything I need and it includes the special fabric. A lot of Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery patterns are done on hand-dyed fabric from Picture This Plus, which cannot be purchased directly from the company. It’s not impossible to get the fabric, but you will have to look into ordering it from an independent supply store if The Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery doesn’t happen to have any in stock. There can be wait times for the fabric because it is hand-dyed. The fabric is gorgeous though, and well worth the hunt to grab it (although some people do find alternate colors or dye their own). I just try to take the approach of getting what I can when it releases as a kit and slowly hunting for the others. All available kits can be found here.
Do you need a needleminder or the needles if the kit does not come with them? What about the needle threader? I found the needles they recommend are the perfect size for their patterns, so if you don’t have that size on hand, I would buy them. I used my own in a different size at first and found things like tucking the thread ends under stitched sections went way easier with the correct size. As for the magnetic needleminders? If you are half as infamous about dropping or loosing needles as I am, I would recommend it because loosing a needle is not conducive to anxiety. As for the needle threaders. I find them very helpful if dealing with metallic threads. Needle threaders are $1.90 each, needle packs $2.80 and needleminders $8. If this is a hobby you’re going to spend a lot of time on, add a needle threader and a needleminder. They’re helpful. They can be found here along with other notions.
Overall, I think this is a company that people who like cross-stitch should check out, a company people who want to get into cross-stitch should go to to get started, and I will reiterate that it’s been a hobby that’s been beneficial for how I manage my anxiety. Midnight Way Kits are sold out, but the patterns can be found here. Kits for Animal Almanac can be found here along with a selection of other Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery Kits.