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Holiday Octopus


As the countdown to gift-day gets hot, all my crafting has turned into panicked gift crafting.


Panicked gift crafting does not make much blog fodder, lest I let the giftees in on their gifts before the big reveal.  Rather than go radio silent, however, I’ve decided to shower you in holiday embroidery patterns!  After all, you all deserve some gifts from me too.  And what would be more fitting, more expected from this blog than a holiday cephalopod?


(Nothing, except maybe holiday microbes, which has been done.)




Imagine how quickly your holiday chores would go if you had eight arms.  In related news, this gingerbread house is awesome.


I still really want to start my own embroidery pattern company, but I’m rather at a loss.  I see two options:


Plan A


Sell patterns as .pdf files, which is okay but does not give me a physical product (and I’d really like a physical product). The thing is, a physical product will cost a fair amount of money to create. Now, I could always start with .pdf files and save up money from that to launch a physical product line at some point in the future- and I might even phase out the .pdf files then, depending on the popularity of the physical product.  I’m definitely considering this.


Plan B


Plan B  is to get a physical product now.  The best solution I’ve seen for this so far is to somehow raise enough money for print runs from Colonial Patterns, which (as I understand) would cost me a bit under $500/pattern set. After a year plus of unemployment I don’t have $500 sitting around.  Nevermind I’d like to launch with two or three different patterns, if possible.


That brings us to this: Has anyone here ever heard of, or used As I understand it, it works like this: I draw up a business plan, share it with the world, then ask for pledges to launch my new business.  In return, I’d promise things.  Maybe a smaller pledge would get a pattern once they were made, and larger pledges could get a custom pattern (though they would come in .jpg or .pdf form), or maybe even some custom embroidery.


And here’s the key: if I didn’t hit my ultimate money-raising goal (ie: enough to get patterns printed), no one would owe anything.  You’d only pay your pledge if enough people pledged to actually launch the business.  And if I did?  Well, I’d be on a new adventure, and there would be a nerdy new pattern company on the market for everyone to enjoy.


And of course, I’d keep posting free patterns.


Plan C is to keep looking for ways to get patterns printed cheaper than ordering them from Colonial Patterns, and keep dreaming.  I haven’t had much luck with this in the years I’ve been looking, though.


It’s a thought at least, and something I’ll mull over a bit longer.  Until then: octopus with holiday lights!


You know the drill.


Click on the picture, and you’ll get the full-res.  I release these free bits of line art under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial license.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License.


You are allowed and indeed encouraged to do whatever you want with the piece(s) (use, reuse, abuse, remix, share, and of course, embroider), just follow these two simple rules:

1) Give me credit (a link back is always appreciated- that way, everyone else knows they can use it too)
2) Don’t make a profit off any use or modification of my work.

To be fair, I won’t sue you or anything if you don’t give me credit- I’ll just feel all hurt, and no one wants that.  Also to be fair, should you really want to use them in a profit-making venture (ie: stitch it on something you then sell in your etsy store, use it as a print for your own fabric line, etc.), talk to me and maybe we can work something out so everybody wins.  Should you want to say thanks, leave a comment and/or tell a friend or six.  Finally, if you do make something, embroidery or not, let me know and I’ll happily blog it!

You can find a reminder/introduction to embroidery, including basic stitches and a by-no-means exhaustive list of methods of transferring patterns to fabric in this post (there’s also a good round-up here and another one here).  Finally: if you’ve got suggestions for embroidery patterns you’d like to see, I would love to hear them (no promises, though).  You can find the rest of my patterns under the Embroidery Patterns category.

18 Comments leave one →
  1. 12/18/2010 11:23 AM

    I’d kick in if you went to kickstarter!

  2. 12/18/2010 4:40 PM

    Very cute octopus! I too dream of a company as I am unemployed… Maybe you could start by making smaller kit on your own in some way and sell them yourself? not A BIG company idea I know, but a smaller product, like a fabric with the pattern printed on just to fill in with your own floss, sold in your etsy shop… or similar. The worst part of embroidery of patterns (to me) is to get the pattern on the fabric, but I’m not sure how it could be done…

    • 12/19/2010 8:00 AM

      That’s what I figured I could do with .pdfs- start small, and work on getting an actual physical product later. Each .pdf would include a page with various methods of transfer outlined, so hopefully it wouldn’t be too much of a problem.

      Thank you for the comment!

  3. Evelyn permalink
    12/18/2010 5:54 PM

    Do you want to do fabric patterns or transfer patterns?

    You can get fabric printed from some place like spoonflower, for much less than $500. Then you could cut and package with floss for a kit. If you don’t want to make up kits, you could see how much some place like Foothills Gateway would charge to assemble them.

    For transfer patterns, if you’re doing small runs, print your own:

    Also, kickstarter rocks, though you have to drum up interest before you launch, because sometimes the deadline is too quick for word to get out. And I’ll order whatever you decide to do.

    Also, Squid! Cephalopods! Excellence!

    • 12/19/2010 7:57 AM

      I would prefer to make multi-imprinting iron on transfers.

      Unfortunately, the iron on transfers commonly sold for inkjet printers are not the same as multi-imprinting iron on transfers used for embroidery patterns. Those sold for printers don’t just transfer the ink, but also a part of the paper too; basically, you iron a thick, shiny, rubbery film onto your fabric with the image printed on the film, and that thick-shiny-rubbery thing… stays there. Your fabric better be white too (or black- they make black ones), because the “blank” areas will get transferred too, unless you want to spend lots of time cutting out every little line. Not ideal for embroidering.

      And I can’t, for the life of me, find out how the OTHER transfers- the kind which can be ironed on multiple times, which only transfer the ink, and which fade or wash out with time- work. I suspect it’s a wax-based ink of some kind, which means it probably won’t even run through an inkjet; wax-based inks tend to clog the works.

      Thank you for the pointers, though! Maybe I’ll have to start on drumming up that interest, and that’ll give me time to try and find a better way.

  4. 12/19/2010 1:15 PM

    I found you over at the embroidery ning site. I wish you success on getting something started. I am drawn to simple nature patterns and flowers. Have you seen Aimee Ray’s book: Doodle Stitching? Here’s her website in case you haven’t found her before:
    Merry Christmas,

  5. 12/20/2010 3:13 AM

    There’s also Kiva:
    Instead of giving people money to set up their business, a loan system is set up so that once your business is on its feet, you can pay Kiva back and they will send everyone who loaned money their share back :)

  6. Corvus permalink
    12/20/2010 2:35 PM

    This is a test comment.

  7. 12/20/2010 9:56 PM

    Love. It.
    I have such a weakness for cephalopods!

  8. 12/21/2010 9:47 AM

    Great octopus and loved that gingerbread house.

    If it were my decision, I would start small with the .pdfs and things just might fall into place for you. It’s hard to start a business, so starting very small makes things more manageable. There are no crystal balls, just start doing SOMETHING as small as it needs to be. From my experience…when you follow your heart, everything falls into place anyway. Get those .pdf patterns going, work your butt off to get them out there and then see where it takes you.

  9. 12/21/2010 2:38 PM

    Love the octopus!
    Good luck with the buisness – def take the plunge! you have some awesome patterns!

  10. 12/22/2010 2:49 PM

    Every small business faces similar start up challenges my love. Start small, sell PDF patterns and squirrel that money away for future endeavours!


  11. 12/27/2010 1:09 AM

    I love your festive octopus!

    Re: .pdfs versus iron on transfers, as an ‘overseas customer’ (I’m from the UK), .pdfs are far more attractive than iron on transfers as there is no shipping cost and no lengthy delay to wait for the pattern. I buy A LOT of embroidery patterns, but to me they’re always impulse buys, a quick retail fix and waiting for something to come in the post isn’t quick!

    Good luck with whatever you do though, as the other comments have said, start small. One company to possibly ask about where they print their iron on transfers from would be Sew Lovely (the only company I buy iron on transfers from these days), they seem a lovely company and I’m sure if you ask nicely they’ll tell you who their printer is!

    Good luck again!

  12. 12/30/2010 11:27 AM

    I love this holiday octopus, and the theme of this blog :) I’ll be back to read more!

  13. Colline permalink
    07/24/2012 9:17 AM

    Thank you for your pattern. I used it to make a stocking for my partner! He loved it! I did stuffed applique for the octopus, beads and some decorative cording for the lights, and threw in some LEDs to make it fancy. Here’s a flickr link

    Thanks again!


  1. Roadtrip fabric – DC | Made by Gaby

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