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Hi, friends! I’m excited today to share a special post. I feel like I don’t often have big announcements, but this one is worth celebrating: I finally launched my cross stitch membership website! And I am absolutely in LOVE with the branding… check it out:

NeedleSpark logo

For those that don’t know the beginning of this journey, let’s give it the ol’ origin story treatment: I like to DIY. Big, small, crafts, woodworking, and so on. When I was a kid, it was my parents who taught me about do-it-yourself the way I think of it: painting walls, using a drill, and putting up wallpaper. It gave me the confidence to pick up bigger, scarier tools along my DIY journey.

inside Ruby during demo process
DIY Deck

…But it was my grandparents who taught me how to be a maker. After a lifetime of working in construction, my grandfather spent his free time making three-dimensional paper houses, dollhouse furniture, and tinkering with tons of different hobbies. My grandmothers did cross stitch and crochet. They taught me how to do them all and I learned how much fun it is to make something with your hands. I sort of stopped doing a lot of these hobbies as a kid, only to pick them up again after college as a way to fill my creative cup after work and during graduate school.

fall cross stitch - autumn tree - free pattern

A few years ago, on a whim, I wanted to try to design my own cross stitch pattern. Why not, I thought. I kind of have a history of trying random small crafts like epoxy and concrete and polymer clay and costumes and decoupage. But something unexpected happened: when I offered up the pattern I created for free, there were a surprising amount of downloads. And since I enjoyed the process, I went ahead and made another. And another, until I started churning them out each month. People kept asking for more variations, whole batches of subjects, offering to buy patterns, etc. I really like making them, but as my humble DIY blog was quickly gaining additional traffic from cross stitchers, I realized things were kind of fragmenting. I didn’t enjoy that part; I didn’t like the potential disconnect of what Ugly Duckling House™️ has always been: a DIY demo, home, and renovation site. I was maintaining two distinct email lists with very different needs on a single website. So as the idea started forming in my mind to create a membership program for even more patterns, I knew I needed to create a true beginning.

needlespark computer view

The new site is built very differently because its purpose is different. It has downloads, organized collections, video courses, etc. in mind right from the start. And COLOR! I started brainstorming some names I liked, hired a logo designer, and then built NeedleSpark from the bottom up. After an initial launch period sent out to waitlist members (I promised them the first look!), it’s finally ready to share with everyone!

preview of old and new patterns

If this new site seems like it might be your thing, feel free to take a look around at all of the patterns available and consider becoming a member. Unlike the format on UDH where we give away one pattern per month & then retire it after a little while, the new site is built more like a patreon where members get exclusives and perks and show their support to keep fresh patterns coming. It has not only the entire UDH archive (many of which are no longer available here or were short-term releases), but it also gives early access to the future monthly patterns as well as collections that have not been released anywhere else. For example, when 2023 patterns are done, the entire set will be released in January on NeedleSpark without the monthly wait. There’s already 100+ patterns, 11+ collections, a few habit tracker printables, etc. My personal favorite is the Neon collection. Membership pricing will increase as more gets added to the site (things like a brag board with achievement badges, courses on how to cross stitch, my own custom products that I’ve always wanted to create as a stitcher but haven’t seen offered before, and even a course on how I make patterns are on the development to-do list). But you can lock in some early bird discounts the sooner you join (use LAUNCH40 to get 40% off whichever membership you choose).

collections on NeedleSpark so far

Granted, it’s still extremely new, which for me often means “not quite done baking,” but I figure that done is better than perfect and if I kept tweaking until I was fully satisfied with it, I’d never actually have the guts to launch. I’m not going to do a high-pressure sales thing, but I’ll have a gentle nudge in my posts and emails about pattern releases going forward. To be clear: there will still be pattern releases here at the UDH. But if you have been a fan of the patterns I’ve offered, this is an opportunity to show your support while getting even more of the stuff you like. I’m confident you’ll love these collections even more (the Moth and Butterfly collection I’m releasing in the next few months is going to absolutely rock and I’m eager to do a lot of those myself so my gallery wall is complete!). I’ve given lots of my patterns away for free over the years, but this still feels like a Very Big Deal to me with how I hope to create a growing community of popular patterns, support students who want to become pattern designers themselves, and more.

Later this week, it’s back to the regular DIY stuff, so stay tuned. Trying to launch an entirely new site can take up quite a bit of brain space, so I’ve now got a backlog of some home renovation content that I have been meaning to share with everyone! Can’t wait to update you on everything else that’s going on. <3

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