Overeducated Seamstress: Stacey of FreshStitches

Having recently finished my Ph.D., I found that a major part of my reflection on the whole process was thoughts on how important creative pursuits were to me while pursuing higher education. To further explore these thoughts, I’ve asked some crafty friends to share their personal connections between their craft and higher education. I’m excited to introduce Ph.D. linguist and crocheter Stacey, who blogs (and sells delightful amigurumi crochet patterns) at FreshStitches.

I’ve always loved working with children, so after doing my undergrad in Linguistics, I decided to continue and get my Ph.D. in Child Language Acquisition. At the start, it’s a lot of fun because you use toys and playtime as a way of documenting and understanding children’s language abilities. However, as you progress, you typically hand off the fun part (hanging out with children) to your undergraduate assistants so that you can turn your attention to the important stuff: like writing papers and giving presentations. Sigh.

I finished my Ph.D. because I knew that being a professor (with even more paper writing and presentations) wasn’t for me. I started thinking about what I really liked doing, and I’d always liked crocheting. Self-published patterns were just becoming a ‘thing’ (this was 2008), and through grad school, I had developed technical writing and website design skills. I also did a fair bit of graphic design, as well. In addition, I’m extremely good at managing my time (you have to be in order to finish a Ph.D. in 4 years!) and I knew that I liked working from home, so I decided that starting a business would be the right fit for me.

Fresh Stitches Amigurumi Designs

And did I mention that I love toys and stuffed animals? So, I started designing crochet toy patterns and I’ve never looked back!

I had always crocheted during grad school- I’m a big believer in the need to have some ‘down time’ each day. It’s a skill that serves me incredibly well now that I run a (very busy) business. The work is never done… there’s so much to do, but you have to take a break and some time for yourself or you’re on the fast track to burnout.

Not everyone who excels in grad school is developing skills that will parlay into running a business. My husband (who also got his Ph.D. in Linguistics and is now a professor) loved grad school because it gave him the chance to discuss ideas with others, and be in a work environment with lots of other people doing similar things. Working at home by himself would drive him crazy!

Due to the nature of what I did, I spent a lot of time managing assistants, communicating with parents and developing user-friendly tasks. These skills all help tremendously in the customer-service end of my business, but it’s not a key component of grad school for everyone.

I continue to love learning, and that appetite for knowledge is key in running my own business. There’s always a new social media network, tool for formatting patterns, app to promote your work or change to the facebook algorithm. People told me I’d be bored when I left my career path… those folks have no idea how intellectually challenging running a business is!

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A Singer Featherweight Named Rosalyn

Hello Everyone. I would like to introduce you to my new friend Rosalyn. She’s a sturdy gal that’s already had a lifetime full of adventure, her most recent escapade being a journey across the pond to live with me! We share a birthday (November 7th), although she’s a fair bit older than me, having been […]

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RNA Splicing Gel Quilt

I still can’t quite believe that I finished grad school before several of my Girls (my support network for the 7 years of graduate school). Fortunately, they aren’t far behind, and since the end is clearly in sight, I thought it was appropriate to get a head start on graduation quilts. This quilt is for […]

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Overeducated Seamstress: Chris of Dr. Griffin’s Food and Sewing

Having recently finished my Ph.D., I found that a major part of my reflection on the whole process was thoughts on how important creative pursuits were to me while pursuing higher education. To celebrate finishing, I’ve asked some sewing blogger friends to share their personal connections between their sewing and higher education. I’m excited to introduce Ph.D. […]

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Fabric Shopping in Chiang Mai: My Haul

Hopefully you enjoyed reading about my experience fabric shopping in Chiang Mai. I’m sure what you really care about is my spoils, so here they are! I started my Chiang Mai fabric shopping with something shiny and pink (not a big surprise to anyone, I’m sure). It was stacked outside the store with many other […]

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Fabric Shopping in Chiang Mai: The Experience

I can’t actually describe my fabric shopping trip in Chiang Mai without first raving about my new friend Gaye of Notionally Better. She drove into Chiang Mai from nearby Lampang to spend the day taking me shopping. I guess it shouldn’t be too much of a surprise that two sewists could instantly become friends, because […]

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Overeducated Seamstress: Dayo of ByDaiyami

Having recently finished my Ph.D., I found that a major part of my reflection on the whole process was thoughts on how important creative pursuits were to me while pursuing higher education. To further explore these thoughts, I’ve asked some sewing friends to share their personal connections between their sewing and higher education. I’m excited […]

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1940s Sailor Style Denim Skirt

These pictures saved this skirt’s life. I made it up at the same time as my sailor girl shorts (much earlier this summer) from the same Wearing History pattern. And I put it on and looked at myself in the mirror and hated it. I liked the idea, I just thought that it was too […]

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Wedding Shawl for my Mother-In-Law

To honor the women that have been mothers to me, I knit each of them a lace shawl to wear to my wedding. I want to thank my mother, stepmother, godmother, and mother-in-law each for their love and guidance and support in my life. I picked a different yarn and different pattern for each woman. […]

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