Getting to Know You #6: Stacey Trock

Whoo boy! We had a bit of a break from the Getting to Know You series; y'all didn't think I was done, did you? Well, I'm definitely not finished, because I've got loads more fabulous designers to talk up. This week, I wanted to tell you a little bit more about someone who may have been escaping your radar: Stacey Trock, aka Fresh Stitches!

Newly-married Stacey shows off one of her faves, a giant puppy
I got to meet Stacey this year at (wait, can you guess?) TNNA. She was doing a book signing for Cuddly Crochet in the Martingale booth, so I snagged one of those and snagged Stacey for the evening, too! We met up with the also-fabulous Teva Durham at the social networking event and afterwards wolfed down some of the best Mexican food Columbus has to offer. Stacey & Teva, since I'm a Texan and we had Mexican food together, you should know that makes us friends for life!

Teva, Stacey & myself at TNNA; click the photo to read Stacey's account of our fun!

The list of designers I admire would not be complete without Stacey; this gal is practically a machine of efficiency! Not only does Stacey crank out her amigurumi patterns at an alarming rate, she also has a dedicated following on her regularly updated blog, a solid handle on social networking, being active on Facebook, Twitter, and Ravelry, and she somehow finds time to fill all the custom orders in her Etsy shop. How does she do it all? I caught up with her to ask.

Microbes & Macrob
TSK: I love that you specialize in full-size, cuddly amigurumi, when everyone else seems to be doing tiny amigurumi. But why amigurumi? How'd you get started making those? Which was the first one you made, and how long ago was that?

I've ALWAYS loved stuffed animals. Of course, it started with my favorite teddy, then escalated to getting stuffed animals as gifts when I was a teenager, then sewing stuffed animals in high school and college. After college, I was browsing around online and saw that you could crochet stuffed animals, and I was right onto that! I crocheted my first amigurumi in 2008... and I think I designed my first one the next week. My first amigurumi were a koala and a lion... and they're still patterns of mine to this day! When I look back, I can't believe that I was able to make something cute on my first try!

Maple the Moose
TSK: Yeah, um, I MAY still have my childhood teddy bear. It may or may not still sleep in my bed. What can I say? I sleep on my side and need an arm prop. Nothing else is quite the same. Ha! Anyway. These projects seem to go quite fast for you; do you just crochet quickly, or do they really work up that fast? How long would you say it takes you, on average, to work up a new sample?

ST: Oooh, that's a tricky question! I think it's a bit of both. I've been crocheting since I was a little child, so of course, I crochet like someone with 20+ years of experience! Plus, I make A LOT of amigurumi, so I have the benefit of being able to crochet them without looking at a pattern, which saves time. But mostly, they're quick things to make... much faster than something like a sweater! My amigurumi aren't known for being super-tiny, and the medium-sized ones can take about 4-5 hours (once I've sorted out what I want to do). For some of the tiny amigurumi, they can take less than 2 hours- talk about a great project! I once crocheted a giant puppy (pictured at top), and I don't even know how that took me... it was forever! I'm not making another one of those!

Stacey's two books, Cuddly Crochet and Crocheted Softies

TSK: Now that we've established that you're a downright whiz with a hook, who taught you how to crochet, and when? Do you also knit? What other crafts do you enjoy besides crochet?

ST: My mom taught me to single crochet and increase when I was very little. She never taught me to decrease, because all she makes is ripple afghans. So, I got my hands on a crochet book or two, and am completely self-taught (besides the intro lesson from my mom). I began knitting in 2008, and I have to admit, most of the things I make "for fun" are knitted. I find the motion very relaxing, and it uses up much less yarn (which is important when you're calculating how much baby alpaca you need for a shawl)! Aside from knitting and crocheting, I also sew (mostly clothing for practical purposes) and bake like a crazy person (can that count as a craft?). I've dabbled in tatting, quilting, cross-stitch, french beaded flower making and embroidery... but I always come back to the crafts involving yarn.

Zork the Alien
TSK: Baking definitely counts. You are one busy lady! One last thing I'm curious about, though. Since you self-publish your patterns (other than your books), have you found the "business" end of things impacting your design style? If so, how?

ST: That's a really good question! When I first started designing, I wanted to make a stuffed animal from every animal on the planet. So I set to work: the koala was a success! Everyone loved the monkey! But then... the ostrich? The cheetah? Not so much. That's when I figured out that I needed to design animals that other people wanted to make. It sounds really obvious when I say it now, but it didn't really occur to me at the start how much my designing would be shaped by customer demand. After all, if no one is interested in buying your pattern, there's not much point in designing it!
So, some designs that pop into my head get scrapped because I don't think there will be much demand for them. But on the other hand, listening to what my customers are interested in has given me some great ideas! I had no idea that folks were so into buggy eyes, until I asked around and discovered that people are crazy about them! Now, I've started adding a 'buggy-eyed' option to many of my patterns!

TSK: Makes sense to me, Stacey! I've run into this myself too, because what I really love designing is dresses and skirts, but those are generally the least-likely-to-be-knitted. Luckily I do have a few clients who love having a good showstopper to send down the runway at TNNA and other functions!

Okay, that's it for this time! Huge, huge thanks to Stacey for stopping by. We do have a little surprise for you; Stacey is going to gift one lucky winner with one of her new amigurumi kits from her Etsy shop! To enter, all you need to do is go have a look at Stacey's designs, then come back here and leave a comment suggesting an animal for her to make that she hasn't done yet! I'll announce the winner on Thursday. 

We have a winner!

Looking for the winner of the Capelet Giveaway Extravaganza? Random.org tells me it's commenter #71, Mamahoov on Ravelry! Congrats, Mamahoov! Shoot me an email at thesexyknitter@gmail.com and let me know your mailing address and whether your prefer your Signature Needles (size US 8) to be circular or straight. :)

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Want your Etsy Mini in this spot? Click here!


  1. oh! her animals are lovely!..id love to see a praying mantis :) raineoc@yahoo.com

  2. I ddn't see an armadillo. That's one of the most common animals found near the roads here in South Central Texas.

  3. They are all so cute, but a sloth would be a lovely addition to the pack, I think :)

    I am KisforKrissy on Ravelry

  4. all are so cute! I didn't see a butterfly or ladybug!

  5. I don't think I saw a squirrel. We have an abundance of rare black ones on the college campus I work on, and they're very cute!

  6. She's the whole reason that I have been attempting to learn how to crochet - I want to make her animals!!

    I didn't see a deer or a buffalo - those would be fun... or a buzzard, creepy and cute all in one... lol.

  7. I love her hermit crab I keep them so I am attached. I didn't see a ladybug or a butterfly.

  8. how about a starfish or the tooth fairy sparky136 on ravelry

  9. I think she has covered all the animals and they are adorable!
    All I could think of was an alien or a friendly ghost like casper.
    Oh I know a fox or a ferret.
    rosebob on ravelry

  10. How about a pony to complete the barnyard animals? Debbie H
    gussek on Ravelry

  11. Wow, there were so many animals!! I'd like to see some horses, a ladybug, and maybe a sheep (not sure if that was on there now that I think about it). So adorable!
    afh163 on ravelry

  12. Awww, I love her designs! :D
    I think an angler fish would be pretty cool!

  13. I'd love to see a moose or a hedgehog!

  14. How about a skunk? That could be fun.
    Bearsaunty on Ravelry

  15. My house is obsessed with tigers right now. (It was the favorite of a schoolmate who lost his battle with cancer) So that would be my vote!

  16. I think she should do a dolphin, I love them!

  17. I would love to see a pattern for a porcupine. (was going to say a bat or a wombat, but she's already got those covered!)

  18. There could be a whole range of birds - cardinal, blue jay, robin

  19. I would love to see a pattern for a platypus.

    Knittinggirl13 on rav.