Crafting is infectious. Spread the disease, visit my etsy store!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Sewing and Quilting

Taught Knitting 101 today. It was quite a bit of fun. I teach quilting again tomorrow so I had to get my homework done...


Not done. I still have to baste the layers together and start quilting. I also have to start cutting the bias tape. In the meantime, Chuck is doing his quilt inspection.


I'm thinking no, but it's mostly because he disapproves of everything. He's a VERY disapproving rabbit.

Also got another store sample done and I dropped that off today.


Reusable gift bag. That was easy...

There just aren't enough hours in the day today, so I have to do tons more tomorrow. Atop that, I have to get up early to do some running around. Since it's 3am, I should probably try to get this done and get to 2 hours ago ;)

You'll excuse me for the abrupt end to the post, considering...right?

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

I've been a busy bee.

I finally found the time to list something on Etsy. These are actually store samples from a class I was teaching, but they're back in-house now so they need a new owner.

This is what they looked like before they were mounted:


The bottom two, since I needed samples made of materials that could be bought in the store.

In other embroidery news...


Starting the biscornu...


Working on the winter flour sack towels, too.


Also got some books in from The two in the front were under a dollar each. The one in the back is hard to see, but here's a link:

So far, it's a fairly nice book.

I'm also surfing these for holiday gift ideas:


I LOVE PieceWork magazine. I used to get it years ago, then started getting it again this year. If you want more information on PieceWork, you can click here. They've got tons of great articles and projects for people who take needlework, knit, crochet, etc. to ridiculous levels ;)

Speaking of taking things to ridiculous levels:


I'm now learning to knit 2 socks at once toe up on one circular needle. I've never knitted a sock toe up, or on a circular, much less two at once.

Trust me, I do this all the time.

Oh, I also published a couple craft-related articles. One's a local article because one of our local JoAnn's superstores is closing. Another of our local JoAnn's stores closed earlier this year. The other one is about upcoming sales on classes at Open House events at my JoAnn's and other JoAnn's that have a Creative University. If you want to get some classes 50% off, I'd suggest calling your local JoAnn's to see if they have a Creative University and whether they'll be running the promotion.

Sunday, October 25, 2009


Wow...I had no idea it'd been this long since I posted.

I've been crazy busy at work, and then I managed to slice off the tip of my finger during a quilting class, making typing nearly impossible. It's all better now :)

On the plus side:


Making serious progress on this quilt top. I'm adding borders and then I'll be ready to make my quilt sandwich. I have to get all of that done by the next class, which is on Friday. It's the last class.


I also started a table runner/placemats. They were supposed to be for a class but my student had to cancel. On the plus side, I was also making them as a Christmas present, so they'll still be useful :)


All of the supplies are in for the two biscornu patterns I'm trying to find time to stitch. I also got some 40 count linen for a side project I'm doing. I'm trying some projects from Trish Burr's book. I'll let you know about the book and how it goes.

Speaking of embroidery:


The hardanger ornaments are done for the classes I'll be teaching this Winter. I made an extra tag as a side project. It'll also come in handy when I crank out a ton of them this winter for adding to presents.


Isn't it cute?

In other picture news, both bad and good:


I can't learn loom weaving to save my life. It can't be complicated...I just can't read instructions because I have ADHD so I try snippets here and there and get hopelessly lost. I tried videos too but don't have one that makes a hat from beginning to end. URGH. Any advice?

In better news:



I have a new cutting table. Of course, for the moment it's covered with stuff so I need better organization, but it'll come. Some of those patterns I picked up will come in handy when it comes to organizing. I'm excited though. I really needed the space.

In less picture-heavy news...

Urban Threads, one of my favorite embroidery pattern companies, posted a picture of my rabbit on their blog as a craft mascot. He doesn't know he's internet famous yet, because it'd go straight to his head.

Speaking of Urban Threads, they're featured in another article of mine, which lists crafty projects and volunteer opportunities for Breast Cancer Awareness Month, but don't let October's end be the end of helping others. Get out there and make a difference for someone who needs some handmade love.

Saturday, October 10, 2009


My craft room is overflowing with new supplies. It's going to take days to reorganize all of this stuff. Most of it is for work or gifts in some fashion, sometimes both. They're pretty much coming in from every direction. It's a good thing I just organized everything? Now I get to do it all again.

First off:


Organization. I wrote an article on how popular bags are becoming for storage, outlining the uses and bonuses of using bags to make projects portable, as well as tips on what you'll need in the bag if you incorporate them into your crafting.


A recent finish, (actually, two finishes but I suppose it counts as one?) a pair of socks. I've got single socks done, which doesn't do me a bit of good, but this is actually my first pair ever. They're a wee bit loose, but I'll wash them up and I'm sure they'll shrink a bit. As a side note, however, I have to say I'm quickly becoming addicted to knitting socks for many reasons.

If you want a good recommendation on a sock book, I learned with this one, and it is AWESOME.


A couple things I was waiting for from (thanks, swagbucks for being my enabler) showed up but with some recent finishes I was starting to relax a bit and start some Christmas presents.

This just goes to show the fool I am because then this arrived:


and then this:


These are the rest of my square rulers that make quilting so much easier. I now have all the ones I currently need, thanks to swagbucks and Unfortunately, getting these tools in means I have to start working again...and I'm gearing up for a BUNCH of stuff for November through February.

Bunches and bunches and bunches, which led to the craftsplosion currently taking over my desk.


Money shows up, money leaves again. This stuff is for the fleece fringe classes...


NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!! Now I have to learn to make jewelry???




You might call these tools, but they are actually torture devices for wire. One of these is 'all of the tools in one', which is why it has a different handle. If the first ones look slightly bizarre and painful, the 'all in one' is obviously from a fevered mind.

Back into more familiar territory, which probably looks like torture to some.


JoAnn's is having their Columbus Day sale this weekend and Simplicity patterns are only 99 cents apiece (limit 10), so I stocked up. I like to stockpile patterns for when I need an idea or have some time, so I did just that...


Cute little gift ideas...some Christmas-specific...


Bags of many types/sizes and other organizational goods. These will DEFINITELY come in handy.


These serve no purpose at all. However, I rarely collect anything that could be considered 'cute' but baby shoes? I could see myself stitching and keeping some baby shoes. Not for actual babies, but because I can't think of a cuter canvas for some awesome embellishment.

The one on the right is a vintage reprint. Look at the back!


They don't make pattern requirement lists like THAT any more! Nowadays you practically need a degree in pattern reading to even make sense of the thing. I can do it, but only because I've been doing it for years. My students have a lot of problems trying to decipher them though.

Most of these patterns will be going into the ideas bin, basically...but they'll see he light of day again I'm sure. Some perhaps sooner rather than later.

Man...I start to breathe a little easier because I'm getting on top of things and life senses a disturbance in the force and fixes it by swamping me in one fashion or another. Good thing I've learned to thrive in chaos. It's much easier when the chaos is of my own choosing, but as Gibran says, much of our pain is self-chosen.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

We have a winner!

The Impromptu Contest is over and today I headed over to and found my winner.

I may end up addicted to running contests, because every time someone replied I thought 'hmm...I really like their answer...I wonder what I'd give them if they win.' and I had to wait (just like the rest of you) to find out who it would be. All this anticipation prompted me to pick a there will be TWO winners and two prizes.

So YOU don't have to wait any longer (since I intended to post this morning but I was exhausted), the winner of this contest is:


Tommye is relatively new to my crafting circle but I love her etsy store, which has stitching accessories and recently, stitch markers for knitters :D. She also has a nice blog located here that you might want to check out.

As for my runner-up, chose:


Tommye and Pixie13, I'll email you later this evening (I'm running out the door in a moment) to get your addresses to ship your goodies. Once they gets their prizes, I'll upload pics of what I'm sending. :D

Thanks to all my entrants, and I'll probably be running another contest soon.

If you want to know which colors I ended up choosing...I chose the lighter green and the brighter gold. I think they'll look good together and you guys can see what I've been up to once I get that started and upload pictures of other things (not related) that I've finished.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Some people start even earlier!


Scream with me. Christmas showed up on my desk.

Not convinced?


What about now?

The joys of feeding consumer hunger...I have to start early. On the plus side, making tremendous amounts of stuff makes gift-giving a bit easier. If they like Xmas stuff.

In less horrifying news...


Picked up the fabric to teach the huge quilting class at JoAnn's. I hope these prints will go together. We shall see.


This picture announces an upcoming tutorial. If you can't figure out what it's for, the anticipation will be over soon.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Other stuff...

Besides the contest (see previous post), I'm also busy with other stuff.

If you couldn't tell from the previous post, I got my copy of Aion so that'll be sucking up some time. I'm a gamer as well as a crafter. I can't let it suck up TOO much time though, because I have to finish a bunch of WIPs.


I finished yet another bag. I think I'm going to stiffen the fabric and probably line the bag (and most likely add pockets) so I'll have another bag to carry crafts around in. I made this at work while teaching Sewing 201. The front panels are sideways but I'm pretending that was intentional, as the instructions don't specify which way the front and back panels are supposed to be sewn together.

Bags are really popular this year, and I have so much stuff going on, it's hard to stay organized without them.


I'm making progress on the cabled afghan as well. While I don't have a progress picture, I'm inserting a gratuitous picture so you can see how ridiculously girly the combination of my needle tips and the yarn is. I can barely cope.

Impromptu Contest.

I'm having an impromptu contest out of boredom. You do my work for me, and you get a chance to win random craft supplies. It won't be's not The Most Awesome Contest of the Year...but it'll be free and straight from my stash.

The reason I'm not LISTING what's in said prize package is because I (and my readers) do so many types of crafts that it's hard to put together a fun prize that everyone would want. However...if you want to know what could be in it, remember that I do ridiculous amounts of embroidery. I knit and crochet. I quilt and sew. I spin yarn and felt (wet and dry felting). I dabble in lace and other random nonsense, and my bead collection is getting out of control for no good reason. I also hoard books and have a couple extra copies of certain things. It's not that it HAS to go (though some of it probably should)'s just that I need your opinion and I'm willing to bribe you to get it.

Are we on the same page here? Good. Now here's what you have to do to enter.

I am in the middle of designing two biscornu (cross stitch) patterns with a Christmas theme, and I want to use the same colors with both of them. Problem is, my supplier (Valdani) sent me more colors than I can use in the collection, and the colors are so awesome that I can't pick a favorite. I'm counting on readers to pick a favorite for me. There are only two choices, so it's not that difficult. It's just that I'm completely undecided so I'm bribing you to help. *shakes mystery box* IT COULD BE ANYTHING!

Here are your choices:



The only difference between set one and set two is that 2 of the balls in the front row are different (the gold and the green). Do you see why this is hard? I have to decide which gold and green go the best with all the other colors.

YOUR MISSION (if you choose to accept it):

Pick a favorite between options one and two.

Comment with:
Your favorite.
The type of crafts you normally do or enjoy (I have to know what to send you if you win!)
A way to contact you if you win (email address, blogger name, etc) and your name so if you DO win, I'm not telling everyone that Kleptosaurus39284 won my contest.

Do that and you get one entry into the Impromptu Contest.

If you link on your blog or other site, comment here with the link (I will verify) and you get one more entry into the contest.

Not too grueling, is it? Now the fine print.

Contest ends at 11:59pm EST on Friday, October 2nd, 2009
Winner will be chosen by using the random # generator at
Maximum of 2 entries per person.
This is an international contest, so readers in other countries CAN enter.
The winner will be posted on this blog (check back!) on Saturday and contacted via email. If, for some reason, the winner cannot be notified by email then I will only post the winner here. The winner has 1 week (until Oct. 10th) to contact me to give me shipping information for their prize. If I am not contacted within that week, I will select another winner again using the random number generator.
Prize is chosen at my discretion and may contain materials, tools, completed bits or pieces, or any combination of the above.
Blog owner is not responsible if products you make with prize materials do not match but you use them together anyway and end up featured on the Homemade Hilarity blog.

This blog post will self-destruct it won't. Good luck!

I bet you thought...

...that perhaps I wasn't crafting.

This would be a ludicrous assumption. I am currently up to my eyeballs in knitting and crochet, and once I get this cranked out I get to start on embroidery again. I was giving my hands a rest and doing things that involved less fine motor skills for a while. Less fine motor skills would include socks? If this confuses you, you haven't seen my embroidery.


This is actually 2 things I'm working on. The colorful thing is the start of a hat that I'm doing in Fair Isle (Intarsia). I'm learning that, but I'm sure it'll take time.

The white spool atop it is some silk I'm spinning up. I think I'll dye it, but I'm not sure if I'll ply it before I knit something up with it.


I'm teaching cables at work, which has been fun. The pattern I'm teaching is based on this new pattern from Lion Brand for a cabled afghan. I think it's very interesting, but I'm not sure if it's as cool in practice as in principle. I guess I'll find out?


Other things I'm learning: toe up socks. I wish I had some really easy instructions for a pattern that has lace. I don't know...perhaps I'll come up with something when I have some time.


Two socks ready for the heel turn for 2 different classes I've been teaching. One was Sunday, and one was today. I teach week 3 on Sunday again. Fun!


Ah, educational materials. My favorite! I have to learn this by January. Oh sure...I'll get right on that! ;)

I'm still trying to get Xmas presents done. I've been so busy with work and it shows no signs of letting up so I'm starting early. Of course, it's almost October now so it's no longer that early. I'm almost done with several projects but have many more to go. I'm still researching and organizing my projects to make sure everyone gets something. I enjoy it, but mostly I enjoy seeing the looks on their faces when they open their gifts.

I shot myself in the foot on this one. Since I can make ridiculous amounts of things...people expect handmade. They'd be disappointed if I bought something from a store.

Khalil Gibran says much of your pain is self-chosen. He was right.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Arrrrrrgh! It's Talk Like a Pirate Day!

Happy Talk Like a Pirate Day, and if you're looking for booty, look no further. Check out this article to find some excellent pirate patterns in honor of TLAP day, including one that's free through September 27th.

Don't be a landlubber. Plunder your stash and craft like a pirate today!

The Orts Pile is Growing


I had a paper piecing class today. This is my ugly, ugly house.

This is technically from the summer paper piecing class from JoAnn's, but the student wanted to do this one instead of the fall pumpkin. I gave her the pumpkin pattern anyway for more practice.

In other news:


I'm up to my eyeballs in socks. One of those is completed, and you've already seen it. The other Knitpicks sock is almost done.

The stuffed sock (orange/purple/blue/yellow) is ready for class on Sunday, where I teach the students to make heels and gussets, and the other one in the same colorway is started so I can knit up my 8 inches by Thursday to teach another socks class to make heels and gussets.

Hopefully my 2nd knitpicks sock will be done by Sunday so I can wear my socks to class. I wish I could do all the socks in this pattern, but with how many issues my students are having with plain socks, I can imagine how the class would implode with a more difficult pattern.

It's not the students' fault. Some of them have no experience with DPNs. Some have no experience with circulars. All of this is fine, except that I'm teaching people to knit in the round on DPNs with tiny needles (size 2) and tiny yarn so they're all kind of losing it. I feel for them. I was in their shoes a few months ago when I learned to make socks.

Once classes aren't so busy (though part of me hopes they're always this busy) I'm going to learn to make socks toe-up. I kind of know the magic loop method already, so that won't be much of an issue. Two socks at once though? That'd be nice for personal use :D

Maybe someday I could do a class on it. Once I and everyone else are all less twitchy.

I honestly wish they'd taught the class with worsted weight yarn and larger DPNs. The students would have their socks knitted up faster and they wouldn't have to learn so many things at once.

Of course, I don't write the curriculum (though I sometimes fix it), so we get what we get.

What am I going to do with all these socks? I guess I'm going to have to find a ton of people with size 9 feet. The knitpicks socks though...those are mine.

My finger is still messed up from stabbing it with a sewing machine yesterday. It hurts pretty badly so I must have nicked a nerve in there somewhere. I also managed to roll over my own ankle in the parking lot with my rolling sewing tote (with a steel sewing machine in it). The sewing machine is fine. My ankle will heal. The tote will NOT. I broke off one of the plastic legs. I just bought this tote (on I know why) so I'm going to have to see what I can do to reinforce it. I'm thinking metal, since obviously the lightweight wood and plastic aren't working out. It'll be heavier, but I mentioned there's a steel sewing machine in it right? How much heavier can it get?

I guess I'll find out. I don't know metalworking/welding, but I know someone who does. Hopefully we'll have this thing fixed up soon. I NEED it.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Talk of quilts...


I may inadvertently become a good hand-quilter. Three things can be blamed for this. The first is obvious...I embroider by hand and have for years. I trust my hands. Then come the second two points.

The first of these points is that I'm lazy. Since I'm dragging my sewing machine to work several times per week and my other 2 sewing machines need parts, I don't want to pull out and set up my sewing machine every time I want to use it. The 'punishment' for this kind of lazy is that I have to do things by hand. You can see how this punishment pains me...I mentioned years of embroidery by hand right?

The second is odd. I don't trust sewing machines. I've used them since I was 14. Almost all the women in my family use them. My grandmother's a quilter, my mother's a seamstress...and yet I lack the natural talent with a sewing machine and inevitably it goes haywire on me and I can't troubleshoot. Combine this with the fact that I use old machines (they break down), my fear of the new machines (a computer? In my machine? After years of experience with Windows, I know better than to trust a computer.) The irony of course is that I use Windows, and I'm on my PC all the time, and I trust it more than I trust "one of them new-fangled computerized sewing machines". Honestly, if I can't troubleshoot an old-style machine (I lack the magic touch), how on earth would I handle a new machine? The ones at work keep beeping at me. They can tell I don't appreciate them like I should...

In fact, the only reason I'm using a thimble (I NEVER use a thimble!) is because a sewing machine attacked my finger yesterday when I was trying to move threads under the foot (it wasn't even sewing) and everything was fine and dandy today until I pushed the needle into my quilt top and the back end went right in the hole created yesterday by the sewing machine needle. Do you know how many nerves must be connected straight to the pad of that finger? I'm guessing "all of them".

Now that you know about my crippling fear of motorized needles, I should probably let you see what I'm stitching together, huh?


This is the Drunkard's Path. Did you know that this quilt square was used by the women of the Temperance movement? I didn't either until I started googling to figure out how to lay out these blocks to put them together (there are many variations, but I'm stuck with the traditional I think...I'm too lazy to undo the center square to do something different). I had no idea why it was called the drunkard's path before today, though I'd guessed it was due to the way it looked assembled.


I'm also putting this together for a class I'm teaching. Of course, the center strip is crooked and the bottom strip isn't much better, but if you'd seen how these fat quarters started, you'd realize I at least tried. They were crooked as all get-out. I don't know how that happens...oh wait, yes I do. There's no selvage edge on these fat quarters. I don't know how they were cutting them, but wow. Just wow. I imagine there's a lot of very crooked wasted fabric on that cutting room floor.

In less lazy and/or fail news...


Almost done with my homework for Sunday. I need 8 inches of sock so I can teach students how to make heels and gussets. I have 7 inches, so it looks like I'll be done in time. WHEW. Considering everything else I've had going on this week, it's a miracle I got it done and I'll have to do it all over again for Thursday's class.

Also, I taught a granny square class. They've changed the yarn requirements for the class several times but I had the materials for the old class, so...


This is Lion Brand's new Wool Ease Thick & Quick. I have to say I'm not a fan.

My opinion can be taken with a grain of salt, however. I'm not a fan of chunky yarn to begin with. It doesn't help that I had one color so I had to pick colors that went with it, and I don't like any of the colors. It also doesn't help that the colors look like insulation (what with all the flecks of other color in them), so I'm all itchy just looking at it.

I'm not a real fan of all the new colors I'm seeing though. The mustard yellows and weird's all too 70s. I'm all for 'natural' colors but it can be done well...and it can be done in a way that leaves emotional scars. I was born in the 70s. It left emotional scars, okay? That's all I'm saying...

I haven't really been updating but I have been working on craft stuff every day. It's kind of cheaty because I get paid to work on craft stuff every day, but I am throwing in my own colors and ideas as well.