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

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.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Store Samples


Aren't they cute? I thought they were the perfect patterns to teach people embroidery. They're for the trend class at my local JoAnn's. Flour sack towels have been very popular this year.


This is the paper pieced quilt block for September/October. It's a pumpkin and I think it's adorable.

I was going to put the borders on the edges but I wanted people to be able to see the I stitched the top only to a fat quarter so shoppers can lift it up to see how it's made. Hopefully it will encourage people to want to take the class.

I only have one store sample left to do for the September/October classes, and then I can concentrate on things like the socks I need to have half-done for the 2nd half of my classes and other things I need to get done. I only have to make a few things for the November/December classes. Namely, hardanger ornaments (will be drafting the patterns this week or next), Thanksgiving and Christmas towels for the embroidery class (these are both trend classes that I'm teaching), and the new quilting class that will be replacing curved seams and paper piecing. If you want to learn curved seams or paper piecing, now's the time to sign up at JoAnn's (not necessarily mine), as the classes only run through October. If you're intimidated by curved seams or just not sure what you'd do with them, paper piecing is surprisingly easy and fool-proof. I'm surprised it's a 201 class.

I suppose these will count as recent finishes for CADS as well. I'll be disappointed when CADS is over. I like the extra push to get something worked on or done every day.

Monday, September 14, 2009

One down, one to go.


Tada! Knitpicks Lily of the Valley sock done in the Peacock colorway. It fits, it looks good, and it's mine all mine! One to go (I'm past the heel on it) and then I'll be able to check 'knit a pair of socks' off my 101 goals (most are craft related, but not all).


Have to write some articles today and do some homework for work. Fun fun. At least my work stuff is crafts related?

Free swag!

Got my free stuff from amazon thanks to Swagbucks! Not my first order, but it is my first video. They apparently love videos? Now you can hear my voice (omg)!

In other news, Craft a day September is wonky over here. I AM crafting every day, but not finishing every day.

Recent WIPs include:


Still working on these socks. Down to the feet now! These aren't for my classes, they're for me. It's the knitpicks Lily of the Valley pattern, which assuredly looks much better in different yarn. I care not. I wanted this yarn.

Recent finishes:


Store sample for the fall/winter "Steps Through My Garden" quilting class at JoAnn's is complete! I had to take the pic in the classroom because I didn't have time to try to take a good pic at home, but it's done done done!

I'll be finishing more random stuff during the week including these socks. I've also started another one for a class I taught today and have to get 8 inches of sock done by next week ;)

I also have to draft 2 hardanger patterns for the November/December trend classes I'll be teaching. Holiday ornaments are fun!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The mayhem continues


Finally got the supplies together to make this paper pieced pumpkin store sample I'll be doing for work. I won't be starting it til next week, however.


All of this and more is going into classes I'm teaching this week at work. Except for the silver shiny stuff on the bottom.


The silver shiny stuff is being made into an ironing pad. It is desperately needed, and I don't have the space for an ironing board. I much prefer something that's easier to set up and take down. I'll make a tutorial.

All the quilting is making an ironing board or pad rather necessary.


That's why. I made 20 feet of bias tape to make sure I'd have enough to get around this store sample. I'm almost done, but it'll need to be pressed again. I wasn't sure what type of pattern to quilt with. Freehand isn't one of my specialties, that's for sure. I'll have to get better at it anyway.


I'm also cranking out more Christmas presents. This one's the Green Living market tote pattern from Lion Brand. I'm not sure of the exact name at the moment, but it's coming together fairly quickly. I'm going to make at least one more.

Still participating in Craft-A-Day September (CADS). Haven't taken pictures of everything I've done, because most of it is just in stages of completion, but stuff flies out of here fairly regularly, so I'm pretty sure I'm still on track. Big stuff takes more than a day. If I could do a quilt in a day, I'd be a quilter ;)

Saturday, September 5, 2009

The Purple Placenta


This is what I got done for my craft a day september (cads) work today. It's almost half a side of a purse.

I was given some Lion Suede and I hoped I'd have enough for this round crocheted purse project for a Christmas gift. The purse isn't bad looking in the pictures, but it's flowery and girly and not really my style.

I crocheted it up...and realized it looks less than attractive. I have to go buy more yarn now to finish this monstrosity.

Bets on whether it's doomed to be a craft fail? I'm leaning towards yes, but then I never liked frilly flowery crocheted things anyway.

Dear Lion Brand: This is not your fault. I firmly blame Ravelry for this nonsense.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Randomness and the Stash Guardian


Went to Outback tonight and picked up some coasters. I'm hoping I'll be able to use them for tablet weaving, which I'd like to take up when I have time. By my current schedule, I'm estimating I'll finally have time to learn tablet weaving in 2035. It never hurts to be prepared though!


Got some leftover supplies through the local craft network. I'm sure I'll be able to put these to good use. This is all yarn, of course.


This is stash guardian and yarn thief. He's a 10 lb Californian from a local rescue. He's been a member of the family for over a year, and no one will ever open my quilting fabrics drawer without his permission. You can count on it.

He's probably one of the most awesome pets ever. Not very needy, extremely lazy, and hilarious. Litter box trained, makes no noise...except for the shedding and destruction of property he's pretty much the perfect pet. Not that hair tumbleweeds and eating of the furniture aren't problems. He's just that worth it.

If you have any knit or crochet gauge swatches, he would like to add them to his growing collection so he can pile them up and lay on them like a dragon lays atop their pile of gold. If he sees you making gauge swatches, he will rip them right off your hook or needles, cut the yarn with his teeth, and run off with them. There's no arguing with a rabbit this big because he can stand on his hind legs to reach your lap. They are his and you will hand them over. One does not argue with Chuck (Norris).

In other news I just ordered $60 in quilting supplies for my fall classes from Rulers and rotary cutters and tailor's pencils, oh my! Best part of it all, aside from the free shipping, is that I didn't have to pay one red cent for it. I get amazon gift cards when I collect enough swagbucks, input them on when I get the code, and then when I want to place an order I can use all the cards I've saved up at once to pay for my purchase and shipping. I get whatever I want, and it's all free. Swagbucks has lots of other prizes too, but I haven't bought every single item on my amazon wishlist yet.

It actually works, and all I have to do is search using their firefox plug in instead of google. It uses google to bring me results, and sometimes I win swagbucks. I win 1-3 per day, and an amazon gift card costs 45 swagbucks. It's no effort past setting it up and getting used to using it. It's free. It works. I've gotten almost $200 in amazon gift cards in less than a year and I still can't believe it.

You can sign up using this link. You don't have to, but FREE CRAFT SUPPLIES AND BOOKS. With all the scams I've seen...the programs/clubs, the 'pay to get information on how to get free stuff' that turns out to be cheap, tacky goods that you wouldn't want, I'm so relieved that I stumbled upon something that's actually legit.

When I get my order (it's not the first I've gotten), I'll post the video of me opening my shiny new craft stuff :D

Thursday, September 3, 2009

A day late and a dollar short, once again.

I am now signed up for Craft a day September, aka CADS, which means I'll be making something every day. I know it's the 3rd. Fortunately, I'm usually cracking something out almost every day anyway, so I'm not behind.

Go sign up if you're feeling brave!

In other news...recent completions and projects...


One of two towels done for the fall embroidery class I'll be teaching. I wanted halloween patterns for the towels and was running short on time to design my own patterns. However, Quixotic Pixels was kind enough to share some free Halloween embroidery designs which are perfect for my purposes. I think people will like the designs. I know I do!

In other news, still wrestling with the wall quilt, which is bigger than I thought it'd be.


Huge, and yet still not big enough to be anything useful...because it's just a sample and not the full class project.


It's going so slow because I have almost no workspace to do something as large as a quilt. This is maddening and will have to be resolved since I'm quilting more and more often now. I had to roll the top and bottom of this wall quilt panel so I could fit it on the table to tack it down for stitching.

It's now my quilt scroll. The back is brown, so it looks like a giant tootsie roll when it's not opened. Whatever it is I think I see apparently DOES become a tootsie roll to me.


I also pulled out some silk and I've been spinning that up. Unfortunately, I think I'm spinning it up too thick so I'll probably have to fix that.

What will I do with a bunch of skinny silk yarn? Only time will tell, but first on the agenda is dyeing it. I'm counting on instructions at Wormspit to help me with that.

In other news...I've also had a few articles published, if you're interested.

This one is flower pressing 101, with instructions on how to press flowers the old fashioned way and how to make wax paper leaves, in case you've forgotten the details. Perfect crafts for kids, and perfect crafts for fall. Also, surprisingly eco-friendly. Ah, share so many gifts.

For Halloween lovers, or Tim Burton fans, or Alice in Wonderland fans (I think I've hit the entire population with these categories no?), I also published instructions for making Alice's costume based off the trailer for the upcoming Alice in Wonderland movie, which will be out in March of 2010. Want the costume instructions? No pattern required, ages preschooler through adult. Start now so you won't be late to a very important Halloween Party date. ;)

And, in case you missed it, the Halloween Wall Quilt instructions are up again.