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

Friday, November 19, 2010

Work complete!

You know...I think it took less time to design and stitch the pattern than it did to clean it up for publication and put everything together, but...


The pattern for the design I made for Valdani is finally published and now you can stitch it too!

I'm feeling rather accomplished, considering that it seems like so small a thing to get it put together and listed.

Go get it!

Thursday, November 18, 2010



My new partner in crime!

Click the photo for plenty of photos of accessories.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Typhoid Mary up in here.

Okay so I've had a cold since the end of October...of last year. It's not the same cold. It was swine flu and the regular flu and a sinus infection and then another cold and another one and perhaps allergies that I'd never had before but really some terrible sinusitis something or other that never seems to end. I've started referring to myself as Plaguebearer and Typhoid Mary because all the people who work at the company that makes Nyquil? Huge Xmas bonuses this year thanks to how much Nyquil I've been taking for the past year. Thank goodness I can actually stay awake and function on Nyquil because otherwise I'd also be referring to myself as Rip Van Winkle. I hate Nyquil so much at this point that I'm now back to tactics of childhood to avoid taking it. I'm all better! I'll take it later. I'll take it after I destroy all my tastebuds so I don't have to taste something that awful all the way up to my eyeballs any more. MOM NOOOOOOOO!!!!!! I've been through the entire cold and flu aisle trying to find ANYTHING else that works, and I now have nasal steroids (that don't work) and an inhaler (which I'll defend to the death if someone tries to take it) as my new best friends.

I've been sick so long I don't even complain about being sick any more. I thought that was impossible. Instead I complain that I can't leave the house because I'll just get something else atop what I already have. I feel like that kid at school who never gets to play with all the other kids because they're too sickly and all the other kids make fun of them, and the doctors I've seen so far have been more disappointing than helpful. I quit smoking, which didn't help. I started smoking again, which didn't make it worse. I'm a hopeless mess at this point.

All of that is to say: I don't post much because I spend much of my time blinking slowly thanks to the Nyquil I have to take to breathe. And crocheting. Seriously.


That's only the first of two afghans I've been tearing through.

Since I'm spending so much time in the house, I've started focusing more on proper storage solutions and organization, and making it a nicer, more functional place to live.


The bookcase is from IKEA, and it's perfect for yarn storage. I debated between my fabrics and my yarn, but I have so many fabric scraps that wouldn't look nice if stored this way that I decided to go with yarn storage. Emptied out a bookcase and 3 large plastic storage tubs that were taking up space for something that displays my yarns in an accessible way, and I just love it. My craft room looks like a yarn shop, and I'm looking forward to finding the perfect solutions for other areas of the room. I still have to get the drawers for the bottom row. I can't put yarn on the bottom row because Chuck would think it was Christmas.

Pets are fun :)

Today I'm getting one of my long-term goals completed. In like an hour, an antique treadle sewing machine is being delivered. I'm not sure where I'm going to put it yet for it to be a functional display piece, but since I don't have to plug it in anywhere, my options increase drastically.

I'm really excited about the machine. I've wanted one for years, and while I haven't seen this one yet, I have it on good authority that it's functional, well maintained, and comes with tons of accessories. There will be photos, and while the cost wasn't unreasonable, the joy it will bring me for years is likely to make any cost an utter steal.

My grandmother (a quilter) found it in a local antique shop she sometimes works in. It's from a local museum. She knows how bad I've wanted one and contacted me straight away to give me the heads up. I'm unbelievably excited and she's excited for me, which is always fun. I'm sure we'll cause tons of trouble with it.

Causing trouble with my grandma usually involves finding great deals and/or quilting.

I have the best grandma ever.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Upcoming tutorials...


I'm taking up ATCs (artist trading cards)...not so much for the trading aspect, but because using such a small canvas has a surprising number of advantages.


Okay maybe we're having a little TOO much fun. I invited a friend over and we each made one. Mine's the one on the left.

Other tutorials in the works:


Using a pattern from Urban Threads to make a cover for the giant book I'm using to catalogue my embroidery stitches. It's going to take a while to design the cover, put together the pattern, quilt it, embroider it, and then teach other people how, but it'll be so worth it when it's done.

Last but not least...


Did you know it's almost fall? I'm sorry to be the one to break the news. At least I'll be celebrating it with a centerpiece?

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Craft Box Tutorial: Cluttertraps


Besides crafts, I have several things that I love. I love containers, especially containers that are small enough to hold the goods for one project (portability is key). I also love the ability to make things I couldn't otherwise make. I'm not really good at woodworking, for example, so I can't make boxes. As such, I don't like throwing things away that have already done those things for me easily, especially not when I could upcycle them into something more functional. I like working with things you were supposed to throw away because, if you mess up, you can still throw them away.

Since I just got this done and it's a fairly easy tutorial, I figured I'd share how I did it so you can make your own cluttertraps.


Supplies: Box (I cut the top off a kleenex box)
2 coordinating fabrics big enough to cover the box.
Fabri-tac or other fabric-friendly glue

Pictures for a fabric covered box "cluttertrap" tutorial you can read all about on my blog!

Since this project was fairly easy and impromptu, I didn't do a lot of detailed photos. I mostly winged it.

Lining your box:

I took a fat quarter (it was big enough) and centered it over the box, then glued the bottom in place, paying special attention to the corners. Because I used fabri-tac, it didn't take long to dry. Then I was ready for the next step.

I cut one edge (for the inside only) flush with the corner, and the other edge about 1/2" past the corner. Then I cut the top edge about an inch or so past the top of the box. I did this with each of my sides. The one edge that curls around to the next side is so that no silver (or whatever color the interior of your box is) shows through when you line your box.

The trickiest parts to glue will be where your 1st and 4th side meet. To make it easier, apply glue to the inside of the side you're going to tack down starting about an inch away from the corner with the flush fabric edge. Also add a stripe of glue to tack down the half inch that folds around the corner to side two. Glue side one in place (remembering that the side that meets with the corner won't be tacked down) and smooth it out before the glue dries. Do this with sides two and 3, gluing down the entire side (instead of leaving the 1 inch space unglued). The trickiest part of side 4 will be where you have to tuck the edge of the fabric under side 1 (which is why you left it unglued). The rest of the lining should go on smoothly.

If you're having problems getting the edge fabric from side 4 under the fabric from side 1, you can use the edge of your scissors or a toothpick to tuck it underneath.

Once your sides are done, you can fold the lining over the top edge and glue it in place on the outside of your box.


Fabric shell for your box:

Now it's time for the outside.

I cut a piece of fabric that would be large enough to cover my entire box (adding about 2 inches to the final cut size for seam allowances). I then glued the box down in the center of the fabric.

Once it dried, I started bringing my fabric up the sides, folding under the fabric at the top and lining up my fabric/box top edges.

I did a little creative cutwork here to shorten the extra fabric that I knew I'd have on some of the sides, and a lot of creative folding. How I did it is fairly simple. The important thing is that your end product (the corner) should look like this.


To properly glue down the corners (and have them line up properly)...


You'll want to glue down over the bottom layer of fabric inside that triangle.

Once you get your outside tacked down and smoothed out properly, you might notice that the fabric gaps a bit because (to keep the glue from smooshing out and ruining your fabric) you glued a bit away from the edge.

Easy fix!


Use the toothpicks to grab up some glue so you can apply it more precisely and seal up your edges.

If you used fabri-tac, it'll dry in a couple of minutes and you can start loading it with stuff.

When you see how easy it was, you'll want to make oodles in tons of different sizes. I'm trying my hardest not to start digging through my stash of shipping boxes to 'fix' them.

If you're looking for other craft ideas, you might want to check out the article I did last month listing some of the best new craft project ideas on the web. Some of mine are there, too, just in case you haven't had enough of my kamikaze crafting style.

Happy crafting!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Zombie Fight Club and Other Crafts for Kids

I should totally make the post title an actual book. For kids. No? Don't crush my dreams!

Why the talk about Zombie Fight club? Well...


It all started, as the best stories do, when I was hurrying through making presents for someone's birthday party I was going to be attending in a few hours (Yes, they appreciated the zombies actually. I know some spectacular people!). I finally got the peices done for the 2nd zombie but I was feeling a bit of animosity towards the hair I was making for him (not part of the original pattern) and as I looked at all his bits I had a terrible, awful idea.

So, I had corporate zombie eat him. Problem solved.

I tweeted it. The owner of the book I got the patterns from was amused. They were amused at and actually blogged about it, then it got tweeted everywhere. Meanwhile...


I was busy putting a wire mohawk on him, wrapping them separately in their packaging (putting an end to the fighting) and going to a birthday gathering.

How do crafts for kids get involved in this mess?

Fortunately for all of us, they're separate.


Yesterday, a tutorial was published telling people how to make this handy (and cute!) organizer to hold pencils, paintbrushes, or whatever else your heart desires. Want one? The tutorial is right here! And, there are more pics if you need help on my flickr.

I've not gotten much of a chance to publish (or blog) lately because I've been working so hard at getting my company off the ground. I'm surprisingly close! The finish line is in sight so I'm trying really hard to pull everything together for the launch. Got some great ideas coming through and I can't wait to unveil my kits. They'll be going to my Etsy store but if you're a shop (or you know a shop and would like them to carry my kits) or a teacher, you can contact me for discounts once my product is launched so stay tuned for that upcoming information! I can hardly believe it's finally coming together! It's nice when plans come to fruition.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Articles and Whatsits

I'm feeling accomplished this week, in spite of being backed up on things to do (when am I not behind?). First, I had an article published recently on how to take in a basic shirt, which is a great way to upcycle your wardrobe.

Also, I went to Maker Faire Detroit last weekend, and I have pictures! Want to see them? Clicky! It was incredible. Indescribably awesome. And, I hear they're coming back! I can't wait!

In other news:


I'm currently waiting for a tutorial to go through publishing for this handy dandy upcycled piece. It was easy as pie.

In other, more business-related news...


Those frames I bought were for samples of my upcoming kits. I also ordered most of the supplies I'll need so if you're looking to learn to do hardanger, educational kits will be in my etsy store as soon as I get all this sorted out. I'm so excited! Now I have to get better at putting together PDFs and I'll be all set!

This has been in the works for a long time. It's so nice to see it finally coming together. I can hardly believe it! So much work to do, but it'll be worth it.

Thursday, August 5, 2010


P8040299, originally uploaded by rabid_designs.

I'm pretty sure I'm in over my head at this point. I barely know how to frame and I can't paint to save my life.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

My new sunglasses case!

P7150122, originally uploaded by rabid_designs.

Check out my sunglasses case :) I found a tutorial on the web that was so easy, I got the project done in 20 minutes.

I found the tutorial while I was researching all the latest tutorials for seamstresses, quilters, knitters, crocheters, and embroiderers so I could write *this article* that has oodles more from all over the web. Also has information on new releases for craft books. :)

In other news...I just finished an amigurumi desk ninja. No pictures yet.

Friday, July 16, 2010


Fingering weight yarn,
One hundred grams for a pair.
Can't stop knitting socks.

While I admit, I do love talking about crafts, today's haiku was for a reason. Why? Oh...Lion Brand is having a haiku contest.

Are you less weirded-out by me now? No? Oh well...I tried.



Welcome to my humble abode.

Note that I'm still moving in, so I'm still trying to find a place for everything, so everything is in chaos. This is hampered by the fact that I have tons of stuff on my plate, not the least of which is all the articles I'm trying to write. I'm a closet masochist, but don't tell anyone.

My tutorials were featured not once, but twice on Every time someone actually likes my work enough to share it, I'm always shocked. I guess it will never wear off. Though I would not proclaim to be wise, my grandmother always did say that a true sign of wisdom is knowing how much you don't know, and I feel dumber every year. I consider this a good sign, so I don't let it get to me. Keeps me humble and all that (Some would testify differently).

I've also written a couple of articles for Examiner. One is another tutorial. This time it's one on:


Making your own t-shirt yarn.

That's going to be a rug...or perhaps 3 rugs. I have tons of t-shirts. Total cost for several rugs? $0. I'm upcycling an entire garbage bag worth of t-shirts that were just going to go to waste.

My second article is most relevant to people locally. However, the Maker Faire is coming to Detroit, and it's going to be huge. People have been talking about it/preparing for it for months, which is good, because when you live in Michigan...there's not much to look forward to. Want to hear about all the cool stuff they'll be doing? Read on, my friends!

In other news...


Working on another article/tutorial. This time on chicken scratch embroidery. I love chicken scratch. It comes together so quickly, is easy enough to teach kids, and the results are beautiful.

Unfortunately, I have to get the sample done first. You guys get to be the first to see it, though.


This is for another article. The project is done, but you can't see how cool it is until I finish the article. Shouldn't be long. All the research and labor is done. Why can't editing do itself?

My last bit of news for the moment?


OMG SOCK YARN! I got a belated birthday present! Enough for three pairs of socks. However, 2 of the yarns (not the rainbow) will be combined with other yarns I still have to purchase to take out a bit of the crazy colors. You'd think I'd be trying to do that with the rainbow socks instead, huh?'s just not right to mute a rainbow. Besides, my feet like to party.

Unfortunately, I'm never ever ever going to get a chance to work on them.

Okay, perhaps I'm exaggerating, but not by much.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

So excited!

I'm really excited. Gleeful! You can't tell from type whether something is sarcasm, so I shall add exclamation points: !!!!!

Why the glee? 3 of my tutorials just got published. Now you're gleeful (hopefully)! I love spreading joy!

I also love spreading knowledge, soooooo...if you're up for a new project, you have three to choose from!


First up is chiffon flowers. Just a cute, easy little summer project. They're a decoration that can be used in so many ways. If you give it a try, let me know!

Summer Projects: How to make chiffon flowers


For people who've read my blog for a while, you might remember this fabric. You might also recall me saying I was making a tutorial...


Well, now it's done, and this is seriously the most durable, most practical thing. I take it with me every time I'll need to iron somewhere else because it's so easy to pack. It's stylish, too!

You know you want to make your own, and one for each of your friends. Get the tutorial: Organization/Space Saving Crafts: Make your own ironing pad!

Last but certainly not least, people who follow my flickr or follow me on ravelry will know that I made a custom liner for a bag I knitted so I can safely store 4 small projects (namely, socks I'm knitting). If you follow my flickr, you'll also know that I made a giant custom knitting needle/crochet hook roll-up last year using black corduroy and batik. Well, I made one just for my socks supplies that matches the interior of my knitting bag.


Better pictures? Ask and you shall receive:


Needle Rolls

Be the envy of YOUR knit night and head for the tutorial here: Custom Organizers: Make Your Own Knitting Needle Roll-Up

Speaking of socks...


Just finished these...


And one of these, the Skew sock from Knit on the diagonal!

I've been busy. Just not posting. It's not that I don't love you. I didn't have internet, which explains the productivity no?

Saturday, March 20, 2010


Well, I dropped off the face of the planet, eh? Sorry about that. I caught the swine flu from a student (no joke) in November and then the regular flu and I've been sick ever since. I never get sick. I'm not thrilled and it blew my Xmas to pieces.

It all came to a head about 2 weeks ago and I ended up in Urgent Care (which was fun). After 2 weeks on antibiotics (bleh) hopefully I'm back from the dead. I haven't been able to get off the couch for the past two weeks and I've gone through the entirety of several shows thanks to netflix's instant play (thanks, netflix).

I also managed to knit 3 socks and a pair of fingerless opera gloves, and crochet tons of scrubbies and almost an entire afghan. Idle hands are the Devil's playground, or some such.

Just before I ended up in Urgent Care, I went a little bonkers over the lack of productivity in my craft area and realized two things:

One: Ultimately, I'm a designer. I like to knit, and crochet, and quilt, but what I really like doing is my own embroidery patterns. Everything else is a hobby. Embroidery is my passion (hardanger in particular), and I can't cope without an endless supply of threads passing through my fingers and through fabrics. I'm not sure what my problem is, but it's less terminal than the brutal sinus infection I'm recovering from.

I've been trying to design on the PC, with the help of PCStitch...but not only is it not set up for hardanger (I constantly have to stop and input new stitches, then search the library to find them), much as I love my PC (and I do...I really, really do), I can't design on it. I'm a real-world person and I need the ability to see my pattern in full, to touch it, to turn it and see my notes and calculations on the same page as my work. I need the graphs and rulers and pencils. Sorry, PCStitch...I like you but you're not cutting it for my needs.

I'll still import all of my patterns into PCStitch when I'm done, but I can't create with it. I don't know why I have to be so stubbornly old-world, but if it works, it works. My productivity is nil when I'm relying on digital creation and I need to go back to basics, pick up the calculator and pencil, and get to it. I'm clearing off my huge cutting table to put it to better use than keeping all of my recent finishes and supplies away from Chuck.

(Speaking of which, Chuck is doing just fine, but I'm convinced a full 7% of his diet consists of yarn and fabric scraps he stole.)

Two: While trying to tackle my craft table, which is an ever-rotating pile of craft insanity, I realized that I just can't deal with my ADHD ways and I need to micro-organize. The entire living room is taken up by my PC and craft areas, which is fine...if things can be put away. When people come over and have to walk through my actual living room to get to where the living room is (in the dining room), I shouldn't have to smile sheepishly as they gawk at piles of fabric and half-used skeins of yarn in order of use or acquisition. It's clutter, and it needs to be dealt with.

I've scoured my pattern collection for covers for the milk crates I'm storing half my stuff in, and I'm going to see what I can do to make the absolute best of the space and storage containers I can. I want my living room back (still as a craft room, of course) and I want there to be space for all the newer crafts I've picked up in the past year (clay, jewelry, lace, etc.) and fabric I'm using...and I intend to use some of my fabric to make organizers. Fabric is really the only thing I know how to use besides thread/yarn, so it'll have to do. Covers for milk crates, pockets, wall organizers, etc. Something desperately needs to be done and I have yards of fabric up for the challenge. Now I just need time and energy.


Determination, I has it.

I also finally come back with pictures (I was sick/lazy), so you can see what I've been working on.





Almost done with this afghan.

I also made kitchen stuff:



These crochet scrubbies were kind of a nightmare. I had to cut up heavy craft mesh, twist it, and crochet with it. My hands haven't forgiven me.


I also got the thread in from The Caron Collection for one of my kits. The new dye lot doesn't match the fabric exactly like my old sample did, so I'm trying to see if it matches well enough to go to production. Any ideas? Obviously the new sample is on the right.

I'll be adding stuff to my etsy store soon, hopefully...patterns and goods, as well as some fabric. It's a matter of finding time and the energy. Still recovering from the plague.

I did get the nicest compliment last month about my hardanger designs. I still have the warm fuzzies from it.

I'll leave you with this cuteness. He was part of a Christmas present I made last year.


He was twice as cute before I told you he's an amigurumi devil, wasn't he? Yeah...I might could have left that part out...