Weekly Crafting Links

Blogged under Around the Web by Tammy on Sunday 13 January 2013 at 10:51 am

Craftside-A behind-the-scenes peek at our crafty world
This week at Craftside there is a cool drawing tutorial with Carla Sonheim, a dogwood flower crochet granny square pattern and recipes for vegan minty dog biscuits and vegetable blender soup.

Do You Perpetually Need to be Reminded?
Here’s how to make a magnetic perpetual reminder calendar.

Mixed Media Artist
Cyndi has finished her lava-inspired quilt!

Stefanie Girard’s Sweater Surgery
How to make a recycled wool sweater mini Valentine’s Day Wreath

Fresh Stitches
Stacey Trock takes a look back at her amigurumi business in 2012 and some of her best business moves.

Tapping Flamingo
This jewelry designer and photographer takes inspirations from one of her sisters a she makes a jewelry piece for Lori Anderson’s latest Bead Soup Blog Hop.

Spindle Skein Reveal

Blogged under spinning by Tammy on Thursday 10 January 2013 at 2:41 pm

Ummm…yeah…believe it or not, this is a skein of yarn, my first. The fiber was 2 ounces of medium Coopworth, and as you can see I spun the bajebeez out of it! The colored bits of yarn hold the skein together. It’s part of the process before you set it and let it dry. It is single ply because, seriously, why ply this chunk of stuff?

Now here is my second attempt, also a single ply. This is from 2 ounces of Blue Faced Leicester Silver. While this is also over-spun, I can see that my thicknesses are a little bit more consistent. And, I mean a little.

As I was taking the yarn off the bobbin and putting it on a contraption called a Niddy Noddy (a contraption that allows you to form the yarn into a skein without getting all tangled up), it broke, so this is the last bit of the spun fiber from above. Since this was at the end of my bobbin (aka TP roll), it was the very last few bits that I spun, and again, I see improvement. It’s not a breakthrough amount of improvement, but…

My first few ounces look pretty rough. I know that I’m rushing things. I over spun them, and they truly look awful. This is not an immediate gratification craft, and I’m learning patience and persistence. Hopefully, it will pay off. I’m not going to think about giving up until I spin some more. I have ordered some roving, and I’m giving myself a one pound challenge. If I can’t get it together and make something that is at least semi-usable after practicing with a pound of fiber, then this may not be for me.

The Zen of the Spindle

Blogged under spinning by Tammy on Monday 7 January 2013 at 9:13 pm

I have been fighting the urge to spin yarn for probably at least a year. I told myself the usual: I do not need another hobby. I do not have the time. I can just buy nice yarn, so what is the point of making it?

Then two events happened that made me fall. First,I won a skein of hand-spun yarn from the Knitty Natter podcast. Zena, host of the podcast, had spun the yarn herself, and it was luscious. It was nothing like any yarn I had every used, even the fancy smancy Cascade alpaca that I adore. And, of course, I thought about how I would love to be able to make yarn like this myself.

This event was followed by a super duper sale at Craftsy.com. Among other classes, it had “Spindling: From Fluff to Stuff” on sale for $9.99 plus a kit available for $29 (which included shipping). That meant that for $40 I could give spinning a try and see what all the noise was about and figure out if it was something I wanted to continue doing or not. Where are you going to get a spindling class for $40 anywhere, let alone Florida?

So, yes, I fell. I signed up for a few classes on Craftys.com, including the spindling class, and I bought the kit (pictured), which includes a spindle and six ounces of roving. It seemed to take forever for the dang kit to arrive, but when it did, I went right at it with the picture of Zena’s wonderful yarn dancing around in my head.

Here is the start of my first few ounces of roving, which pretty much ended up looking like something my cat had hacked up, but I did not expect perfection right away. Admittedly, it was harder than I imagined, but still, I was not in any way planning to have a fabulous or even useable skein of yarn when I was done.

Here is what my first two ounces looked like before setting it. Yes, no surprised here. It is thick and chunky and funky. I like to refer to it as “art yarn;” yes, that’s what it is, art yarn!

While there were no surprises as far as the first finished product, the process did surprise me. I have watched people spin a little before, but when I did it myself, I had not expected it to be such a physical craft. I had to use both hands at the same time, one to hold and draft the fiber and another to hold and spin the spindle. I had to stand instead of sit like you would do knitting or crocheting. I had to hold my arms up to keep the roving from twisting or getting the back part sucked into the spindle. After spinning on my spindle for the first time (for perhaps 30 minutes), my legs, back, and arms actually felt a little sore. (Note: The spindle was flying all over creation, so some of this soreness could have been due to chasing it around the room!)

I am in no way claiming spindling to be physical exercise, but I was caught up in both my mind and body during the procedure of spinning. I was ultra-focused on what I was doing. During the class, the instructor (Drucilla Pettibone) actually mentions the idea that it is a Zen activity, and I sort of brushed it off. But, she is completely right; at least for me that was my experience, and this is still repeated each time I pick up the spindle.

Look for my first few skeins of funky, chunky, wonky yarn to be revealed soon.

Time for Weekly Craft Links

Blogged under Around the Web by Tammy on Sunday 6 January 2013 at 10:17 am

Beading Arts
Cyndi is looking for bead artists to feature in 2013. Have some work you’d like to share? Come see how!

Craftside-A behind-the-scenes peek at our crafty world
This week at Craftside there is a tutorial on how to create rituals to improve your creativity, poke holes in plastic jewelry, clean your makeup brushes, and a recipe for dill unpotato salad from the book 500 Paleo Recipes.

If Not Now, When Will You … New Year’s Resolutions Anyone?
This was Eileen’s ambitious list for 2012. The good news is she accomplished something from each craft category. The bad news – Eileen’s not perfect. Darn!

L Thykeson’s Uniques
Happiness is….

Teal Crochet Afghan (Part 1)
Cherie uses her holiday break to start an afghan.

Dear Amigurumi Deer

Blogged under amigurumi by Tammy on Friday 4 January 2013 at 9:48 am

I have completed the third amigurumi from the Craftsy class I’m taking, who by the way was mentioned in the Wall Street Journal recently. Here is a side view of the deer.

I learned how to make some different arms that flopped instead of stuck our straight as well as some good tips on changing yarn color. This guy is not my favorite. I think his head turned out too large. Next, I move on to the last lesson and complete the class. The fourth project is a very cute raccoon.

Jan. 2013 Giveaway

Blogged under CFEs/Contests by Tammy on Thursday 3 January 2013 at 1:18 pm

For January 2013, you get a chance to win a wonderful new book that focuses on a specific bead weaving stitch. It’s called I Can Herringbone and is written by Melissa Grakowsky. I reviewed it over on About.com, so you can read details about what is in the book here.

This giveaway is available to anyone living in the continental US. To get a chance to win a copy of this book, just answer the question below in the comments:

What is it about bead weaving that appeals to you?

Post your comment only once in this blog entry and you will get a chance to win. The deadline for entry is January 31, 2013 midnight ET. Then during the first few days of the next month, I will randomly pick one winner. Make sure to include your email address when commenting. I will email the winner who will have 5 days after the drawing to reply back with a mailing address. Anyone who does not reply after 5 days will no longer be eligible to win, and I will draw a new winner.

Dec. 2012 Giveaway Winner!

Blogged under CFEs/Contests by Tammy on Wednesday 2 January 2013 at 10:43 am

Congratulations to Emily! She is the winner of the Crafty Princess Diaries December Giveaway, which includes a free copy of the e-book The Fine Art of Shameless Self-Promotion written by Margot Potter.

Look for news about January’s giveaway, and hey, if there are any vendors or designer out there interested in participating in my monthly giveaways, feel free to contact me.

Crochet Dude’s Stitch Markers – Thumbs Up

Blogged under Crafty Products,crochet and knitting by Tammy on Tuesday 1 January 2013 at 5:52 pm

With all the amigurumi I have been making, this means counting stitches a lot, and of course, this also means using stitch markers. While for larger areas of crochet, I prefer locking stitch markers; when making small items like limbs for a stuff animal, I find the locking markers to be a bit of a pain to take on and off constantly. I pulled out these little flexible stitch markers sent to me by Simplicity Creative Group. They are part of the Crochet Dude line of products they distribute. I definitely have to give these the “thumbs up” because they are perfect for small items like this and are very easy to slip on and off but stay when you need them to stay too. It’s a little thing, but the right stitch markers can make a huge difference in the end product as well as the experience.

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