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Archive for November, 2010

Good Godey

Tuesday, November 30th, 2010
By Twistie

This is the cover of the Godey’s Lady’s Book for June, 1867. The Lady’s Book is one of the best resources we have to understand the priorities, ambitions, and lives of the average American woman during the time it was published, from 1830 – 1898. It circulated through the entire country during that time with a readership that grew as high as 150,000 in its heyday.

Founded by Louis A. Godey, the editor who really brought the magazine into its own was Sarah Josepha Hale who ran the show from 1837 – 1877. Hale, in addition to editing the Lady’s Book, is also significant for writing Mary Had a Little Lamb and for encouraging President Abraham Lincoln to revive Thanksgiving as a national holiday (Thanks, Sarah! The turkey and stuffing were delicious!). She insisted on publishing only American manuscripts for American audiences. Unlike other women’s magazines of the time, that showed Parisian fashions and offered stories originally written in German and French, Godey was all about America.


Quickie Question: What Characters Have You Caught Crafting?

Monday, November 29th, 2010
By Twistie

I hope all of you had a lovely Thanksgiving weekend. I know I certainly did.

For one, there was plenty of delicious food (my pies are Art, you know), good friends, and fun times. For another, my buddies and I watched the Thanksgiving episode of WKRP In Cincinnati (As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly!). The third and quite possibly most important thing: my friend sat me down for a three day marathon of Criminal Minds and utterly hooked me on the show.

Yes, I fell hard for pretty much everything and everyone on the show, but my heart belongs mostly, I think, to Penelope Garcia, pictured above. Not only is the an amazing computer maven and a fat lady who sings her own music no matter what, she’s a crafter to boot! Yes, in at least three of the episodes I watched over the weekend, Garcia pulls out her knitting and gets busy with those needles.

So I’m curious, can you think of any characters you love (or even just know about) on television or in movies who craft? Extra points if these people inhabit a modern or futuristic world.

Black Friday Deals for the Crafty People on Your Holiday List

Friday, November 26th, 2010
By Twistie

It’s that time of year again! Yes, consumerism run rampant through the streets in an ecstasy of excess. What’s not to love about that?

For my part, I enjoy the heck out of the pageantry and the excess, but part of my fun is making things myself… or giving others the tools with which to do so. In the spirit of that particular form of excess, here are my personal picks for all the crafty folks you may be giving to this year… or yourself, if nobody thinks to add to your crafting collections.

The Jewelry Architect by Kate McKinnon is a study in technique for all jewelry makers out there. She uses a variety of methods to make gorgeous, imaginative pieces sure to appeal to a wide variety of wearers.

As if that weren’t enough to get the salivary glands on overdrive, it’s on sale at Amazon, as well! Regularly priced at $26.95, it’s available for just $17.79, and eligible for Super Saving Shipping, too.

Or maybe it’s time for a new sewing machine in your life.

The Janome 8050 has many features to recommend it, including 50 built in stitches and digital length and width adjustments.  On top of all that, it’s on a great sale at Hancock Fabrics. Regularly priced at $399.99, it’s available now for just $249.99.

This one may not look like much, but it’s a brilliant piece of design for embroiderers of every kind. It’s the Stitcher’s Delight Needlework Frame. Each piece is made of quality wood, with no screws or sharp edges to snag your work. It’s also hugely adjustable.  The scroll rods come in: 6″, 8″, 10″, 12″, 14″, 16″, and 18″. The extender bars are 6″ and 8″. In all, you can make fourteen different sized frames in one. Okay, it’s not actually on sale, but it’s hard to beat this level of versatility for just $78.59 at Roberts Crafts.

All you knitters and crocheters out there, don’t worry. I haven’t forgotten about you!

This pretty and practical knitting needle case also works wonders for crochet hooks. There are divisions for regular and circular needles, removable snap in holders with vinyl see-through holders for smaller notions, a main zipper closure and convenient carry handles. It measures 8″ x 17″ x 1″. And while it usually runs $49.99, it’s currently marked down to just $29.99 at

If Scrapbooking is what you or a person close to you finds appealing, now is the time to head over to to take a look at the amazing deals on equipment and supplies. For instance, this grab bag of goodies includes: 20 12″ x 12″ sheets of patterned paper, one 8″ x 8″ album, one flower embellishment kit, one package of ribbon, one package of brads, one package of felt stickers, one package of clear cuts shapes, one package of photo mats, three packages of cardstock stickers, one package of rub ons, one package of fabric stickers, and one clear acrylic stamp set. Altogether, it’s worth $100.47, but it’s on sale right now for just $40.18.

Whatever your craft, there’s a great deal waiting out there for you. Have fun with it!

Happy Thanksgiving from Crafty Manolo!

Thursday, November 25th, 2010
By Twistie

May your day be a cornucopia of crafty delight. Don’t stuff yourself fuller than the turkey.

I’m Feeling This Felting

Wednesday, November 24th, 2010
By Twistie

Take a look at the gorgeous workmanship on this felted handbag. It’s the talent of Etsy artist tinafeltmaker, and I’m in love with it.

Made of Australian silk on California wool, the whole thing has been shellacked for wearability.

Not so wild about this particular one-of-a-kind piece? Well, she’s certainly got some other lovely works. Check out her store. Buy a piece, or get inspired in a new direction with your own craft work.

Cloth Printing! Read All About It!

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010
By Twistie

Sometimes you just need your own textile, but you don’t want to start from scratch. That’s when it’s good to get a basic piece of cloth and embellish it yourself. Stamp it, silk screen it, stencil it, and make it your own.

If this sounds appealing to you but you don’t know where to begin, allow me to suggest an excellent starting point: Create Your Own Hand-Printed Cloth by Rayna Gillman.

In this book, you’ll find all the information you need to turn the most ordinary bit of fabric into an original piece of art.

Best of all, if you head over to Create For Less right now, you can get it at a bargain price that will leave you the cash to develop your first project. The original price is $27.95, which isn’t at all bad for what you’re getting. All the same, I really like the idea of getting it for just $11.24.

Inspiration Gallery: Quilling

Monday, November 22nd, 2010
By Twistie

I wonder how many of you were taught quilling as children. I was taught about it in art class as a kid, and it appealed pretty strongly to me at the time. All those little curls of paper turning into pretty pictures made me kind of happy. I think we made snowflakes to put on Christmas cards for our parents. Mine did not turn out anywhere near as nice as this:

… but I really enjoyed doing it.

As it worked out, though, I haven’t done it since. But now that I’m writing this blog, I find myself thinking about how fun it was and what more exotic ways I could use the technique these days with my improved fine motor skills and more sophisticated imagination.

And so I went looking for some cool ideas around the web. Here are some of the goodies I found.


Quickie Question: What Are Your Crafting Beliefs?

Sunday, November 21st, 2010
By Twistie


Once upon a time, I went to a lacemaker’s convention. Actually, I’ve been to several over the years. This, however, was my very first. At that convention I met a delightful lady who told me a secret: she  had never finished a single project in all her years of crafting. Whenever she wanted to start up a new project or learn a new technique – even in a craft she already knew – she would buy all new supplies and tools. Her reason? She’d decided she couldn’t die as long as she had works in progress, so she wanted to make sure there was plenty left to do.

She had plenty left. When I met her, she had something like six lace pillows, several quilts, and literally scores of knitting projects half done and abandoned. And there she was learning to make bobbin lace with copper wire (same class I took!),  so one more lace pillow and a whole new batch of bobbins.

We all have an irrational belief or two in our lives.  I firmly believe that Star Trek makes my lace prettier. I also follow an old English lacemaker’s tradition of making sure I’ve got one bobbin spangled with a button and one spangled with a coin for luck.

What about you? What do you believe even if it doesn’t make sense? What do you have to have or do to craft comfortably?

Bombs Away!

Friday, November 19th, 2010
By Twistie

It’s part graffiti, part Monty Python’s Hell’s Grannies, and all whimsical fun. What is it? It’s yarnbombing!

So what is it, exactly? Well… it’s (usually) unauthorized public installations of knitted and/or crocheted items. In practice, it looks a lot like this:


The installation lasted about one day in Vancouver’s Chinatown, but the picture will make me smile for a long, long time to come.

But this isn’t just being done by our Canadian fiends, oh no it’s not. It’s being done all over the place.

For instance, the Twisted Knitters of Herefordshire bombed a local cheese shop with knitted mice, and just a few nights ago put a knitted poppy wreath on a war memorial statue.

A really great project that brought us together even with our varied opinions about the subject of war & conflict.

Or how about this wonderful project by Juniper Place yarns where scarves were distributed in the dead of night?

My vision was that people would come to town on Saturday and see that the “scarf fairies” had come in the night (you know, like Santa and the Tooth Fairy, to name a few)!

As she and her partner in crime draped scarves over railings and parking meters, people started coming along and taking the scarves, just as they’d hoped. By morning, not one scarf was left.

Sometimes it even has official blessings, like this project where the city of Denver, CO hired the Ladies Fancywork Society to install crocheted flowers in a chain link fence.

I don’t know about any of you, but I’m finding myself wanting to expand on this idea. Why should the knitters have all the fun? Why not a bobbin lace cover on a traffic cone? Why not polymer clay building blocks around construction sites? Why not quilted parking meter cozies? Why not Teddy bears in the arms of statues in the park? As long as it’s easily removable, it fits. Encourage people to take your art with them, and add to the whimsey of the day for passers-by.

Yarnbombing may be my favorite idea to come along in a long, long, long time.

Mittens that Bring Out the Animal in You

Thursday, November 18th, 2010
By Twistie

As the weather begins to turn colder (after about a week of delayed June in November around here, humph), my mind turns inevitably to ways of keeping warm. Yes, I’m a weather weenie. I’ve lived all my life within  a hundred miles of San Francisco, but not in the City itself, so I’ve been ridiculously spoilt. That means when the weather dips below a certain pitifully high point I get cold.


Mittens. Like these:

found at The Purl Bee. There’s even a matching hat for your stylin’ toddler.

But maybe you don’t want something as cute as bunny feet. Maybe you’d like something less cuddly…


Disclaimer: Manolo the Shoeblogger is not Manolo Blahnik
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