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Archive for February, 2012

Looking Through a Glass Camel

Wednesday, February 29th, 2012
By Twistie

This has been me for the past week. I’ve spent a lot of my waking hours stabbing needles repeatedly into wool rovings and creating felt motifs. It’s really a pretty simple thing… but as I learned long ago when discovering bobbin lace, sometimes there’s amazing scope for adventure in a very simple thing.

So I went looking for a little inspiration the other day and what to my wondering eyes should appear but this:


But How Can Evil Be So Cute?

Tuesday, February 28th, 2012
By Twistie

(Image via Strawberry Jam Designs)

I kind of think that says it all.

The Whole Kit and Kaboodle

Monday, February 27th, 2012
By Twistie

I believe I’ve mentioned before that I wanted to try out some new crafting techniques. Well, I took the plunge recently. See that beginner’s needle felting kit up there? Yeah, I ordered one of those from Mielke’s (pronounced ‘Milky’s’) Fibers.

The kit comes with eight needles (two each in four different sizes), a 12″ x 9″x 1 1/2″ foam work surface, a generous amount of carded fleece in some eight different colors, a strip of cotton batting, a bit of yarn, and a set of instructions in basic techniques taught in the form of four different projects. The instructions tell you how to do the work and suggest shapes and colors, but leave the final design up to the student, which is great because it encourages you to delve into your own creativity right off the bat. The needles come in a sturdy plastic tube and jabbed into a piece of foam so you won’t hurt yourself before you begin. They also include a handy chart to explain the color coding on the handles of the needles, including the length. That’s a good thing since two different styles have the same color handles, but one is significantly longer than the other.

As soon as the kit arrived, I pulled all the bits out and started playing. What do you know? By the end of an hour of reading instructions, identifying tools, etc. I sat down and in less than half an hour, I had a pretty piece of needlefelt in the form of a red heart I can wear on my sleeve… but will more likely attach to a hat at some point. I even managed it sans bloodshed! My vocabulary of vulgarities remains unenhanced, but at least I’m not wearing bandages on my fingers. I do, however, firmly believe the reason the kit suggests using red fleece to begin with is so that if one does draw one’s own blood, it’s less likely to ruin the project.

All in all, I’m thinking I spent $25.00 quite well. I’d been looking at needle felting beginner’s kits for a couple months, and this one seemed to me to offer the best combination of quality, versatility, and ease of use. If you’re looking to take up this fun craft, I highly recommend this as the kit to get.

He Sells Seychelles By the Seashore

Friday, February 24th, 2012
By Twistie

See these three people? I am deeply concerned about their collective (a) eyesight, (b) taste, and (c) sanity.

You’ll see why at the end of this recap. We’ve got a lot to get through first, though… which we’ll do after the cut.


Gnome Quarter Given or Asked

Thursday, February 23rd, 2012
By Twistie

I’m going to come right out and say it: I hate garden gnomes.

That’s right, I think they’re usually annoying, twee, and kind of pointless.

But you know I’m always down with something that makes me rethink the possibilities of something I have never liked. And so it is in this spirit that I thank ChrisandJanesPlace Etsy store for creating and selling their fabulous Zombie Gnomes. I had never really seen the potential for pure wrong before, but my eyes have been opened.

For instance, these defender gnomes (and the woman has her baby strapped to her back as she kicks zombie tush with that blunderbuss!) are just $38.00 plush shipping for the set. They are individually cast and hand painted. They stand 6 1/2″ inches tall to protect your plants from zombie attack.

Of course, you can get the actual zombie gnomes, too. Some of the images are not the safest for work, and may not appeal to those with weak constitutions for cartoonish violence against lawn flamingoes and such… but they make me laugh.

Then again, I have a profoundly sick sense of humor.

Get Classy

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012
By Twistie

As much as we love to craft on our own, there’s nothing like a good technique class to help broaden horizons, pick up new skills, and correct bad habits. Heck, just the chance to be in a roomful of people who enjoy using their hands to create things can be a breath of fresh air!

But sometimes you don’t know where to look to find a class. That’s why I sat down and found some courses where you can learn new techniques and hone old skills.

First up is the illustration above. It’s a quilt. The title is Big Sur in May, and it was created by quilt artist Judith Baker Montano. It’s pretty spiffy, isn’t it? In point of fact, I think it’s pretty breathtaking. Well, as it turns out, Ms. Montano is holding a workshop in quilting land and seascapes in May through the Madeline Island School of the Arts in Wisconson. The class is four days long and costs $620.00. See here for details on the class and how to sign up.


Quickie Question: Oddest Craft Lesson?

Tuesday, February 21st, 2012
By Twistie

Sometimes we give and receive lessons in the oddest ways. I think I was about sixteen when I heard one of my brothers giving his friend a lesson in waltzing… over the phone. That’s not something one would normally expect to be able to pick up without some sort of visual or active demonstration, but it did work. I know. I danced with the friend and he did just fine. Not that I’m the best waltzer in the world, but I’d done the dance more than my partner had!

And so it is with craft works. Sometimes you meet up with someone, start talking, and discover you know how to do a craft that person wants to learn. Suddenly, despite the fact that neither of you has the necessary tools or the correct surface or any of the materials… you just start the lesson anyway.

In trying to explain bobbin lace to the uninitiated, I’ve drawn diagrams (which do point out my desperate need for a good basic drawing class!), manipulated straws at restaurant tables, and even once showed some basic technique by taking a bit of my own hair (still on my head) and using that to show the movements of the threads. It was one of the few times in  my life I’ve been so grateful to have uncurlable hair. It showed the movements pretty clearly.

So how about you? Have you ever demonstrated or taught technique in a really unconventional way? In a really strange place?

Tell me all about it!

Broadway Bound

Monday, February 20th, 2012
By Twistie

Darlings, I’m sorry I didn’t get to my recap on friday the way I normally do. Due to a series of unforeseen and very nearly surreal circumstances, I didn’t get to sit down and watch the episode myself until… well… this morning.

The episode begins with Austin doing Kenley’s hair as they gossip about the latest elimination. Pretty much everyone seems to have been a bit thrown by the judges sending Rami packing. In general terms, I do agree with them that it’s sobering. In specific terms… yeah, that outfit was heinous on levels it doesn’t bear to contemplate. As much as I was hoping Rami would make it to the finale, I would have been a bit shocked if it had gone any other way. Still, Jerell is happy because this means one of his strongest competitors is gone and he’s that much closer to winning… he thinks. Honestly, while he’s got his opportunity and he might surprise the heck out of me, I don’t see him being the big winner. Then again, he could prove me wrong. It’s happened before. Gretchen did beat Mondo in their season, where I would have dumped her and her designs about halfway through the competition.

But I digress. Let’s get back to this episode, shall we?


Help a Fellow Crafter Win Her Dream Dress

Friday, February 17th, 2012
By Twistie

This is Ami Amour, for those of you not familiar with her blog devoted to all things amigurami. She’s getting married in june (best of luck and all happiness, Ami!) and has a dream of a fabulous wedding gown. In fact, she’s entered a contest to win said fabulous gown by Enzoani. The contest is being held by the design house and in order to win, Ami will need to get the most ‘likes’ on the Enzoani Facebook page for her video explaining why she feels she should win the gown.

It’s a mermaid gown with a detachable strap and… well, it’s the dress on the amigurumi in her hands, there. In fact, that doll is how she expresses her desire for the gown in her entry video. It’s entirely hand crocheted by Ami except for the lace ruffle at the bottom of the skirt.

So go to Facebook. Like Ami’s video. It’s the seventh one. She’s wearing a blue shirt and holding the doll. Right now, she’s in fourth place, but we have until Feb. 27 to change that.

What say you? Shall we help a crafty lady win her dream dress?

But What About Those Ribs?

Thursday, February 16th, 2012
By Twistie


Oh. Sorry. I forgot for a moment that this denizen of the ‘Pop Tab Forest’ (forsooth!) isn’t scary.

No, really, his creator assures us he isn’t:

He’s not really scary. He’s been to the dentist and has been fitted with braces!

Yeah, right. Pull the other one. It’s got bells on.

I notice there are no explanations given for the exposed ribs, though. Are they for her pleasure? Or are they just a rather disturbing piece of evidence that this monkey is created out of pop tabs from soda cans?

Anyway, if you find it less disturbing than I do, you can go to Etsy and buy the pattern for just $3.99. Oh, and you can you can totally make your money back. No, really, she says so:

Any item you make from one of my pattern you may sell!

You cannot sell or give the pattern away!

I have to say I’m not so certain you could sell the finished monkeys… but then I do own a collection of Ed Wood movies, so I really don’t have much wiggle room to talk, do I?

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