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Archive for February, 2012

Dying to Please You

Wednesday, February 15th, 2012
By Twistie

Mmmm… pretty colors.

It’s fun to have lots of pretty colors of yarn to play with. Whether you plan to knit, crochet, or do massive string art with it, color is an integral part of the charm of your finished product.

But not everyone loves to do the actual dying. Sort of like the way not everyone wants to spin the yarn. And of course there is that learning curve when you’re playing with techniques, but can’t count on the best results, yet.

And that’s where the aptly named Decadent Fibers comes in.

They carry a wide variety of yarns in natural fibers, such as: merino, silk, organic cotton, and mohair. Some varieties do contain a small amount of nylon to help keep the shape of the finished product, but it’s just a touch.

Best of all, every kind of yarn they sell can be custom dyed. Sure, they’ve got a lot of great colors they make every single day, but if you don’t find what you want there, you can request the color you need and they will create it for you.

Don’t want yarn? If you’re looking for roving to spin or felt, you can get the same great range of colors.

Need something to do with all this yarn/fiber? They also carry a range of books, patterns, and kits to get you going, including their one-skein knitting projects.

Then again, maybe I’ll just splurge on a few skeins to fondle when nobody else is looking.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Tuesday, February 14th, 2012
By Twistie

(Image via Alphamom, where you can find links to this and several other attractive, kid-friendly Valentine’s projects)

Happy Valentine’s Day from Crafty Manolo!

And if you can’t be with the craft you love, honey, love the craft you’re with.

Sweets and Not So Sweets for the Sweet

Monday, February 13th, 2012
By Twistie

Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day, and we all know what that means. Flowers, chocolate, prix fixe meals at restaurants we rarely can scrape up the funds to go to, and… well, all that usual stuff.

Me? I like the chocolates and flowers. Mr. Twistie and I usually go out for dinner the night before V-day, but he’s been seriously overworked and exhausted this year, so I’m going to take the opportunity to make a really nice home cooked meal for him this time around. Then I’ll tell him to go the heck to bed early and get some damn rest. Sometime in March it will probably occur to him that he didn’t take me to a fancy meal and he’ll take me out then… when I can order whatever I please and the restaurant won’t be overstuffed with people. That suits me just fine.

But for those of you celebrating in a very slightly less unconventional way, there are still options to make the day special.

The first of these comes from Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories, where you can find full tongue in cheek instructions and a photo tutorial on turning an ordinary heart-shaped box of Valentine’s candies into a fun way to present the love of your life with tiny fiddly electronic components. It’s simple and versatile. After all, if your love doesn’t want transistors but would love bits of festive colored rovings, some good sewing needles, or other small crafts supplies, this would work really well for that, too.

And for those of a more traditional bent and reasonably good kitchen skills, Epicurious has Jacques Torres’ fabulous chocolate truffle recipe filled with great hints and yummy alternatives.

Either way, this is probably better than a drugstore teddy bear holding a red satin pillow that reads ‘I wuv you beary, beary much.’

Polka Dot Queen vs the Polka Dot Princess or the Battle of the Yeti Coats

Friday, February 10th, 2012
By Twistie

Well. The fur certainly flew in last night’s episode of Project Runway All Stars!

Sniping, trash talk, mutterings in corners… we expect all of these. But accusations of plagiarism? Not so often.

Let’s talk about it behind the cut, shall we?


Left Handicrafts

Thursday, February 9th, 2012
By Twistie

I don’t know how many of you out there are fellow southpaws, but my parents knew pretty much the moment I emerged from the womb that I was a dyed-in-the-wool leftist… er… leftie. Any and all political leanings came much later in life. Probably my first political act (and it was an accidental one at that) was when I was five years old and I inadvertently convinced the principal of my elementary school to order left-handed scissors for all the classrooms.


We who are wired the other way ’round have had to face a lot of challenges in life. One of the most annoying to me is the fact that when there’s a craft we want to learn, we’re often forced to either do it with out less agile right hands, or we have to sit down and figure out how to turn everything around to work with our dominant hands. Things have gotten better over the years, but I must admit that one of the things that really appealed about bobbin lace to me was the fact that it doesn’t favor one hand or the other. Both hands are used pretty equally throughout the process. As long as I have a pair of scissors I can use in my left hand (and those are nearly universally available now!) I can use any book, any pattern, any tool I can lay my hands on.

But what if you want to learn something that does make more use of one hand than the other? What if you’re not good at turning things around mentally? What if your right hand just doesn’t have the necessary dexterity for the craft in question?

Well, I’ve found a few good resources to help you learn some of these crafts.


I Pity the Fool…

Wednesday, February 8th, 2012
By Twistie

who spends $600.00 on this:

I honestly can’t think of anything to add.


Quickie Question: What Do You Gain?

Tuesday, February 7th, 2012
By Twistie

First off, sorry about yesterday. There were technical issues which have since been resolved. So unless WordPress goes blooey on me, we should be fine for the rest of the week.


Over the years, I’ve gotten a lot of odd questions about my lacemaking. One of the most common, for some reason, is how I make money off of it. Here’s the answer: I don’t.

Sure, I do get paid for writing this blog, and for a very short period I did make a try to sell copper wire lace jewelry… which made me a lot less cash than this blog does and cost me a bundle, to boot. So no, I’ve never specifically made any real money out of lacemaking.

I suppose I could try writing a book about it, or create some patterns to sell, or start up a company to supply other lacemakers with the tools they need… but I don’t really want to do those things.

On the other hand, I’ve gained things from lacemaking that are more precious to me than a few dollars in my pocket. Here are a couple of the things I’ve gained.

Friends. I’ve found some truly wonderful people through a shared passion for tossing bobbins.

Knowledge. I’ve learned a lot about how cottage industries work from reading about the history of my craft. I’ve also learned some gloriously grizzly trivia about eighteenth century smuggling techniques, some quaint rhymes and traditions, and the names of some very interesting folk who have done their small part to make our world what it is today. And all that’s in addition to the technical skills I’ve acquired.

Patience. I like to tell people that I took up lacemaking because I’m not terribly patient at heart. It’s true. I can’t stand to sit around without doing something with my hands… and this way I have more to show for it at the end of a long evening watching television than I ever did when I played solitaire to keep my hands busy. But with all the demonstrations, all the repetitive questions, all the times when rushing made a hideous tangle of my threads, I think I finally have learned a form of patience that I wouldn’t have done without the lacemaking.

Pride. There’s nothing quite like finishing a big project and seeing how well it turned out to make your heart swell and your back get just a tidge straighter. I wore my own lace with pride on my wedding day. I felt pride seeing my friends put up my lace elephant picture in the nursery for their first child. I feel pride whenever someone looks at what I’ve done and thinks it’s beautiful.

So no, I don’t make money off my lace. I probably never will. So what? What I have gained is far more important to me.

So what have you gained from your craft?

Excuse Me, Sir, May I Have Your Shorts?

Friday, February 3rd, 2012
By Twistie

Yes, this is an actual image from last nights’ episode of Project Runway All Stars. No, I am not making this up.

And no, Anthony is not making a pass at Muscular Shirtless Guy. He’s just asking the guy for his shorts.

Here, let me put in a cut for spoilerphobes and those who don’t care about Project Runway, the poor, benighted souls.


What Has Happened to Your Nose? I Just Returned From Rome

Thursday, February 2nd, 2012
By Twistie

Don’t worry. His nose isn’t actually gone… so far as I know. But it does give one pause to realize someone came up with the idea of a nosewarmer, created a pattern, crocheted it, and actually got someone to pose wearing the darn thing.

Even more amazing? This photograph is number four in a series of  six such images on display over at What Not to Crochet.

Then again, it could be worse. There’s also an article on hand crocheted banana hammocks that may not be safe for work, but is kind of mesmerizing.

Too Kool for Wool

Wednesday, February 1st, 2012
By Twistie

Some years ago, a wool-happy friend of mine showed up with some rovings she’d just dyed and planned to spin. I fell in love with the cheerful, Easter eggy pastels and asked her what she’d used to dye them.

I nearly fell off my chair when she told me Kool Aid.

Yes, the packets of fruity drink mix so loved by small children was the source of those gorgeous colors. Oh, and for those about to make a Jonestown joke, that was actually Flavor Aid. Then again, I imagine Flavor Aid would work, too.

Just don’t choose the grape.


Turns out, dyeing with Kool Aid (or similar drink mixes) is a pretty simple process. the results, however, are fabulous.

If you’d like to learn the method, I suggest going to Under the Desk (which is also the source of the top illustration) and reading through Ana’s illustrated tutorial. I know it’s something I’m bookmarking for future reference!

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