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Archive for June, 2012

Quickie Question: Olympic Craft?

Friday, June 29th, 2012
By Twistie

I’m sure by now many of you know about the recent flapdoodle when the US Olympic Committee sent a snarky cease and desist letter to Ravelry over their Ravelympics event.

Did I say snarky? Well, here’s a direct quote from the letter:

“We believe using the name “Ravelympics” for a competition that involves an afghan marathon, scarf hockey and sweater triathlon, among others, tends to denigrate the true nature of the Olympic Games. In a sense, it is disrespectful to our country’s finest athletes and fails to recognize or appreciate their hard work.”

You see, the committee wants the Olympics to look like this:

not this:

Not that knitting looks quite like that these days…

Yeah, whichever side people were on, they talked about knitting like it’s something out of a Norman Rockwell painting. You know, something painfully wholesome, old-fashioned, and not quite real. Obviously knitting doesn’t involve hard work or long hours of practice! (/sarcasm)

Anyway, the USOC did apologize in a maelstrom of bad press saying they were just protecting their copyright. The virtual black eye of being seen as people who are cruel to little old cat ladies, however, lives on.

But it makes me wonder… what sort of craft/sport hybrid would you like to see at the Olympics?

Me? I’d like to see short track speed skating combined with needle felting. After all, it’s basically roller derby on ice skates. Handing everyone barbed needles feels right. Or, if I have to stick with the events of the summer Games, how about adding drop spindles to the artistic gymnastics rotation? After all, right now they keep ribbons, balls, and hoops twirling while they tumble. And with drop spindles, they would wind up with yarn at the end, too. Oh, and how that yarn turns out is part of the score, too.

How about you? Hit me with your best shot!

Hair Today….

Thursday, June 28th, 2012
By Twistie

Before we get started, I want to apologize for the lack of posts this week. Fevers are conducive to crossed, unfocused eyes, not writing intelligible sentences. But I’m better now and back to work. so let’s hit the ground running, guys!

I adore this brooch by artist Melanie Bilenker. Such a charming, quiet moment observed with simplicity and grace. So what’s it made of? Let me see… ebony, gold, resin, pigment, and hair. That’s right, hair. Melanie Bilenker’s hair, to be precise.

No etching techniques, as you might expect at first glance. Instead of an etching tool, Melanie places her lines with strands of hair.

Her inspiration is historical and sentimental:

The Victorians kept lockets of hair and miniature portraits painted with ground hair and pigment to secure the memory of a lost love. In much the same way, I secure my memories through photographic images rendered in lines of my own hair, the physical remnants. I do not reproduce events, but quiet minutes, the mundane, the domestic, the ordinary moments.

Go check out her work. It’s amazing.

Oh Mr. Twistie? If you’re wondering what I’d like for my birthday, this is a hint.

Well, that or a shopping spree at the Nikon 1 from Jessops. I’l like that, too.

Monster No More

Friday, June 22nd, 2012
By Twistie

Once upon a time… or maybe twice, there was a blog called Monster Crochet. I was quite fond of this blog and the cool projects shown in it. But just shy of a year ago, the posts simply up and stopped.

Of course the fact that it hadn’t been updated in months and months didn’t stop me checking back periodically to see if there had been any change in status. There wasn’t. Over time I went back less and less, because there didn’t seem that much point.

It had been at least two months since I last bothered to look when I started going through old bookmarks this morning wondering what to snip out. I gave Monster Crochet one last chance.

Lo and behold, there was a new post! No, the blog wasn’t returning, per se. No more Monster Crochet, though the archive remains to amuse and enthuse us. No, this was new news. Blogger Regina Rioux formerly of Crochet Monster now has a new blog: Regina Rioux Have Yarn Will Travel. It’s only been in operation for a few days, but already there’s a super cool project, in the form of that travel wrap done in Tunisian crochet.

Regina, it’s so very nice to have you back! I can’t wait to see what you do next.

Weapon or Communicator… You Decide

Wednesday, June 20th, 2012
By Twistie

I know there’s a lot going on in this picture between the fur, the semi-pornographic image in the back, and, oh! There’s what we were looking for! Spikes!

Actually, it’s an iPhone case. But the spikes make it Art. Or at least a craft that can be sold on Etsy for $55.00 a pop.

I don’t know about you, but I think if I need a case for my phone, I’ll choose one that won’t potentially stab my sensitive hands with stainless steel spikes.

Because I’m wacky that way.

Seurat Would Have Loved This!

Tuesday, June 19th, 2012
By Twistie

Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories strikes again!

Two months ago, they introduced StippleGen, a program to create stipple versions of images. Now they’ve updated to create StippleGen 2. It’s a free, open-source program available for Windows, Mac, or Linux and can be downloaded here.

What can you do with StippleGen 2? Check out the gallery, here. I think Ernie Kovacs turns out quite striking n this format. Download and create to add your own image to the gallery.

Quickie Question: What Do You Wish People Knew?

Monday, June 18th, 2012
By Twistie

I love the film Animal House. It’s gloriously chaotic and shamelessly tasteless. One of my favorite things about it is the statue of Faber College founder Emil Faber, with the sappy yet pointless motto ‘Knowledge is Good’ carved on the base. If you’d like a little knowledge, you might wander over to the blog where I found the above illustration. It tells you what happened to that statue. It also asks the burning question ‘what ever happened to Conan the Vegetarian?’

Beats me, but I hope the author has found an answer in the year since he posted that entry.

So what does this have to do with crafts? Well, as sappy and pointless as Faber’s quote was… it’s also right. Knowledge is good. And knowledge is something woefully lacking when it comes to the general public vs crafts.

My guess is that every one of us has had someone watch what we’re doing and then make an astonishing assumption about what it is, how it’s done, what use it is, or where we learned to do it. Some of these assumptions become so commonplace to us that we start dreaming of wearing tee shirts or posting huge neon signs to dispel those myths.

We at least begin to wish that more people knew the reality.

In bobbin lace, I find the two most common assumptions people make and get dead wrong are 1) that it’s tatting, and 2) that the only way it’s possible to learn it is from an elderly relative, preferably a grandmother.

Nope, bobbin lace is not tatting. They’re different processes that result in very different textiles. As for learning from grandmothers, well, there are people who learn that way, but I learned it from a mail order kit. Others learn it from books, YouTube videos, and people who do demonstrations in public. There are many avenues to knowledge. Every one of them is legitimate.

What about your craft? What common misconception do you wish people would learn the truth about?

Happy Father’s Day from Crafty Manolo

Sunday, June 17th, 2012
By Twistie

And remember, real men are secure enough in their manhood to do whatever they darn well please. Lace on, you wonderful man!

Cthulu or Ood, You Decide

Friday, June 15th, 2012
By Twistie

So I went wandering over to What Not to Crochet today, and what to my wondering eyes should appear but this:

But what precisely does it represent?

My first thought was Cthulu,

… but the comments mentioned the possibility that it might be an Oud.

Whoops! Not that kind of oud. This kind of Ood:

That would be the fellow on the right, for anyone still experiencing confusion.

The tentacles are definitely the right length and curliness for a Ood, but the green color and lack of translation ball doohickey (yes, that is a technical term, please do keep up) convince me the original artist meant that ski helmet to be Cthulu.

Still, I’m more than happy to open up the question to my readers. Is it Cthulu, or is it an Ood? What say you all?

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Stitches

Thursday, June 14th, 2012
By Twistie

Have you ever wanted to take a family photo and turn it into a cross stitch pattern? Well, it turns out you can do just that for free online at

Just upload a photo from whatever source you have, and the site will convert it into a cross stitch chart, complete with suggestions about what colors of DMC thread will look best.

Of course there are limits on how big the picture can be and how many colors are involved, because, well, this is a free program and it’s got limits like all free online programs. Still, they do suggest in the FAQ that you can send in a bigger, or more elaborate photo and request a custom job.

Anyway, the pattern stays available for about an hour online, during which time you can download it and print it off. There is, however, a gallery of patterns put up (with the originator’s permission) and available for download to anyone. I was particularly amused by the cross stitch pattern of some random knitting… and the zombie Hello Kitty, of course.

But wait! There’s more! The good folks at Regretsy saw this one and couldn’t help themselves. Helen Killer asked readers to create patterns and send her the images. She would then pick her favorite and have the reader make it, or send money to commission someone else to do the stitching and display the results on Regretsy.

Of course the readers have already sent in a plethora or possibly several myriads of demented, twisted, bizarre, or otherwise potentially scandalous ideas and Killer has opened up the floodgates to a reader’s poll to determine the winner. When last I looked, Carol Channing shouting ‘raspberries!’ was in the lead, closely followed by the Captain Picard facepalm. I voted for Spock and Jesus. Then again, readers are invited to vote early, vote often, and vote whimsically.

Warning: some of the images are astonishingly unsafe for work. Visit the poll from your desk (or anywhere else, for that matter) entirely at your own risk and don’t say I didn’t warn you. Just keep in mind that scatological humor runs rampant at Regretsy.

It Took Me Eighteen Months…

Wednesday, June 13th, 2012
By Twistie

… to craft my wedding. The bulk of that time was devoted to making the eleven yards of lace for my gown, a process that closely resembled this:

(Illustration via Diane’s Lace, Knitting, and Other Crafts)

But there were other crafts involved in my wedding. One of my bridesmaids sewed the custom gown:

(Illustration via Sewing Mantra)

And then there was tying the bouquets, doing all the other flowers, making favors, decorating the site, writing the ceremony… yeah, it was pretty handmade.

What’s the point of all this blathering about making my wedding by hand?

Well, that wedding was nineteen years ago today, and I wouldn’t change a thing about it. I would still do it all by hand… and I would still marry the same amazing guy.

After all, he’s the one who took how long it would take me to make the lace into account when he picked our wedding date.

Happy anniversary, Mr. Twistie! May we share many more while making our lives by hand.

Disclaimer: Manolo the Shoeblogger is not Manolo Blahnik
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