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Archive for September, 2012

Stop the Presses! No, Really, Stop Them

Friday, September 14th, 2012
By Twistie

Last week on Project Runway, designers busk and craft for funds to make fashion. People actually buy the ugliest tee shirts in the world (crafted for you by Elena!), to the tune of hundreds of dollars. Sonjia wins with a jacket I want to snatch off the model before she can get it off the runway and out of my clutches while Alicia is sent home for failing to make something successful to go under Elena’s worst coat yet. Oh,  and we learn that Ven can’t sew anything that doesn’t involve his alien roses.

Look out below to see what happened this week.


Something Else That’s Fifty Today

Thursday, September 13th, 2012
By Twistie

(Illustration via Cathy of California)

1962 was a pretty good year for crafts. This gorgeous, vibrant wall hanging was woven by Jerome and Evelyn Ackerman, and yours truly came into the world.

Just thought you might find that interesting.

Oh, and if you feel like doing something festive about it all, may I recommend this cake?

Developed by amazing pastry chef Elizabeth Faulkner, it’s full of my favorite things: chocolate, hazelnuts, and oranges. Yum.

Add a touch of lace, and Twistie’s your uncle!… er… auntie.

Getting Around In Style… By Robot

Wednesday, September 12th, 2012
By Twistie

We all have passions that drive us, but some do it more efficiently than others. The gentleman in the rickshaw is Wu Yulu who resides just outside Beijing, China. The gentleman pulling said rickshaw is one of his robots. In point of fact, this is the second rickshaw-pulling robot Wu Yulu has made. The first one just pulled the rickshaw, but this one also tells everyone in earshot: “Wu Yulu is my dad. I take him out on the town.

The whole thing started back in 1986 when Wu Yulu made his very first robot out of pieces from a sewing machine and bits of scrap metal. Today he has robots for such varied tasks as pouring his tea, lighting his cigarettes, and writing messages.

As a child, I sometimes dreamed of having a robot army to clean my home and do my chores. It’s kind of gratifying in a weird way to think that someone in the world has made that dream come true.

Bet She’s a Hero to Her Kids!

Tuesday, September 11th, 2012
By Twistie

It’s a bedroom! It’s a playroom! Well, yeah, it used to be a bedroom and now it’s a playroom.

You see, Lori at Head Above Water has two sons. When the family moved to a new home, she assumed the boys would love each having their own room and their own space. Turns out not so much. And so the boys now share a bedroom.

That left Lori with an entire room sitting around doing nothing. But wait! what’s that, up in the spare room? Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No! It’s Supermom to the rescue!

Taking a variety of things already around the house, a few cheap finds she could tart up, and a few cool DIY projects, she created this fabulous super hero-themed playroom for the kids.

Here are a couple of my personal fave touches:

Aren’t they cool? And so ridiculously simple. Money is great for helping create a cool space, but imagination goes further.

By Knook Or By Crook

Monday, September 10th, 2012
By Twistie

There’s a really cool perk to being a professional blogger: every once in a blue moon, someone sends you stuff to review. Well, that happened to me a few weeks ago when I was sent a Knook Beginner Kit to review.

For those who haven’t heard of them, Knooks look like crochet hooks only with a hole drilled low on the handle. You see the brightly colored cords that come with the kit? You thread one of those through the hole, and then use the Knook to knit with the single hook.

I was intrigued by the concept right away. Then I read what some others had to say about working with Knooks, either the commercial ones I was waiting for or homemade versions. The most frequent comment on the difference between knitting with Knooks and knitting with needles is that the tension tends to be looser on the Knooks. Since my biggest problem with knitting back in the day was keeping the tension loose enough, I figured I might have found something that will work well for me.

On receipt of the Knook set, well, I was further impressed. The instruction manual has both right and left handed instructions side by side from casting on to finishing. That made it easy. I didn’t need to either rework the instructions in my brain or use my hands in ways that are uncomfortable for me. I just had to look and see which side had which instructions and ignore the one for the rest of the populace.

Another cool thing about Knooking is that Leisure Arts has produced and posted quite a few instructional videos on YouTube. So if reading the words and looking at the static photographs isn’t getting the concept across for you, well, you can watch film. Again, both right and left handed instructions are readily available.

And yes, I do find that I’m knitting more loosely than I did when I tried needles. Since that was my huge bugaboo, well, I think I’ve found my way of knitting. It’s also going to be nice to have a craft I can take and play with on the road. Bobbin lace is bulky for cars and needle felting in a car on a bumpy road could lead to serious injury, after all.

Obviously this isn’t a product for the experienced knitter, per se. Some  might find it a fun alternate way of doing things, but I think the target audience is a little different. It seems a handy way for crochet enthusiasts to try out knitting, and, as I say, it’s great for those of us whose biggest problem knitting the traditional way was one of too firm tension.

All in all, though, it’s good clean fun for the whole family, and I’m halfway through a pretty winter scarf in variegated thread that’s making me feel both happy and accomplished.

Oh, and if you want to try it out, it certainly isn’t going to break the bank! You can get the precise same kit I was sent from Amazon for just $6.23 ($9.95 retail) or a bigger bells and whistles kit for working with bulkier threads for just $19.95. In addition to Knooks, guide threads, and the instructional manual (including instructions for making afghans), it also includes four cord clips and three yarn needles.

If you’ve got a few bucks to spare and an itch to try out something new, you could do a heck of a lot worse than this. I know I have!

Brother, Can You Spare a Yard?

Friday, September 7th, 2012
By Twistie

Last week on Project Runway: the Lord&Taylor challenge brought out the best in  several designers, and the strange in others. Christopher won with a dress that three women in America have the figure and coloring simultaneously to pull off but that will look fabulous in a window, and… nobody is sent home. Not even Gunnar who designed a dress seventy-three million women in America already have in their closets and the rest have rejected as too ho-hum to wear.

What happened last night? Follow the bouncing cut line to find out.


Tiny City, Huge Imagination

Thursday, September 6th, 2012
By Twistie

This is how I first became aware of artist Megan Piontowski. It’s a series of delicious fabric sculpture potted plants she did back in 2009. Aloe, jade plants, she did a wide variety of succulents that never die. I’ve wanted one ever since. After all, I look at plants and they keel over dead.

Piontowski’s skill, humor, and wit appealed strongly to me.

Unfortunately, I fell behind and missed something: she wrote a book. Luckily for me – and for all of you – said book is now available in paperback from Etsy for just $15.99 plus shipping.

The title is Tiny Underdog City: An Uncomprehensive Guide. Filled with the artist’s linocut print illustrations, it tells the tale of a tiny city ‘comprised  solely of outer reaches.’

I don’t know about all of you, but I love to fill my real world with imaginary ones that speak to me. Sunnydale, Wonderland, Hogwarts, London Below, Oz… I think Tiny Underdog City fits right in with those, and so many others.

Oh, and if you happen to live in or near the very real city of New York, she’s participating this weekend (Sept. 8 and 9) in the Brooklyn Museum’s GO Open Studios. Check it out!

Hypnotoad Says Bow to Smapte

Tuesday, September 4th, 2012
By Twistie

There are times in life when all one can do is bow to greatness. That’s how I felt when I found Smapte’s gallery at deviantART.

This is some of the best amigurumi I’ve ever seen. From Hypnotoad to Han Solo in carbonite, from Lost to Mad Men, Smapte has done an amazing job of bringing pop culture to crocheted life.

And yes, I think Hypnotoad may well be my personal favorite. The detail is exquisite. All it needs is the hypnosound and a subliminal suggestion or two.

Quickie Question: Worst Craft Idea Ever?

Monday, September 3rd, 2012
By Twistie

A good friend of mine recently sent me this hilarious picture. It’s the real cover of an issue of Radio Electronics Magazine from 1949. The lady posing in the picture is actress Hope Lange. Even more amusingly, the picture is displayed prominently on her Wikipedia page. Don’t blame her. She was only fifteen. Also, being dead, she has no control over how people represent her on Wikipedia.

But every time I look at that ridiculous radio hat, I have to wonder what on earth possessed someone to design it, let alone feature it on a magazine cover. It looks like it stepped straight out of an Ed Wood Production and couldn’t have gotten good reception.

All the same, it is rather amusing… and it begs the question: what’s the most ridiculous crafting/DIY project you’ve seen featured in public?

Tell me all about it!

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