Variegated Floss Projects Part 2

Welcome to Variegated Floss Projects Part 2! In this six-part series I’m sharing a ton of ways to use variegated floss in craft projects ranging from needlework and quilting to furniture, jewelry, and home decor.

Part 1 of the series covered variegated floss projects in the needlework areas of cross stitch, needlepoint, and embroidery. This Part 2 will explore variegated floss in plastic canvas, quilting, felt, sewing, and pom-pom projects.

variegated floss projects part 2 - DMC 4050

As I said in in Part 1, variegated flosses are beautiful and they make every piece that uses them unique. No two people will ever use the exact same length of a floss in the same way, thus every project will have a different result! This makes creating with them an exercise in curiosity and a fun adventure.

Variegated Floss Projects in Plastic Canvas

082Making coasters is a perfect way to start crafting with plastic canvas, and this tutorial by Susan at HomeschoolingHeartsandMinds shows how variegated yarn and a simple pattern combine into a pretty and useful project.

 

 

PC Ornament TutorialA slightly more advanced project is the tutorial to make these awesome design-your-own ornaments from Diane at CraftyPod. As you can see, these are a great way to use up some variegated yarn scraps!

 

 

 

These intriguing Spirograph Necklace pendants by StealthandAces use the same plastic canvas rounds. In this photo you can see she used solid colors to produce a variegated effect, but why not see what happens with a variegated floss?

 

 

 

You might find some inspiration in this little PC purse made by Jenn at Clever, Crafty, Cookin’ Mama. It’s not a tutorial per se, but she gives enough information for others to attempt the same. I think the combination of the variegated yarn, the solids, and the stitches were a good choice for this cute project.

 

08.07.12 plastic canvas 13This little Christmas house on TheMakingBox is just darling, and I love how the speckled yarn used on the roof adds just the right amount of texture and character.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finally, from Craftster is this clever Bob Dobbs plastic canvas cross stitch project. User Oddityblaze used variegated yarn to create, in my opinion, an ideal psychedelic background for the cult icon.

Variegated Floss Projects in Quilting

variegated threadsSuperiorThreads has a great rundown of the many types of variegated threads they offer for machine and hand quilting. The selection of colors seems nearly limitless!

 

 

free motion quilting with variegated threadAmy at FreeMotionQuiltingAdventures gives some great tips on working with variegated threads in machine quilting – when to use them, and maybe when not to use them.

 

 

 

var-flower-heart-quiltA great use of variegated thread is this wholecloth quilt by Susan at WildOnionStudio. As you can see, “for the heart, [she quilted] over the lines several times to make that baby pop” while using a more neutral thread for the background.

 

 

This wholecloth quilt by MarveLesArtStudios also uses variegated thread, but this time the cloth is a batik pattern. This makes the quilting less noticeable but it’s pretty, practical, and a great way to practice your skills without a lot of risk.

 

I have to admit it’s hard to see in the photos, but it’s easy to grasp how the variegated thread they used would add some nice visual interest to this bold and bright Anchor Quilt at PieceNQuilt.

 

 

I also like the use of the variegated threads to help convey a flowery impression on this modern LinesSpring quilt by EschHouseQuilts.

 

 

 

Detail 1 of Royal Crustacean - fractal art quiltVariegated threads are also used extensively in hand quilting. One example are the subtle colors in this elaborate fractal Royal Crustacean quilt by Rose Rushbrooke,

 

 

 

 

 

 

and another in this simple and cute 9″ x 9″ quilt square by Elizabeth at PiecefulLife.

 

 

 

 

Kathleen Murphy uses some hand dyed cotton floss and some variegated wool yarn as you can see below on her unique Embellish art quilt.

Stitch Around The Clock page Augustus for CQJP 2013.Some of the best examples of variegated floss in hand quilting can be seen in crazy quilts. This type of quilting is closer to embroidery than quilting per se, but crazy quilts are such a huge niche in the quilting arena that I like to give them special consideration. One need not go any further than the Flickr Photostream of Margreet from Holland for some outstanding uses of variegated floss in crazy quilts. In this example at right, she beautifully combines no fewer than four different variegated flosses (there may be more!).

Evelyn Chow has curated this outstanding Pinterest board of crazy quilt embroidery. It is truly worth the time to check these out!variegated floss projects part 2 - pinterest crazy quilt embroidery

 

Variegated Floss Projects in Felt

First up, Fiona Duthie gives some great instructions on a couple of different methods to create your own “variegated” felt using Kool-Aid.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A little inspiration comes from this lovely combination of felt and variegated floss on these Easter eggs by Amy at InTheFold,

 

 

 

Felt Flowers - Crafty Staci 13and a little more inspiration is in these lovely felt lillies with their variegated floss accents by CraftyStaci.

 

 

 

Finally, there’s this project by Katie from DuoFireworks as a guest post on the WhipUp blog. She gives the pattern and more information on how she created these felt potholders by first knitting then felting with some Fingerwolle variegated pencil roving. So interesting!

Variegated Floss Projects in Sewing

Of course, most clothes are not made with variegated floss, however, why not have a little fun with your machine? Most sewing machines have some decorative stitches built in, and on SewMamaSew guest blogger Maggie Kertay has this great tutorial on how to show them off a bit!

 

 

 

 

variegated floss projects part 2 - machine decorative stitchesAlthough the above photo doesn’t use variegated thread, as you can see here they look great in decorative stitches! Sew4Home has an in-depth post on decorative stitches, tips on making them work, and some uses for them.

 

 

Kristi at Addicted2Decorating used both decorative stitches and variegated yarn on these pillows. Her tutorial gives detailed instructions on how she made this fun and unique decor for her home.

 

 

Variegated Floss Projects in Pom-Poms!

I put an exclamation point at the end of “pom-poms” above as it’s incredibly hard to talk about pom-poms without some enthusiasm – they’re so fun! Take these for example. Cheryl at SewCanDo made these as part of a book review. She used embroidery floss, baker’s twine, standard yarn, and chunky variegated yarn to make these funky poms.

 

How To Make Giant Pom Poms Tutorial vintagerevivals.com-14Mandi at VintageRevivals has a fantastic post including some lessons learned and a tutorial on how to make these giant pom-poms and attach them to a throw blanket. Why not try it with a variegated yarn?

 

 

Pom pom flowers - by Craft & CreativityAs you can see in this cute arrangement, Helena at CraftandCreativity did create multi-colored pom-poms and crafted them into these flowers. Her post has some tips on her process. Very very cute!

There are a ton of tutorials and examples of crafting with pom-poms. So many, in fact, that I will leave you with just these examples. But I hope that these show how well variegated flosses and yarns can be used in all these pom-pom crafts!

 

 

That bright and cheerful note finishes this Variegated Floss Projects Part 2! Are there any more examples in these crafty categories of plastic canvas, quilting, felt, sewing or pom-poms that you would like to add to the comments?

Make sure you check out Part 1 which featured cross stitch, needlepoint, and embroidery. And stay tuned for the next FOUR parts of this series covering knitting, wreath making, string art, jewelry, and a whole lot more!

Update: Here are Part 3Part 4, Part 5, and Part 6.

ACrafty Interview with Pam Harris

Welcome to today’s ACrafty Interview with Pam Harris – multicrafter extrordinare!

Afternoon Tea and Craft on the PatioWhen did you start crafting? PH: I was about 6 years old and I learned to make little Zozobra’s by tying a Kleenex around a cotton ball and sticking on two little eyes. My Mom and I made them as part of a fund raising project for her club during Fiesta de Santa Fe. Most “craft skills” I learned were “useful” – sewing, embroidery, knitting; however, I do recall making little rolled paper beads with my Great Grandmother. I come from a long line of practical women so anything I made or learned to make (even when very young) had to have lasting value. I have pretty much carried that ethic forward throughout my crafty life.

What crafts have you tried and what is your current favorite? PH: You do know I am an incurable dabbler – right?

Knitted/felted snowman.  Pattern from Marie Mayhew Designs.Knitting, crochet, punched tin, polymer clay, beading, wire and beads, quilting, wheat weaving, shaved wood, wet felting, needle felting, weaving, embroidery, temari, soft toys, gourds, English paper piecing, sewing garments and household goods, spinning, decoupage, bread dough sculpture, macrame, paper, hand building and throwing pottery on a wheel….

Current favorite? Besides any craft having to do with Christmas and Winter Holidays you mean? Mostly working with fiber – any and all of the fiber crafts – what I find myself doing most of the time. I like combining techniques – so that several fiber crafts are included in a project

Celebrating St. Lucy Day - St. Lucy, Star Boy, Scandi-gnome and TomteWhat is the biggest project you’ve ever tackled? PH: It is a toss-up between Austrian shades for Diane’s bedroom when she was a girl, re-upholstering a sofa, and a 4 foot by 6 foot embroidery which took forever! I think I have gotten the need for big projects out of the way!!! Now I relish smaller projects and except for knitting and crochet, and I pretty much prefer to use my own designs.

 

First pair of socks!What project are you most proud of? PH: Learning to knit socks!!

Learning to knit socks was a looooong, fiercely fought battle between the part of me who wanted, like everything, to learn to knit socks and the side of me that is intimidated by anything that is not fairly easy to learn the first time. To give you a clue, just casting on required repeated views of “cast on videos!” Can you imagine what I went through learning short rows or picking up gussets? Many “near-tear moments” I’ll admit! (And a bonus – while knitting the first sock, I became an expert at unraveling my work!!!)

I had no one i could turn to for help so I had to rely on the internet. It is a hugely valuable resource for learning to knit or crochet or sew or….. Coming from a time when such a resource did not exist, I totally appreciate how much the easy access to knowledge adds to the quality of and opportunities to learn in our lives.

So, while the socks I have knitted provide welcome and beautiful footwear, they are much more – a constant reminder of the role persistence and unwillingness to give up plays in the process of learning a new skill.

Using Mod Podge to mount fall leaves to small canvasesWhat is the silliest question you’ve received regarding your work? PH: I can’t actually think of a single silly question. I have been frustrated at times by crafters asking me why their project didn’t turn out only to subsequently find out that they did not follow instructions.

 

Filling up mini muffin cups with tiny hexiesWhat is the most common question you receive regarding your work? PH: How do I manage to do as much as I do!!! The answer is that I tend to be very organized and carefully plan my time so that I can accomplish the things I want to accomplish.

 

Fall Leaves, Mod Podge and Mason Jar = Beautiful CandleWhat is your most popular project? PH: Pretty much a three way split between coloring Easter Eggs with Kool-aid, using Mod Podge and food coloring to tint jars to use as lanterns or vases, and using Mod Podge to apply dried fall leaves to jars. While there are several others that drive large amounts of traffic to my blog, these three are by far responsible for the most traffic.

Dutch Canal Houses embroidery to celebrate St. Nicholas Day/SinterclasDo you sketch or plan most of your work before you begin, or do you generally work without a pattern? PH: I use a pattern when and where it is needed – like a quilt or embroidery, knitted piece or a soft toy – however, as often as possible, I like using my own ideas. Some crafts like painting gourds, punching tin, working with shaved wood or beads and wire and while weaving – I tend not to pre-plan but let my muse have her way with me!!

Saori freestyle weaving, Crochet Tooterphant and Winter Solstice Quilt BlockHas a craft or craft project ever challenged you in an unexpected way? PH: I tend to try new things I know nothing about so I often get into trouble – in lots of unexpected ways!!! But I always find a way to make it happen – learn what I need to learn.

 

 

Punched Tin Butterflies massing on my Seasonal TreeHow has crafting affected your character? PH: For me crafting – making – is as necessary as breathing. It is not something I have acquired – something added. It is who I am. It is a natural expression of my predisposition to create. It is how I function on a daily basis. And so, engaging in craft activity brings me joy, fulfillment, satisfaction.

Taking my craft to a blog has brought me in touch with a unique and inspirational group of new friends from all corners of the earth – women (and men) who are authentic, creative, and each brilliant in her/his own way. I am grateful for these connections beyond words. AND I am thrilled that the blog gives me the opportunity to support and share their talents.

Danish Woven Paper Heart BasketsCan you share a story about how your crafting has affected others? PH: Nothing in particular comes to mind. But my heart is made happy hearing from crafters who leave me comments or who write me e-mails and share how much a tutorial I have written has helped them understand the process behind a particular craft.

 

 

 

 

Guess i am going to learn lace knitting!What crafty goodness do you have coming up in the future? Why is it appealing to you? PH: Weaving bags for Diane (daughter – Craftypod) and myself using all hand spun yarns; designing and creating a primstav (more info) using embroidery; learn simple carving so I can carve my own Christmas elves and Santas; knit a Finnish lace poncho from hand spun yarn; and continue testing cookie recipes for the “Winter Holiday Cookies from Around the World” project!
Sweet Pepperkaker addition to winter holiday baking!

 

Many, many thanks to Pam for taking the time from her busy schedule to participate in this interview series! Pam just celebrated her Five Year Blogging Anniversary (a huge accomplishment), and I know she’s got a lot of winter holiday crafty goodness coming up on her blog over the next six weeks. Just look at those cookies above and how elegantly they’re displayed – can you even imagine how beautiful her whole house must look for the holidays? It’s mindboggling!

You can follow Pam’s adventures on her blog Gingerbread Snowflakes, her Flickr photostream (and Flickr sets with picture guides to all her tutorials), and on Instagram (@gingerbreadsnowflakes).

Would you like to be a part of the ACrafty interview series? Just contact me! You might also be interested in reading some more ACrafty Interviews with (Pam’s daughter) multi-crafter Diane from CraftyPodneedlepointer Haruhi Okubo of Cresus-Parpitatter and chainmailler Jeff Hamiltonpotter Nancy Germondbasketweaver Tina Puckettcross stitcher Meredith Cait, the two part interview with textile artist Arlee Barr, and Halloween costume maker Justin Newton.

Water Themed Crafts Part 5

Welcome to healthy water themed crafts part 5! These are crafts that encourage us to drink more water and that help us appreciate clean rivers, lakes, and oceans.

Parts 12, 3, and 4 covered crafts ranging from crochet to polymer clay, woodworking to scrapbooking, chainmaille to knitting and much more. Today, in this fifth of six posts, I’m covering water themes in quilting, soapmaking, felting, perler beads, macrame, and furniture making.
Water Lily Leaf

Water Themed Crafts in Quilting

healthy water themed crafts part 5 - quilt patternThere are nearly endless examples of watery inspiration in quilts. First up is a pattern offered by McCallsQuilting for this interesting “Sunset on the Water” quilt.

 

 

 

 

A rich source of ideas is this Pinterest page from Theresa Callahan. It’s title sums it up well – “Fun: Fish, Boats, Water to Quilt, Sew, Craft, & Admire.” While these posts are concentrating on water rather than the things that inhabit the water, this collection has ample examples of ways to express water using fabrics.healthy water themed crafts part 5 - pinterest quilting inspiration

Artist Barbara Schneider has a series of quilts based on light reflecting off of water. I find many of these to be nearly photorealistic and stunning in that quality. You can see them on her eponymous website – worth every second of your time.

Linda Gass has dedicated many quilts to exploring water themes – water rights, water origins, water usage, water and land interactions. Not only do her quilts raise interesting questions, they are beautifully executed.
Linda_Gass_3

This beauty by Martha at QisforQuilter is a favorite of mine. She took an illustration by Charley Harper from the 1961 book The Giant Golden Book of Biology and turned it into this wonderful quilt. Look closely at the details of each organism in the drop – it’s fascinating!

 

 

 

 

Again, from the photorealistic group comes the quilts of Melody Randol. All of the pieces she features on her website are incredible in their realism.

Also beautiful (but much easier to see how she achieved it) is this bargello wave pattern quilt that utilizes mostly bali fabrics. It’s by Cecile Allen and was featured on the Quilter’s Club of America blog.

 

 

WaterfallThe water in this is more abstract but beautifully expressed in “Waterfall” by the truly talented Karen Cattoire. I love how the silks and organzas shimmer just as water does.

Water Themed Crafts in Soap Making

Here’s a “natural” looking sea salt recipe from Finchberry,

 

 

 

 

healthy water themed crafts part 5 - seaweed soapand this recipe from RavenMoonSoap contains both sea salt and seaweed. Author Nikki says it “carries a wonderful sea aroma.”

 

 

 

healthy water themed crafts part 5 - sea glass soapThe recipe for these sea glass soaps from The Ponte Vedra Soap Shoppe look like a pretty way to bring ocean colors inside.

 

 

 

 

 

 

healthy water themed crafts part 5 - soap wave textureThis video on YouTube by Missouri River Soap shows how to make a wave-like texture on the top of your homemade soap bars (skip to minute 11 to see her technique).

 

 

healthy water themed crafts part 5 - wave soap moldFinally, to make your soap projects look wavey, here’s two attractive molds. The first comes from WholesaleSuppliesPlus,

 

 

 

 

 

Image 1and this second mold comes from MilkyWayMolds.

Water Themed Crafts in Felt

We’ll start with a couple of felt board projects for kids. The first is this fun and kid-designed project by Alicia at The Creative Vault.

 

 

 

IMG_0652To start off the grown-up felting inspiration, I love all the wavey details in this tiny pincushion by Gretchen Brownbear on her Flickr photostream.

 

 

 

 

There a lot of needle felted projects that use ocean and sea colors, but I found this one on the SpinArtiste site to be a bit more unique than most.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Applying soapy water to woolWhen it comes to USING water to make felt, there is this wet felt tutorial at Rosiepink,

 

 

 

 

as well as this thorough collection of felting tutorials curated by Toni van der Geest on Pinterest.

healthy water themed crafts part 5 - pinterest felting tutorials

Water Themed Crafts in Perler Beads

Perler beads are perfect for fun and geeky projects. When it comes to watery ideas, here’s an underwater Mario scene by funkymonkey via SpriteStitch (love the coral!),

 

 

 

 

and here is a nifty perler bead water tribe symbol by Rachel via DeviantArt.

Water Themed Crafts in Macramé

Here’s instructions for a paracord macramé water bottle holder at KnifeForums that may encourage us to drink more water, especially those who enjoy the great outdoors!

 

 

 

Beach waves and sand knotted in cord and beads macrameSherry at KnotJustMacrame shares this project which beautifully expresses an ocean beach. From her post: “When I added beads, I kept them random, again mimicking the colors of deeper water with highlights up through the foamy green and into the sand.” Sherry offers some tips and tricks on her blog, and has tutorials for sale on her Etsy shop if you like her micro-macrame.

A study of water free form micro macrame necklaceSlightly earlier in 2013, she also shared this project, which was inspired by the “by the endless kaleidoscope of patterns” in water. It was her first piece of free-form macramé!

 

Water Themed Crafts in Furniture Making

DIYNetwork has a tutorial by Carter Oosterhouse on how to build this fun wave shaped cd rack. Although not many people display CD’s anymore, this could easily be used for paperbacks, DVD, bric-a-brac, etc. I also think this looks like a wall-sized mustache – what do you think?

 

healthy water themed crafts part 5 - wave shelfThen Instructables has these instructions on how to build your own circular cardboard shadowbox. The author states that “shape was greatly influenced by Elsa Paige bookshelf designs.” While the author’s example might be a little rough around the edges (it is for a kid’s room, after all), here you see a similar, but more refined, version by another user. All in all, it’s a fun way to incorporate a wave shape into your home décor!

water themed crafts part 5 - wooden wave tableIn furniture inspiration is this gorgeous wooden wave table by Merganzer via Xaxor,

 

 

 

 

 

water themed crafts part 5 - L'Eau chairthese fun Calligaris L’Eau chairs found through Houzz,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

healthy water themed crafts part 5 - wave hammockand finally, this enticing hammock by AuthorityHammocks. Does this look comfortable or what? Yes, please!

 

 

 

 

That relaxing chair completes healthy water themed crafts part 5, covering quilting, soapmaking, felt and felting, perler beads, macrame, and furniture making. Is there anything in these crafty categories that you would like to add to the comments?

Make sure you have checked out the previous posts of this series! Part 1 featured crochet, woodworking, quilling, lace and tatting, weaving and tapestry, and mosaic tilePart 2 featured polymer clay, embroidery, scrapbooking, metalworking, ceramics, and stained glassPart 3 covered healthy water crafts in knitting, paint, beadwork, chainmaille, leatherwork, and gardening. Part 4 included needlepoint and cross stitch, baking, glass work, basket weaving, and sewing.

And stay tuned for the sixth and last installment of these healthy water crafts, featuring jewelry, spinning and dyeing, flower arranging, origami, candlemaking, and more!

[Update: Here is Part 6 of the series!]

ACrafty Interview with Jeff Hamilton

Welcome to today’s ACrafty Interview with Jeff Hamilton, tatter and chainmailler.

When did you start crafting? JH: Awesome! The first question is an easy one. I first started crafting over 20 years ago when I was about seven or eight. I was bored one summer and my mom taught me how to do needlepoint using plastic canvas. She taught me crochet after I had made a few projects with the canvas. From then on, I just had an interest in crafting. My interest in tatting started about 18 years ago when I found a tatting shuttle in a box of crochet patterns. I didn’t know was it was for until I later found a small booklet of tatting patterns in the same box. I just had to learn how to tat.
Bookmark Exchange

Stainless Steel Byzantine Yin Yang Chainmaille PendantWhat crafts have you tried and what is your current favorite? JH: Hmm. I’ve tried so many, I hope you’re not looking for an exhaustive list! I’ve done knitting, crochet, tatting, Teneriffe lace, needlepoint using plastic canvas, cross stitch, Temari (Japanese thread balls), chainmaille, polymer clay, painting, felting (wet and needle), and spinning using a spindle. I’m sure there are others; I do like to try new crafts. As to my current favourite, I’m going to have to go with tatting, with crochet and chainmaille close behind.

Coral Reef DragonWhat is the silliest question you’ve ever received about your craft? JH: Well, I have to admit, I haven’t been asked any silly questions yet. However, a lot of people confuse tatting with tattoos and that has brought some interesting questions and comments to other tatters.

 

 

 

acrafty interview - jeff hamilton tatted windmills doily

What craft project are you most proud of? JH: I’m proud of every project I manage to finish. A couple projects stand out though. A large doily made using a tatted motif called Windmills, is the largest item I made to date. I am still working on it so it will end up larger than it’s current 15 inch diameter. Another project is a male Betta fish. This is the first design I created myself.

acrafty interview - jeff hamilton tatted betta fish

Tri Metal Serrated Byzantine Chainmaille EarringsDo you ever craft in public? If so, what kind of reactions do you receive from others? JH: I did when I was much younger. I used to go to the local Farmer’s Market with my mom where I would crochet while my mom was busy vending. I’d have a lot of people commenting on how nice it was to see a young boy crocheting. In particular, the older ladies thought it was great.

 

Has a craft or craft project ever challenged you in an unexpected way? JH: I think every craft project can be challenging in many ways. I, like a lot of tatters, make many of our items from other people’s patterns online and from books. Lately, many foreign language books have become readily available to us. The patterns themselves are often just diagrammed, but sometimes that’s just not enough. I know I’ve tried a pattern from one of these books and sometimes, something doesn’t work. I’m sure that the key to the pattern is in the text, if only I could read it.
Chinese Dragon

acrafty interview - jeff hamilton tatted canadian flagHow has crafting affected your character? JH: I definitely think crafting has affected my character. I know it has made me much more patient. I’ve always had a imaginative/creative side and have been able to express it when I design my own tatting patterns. Any crafting I do has a calming effect on me, which is nice if I have a tough day at work and need to relax.

Spinning Wheel Glass MatCan you share a story about how your crafting has affected others? JH: I know that my Grandmother was particularly fond of my tatting. She was often very interested in what I was working on. And she did often tell her friends about me and my crafting. I know my Mom greatly enjoys my crafting. She is particularly proud of the crafts that I learned on my own, ones that she never learned herself.

 

Beaded Byzantine Chainmaille BraceletWhat is the one question you’ve never been asked about your craft that you’ve always wanted to answer? JH: Since I haven’t had anyone ask, I kinda want to have to explain that tatting has nothing to do with tattoos. I’d like to be able to explain to this person what tatting actually is, and perhaps even offer to teach them.

 

Gecko for ShirtWhat crafty goodness do you have coming up in the future? Why is it appealing to you? JH: I’ve got many ideas right now. Being a male tatter, I have always felt a need to create guy friendly tatting patterns. I started a tatted tie a few years ago, and I do hope to finish it. My most recent project is creating a tatted tattoo arm band. I figured instead of trying to separate ourselves from tattoos, I could replicate the look of a tattoo without the pain and permanence.

Many thanks to Jeff for giving this interview! After I discovered MrXStitch, I’m always happy to find the work of other men who work in thread, textile, and needle crafts (check out my ACrafty Interview with cross stitcher WhateverJames).

You can follow Jeff’s adventures on his blogFlickr, and Etsy.

Would you like to be a part of the ACrafty interview series? Just contact me! You might also be interested in reading some more ACrafty Interviews with multi-crafter Diane from CraftyPodembroiderer Sasha of What. No Mints?jeweler Ron Buhlerembroiderer Ellen of Schindermania!, the multi-talented David Tedin, and needlepointer Haruhi Okubo of Cresus-Parpi.

ACrafty Interview with WhatNoMints

Welcome to today’s ACrafty Interview with WhatNoMints! Sasha is a nature lover, scientist, and the heart of What. No Mints?

ACrafty Interview - whatnomints - sasha2When did you start crafting? SW: It’s hard for me to pinpoint an exact time when I began crafting. As a kid, I constantly looked for an excuse to stretch my creative fingers – I took a few art classes to learn the basics and always overdid any school project that came my way (I remember creating a pretty epic plant cell for high school biology). I would say that I really started sharing my work with others about 4 years ago after I graduated college – I had a little more free time and (because I can’t sit still for too long) decided to jump back into crafting with both feet!

 

ACrafty Interview - whatnomints - alligator in feltWhat crafts have you tried and what is your current favorite? SW: My love affair with crafts started with acrylic paint. My parents’ house had a large unfinished basement where I would sit for hours, painting my favorite photos from magazines, etc. But college and post-graduation life has since pushed us into tiny apartments where room for easels, dirty paintbrushes and canvases are limited. My materials have since switched from paint to fiber and I now try to achieve my creative goals using embroidery floss, felt and assorted linens. I have really grown to love embroidery and enjoy trying new designs and stitching techniques!

ACrafty Interview - whatnomints - final frontier starry embroidery hoopWhat’s your most popular (or bestselling) project? SW: I would have to say that my embroidery hoop art pieces are my bestsellers – I usually just sew whatever crazy thought/animal/design that comes to mind. Luckily, there seem to be a bunch of other people out there who share my interests and sense of humor because even my quirkier pieces (like my “Baller” mason jar) sell like hotcakes!

ACrafty Interview - whatnomints - anhinga bird embroidery What craft project are you most proud of? SW: My most prized embroidery piece is actually not available for purchase. I moved to south Florida 2 years ago to begin work on my PhD in environmental chemistry. I have since fallen in love with the Everglades and the anhinga has become one of my favorite animals. This “snakebird” is as clumsy and awkward on land as it is quick and agile in the water. Unlike a duck, it lacks an oily coating on its feathers. Therefore, after going for a dip, it needs to stand in the sun, wings outstretched, for lengthy periods of time to dry. Their persona and lifestyle are both intriguing and amusing. After sewing the likeness of this wonderful creature, I realized I just could not let it go.

ACrafty Interview - whatnomints - packaged parameciumWhat’s the biggest craft project you’ve ever tackled? SW: I remember my first wholesale order of 45 hand-sewn ornaments to be a little daunting. “45” doesn’t seem like such a huge number, but then you have to remember to multiply by 2 for the number of woolen shapes to be cut and factor the time it takes to sew each unique ornament by hand. After completing the first few ornaments, I was worried I had bitten off more than I could chew. But I remembered to be relaxed and work on the project in segments so as not to be too overwhelmed. In the end, the collection of wool ornaments was perfect and lovely and shipped on time!

ACrafty Interview - whatnomints - spoonbill embroidery in progressHas a craft or craft project ever challenged you in an unexpected way? SW: I can’t say that I’ve experienced any unexpected challenges while working on a project. Embroidery floss gets tangled, stitches need to be pulled and redone, entire designs fail and must be scrapped, etc. These are all just regular hurdles that those working with a needle and thread face! I almost welcome these challenges, because they make the enjoyment of finishing a piece that much sweeter.

ACrafty Interview - whatnomints - spoonbill embroidery finishedHow has crafting affected your character? SW: I think sewing has made me a more placid person. With the workload of being a full-time graduate student, I have a tendency to not know when to stop. Oftentimes I’m the first one in lab in the morning and the last one to leave at night – Even my advisor tells me I work too much! Needlework still allows me to learn and accomplish new things, while giving the left side of my brain a break from scientific undertakings.

ACrafty Interview - whatnomints - fox in feltCan you share a story about how your crafting has affected others? SW: I think my Mom has been most affected by my crafting – She cannot get her hands on enough of my pieces!! Her home is riddled with a whole bunch of my hand-sewn items. Now that I live 1300 miles away from home, I think it’s a way for her to still keep me close 🙂

ACrafty Interview - whatnomints - sasha photo 1What crafty goodness do you have coming up in the future? Why is it appealing to you? SW: The following creatures are currently on my “to-sew” list: golden orb-weaver (a giant 5-inch spider), green heron and leaf notcher weevil. I am constantly being inspired by my environment – I love to photograph the tropical critters that live around us and transform them into embroidery art. I would also like to come up with some mythical animal patterns and create 3D soft sculptures with wool felt. These designs could include anything from dragons to hybrid animals like an allipanther (body of a panther with the head of an alligator). Sewing gives me the freedom to create literally anything that comes to mind – I love that.

Many thanks to Sasha for participating in this interview. I first fell in love with her paramecium magnets and it’s just gone uphill from there (her recent dragon piece is terrific)! I look forward to seeing all her future explorations and creations…

You can follow Sasha’s crafty adventures on her blog, Twitter, Pinterest, and her Etsy shop!

Would you like to be a part of this ACrafty interview series? Just contact me! You might also be interested in reading some more ACrafty Interviews with multi-crafter Diane from CraftyPodknitter Apockylypsequilter Betty Busby, cross stitcher Katie Kutthroat, and potter Chris Tedin!

ACrafty Interview with Apockylypse

Welcome to this ACrafty Interview with Apockylypse! Today we’re peeking into Kelly’s viking-helmeted skull and her knitting goodness.

When did you start crafting? K: In all honesty, I would probably say I’ve been crafting my entire life. I’ve always been the creative sort, whether it be drawing pictures for parents/grandmothers or taking objects to create something else. I had quite the imagination as a little girl. /* who am I kidding, I still do! */acrafty interview with Apockylypse viking hat photo two

But if I had to give a specific age of my first memories of crafting, I would have to say the one that stands out is when I was 4 or 5 & played “Pins and Needles” with my Mimmy. For crafty sorts you would more commonly know it as cross stitch. That was actually my first experience with designing too!

We took a plain white cloth and I told Mimmy what I wanted to make. She drew, ever so neatly, x’s in the pattern I described. Gave me a threaded needle in the color I picked & then I was set loose. Poking the needle up until I found the right mark. /* hence the name “pins and needles”. */

What crafts have you tried and what is your current favorite? K: It might take up less time if you had asked me what crafts I haven’t tried. You see, I’m a bit of a craftaholic and I love to learn new crafts any chance I get. But I guess I’ll give you the answer you are looking for:

  • Cross Stitch
  • Sewing
  • Knitting
  • Crocheting
  • Macramé
  • Felting
  • Drawing
  • Beading
  • Loom Knitting
  • And there are probably some others that I’m forgetting at the moment, but if it’s not on the list that just means I haven’t had a chance to learn it yet.

My favorite? Yikes! That’s almost like asking a parent to pick their favorite child. But I guess I would have to say knitting. It’s my crafting paradise because I can always seem to get lost in the stitches and escape all the crap the zombie job sticks in my head after hours. Plus I just love sweaters!

What craft project are you most proud of? K: I would have to say any of the sweaters I have made as gifts for family. For the most part I stick to hats since most of my friends and family love the hats I make, but I wanted to challenge myself and do something for family. I was proud not only because they turned out well, but I actually finished them. It was quite the project! If you’ve ever hand knit a sweater, you know what I mean.

If you’re a seller, what is your most popular project? KM: I don’t have an online shop yet, but I have sold a few things to friends and at a few local craft shows. So far the biggest seller has been my plain crocheted beanies, but that’s starting to become a close second to the Viking beanies I’ve been making lately.

My mister wanted one to wear to various cons and once I posted pictures of the finished product I started getting messages from people I didn’t even know that saw it on his page or through a friend. And I have to say that the Viking hat has definitely become one of my favorites to make. It’s just so darn epic!acrafty interview with Apockylypse viking hat photo

Has a craft or craft project ever challenged you in an unexpected way? K: Oh I’ve been challenged, but the way I look at it is that it’s just another awesome puzzle to piece together. And boy do I love me some puzzles!

There was one project I was working on where the gauge (stitches per inch) was incredibly important to be spot on. I knit up a swatch that matched perfect, but when I cast on for the actual project and got a few inches in things didn’t match up. But I wasn’t going to let this project beat me!

Instead of sitting it aside, I started scouring every craft book and site I could think of…trying to learn that one secret that would help me understand it all better. See? I told you I always want to learn more about crafting!

How has crafting affected your character? K: I can’t really say that crafting has changed me because I really can’t remember life before crafting. But I will say that it does have a wonderful effect on my mood.

There have been many times when the zombie job has stressed me out or frustrated me so incredibly much. And while coming home to my mister and furbabies definitely helps calm me, nothing seems to do it quite like crafting. Like I said before, it lets me escape to another world that is my happiest of places. And depending on the project, it could be a fantasy world where anything is possible.

I’ve seen many a knitter say “I knit so that I don’t kill people” and there really is some truth in that. I honestly think I would be in the looney bin if it wasn’t for something as simple as sticks and string. It’s almost as calming to me as meditating.

I also believe I can thank crafting for my thirst for knowledge and amazing puzzle solving skills. Some may say it’s my math brain that allows me to do a book of Sudoku like it’s nothing, but I think crafting might have a little bit to do with it too! You are always piecing things together. Matching things up. Or finding ways to fix little mistakes or mishaps.

Another funny thing about knitting. You hear so many people say that they aren’t patient enough for it, but you know what? Some of the most impatient people I know are amazing knitters!acrafty interview with Apockylypse knit needle yarn scissors

Can you share a story about how your crafting has affected others? K: Well I have been told by many friends how I’ve inspired them to learn to knit or crochet. Sometimes it has to do with the projects I’m making, but a lot of them see how excited I get about making things with my hands and they want to give it a go. I have to say that I am a creativity advocate. There is nothing that makes me happier than being able to watch my loved ones express themselves through handmade things and see all the amazing pieces that are a product of that. So what amazing project do you have inside you? I know there is one!

That reminds me! I need to go grab some sticks and string to take over to my in-laws house. My mother-in-law has asked me to teach her to knit. She expressed the desire to find a hobby and is always intrigued by my knitting.

What crafty goodness do you have coming up in the future? Why is it appealing to you? K: I have a few more Viking hats to make, but one thing I’m super excited about is my future online shop. I have dreamed of the day that I could quit my zombie job and do the craft thing full-time. I mean, it is my passion! I don’t have an exact date of when that will happen because I’m working on designs and acquiring some funds to get it going, but if you keep your eyes on my blog or other social media I know you will be hearing about when that day comes.

Thanks so much, Kelly! Best of luck with your future shop…

You can follow Apockylypse’s adventures on her blog, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and Pinterest

Would you like to be a part of this ACrafty interview series? Just contact me! You might also be interested in reading some more ACrafty Interviews with knitter Sabrina, cross stitcher WhateverJames, and multi-crafter Diane from CraftyPod!

1939 Movie Crafts

For me, movies and crafts go hand in hand. Not only do I get inspirations for craft projects from movies, I can craft while watching movies. I also learn and try to improve myself from movies – see how to act in some situations and how NOT to act in some situations.

1939 was arguably the best year ever for movies. Dark Victory, Gone With the Wind, Goodbye Mr. Chips, Gunga Din, Love Affair, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Ninotchka, Of Mice and Men, Stagecoach, The Wizard of Oz, and Wuthering Heights (among others) all were released in 1939.

I’m a big fan of Cary Grant, and now that I have a DVR, I’ve been catching up on his movies that I haven’t seen yet. A couple of weeks ago, I saw Only Angels Have Wings for the first time and I just loved it (here’s a good review). Looking it up online, I discovered it was released in 1939 as well. So I’ve been wondering “are there any 1939 movie crafts out there?” The answer is a resounding YES! Take a look:

 

 

 

 

I found this charming movie quilt by Joan Bjork that features three 1939 movie characters – Bette Davis in Dark Victory, Judy Garland in The Wizard of Oz, and Vivian Leigh in Gone With the Wind. The quilt also features six other amazing actresses, Debbie Reynolds, Audrey Hepburn, Marilyn Monroe, Julie Andrews, Elizabeth Taylor, and Ingrid Bergman, in some of their most famous roles.

Then I found, via craftgossip.com, this adorable felt Scarlett and Rhett pair by DeriDolls. She really did a wonderful job on the details for this epic couple from Gone With the Wind.

 

 

 

Ehow.com has a tutorial on how parents and kids can make a stagecoach from cardboard boxes and craft paper, while hobbylinc.com offers this 1848 stagecoach scale model kit.

 

 

 

 

Heathcliff from Wuthering Heights Cross Stitch Pattern Sunday Avery created this Heathcliff pattern, complete with torrential Wuthering Heights rain, available at her Etsy shop, BookPilgrim.

 

 

 

 

 

Geeky Cross Stitch KIT There's No Place Like HomeOf all these movies, the most popular and most crafted has to be The Wizard of Oz. There’s a TON of crafty goodness inspired by the movie. This cross stitch kit by Leslie at DisorderlyStitches puts a cool contemporary twist on the popular quote, as does this Wizard of Oz lineup pattern by PixelPowerDesign.

 

 

These DIY cupcake toppers from SweetPaul gave me a good chuckle, and Craftsy offers this Technicolor knitting pattern called Dorothy’s Dream.

 

 

 

 

 

Finally, I really like this inexpensive, simple, and colorful rainbow project for young kids at MomsCraftySpace. So cheery, and streamers are always fun!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Are any of the 1939 movies on your list of favorites? Have you ever made a crafty project inspired by one of these movies?

ACrafty Interview with Diane Gilleland of CraftyPod

Welcome to this week’s ACrafty Interview with Diane Gilleland, the multi-craft, multi-talented heart of CraftyPod.

When did you start crafting? DG: Oh, I’ve been at it since I was a tiny kid. My Mom is very creative, and she always had crafty activities for my brother and I to do. It was just a natural part of our family.acrafty interview craftypod spring easter craft mosaic

What crafts have you tried and what is your current favorite? DG: I’ll try anything once! At the moment I’m most besotted with English Paper Piecing and plastic canvas. But just as an example, in the past week I’ve dabbled with: embroidery, machine sewing, hand quilting, making Kanzashi butterflies (that’s a Japanese fabric-folding craft), and building ornaments from thin birch shavings.

acrafty interview craftypod plastic canvas robotsWhat craft project are you most proud of? DG: Hmmm… that’s tough to answer, only because I’m a process-oriented crafter. The minute I finish something, I kind of lose interest in it. But I do love how this project came out – I rescued some vintage quilt blocks by English paper piecing them into tote bags. I also love my little plastic canvas robots.

 

acrafty interview craftypod kanzashi in bloom book coverIf you’re a seller, what is your most popular project? DG: I don’t sell handmade goods, but I did write a craft book about the aforementioned Kanzashi a few years back, and it’s been pretty popular.

 

 

 

 

acrafty interview craftypod quiltblock coastersHas a craft or craft project ever challenged you in an unexpected way? DG: Oh, definitely! Crafts challenge me every single time. I’m pretty obsessed with finding new ways to combine techniques and materials, and once I learn how to make anything, I start messing around with different ways to do it.

Each craft has its own mechanics, too – bookbinding is an exercise in slowing down and being precise. Plastic canvas is an exercise in thinking in 3D. Needle felting is about tactile sensation and patiently growing forms. Crochet is about understanding structure. I like being in all these different moments with craft.

acrafty interview craftypod plastic canvas minecraft blocksHow has crafting affected your character? DG: I’m a big believer in the idea that creativity is essential to happiness, and that all humans are creative in some domain. (Peyton Manning, my favorite NFL quarterback, is creative as all get-out at the line of scrimmage. Jaime Oliver is incredibly creative about making healthy home cooking accessible to non-cooks.)

I just think that we’re all at our best when we’re creating, whatever form that takes – we’re connected to what’s essential about us, and we’re manifesting that in the world.

For me personally, crafting is a way to connect with people through classes and the online community, but it’s also important as a way to enter my own thoughts, work out problems, and process emotions. It’s almost a form of meditation for me. Simply put, if I go too long without making things, I get quite crabby and difficult.

acrafty interview craftypod quilted hexagon coastersCan you share a story about how your crafting has affected others? DG: Way back in 2003, I ran across a piece in a magazine about the Church of Craft, which is a worldwide group devoted to crafts as a spiritual idea. I found myself wishing there was a chapter in Portland, where I live. And eventually, it occurred to me that there would be one if I started it!

It was a huge step for me, a shy person, to organize a public craft group for strangers and have to get out there and promote it. I changed a whole lot as a result of the project. But in the six years the group met, I watched people make new friends, share all kinds of helpful resources, and just get a couple hours to relax and make things among like-minded folks. I witnessed the healing power of crafts over and over again.

acrafty interview craftypod quilting happiness book coverWhat crafty goodness do you have coming up in the future? Why is it appealing to you? DG: I have a new book coming out on August 27! It’s co-authored with Christina Lane, who’s such a talented quilter. The book is called Quilting Happiness, and it works on two levels: it’s a collection of Christina’s beautiful projects, and it’s also filled with creative exercises, quizzes, little vision-building projects, tools, and stories to help you explore all the ways quilting makes you happy. We’re so excited to see this work finally making its way out into the world!

Thanks very much, Diane, for sharing your insights, and best of luck with your new book!

You can follow Diane’s adventures on her CraftyPod blog, Twitter, and Facebook. I was lucky enough to be featured in a CraftyPod interview in March. Her “Image-Only Interview” series is fascinating and addictive – I highly recommend you check it out!

Would you like to be a part of this ACrafty interview series? Just contact me!

You also might like to see the ACrafty Interviews featuring knitter Sabrina Larson and cross stitcher WhateverJames