Camino de Santiago Cross Stitch Pattern

This Camino de Santiago cross stitch pattern and kit is now available in my Etsy shop!camino de santiago cross stitch pattern

This project is a perfect way to commemorate a journey along the Way of St. James. The scallop shell has long been the symbol of the Camino, and it serves both practical and symbolic purposes.

The shell served as a makeshift bowl for water and food, and pilgrims would often take a Galician scallop shell on their return home as proof of their journey. The grooves in the scallop also symbolize the different paths the pilgrims follow on route to their one destination – Santiago de Compostela, legendary home of the apostle St. James’ remains.

Iglesia de Santiago de Compostela - Galicia - España.The Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela is in the province of Galicia in northwestern Spain.

[photo by Marcelo Jaramillo Cisneros via Flickr]

There are two main routes to the cathedral. There is a more inland route through Logroño, the Rioja region, Burgos, and León. Rioja is one of my favorite places – I wrote about it near the bottom of this post on our 2014 travels.

There is also a more coastal route through Bilbao and Santander, and then through Asturias and Galicia. I wrote about Asturias in another post on our 2014 travels – it’s simply gorgeous.

I was lucky enough to go inside the cathedral during a special mass. At this mass they used the massive 80kg (176 lb) censer (incense burner) called the “Botafumiero” that requires several people, the “tiraboleiros,” to operate. The censer is attached to a rope that then swings via a pulley across the cathedral transept. The tiraboleiros swing the censor nearly to the ceiling!

camino de santiago cross stitch - censer in action in cathedral

From the Wikipedia article, “One explanation of this custom, which originated more than 700 years ago—although incense has been used in Catholic ritual from the earliest times—is that it assisted in masking the stench emanating from hundreds of unwashed pilgrims.”

As with many travels, it’s not necessarily the destination that is important – it’s the journey you take to get there. I hope many of you will use this Camino de Santiago cross stitch project as a way to create a reminder of your journey.

Water Themed Crafts Part 4

Welcome to healthy water themed crafts part 4! These are crafts that encourage us to drink more water and that help us appreciate clean rivers, lakes, and oceans.

Parts 1, 2, and 3 covered crafts ranging from crochet to polymer clay, woodworking to scrapbooking, and chainmaille to knitting. Today, in this fourth of six posts, I’m covering needlepoint and cross stitch, baking, glassblowing, basketweaving, and sewing.
The Penny Wishing Well

 [The Penny Wishing Well by Paula Steele via Flickr]

Water Themed Crafts in Needlepoint and Cross Stitch

Let me start with this piece by Diane Herrmann entitled “Walking the Water’s Edge” on BridgesMathArt. This combines two of my favorite things, needlepoint and geekery, into a beautiful result. From the post: “To be mathematically precise, we work with the sum of two trigonometric curves to show the action of water as it sloshes over itself in the push to get on the shore.” Love this!

 

healthy water crafts - dragonfly pillowIn a less mathematical vein is this dragonfly cushion kit available on TheStitchery. The 4.5 to the inch gauge would be a bit large for me, but it does have some very pretty watery effects.

 

 

 

healthy water crafts - water dragon cross stitch patternThen I found this Water Dragon pattern available on Flowers2Flowers. Accompanying the Chinese symbol for water, he’s a rather handsome water beast.

 

 

 

 

Needlepoint piece / WMMW BLUE / for cushion cover top or wall decor etc.Finally is this amazing wave interference pattern by Haruhi Okubo of Cresus-Parpi. This is one of the projects from Cresus-Parpi that first got my jaw-dropping attention. If you would like to read more about her works, I featured an interview with Haruhi in July 2013. The original needlepoint project has been sold, but I wonder if Haruhi would consider selling the pattern?

Water Themed Crafts in Baking

I fully realize that the terms “healthy,” “water,” and “baking” don’t necessarily complement each other. However, when it comes to appreciating clean water, there certainly are many examples of this in baked goods. I’ll start with this amazing water cooler bottle cake by YenersCakes in Australia. How fun is this?

 

 

Next up are these clever water bottle cookies by CristinsCookies, made as part of a massive order of seven different bicycling-themed cookies (sunglasses, jersey, bicycle, etc.) for one of her customers.

 

 

This lush scene from BubbleandSweet is really more of a party planning post, but you won’t find a party more water-themed than this. Here’s additional tutorial information about the pearly cake and macaron tower, and the very cute mermaid cookies.

 

 

 

 

cake wavesCraftsy has this great tutorial on how to make wave ruffles from fondant. On the same post, they have a link to this post full of beach-themed cakes. CreativeCelebrations also has this post featuring, among others, numerous examples of cakes with shell and beach themes. Lots of inspiration out there!

 

 

 

 

Waves & Beachy Heart Cookies | Make Me Cake MeI’ll finish up with some helpful tutorials for some gorgeous wavey and beachy decorated cookies. First up are the instructions for these Summer Lovin’ Beachy Heart Cookies by MakeMeCake. Cute!

 

 

 

Beach cookieNext is a link to a video tutorial by Sweetambs for these beach cookies (love the drawing in the sand),

 

 

 

Wave and Surfboard Cookies - by Glorious Treatsand lastly is this totally gnarly DIY for wave cookies (along with some excellent surfboards and swim trunks) by GloriousTreats. Honestly, I’d feel guilty eating any of these cookies I’ve featured as they’re just too gorgeous (but I bet they’re absolutely delicious)!

 

Water Themed Crafts in Glasswork

Let’s start with this simple and pretty tutorial for this beachy glass gem art by Shannon at MadiganMade. It’s inexpensive, sparkly, and in her own words “…this sucker was HEAVY,” but she loves it!

 

 

 

healthy water crafts - lampwork bead with wave patternThere is an ebook tutorial for this gorgeous lampwork ocean scene bead from BeadsandBotanicals via ArtFire.

 

 

 

 

healthy water crafts - lampwork bead with wave pattern tutorialFrom Victoria’sGlassworks on the LampworkEtc site is a DIY on how to create this type of beautiful wavey beads.

 

 

 

Making-Waves-with-Glass-image2BeingBesidetheSeaside shares some information on how to make waves and bubbles in fused glass,

 

 

 

kim merriman fused glass waveand KimMerrimanArt has these examples of colorful waves in fused glass for some inspiration.

 

 

 

Here’s a quick video on YouTube from ExpertVillage on how to create waves in blown glass, and there are numerous sources of inspiration for wave shapes and patterns in blown glass. First is this example by NewHopeStainedGlass on their Etsy store.

 

 

 

 

 

Next is this beautiful “Coastal Bowl” by Wind’sEdgeStudio.

 

 

 

 

Iridescent Hand Blown Glass Bottle VaseThen there is this iridescent wave pattern vase by Josh Fradis in his Etsy store,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

and also this amber wave vase by Carl Radke via ArtfulHome.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glass wave sculpture by Mario CeroliThis glass wave piece (via CluboftheWaves) by Mario Ceroli is unique and beautiful,

 

 

Chihulybut when it comes to the expression of water and wave forms in blown glass, the ultimate artist may be Dale Chihuly. A Flickr search on “Chihuly” produces some beautiful photos, and his website has all his details, including his exhibition schedule. If you’ve ever been to the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas or seen the movie Ocean’s 11, his enormous work “Fiori di Como” adorns the ceiling of the lobby.

Water Themed Crafts in Basketweaving

healthy water crafts - chumash native american water basketI was curious about the existence of watertight baskets and I found this conversation on the topic on Yuku. Not surprisingly, it seems they’re difficult to weave, and require maintenance to keep their water-tightness, if not pitch and/or seeds to effectively plug all of the tiny holes. The book Survival Skills of Native California seems to have more definitive information on the topic

 

 

 

 

 

 

healthy water crafts - large wave basket lampshadesI’m happy to say there are some beautiful examples of waves in basket weaving. First are these large scale pieces made by Lin Lovekin as lampshades for a restaurant.

 

 

Wave basketNext is this amazing wave basket piece featured on SmithsonianMag.com.  It was part of an exhibit featuring the basket weaving art of African slaves who were brought to the American South.

 

healthy water crafts - pakistan wave basketThis simple but elegant wave basket is from Pakistan and available on RedPeacockImports,

 

 

 

 

 

healthy water crafts - wave basketand among other of her wavey designs is this fun piece by Sheila Wray on her site, BeyondtheBasicBasket.

Water Themed Crafts in Sewing

healthy water crafts - sewn water bottle carrierTo encourage us to drink more water, Jennifer Stern at CraftStylish has this detailed tutorial to sew an embroidered water bottle carrier. I like this tutorial as she describes how to size the carrier for a bottle you already own.

 

 

 

 

 

 

healthy water crafts - sewn layered wave skirtThen what girl wouldn’t want this very cool skirt! This great tutorial by Julie Martin of ZozoBugBaby via PetitePurls has measurements for different sizes and ways to reuse fabrics into this pretty project.

 

 

SewMamaSew featured a DIY by Alisa Burke from her book Sew Wild for this water inspired mobile for a baby’s room. I love the unstructured nature of the project, and how it is so bright and colorful while being different from most of the super-cutesy things made for new babies.

 

 

 

 

 

This lovely sea waves pillow is a tutorial from Amy Friend on the SizzixBlog. They share the colors of the gorgeous Kona Cottons they used, and although they used the Sizzix die cutter, I’m sure similar shapes could be achieved other ways (and how did she get her points to match up so perfectly?).

 

Pin cushion tutorialI adore this larger scale “pin pillow” by Lori at TheInboxJaunt. It’s a great way to use up tiny scraps and make a colorful and very functional pincushion. I’d love to make one someday!

 

 

I’ve found two tutorials for wavey bags. The first is the (depressingly named but very pretty) Wave Goodbye tote on WeddingDressBlue. A nice touch is at the bottom of the post – there are photos of completed projects by her readers.

 

 

 

 

 

healthy water crafts - wave tucked preppy handbagThe next tutorial is this bright Wave Tucked Preppy Handbag at Sew4Home. The fabrics used in this project are great and I bet there are some other combinations that would be equally fabulous.

 

 

 

 

OCEAN BUTTONS... 5 beach stone button tagsFor the details, these Ocean Buttons by MadeforFun on their Etsy shop would be a perfect way to finish off a water-themed project. Each button is roughly one inch in diameter – making it perfect for a bag or an ocean inspired sweater.

 

 

hd-mosaic_wave_col_3Finally, I had the good luck to find this fun ribbon, based on a mosaic tile wave pattern, on BelloModo. This could be used to beautiful effect in so many projects!

 

 

 

That completes this fourth post on healthy water crafts, covering needlepoint and cross stitch, baking, glass work, basket weaving, and sewing. 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.

And stay tuned for the next TWO installments, featuring quilting, felt, jewelry, soapmaking, and a whole lot more!

[Update: Here are Part 5 and Part 6 in the series!]

Water Themed Crafts Part 3

Welcome to healthy water themed crafts part 3! This series is all about crafts that encourage us to drink more water and that help us appreciate clean rivers, lakes, and oceans.

Part 1 covered crochet, woodworking, quilling, lace and tatting, weaving and tapestry, and mosaic tile. Part 2 featured polymer clay, embroidery, scrapbooking, metalworking, ceramics, and stained glass. This is the third of my six posts covering everything from leatherwork to baking, beadwork to soapmaking and everything in between…
Tidal Pool Reflections

[Tidal Pool Reflections by Sherry Buck via Flickr]

Water Themed Crafts in Knitting

Knit_bottle_1_small2Here’s a few patterns for water bottle holders that (hopefully) will encourage us to drink more water, or at least make us look more fabulous carrying around a water bottle. First up is this pattern by Kelly Spenhof on Ravelry.

 

 

 

 

 

 

water bottle cozy carrierNext is this project on About.com Knitting that, as an added bonus, uses yarn that is made in part from recycled plastic bottles.

 

 

 

 

 

healthy water themed crafts part 3 - knit water bottle holder made with hemp yarnFinally is this pattern from LanaKnits that uses a relatively small amount of hemp yarn.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hand Knit Ocean Waves Cowl - Hand Painted Blue Green Cowl -  Merino Wool Cowl - Chunky Yarn Infinity ScarfA little watery inspiration can be found in this chunky merino cowl offered by HandKnitPalette on Etsy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

On Ravelry is this lovely Ocean Serenade shawl by Christine Burkhard

 

 

 

 

and Sandra Singh offers this Gentle Breezes pattern by HeartStrings. Despite the “airy” title, the breaking waves and ocean spray are easy to see in in this shawl.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Frozen Lake Erie from Edgewater ParkThis post by Jeanne at LifeinCleveland describes her watery inspiration and the pattern source for this very attractive hat.

Water Themed Crafts in Paint

Chalkboard Nails: Summer nail art tutorialFirst up is a bit of a lark – I’m not sure if nail art counts as a craft, but here’s a tutorial for these nails by ChalkboardNails that certainly are cute and show an appreciation for clean oceans!

 

 

 

healthy water themed crafts part 3 - undersea mural stencilsFor kids (or fun adults!) there’s this undersea-themed stencil kit which is a great way for children to start learning about the importance of clean water.

 

 

 

 

Although there are other wave paint patterns out there, I found this pattern via Houzz particularly appealing. These waves could be in any number of color schemes and still convey a watery vibe.

 

 

 

From PureJoyEvents comes this tutorial for this really clever and inexpensive ocean-inspired ombre backdrop made of paint sticks.

 

 

 

DIY project jewelry-9653And from Seriously, I’m Thrifty, here’s a great DIY tutorial for painting this jewelry box. Nice to take a solid but dated looking piece and give it a modern and fresh look! If you were wanting a more ocean-y look, you might think about replacing the hardware with some fun glass or shell-shaped pieces.

Water Themed Crafts in Beadwork

healthy water themed crafts part 3 - beading water bottle sayingThis link to CafePress shows all the water bottles available that are “bead” related. So there are some references to Mardi Gras beads and some other things that aren’t crafty, but there are quite a few that definitely would appeal to crafters.  I have to say I’m partial to the saying on the right:

healthy water themed crafts part 3 - russell morton four seasons of water project detailFrom the Eugene Register-Guard and FireMountainGems are two articles about the same stunning project by Russell Morton. His “Four Seasons of Water” was created “as his effort to clean up the earth’s water in his lifetime.” And while he was beading, his “attention was completely focused on holding the thought of clean water.” A stunning and noble project.

More inspiration can be seen in this post by LissC of her fun underwater cuffs. Love her use of circles to represent the swirling water!

 

 

bead embroidery, BJP by Robin Atkins, AprilSome freshwater ideas may come from this waterfall piece by Robin Atkins via her Beadlust blog.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hannah Rosner offers this Hosukai Great Wave beading pattern through her Etsy shop, HannahRachel.

 

 

 

healthy water themed crafts part 3 - printed beading iphone coverIf you don’t want to make your own wave-pattern beaded iPhone case, you can always just purchase this printed one from Zazzle.

 

 

 

Lastly is this beautiful beaded valentine by Susan Elliott at PlaysWithNeedles. I encourage you to read the touching story behind this piece. The colors and textures used evoke sea and shore in a lovely way.

Water Themed Crafts in Leatherwork

healthy water crafts - leather wristletWe’ll start off with this cute wave wristlet bag by Susan Clark Designs via NausetSurfShop.

 

 

 

 

 

healthy water themed crafts part 3 - hokusai leather kindle coverThen there is this sophisticated handmade Hokusai Wave Kindle cover from OberonDesign.

 

 

 

 

healthy water themed crafts part 3 - wave leather beltI wish there was a tutorial for this belt! Love how the braided wave makes this belt (available on Amazon) a little more interesting.

 

 

 

 

Hand Painted Leather Wave Hair BarretteThis barrette by SarahsArtistry on Etsy is an interesting way to combine leather and paint to create a wave look.

 

 

 

Leather Single Fold Wallet with Hidden Pocket Hand Carved Waves Design Made in GA USAI really like this carved waves wallet by Peggy Broome in her Galeatherlady Etsy shop. The shapes and especially the colors make this leather gorgeous and distinctive. The pattern is also used on a fun hair barrette.

WIS Design’s Decades Chest of Drawers, Salone Satellite Milan 2008, WIS Designs furniture, Salone Internazionale del Mobile, Inhabitat Salone 2008, Milan Italy 2008, Milan Furniture Fair, sustainable design Milan, reclaimed materials, WIS Design’s Decades Vanity Easy Chair detail at Salone SatelliteThis chair cover is a great idea – made from pieces of repurposed leather. The post on inhabitat calls them scales, but why not call them waves? Once again, there’s no tutorial on this, but what a great opportunity for a DIY project!

Water Themed Crafts in Chainmaille

There are a lot of chainmaille patterns that, with the right color rings, can be made to look like waves or like water. Here are three examples that are among the best. The first is this undulating pattern as seen on BlueBuddhaBoutique.

 

The second is a tutorial available on WolfstoneJewelry’s Etsy shop for this really attractive Japanese wave pattern.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chainmaille Necklace Japanese Wave  (Multiple Colors Available)The last is this simple but elegant necklace as seen in MorganasDesigns Etsy shop. The beads used in the photo are good, but imagine this with some watery blues and greens!

 

Water Themed Crafts in Gardening

Water is, of course, of supreme importance when it comes to gardening. I’ve found a few good ideas about water gardens, collecting water, and using clean water in hydroponics. Before I delve into that, however, I thought I’d share this fun wave wall rack as seen on LawnandGarden Retailer for hanging plants. It would be a pretty way to divide areas in a garden!

 

Diy Bubble fountainJamie at ScatteredThoughtsofaCraftyMom has this excellent tutorial on how to make a bubble fountain in a pot. Bubble fountains are attractive and make soothing sounds, but to buy one already made from a garden store can be expensive! Jamie’s instructions will save you a lot of time and money.

 

 

 

 

 

02.07.09_WaterGarden_01.jpgFor those of you who would like a water garden but have limited space, ApartmentTherapy has a DIY to create this lovely planter.

 

 

 

healthy water themed crafts part 3 - cover of water gardeners bible bookThere are a ton of books on water gardens. Just type that phrase into a book search on Amazon and you’ll get a lot of good options. The first result on Amazon is the well-reviewed The Water Gardener’s Bible by Ben Helm and Kelly Billing.

 

 

 

 

healthy water themed crafts part 3 - rainwater collection barrelWhen it comes to conserving water, MotherEarthNews has some great instructions on how to make your own rainwater collection barrel. From possible ways to get a free container to how to keep mosquitoes out, this is definitely full of helpful info.

 

 

 

 

 

 

There’s a similar DIY on the Instructables site about a 275 gallon rainwater collection system. As an added bonus, there’s an update from EcoProjecteer in July 2013 that shows some of how they tripled the capacity, raised the containers, and managed to make them look nice!

 

healthy water crafts - hydroponic vegetable gardening setupThen there’s the rapidly growing topic of hydroponics. The information available can be overwhelming, but this article, also at Instructables, may be a good place to get started. It outlines the basics and has ideas for DIY systems while saving money over purchasing prepackaged systems.

 

This DIY by Dean at UrbanGreenSurvival details how he turned water bottles into a series of hydroponic mini green houses. This looks like a great way to use window space and repurpose otherwise wasted plastic bottles into an efficient hydroponic system.

 

That finishes finishes this healthy water themed crafts part 3, covering knitting, paint, beadwork, chainmaille, leatherwork, and gardening. Is there anything in these crafty categories that you would like to add to the comments?

Make sure you have checked out Part 1 and Part 2 of this series! And stay tuned for the next THREE installments, featuring jewelry, glass work, origami, felt, candlemaking, basket weaving, and a whole lot more!

[Update: Here are Part 4Part 5, and Part 6 in the series!]

ACrafty Interview with Meredith Cait

Welcome to today’s ACrafty Interview with Meredith Cait, embroiderer of Hardcore StitchCorps.

When did you start crafting? Did anyone help get you started or did you find your own way? MC: We were always an artistic family in general, but I wouldn’t say I started seriously crafting until I was 17. I’ve pretty much always found my own way with craft. My mom taught me to thread a needle and make a stitch when I was a kid, a friend showed me how to cast on, knit, and purl, and after that I work out the rest for myself. With cross-stitch and free embroidery it was very much on my own. A felted knitting pattern I did involved embroidery, and the book showed you how to do stem stitch. After that I just tried to mimic embroidery I’d seen before. When I found a piece of Aida floating in my craft supplies I decided to give that a go.

What crafts have you tried and what is your current favorite? MC: In high school I did a lot of collage with found objects (I eventually ran out of small, interesting trinkets) and had a stint making earrings. I used to be an extremely prolific knitter, and had a recent period carving linoleum stamps. Embroidery probably is my favorite though, in part for the ease of creativity. You can do SO much with counted and non-counted embroidery. People are also really easily impressed with embroidery!

Unlikely Small AdsWhat is the silliest question you’ve ever received about your craft? MC: Other than “How do you get the back so neat?” I don’t really know that I’ve received any! I don’t talk to many people about my crafts, and never have much opportunity to do it in public. I’m also sort of rubbish at making friends online (especially for someone who grew up using the internet), so I’m still in that “How do I befriend these other crafty folks, oh no I’m sure I’m annoying them, run away” stage.

 photo embr_zps514cdfdd.jpgWhat craft project are you most proud of? MC: It’s a pretty old piece, but I’m so proud of the Mercer Mayer illustration I did on a onesie. I didn’t have any transfer materials back then, so I just looked at the illustration, penciled it on the fabric, and free-handed most of the details. I’m also proud of my Roman mosaic, since it’s the first pattern I made from an image (granting that image was a mosaic…).

 

 

 

 

It Gets BetterWhat’s the largest craft project you’ve ever tackled? MC: I haven’t done much that’s very large. As far as most stitches my Roman mosaic had 12,000. Because I’m disabled and not able to work, I tend to use crafts as my sense of being productive. This makes me focus a little more on the number of pieces I can finish, since that generally lifts my mood when I’m down. I’ve got the most immense pile of finished pieces just sitting around.

What is your most popular (or bestselling) project? MC: Bestselling is definitely my Dalek pattern. It was one of the first in my shop. My most viewed on Flickr is the Robert Frost piece “Never be bullied into silence” with a rainbow border, which makes me quite happy.

 

 

frida photo frida.jpgHas a craft or craft project ever challenged you in an unexpected way? MC: I’m the first to admit that I’m a lazy crafter. Since my focus is generally keeping occupied and finishing things, if something’s hard I often don’t attempt it. I have a piece of non-counted embroidery that’s a portrait of Frida Kahlo. I started it after learning more about her, and feeling like after one of her surgeries she might have developed the same nerve pain disease that I have, given the descriptions. My usual reluctance to tackle more involved stitches or designs was forced to take a backseat because I felt so strongly about working on a Kahlo piece, and had such a strong vision of how it should look. Of course it’s still unfinished, but I’m getting there.

DMC color project finished!How has crafting affected your character? MC: People think that embroidery must require patience, and if I weren’t disabled maybe it would have made me patient, but I do literally have all the time in the world. For me I think it’s helped me calm down or slow down a little. I put on an audiobook, start stitching, and that’s meditation for me and it’s very much a way to help control the pain. I think maybe it’s made me more sharing as well. I want other people to feel the joy of creating their own patterns, even when it means less business for me.

May Cthulhu Devour This House LastCan you share a story about how your crafting has affected others? MC: I have a niece and nephew who live in the same town I do. I mostly give them homemade gifts, and my sister emphasizes it to the kids when something was handmade. When they come to my house they see even more handmade things. The last few times they were here they asked if I’d made pretty much everything they touched. I love that this is their first thought, versus “where did you get/buy this.” Long before kids know how much work goes into something, they do value the handmade, and I’m hoping to start knitting or stitching on canvas with my nephew this winter.

Rice pudding...What is the one question you’ve never been asked about your craft that you’ve always wanted to answer? MC: I suppose it’s maybe WHY I craft. Crafting really has saved my life over and over since I got sick, in a lot of ways. When I had literally no disposable income, opening an Etsy shop meant I could still buy new socks and underwear, afford cleaning supplies and Christmas presents. Having something to keep my hands and brain busy helps cope with the day-to-day tedium and pain. I can’t draw anymore really, and embroidery helps me let out creative energy. Making things lets me feel productive and that’s really important to me.

 photo blackworkquiltfini01.jpgWhat crafty goodness do you have coming up in the future? Why is it appealing to you? MC: I have the start of a series of traditional quilt block designs worked in blackwork going, and I’m hoping to expand on that again soon. I’d love to eventually make a proper quilt out of them. I’ll never be able to become a quilter, as you really do need a lot of sitting up for that (and precision is not my strong suit), so I keep thinking of ways to cheat that. I have plans for a patchwork piece, made of scraps of evenweave fabrics of different counts, colors, and sizes as well.

Thanks so much to Meredith for participating in this ACrafty Interview series! I’ve admired Meredith’s work for a while now through her Flickr Photostream. Her pieces are definitely the kind of pieces I would stitch! She beat me to the punch on the DMC sampler (8th photo down), and I was also inspired by her hilarious “Unlikely Small Ads” (third photo down). That project, based on a segment from the UK TV show “Mock the Week” was one of the reasons I tackled my recently completed “Blazing Saddles” project. I always look forward to seeing what beauty and/or snark she will stitch next!

You can follow Meredith’s adventures on her blog and on her Etsy shop

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 Ellen of Schindermania!needlepointer Haruhi Okubo of Cresus-Parpitatter and chainmailler Jeff Hamiltonpotter Nancy Germond, Tina Puckett of Tina’s Baskets, and quilter and pursemaker Linda Martin.

Book Review: Crochet Saved My Life by Kathryn Vercillo

A few months ago, I had the pleasure of finding the CrochetConcupiscence blog. Kathryn’s work on that blog, rounding up the best of crochet from around the web, is to be lauded. Not only does CrochetConcupiscence cover the best in patterns and projects, but also the best in what crochet can do FOR crafters.

Her book, Crochet Saved My Life, is a thorough summary of the benefits of crochet. Through a combination of interviews, article research, and her own personal experience, Kathryn explains the benefits of crochet for mental conditions including depression, anxiety, OCD and addiction, PTSD, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, Alzheimer’s, and dementia, for physical conditions such as chronic pain, fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis, Lyme disease, restless leg syndrome, and Menière’s disease, and as a tool in occupational therapy.

The book isn’t “light reading,” but Kathryn keeps the writing interesting and direct. The stories around her own experience as well as the two dozen other people she interviewed are presented matter-of-factly – as a way to demonstrate how crochet has benefited their particular situations. And the benefits are many: calmness, focus, relaxation, creativity, productivity, generosity, and increased self-esteem just to name a few.

a crochet hook heartAlthough the book focuses on crochet, as a needlepointer and cross stitcher, I know that I definitely experience the same benefits as Kathryn’s crocheters. Fortunately, I do not suffer from any of mental or physical conditions mentioned in the book, but I still benefit from my craft. Indeed, I tend to think of my needlework as a bit of preventive medicine! I can easily see how many of the same benefits apply toward other crafts – knitting, scrapbooking, woodworking, gardening, pottery, beading, weaving, jewelry making, quilting, just to name a few.

Polymer Clay Crochet Hook HandlesI would recommend this book to anyone dealing with any of the mental or physical conditions listed above either with yourself or with a loved one. I would also go as far as to say that psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, occupational therapists, counselors, gerontologists, life coaches, and other professionals in mental and physical health would find this book a very valuable resource in their toolkits.

One final, rather curious, comment about this book. In her chapter on depression, one of the topics Kathryn covers is the sense of touch. She mentions that “a fuzzy pet can be a great comfort,” and that “the feel of working with yarn can be one of those healing touch options” as well. Well, I found the book itself to have a similar beneficial effect! To be specific, the feel of the edge of the book and quickly flipping the pages with my thumb had a very calming effect. In fact, I found myself thumbing the pages almost unconsciously while I was reading. Fascinating!

Visit CrochetConcupiscence for the latest in crochet trends and benefits. And visit CrochetSavedMyLife.com for more about the book and Kathryn’s work.