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!

Linky Goodness – Fine Cell Work, Crochet x 2, Quilting, and Scrapbooking

I re-directed this blog less than two weeks ago, and since then I’ve found some extraordinary articles and posts that clearly demonstrate how crafts can make us better people. I realize that I’ve just started to scratch the surface on the topic, and so on a regular basis I will make it a point to share the linky goodness I’ve found on these here interwebs.

Fine Cell Work

fine-cell-work-logoOne of my first inspirations is the amazing program in the U.K. prison system called Fine Cell Work. Prisoners are given training and guidance by volunteers, and they learn job skills and make a bit of extra money by creating some amazing pieces of needlework. Beyond that, their testimonials speak of learning patience, gaining focus and calmness, acquiring a sense of accomplishment and pride, and enjoying the “freedom of creativity.” In a most remarkable story by a man named Andy, he writes that “being able to stitch was a great way to take my mind off what was going on inside my head.”

Crochet Concupiscence

Kathryn Vercillo has a compelling story about how crochet saved her life. Her story is now a published book that also contains the story of two dozen women who crochet to heal. Her blog, Crochet Concupiscence, is a great mix of crochet inspiration, news, fashion, projects, interviews, and more. I’m certain I will feature more posts from her blog in the future. [Note: I’ve purchased her book and it’s being shipped to me as I write this. Stay tuned for a possible review…]

Daintytime

Quilter Sherri Lynn Wood has a very refreshing take “On Being Judged” on her Daintytime blog. Instead of accepting judgment on a piece either by others or by herself, she instead asks herself “…questions as a way to evaluate my work rather than judge it.” Simply brilliant. This is applicable to all areas of our lives, not just our crafts. I think her quilt RGB Modern (shown at right) is beautiful and vibrant (despite the judges comments)!

Geekgirlcrochet

This post by Geekgirlcrochet describes how she uses, among other things, crochet to help her cope with anxiety and OCD issues. She shares her story not to garner sympathy, but instead as a genuine way to explain her situation and to help “…anyone out there who might be suffering in silence and not know how to help themselves or someone they love.”

She says: “Not only is creativity a means to release and express a lot of what you’re going through, it also is a great tool for getting out of your head. Simply making my mind focus on a challenge really redirects a lot of my anxiety.”

Shimelle

Scrapbook page #4My last linky goodness for today, this “Never be afraid to scrapbook yourself” post by Shimelle really resonates with me. I have never felt very photogenic – and she gives the best reasons I have ever encountered to just GET OVER IT. In a nutshell, we need to appreciate where we are and how we look NOW. You’ll just have to read her well-written post – it’s absolutely spot on.

 

Do you know of any inspirational craft blogs or posts that you would like to see in a future edition of linky goodness?

The Benefits of Traveling

I’ve led a charmed life when it comes to traveling, and it just keeps going. I’ve been in 47 of the 50 States (Michigan, Wisconsin and Alabama remain), and I’ve done some extensive traveling through Europe and Asia. Another trip to Europe is in the planning stages, and currently on my list of places I want to go (and haven’t been before) are Australia, New Zealand, Vietnam, and Cambodia.

benefits of traveling - fantastic french patio tile patternOne of my benefits of traveling is that I’ve gathered some great inspiration for craft projects from traveling. I’ve got patterns ready to test stitch based on this patio from a hotel near Toulouse, France:

 

 

 

benefits of traveling - colorful geometric floor of a bar in spainThis floor could inspire some great designs someday. It’s from a bar in a tiny town in Spain:

 

 

 

 

benefits of traveling - italian tiled wallThis gorgeous wall from a hotel near Norcia (pronounced Nor-CHA), Italy is full of potential:

 

 

 

 

newton needlework pattern - inspired by the entry tile of the Hunter mansion in Newton IowaThis project is based on a tile pattern in the entry of a house in Newton, Iowa (you can read more about it here):

 

[Wow, does anyone think I like geometric patterns yet?]

 

benefits of traveling - portion of the ceiling of the Piccolimini Library, Duomo di Siena, ItalyAnd don’t even get me started on the Piccolimini Library of the Duomo in Siena, Italy:

 

 

 

 

One of the other benefits of traveling, REAL traveling, is that it’s one of the best ways of learning about yourself and the world. When I say REAL traveling, I don’t mean cruises or all-inclusive resorts. I mean going somewhere off the highways and motorways, finding your own way from town to town, ordering food in restaurants where you don’t recognize anything on the menu, and buying groceries where you don’t speak the language.

This short post by Trish at GirlsOnTheWay is one of the best accounts I’ve read about the benefits of traveling and what REAL traveling can teach you. I’ve traveled with a backpack in a similar way and I agree with her post one hundred percent. I especially appreciate her third point: “Material goods don’t matter. At all.” This is so true. There is very little you NEED. Everything else is just icing on the cake. Read Trish’s post – it’s worth every second of your time.

benefits of traveling - portion of the ceiling of a church in Oloron Sainte MarieThese days I’m fortunate enough that I can take my crafts with me as I travel. If I’m not stitching, then I’m collecting inspirations or designing future projects. This is a portion of the ceiling of a church in Oloron Saint Marie, France. I’d love to design a project with these gorgeous motifs someday…

 

 

 

 

Have you seen the benefits of traveling in ways that Trish has mentioned? Are you able to take your crafts with you on your travels? We’d love to hear about it! Please comment and share your experiences…