Healing continues at Casa Craftypodes. It’s a long, slow process. If you’re a gamer like us, and have played BioWare’s Dragon Age : Inquisition, I can tell you the song “The Dawn Will Come” has a lot of meaning in this house.
I’m still having trouble with my arms and hands – more some days than others – but there has been quite a bit of improvement! The off-body moves I do with my hula hoop have helped a lot with that. Hooping, in general, has helped me rebuild my physical strength. The other thing that has really helped with my hands is knitting.
Yes, that’s a 4th Doctor scarf-in-progress. I wasn’t willing to crochet one. It’s just not the same. So I’ve waited all this time to be able to make one. It seems learning to knit with the ipponbari method may have bridged the gap for me. I am now able to knit with needles, and David has even bought me some beautiful rainbow wood needles! I’ll sit down some time in the future and do a comparison of knitting and crochet. (Spoiler – it’s knitting AND crochet, not knitting OR crochet!)
Speaking of… learning to knit made me more aware of what was so weird for David when I tried to teach him to crochet before, so I’m better at explaining it. He crocheted his first Granny Square recently! This means he can help me with all the Granny Squares that’ll be going into a Christmas gift I’m working on.
We managed to get an extra early start on Christmas crafting this year. In fact, David’s got some projects going that we can’t show you until after Christmas. We won’t be able to release new patterns this year, but if you haven’t picked up our previously released patterns this is a good time to get started on cross-stitching a gift for someone special on your list!
Okay, so maybe you don’t have many cultists on your Cthulhumas list. Not everyone is so lucky in life. Our redwork Ganesh and “Not my circus, not my monkeys,” patterns would also make awesome gifts when stitched up, and the latter is very beginner friendly.
My hands aren’t ready for needle and thread yet, and there’s a lot of emotional comfort in knitting. According to my projects on Ravelry, I’ve got five WiPs going right now and three of those are knitting projects. I like to keep projects of different size and purpose going so I have “stuff to sit down and work on” and “stuff to take for work on the go”. I am by no means abandoning embroidery. I’m just letting myself rest in a big cushion of yarn for a while.
Do yourself a favor – make something nice for yourself.
You may remember that I fell in love with English Paper Piecing hexies last fall and made a mug rug from Diane Gilleland’s EPP pattern. Diane was one of the people who really encouraged me when I started EPP and I was really excited when I found out she had a book coming out this year!
Oh my stars and purple horshoes, THIS BOOK! In case you’re somehow not getting my excitement beamed directly to you through your screen, let me say I am so very happy with Diane’s All Points Patchwork! Diane is an excellent teacher and makes working with different shapes not just look easy, but really knows how to break down the information and steps so that they are easy. When I say “easy”, keep in mind I have managed to accidently sew pieces together in ways no one can figure out. We’re talking “twisting the fabric of spacetime in order to twist your sewing fabric” level mess-ups. Sewing is not intuitive for me and does not come to me easily. Diane could probably get me to sew anything.
The book has project suggestions, but I didn’t feel like it was a book of patterns so much as a book for learning the nuts and bolts of EPP. There’s information to help you decide what size you want your templates to be, which template material would work best for you, how to choose and prepare fabric… none of it telling you what you must do, but covering the pros and cons of the choices you have. If you’ve never done this before, there are even step-by-step photos for how to tie knots in your thread. (The right way, not the “How did that get there and what am I going to do now?!” way. We all know how to do it that way, right?) This book is perfect for someone like me who has no clue where to start, but wants to just learn the techniques and then make their own projects. If I could have asked someone to write an EPP book for me, this is the book I would have asked for.
I’m in the middle of working on using EPP hexies to make a rainbow border for a pillow case. Actually, I will have done a pair of pillow cases by the time I’m finished. David has been helping me with some of this, and I’d like to show you today what we’re doing.
I kind of wish I could get Xzibit to introduce this project. “Yo, dawg! I heard you like hexies, so we put some hexies in your hexies so you can stitch hexies while you’re stitching hexies!” (Pimp My EPP should be a show.) If you’re too young, too old, or too normal to get the reference, here’s the deal… you can sew half hexies around a whole hexie to make a bigger hexie. I basted 12 hexies for this, and David helped me by basting 60 half hexies.
Any time I’m planning a hexie project I print out some hexagon graph paper to draw my plans on. This has been especially helpful for this project. The idea is simple enough, but sometimes you just need the reminder for which piece goes where. I almost started a yellow whole hexie with orange border once and that is not in the plan.
Now, I will admit I have made some bad choices for fabric combinations in the past. Those of you who have been our crafty friends for a while know my favorite color is rainbow. That has led me, more than once, down the path of fabrics that just do not go together. When choosing fabrics for this project, I tried to find an element that would give them all something in common. That’s why they all have some sort of circular motif.
Each hexie’s border was the center of the hexie before. Purple, red, orange, yellow… and it’ll keep going until it comes back to purple in the center with a blue border.
When all the pieces are finished, it’ll be time to stitch them to the pillow case! Well, no… it’ll be time to iron everything. Those little “flags” at the corners will be hidden well after that. Then it’ll be time to take templates out. Then it’ll be time to stitch them to the pillow case! I’ve also planned some simple embroidery. Just a little rainbow running stitch, nothing big or fancy.
If you think you’d like to do EPP but it seems too intimidating, or you can’t imagine doing a whole quilt, I really think you need this book. There are plenty of ways to use EPP in projects that have nothing to do with quilting, and plenty of ways to use quilting techniques in small projects.
Wasn’t there something about a giveaway in the title of this post? Yes! Clover would like to give someone a box of their applique pins, which you’ll find very useful for EPP.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
This isn’t our giveaway, but you can enter by leaving a comment here. Entries will be collected until midnight on Sunday, August 9th, and international entries are welcome.
Please check out other blogs in the hop to see other projects people have been inspired to do with EPP!
Today is International Fairy Day, and that makes it a perfect day for taking a tour of our fairy garden! You may recognize some things if you were around to follow the progress on last year’s fairy garden. It was completely rebuilt this year, but we’re hoping we have a more permanent place for the fairies now and will only have to change a few things out from year to year.
Yes, that’s a drawer. Our old kitchen cabinets had to be replaced last year and we saved the drawer for the fairies to move into. It sits perfectly on a couple of cinder blocks laid side-by-side. Some holes drilled into the bottom of the drawer make sure it has proper drainage.
St. Francis has his little corner of the garden again. That’s mint planted around him. I took these pictures shortly after the fairies moved in this spring just in case anything happened and the garden didn’t look as good by the summer. It was a good thing there were early photos, after all, but the plants have been growing great! There’s a lot more green in that corner now.
The fairies enjoy having a tiny pond to swim in and rocks to sunbathe on. Maybe they need a tiny “Pool Closed” sign, though. We’ve been trying to keep the pond as empty as possible (not always easy with the rain we’ve gotten this year) by dumping water out so mosquitos don’t lay eggs in there. Tiny enchanted pools are easily tainted by mundane things like insect larvae.
In addition to a tiny hammock to lay in, the fairies have a couple of chairs made of seashells. This one is kind of fancy with wire legs and back. You can also see a couple of St. Francis’s animal friends in the back.
The fairies who live in our yard really enjoy reusing items they find. If you have a couple of buttons go missing around your house, you might want to look around and see if there are any tiny bicycles parked anywhere in your yard. All our fairies needed was a bit of wire to bend into a bike frame.
If you look closely, you can see some tiny needles and balls of thread sitting in a shell inside the tent. Is it really a surprise we attracted crafting fairies? We should leave them a note to ask if they will share knitting patterns with us.
Look at the right side of this picture and you can see a dewdrop shaped lantern standing next to the tent. There are several of these throughout the garden, and they are so pretty when they sparkle in the sun! Another example of reusing items… the fairies just strung a faceted bead onto a piece of floral wire, bent it into a loop to hold the bead in place, and stuck it in the dirt!
The mystery sprouts around the enchanted pool were later revealed to be zucchini. We say the fairies planted them, some might say there were probably some zucchini seeds in our compost… we may never know for certain how they got there. We’ve allowed them to grow, but we’re not expecting any zucchini. Just long vines with yellow flowers and big green leaves. The clover is no longer in the center (I told the fairies it wasn’t a good choice) and there is now a row of green onions along the edge behind the button bike and small terra cotta pot. The zucchini will be gone after the summer, but we hope the fairies keep the green onions.
Maybe our fairies will even stay all year now! Our nieces and nephews gave us a fairy door last Christmas, so it’s much easier for the fairies to go back and forth between our worlds now. I wonder if Christmas elves can get through a fairy door in the winter. It would be wonderful to be able to take another tour of the garden later in the year.
We know many of you have noticed our absence because you have all left the kindest messages for us on social media. Thank you for your warm thoughts… it matters to know we’re missed when we disappear.
We need to ask for your help, and this post carries a warning for mentions of violence and assault, though we will not be going into detail about it.
You know which road they say is the one paved with good intentions, right? It must be the express lane that’s paved with the best of intentions. In early May (the anniversary of the Battle of Hogwarts, in fact) we had really good intentions when we were asked for our phone to help a neighbor in distress. It was a ploy to get inside our house, though, and we were violently attacked. Both of us almost died, but there are benefits to being married to a Marine and David was instrumental in the police and EMTs being able to get to us. There were emergency surgeries, time spent in ICU, and finally we were able to start putting our lives back together. That’s a process that will take some time. We don’t really know how long.
Kelly’s left hand doesn’t work quite right, and muscles and nerves will have to grow back together. Exhaustion and fatigue are demons we battle daily, but strength and stamina are being built back up. Emotionally, there are bigger demons to battle. We have recruited help. Again, it will take time. Again, we can’t say how long.
(In case you’re wondering, Miss Veloci-YAP-tor is just fine. She had some minor surgery completely unrelated to all of this, and she caught a little cold for a while, but she’s happy and healthy.)
On top of this, we were involved in a minor car accident at the beginning of this month.Again… good intentions! Someone was trying to be nice and hold up traffic on their end to let us through, and it just all went wrong. No one was injured, but our car is pretty messed up and currently undriveable, and we were legally at fault. Another cliché that has turned our to be pretty truthful is, “When it rains, it pours.”
We have family doing what they can to help us, but no one’s emergency funds are bottomless and this is really putting a strain on things.
How can you help? Buy a pattern!
You can always find a link to our patterns on the navigation bar, but here… have a handy link! The Ganesh redwork embroidery pattern, “Not my circus, not my monkeys” beginner-friendly cross-stitch pattern, and (because it’s never too early for holiday crafting… right?) Witches Stitches and Merry Cthulhumas cross-stitch patterns are US$5.00 each. You can also pick up our cat alphabet and quote from Alice Walker’s The Color Purple patterns for free while you’re there if you haven’t already.
Craftsy doesn’t charge us a fee for selling patterns, so you don’t have to worry about how much of the money is really going to us. We can’t take custom orders right now, and shipping items would be very difficult. You get an instant download for our patterns. Buying patterns from us really is the best way you could help. Well… that, and showing us photos of your work when you stitch our patterns. That would do a lot to cheer us!
(For personal reasons, comments have been turned off for this post.)
Didn’t we just take some time off in January? Yes. There have been things outside of our control that are causing us to take time off again, though. We have a couple of commitments we are sticking to and will be in contact with the people we’re working with on those things as necessary. There has been an emergency, but we and Miss VelociYAPtor are and will be fine. We just aren’t sure right now when we can return to work.
If you choose to become a patron during this time, please be aware there is no work actively going on right now. Patrons are not getting updates, and patronage is basically a much appreciated donation until such time as we can return.
We still have previous patron rewards to send out, and that will happen. Thank you for being patient with us during this time.
Shipping any items will be delayed at this time, and we are not accepting any custom orders. You can still buy instant download patterns from us with no interruption in that process.
We appreciate the good wishes, prayers, and support we have recieved from those in the community who know us well. We’ll keep everyone updated when there is news about our return. Craftypodes is only three years old this month… there’s still a lot of crafting to do!
I started reading Stephen King books when I was in middle school (6th through 8th grade, for friends outside the US). I think I was around 13 or 14 when I wrote a letter to him to ask if Randall Flagg in The Stand was the same character as Flagg in Eyes of the Dragon. If you’re a fan of his books you probably already know the answer and could rattle off a few more books that names like “Russell Faraday” and “Raymond Fiegler” appear in. I was a kid, this was before we all had the Internet in our homes, and I didn’t know anybody else who read Stephen King at the time. Writing to ask him this question was a big deal for me!
Months later, I got a postcard in the mail. It was printed with a message that sounded very much like the beginnings of his books, where he would address us as “Dear Constant Reader” and talk for a few pages in a friendly tone that always made me want to be friends with him so we could hang out and talk about weird stories that live deep inside of people for generations before someone writes them down. The postcard apologized for sending an impersonal message, but said he had realized years ago he could either respond to each reader individually, or he could put that time and energy into writing the novels.
I was happy to have gotten a response at all, but then I got to the best part. (And this is why you should always read all the way to the bottom… the good stuff might be there!) The postcard had been slipped into a typewriter, and typed at the bottom was, “P.S. Yes, Flagg is the same character in Eyes of the Dragon and The Stand.” I am 37 years old and still have this postcard, safely tucked away with other important papers. Eventually, as I got older and talked to other readers, I realized it was pretty common knowledge that Flagg shows up in multiple books. Nothing has ever taken away that special feeling of getting a response, though!
What does this story have to do with Craftypodes? I’m so glad you asked!
We’ve already reduced our blogging schedule from what it used to be because, quite frankly, a post a day may be good for numbers, but those numbers are meaningless if you can’t deliver quality content. We weren’t putting out crap, but it was mostly repeats of what we had already put out on social media each day. I know, I know… “But you reach a different audience!” Except we didn’t, because most of the people seeing the blog posts were people who follow us on social media. On top of that, posting every day takes time and energy we could be using to make things worth posting about.
We’re cutting the blog schedule down further because we’ve realized we’re still trapped in that place. We can spend our time writing posts, or we can spend our time doing things worth writing posts about. Personally, I think we’ve had some awesome quality posts in the past few months. I’m obviously biased, but the interaction we’ve been getting from a lot of you makes it look like you agree. It’s exhausting and stressful, though, so three posts a week isn’t a schedule we can maintain in the long run.
We’ve listened to the feedback we’ve gotten over the past couple of months and made changes to our Patreon campaign that probably ought to just be considered re-launching it. (Yeah… BIG changes!) We’ve simplified things by making it a monthly support option instead of “pay per work”. That was confusing for some folks who haven’t done anything with Patreon before. It also put pressure on us to keep turning things out fast. That means keeping it simple so we don’t sacrifice quality, which means not pushing ourselves to create more advanced projects or learn new skills. We’ve also added new milestone goals, including a couple of raffles for custom work.
Okay, that’s all business-y and great, but I want to tell you about my favorite part… the perks! We’ve redone the patron perks, and even $1.00 a month supporters get something cool.
What are the perks of being a patron?
$1.00 a month patrons
access to patron-only posts on the activity feed (more work-in-progress updates than on social media, regular updates on our work that explain what our plans are and what we’re doing)
new patterns FREE! – Not all of our patterns are released to the public for free. Because you are a patron, you will be able to download even our paid content patterns at no extra cost.
$5.00 a month patrons
perks available to $1.00 a month patrons
Early pattern access! – Not only will you get all our patterns at no extra charge, you’ll get them 2 weeks before anyone else does! You could be halfway finished with stitching a design by the time other folks can download it.
$10.00 a month patrons
perks available to $1.00 and $5.00 a month patrons
access to two of our previously released patterns for FREE! – You will get our Ganesh redwork embroidery pattern, and our beginner friendly “Not My Circus, Not My Monkeys” cross-stitch pattern. (If you’ve already purchased one or both of these patterns, you may request from the other paid patterns we’ve already released as a replacement.)
We don’t want anyone to feel like they’re “not supporting enough”. It’s an ongoing relationship between patron and artist, and those small amounts really add up. Patronage is meant to be an option that makes sure we are paid for the work that goes into our tutorials and free pattern releases without being a financial burden on patrons. You can adjust your support amount later if you really feel like you’re not paying us enough.
Patreon charges patrons at the beginning of the month. You can become a patron at any time and walk away before being charged if you don’t feel like it’s really something you want to support. We hope you’ll stay and be part of this wonderful creative journey, though. Talk to us about our work. Show us what you’re doing – patrons can make posts to the activity feed, too! Nurture your own creativity and help us bring beautiful things into each other’s lives.
It’s been a while since I’ve talked about the Stitchy Night Project. I’ve been doing a lot of work making gifts for one of our nephews, and creating an awesome Rubik’s Cube Tissue Box tutorial. And Kelly’s been working on patterns that we’re going to be releasing by June. I’m really excited to get back to this!
The idea that all of that Aida cloth will eventually be completely filled is still a little overwhelming for me to think about. While the cloth is a little unwieldy to work with, it hasn’t really been that bad. As long as I concentrate on where my next stitch is going to be, it all works out.
Really, I didn’t think about just how many different shades of blue there are until I started this. At first glance, it all looks the same, but if you really stop and look you can see that the above picture has three different blues in it. It’s not all black in that strip to the right. Some of that is a really, really dark blue.
And that brings me to one of the things that this project has given me so far – an appreciation for subtle color differences. It’s not until I start stitching next to a different color that I really notice how much a slight change can make things really stand out.
I’m going to be making a lot more progress on this in the coming weeks, so be sure to follow the #StitchyNight tag on Twitter and Instagram to follow along!
Tarot is a fascinating topic, and I think that’s especially true when you look at the cards from a psychological perspective and/or explore things you can do with the cards beyond tarot readings. We’ve been doing that for two months now, and today is the last post in our Tarot Tuesday series here on the Craftypodes blog. (You can read all the posts here if you missed anything.) I hope you learned something, whether that’s broadening your ideas about what tarot cards are or picking up some new ideas for crafty projects.
I feel like writing the tarot posts here has given me a deeper connection with one of our buddies in the crafting community, Shawna from Scrawny Girl. I’m glad she got me into doing this! It’s also given me opportunities to reflect on why I make things – process vs end result, and such.
We come back around to our friend The Fool today, not just because this is my favorite card, but because that’s how the cycle works. You take what you’ve learned on your journey and make the leap again!
We’ll be reworking our posting schedule around here. While the Tarot Tuesday posts are ending, we’ve learned a lot about how our posting schedule affects our work, and about the benefits of having a regular feature. Will the new schedule work better? We don’t know. Come on the journey with us and find out!
I’ve given you different challenges to take on during this series. Your final challenge is to think of something you could end in order to create a new beginning. Something you’re doing for no reason other than because you’re doing it, or something that has run its course and it’s time to let it go. Think about what you learned from it, and channel that into your new beginning. Not just “clearing up your schedule”, but allowing a process to happen. Take the leap into that new thing with whatever ball of emotions you’re holding, and make awesome stuff happen!