An Unexpected Hiatus

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!

Patreon Update – New Perks, New Milestones, New Schedule

We’ve got some new things to tell you about today and I’m going to start with a story. I think art is all about a way to tell our stories, and this story is actually about storytelling and creating.

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.

You can expect the Geeky Links posts to continue, and our heavier content posts (like tutorials and pattern releases) will happen on Wednesdays.

We’ve also made a major update to our Patreon!

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.

P.S. Thanks for reading all the way to the bottom. Here’s the new thing I learned to do recently – the Japanese art of temari.

Stitchy Night Project Update

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 Tuesday – The End is Just the Beginning!

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!

April Totally Useless Stitch-A-Long

It’s time for the Totally Useless Stitch-A-Long again!  We’ve been really busy this month, but not all of that has been while using thread, so there’s not a big leap from last month. I know there’s going to be more thread built up in there soon, though!  It is really interesting just to get a gauge of how far we’ve come with this. We’d love to see anyone else’s ORT jars, too!

Tutorial – Rubik’s Cube Style Tissue Box Cover

I love playing with my Rubik’s Cube. I spent a lot of time trying to solve it over and over again. Now I can actually solve and enjoy doing so over and over. Today I’m going to show you how to make a tissue box cover that looks like a big Rubik’s Cube. Once you get your pieces cut out, the stitching itself is a pretty mindless activity, and I watched anime while doing it.

Materials:

Size 7 Mesh Plastic Canvas

Scissors

Tapestry Needle

Skein of Black Yarn

Your choice of 5 skeins of Yellow, White, Blue, Green, Orange, or Red yarn

I chose to do this as a completed cube. If you like, you can mix it up however you like on yours. Just remember that there are only 9 squares for each color. It may help you to graph it out if you want to do things that way.

First off, you’re going to need to cut out 5 pieces of your plastic canvas to 37 by 37 squares. That’s about 5 and a half inches with the 7 mesh.

One of those pieces is going to be the top, so you’re going to need to cut a hole out for where the tissues will come out. Each of the 9 stitched squares are 11 squares wide, so after leaving space for the black, cut out the center square of one of your pieces. Now choose which color(s) you want the top to be and you can start stitching your first square!

I went with yellow for the top. Starting at the top left corner, go diagonally from the bottom left to top right when you make each of your stitches. The edges will be filled in with black later, so the first place you put your needle in should be 3 down and 2 to the right of the top left corner. Then bring it up diagonally to the square one up and one to the right of that to make your first stitch.

 

As you can see above, each stitch should continuously go from one side to the other until you get to the longest stitch, which will stretch 11 squares across. Then you mirror what you just did for the other side of the square.

Continue in this fashion across with the next two squares, making sure to skip a column between each for the black.

I went down the right side and across the bottom to complete this side, but you can feel free to complete each square the best way that it works for you.

After you’ve finished all of the colors, then it’s time to add the black. It’s easiest to fill out the outside edges first, and then come in for the center. Just make sure that each of your stitches go in the same direction as the colors do.

You whip stitch around the very center to get that part completely filled out. Continue filling out the black for all of the other sides and then you’re ready to put everything together!

If you’re going for a completed cube, make sure that all of your sides are lined up correctly before you start stitching them together. You want to make sure you have a proper cube!

First, whip stitch all of the side pieces to the center square. Then, whip stitch them to the sides and bottom. You can stitch up the sides first and then do the bottom or vice versa. Whichever feels most comfortable for you. Also, there should be two stitches in each corner to fill things out.

And with that, you’re done! This can make a great gift for a teacher, or put it on your own desk at work. Show off your geek pride at the office!

We are able to make tutorials and patterns freely available like this because of our wonderful patrons.Become a patron here to make tutorials and patterns possible, and to help “set free” some of our paid patterns.

Tarot Tuesday – Using Random Cards as Writing Prompts

Tarot Tuesday is a weekly feature in which Kelly talks about how tarot cards can be useful for artists and crafters. You can find a list of decks she has in this post if you’d like to request that a certain one be used to show the art in that deck.

Obviously, we mostly focus on art and crafts around here. Oh, but I do love a good story! Maybe that’s why I lean more toward the “art” in “arts and crafts”. I love projects that are inspired by a great story, or have a story behind them. Storytelling is also creative work, so we’re not about to leave our world-crafting, character-creating friends out!

You do not have to know anything at all about the meanings behind tarot cards for this writing exercise. In fact, having done this myself several times, I’m willing to say it might even be easier if you don’t already associate cards with their meanings. All you have to do is shuffle a deck, start laying cards out, and tell a story about what you see. I’ll be using the Robin Wood deck (affiliate link) for this.

Remember – I’m not drawing cards to fit a story. I’m just laying out whatever I pull from the top of the deck and creating the story around the pictures.

Our story starts with a queen who is hearing a case brought to her by one of her subjects to settle.

A man from the deserts far to the south has been accused of stealing a magical rod from one of the queen’s subjects. The rod has great power, and burns with life-giving energy. Supposedly, this man has stolen it so he can take it back to the desert and grow any plants and crops the people there might want. Not only is he a thief, but this threatens to upset the kingdom’s trade agreements with the desert people!

The man from the desert says he didn’t steal the rod, but that he crafted it himself. He works long hours in the hot desert sun giving these rods their physical form and then imbuing them with magical properties.

“Why then,” the queen asks, “would this man say you’ve stolen the rod?”

“I believe he was hired to bring false charges against me, Your Majesty.” The man explains that the prince of the merfolk is angry with him and may have hired a merchant to make accusations against him. The prince had requested that he craft rods to be used as weapons by the merfolk, but the man had no desire to craft rods to be used in war.

This is not the best storytelling I’ve ever done. I’m not going to suggest that you write a novel you have any hopes of publishing this way. It is, however, a great way to get those storytelling parts of your brain to stretch and flex. Some of the cards were reversed when I turned them over. I don’t turn reversed cards around when I’m actually doing a reading. For this, though, I did turn them around in order to help myself ignore card meanings. You might find that an upside down picture plays right into your story.

So how did the queen decide which man was telling the truth?

The greatest warrior in the kingdom was brought in to wield the Sword of Truth and battle the man from the desert. If he was telling the truth she would be unable to defeat him, despite her skill as a warrior. I don’t know if the man was telling the truth or not. Maybe you could continue the story with your own cards.

 

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