Yes, we have a one time “pay what you wish” option.

Wow! The free cat alphabet pattern we released yesterday got a lot of attention! (It did on Twitter and Instagram, anyway. You’d think there would be cat lovers on Facebook, but maybe not?) It was downloaded over 30 times by the end of the day, and it looks like it introduced a couple of you to our other patterns, as well. Yay for cats!

We were asked if we have an option for someone who wants to show their appreciation for a free pattern or a tutorial that has helped them but isn’t ready to make the commitment to ongoing patronage. We’d love to have you as a patron – whether you choose $1, $5, or more to support our work – but it is an ongoing relationship, rather than a one time donation. We understand not everyone who wants to can make that commitment right now.

If you look over on the right sidebar, this link will now sit under the patron information. Whether it’s because you can’t make the financial commitment right now, or because you don’t particularly want to be part of the artist/patron relationship but have enjoyed our content, we appreciate that you want to show your thanks for our work. Think of it as a tip jar, and put in any amount you wish. Thank you for supporting artists and crafters!

Free Stitching Pattern – Cat Alphabet

It always get comments when I stitch something in cat letters, and we’ve been asked about the pattern more than once. You can now download our cat alphabet pattern for free on Craftsy! If you can’t immediately think of things to stitch your name on in cat letters, try replacing the letters in a sampler with cats.

Each cat letter is eight stitches tall, which is less than one inch when stitched on 14-count Aida cloth. They’re beginner friendly… you just need to be able to do a running stitch or backstitch. They kind of look like they’re doing yoga, don’t they? You can stitch them in any color of thread you like. You could even stitch a rainbow of cats, or an ombre feline chorus!

I saw a picture of similar cat letters, but no amount of searching or getting others to help search turned up a pattern, so I had to make one of my own. We’re really happy to be able to take the time to make a pattern available to everyone, which is possible due to the generous support of our patrons. Become a patron to keep tutorials and free patterns coming, get some nifty patron perks, and even “set free” paid patterns as we reach support milestones.

Tarot Tuesday – Looking at the Cards for Color Inspiration

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.

I’m going to tell you what one of my weak points is as an artist. (We all have ‘em, and you don’t get better by not admitting there’s room to improve.) I’m not very good at telling a color story. I understand analogous and complementary colors, and I’ve used split complements to find a good accent color for something before. I know how to match colors. I’m just not good at telling a story with them.

Color and motif play important roles in how I interpret tarot cards. This is something you can use in your creative projects without having any intention of ever using the cards for readings. You are bound by the limits of your deck, though. Black and white or simple, minimalist decks aren’t going to be of much help here. If you follow Craftypodes on Twitter, you may have seen me mention the H. R. Giger tarot deck a few days ago. I’m not going to suggest using that one for what we’re talking about today. Not at all.

With a deck full of colorful art, you can pull cards out and look at them for color inspiration. Let’s look at a couple of Queens from the Robin Wood Tarot (affiliate link).

Swords are the suit associated with the element of air, and cups are associated with water. You know that now, of course, because I just told you. But what if I had simply asked which element you thought each one would be associated with? The gowns the queens are wearing tell you everything you need to know!

I love how the Queen of Swords’ gown shows three different fabrics illustrating her connection to Air. There’s the blue sky with clouds as the main fabric, the white background with butterflies as an accent, and the dark starry night lining that you can see inside her sleeve. If I sewed clothes and wanted something with a spring or summer feel, this card might inspire me to do something other than tulips or sunflowers.

The Queen of Cups shows us you can dress in a way that says “under the sea” without dressing as the Little Mermaid. Only the trim on her gown has an ocean motif. The rest is all about color. I would immediately think of blue and green for water, but she’s wearing sea green and a medium lavender with just little bits of blue accents.

I’ve also been spending some time lately with the Revelations Tarot by Zach Wong (another affiliate link), and I love how he used color in his illustrations. One of the really interesting things about this deck is that each card is illustrated so that you see one thing if the card is upright and another if it is reversed. I really love the art!

If you’re trying to put together a color palette for a project, looking through tarot cards can give you some ideas. Some of the cups cards in this deck are mostly blues and greens, but here we see a very blue and purple Three of Cups, as well as Four of Cups with lots of yellow and orange jumping out from the green, blue, and purple.

A lot of the pentacles cards are in combinations of dark green, brown, and gold. Very earthy colors, which makes sense because this is the suit associated with Earth. Then you see a card like the Four of Pentacles! Somehow, even though I’d use gold as an accent for purple, it just doesn’t occur to me to use purple as an accent for gold.

The colors used in the art for a tarot deck are often closely related to the theme of the deck. Some deck themes are about content, such as angels or cats. Other decks stick closely to the traditional images but with a variety of styles of art. Choosing a deck with art that resonates with you will make it easier to feel creatively inspired by the cards.

 

Tarot Tuesday – Crafty Robin Wood Cards

Welcome to another Tarot Tuesday! It’s almost like I’m looking for reasons to put my hexie pincushion in posts, isn’t it? I swear I’m not. I just think it looks good next to nearly anything.

We talked about The Fool last week, how The Fool’s journey is our journey, and how The Fool encourages us to try new things because we want to try them – not because we already know we’ll be succesful at them. That’s very relevant to crafty folks. There’s always a new technique to learn or a new project to attempt, even if you do stick to one craft.

This week’s post was supposed to be about the most crafty cards in the deck. The thing is, I picked the cards out of my main deck, The Robin Wood Tarot (affiliate link), and then started looking at some of my other decks… and it just didn’t work. Since all of the decks I have are based on the Rider-Waite system the cards have the same meanings across decks. Remember what I’ve told you before, though, about the meanings of the cards. They are ambiguous by design. Each card can be interpreted to apply to pretty much any situation so that it brings your attention to things you already know but just may not be consciously thinking about.

That gives artists a lot of wiggle room in how they interpret the cards for illustration. Cards in some decks immediately make you think of arts and crafts more than those same cards do in other decks. Imagery can have a powerful effect on how you read the cards.  We’ll pull out some of those other decks again when we talk more about the relationship between tarot and visual arts. Today, let’s look at my picks for the most crafty cards in the Robin Wood deck.

Major Arcana card number 3 – The Empress

The Empress is the archetype maternal figure. She can spin yarn, darn socks, cook a meal, comfort a sick child, and wash the laundry before you get out of bed for the day. It also kind of makes her the Queen of Crafts. In some contexts, this card can point to beginning a creative project.

A lot of tarot imagery – especially in decks that are easy to get started with –  is heavily based on traditional images of family and home. Everyone has an Empress aspect to themself, though. It’s not just about crafty moms.

Minor Arcana cards 3 and 8 of Pentacles

It’s really the suit of wands that is usually read as the “creative” suit. It’s all about passion, inspiration, and creative energy. I just don’t get a particularly crafty feel from those cards in the Robin Wood deck. (They are very fiery and passionate!) The suit of pentacles is about career and finances. What I love about  the pentacles in this deck is that it is clearly work that you love to do. The traditional images are artisans and craftsmen, but some decks still seem to portray them as doing what they do because it’s their job to do it. The colors and attention to detail in the Robin Wood deck make me think of artisans doing what they do as a labor of love.

These two cards especially get that message across to me. The 3 of Pentacles is about attention to detail and doing a job well. The 8 of Pentacles is about finding your work rewarding in both financial and personal ways.

If you use a different deck and have seen some really crafty cards in it, share with us in the comments. You can also ask me to use a different deck in a future post if you’d like to see some of the other artwork. There’s a list of decks I have and samples of the card art in our first Tarot Tuesday post.

 

 

How to Crochet a bag for your Yoga Mat

I started doing yoga in January and – ha, ha… silly me! – almost went into it without a mat. We ended up picking one up for me just before New Years when we saw some on sale. I was reading later about the importance of having a mat for a non-slip surface to practice and all I could think about was how ugly that would have been if I’d slipped on our carpetless floors.

My mat didn’t come with a bag, so I decided to crochet one. It took me maybe four or five hours to do this, and that was making it up as I went along and writing down everything I was doing. So this is a project you can do in one evening if you’re an experienced crocheter! I’ve done my best to make this beginner friendly, and I think it would still be an easy weekend project if it’s not something you can do in one evening.

Materials:

I used some cotton worsted weight yarn that I had left from other projects. I can’t tell you the exact amount needed, but if you have an average size skein you should be fine. If you’re buying your yarn in balls, pick up two. My yarn is white, orange, yellow, and red variegated and I like the way the colors change along the length of the bag.

My yoga mat (affiliate link) is 3mm thick, and measures 68 inches long and 24 inches wide. Don’t worry if you have a bigger mat! I’ll explain how to adjust the pattern to fit it. You’ll want to have your mat rolled up nearby when you’re starting this, though, so you can check to make sure it will fit.

You’re going to need a size J (6.00 mm) crochet hook for this project. A size G hook (4.25 mm) is optional. I used the G hook for making the bag’s drawstring so I’d have a tighter chain than with the J hook. You can substitute another size, or braid a cord to use instead. You’ll also need a large tapestry needle for sewing the strap to the bag.

Stitch Terms:

ch = chain

sc = single crochet

dc = double crochet.

(I use American terms. If you’re used to working with UK terms, my sc is your double crochet, and my dc is your trebel.)

If you haven’t worked in the round before, let me give you some tips. You’re going to start by chaining some stitches and slip stitching the ends together to form a loop. The first “round” of stitches is like your first “row” when you’re working on something flat. The difference is that you don’t have to insert your hook into the chain stitches in order to make the stitches of that first round. All you have to do is insert the hook into the loop so that you crochet around the chain like it’s a little cord threaded through the bottoms of your stitches. And to “join” a round at the end, you just slip stitch into the top chain of the first stitch of that round once you’ve come back up to it with the last stitch.

This pattern has not been tested by anyone other than myself, and it’s very easy to “correct” something without realizing it when you made the pattern. Please let me know if you find any problems so I can update the post.

Ready to get started? 

Chain 5 and close the loop by slip stitching the ends together.

1. Chain 3 (This will count as your first dc.). (dc , ch 1) 9 times, join by slip stitching into second chain of the ch 3 at beginning of round

2. Slip stitch into first ch 1 space, Ch 4. (dc in ch 1 space, ch 2) 9 times, attach last ch 2 to second chain of ch 4 at start of round.

3. Ch 3. (dc into ch space, ch 1, dc into dc stitch from previous round, ch 1). Repeat around and join to first ch 3.

Stop here and hold your work up to the end of your rolled up yoga mat.This is the bottom of your bag, so you want it to cover the end like it does in the photo. Does it cover the end? If so, keep going! If not, repeat round 3. If it just barely covers the end, you’re okay. The finished bag will have some stretch to it. You only need to repeat round 3 if your circle clearly does not cover the end of your rolled mat.


4. Ch  2. DC in each chain space and in each DC stitch from the previous round. Join at end of the round.

5. Ch 2. DC in each DC around, slip stitch ends together

6. Ch 6, skip 3, sc . Repeat around.

7. Slip st into second stitch of the first ch 6 of previous row to join. Slip st into next (3rd) stitch of chain. (Ch 6, sc in the next ch 6 space from previous round). Continue around. You’ll end the round by slip stitching the last stitch of a ch 6 into the first stich of the first ch 6 of this round.

8. Slip stitch into ch 6 space. 2 DC, ch 2. (2 DC in next ch 6 space, ch 2). Continue around and join at the end.

9. Ch 2. DC in each DC and 2dc in each ch 2 space around. This will give you a solid round of dc stitches.

10 – 13. Repeat rounds 6 – 9.
14. Repeat round 6.

15 – 18. Repeat round 7, four times.

19 – 20. Repeat rounds 8 and 9.

I’m going to let you in on a little secret here. We’re about to start working backwards! The second half of this bag is a mirror image of the first half.

21. DC in each DC stitch of the previous round. Join at end.

22. Repeat round 6.

23 – 26. Repeat round 7, four times.

27 – 28. Repeat rounds 8 and 9.

29 – 36. Repeat rounds 6-9, twice. (Repeat the group of rounds, not each individual round twice.)

Check to see that the bag is long enough for your yoga mat. Go ahead and slip the mat inside! If it’s not long enough (your mat may be wider than 24 inches when spread out) add more rows until it is long enough.

Now you’re ready to crochet the drawstring end of the bag.

37. Ch 1, sc in same stitch. (Ch 1, skip 1, sc in next stitch). Repeat around and join at end.

38. Ch 1, sc in same stitch. Sc in each sc and chain space around. Slip stitch to join. Finish off.

Weave in your tail, and there’s the bag! Now you can add the drawstring and strap. For the drawstring, I simply used a size G hook to chain 100. Weave your drawstring in and out of the “ch 1, skip, sc” round.

The Strap:

Use your size J hook and start by leaving a long tail for sewing.

Chain 100. Ch 2 and turn.  (I used a foundation sc to start with, and you’re free to do so if you know how. You’ll still do 100 stitches, but skip row 1 after you ch 2 and turn.)

1. Sc in each ch. Ch 2 and turn.

2. Dc in each sc. Ch 2 and turn.

3. Dc in each dc. Ch 1 and turn.

4. Sc in each dc.

Finish off, leaving a  long tail for sewing.

Sew one end to round 28 of the bag.. Sew other end to round 9 at the other end of the bag.

You may have come across the word “namasté”. It gets printed on a lot of yoga related products. The meaning gets worded a lot of different ways – “I bow to the divine in you”, “the spark of the divine in me bows to the spark of the divine in you” – but it’s basic meaning is that one person recognizes that the other person is just as valuable as they are, and for the same reason… because you exist. Take that with you into your yoga practice, into your crafting practice, and into your daily life.

Namasté.

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 – You are a Fool (and it’s not a bad thing!)

Welcome back to Tarot Tuesday! This is the week that we start getting into how tarot fits with creativity and crafting.

Meet The Fool! You might remember The Fool from my examples of different tarot decks, as well as from my explanation of how my daily card practice works.

This is my favorite card! That’s The Fool from the deck I most commonly use, which is the Robin Wood Tarot.(affiliate link)To understand why this card is my favorite, you have to start with understanding that the tarot deck tells a story. The cards not only tell different stories when you put them together in different combinations (something we’ll play with another week), but the 22 cards of the Major Arcana tell a story when put in numerical order.

I hope I haven’t lost those of you who aren’t already familiar with tarot cards. This is pretty easy to explain real quick. A standard deck is 78 cards. There are 22 fancy cards (the Major Arcana) that represent archetypes, and if you tried to play poker with them I don’t think it would go very well. The rest of the cards (the Minor Arcana) are, essentially, a regular deck of playing cards. Pentacles, Wands, Cups, and Swords are just Diamonds, Clubs, Hearts, and Spades. Many early tarot decks didn’t even have illustrations for those cards.

When you put the Major Arcana cards together in order, from 0 to 0, they tell a story. Wait… really? From zero to zero? Yep! The Fool is both the first and last card in the story. Let’s get to know The Fool a little better.

The Fool enjoys long walks anywhere and everywhere, but especially places he has never gone before. He dwells in the in-between spaces… feminine and masculine, young and old, never entirely just one thing or another. The cards in the Major Arcana are archetypes. They each represent a specific aspect of humans and our life experiences. The Fool might seem to break that pattern, but what he really represents is passionate potential. He isn’t any one thing, but he could become anything!

That’s actually how the story works. All the other characters in the Major Arcana… they are also The Fool. He starts out knowing nothing and thirsting for experience. He takes turns being The Magician, The High Priestess, The Empress and Emperor, The Hermit, The Hanged Man, etc… and then he becomes The Fool again. He understands he never really stopped being one of those other things he became along the way. He simply became more than that when he added the next experience. And he realizes that, no matter how much he has learned, there’s still so much more that is possible. The young Foolish child   becomes the wise old Fool.

The Fool’s story is your story. Yours, mine… everyone’s! Each of us is the Fool in our own stories. Understanding that you’re a Fool means recognizing you’re on the path to wisdom. This is where The Fool’s story fits into our focus for this year – crafting without shame. We throw the word “fool” around like it’s a bad thing to be. “Don’t be such a fool!” “Don’t do foolish things!” The thing is, stop and think about where the word “fool” came from. The fool, the jester, the clown… the person who could behave in ways “proper adults” couldn’t, entertain everyone in the process, and was in a position to call out those in authority with his antics. Fools were basically the stand-up comics of the time. There is nothing wrong with being a fool.

There’s nothing wrong about being The Fool, either. We know this because it is both the first and the last card in the journey. Being The Fool isn’t something you simply move away from, but also something you come back to. In coming back, you realize you were always The Fool. You’ve always been here to experience and learn.

The Fool reminds us to try new things. Learn new skills. Make hexies that go with The Fool’s pants. Don’t assume you can’t learn to do something just because you haven’t learned it before now.

We do way too much shaming each other over ignorance in the world today. Maybe some of it is because the Internet has everyone so connected that you could educate yourself about pretty much any topic. You could keep up with any subject. You could learn any skill. So we act like anyone who isn’t keeping up with the things we keep up with is stupid in order to reassure ourselves that we’re keeping up with the “right” things. It’s just like shaming people over the brand of clothes they wear, the car they drive, or the place of worship they do or don’t go to.

Willful ignorance can be a problem, yes. Especially with someone who meddles in things they aren’t informed about and does not wish to become informed because, “I already know what I think.” But simply not knowing things? That is the default setting in life. No one knows everything. Not everyone has the same experiences in the same order. Not everyone learns the same things from those experiences when they do have them. We should never shame someone for admitting that they don’t know things. They are taking that first step toward learning.

Do something you aren’t good at this week. Bake a pie that never comes out right. Draw a picture of your dog that looks like a stick figure Mona Lisa playing leap frog with a pillow. Cut out a paper circle that isn’t properly round. Don’t just half-ass it on purpose… do something you genuinely tried to do well but just aren’t good at. Then appreciate that you didn’t let the fact that you haven’t already mastered this stop you. Accept that you can improve, but that this is where you are right now, and that is simply part of the journey. Be The Fool.

International Women’s Day Interview on Oh My! Handmade Goodness

Just a quick note today – be sure to come back tomorrow for Tarot Tuesday. I was interviewed, along with eight other solopreneur/ handmade business owner women, for the International Women’s Day feature at Oh My! Handmade Goodness. We all talk about the reality of running our businesses, and each of us was given an opportunity to offer a message of solidarity to other working women.

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