Crafty questions

I can’t resist a good set of questions!  I yoinked this from NothingButKnit‘s blog.

  1. Do you have a favorite crafting tool?
  2. Which do you prefer when you craft: listening to a podcast or music, watching something on tv or silence?
  3. Do you have a favorite designer that you’d like to recommend?
  4. Most people have a favorite color, do you find you use it more than other colors? Is there a color you avoid? Why?
  5. Have you experienced a crafting injury? If yes, what.


  1.  That’s an impossible question! I can’t possibly pick a single item.  I’ll explain why at the end of the questions.  🙂
  2. I tend to turn on Netflix when I’m crafting.  It’s usually not a show I’m actually interested in or else I’d end up staring at the screen more than working on whatever it is I should be.  I really like docu-series types of things for when I’m crafting away.
  3. Hrm.  That’s a tough one.  I love how Jinny Beyer uses color and tend to read her books cover-to-cover.  I also think most of Judy Niemeyer‘s designs are stunning.  Both are quilters.  As far as other crafts, I find it hard to resist Tania Richter‘s — her patterns are both whimsical and straight-forward, plus I LOVE her knit-alongs that involve role-playing.  It adds an entirely new and random aspect to everything.  I’ve also probably made more stuffed animals by CholyKnight than is reasonable for any adult.
  4. My favorite color is green — deep emerald green.  I actually don’t use it much at all.  Green is such a fiddly and difficult color to match (it tends to read with blue or yellow tints).  I actually tend to use black the most in all of my projects.  I also like navy and grays.  I avoid pink like the plague it is.
  5. A few.  😛  Besides super gluing my fingers together more than I care to admit, I’ve burnt myself with an iron THREE times; twice on my hand and once on my inner forearm.  The two on my hands blistered, the one on my arm left a 3″ scar.  I’m really lucky to have long, sturdy fingernails because I’ve sewn through them or cut them with a rotary cutter far too many times for my comfort.  Without them, I would have whittled my fingers down to nubbins.  I also flayed the skin and deeper tissues off of a finger last year when I was harvesting gears for a steampunk costume.  Don’t trust me with anything hot or sharp.


Okay, so back to why picking a favorite crafting tool is impossible.

I’m stupidly sentimental and I collect sewing machines.  That’s the TL;DR version.

I’m rehabbing some of them still (it’s slow because I don’t want to damage them at all) but most of them are already ready to go and ready to sew…and are used regularly.  It’s a horrible habit but I love it, so there’s no stopping it.  I currently have 15.


Some of them are rescues, some are not.  The 237 and the White 1514 belonged to my sweet neighbor that lived across the road.  The 401A I’ll talk about below.  The 9110 belonged to my husband’s grandmother.  The little red Penney’s machine was my mom’s when she was a child.   …that big ole star?  He’s holding the place for the machine I’m picking up next month!  One of my aunts offered to give me either my grandmother’s or my great-grandmother’s treadle.  My choice.  I’m over the moon happy.

The coffin top fiddle base at the top is from 1889.  The Sphinx from 1900.  The W&W dates 1865 — it takes curved needles and still has its original glass presser foot.  The Two Spool is an amazing machine that doesn’t use a bobbin but has a canister that holds a wooden spool of thread.  It was THE machine I wanted and I converted a chain-lift cabinet to fit it.  I love my machines.

…but not as much as my room as a whole.


Bigger photo here

Above is a 360 degree view of my sewing room.  Behind the door is where I keep my pile of yarn, since it didn’t make an appearance.  I can’t pick a favorite tool because I’m pretty sure if my house were to ever catch fire, I’d be running to that room and throwing everything out the window to save it…or at least try my damnedest.  A huge portion of it is sentimental.  This room is my safe space — I always feel comfortable and content when I’m in it.  I never feel far from the people I miss there.

It’s also the “girl’s room” in the house; my sidekick cat has literally learned to open the door and make herself at home.  If we have people at the house and she’s scared, you can bet she’s in that room hiding.  She particularly likes to be under my embroidery frame, behind the hand-crank machine, or moonlighting as a stuffed animal on top of the wardrobe.


My husband’s female cat also loves to go in there and lounge on the table.  My little dog has a nest of fabric that she naps in when I’m in there or she’ll sit in the second chair.  The male cat and our big dog, neither one really cares to hang out there, so we’ve just established a no boys allowed thing…it’s especially handy when I have intrusive guests that want to fill the room with their extra baggage and nonsense — my husband can quickly forbid it as a sacred place for my sanity.

…and my husband likes to challenge people to guess how many sewing machines are hidden away in that little bitty room.  The current answer is six, plus a serger/coverstitcher.

So, going around the photo:

The Singer 401A?  Given to me when I first moved away from home.  It was a gift from the couple that taught me to quilt; I used to spend hours at their house sewing and laughing and learning…and on a few occasions, partying our asses off.  The lady died of a stroke a few years ago.

The now raggedy table under my cutting mat?  Built by my great-great-grandfather.

Not in the above photo, but above the table there is a shelf that I made a few years back.  It’s to hold a quilt but it’s the things on top are what is important.  I have a German Barbie that a friend of the family gave me when I was little.  The Barbie is now wearing my dad’s name badge from his workplace.  Also on that shelf are two of the last things my sister ever gave me.  When she was in high school she made the kitschy dragon for me in home ec because they were working on ceramics for who knows what reason.  The glued puzzle is one of the first things her ag teacher ever let them do — basic cutting and staining of boards…most kids decoupaged something on theirs, she glued on a glow-in-the-dark puzzle.  She ended up making some really beautiful things but I got her first janky item and loved it then and now.  (Ignore the fact that I obviously loved dragons…)


The basket of hooks and needles?  The vast majority of the contents in that basket belonged to my great-granny or my husband’s grandmother.  Both crocheted and knitted.  The only tools I’ve ever had to buy for yarn crafts are my ChiaoGoo needles simply because neither had circulars.  I use my husband’s grandmother’s scissors in my yarn kit.  I’m knitting a scarf right now with my great-granny’s needles.

Amber Victoria Groseclose and Catherine (Ferguson) Groseclose.jpg

Granny and I — she was born in 1899

The wardrobe?  I keep batting, polyfill, costumes, and patterns in there but it has been in my family and passed around so often that nobody can remember where it originally came from (the same goes from the Hoosier cabinet I have in my dining room).  The top of the wardrobe is the home of my childhood.  I keep all of my old stuffed animals there and my husband has added a few of his over the years as well.  One of the dolls was crocheted by Granny.



You can’t really see it in the photo because the ironing board is blocking it, but there’s a small nightstand that I grew up with behind it.  In the drawer I keep most of my old family photos and my family tree information.  Nobody else wanted it when my great-granny died, so I ended up with all of it and cherish it.  On top of the nightstand rests the Penney’s sewing machine that belonged to my mom.

…and it’s also hard to see but in the closet there rests a box.  It holds all of my instruction manuals and things like that now, but the box itself is precious to me.  I love my family heirlooms but this one will be -my- heirloom if I ever have somebody to pass it onto. My best friend made it for me when we were 17 for my high school graduation.  He packed it to the brim with mints and playing cards — he always carried them for me at school and said I shouldn’t go without just because I was going off to college a year ahead of time.


So, it really is impossible for me to pick a favorite crafting tool when so many of them aren’t just tools but memories.


Tea plea

I’m easily sidetracked.  I finished the number of repeats required of the body lace charts in my shawl and decided I wanted a few more to make it bigger.  I can’t do one thing at once, so while I was contemplating how many more repeats I wanted, I was scrolling through facebook and saw one of those simple “about me” type of things.  Easy enough!  More distractions!

…but seriously, in regards to the last question thing:  if you have a black tea you’d recommend, please let me know.  I had the PERFECT cup of black tea when I was in Austria — some sweet old lady made it for me while I was visiting her home.  She said nobody else would ever drink tea with her because she liked it so dark.  The tea came out darker than coffee.  It was black, crazy strong, and so, so dry.  I loved it.  She just called it Russian tea and I’ve been on the search for something like it ever since, scouring all of the tea places around (especially the Ukrainian one over in Springfield, MA) but no luck so far.

3 places I have lived:
1. The Appalachian* Mountains in VA — seriously, the “town” has a population density of 11 people per square mile…if I named the town, anybody from the surrounding counties and across the state line would be able to figure out everything about me 😛
2. Atlanta, GA
3. Albany, NY

4 jobs I have had:
1. Farm hand
2. Babysitter
3. Tech support
4. Lowe’s commercial sales cashier

5 favorite shows/movies I love to watch:
1. Star Trek
2. Trollhunters
3. The Nightmare Before Christmas
4. Sherlock
5. Peaky Blinders

4 places I’d like to visit that I have never been before:
1. Antarctica
2. Iceland
3. New Zealand
4. Costa Rica

5 things I love to eat:
1. Country ham
2. White peaches
3. Dill pickles
4. Biscuits and gravy
5. Steak

5 Favorite Drinks:
1. Coca-Cola
2. Blenheim ginger ale (hot)
3. Vernors
4. Black tea
5. Ice Water


*I just wanted to throw out there that it’s app-a-latch-en, not app-a-lay-shun.  That’s very important.  I’ve always thought that Sharyn McCrumb (an author local to my region) explained it best.  I saw the sign below when I was in Northern Ireland last year and I had to grab a photo since it was so relevant.20232665_864192924219_7061932475770452448_o.jpg

Sideways photos because…who knows

Anybody else ever manage to lose a crochet hook under your recliner?

Mine fell off the table yesterday and no amount of searching and flashlights has revealed it…and that room doesn’t have many places it could’ve rolled or hidden.  *grumbles*

As promised a few days ago: photos!


I need to weave in the tails but they’re done otherwise.  One is sized for a preemie and the other is a bit over-sized and super stretchy for babies in the NICU that may have bigger noggins.  My sister was born with all of her sutures closed and wore a helmet after a surgery to open them, I don’t know if there will be any babies with similar issues, but maybe a few different sizes will be needed.  I’ll do any more to fit a more typical/expected head size.

Next is the beaded scarf I’m working on.  It’s still boring as all get out now that I’m past beading this size but it’ll get done while watching movies eventually.


…and then the shawl.  I finished the third set of body repeats today.  Leave it up to me, if I forget to put a lifeline in every two rows, I end up having to rip back.  I’m nothing if not consistent.


At this point I have the pattern memorized so it’s not taking much of my attention, other than making sure I just pick up one of those tiny laceweight loops instead of two.  I’m still really enjoying it and am determined to learn how to pick up a dropped lace stitch — the life lines are getting annoying…but better safe than sorry.

This weekend was pretty productive.  I slept a lot and picked up some concert tickets.  I consider that a proper weekend!  Only 31 bands left to see this year.  I may go to a lot of concerts.  😀  18 weeks (ish, I may be wrong) are left in the year, so that’s a pretty good average!

Finally, I went to my favorite place this weekend — Asian Supermarket.  I like going when it’s nice and empty (which is hard) because they have soooo much more variety in fresh goods and I like to take my time and sift through the aisles of it.  I always limit myself to a hand basket of stuff, otherwise I could probably buy the whole store (other than the live turtles to eat…and the fishballs, didn’t like those).


I’m starting to get a bit brand loyal.  I’ve found I like the Vietnamese “Three Ladies Brand” rice paper for fresh wraps — they hold up so much better than others I’ve tried.  I’ve also become a huge fan of anything Lee Kum Kee from Hong Kong.  I could eat that sweet soy sauce on everything!  I mostly got essentials to restock our dwindling pantry and a few really beautiful produce items needed this week.  Logan wanted some pork buns (I’m partial to red bean buns myself) made at the store — they’re much better than anything pre-prepared.  He also wanted to try fresh dates since dried ones are some of his favorite treats; he likes the fresh just as much.  Other than that, I don’t think anything too unusual came home with us, though the long beans don’t fit in our crisper, so hang out like creepy fingers off of a shelf.  They’ll be devoured tomorrow with a meatloaf (or should I do a ramen since I have fresh noodles now?!)

Decisions, decisions!

Keep on rollin’

I finished crocheting my second baby hat for the AHA Little Hats, Big Hearts.  I’m not the biggest fan of either pattern, so I’ll continue my search for one I like and think is appropriate.  I’ll also remember to take a photo tomorrow at some point to post.

I’ve also kept trucking along with both the scarf and the shawl.  The scarf is still sitting by my recliner and I never can remember to snag a photo.  One day!  It’s really simple, just tedious at this point.

The shawl for me has been a bit more entertaining so I’m finding I work on it for about an hour every night after my hubs goes to bed.  He likes to talk too much for me to keep count and it’s all about the repeats at this point.  I’ve finished the second repeat of both body charts.  I think I’m aiming for five total before starting the edging lace, but we’ll see how that goes.  It’s still pretty small but it looks like it’s going to balloon quickly at the end and after blocking.


Since I’m at my computer, the pattern is Sheherazade by Anna Victoria on Ravelry.

I ended up using US4 needles, interchangables from ChiaoGoo that I LOVE.  I make everything with them if I can and am currently coveting the new Shorties set they released recently; I like DPN well enough but I will always prefer circulars if I can pull it off.  This is the first project I’ve used their spin cable on and I’ve decided I prefer the twist cables.  The spin ones have a small plastic lump where they join the metal and my yarn keeps lodging itself on it.  The cable also wants to twist a bit, which the twist (ironically enough) never has with me.

I’m also using Knit Picks Gloss Lace yarn in Navy and the beads are Toho round seed beads 8/0 in Midnight Iris.  The color is just different enough that it stands out but isn’t overly obvious.  It’s also rainbowish, so win/win!


I also bought some Miyuki beads for the scarf project and have decided that, of the two, Toho is more consistent with their beads and I prefer their larger holes.  Unfortunately Toho doesn’t make beads the size I needed for the scarf, so if I ever make it again, I’m back to Miyuki (who is way, way better than anything I found in local hobby shops).

As a bit of a related aside:  when my husband suspects I’m irate with him, he has a stash of small presents he’s bought off of my various wish lists.  I’m the queen of shopping a site and not buying a thing, but I stash it all away for the future.  He’s smart enough to have caught on that I keep a wishlist (or a full basket that I’ll never buy) at all of my favorite sites so buys a bunch of relatively inexpensive items (under $10) and stashes them away.  The morning after he’s done something annoying, one of the items will mysteriously appear on my desk.

This one showed up this morning after he disappeared last night after he ate dinner and I found him asleep at 7 p.m., still covered in sauce:


I suspect my fellow knitters will spot the issue.  If not, they were supposed to be a size of interchangeable tips that I’m missing from my collection and wanted for an in-the-far-and-distant-future project I’ve saved on Ravelry (see, wishlists everywhere!).  The sticker on the outside says so, but the one deeper down and the contents say otherwise. Instead I have a 30″ mini cable…and no needles that fit on them!

I’m not mad at all and it was hilarious when I pointed out to him that he may want to check orders in the future (seriously, I ended up with a Star Trek series that was in ITALIAN this year for Christmas…)  I’ll readd the size I want to my wishtlist and I guess I’m just going to have to scour Ravelry for things I want to make that take a mini-sized cable and aren’t socks or gloves.  How horrible, right?  😛

Beaded knitting

I’ve started two adventures into beaded knitting, a first for me so let’s just double up on the lesson so I really learn it… Right?! I don’t make sense most days.

The first one is a scarf out if a library book. I’m already finished with beading one side and just have to garter it until it’s long enough to add the other side. I’ve left it in our entertainment room so I can blindly knit on it while watching something with Logan after dinner. The only pain was stringing 725 beads on the yarn for the first half. It was a bit insane and I bent my large eye needle.  D’oh!

The second is a pattern I’ve wanted from Ravelry for as long as I remember using the site. I never had the right mix of boredom and bravery before, so now’s the time! I had a neuro appointment this week and the doc is happy with how I’m handling the new migraine meds but she’s concerned that my new antsy behaviors are a side effect and linked to my anxiety, even though the big anxieties and panics seem to have decreased with this medication.  I told her I’d take being fidgety over a migraine every day, at least I can knit or crochet that away!

I’m just now starting my first repeat if the second lace chart. I’ve not done much lace work but am really enjoying it even if I’ve had to learn the hard way to lifeline often. I think I ripped the cast on at least a dozen times. Thank goodness my circulars have a lifeline hole!


This one uses 0/8 seed beads and I’m crocheting them on – finally a use for those microscopic hooks!

So far, I’d say there will definitely be more beading and lace knitting in my future!

Wtf plastics

In today’s massive wtf moment, I opened my stitch kit and discovered that the cheap point protectors somebody had given me at Christmas have had some bizarre chemical reaction with the hard plastic container and stitch markers I had kept with them.  Needless to say, they went on the trash. The hard formed plastic is now super sticky.  It’s soooo weird. I washed it and hope it will garden back up…