Bah humbug

Our Christmas travel plans were cancelled this year.

I’m kind of sad but I’m mostly okay with it.  I’ll miss seeing my Grandmother but it’ll be nice not having to do a mad-dash drive across the eastern seaboard for once.

Also, because I don’t have to worry about packing…I have time for crafting!

I finished my Sheherazade shawl.  FINALLY!!!


That’s hot off the needles.  It took forever to do the elastic cast-off.  Forever.

I’ll wet and block it tomorrow.  I’m kind of excited!  There are a lot of little points to fiddle with on the edge, so it’ll either drive me nuts or be a ton of fun.

I also have a few other projects I’ve finished and some more things on the hook, needles, and sewing machine beds.  I’ll try to get my act together soon and take a few more photos to share.


When it rains, it pours

General update since my last post:

I started the MKAL but I’m so far behind I’ll never catch up.  I’m a bit discouraged by that so I’ve been working on other projects when I feel up to it.

I’m usually done with Christmas stuff by September…but I haven’t done any of it this year, so I started a gift yesterday:


It should be a rosebud throw when I’m done.  Mom loves the quilt I made for keeping in the car and asked if I’d make her something for hers since she gets cold easily.  I’ll back this in fleece and crochet a border around the edge when I’m done.  I really love cross stitch and Tunisian crochet, so it’s going together a lot faster than I expected.  Though I’ll probably have to take a day or two off — I overused my right arm yesterday and aggravated my ulnar nerve…again.  I’ve got to learn to quit doing that.  I slapped a lidocaine patch on it since they’ve helped in the past.

We had guests and I was so stressed I didn’t sleep for a week.  It was bad.

I have a sign by my door that says “All guests bring happiness: some coming, some leaving”.  Ain’t that the damn truth!

I found my matron of honor dress at a local boutique.  The bride approved it.  It’s been a bit hard coordinating everything since I live 12 hours from the festivities.

Went to two concerts:  Metallica and GoreCore Metal Tour featuring GWAR

I’ve wanted to see GWAR since before I was a metal fan.  I remember being sick at my Granny Boo’s house when I was little and seeing them on Joan Rivers.  We didn’t have any kind of television service at home so could only watch recorded VHSes that other people gave us…mostly Sesame Street.  You can imagine, coming from that, that GWAR made  quite an impression.  Video here.  The singer in the video passed away a number of years ago but the new(ish) guy is good and entertaining.

…and yah, the show was pretty bloody and gory.  The  most pit was the worst I’ve seen it at that venue and they were spraying stuff into the audience the whole time.  The blood was fake, of course, but it’s the only metal concert I’ve been to where the audience wears white instead of black.

I knew the show was going to be rough so I parked myself next to a wall on a platformed viewing area so I couldn’t get sucked into the mosh.  It had one MASSIVE drawback though.  Where I was standing was a clear view straight into the dressing rooms.  It was already warm so they just left the door to the venue open — everywhere else was blocked because of screens on the stage but not where I was standing.  Before the show, they went from street clothes to just walking around naked before donning their thongs and costumes.  I saw more old man butt and balls than I ever wanted to…and the same for every costume change that happened.  Some of their costumes are amazing, though, especially up close.

I also went to my first rave.  I’m hoping it’ll be my last.  The music was fine — it was the Seven Lions tour — but I’ve never felt more out of place in my life.  My husband is a big EDM fan so he was happily dancing away with glow sticks.  People there were huggy and talkative and I’ve seen lingerie models wearing more clothes than some…it just wasn’t my type of scene.

It also didn’t help that during the first DJ, a dude that was dancing on the platform I’d been hiding on the night before, tripped off of it and down the stairs.  He landed right on top of me, taking a bar table and trash can with him.  It tweaked my already doofy ankle pretty badly and it started swelling.  I was lucky and was able to sit somewhere out of the way for the rest of the night.

…and then when hubs was finally ready to leave and we were walking out, my ankle totally gave out and I hit a ledge.  I couldn’t put any weight on it and I’m pretty bruised up.  It was so bad that security, (which was especially tight since it was the night after the shooting in Cali at a similar venue) known to be complete hardasses (I’ve seen them make little kids cry and physically carry somebody out by palming their head like a basketball), yelled at my husband when he tried to make me walk to the car.  They told him to go get the car and they’d let him right by the doors and make sure nobody stole me. One guy even found some ice for my ankle while another physically helped me into the car — they’re all pretty nice guys I’ve discovered over the years.  It’s gotten a bit better since then but I still have to brace it when I walk or it gets wobbly.

To add to the fun, I caught the flu somewhere along the concert circuit.

I have a really poor immune system so I tend to mutate things and always get additional complications.

Three days of flu are over now thank goodness, I’m on day three of a sinus infection, and woke up this morning to bronchitis.  I’ve been through this song and dance so many times by now that I know antibiotics won’t be prescribed because everything has viral roots…unless I’ve had symptoms for over a week, then I can teledoc some in through my insurance.  The sinus infection is starting to break up and move out, so I think I just have another two days of it.  I’ve set an alarm to take guaifenesin every four hours to try to keep the bronchitis moving and from mutating into pneumonia.  I’ve pulled that hat trick a few times…not a fun combo.

P.S. You’re worth more.


I’ve got to be better about taking note of where I steal images from.  I see them, they resonate, I save them, I move on.  I saved that one months ago and it does a very elegant job of expressing how I’ve felt lately.

I’ve always been bad at talking about how I feel.  I have walls and wear a mask almost all the time.  It’s weird because I’m a pretty open book in every other regard — I’ll tell anybody pretty much anything they ask…just as long as they don’t want to know what I’m feeling.  The damage runs deep and most people aren’t equipped to handle it.  You can only hear so much “it gets better” before you want to smack the shit out of somebody.

Some stuff doesn’t get better.  Time doesn’t heal every wound, some stay fresh and raw.  Some days are better than others, but that’s about all you get.  No matter what you do, some people will always suck…and it’s not up to you to change them or even put up with them.  You don’t have to feel guilty for distancing yourself.


It’s crazy how much pressure we put on ourselves to think or be a certain way.  How much we blame ourselves when things don’t go the way we hope.  How much inconvenience we’ll go through for others to be happy while neglecting ourselves.

…and it absolutely blows my mind how much a simple “it’s not you, I promise” is a life raft in the storm.  How those simple words quickly became the bandage for so many seeping wounds.  I’ve been told things aren’t my fault before but something about the added promise actually drove it home and made it feel like some of the weight I’ve been dragging around was finally lifting.  I take promises very seriously.

I started this year determined to find happiness.  Pretty pathetic, right?  I haven’t been genuinely happy in a long time.  Life has a way of dealing blows and then hitting me again when I’m down.  Even when things are going well, I can’t relax and enjoy the moment because I keep waiting for the fuckening; it hasn’t failed me yet.


I’m a dreary thing and I accepted the pessimistic life a long time ago.  If I expect the worst, I’ll never be disappointed.  Hell, I may even be pleasantly surprised and who doesn’t love that?  Life is still rolling with the one-two punches but I find myself settling into an odd sort of contentment in spite of them.  I’m good with being content.

I might even venture I’m almost happy with being content.

I’m working on it.  I’m trying.  I promise I am.


Knitting and baking

The MKAL was released two days ago and I started it, finished chart one (she released four for the first round), then ripped it all out.

Why?  I got into a groove and started knitting the pattern for the other shawl I’m finishing up.   …I think that means I need to finish it before merrily starting the other again and having another epic brain fart.


I have 24 rows across two charts left still because I knit slower than molasses in winter.  You can see the lacy edge is starting to take shape, though!  I’m really excited about finishing this one up!

I really love the alpaca yarn from just working with it briefly yesterday.  It’s super soft and fuzzy (which will probably drive me nuts before this is all over).


I had to spend my knitting time on Friday coloring in the MKAL charts.  D’oh.  I only have a black and white printer and, of course, it’s a color pattern.  I mark all over my knitting patterns so just reading it on my screen will never do.

…and, sadly, those gorgeous topaz beads…there aren’t enough for the project.  I talked to the company I got them from and the importers no longer sell them either…the lady said they were trying to get some from another Japanese brand in a similar color but I decided it was safer to swap up the colors a bit.  My other tube of red beads is on backorder and they said they’ll ship out some dark topaz ones for me at the same time.  I hope they match the really bizarre shades that make up my yarn.

Sunday is the day I make up food for the week for the hubs.  I think this week was a home run.  I stole this from his facebook page because it made me guffaw when I read it:


I wish he was as enthusiastic about me as he is about the food I make.  XD

He posts a lot of the food I make because, apparently, people at work come to see him the next day to investigate the food.  He really loves attention from semi-random people and eating, so he gets a two-for-one deal.

…and that’s leading to a rant.

The ONE thing the drives me nuts about hubs posting food is we have one friend who always asks for the recipe.  If I used a recipe, I’ll gladly share it…but that’s rarely the case.  Most of our food is cooking what we have on hand and making a “mess” out of it.

Backstory: my Grandmother unleashed me into the world of cooking because I would go to her house and literally make a mess in her kitchen.  Whatever I could combine I would.  I would look for things that tasted weirdly good together and found a lot of things that just don’t work.  My sister (and sometimes cousins) would be my tasters….there’s no way my sister would’ve came back for more if I was always putting together gross stuff.  On that same note,  hubs (stupidly) challenged me to make him puke with a dish years ago and I succeeded with just three ingredients: horseradish, orange juice, and peanut butter…it even smells revolting enough to make you gag.  I’m fairly comfortable with figuring out how flavors work and we make a lot of fridge-clearing messes here.  🙂

So when this friend asks, I have to sit and think about how on earth to explain it to her in a way that she could reproduce.  I’m one of those crazy people that LOVES to cook.  I live in bagel central and I’m here at home making my own.  It’s insane but I really do enjoy every bit of it, so I don’t shy away from more complicated ideas.

…and then it’s made harder because we have some downright amazing grocery options.  I mean, I go to a real butcher where I can get things like silkie chicken and pork blood!   (Don’t question pork blood until you’ve had black pudding, I love that stuff…never made it, but love it.)  I cook with a lot of things that simply aren’t available where she lives.  I’d know, I lived there for 21 years.  When my mom visits, she brings an empty cooler so she can take all kinds of goodies and ingredients back with her.  It’s a food wasteland there.

Plus, let’s be honest, this friend is never, ever going to make anything I post.

Why do I say that?  A bit of a throwback:  I introduced her family to sushi a decade ago after I’d already moved away.  Her daughter wanted to try it, there was nowhere anywhere nearby that made it, and I adore the kid — she’s the sweetest creature to ever grace the earth — so I stopped at a huge world market several hours away and got the stuff to make a small assortment of sushi.  Just to make sure they’d have something to eat if they didn’t like the food (which they did, the kid even asked if she could keep the leftover eel for her lunch the next day), I also conspired with the little to show her how to make a really simple sweet and sour chicken.  She wanted to surprise our moms with a full dinner when they came back from their night out…didn’t I say she was the sweetest kid ever?

When we turned on the eye of the stove to start the chicken, the entire house flooded with a disgusting, acrid, black smoke.  It was so bad we had to throw open the windows in the middle of winter and leave the house.  Her mom had melted a plastic bowl onto the burner MONTHS ago and never cleaned it up…that’s how rarely she cooked.

Soooo fairly confident that the friend that always asks for recipes, thus making me rack my brain to come up with ingredients and substitutions and ways to simplify things, will never make a bloomin’ thing.  Is it wrong that it bugs the snot out of me when she asks?

Mystery Knit Along

I finally bit the bullet.

I’m going to try to participate in my first ever mystery project.  There have been a few that I know I’ll love the pattern, so I just buy or hoard the patterns…but this one I’m going to actually try knitting it as it’s released.

We’ll see how long that lasts!  XD

The pattern is Ex Cineribus MKAL Lace Shawl by Anna Victoria on Ravelry.  It’s currently 20% off until release date, which is coming fast — October 20th.

It called for fingering weight yarn, which I’m both surprised and pleased with since it’s my favorite weight to work with.  I have enough yarn on hand to keep me happy for decades (see above about crafting hoarding).  I decided to go with a bit of a fall theme and chose some Alpaca Cloud yarn from Knitpicks in the color “Lydia”.  They no longer stock it but it’s a bit of a mottled burnt orange to reddish color.  I couldn’t get my camera to take an appropriate photo to represent the colors, so I stole the one from Knitpicks:


I still say it’s a bit more orange in person.  My photo is way brighter than it actually is:


Somewhere between those two.

I do want to bead the project so I ordered some Toho beads in both a dark garnet and a smoky topaz.  I hope they work with the yarn in person…if not, I suppose I’ll just have to get more.

Really, I swear I’m not a hoarder; I just look like one.

Yet another concert

I needed a bit of a break from reality this weekend, so I went to a concert.

What else should I be expected to do? 😀

Omnium Gatherum, Moonspell, Amorphis, and Dark Tranquility.  I guess I’d probably lump them all into melodic death metal, maybe gothic metal — growling vocals and a deeper, soothing kind of doom feeling.

…did I just say doom music is soothing?  Weird that I find it so.

Regardless, fun night.  I’d seen all of the bands but Moonspell before so I pretty much knew what to expect.  Moonspell was a real treat live; they created such a fun atmosphere.


It’s impossible to see but the singer was wearing a plague doctor mask.  It was pretty awesome.  The song in that particular photo was “1755“, off of their album due out next month.  I look forward to it!

A few crafty things

I’m still working on the lace shawl.


I’m a painfully slow knitter.  I’m lucky if I can get two rows done per day…I have trouble sitting still right now.  I finally understand the phrase “ants in your pants” — I absolutely feel like that lately.

I was also playing a dangerous game of bead chicken (I’ve already used over 1,000 of them).


I currently have 491 stitches on the needles and 52 rows left over three charts.  I already know I’ve lost the bead game.  I ordered some more yesterday and anxiously await their arrival.

The good news is I still love the pattern.  I’ve had zero problems with it (other than having to frog once or twice because I made mistakes) and I already want to make another pattern by the same designer because of that.  I even ordered two packs of beads so I’d have them on hand when that urge is overwhelming.  I don’t think I’ll have problem finding two skeins of yarn in my stash.  ^_^;

I’m also very easily distracted.

One of my friends gifted me a pattern and it gave me some proper distraction and entertainment for about an hour.  It was a super quick sew and I couldn’t resist making a Magikarp hat.


I’ve been feeling very much like a Magikarp lately.  I mean, who on earth ever actually had one on their team and leveled it to a Gyarados?   Nobody.  We all used candy to fatten it up and turn it into something useful.

I’ve been pretty bummed, overwhelmed, and stressed to the gills lately.  There’s a whole variety of reasons that I don’t really feel would be cathartic to ramble on about at this point so I’ll leave at this: I’m stuck at an impasse with myself over two very important decisions and there are no good answers.  I’ve been unable to make any progress slogging through and standing at the crossroads isn’t working either.

It’s really unlocking my hateful, snarky side.  I have the sudden urge to embroider all sorts of things and strew them about the house to prove my point.  I saw this hilarious example the other day (so not my photo or my craft — I’ll have to get better about documenting where I find things) and it spoke to me.


I think I need a few projects like that in my life right now…


Crafty Q&A

I needed a bit of distraction tonight, so when NothingButKnit‘s Q&A popped up…well, you know the drill.  I find things like this irresistible.

  • What is the first actual craft you remember doing as a child? (Not coloring or finger painting. Something more special that you didn’t do regularly.)
  • What is the craziest craft you’ve tried?
  • What craft would you like to try but you know you’d be bad at it?
  • If you had to give up your crafting how would you spend your crafting time?
  • What craft isn’t your thing? Have you tried it or do you just know you wouldn’t like it?
  • The first real craft I remember is counted cross stitch.  I started crafting when I was really young and I think I made the cross stitch bookmark when I was in kindergarten or first grade?  I was also a heavy reader so it made sense.
  • Building furniture counts as a crazy craft, right?  Mine’s still utilitarian and still pretty basic but it exercises that need to make something that gets into my bones.  It looks like I may be building a few storage workbenches and some Adirondack chairs this winter.
  • I’d love to try bobbin lace but I know I’d get sooo frustrated with it in just a few minutes.  Plus, I’d have no use for the end product.  It just looks really fascinating.
  • Considering how much time I craft and that I use it as a source of pocket income…I guess I’d have to find a real job?  Or I could become a complete hammock hippy and read my life away.  I’d be okay with that.
  • Macrame.  I’ve never seen anything that came from that monstrosity that I like.  Somebody gave me some cords for it once and I cringed just touching them.  Definitely couldn’t be my thing.


September Summary + Tons of Photos

I blinked and September was gone.

The hubs and I left at the end of August to go do our big, annual migration south.

Not wanting us to forget home, this was on our front stoop while we were packing:


The frog was still coherent and walking around, dragging the snake with him.  The snake was refusing to let go.  The frog had sustained some pretty gnarly injuries by that point so I figure he lost in the end and hope the snake was able to enjoy his meal.  Our plumber calls our home a house of horrors because of the wildlife (and random cats jumping from the ceiling while he’s working).  I really like having the critters around.  Yes, especially the snakes because they are masters of pest control.  I didn’t like it when one of the cats brought a live snake into the house though.  I could’ve gone without that adventure.

For the first leg of our trip, we stayed in a hand-built cabin with some friends in the mountains of North Carolina.  It’s gorgeous there.



There were seven of us in total.   …and the first night, the well pump died.

Seven of us for a week without any running water.  Using the toilet was interesting and showering was unheard of.  There is a hot tub and it rapidly became our nightly ritual: bathing with friends in highly chlorinated water.  We’re pretty sure that by the end of our stay, it was more of a people broth.

We did try to keep our gross levels down.  We didn’t go fishing like we normally do or get overly sweaty.  The one hike we took ended at a waterfall, so you can be sure everybody was in the water and trying to scrub clean.


Our friends eventually had to go back to their real lives but hubs and I chose to stay at the cabin for a few extra days rather than adventure onward.  Still no water, but it’s hard to argue with a real chance to relax.


…except when a herd of deer walked up to me and scared the hell out of me.  I was sure I was about to get kicked but thankfully I startled them just as much and they ran off.

Before leaving NC, we spent the last day gem mining.  That area is really replete with all kinds of neat things.


That’s my personal jackpot: a 298.5 carat emerald!  It’s obviously not gem quality so not worth much but I was over the moon.  How cool is that?!

When we did finally decide to leave the mountains, we went to visit hub’s grandmother in Alabama.  She has dementia now (and she’s about to turn 93, so it’s well deserved) but we always enjoy getting to see her.  She’s a little firecracker and even though she doesn’t remember we visited, she knows we’re there when we’re there…and maybe she remembers more than we think because she’s never forgotten who we are, including me, even though she doesn’t recognize some of her own family.


This visit, she taught us how she and her husband used to dance back in the 1940s.  She still loves dancing!

After our day in Alabama, we ventured over to Atlanta to kick off our real agenda: ProgPower USA!  It’s nice having a music festival that allows us to see everybody.

Some of the highlights from the festival this year:

Pictured are Gloryhammer, Cellar Darling, Vuur, Sons of Apollo, Manimal, Bloodbound, Oceans of Slumber, and the queen of metal herself, Doro.  There were twenty bands total but those were my favorites.

Gloryhammer is one of hub’s favorite bands and he got right up front for their show — you can see him in a photo, hoisting a hammer.  The band later took that hammer, hit him with it a few times, hit each other with it even more, then signed it for him.  He was thrilled.


If you know what he looks like, hubs can be spotted in every photo with a crowd.  He really spent a lot of time on the floor this year and I camped our favorite seats for when he was too exhausted to carry on.

We also ran into Manimal in the lobby and they (for some reason) agreed to let hubs pretend he was one of them.


…but the best show in my opinion was Alestorm.  They didn’t put on a show, they put on a party.  People were dressed like pirates and waving around plastic swords.  A few people had bubble machines in the audience.  They hoisted the huge rubber ducky out into the crowd for us to bounce around then destroy like zombies.  There was even rapping shark.


…and they were, of course, super hilarious and friendly.

They also signed my pirate ducky!  The drummer, of course, insisted that he was going to sign its butt.  I’ve had this ducky for over a decade and now it’s even more precious to me.

After four days of festival, we went further down in Georgia and spent a few days with a friend.  Then we headed back to North Carolina and caught the Judas Priest and Deep Purple concert with some of my family.  We saw 23 bands that week!  Crazy!

…and then hubs and I parted ways.  He had to recruit at his alma mater for work and I had to go to where I grew up and spend time with my family.


A few cool things happened while there.  Mom and I went to a local museum and I FINALLY found out what the heavy old rock was that my dad and I dug up out of our garden when I was little.


I kept it because it’s insanely heavy for its size and was oddly shaped with some neat striation.  Even little me knew it would be interesting.  I’d always wondered what it was — especially since we regularly dug up arrow heads and all sorts of other fun things.  Turns out, it’s a kettle ball.


I also visited my hair dresser.  Is it weird that I’ve only ever been to the same person?  She’s awesome, my hair is crazy, and it’s worth the wait between visits.


I also saw some family.  I, of course, hung out with my Grandmother as much as I could.  She’s still a spry 84 and we had fun going out shopping and for Chinese.  I went to a party with a lot of my mom’s family that I haven’t seen in forever.  Hubs was able to join us for that party and he found it hilarious how aggressive a bunch of old, toothless hillbillies got over croquet.  >_>;  I was also asked to be the matron of honor in a wedding next year.  Guess I’m going to stay busy for the next few months.

…and on my greedy side, I got a sewing machine!

My aunt had been storing them in an old sea crate so they were in absolutely horrible condition.  I was able to check on my Granny Boo’s (mom’s mother) machine and I already have an identical model but mine was made in 1900 and the serial number on hers was from 1910.  Singer 66 machines are great but I only need so many and since I already had the one with Sphinx decals (and in much better shape, sadly), I chose to take home my Granny Sally’s (Granny Boo’s mother) machine.

I didn’t even know what it was, just that I didn’t have anything that looked like the outside.  The cabinet was solid oak and a chain lift.  The chain lift was rusted shut, as were the hinges.  Add in the warped wood from being in wet conditions for several years and it took me over a week to ease the new baby open.


I brought the head home with me and mom is bringing me the treadle cabinet up at the end of this month when she and her husband are coming here for a concert.

I’ve never used a Davis VF before but I’m pretty excited.  The finish is crackled but I’ll see what I can do about getting her shined up again.  I did get all of the mechanisms to move so she’ll sew.  These models are really interesting, as there aren’t any feed dogs — the presser foot is what moves to advance the fabric.

…and then we got to come home.

Just in time for my favorite fall activity: apple picking!


The trees were absolutely laden with apples this year.  I had already picked a bushel from this tree and you can’t even tell it.

All of those apples were quickly processed down in what hubs calls my “factory”.  Most of them were turned into applesauce then apple butter.  I love me some apple butter and I was on my last jar!


…and of course it wouldn’t be fall without some apple cider donuts.  I made my own this year and hubs claims to like them even better than the ones he gets at the orchard.  I’ll call that a win!


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.