Garter Stitch Knit Headbands

•February 14, 2017 • Leave a Comment

Soooo, apologies to everyone for the disappearing act! I’m still here, still in Chicago, not quite so easily bored as usual — in part because my free time and disposable income have been taken up by other things (‘saving the world’ comes to mind, but that’s a bit of a grand description for marching and donating to lawyers). Still crafting in the stolen minutes I’m able to grab here and there. I’ve been wanting to knit for a while but, not in need of scarves and burned out on long projects, I opted to tweak a cowl pattern I found to make a couple of head bands — to keep my hands busy and manage my bad hair days.  (Read more…)


•January 8, 2017 • Leave a Comment

Holiday cash went a long way toward my craft supplies this year. One of my first purchases was a set of 18 31.5″ circular needles. 

These needles are bamboo and have more malleable tube-shaped plastic cables connecting them. Because they’re softer and more lightweight, the plastic doesn’t retain the circular shape and makes them easy to store and pack when traveling (which, for me, is always).

Having been a child of the late, late ’80s, they also remind me of jelly shoes!

I won’t be blinded by the light…

•December 31, 2016 • Leave a Comment

The standard new year’s post feels a little hollow this year (and, somehow, I don’t think I’m alone in saying that).

I learned a lot of new things in 2016. I learned that a 70-watt soldering iron heated to the highest setting will burn your hair off and not hurt if you accidentally graze your thumb on it. I learned that the morning after election day can combine the worst sensations of both outcomes (the smell of burning carbons and scorched nerve endings).

2016 was also the year I lost focus — I didn’t even make a New Year’s post until January 10th this year. Long projects were not my friends and I left several half-finished as the fog drifted in and out of my brain at its leisure. 2016 was also the year I finished National Novel Writing Month less than 2000 words shy of the 50K goal. 2016 was the year where I didn’t feel like celebrating — not holidays with families, not holidays in blog post form, not in general. But 2016 was also the year I celebrated two years with my girlfriend.

I can normally find a balance but, like a lot of others, not much made sense to me this year. I lost a friend back in August. I lost another friend to a heart attack right before Christmas. One was my age, the other just a few years older. They were generous young men, intelligent, with so much promise and so much life left. I watched other people I care about get put through the wringer — break-ups, medical procedures, life and death — and process their grief in various ways while I grappled with my own.

So, how to deal with it? At heart, I like to create and that’s most often where I turn to. I feel at my best when I am making something. I learned to craft when I was severely depressed — not the year I worked in a jewelry store, not the year I found myself adrift in an abusive relationship, and not the year I started this blog; but two decades earlier, when I picked up a stray bit of Aida cloth and floss from one of my mother’s discarded needlepoint kits and embroidered, without a pattern, a blocky, profile of an awkward pony.

With every new episode, I learned a new craft — beading, decoupage, knitting, embroidery, metal stamping, crochet, soldering. For the trying times, I came up with projects to keep my hands busy and my brain from shorting out. From my finished projects, I created talismans to imbue with a sense of purpose, accomplishment, my own personal defiance and love of absurdity.

I suspect I’ll make many more projects and many more talismans in the coming year(s). In the meantime, we’ll go out with the usual song. Cue the music!

(I was tempted to end it with a WWII era torch song or a jaunty soldier’s farewell. Nope! Watching Wade Wilson, a queer, disabled veteran and immigrant, getting justice is really the only way to end this year and open the new one).

Before my number’s up…

•December 27, 2016 • Leave a Comment

We all process loss differently. I’ve been making jewelry and listening to a lot of jazz standards lately, so my grief and defiance took an odd turn for the end of the Yuletide holidays and, indeed, for the end of this year.

The lyrics quoted here are from Walker Kent and Husband Curtis’ “I’m Gonna Live Till I Die.” The song was popularized by Frank Sinatra in the mid-1950s, but my favorite version was done by Sammy Davis Jr. in 1961.

This is a parallel vertical bar necklace, designed to be read from left to right.

Not bad. Unlike this year.

Steel and Brass Bar Necklaces

•December 26, 2016 • Leave a Comment

Season’s greetings and Happy Boxing Day! With yuletide and the onset of colder weather, my brain tends to favor fiber (needles and scissors) and jewelry crafts (hammers and pliers) to pass the time and make gifts for my family and friends. This year, I went with hammers and pliers. (Read more…)

Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December…

•December 16, 2016 • Leave a Comment

For anyone else who might need a little Poe and/or Gaiman during their holiday crafting time.

Favorite Videos: “Last Christmas,” Postmodern Jukebox

•December 15, 2016 • Leave a Comment

One of the things that consistently cheered me up during this still twitching, vivisected bog troll of a year was listening to PMJ, the “mad scientists of music.” One of my dear friends introduced me to them when we were writing together and I’ve been hooked ever since.

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