Meet the Hackers: C2E2

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Today marks the start of C2E2 in Chicago and we are back fro our 3rd year!

We can be found in the same place we have been every year in booth 1357.

As Kim said Wednesday, she will be at C2E2 this year in the Black Cat Creations booth.

This years Craft Hacker line up includes Toni from Quiltoni, Nicole from Craftigurumi, and Jess from Ami Ami Creations.  We will have lots of amigurumi goodness, plush, scarves, quilts, pillows, and quilt patterns.  This year Toni and Nicole have to make room for brand new inventory so are putting the old into special mystery boxes!  Each box has a guaranteed value of $95 and can be yours for $40.  Every item in the mystery boxes will never be made again.  They are only available while they last.

So swing by, say hi,tell us how your year has been, and check out all of the new things we have!


Among the Pines

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Good morning Thursday Crafthackers

This morning I have a small business feature for a lovely handcrafted business that features hand made soaps as well as wood products and what’s even better is that they work not just to make but to educate people about living a more sustainable life. Meet Among the Pines.

The wood products that are made are simple and rustic but elegantly made and useful.

Not only do they give a lovely selection of hand made products that can be bought and enjoyed yourself or given as lovely gifts like cheese boards, beer flights made from reclaimed wood or even ones like this that really can be gifted, and filled with beer for the loved recipient…

 

They also offer a wood butter which is what I was most impressed with.

It is a wood conditioner that you can use to preserve and make beautiful all of your wood kitchen utensils and cutting boards that is free of any petroleum products like mineral oil.

Their other offering was their soap. Also hand made and wonderful, and best of all they have one that is made from beer that smells amazing.  What’s lovely is that you can find these guys on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to follow not just their excellent products, but their philosophy as well.

~ Megan


Adding whimsy to cosplay

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Happy Wednesday! I am here in Chicago this week, prepping and waiting for C2E2 to start. If you are attending the show, I can be found in Booth 273, along with Blacky Cat Creations. My friend and I have been checking out some local museums, landmarks and amazing food. I love to cosplay when I vend at shows. Even though I work with polymer clay, sometimes I see accessories I love but someone else makes really well.

Prism Moon Designs on Etsy makes amazing horns, antlers, antennae, and alien pieces.

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Beautifully crafted with amazing detail, her work shines brightly in a sea of clay. Her prices are reasonable, and she does take custom orders.

 

Her work can be found here:

https://www.etsy.com/shop/prismmoon


3D Paper Wall Art

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So we all know decorating can be a pain. Picking colors for paint. Finding pictures/painting for your walls. Making a theme almost guarantees you’ll double that time as well. While it won’t solve all your problems, I have found some very cool wall art that adds an interesting decoration to at least part of your room and it’s easy to remove as well!

These are handmade paper art installations that are just lovely and engaging. Each piece is cut and folded by hand by Oregon based artist Jacqueline Jean of hipandclavicle over on Etsy. The detail and precision of her cutting is just stellar. I could see myself using these in a nursery or a college dorm thanks to their inexpensive price and wall safe adhesive not leaving any marks. Most of the her work is nature themed as she loves the outdoors, though dragons have managed to jump in there from time to time.

No guides for layout of the pieces seems to be included with orders which means the possibilities are endless and can be altered to suit you needs. Got a big empty space to fill? Order a few sets and make a swirling design or a giant butterfly shape.

Most sets cost only $15 so if you’re looking for something different to decorate your walls with, I definitely recommend giving this shop a look through. 🙂


Talking Gloves

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I know winter is behind us, but I only just found these recently and I don’t wanna wait until it’s cold again to share them. 😛

Based in Istanbul, Talkingloves makes adorable knit clothing with a fun twist. When you put the gloves together, or sometimes position them just so, they contain a special adorable shape. The kitty ones above are my favorite, cause I love cats, but it’s the concept in general that I caught my attention. Perhaps it’s the romantic in me, but I’d be super cute to get 2 pairs of the heart one so that when you and your significant other hold hands it forms a little heart on the inside that only you know about. ^_^

A bit more on focus for those of us going into wedding season, they also make bridal gloves and accessories that are sheer and light instead. Including very delicate looking ring pillows that suit a variety of modern/traditional styles. If you like cute knit and sheer items definitely give their store a look thru as you won’t be disappointed. 🙂


A Hoppy Occassion

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Happy Sunday and happy Easter to everyone that celebrates!

When I was a child, we spent much of Easter with family (and we have a rather large one) and that meant that us kids had to keep ourselves entertained. There was plenty of excitement over the goodies in our baskets but eventually that would wane and we’d find some other mischief to get into. Two of my aunts were very artsy-craftsy, so once that point hit, the kids craft supplies would make their way out! There are some great tutorials out there for some cute crafts for your own swarm of littles if need be and I’ve (of course) pulled a list of my favorites, starting with these adorable chicks made out of the egg cartons from all those yummy deviled eggs:

A super cheap cheap way to keep them busy!

Or maybe use some time to make salt dough eggs that the kiddos can paint/glitter/mark-up:

An egg-cellent chance to show their creativity.

If the younglings are a bit older and craft inclined, they could try their hands at these stinkin’ cute Shaun the Sheep figures:

Maybe while watching some Wallace and Gromit episodes!

And I do hope you wouldn’t think I could get through a DIY Easter list without bunnies, did you? Of course not! These sock bunnies are just the thing:

And…this could include some recycling.

I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday and next week we’ll be at C2E2 here in Chicago! More adventures to come!

Stay crafty!

~Laura

 


Let’s learn about needles – The life of a needle

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All of this information is courtesy of Schmetz.

1 Definition of Needle Life

During the sewing process different forces and influences are attacking the sewing machine needle. There might be

  • Abrasive forces
  • Penetration force
  • Influence of operator
  • Influence of sewing thread
  • Influence of sewing machine

Every one of these forces and influences are the enemies of needle life. They might destroy the point, abrase the needle surface or even break the needle. Some of these influences and forces and their effects are directly visible, e.g. if you get holes in your fabric something has happened to the needle point or if the thread breaks there might be damage to the eye of the sewing machine needle.

As a general definition of the end of needle life we can say

2 Parameters influencing Needle Life

In the previous paragraph we already named a few influencing factors on needle life. If we look closer we will find the following parameters

  • sewing good
  • operator
  • machine setting
  • machine speed
  • thread quality
  • thread size
  • needle size
  • needle point

besides other parameters being specific to every plant like climate, work environment and others. All these parameters are of influence to the needle life and are very individual to every sewing factory. The life of a sewing machine needle has come to an end when the needle looses its proper function.

If we just take the operator as one of the most influencing factors on needle performance we can see that the skills and work experience is a significant parameter. But also here the human factor comes in because not everyday the operator works the same depending on the physical and mental condition. If you put two operators side by side sewing the same workpiece under the same outer conditions like same machine, same speed etc. it can happen that the results are very different, especially when we look into the needle consumption.

From all these influencing parameters it becomes very clear now that they cannot be predetermined because they are individual to the specific sewing factory. Almost every factory has different conditions and setups even if they make the same product.

3 Examples

Broken needle points because the needle has touched some machine parts. The fabric never would cause this type of fault.

Abrasion on eye sidewall because the needle was deflected during sewing and was touching the sides of the needle hole in the throat plate

Total abrasion of eye sidewall. The eye is open. This happened with a very abrasive sewing good containing a flame-retardant chemical.

4 How to find your individual needle life

As the manufacturer of the sewing machine needle we are not able to give a prediction of needle life for the individual plant because it is impossible to know all your individual factors. But a lot of sewing factories have the data available or are able to find the data for every sewing line or even for every sewing machine. It just is a matter of about a month collecting data for every needle change, log the data and categorize by reason for the needle change.

This will give a good basis for quality improvement because if you have these data you will be able to implement a needle change policy in your factory as already a lot of the high quality manufacturers do. You will have the possibility now to change the needle before it starts to abrase or before the needle point gets damaged.

-Toni


Amazon Warrior Quilt Pattern

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The team of Nicole and Toni released a new Quilt Pattern this week, the Amazon Warrior.

 

Basic Skills Necessary:

  • Use a Sewing Machine
  • Use a Rotary Cutter and Straight Edge
  • 1/4″ seam

Pattern Description: Created by the gods, the amazon warrior shows compassion but that doesn’t stop her from annihilating her enemies.

Learn how to sew strips, nest seams, and piece efficiently to save time.

Sizing / Finished Measurements: 36″ by 48″

Materials:

  • 1/2 Yard Tan Fabric
  • 1/4 Yard Blue Fabric
  • 1/2 Yard Yellow Fabric
  • 3/4 Yard Black Fabric
  • 1/4 Yard Red Fabric
  • 1 Yard Purple Fabric (or background of choice)

You Will Also Need: Sewing Machine & Preferred Thread Rotary Cutter & Straight Edge Pins Scissors Iron & Ironing Board

If you would like to see more information on the pattern, or purchase it, head over to Craftsy to take a look!

 


Happy Happy Joy Joy & Polish Co.

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Hi there Thursday Crafthackers!

I was at the Craftadian craft fair in Hamilton, Ontario, where local artisans get together to sell their wares and I had a great time and I met a whole bunch of new people. I will be doing a series on the artisans that I met there who made some amazing hand made things. On that note, I would like to introduce Joy & Polish Co. who is a handmade nail polish company. That’s right. Hand made nail polish.

Check out our Spring Collection, available at Craftadian Spring Market this Saturday and on Etsy. Looks like someone figured out iMovie.

Posted by Joy & Polish Company on Wednesday, April 5, 2017

When I met this company at the show, it was an unassuming little table with a really simple set up, and what caught my eye was my feminine inclination for pretty, sparkly cosmetics.

These nail polishes are free of the “big 5”, which, if you’re not aware, are: dibutyl phthalate, toluene, formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin and camphor. Formaldehyde is what is used to preserve bodies, so, I don’t know about you, but I don’t want that anywhere near my live body.

The colours are fantastic, as you can see, and they wear well. I did 3 coats on my own nails (yes, I bought some), and even without a topcoat or bottom coat, lasted for 3 days without chipping. And I work with my hands.

These guys sell on Etsy, and you can check out all their stuff here, on Facebook too. Their prices are not more than what you’d find in a drugstore and they do shipping (and pickup if you’re in the area).

Hope you enjoyed this post, and check them out. Their colours are just phenomenal!!!

~ Megan