A new year brings change

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Hello to all of you! I’m Kim from Fantastical Menagerie. Toni from Quiltoni asked me if I would be interested in contributing to the blog spot here on Crafthackers, and I was delighted.

I have been running my own art business for twelve years, and full time since 2011. I work mostly in polymer clay, and some mixed media. I tend to work with sculpting animals into wearable art. Besides doing a number of ComicCons and Art Shows each year, you can find my things on Facebook at www.facebook.com/fantasticalmenagerie or on Etsy at www.fantasticmenageries.etsy.com.

I am hoping to have some tutorials over the next few months, along with ideas to inspire you to create! If you would like to see one I posted here in September, here is the link. It’s on clay pumpkin earrings.

DIY: Pumpkin Earrings and Pendant

We have a new year in front of us, and so many things to try.


SpokenWord SpiderWeb 2.0

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I’m honored to meet you, the CraftHack community as a guest blogger. Any and all mistakes are all my own, and I own up to them.

Yes, I know-Craft Hacker, not CraftHack is what mere mortals call this page. Please don’t be mad that I have the audacity to be myself and get comfy, call you by a nickname and share my story.


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My dream is to tell stories, to connect. I do this in fibers, in fables and words, with grace, hope and joy.

Weaving my stories, connecting unexpected. The fringe, the fray–these seemingly useless disconnected bits.  From the chaotic corner of my memory, hard edges of science, math melt into art that is engineering and problem solving–soon these fables and fabric find a secure doorframe and take hold.

click to read and hear the rest of Spiderweb 2.0


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Be You and Be Awesome!


Hey Hey, I’m just a substitute blogger. Hope that I made you smile. There isn’t time in one post to get to know someone, but how did I do? Do I seem like a fun person that you’d like to get to know? My FUNfromAtoZ assistant says this is an opportunity to promote myself and where you can find me, but nope-I won’t. Okay, okay! In a secret way I did.

Sunday Funday with Laura!

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Hello all and welcome to the very first installment of the Sunday blog with me, Laura! In this first post, a bit about me: I am a very enthusiastic lifelong geek that also has a penchant for creating things. I come from a long line of crafters/makers and was continually surrounded by handmade objects while growing up. Because of this, I have great respect for the time and effort that goes into making items from “scratch”. Like the lovely sloth hat that I very happily purchased from Dani Cat Designs (who was featured yesterday), I enjoy patronizing crafter booths at various conventions and fairs.

Sloth Hat Close-up

It’s very warm, soft, and those hand mitts can double as extra pockets!

My crafting/making experience runs the gamut. I stitch (embroidery/cross stitch), I bead (jewelry and Perlers), I crochet (this is relatively new), I sew, I bake, I paint…the list goes on! Most of my art contains some kind of geeky flair, as you can see.

An entry to a monthly challenge at Sprite Stitch. A tribute to Green Arrow and Hawkeye earrings that were made for a friend. Staypuft cookie

I especially love combining mediums.

Cross stitch and jewelry, who knew?!

Cross stitch and jewelry, who knew?!

This, my entry into the blog-o-sphere, all stems from a wonderful bit of luck and circumstance. A few years ago while working on a design for a Perler bead project, I stumbled across a website called Sprite Stitch and found a whole community of like-minded geek crafters. On that wonderful site, I met Toni the Quilt Wizard and instantaneously fell in love with her designs but more importantly, her business drive. When she founded Craft Hackers, I jumped on the convention bandwagon and volunteered to be a booth assistant. BEST DECISION EVER. Because of the inspiration I find on this site and on the road with the Hackers, my craft scope has widened and deepened. I hope to be able to do the same for others in the future.

See you next Sunday and stay crafty!



Small Business Supply Sourcing – An Opus in Two Parts. (Part 1)

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Hey guys,

I decided to write about something a little different today. I want to do a small writeup on sourcing supplies for businesses that are of a manufacturing sort.  This is probably one of the things that you really don’t think about when you’re excited and planning to start a new business but will very quickly become an expensive problem that can be a lot bigger than  you would think. The supplies that you use to make whatever it is you’re making are extremely important. They are the raw ore that you need to make something beautiful. So, where and how do you find these things?


Do you know what all these tools are? Then how do you know if you don’t need them?


1. Knowing what you need to get the job done.

Thinking back on my personal experience, I know that I had a heck of a time finding the right places with the quality that I needed.  The first thing to remember is that you often cannot trust what you buy until you have had a chance to try it on more than a couple pieces. I’ll use my own business as an example for these to give you an idea.  I make corsets for Absynthetika, as some of you may already know, and there are many different types of supplies and tools needed for the job.  There are some of the obvious things like fabric and thread, scissors and needles. Then there are some things that are a little more complicated, like boning – what type of boning should I use, in what format should I order it, and how much work am I willing to do to prepare it?  These are all questions that will impact where you order something from.  My first piece of advice for those of you in small business manufacturing is to make a list of all the supplies that you’re going to need and from that list, I would note where you plan to get them and what you have worked with before and know is a good quality.  Some of what you need may be easy to find, but some of it may not be. You need to know where to spend your research energy, and start from there. There’s nothing worse than starting something and finding all the surprises of supplies that you will need, as this gets very expensive and very frustrating very quickly.


2. What work are you willing to do yourself?

This may seem like an odd question as if you’re planning on making things to sell, you may feel like you’re doing everything yourself.  This is not in fact the case. For corsets, for example, you need boning. Are you going to use plastic, that’s easy to cut, pre-cut steel, steel that you need to cut yourself?  These may seem like small questions but the answers will change where you’re getting your product.  Plastic/rigilene boning you can buy locally in a regular sewing store, whereas precut boning you’ll have to order from a costume supply shop.  Precut boning is more expensive than a spool of boning, but the spool requires more work to make usable.  Though it requires more work, it gives you more flexibility, and so which one will you choose? Ultimately, it is up to how much work you’re willing to put into the prepwork. This, of course, doesn’t only apply to corsetmaking, but to any manufacturing business.  The more work you’re willing to do yourself, the more money you will save on the prep that you don’t need to pay a company to do.  This also lets you closer control the quality of your product.  Do you need to have a cotton bias? Are you going to buy it or make it yourself?  Should you order specific jewelry findings to your exact measurements or will you just cut them to size yourself to save the money?


Two options for making bias tape and the option for buying it. Which one is worth the time/money for your business?


You need to be a little careful that you don’t get stuck in the permanent “if I make it, it will be cheaper”.  A great comparison is clothing shopping.  I am never willing to make jeans for myself because I can buy them for 10-20 dollars a pair, which wouldn’t even cover my labour for making them.  A simple skirt that’s only one layer think being sold for 30 dollars?  This is something I would make with better quality stitching for a lower cost.   Remember that your time is money and if you are going to do this type of work yourself, that you need to be considering how much time you’re using and is it worth it either for money saving or for quality control. Remember, your supplies should balance your time and your money so that you can maximize your quality without sacrificing too much time.



I will continue with a few more topics in next week’s blog getting into online suppliers and making the most of your supplies.  Where people who have been in this industry for a while may see this as common sense, it isn’t quite so common when you’re just starting out and don’t have a baseline to work from.



Introduction: And now for something not quite completely different…

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Hello everyone, I am your new Sunday blogger! I am an idea person as well as someone who takes serious pleasure in being inspired and in inspiring others. I studied English and film at university in Toronto and have since moved to northern New Jersey.

Many of you met Megan on Thursday; I went to school with her and we bonded over many karaoke nights. What really got us close, though, was her corset business. For many years now I have helped her at conventions and online, and throughout this time I have met many artisans and crafters with beautiful and amazing products. The quality of many of these handmade items isn’t their only draw; I am often blown away by the imagination and sheer artistry that went into them as well.

For myself, I love being artistic in various ways. I do nail art, am teaching myself to paint, draw, use Photoshop (I made many of the images on the Absynthetika website), learn codes and languages, dance, practice photography, and love coming up with creative solutions for random issues that pop up around the house and in my life. Even though I do not craft a lot myself I have a very creative mind and I love learning about all of the things that much more talented people come up with, and possibly learning how to do it myself.

As I am currently working on my writing I hope you all bare with me on this journey and hope, also, that what I post inspires and sparks into activity that creative muscle which we all have but don’t exercise nearly enough.

My name is Shalyn and I’m here to help you ‘hack’ away at those ‘crafty’ creative blocks and to find some pretty sweet handmade products at the same time. Let’s go!

Hi. My name is Megan. I’m a Crafthacker….

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Hello internet.

Do you remember that awesome corset buying tutorial that was published around October last year? What am I saying… of course you do. Well, that fantastic article was written by yours truly, and I’ve been invited to become a resident CraftHacker blogger with all of the other creative lovelies that post here.

My name is Megan. I grew up just outside of Toronto and I’ve worked a myriad of jobs that I have enjoyed. I was an ESL teacher for international students for many years. Until quite recently where I packed it in, packed it up and hauled my accumulation of things to Hamilton. I moved for my honey, and with the thought of cheaper rents came the thought of what may come next.
I have always been a pretty artistic person. I used to do a lot of things… painting, hand stitching, cooking, etching, beading, bracelt making as well as playing a few different musical instruments… you know, the kinds of things that kids do when they’re crafty. Lucky for me, I’ve carried a few of them through into my adult life.

I still cross stitch, though now it tends to be geeky, complicated patterns requiring enough colours that I had to buy boxes to keep them all in. I also still sew, though that particular hobby I grew into the business that I now own and run. You guessed it. The business makes corsets. This is how I met Toni, our lovely host. We met at a convention while oggling each other’s wares, and this creepy staring blossomed into something beautiful and significantly less creepy.

Anime North 2013. The corset makes an already sassy and fabulous business owner even more sassy and fabulous!


I’ve been making corsets as a business for about 8 years, though I started earlier than that. I would say that for many of those years, this was a hobby business. That’s changed in the last 3 or so where I decided to start taking myself and my product seriously and trying to do more. Some of you may know Absynthetika. And if you don’t, quite frankly you should, because it’s awesome. I learned to sew from my stepmother and from an introductory course. I learned to make corsets a lot by trial and error, but I got some hints and tricks from those who have been in the trade for a while. I know how to draft patterns (for corsets at least) and can design almost anything that I can visualize. I’ve strived to develop patterns that were an fantastic off the rack fit, which is something very hard to find in corsets. And I think I’ve done a pretty good job. I haven no desire to become a runway designer. I want to help people feel beautiful and let my hands work at what they like to work at.

I’m a big fan of small businesses and firmly believe that we need to get back to our community in terms of how we buy.  There are so many amazing artisans around the world who make so many good products.  The best way I  can think of to improve our own economy is to buy into it. And that means doing the research to find out what is around you and if you can afford it, spending the extra money to pay for it.  When you find something that’s super cheap, the labour probably was too. And that’s no good for anyone. I am looking to take my love and my advocacy for small businesses and local support to help other people to see these amazing things that are available and to meet the amazing people that create them. Knowing is half the battle. The other half? Red lasers and blue lasers.

The rest of me? Well. That’s a work in progress.


Introductions: Crafting an Identity

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When Toni asked me to become a part of the Craft Hackers blogging crew, I was ecstatic, then paralyzed by fear. I knew I would need to write a post just like this, and I’ve been struggling with the question of how do I define myself for the past year.

A couple of months ago as friends were admiring one of my recent finished projects one of them asked “So how do you define yourself? Are you a quilter? Crafter?” I didn’t have a good answer for him then, and I still don’t have an easy answer now. I do quilt, but I don’t call myself a quilter. I embroider and cross stitch, but am I really a stitcher? I make costumes, but am I a “real” cosplayer?

There are many other labels I have used to describe myself and my crafting side: textile enthusiast, costumer, creative junkie. I’ve even debated the name of my blog, worried that the inference of nakedness will drive people away. In the end it has stayed Without A Stitch On, as I share more than just the crafting I do, but my insecurities and bare thoughts that come with them.

One of the things I am for certain, though, is a PhD student. In my journey to this place in my career I’ve come to realise how scarily little one can know before you are an “expert” in something. I’ve never felt like I deserved to be called an expert in anything, although others seem to disagree with me on that. I’ve always felt if I was to attach a label to myself then I need to have a certain level of competence or passion for what that label entails. I become desperately scared that by using a label I will imply that I know more than I do and be found out for the fraud I sometimes feel, for I know the extent of my ignorance, and it is vast.

To date, I think the best definition I have created to the “who am I?” question lies in my Twitter description which reads: “Crafter, sewista, wannabe cosplayer. Sharing my journey, techniques, and insecurities.” Twitter’s characters limits have a way of forcing you to distill your words into their very essence, and after quite some time that description is still the one I return to.

Why does my crafting identity matter to you, dear readers? Because how I define myself as a craft blogger will be different from many others and at least some of the posts that come from me will probably be different from those you are used to seeing from other Craft Hackers bloggers.

The other thing that may be of note is that I live across the pond from the rest of the Craft Hacker blogging team in Dublin, Ireland. While I grew up in the US, Ireland has been my home now for almost 15 years so my perspective, local craft scene, and worldview will be slightly different. This means that those artists that I choose to highlight and the conventions I attend will likely be international comparatively speaking.

So what can you expect from your weekly WASO Wednesday blog post from me? Likely there will be some quilting, embroidery, cosplay, sewing, cross stitch, and I might even resurrect the odd knitting project. I will tell you what I learn, what I find, how I’ve screwed up, and hopefully how it all got fixed.

Possibly more importantly you’ll find my posts may have a reflective tone as I continue to explore these questions of who I am, what it means to be a crafter, and what it means to be a Craft Hacker. If you want more from me, you’ll also find me on my blog, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Here’s to new beginnings and this new journey.



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Return the favor she bestowed upon me a few weeks back, I want to talk a bit about the head of our site here: Toni.


Yup. Our fearless leader. ^_~

While we’ve only known each other for the past few years, Toni and I have so much in common that it feels like longer. And during that time, she has always been synonymous with quilting and quilts in my mind. I have family members that quilt of course, but Toni was the first person I saw do something with it that I would enjoy cause -let’s face it- most of the younger generations out there look at quilts a bit distastefully as their geometric designs and patterns don’t hold much appeal in our media saturated world. Thankfully, Toni agreed with the concept as not long after learning how to do it, she started making quilts that we didn’t even know we wanted until we saw them.

Mega Man Quilt

Totoro Quilt









Once she saw how much people enjoyed her work on forums like sprite stitch, Toni decided to put her degree to use and make a business out of it. She’s been making quality hand made quilts ever since really, and I’m always amazed by the beautifully complex designs and custom works she consistently turns out.

Star Trek Queen Sized Quilt

Kirby Dreamland Lap Quilt









Give her a shout out in the forums or even peruse her site if you have time. She’s a wonderful woman whose more than happy to talk to people about what she does. 🙂


And here’s Lindsay!

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Hiya folks!  My name is Lindsay.  I’m a Craft Hacker and a new blogger here!  I have been a crafter for as long as I can remember, getting my hands into everything and let me tell you, nothing has changed!  I have a little business called Stamps and Stitches (by Crafty Lindsay) where I try to make all sorts of stuff.  I mostly focus on cards, scrapbooking, knitting and cross-stitch, but I’ve also dabbled in perler beads, quilting, latchhooking, painting and drawing!  My favourite things to make right now include knitted plushies – monsters, monsters and more monsters – and little video game themed magnets!  🙂

I met Toni through SpriteStitch several years ago and always admired her drive and commitment to crafting and turning that love into a business!  I’m happy to be taking my business one step further by selling at my first convention with her in October.  While this is still part-time for me, who knows what the future holds?  You can see some of my crafts through my blog or Facebook page.  I’m looking forward to bringing you many crafts, tutorials and adventures on this Craft Hackers page!

It’s Allison… I’m finally making my debut post!

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I finally figured out how to work this blog-traption, and am making my introductory post now.  It’s a bit later than expected (many humble apologies!), but now that I know how to do this, it’ll be a breeze from now on.  🙂

So who am I and what do I do? I’m Allison, and I do lots of things! I’m a graphic designer, web designer and illustrator by trade, so I spend a large amount of time coming up with cool logos, slick websites and pretty tshirt designs for my clients. I’m also an artist, and I’ve been painting and drawing since before I could talk. Oh, and I craft. Before recently, I didn’t even know that being a crafter was a ‘thing’; I’ve never described myself as such, even though I’ve been actively crafting for most of my life. When I was in high school and had access to my mom’s sewing machine, I would design and make my own clothes. In college, I bought vintage items and altered them. I broadened my reach once I had my own place, and started making blankets, pillows, and decor items to fit my ever changing interior design taste. These days, I do smaller things: jewelry making, refurbishing vintage furniture, handmade stuffed toys, handmade greeting cards and calendars, and repurposed Christmas tree ornaments (or home decor items) out of vintage toys. Oh, and obviously wall art! I think I just like doing creative things with my hands now that I work at a computer… the feeling of actually physically making something as opposed to doing something digitally is beyond satisfying.

And coincidentally, it was through an ad I posted for my design services that I met the lovely Toni. We worked together on the design elements of the business for about a month, and alongside work, we connected on a personal level. A friendship started to grow, along with my desire to not only help out with the cool idea that was Craft Hackers, but also to immerse myself in a crafting community filled with vibrant, creative ideas, thoughts and people.

I can’t wait to meet all of you, and I’m looking forward to all the great times ahead!