Yarn Project Totes

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Happy Sunday, all!

As we are at GenCon this week, once again I thought we could take a look at travel totes but this time around focusing on yarn projects. The issues I usually run into when bringing along my crochet projects often include tangled yarn and/or carrying the right hooks (but not all of my hooks), so I’ve been looking in to DIY patterns to solve these or at least reduce them.

This first one from SewMamaSew is an all-inclusive type that can fit at least a couple skeins of yarn and has pockets for both patterns and other utensils (hooks, stitch markers, etc.):

This second one from JustCraftyEnough could be placed inside of a larger tote for portability because it definitely solves any tangling possibilities. I really love the idea of essentially having a portable yarn bowl:

This last one from CherishedBliss is probably my favorite, not only because of the clever graphic but also because of the clever construction with multiple grommets and pockets:

 

I hope these inspire many happy traveling craft shenanigans.

Stay crafty!

~Laura


Crafting on the Go

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Happy Sunday, all!

Gen Con starts this week and we are super excited to be there again! I don’t know about you but I always have some kind of projects I am working on and many of them are small enough to tote along with me. The problem I often have, however, is how to best travel with everything I need but in the smallest possible space. Even when there are only two of us in the car, we are often gone for at least a week and that requires a lot of luggage so the crafts need to be condensable. I currently have a couple of specialty bags that travel with me for different purposes. The one for my embroidery/cross stitch has two large side pockets and a three ring style plastic organizer for floss bobbins in the center. It lays quite flat and I definitely have plenty of room for a couple of projects at once. I sometimes have to carry more so I’ve been looking for another to buy or make and in my searches have found the following…

This first one on Craftsy is everything you could wish for and more. It is quite a large tote with all kinds of pockets for pretty much anything you need to bring along and it seems pretty straight forward. I really like the optional shoulder strap and the variety of pocket and zipper options the pattern mentions so that you can completely personalize it to your needs.

   

This second one from the Embroidery Library looks like it may lie flatter, more like my current project bag and could be a great option if I want to use these for a different project a piece.

This last one from Handmadiya was just too cute for me to pass up and it is also incredibly small so it may be great to organize smaller items within one of the larger ones.

 

I’m honestly tempted to make the last one just because it is so adorable. In any case, next week we will have a look at some totes that may be better for yarn type projects on the go.

Stay crafty!

~Laura


Hook Havens

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Happy Sunday, all!

This week we are taking a look at the crochet side of organization with some very lovely hook cases. Like the double pointed knitting needles, crochet hooks often need a barrier so that they do not fall out of the case. The nice thing about crochet hooks is that unlike their pointy cousins, you are less likely to stab yourself while rummaging in a hook case. I personally started out using just a zippered pencil case and some of the hook cases out there still follow that design. Like this first one from Mama Sews Best that also has a very crafty pun:

Unlike most pencil cases, however, we find different slots of many sizes for your various hooks. Many of the cases do follow the same style we saw last week in various sizes and shapes. I especially like this one from Sew Crochet Love because of the many pockets with one zippered for your stitch markers and yarn needles:

Some have even taken it a step further and actually crocheted the hook case (who’d have thunk?) like Needle Me That Crochet did here:

Finally, though, if you find yourself with that one treasured perfect hook, you may want to give it a place of honor like this wooden hook vault from Unraveled Ewe:

Just like needles, a safe hook is a happy hook. Since Gen Con is right around the corner, next week we are going to take a look at traveling with projects. See you then!

Stay crafty!

~Laura

 


Crayon Collection Art Education Foundation

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I was recently made aware of the Crayon Collection Art Education Foundation and think it is a great cause.  As crafters we the expense of our materials and the love we create with them.

The Crayon Collection model is simple but our impact is extraordinary: by collecting gently used crayons from restaurants and hotels that distribute free crayons to children when they dine, in addition to community-based collection efforts, we intervene in a cycle of waste that has existed for decades. We save an extraordinary tool of expression, curiosity and learning – the crayon – and redistribute them to local schools in need across the country. Our programming ensures millions of crayons are saved from landfills each year and are instead repurposed for teachers and students, along with best in class resources to support art education. And at the heart of our work is a desire to create a global movement for change, a new “eco-normal” consciousness that is mindful of the environment and nearby communities in need. Through the simple act of saving a crayon we seek to reignite art programs in Amercian schools, engage a national audience to be stewards of their community and the environment, and create a new sustainability model.

Green Efforts:
Crayon Recycling Program

Through our Crayon Recycling Program, we establish partnerships with national restaurant and hotel chains that distribute free crayons to children when they dine. Instead of throwing these crayons away after each meal, we establish a collection process for each location and ensure these gently used crayons are donated to a local school in need.

READ MORE

Arts Education

We understand it is more than just a crayon – it is a powerful tool of expression to support learning, development, creativity and imagination in the hands of young minds. So in order to supplement the free crayons we donate to Head Start Programs and Title 1 elementary schools, we invest significant resources in our Arts in Education program, which supports the Art Inspiration and Artist Rotation initiatives.

Want to read more?  Check out their website to see how you can get more involved in their programs.

-Toni


Pockets Full of Needles

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Happy Sunday, all!

We are still in needle protection mode this week! This time, however, I want to take a look at some knitting implements. I am not yet a knitter – I can crochet and someday aspire to learn to knit but I have friends that are all into the knits. I’ve learned that there are not only the different sizes of needles (like the hooks in crochet) but also different types like circular needles and double ended needles (those are really just skewers, right?). Some knitting needles, depending on the material they are made from, can be crazy expensive so they need appropriate protection. When I first began looking for good examples of needle organizers, I was thinking those similar to the crochet hook cases. Something like this from Finger Pricking Good (isn’t that the best name? I love it!) in the UK:

 

Simple, little pockets for the needles that rolls up and ties with a ribbon. But, as I found, not all needles are created equal. Apparently most people don’t want to get poked by their double ended needles or have them fall out of the case. So most double needles require some sort of flap to stop them from doing so, as See Jane Sew demonstrates with her beautiful Tardis needle organizer:

I’m sure it’s bigger on the inside, too.

But then the quandary of how to handle circular needles (needles connected by little bits of plastic) comes into play. They may have very long connectors and need to be close to one another in the pouch. The long ones would ruin the connector, so what’s a crafter to do? Find a better organizer. I have found a couple of really neat ones for circular needles, the first of which is this cool accordion style one from Atelier de Soyun in South Korea:

 

It gives plenty of room to each set and prevents tangles! The other is this really innovative circular design for circular needles from Luna Stitch:

 

Again, plenty of space and individual attention to each set while keeping those pesky connectors from tangling. So you may be saying to yourself at this point, these are all really cute in their own way but isn’t there a more condensed version where I could take some of each type of needle with me? Why yes, there is! Many of the crafters have created multi-purpose needle cases for those that aren’t certain on what they may need. This gorgeous skull one from Knit One Bead Two is just the ticket:

 

Pockets, pockets everywhere! I hope you can find the right kind of pockets to suite your tastes and keep those needles safe. I’ll be back next week with something for my fellow crocheters.

Stay crafty!

~Laura


A Cozy Needle is a Happy Needle

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Happy Sunday, all!

Today we are ensuring that we continue to take excellent care of the tool that arguably works the hardest for anyone that does any kind of sewing. Last time we covered needle cases which are great for trips and transporting odd sized or duller needles. This time we are going to give our needles a bit more care and store them in soft felted cloth, more specifically in a needle book. Most needle books are fairly simplistic: take several squares of felt and sew them together in the middle to form a spine, then fold in half. Some crafters and artisans have taken this to a whole new level. This first one from Mouse Garden uses the traditional and adds their own flair:

Simple, pretty, and ready to carry your needles!

Using all felt makes it easy to add simple embroidery or other designs. Like this second rather whimsical one from Crafty Cat Lady UK:

I love it’s cute whiskers!

Many of us that mix our different sewing projects can also relate to this third one  from Angelic Emporium that may help to clear up some of our quilting scraps to make something useful for hand sewing components:

Plus a skull and roses needle book is super cool!

Finally, if you want to be super fancy, I suggest treating yourself to one of these beautiful vegan leather needle books from Naeh St Design:

All the way from Germany, no less!

Keep your needles happy and they will always treat you right! The felt pages of needle books not only serve to prevent accidental stabbings while rummaging around in a project bag but also help absorb leftover oil from your skin! Next week we will look at a different type of needle case.

Stay crafty!

~Laura

 


Comparing Heights

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I’ve got a cool little reference tool for everyone today! Now I know this won’t be used for every medium out there, but if you draw or write about people with your art then continue on my friends.

This is a nifty little weblet made by Mr Initial Man called Comparing Heights, that lets you quickly get a visual on what the height differences should look like for characters. While you may have an idea for average heights (6′-5′ range) I find this to be incredibly helpful for fantasy art. Got a 60′ giant? Now you know just how large that would look next to you. Want to know if you fairy is too big? They got you covered. 🙂 I could see this being a fun tool for D&D GMs as well. If you are worried about group shots more, you can compared up to 6 people in this one right here instead. It’s really just a great simple (and free!) tool to help get everything into perspective. ;P


Needle Transports

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Happy Sunday, all!

Last week I promised some needle cases and this week, here they are! When I think of sewing needle cases, I remember my Grandmother’s simple turned wood one or (dating myself here) my Mom using old camera film containers. I had no idea that needle cases could also be decorative and beautiful. The first set are very reminiscent of my Grandmother’s turned wood but in much fancier wood types. This purple heart wood case from Rainchabod Designs is just lovely:

So pretty and purple!

But then I went farther down the rabbit hole and found some turned acrylic cases, which can be super shiny. These needle case and seam ripper combos from Sewn Into the Fabric make me happy just looking at them:

Some of them are really sparkly!

Some artisans have decided to take the simple wooden ones and cover them in various mediums, like clay. In this instance, Happy Bear Creations NC has added some great texture and design to something so simple:

Pretty and subtle.

Finally, I give all credit to this last artist because they not only bumped up the wow factor on a little needle case, I would assume they also use it as they are a bead artist themselves. This gorgeous peyote stitched beaded case from Elewmompittseh is so amazing:

Just look at that itty bitty design!

Needle cases also put me in mind of more needle transporting mechanisms so I think next week we will also look at some neat needle books. See you then!

Stay crafty!

~Laura


Mark Your Stitches

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Happy Sunday, all!

This week we are continuing our journey through useful but fun tools in the crafty world by offering up some examples of stitch markers! Stitch markers are generally used by those that knit or crochet to keep track of rows or stitches/types of stitches on larger projects. The idea is to insert a stitch marker where you need to remember to take that action (new row, switch stitches, etc.) or keep track of where you are. The first ones I found from Yarnistry Shop are very practical and help as visual aides for when you need to keep track of numbers of rows/stitches:

They are very reasonably priced and look quite durable.

I like how colorful they also are so that they are easy to spot! The second ones I found go right back to one of my favorite shops, which I have mentioned before, A Needle Runs Through It:

These can go along with the sheep needle minders!

They also have a line of NSFW stitch markers that you can view here. They are so amazing for the sweary crafter in all of us! The third stop should appeal to all those out there that appreciate a little bit of cute fake food. These sweet markers from Chapel View Crafts really take the cake:

I would not recommend using them if you are hungry.

My final offering should not be a surprise as I always love a bit of geekery. So these Harry Potter themed stitch markers from Mandas Knotty Crochet should help put some magic in all of your yarn projects:

Accio stich markers!

Hope you find something fun to help you keep count in any case. Next week we will explore some cool needle cases!

Stay crafty!

~Laura


Polymer Clay Tools

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Happy Wednesday! This is Kim, with Fantastical Menagerie. I wanted to share some of the resources I use to find tools to work with my polymer clay. A lot of us start with the basic tools that can be found at most craft stores such as Michaels or Hobby Lobby. Sometimes you need a more specific tool than what can be found there. In my years of working with clay, I have found some great alternatives for sculpting tools and texture tools.

AmCreatures on Etsy has some nice hand designed tools. They are based in Canada. Their tools are mostly directed at sculpting dolls and faces for puppets, but work well for polymer clay. Some are for sculpting scales, eyes, and tiny detail work. Their prices are very reasonable for custom tools.

If you find that kneading clay fills you with dread, this next tool has great reviews, is simple to use, and does it in seconds. Its called the NeverKnead. Its an expensive investment, but works based on pressure. Instead of spending a great deal of time and pain with clay, try this!

If you need sharper straight blades for your clay, especially for cutting canes, Creative Canes Etsy shop sells tissue blades, which are medical grade and extremely sharp. Flexible enough for cutting curved shapes as well. The shop also offers different polymer clay finished cane projects.

Pottery114U sells pottery clay stamps that help with imprinting texture into your polymer clay. They are inexpensive, durable, and versatile.

When searching on your own, include searches for cake decorating, pottery, and other crafts, since tools may work for other mediums.