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Category Archives: I Have Yarn!

2013 – Blogging in My Own Voice

Christmas is behind us! I hope whatever you celebrate was very merry, even if all you aimed for was a relaxing Tuesday and the end of Christmas countdowns.

Oldest nephew got an Iron Bear (Iron Man bear) from me.


Youngest nephew was also on my list this year. He got a bear hat that he wanted no part of wearing, but he’s not quite two years old yet and his mama says he needs a hat.


Princess niece (and do NOT argue with her about that because she is not one of those wimpy, helpless princesses!) was on Mr. Knitter’s list. She has a new pair of ballerina house slippers. They immediately went on her feet!


My mother has been a huge source of encouragement, as well as having given Mr. Knitter a big boost in getting needles and other supplies when he started knitting. I hear from her that you’re never too old to enjoy your kids making something for you, so she was also on my list. I made a couple of pairs of wine glass flip-flops from The Crochet Dude’s pattern for her. They slip onto the bottom of a wine glass so that you keep your coaster with you.


And that’s it for our Christmas crafting for this year! Almost. I do have one other gift I still need to get sent out, but that one wasn’t expected by Christmas and is considered more of a “winter celebration” gift.  I’ve also got projects to get back to that were put on hold while I prepared for Christmas. I could happily clear all the other chores and responsibilities from my life and just crochet. Ahh… one can dream!

I’m not making a list for 2013 the way I made a list for 2012.  I have other lists. I share lists with Mr. Knitter. There’s a lot more “doing my part within the collaboration” that goes on these days, and I just can’t make the same kind of list for that. I am setting a goal to hold myself to, though.

I will blog more in 2013. I will blog in my own voice.

I’ve fallen into a rut where I’m not getting posts written as often as I’d like because it’s really taxing to do it. I just don’t have the energy and mental focus when I do have the time. Why not? Why does writing a post here take so much out of me when I am able to turn out posts now and then for another blog? Why does writing a post here drain me so much more than a few hours of online socialization? I asked myself these questions and kept coming back to one answer.

It’s exhausting to maintain an illusion of something that’s not really yourself.

I’ve talked a lot about the importance of an artist being themself with their art. Finding your own style, doing work that is meaningful to you, etc. I’ve tried really hard to avoid using my own voice on this blog, though. I’ve tried to sound more “professional” by making a forced attempt at writing in a way that my old English teachers would find acceptable for striking a balance of casual tone in “serious” writing. The last bell rang for those classes long ago. I’m not writing for them. Sometimes knowing the rules makes you qualified to break them.

I look at how Amanda Palmer writes her blog and think to myself, “Oh, honey… you are not Amanda Palmer!” Okay, that’s true. But if there’s a rule that says you have to wait until you’re a star before you can do anything a star does, that’s a stupid rule and needs to be broken. Stars are passionate people. In that way, I am exactly like Amanda Palmer!

I love the excitement I feel when I read posts by Steph Cortés on the nerd JERK blog.  Her passion for what she does really comes through! I’m pretty good at getting people excited about things I’m excited about, too. I don’t think I’ve done a good job of showing here just how much I love creating. I do that well when writing for blogs where I’m more relaxed about writing style, though.

I will be more relaxed about my writing in 2013, and that should allow me to write more. More writing means you get to see more of what’s going on before we get it finished. I will never be able to blog for Mr. Knitter, though. He and I have very different approaches to our crafts. Maybe I can squeeze in a post now and then about how jealous I am of his knitting skills and my confusion when I look at a box full of double pointed needles.


Being Thankful and Reviewing the 2012 “To Do” List

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving for those of us who live in the United States. I’m not sure the history of the holiday ever really mattered to me. We were told stories of the pilgrims and native people celebrating together, and I know I really got into the crafts and plays. I just always saw Thanksgiving as two things… one was the holiday I was told everyone was celebrating, and the other was what was actually going on at our house. The latter was the real Thanksgiving for me.

It hasn’t been the real Thanksgiving for me since my grandmother died, which was about eight years ago by now. She wasn’t a big eater, but she cooked and loved to feed her loved ones. I guess it’s because she grew up in a family with a lot of kids during the Great Depression. It seemed to make her someone who showed she loved you by doing things like feeding you, or buying you a book you wanted. She didn’t shower us with gifts non-stop, but she did a lot to quietly “take care of us” maybe a little more than we really needed. Thanksgiving and Christmas were something of a month-long celebration in my mind, and she and my mom were the driving forces.

My grandmother died just a few days before Thanksgiving the year we lost my grandfather in the spring.

Things change with time. My sister has children now. I’ve divorced and remarried. Pets have gone out of our lives, and different pets have come in. We still celebrate Thanksgiving. Christmas is different, too, but it does feel like a real Christmas. I’m trying to accept the new Thanksgiving.

In some ways, it’s not really a new Thanksgiving. It was always about family for me, right? My family may have changed some, but this is still a family holiday. And it is still a time to think about all the things I’m thankful for. I try to do that a little each day, but Thanksgiving reminds me to sit down and look at the bigger picture.

I’m thankful for my family. I am especially thankful for my sister’s kids. They are all still very young, but I am not exaggerating to say they are some of my favorite people.

I’m thankful for friends, even if they do tend to live way too far away. The Internet keeps us connected and makes being close while far apart possible in a way other generations would have been very thankful for. I have to remember not to take that for granted.

I’m thankful for the friends and family members who have supported my husband and me in getting  Craftypodes  started. It’s been difficult for me to make the change in my work, but I do believe it was the right decision.

I’m thankful for finally having a doctor who took my complaints about pain seriously, did the tests, diagnosed the arthritis, and is treating me. I still have more bad days than I want, but not as many as I was having… and not as bad! We’ve made some adjustments at home, and I don’t feel as knocked out by this as I did earlier in the year.

When life gets really frustrating and unhappy for me, I try to think of one thing I’m thankful for to balance one thing I’m aggravated about. I can’t erase all the pain in my life, but I choose not to let it dominate my life. I can at least look at it, acknowledge that it exists, and say, “But good still exists, too.”

Boris the Turkey

It is also time to look at my “To Do” list for this year. I’ll be writing next year’s list next month, and it’s late enough in 2012 that my remaining projects for the year are already in progress. If it’s on the list and hasn’t been done by now, it’s just not happening this year.

Do a fabric design on Spoonflower.

I did this! In fact, I did two designs. There is a feathery fabric and floral fabric Both are black and white fabric designs.
Find out more about how Storybird works.

I did this and found out it wasn’t really for me. I still think it looks like a great idea… just not for what I had in mind at the time.

Make my Zazzle stores connect to each other better visually. There are many good things about not having everything in one store, but I’d really like it to be easier for people who want to see all my stores.

The exact way I wanted to do this wasn’t possible, but I did link all the front pages to each other, as well as getting the designs categorized better by adding Positive Space.

Make progress on a fairly long-term collaborative project that was recently proposed to me.

I’m still not revealing yet what this collaboration is, but progress was made! When I said “fairly long-term”, that means “a couple of years”.

Finish any three things on my Ideas and Inspiration list.

This did not happen. I’m not unhappy about it, though. Making the switch from drawing to crochet as my work meant making a lot of other changes, too. The Ideas and Inspiration list has been going through some revisions. I’ll talk about that more when I write the 2013 “To Do” list.

Put together a calender in time for 2013.

This is the only thing on the list that did not happen and I’m not okay with it. Even with all the other changes this year, I still wanted to do this. While I’ve been able to make adjustments to keep crocheting even when I’m in mild pain, I couldn’t make similar adjustments to my workspace and tools for drawing. It’s very frustrating to feel the arthritis took this away from me. With the treatment I’m getting, though, I’m not giving up on this. I will be carrying it over to my list for next year.

Not everything on the list worked out the way I wanted it to, but I can look at it now and see that I accomplished more of my goals for the year than I thought! I’m glad I made the list. I’m thankful for being able to share it with all of you to keep myself accountable. I’m thankful for your support  through this year.

The Long Road Through August

Whew! Are we really almost done with the month? FINALLY?! August always seems like an agonizingly long month for me. “Way too busy” and “too hot and humid to move” tend to collide in August, and I have a personal emotional investment in breaking through to September. The month drags on forever.

Maybe that contributes to my feeling that I’ve done a lot of work and nothing at all this month. The truth is more that I have done a lot of work, but not all of it has been the kind I can show a finished result from. I’ve made minor tweaks to things like outgoing links on this blog, but haven’t had the time I’d like to write full posts. I also write a couple of gaming-related blogs that have been suffering from this posting drought, as well.  I’ve learned that I can’t draw with a pen for very long at a time anymore. I’ve made changes to my crochet hooks and how I hold them so that I can continue to crochet in spite of my arthritis.

As I’ve been adjusting my mindset to living with arthritis (as opposed to believing the doctor can “fix whatever is wrong with me”) I’ve also been trying to change the way I look at my work. I’ll get an idea for something and think, “Oh! I should draw this!” Then I start to ask myself what it would take for me to crochet it instead. Mostly, though, I’ve found I have a real passion for hats. I think there’s a perfect hat for each head, but I can’t seem to find mine. I’ll just keep making them until I figure it out. I hope to match a lot of other people up with their perfect hat along the way! My hat obsession is even mentioned on the Craftypodes “about” page.

I finished a very special request in time for my neice’s birthday. I finished and shipped a custom order so that a baby boy will have an octopus friend to greet him when he makes his way into the world later this year.

I’ve experimented with crocheting with thread, which is something my grandmother did, though I’m not exactly doing it her way. I don’t remember her crocheting around stones and using them as paperweights.

I’m currently working on a baby blanket for the shop, a few personal projects on the side, and doing my best to manage day to day. I still do some of my best thinking while mowing the yard. I guess I’ll have to find some other way to do my best thinking for a while once autumn gets here. Well… there’s always losing myself in my crochet!

I still want this blog to be a place for discussing art. Visual art, fiber art, music, storytelling… that won’t change. You can see from the links on the right that my visual art is still available for purchase. Some things are absolutely staying the same here as I move forward.  If you miss frequent posts, though, I suggest following my crochet tumblr.

Here’s to the end of August, and hopefully a September that brings the completion of that post on storytelling.

Custom Character Dolls

This is cross-posted from my crocheting tumblr, and that’s where the link to the Brann Bronzebeard doll post will take you.

I will be accepting orders for dolls based on your character from games like WoW, SWTOR, etc. Feel an emotional attachment to the character you’ve tanked every raid on? Maybe a roleplay character you’ve spent hours exploring the backstory of in digital taverns? If you can take screenshots of the front and back of the character, I can make a doll of them! (See the post about the Brann Bronzebeard doll as an example. I will NOT be taking orders for favorite lore characters, though. Only player characters.)

Here’s how it works –

I’d prefer that you message me through our Craftypodes Etsy shop, but I won’t turn you away if you contact me via Twitter.

I need you to provide me with front and back screenshots of your character, plus any information like race/class/physical characteristics from roleplay not shown on the character model. (Example – a scar on a character’s face that everyone can see, but the game model doesn’t have an option for.)

Make sure your character is wearing what you want the doll to be wearing, and be sure to tell me if there are any “must have” parts. If I have to simplify things, I don’t want it to be the off-hand weapon that I leave off if you very carefully chose that off-hand weapon for the doll.

As with any other request item, your finished doll will be put in our Etsy store and reserved for you. I’ll let you know your doll is ready, and you will have one month to purchase it. Our standard shipping prices apply. ($6.00 USD within the US and Canada, $12.00 USD to anywhere else.)

The cost of a doll is $50.00 USD. If your character is of a class that has a pet (hunter/ranger companions, warlock minions, death knight ghouls, etc) you can add pets for $15.00 each. And before anyone asks – yes, shaman, I can make a set of four totems instead of a pet. :)

I will let you know when you contact me with a request how long the waiting list currently is. If this is something you need within the month (birthday, for example) please talk to me about putting a rush on your doll. I cannot put a rush on requests for a major holiday like Christmas, though.

I am not accepting requests for pets/minions/etc on their own. Only as an addition to the character. I am also not accepting requests for non-combat/vanity pets at this time. If you have any other questions about ordering dolls, please contact me.

Improvise, Adapt, Crochet

I said I was going to make an effort to keep my crochet work divided from my other work, didn’t I? I even set up a tumblr for when I just want to babble about yarn crafting. I was determined to manage my drawing and painting in one area of my life, and the yarn crafting with my husband in another area of my life.
There’s only so much of me to go around, though, and those things all qualify as “art”. I’m finding that I can’t just set aside time to crochet and then time to draw. I get my need to create satisfied when working with yarn and there’s just nothing left by the time I’m ready to draw. I could draw one of the things on my list, but then I start thinking how much fun it would be to crochet them in addition to drawing them. I start running through how to do that in my mind, making sure I really could do it, and all the energy gets poured into the yarn crafting idea.

I need to create. I don’t actually need to draw. This shouldn’t surprise me, considering I turned to drawing when my illness made it very difficult for me to write.

I have to consider other things going on in my life, and I’ve discussed this at length with my husband and gotten some advice from a friend. If I don’t care that much which medium I’m working with as long as I’m creating, then what about other things I’m facing? How are they impacted by a change in my artistic pursuits? The truth is that crocheting is a much better choice for me at this point in my life when I consider my health problems. Everything from the physical toll from how I sit while working to the mental cost of doing this as a business changes.

Does this mean I’m giving up drawing completely? Absolutely not! I still have a few projects that are very important to me and must be drawn. I can’t imagine a time when I put down pens and Wacom stylus and think to myself, “The last one is done.” I will be keeping my stores with my artwork open. I just won’t add to them as often. I won’t aggressively pursue creative satisfaction and financial benefit through drawing.  Hooks and yarn are a better choice for me at this point in my life.

Some of you may not have an interest in my work anymore with this change. I understand that. I understand that sometimes the focus is the medium. Thank you for supporting my drawing and painting.

Anyone who wants to come along for the ride on the Yarn Train, that’s where the action will be now! There’s a Craftypodes Twitter account for it, Facebook, and Google+. My husband (fondly referred to on Craftypodes accounts as “Mr. Knitter”) also posts on the Facebook and Google+ accounts. I mostly do the Twitter thing myself, and the tumblr is all mine.

A lot of my Twitter friends are gamers. I recently crocheted a Brann Bronzebeard (from World of Warcraft) doll, wearing the Tabard of the Explorer that the character sends to you in the game.

Gamer buddies, help me get my mind focused on the good things about making this change in my life! Talk to me about dolls. I’d like to know how interested people might be in being able to commission a doll of their character. It would mean sending me screenshots, front and back, of your character. Hunters could have a pet, warlocks could have a demon, etc. I’d say SWTOR characters are possible, too. Not lore characters like Brann there, but a doll of your character. If there’s a reasonable amount of interest in this, I can work out details for pricing and how to handle a waiting list for commissions and make another post specifically about that.

Monday Afternoon Demonology

Acrylimp. Not to be confused with a silkubus or wooltergeist.


Mondays are rarely good days for me to draw. It’s usually my day to catch up on chores around the house, and that keeps me running back and forth or not having much time between chores. It was somewhere between the trips from the house to the garage and back, or from the bedroom closet to the bathroom cabinet, that a yarn demon took advantage of this and manifested in my house today!

He appears to be an acrylimp, and the large stash of acrylic yarn I have would make that likely. We run a small risk of having a wooltergeist pop up one day, but there won’t be a silkubus around here anytime soon. He’s very cuddly! Sorry, I mean… he’s very cunning. Small, but cute… CUNNING… as imps tend to be.

He’s been very careful not to let me find out his name yet. That would, of course, give me control over him.