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This Week in the Wide World of Crafting

03/08/2007

Yes, I know: I promised knitting. Unfortunately it’s an overcast morning, and 2×2 ribbing in black yarn is hard enough to photograph with good lighting. Instead I’ve decided to share with you a veritable treasury of stuff which caught my eye this week. I shall call it “the Wide World of Crafting”, and might make it a regular feature in the Corvus tristis lineup. Today’s categories include “Crafters and Artisans who are Shiny” and “Shiny Ideas I’d Like to Try”

Crafters and Artisans who are Shiny

I have Irish skin (the few, the proud, the ones who can’t tan). This means my skin is eternally pale, freckles easily, and dries out faster than a Saharan sweatdrop. Most of the soap sold in stores today isn’t actually ‘soap’ at all, and really makes my skin all sorts of dry and itchy. The solution is Etsy.

A selection of gorgeous soaps.
A selection of gorgeous soaps.

My personal Etsian purveyor of all things hygienic is You Stink Soap. I first ordered a set of three cold-processed soaps from her over the winter holidays (the plan being to include a bar of soap in both my Mother and Sister’s gifts) and was hooked. Her Blackberry Sage is wonderful, and her Hot Apple Pie smells just like the real thing. And look how pretty the soaps are!

Good enough to eat.
Good enough to eat.

The thing about handmade soap, besides the fact that it does make a significant difference to my skin, is that it’s an affordable indulgence for a college kid like me. Everyone deserves a little something special sometimes, even if budget constraints make “little something” a very literal description. At this point I’m down to a thumb-sized piece of one of two small sample bars she included with my first order, but I will be ordering more once my finances are secure. I even have my order all planned out in my head: this lot of three soaps, in Spiced Apple, Cucumber Melon and either Green Tea and Mint or Purely Peppermint.

* * * *

Continuing with the Etsian theme, I give you one of the premier clothing artisans in the Etsy-verse: Papaya.

Papaya's Galaxy Top
Papaya’s Milky Way Top

I love her designs. I’ve never actually been able to buy one (though I did oh-so-lustfully watch both this beauty and this one until the moment they sold), but I love them like ice cream. And I seriously love ice cream.

Papaya's Purple Keyhole Top
Papaya’s Purple Keyhole Top

I’d also love to know where she gets all her awesome knit fabrics. I’ve been watching for cool knits in local stores and online for years, and though they seem to be getting more popular (right when I lack the cash to stash), a good selection still evades me.

It is a personal goal of mine to shop more from independent crafters and artisans, that is, to edge as far as possible from the cliffs of mass-produced consumerism. I like unique, and Etsy is a wonderful venue for that.

Shiny Ideas I’d Like to Try

You all know Penguin, right? The publishing company? Well, a while back they came out with a small selection of classic books that I’ve been dying to get my sticky little claws on. Why?

MyPenguin
MyPenguin

The covers are blank. At face value, it’s really a simple concept, but the potential is dizzying. Ever wanted to be a cover artist? Here’s your chance. Has Jane Austen’s Emma always meant something special to you? Your book could reflect that. You could draw, you could paint, you could stamp, you could collage. In the end, though the words would remain the domain of the masters who wrote them, the book is yours. Hence the series name, MyPenguin.

I have no idea how to get MyPenguin books here in lowly Fort Collins, and wish they’d make more of such books (there’s only two on the list I want that I don’t already own in normal-covered form) and make them easier to obtain. Here’s to that.

* * * *

From the creative minds at purlbee.com (courtesy of Purl Soho), I give you a great idea for awesome fabrics:

Thepurlbee.com's great idea.
Swatch Portraits!

There are all sorts of fabrics that I adore that I can’t actually figure out what to make with them, like this pin-up print or this bundle of tickets. Heck, I’ve got tons of scraps left over that would match various bits of my decor perfectly (particularly if said fabric scraps are left over from a decor-related project). It doesn’t take much to fill one of the tiny hoops, and the Purl Bee has even provided instructions.

* * * *

And finally, fellow craftblogger MintBasil (who is awesome -just look at this pillow) is working on a cow quilt. Now, I’m not a huge Martha Stewart fan -I don’t follow her exploits at all, actually- but the Martha project that inspired the lovely Mint Basil is one I find quite intriguing as well:

Embroidered Bird Quilt
Embroidered Bird Quilt

Embroidery is one of the many crafts I’ve picked up, and I love it like I love all the rest. (I particularly love Sublime Stitching patterns.) Anything that gives me the power to shape my world, my enviroment, and my belongings to fit my unique me give me unaccountable joy. Embroidery, though? Sadly you’re very unlikely spot of it on this blog: I have trouble figuring out what exactly I want to embroider on, and thus rarely get to the actual embroidering.

The biggest thing I’d like to work on would be clothing, but most of what I wear is extraoridnarily stretchy. While I know it’s possible to embroider on stretchy jersey, I’ve yet to get it to work properly (even with stabilizer- the fabric tends to pull away from said stabilizer when I tug the thread through, which creates nasty unworkable puckers all over the place. Maybe I’m using the wrong stabilizer?). I don’t need pillows (though I think I’ll make some anyway, as I am a pillow whore) and, while I once embroidered an intensive portrait of Horus on a handmade tote for a swap, it took me so long and caused so much pain I haven’t even considered any similar projects. Whatever am I to embroider?

Recently, though, I’ve been seriously considering working on a quilt. It wouldn’t be a focus project, but rather something I picked up and wdabbled with whenever my usual projects bored me (and if you can’t tell by the sheer variety of crafts I’ve tried -which will become more clear as the blog progresses- I get bored easily). If I could work on my embroidery skills along with the quilting, well, bravo! I’ve even got a pirate coloring book I could turn to for patterns.

Ooo, that’s an exciting thought.

* * * *

Other highlights in the World of Crafting today include Hello Yarn’s tutorial for thrummed mittens, Thea Star’s beautiful Kanzashi (j’adore the “Early Spring” piece), Charts on Monster Crochet (I so want this one), yarnstorm’s individual-sized pineapple upside down cakes, this awesome trebuchet tutorial, these gorgeous paper stars, and anything by Eunny Jang. Seriously, she’s my favorite knitwear designer. She should publish a book of patterns- I’d be there on the day of release with money clenched in sweaty fists.

This was fun enough that I might have to do it again, weekly or biweekly. What’s caught your crafty eye this week?

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