Jan 31, 2010

My first original pattern, fresh off the needles!

Ta-da! The wristwarmers I've been working on test-knitting for myself are finally done enough to get a photo of them! Here's a sneak peek:

Wristwarmers pattern sneak peek

Now I need to proofread the pattern/make the edits I have written down, and off my pattern will go, into the wilds ... If you're interested in test-knitting it, there will be test-knitter goodies. :D More details on that when the pattern goes live.


Craft or Bust Week 4 roundup and check-in (Jan 24-30)

Notes & Announcements

It's Week 4 of CoB — woohoo! We've made it a month! (A little scary, actually.) Way back at the beginning I mentioned giveaways and goodies. Well, the goodie-talk popped back into my head this week, what with it being a whole month since we started ... and while I do have a giveaway planned for Very Soon, Very Soon is not Now. So I present to you the idea of the Craft or Bust RAK List. RAK meaning "random act of kindness," a.k.a. a gift that you give completely out of the goodness of your heart.

How it'd work

The idea of RAKing is to spread general positivity and enable other people to do things they wouldn't have been able to do without your help. So to do RAKs, you need a) wish lists and b) addresses at which RAKs can be received. This is the basic premise:
  1. You make a wish list of craft items you want or need in order to do stuff relating to your CoB goals. (Okay, your wish list can include non-craft items, too, if they're somehow related to your CoB goals ... you never know. ;))
  2. You can have people contact you for your mailing address, or contact me for it if they want to surprise you. Decide how you prefer to have your RAKs sent (or if you want to give people the option of surprising you or not).
  3. Send me your info.
  4. I'll post the wish lists in a central post that people can refer to — and/or I'll link to your blog post that contains your wish list. I'll probably ask that wish lists be re-sent monthly, to make sure that they don't go out of date.
  5. If someone sees something on your list that they have, that they want to gift you with, then they can get your mailing address, and off goes the RAK to you.
  6. You get goodies, the RAKer gets good karma, and maybe everyone gets a little more motivation to craft. :D
Note that this isn't a swap, so it's not one-for-one. You send people stuff because you're just that darn nice (or in the interest of destashing, or whatever ;)), and they can choose to send stuff back, or pay it forward, or do whatever they choose with your gift.

It's not exactly a standard giveaway, but as part of the RAKing, I can guarantee I will personally pick at least one person a month to gift with something ... So what do you guys think?

Enough blather. Time for...

Roundup of Week 3: What We Crafted From Jan 17-23

  • Elabeth posted on her blog about two weeks' worth of baby blankets (that's a photo link) and sweaters, charity hats (photo link), frogging, and cardigans (yes, another photo) — oh, my! She even got in some spring garden planning. Busy, busy. :D
  • Michelle/halloweentango knitted, prepped for the TwitKAL, and worked on her art card exchange project. Read about it on her blog.
  • Velma did some stash enhancement, Ravelympics stuff, and had cocktails (is that really a craft, Velma? ;)). Read about it on her blog.
  • Sarah hit things with hammers (that is, she did some wirework), and re-photographed some old projects, through which she learned about exposure locking and white balance. (Sounds like a good subject for a tutorial-type post. Ahem?)
  • Anna/This Good Life spun, germinated seeds, made felt, dyed and made a new store banner. Woo! Read about it on her blog.
  • Luna is also checking in for two weeks — she took roving photos, spun some lock yarn and photographed it for a tutorial, signed up for Sister Diane's Blog Tune Up workshop (sounds useful...), worked on prep stuff — design plans, display pieces, and furniture painting — for her physical shop location (really??), and knit on her patternless mitt.
  • Meredith C. realized she would probably have to frog her hooded scarf — oh, no! — spun yarn, tried spinning woolen, and knitted on her entrelac stole. Read about it on her blog.
Hurrah for everyone!

Check-in for Week 4: What Have You Done Lately? (January 24-30)

Birthday CowlThis week didn't feel that productive for me, but then, it was my birthday week. I had to allot some time to non-crafty adventures. :D Sunday, I finished knitting the left wristwarmer of my original knitting pattern and cast on the right wristwarmer. I also swatched some stitch patterns for another pattern idea. Monday, I dyed the fiber for my TwitKAL project, knit some of the abovementioned right-hand wristwarmer, and in the wee hours of the morning, cast on the abstract caterpillar cowl (scroll down to see the pattern on that page), because technically it was my birthday. ;D Tuesday, my birthday, I did nothing except the aforementioned cast-on. Wednesday, I finished knitting the cowl (Ravelry link). Thursday, I was useless took a day off crafting. Friday, I did a weaving demonstration for a friend of mine who just bought a loom, which forced me to warp the Cricket. Yay! Saturday, I spent the day being a pirate and running around in the rain. Not really crafty in the handmade sense, but maybe crafty in the rapscalliony sense. ;)

What did you craft this week?

[Edited to add: Don't forget to post your check-in comments in the format described on the rules page, to help give me more time to craft and less time spent hunting links down. ;) Thanks!]

Jan 27, 2010

Dyeing the TwitKAL fiber, part two

State of the TwitKAL fiber: dyed and dry, but as yet unspun. I'm hoping I'll get up the gumption to try spinning it tonight, but in case I fail miserably at the spinny idea, I now have backup yarn.

Backup yarn for TwitKAL

It's Jojoland Melody Superwash, which I bought when I stopped in at Needles and Knobs yesterday — finally. They opened, like, a month after I moved out of St. Petersburg, which is where I'd lived for, ohhh, 20something years at that point. And of course they opened like four blocks from where I lived right before I moved. Of course. Ahem. Anyway.

It's such a pretty yarn that I kind of want to sell out and cast on for the TwitKAL with it, but then there's my pretty fiber. Let's check out how that came along, shall we? Here it is in the dyepots (where, in fact, I did not dye one batch of black and two batches of almost the same bluey purpley color, no matter what my camera or my screen say — you can see the difference, right?):

Dyeing TwitKAL roving
Dyeing TwitKAL roving
Dyeing TwitKAL roving

The blacky color is really a dark dark green. It's rather an "oops" color, since I didn't mean to dye it that dark, but I didn't realize the dye was in chunks instead of well-behaved powder form until I tapped the jar of dye over the pot (I know — I was being very precise and scientific). Let's just say that my amazingly controlled methodology resulted in a rather larger chunk of dye falling into the pot than I intended. You can even see the bit of the pot that was in the splash zone. Doh.

I'm not sure what the darkdark green will come out like when I spin it, but here's what the roving all looked like once it finished drying.



Since I have a couple of votes for spinning rather than selling out, I'll definitely at least give it a shot. More on that in a future post, with shiny new pictures, too.

Jan 25, 2010

For me, TwitKAL means Adventurous KAL

So a few days ago, Amber (a.k.a. Spazzy Amber) announced the winning pattern for our Twitter knitalong — the Traveling Woman shawl. Which is the pattern I was hoping would win, since I a) like it, b) like the story behind it, and c) need to finish a friggin' lace shawl sometime in my life.

Then there's the fact that I have to pick a yarn. Not a bad thing — it's just that I don't have a ton of sock yarn sitting around (even if sock yarn doesn't count as stash, it counts as Taking Up Space), and of the sock yarn I have, not much of it matches up with what I want in the Traveling Woman shawl.

But, you know. I have undyed fiber. I have dye. I have dyepots. And I have a spinning wheel. All of which led me to think, Oh, why the heck not? I'll dye and spin my own yarn for the shawl.

In, like, two days. Ha, ha, ha. ;D And one of those days is my birthday, so I'm not sure how much I'll be working on TwitKAL prep that day. And then there's the fact that I haven't dyed anything in, er, quite a while. Years, maybe.

So, surprisingly enough, today I got a bug up my butt to pick the dyepots and dye powder off the floor and mix them up with some nice what-I-think-is-Columbia wool roving. Ensue photo montage:

Dyeing TwitKAL fiber

Dyeing TwitKAL fiber

Dyeing TwitKAL fiber

TwitKAL proto-yarn

That's fiber + dye, dyepots, dyepots + water and vinegar, and dyepots + water and vinegar and wool.

Right now I'm waiting for the last batch to finish dyeing, and for the first two batches to cool. Would have done all three at once on the stove, but the boy person appears to have poured some form of congealing-prone food substance into one of the burner drip trays. Nice. Always fun when your dyepots start smoking.

Jan 24, 2010

The wristwarmer adventures continue (this time in green)

What I'm working on tonight:

Wristwarmers in progress

That's the green, commercial-yarn version of that darn wristwarmers pattern I've been working on forever. It's a quick knit, but I haven't had the focus to sit down and do it all at once — partly because I'm afraid of the results. ;) Not that the pattern sucks. It's just that I feel like maybe I'm a crappier designer than I hope I am — but the best way to fix that is to find that out and work on it, right?

Now to go knit some more. I really want to have this darn pattern done this month. (A good birthday present for myself?)

Craft or Bust Week 3 roundup and check-in (Jan 17-23)

Welcome back to the blog for this week's official Craft or Bust post. :D

Announcements and Other Notey-Type Things

Short this week, so we'll be on to the roundup and check-in lickety-split! First, a big thanks to everyone who used the new format for posting your check-in comments. It really really does help save time and effort on my part, so I can spend more time crafting and thinking up fun stuff to do with you guys and the rest of the crafty community. :D I've added the check-in format guidelines to the official rules page.

The other item in this week's announcements: Join me in saying "hey and welcome!" to the newest Craft-or-Busters.

Our newest supercrafters

Michelle a.k.a. Halloweentango has joined us with a quite organized set of goals: "1. To craft, or better yet, create in the physical form the visions residing in my head and dreams. 2. work on various knitting/crochet/sewing/needlework projects that are in my storage bin in particular a twenty year old cross stitch. 3. Actually upload pieces to my Artfire store. Blog writing happens about once a week for me anyways so that part is natural."

And Rhonda is also crafting along with us. She says, "My goal is to work on and complete at least one large project every 30-60 days and to finish at least one small project each week. Both of these can be in fiber, painting, metals etc. Sometimes it might encompass learning a new recipe and putting my 'stamp' on it to make it mine or it might be completing a simple scarf and leave photographic evidence on my blog."

That was easy, right? Moving along...

Roundup of Week 2: What We Crafted From Jan 10-16

Still trying to figure out how to get Flickr to let me search the Craft or Bust pool by date, so I can make a pretty mosaicy graphic to go here — if anyone knows how to make it work, let me know...

  • Velma's Week 2 blog post features a lovely knitting needles + thermos + shabby chic fence photograph, and some thoughts on knitting, Photoshop, Help for Haiti, and other accomplishments.
  • Sarah was reunited joyfully with her craft tools, which inspired her to make four things and try out a new material: lucite beads. Check out her first (lovely tangeriney) lucite piece on Etsy or in the Craft or Bust Flickr pool.
  • Meredith C. knitted on her stole and hooded scarf (sounds yummy), spun and plied some new yarn, and acquired a new goal: to do colorwork. Read all about it and check out some pretty purple spinning fiber in her Week 2 CoB blog post.
  • Vickie took some photographs while camping in Death Valley, worked on her shrines, and finished a hat that you can see on her Ravelry projects page.
  • Elabeth finished a baby blanket, worked on some sweaters, photographed a bunch of her WIPs for her Ravelry projects page, and added a WIP counter to her blog (I still need to do that ... or maybe not, since then you'd all get to see the shameful amount of WIPs I have). She knit every night in Week 2, which is awesome, if I do say so myself. I haven't done that in a while...
  • Diana finished her shooter's mitts (although the recipient's reception was Not The Best — HMPH), worked on her top-down sweater, and discovered that she needs more yarn for her pattern sample.
  • Joni Rae missed Week 1 check-in but came back to us for Week 2 — yayyy! She finished four cute and colorful goddess dolls, which sounds darn productive. :D Check them out here.

As always, let me know if I missed someone's Week 2 check-in comment. Someday I'll have some technological stuff set up to automatically net check-ins for me, but for now I'm pulling them out of my swampy inbox by hand. ;) Which brings us to...

Check-in for Week 3: What Have You Done Lately? (January 17-23)

I had a semi-productive week; I think I did more information-gathering and signing up than I did actual crafting, BUT I did get some crafting done, so I haven't mucked up my Craft or Bust goal yet. ;)

Stash yarnMonday, I knit some more on my original wristwarmers pattern using my handspun. Tuesday, I took some random photos of food — that's creative, right? — and on Wednesday I cast on another version of my wristwarmers pattern in a commercial yarn for comparison. I also joined Velma's Team COLORBOMBers for the Ravelympics — although we thought it was going to be Team Unsanctioned for a little while there ;) — (more info on the COLORBOMBers Ravelry group), and changed my blog template. I'm sure you've all noticed that, though. ;D Thursday, I took some beach photos and warped my Cricket loom to start weaving a fresh new blue scarf for my Etsy shop, which is strangely pink-looking of late. Friday, I pondered what yarn to use in the Spazzy TwitKAL, for which we're going to be knitting the Traveling Woman shawl. I also signed on to test knit a Hug Monster (that's a Ravelry link) and measured and recorded a bunch of statistics about my handspun yarns, since I'm pondering using handspun for the TwitKAL. Saturday, I did a bunch more Ravelry account maintenance stuff — took some yarn photos (see that nice yellow yarn up there?), added some yarns to my stash page, added some projects to my projects page ... Anyone want to take some Louet Alpaca Web off my hands? ;)

What did you do this week?

Jan 23, 2010

Florida life: scenes from Madeira Beach

Brian and I visited Madeira Beach in between errands earlier this week, and I snapped some photos for my very-errant participation in Slice of Life Tuesday and 2010: A Year in Pictures. There were some lovely beach sunflowers blooming.

Madeira Beach Jan 21 2010

Madeira Beach Jan 21 2010

And we had a lot of surf, for this part of Florida — being in the shelter of the Gulf of Mexico and Tampa Bay usually keeps the waves from really crashing (they tend to calmly lap instead), but the potential for rain must have kicked up some extra wave power.

Madeira Beach Jan 21 2010

There was a nice breeze blowing off the water, too, which made things rather hazy to either side of us, and I think Brian thought it was a bit cold, although I enjoyed the cool sea spray. I like going to the beach even in scarf-and-sweater weather. This is why I want a sailboat — the breeze is my friend. I think the breeze was this windsurfer's friend, too.

Madeira Beach Jan 21 2010

It was nice being outside again after sitting inside, trying to craft and plot and blog and market and record. Maybe I'll spend part of my birthday on the beach, too.

Madeira Beach Jan 21 2010

Jan 20, 2010

Survey: What do you want to know about other crafty businesses?

Letter-writingDreaming up new things, I am. New things for you guys (all two of you ;)), and for the crafty/businessy community at large.

I want to start a new interview column here at the blog.

Inspired by Erin's post about not fitting the "Etsy mold," and by the cries of other Etsians who worry that they'll never make the front page because they're not the right style, I want to feature non-moldy* Etsy sellers (and if there are crafty business owners out there who aren't on Etsy and need more exposure, well, I just might feature them, too ;)).

So what I want to know is, what do YOU want to know? If you could ask any question of crafty business owners, what would you ask?

Leave a comment on this post and let me know your burning questions about crafty businesses. Your unasked, unanswered questions just might make it into the interviews.

*Not that mold is bad. Mold is necessary for cheese, and who doesn't like cheese? (HUSH, cheese naysayers!)

Today's Snapshot: (Fast) Phat fibery goodness

Phat Fiber January 2010

Ordered this on Sunday, and it got here today — Wednesday. Three days later?! What does Jessie do, teleport them?

Mystery number two is how the heck she gets all that fiber in the box ... I sure can't get it all back in now. Guess that means I might have to spin it ... ;)

(Want your own Phat Fiber sampler box? Go forth to the Phat Fiber Web site and sign up for the "drop" announcement — you'll get an e-mail telling you about the secret drop date and times. But don't leak the drop details to anyone — that would negate the purpose of keeping them secret!)

Jan 19, 2010

Banishing creative blocks with randomness: generated art yarn win

Art Yarn Mosaic 2

1. Art yarn: Dragons in the Playground, 2. Art Yarn: Dragons in the Playground, 3. Dragons in the Playground handspun yarn, 4. Dragons in the Playground handspun yarn

That's my latest art yarn. Okay, technically I spun it in Week 1 of Craft or Bust, which is also when I started the draft of this blog post, but CoB this week has been slow and unpicturesque so far, so it all works out.

Here's the story of my art yarn, and how CoB helped me bust in a good way — that is, how it helped me bust an old block: spinning art yarn.

If you've been reading along for long enough (which seems ridiculously unlikely, but some people even still remember me from high school, so anything's possible), you'll know about my First-Art-Yarn Fiasco: I joined an art yarn swap and tried my best to spin a crazy yarn on my drop spindle, based on exactly zero directions, having never actually seen an art yarn in the flesh wool — and pretty much failed miserably, which earned me a lukewarm rating on the swap and broke my art-yarn-spinning heart.

So from that point — although it clashed with my "I can too do it if I try hard enough" attitude — I was semi-secretly afraid to even try to spin art yarn ... What was the point? I sucked, and had been told so by that crappy swap rating. (Swap-bot, I curse you!) It didn't help that I was in a fail-ful relationship at the time — you trying adding failure to failure and see how it makes you feel. ;) Or really, don't; being a failure zombie is no fun.

And being afraid of art yarn was no fun, either, what with that distant echo in my head that said art yarn = fail. But Craft or Bust is about unfail, and in Week 1 I was sick of being a failure, of feeling like a failure, of letting myself fail...!

So I fired up the Art Yarn Generator, courtesy of the Art and Novelty Yarn Spinners' group on Ravelry, and it told me my fortune:

My yarny fate

I stash-dived to come up with this:

Art Yarn Mosaic

...and with many a calming breath and some invisible fingers in my ears to help me ignore the You're going to fail voices, I made the art yarn you saw at the top of the post. (Light shone down from above.)

Which just shows how being completely random — a.k.a. letting yourself be free to fail and releasing yourself from old negative attachments — can help break down old blocks. I haven't spun any more art yarn since, but it was surprisingly easy to just let the Art Yarn Generator tell me what to do ... and I get to look creative as a result. ;D

Check out some more randomly-generated art yarn for inspiration at the Art Yarn Generator Flickr pool.

What blocks could you bust with randomness? Any other random generators you'd like to share?

Cool crafty links to start the week off right

Some neat crafty links to spur you on and inspire you as the week begins. (Okay, so I'm a day late, but we haven't gotten to Wednesday yet, so it's still the beginning of the week.)

Pro Weaving, Odd Stuff

The Odd Weavings blog is written by Kerstin på Spinnhuset, a professional weaver in Sweden, and houses some really interesting tidbits, like some photos of old wooden loom reeds and woven bread. Kerstin calls herself the laziest weaver ever, so it's a nice blog to visit for those of us who hanker to be superweavers but who make mistakes or have lazy spells ... because she shows how she compensates for her own less-than-perfect moments — with appealing results. The blog isn't updated that often, but there have been two posts this month, so maybe if we go over and leave her some good comments, she'll realize there are people watching and caring. ;)

Nature-Inspired Knitting Patterns

KnitChicGrace's Etsy shop has knitting patterns with the coolest nature-inspired lace and cable patterns. I want, like, all of them.

Knitting Trick: Garter Stitch in the Round ... Without Purls

Fleegle's blog features a trick designed for Shetland shawl knitters, but probably useful to knitters of other things knit in the round (cowls? mittens? sweaters?). The Fleegle corner trick involves using two balls of yarn to knit a garter stitch border in the round. Scroll down in the blog post for the actual directions. They take a little thinking, or maybe a little doing would help, since I'm just sitting here reading them rather than trying to do my own garter stitch in the round ... but it's worth taking a look at.

Jan 17, 2010

Craft or Bust Week 2 roundup and check-in (Jan 10-16)

First, the requisite link to the original directions, in case anybody wasn't clear on anything and wants to review. ;)

Next, welcome to the Week 2 Craft or Bust check-in and roundup! As usual, this post will consist of a summary of last week's check-ins (that's the roundup part) and then it'll be check-in time, meaning I'll write about what I crafted in the past week (January 10-16), then you leave your comments on what you crafted. (Eventually I'll stop repeating myself quite as much; just figured it's still early in the game, so the rules aren't set in all our brains yet...)

This week I'm also adding some Craft or Bust notes. Here they are:

New people

We're joined this week by a new crafter! Carol in Canberra is crafting along with us now, although I guess it won't be too much of a challenge for her, since she says she would have to sit on her hands not to craft every day (lucky ;)).

Your roster info

And since I was vague and unhelpful about this before, I should clarify that yes, you can totally have more than one link listed by your name on the roster. I just needed at least one for identification/linking purposes. If you give/gave me more than one link, I'll use the first one as your ID link. Or I'll use your blog link because I'm like that. Make sense? No? Clear as clouds?

Craft or Bust badge

I should also have mentioned this last week: Elabeth has made a nice Craft or Bust badge/button. She says anyone who wants to use it is free to, so there you go: Feel free! If anyone else makes one, awesome. (I'd love to see it in the Flickr pool, and don't forget to note whether you're letting other people use it or if you'd rather they not.)

How to make live links

Vickie asked on last week's check-in about how to link her URLs instead of leaving the full URL in the comment, which you do by using the following code: <a href="http://www.yourfulllinkhere.com">Your Linked Text Here</a>

Making things nice for the organizer

That said, it's easier for me as Ye Olde Summarizer and Rounder-Upper if you post the full URLs to things you want me to link to. You can also link said URL(s) for the benefit of people reading the comments who might want a live link, of course. Here's why the full link is better for me, though: I've been copying and pasting everyone's comments into one place to write my roundups ... so if your links are hidden behind text rather than written out, I don't capture the linked URL in my copying and pasting. To get those links, I have to copy your comment and then separately copy each live link's URL.

Another thing that saves me some time is if you include your name and IDing URL with your check-in comments. Kinda like this:
Name: Crystal
ID link: http://quicksilvercrafter.blogspot.com
Week 2 check-in: This week I crafted lots of stuff. I knitted two blankets and saved an old lady who was crossing the street from a rampaging tangled ball of yarn. You can read about it here: http://quicksilvercrafter.blogspot.com/saved-that-lady.html.
That way I don't have to remember which Blogger ID goes with which person on the roster, if your name doesn't match your Blogger ID. (I might be able to remember the number of people we have right now, but if there were 50 people? Ha, ha ... It'd be a good memory exercise, I guess...) And if you include your ID link in the comment, I don't have to hunt that down to link to you, either. ;) Anyway. PSA over.

Craft or Bust charity post?

Finally, a question for everyone: What craft-related thing(s) have you done to contribute to the Haiti post-earthquake recovery? Did you put up a pattern on Ravelry's Help for Haiti? Did you do something else crafty? Mention it in your comments or drop me an e-mail letting me know, and if there's enough to write one, I'll do a special blog post with everybody's info, so we can all be inspired and maybe help each other help others. :D

Now ... Roundup time!

Week 1 Roundup: What We Crafted From Jan 3-9, a.k.a., Last Week

(Maybe if I get off my butt later, I'll put together a mosaic from the Flickr pool. Imagine it being all pretty right here.)
  • Velma was Miss Organized with her craft projects last week, and you can read about it here.
  • Meredith C, who made progress on two projects, also wrote two blog posts, one here and one here.
  • Diana went on a knitting retreat — oooOOooo — where she worked on some shooter's mitts, a top-down ribbed sweater, and a sample for a pattern she's writing.
  • Luna was a busy craftygoddess. She restarted a mitten that had visited the frog pond, finished a felted sheep (which you can see at her blog here), downloaded a groundhog-along pattern from Ravelry (what the HECK is that?), worked on a Web site design, and painted fun stuff at the new shop.
  • Anna took a bunch of photos for 365/Pictures, created her first piece of felt (yayyy! Firsts!), spun three yarns, created a craft journal, put up curtains, got out her sewing machine, started prepping a craft area and her garden stuff, and worked on knitting a sock. Whew...
  • Elabeth made a new blog banner, a CoB badge (which she's kindly sharing with us, as mentioned above :D), knitted, and got stuff to make resin jewelry. Read about it at her blog.
  • Sarah was out of town, and alas, without craft supplies ... aside from the ones she bought. ;D
  • Vickie started three plaster shrines and worked on the stuff to go in them. Then she went camping. (No fair. This would be the time for it, here in Florida, too ... unless you like mosquitos.)
Did I miss anyone in my first full roundup? Still working out the kinks, so let me know if I did. And now that we're all warmed up, it's time to talk about this week. :D

Week 2 Check-In: What Have You Done Lately? (Jan 10–16)

This week was a little less productive for me than last week, but I started classes online again, so I guess that's not really a surprise. Grumble...

Sunday, I warped my Cricket for a swap scarf:

Weaving again at last

And finished the scarf:

Year in Pictures 2010 11/365: Handwoven swap scarf

I also worked on knitting a washcloth in the Elvish Leaves pattern.

Monday, I finally sat down and spun the singles for my Heart in the Skies yarn, which is earmarked for a knitting pattern I'm developing. (It's the revised version of this pattern. If you're interested in testing the pattern, which is for aran/worsted weight yarn, let me know...)

Sparkly sky blue yarn

I also finished the abovementioned washcloth.

Elvish Leaves washcloth

Tuesday, I finished plying the Heart in the Skies yarn.

Heart in the Skies handspun

...and started knitting the abovementioned wristwarmers.

Princess wristwarmers, redux

Wednesday I did NIL! It seems like Wednesdays are my off days...

Thursday and Friday were eaten by homework, which is arguably creative, but not exactly what I'd call crafting. Actually, I think one of those days, I worked on customizing my computer desktop/wallpaper in Illustrator, which is all I got done on Saturday, aside from shopping for Help for Haiti patterns on Ravelry.

So what did YOU craft this week?

Jan 16, 2010

Help Haiti, get knitting patterns

Recovery efforts in Haiti are all over the news these days, so no rehash. I just want to point out the ever-growing number of Help for Haiti knitting patterns you can buy and download through Ravelry. There are 32 pages of patterns as I type this — whew.

Anyway, I've sorted through all 32 pages and have pulled out some patterns to highlight here. For all the patterns below, 100% of the pattern purchase price (minus fees from Ravelry and Paypal, etc.) will go to charities helping in the Haiti recovery efforts. Get knitting patterns, support indie designers, donate to a charitable cause ... seems like a win all the way around.
  • Esopus lace scarf or stole ($3.50) — donating until Feb 14; uses laceweight yarn in a pretty but not overly complicated lace pattern
  • Bellona cowl ($4) — donating through January; uses fingering weight yarn knit in the round, in a drop-stitch-inspired cable pattern
  • Hooded soft scarf ($2.50) — donating through January; worsted weight yarn in a rustic, textured, cozy-looking cold-weather accessory
  • Ariadne wristwarmers ($5) — donating 100% through the end of January and 50% of February sales; sport-weight yarn in swirly cables
  • Old Copper Pipes cowl ($5) — donating through January; fingering weight yarn in a seriously interesting woven-looking texture
  • Spring Peach Shawl ($3.50) — donating through January; sport weight yarn in a lace and cables pattern
  • Coniferous cowl ($1.50) — donating through February; aran weight yarn in a cool spiraly, texturey, close-to-the-neck cowl
  • RoRo socks ($5) — donating through January; light fingering weight yarn, cabled and ribbed socks designed for variegated yarn and good for nonskinny calves ;)
  • Paul and Virginia socks ($5) — donating through January; fingering weight yarn in a spiral slip-stitch pattern designed to go with hand-dyed yarn
And while I'm on the subject of charity donation, the U.S. Better Business Bureau has a handy charity and business checker that will tell you what a charity does, its contact information, whether it meets all the BBB's standards for charity accountability, etc. Always nice to be able to research someone before you hand over your money.

Jan 13, 2010

Every act counts: even a moment can change the course of the world

What would you do if you could have closure on a question that's woven into the fabric of your life and being?

(Yes, it's time for another thoughtful blog post. Settle down, students. Open your textbooks to page Think With Me for a Sec ... ;))

Tracey/Froggie at Froggie Knits Like Crazy asked a version of that question on her blog a few days ago.

"What questions do you carry with you that you need answers to in order to move on?" That's the question I got out of her blog post, although I'm not sure it's the one she meant to ask.

My answer is a flood of words — more than seemed to fit in the comment field. This is one of those questions that reflects more on the answerer than on the asker. I wrote in my comment to her:
I'm the kind of person who likes to ask questions some people are uncomfortable asking — specifically because I seek the kind of closure and information you're talking (writing ;)) about here. I had a friend say once that I was the only person she knew who could say anything to anyone at any time. It's not completely true — one thing I really dislike doing is asking a question I know won't be answered properly.
"Properly" is the same thing as "thoughtfully and honestly," to me — and if I ask you a "closure question," being honest with me is less important than being honest with yourself.

Because if I'm asking you a closure question, it almost always means this at its heart: I want to see if you're open to a fundamental question — "Have you thought about your actions enough to be comfortable with their possible consequences?"

Although it may not look like one, that's a positive question. It's about making good choices. It's about learning not to regret. It's about making every moment count, and believing in everything you do — big or small. It's about intentionally being yourself, because you know who you are and how to be that person.

I asked this question uncounted times as a student: Does Mr. X realize that if he fails Student Z today, Student Z's parents will punish him rather than trying to help him succeed, both of which will encourage Student Z to believe he isn't smart enough to study astrophysics, even though that's what he really wants to do?

The answer was always Probably not. None of us can see the future with complete clarity. But we see even less if we don't try.

And the truth is that every moment has the potential to make a difference. If a teacher takes today to sit with a student and explain why he got a failing grade — even though the student "has a bad attitude" and the teacher is tired and has 100 things to do — that's a little more thought and a little more truth in the world. That's a little more weight on the side of the scale that gives a person a head start toward being what they truly want to be. That's a little more potential for that student — that person — to realize, a little more light in the darkness.

The truth is that the teacher is realizing his own potential, too. In being honest and thoughtful on someone else's behalf, he's getting good practice spending every moment positively.

A lot of people take for granted that small moments don't mean much. They do. The small moments add up to a lifetime, and one moment can change the course of a life. Sometimes, we can see results right away — but more often, the little things we do influence the world invisibly ... until we see, years later, how "little" things helped guide us on the path to the Big Thing: who we are today.

What small moments do you carry with you still? What still hurts, and what still heals? What still makes you proud? What still makes you wish you had chosen differently?

The questions that stay with me, the ones that demand answering long after the opportunity to ask is gone, are almost always inspired by small moments. I want to ask, "Why did you think it was okay to do what you did?" or "Why didn't you think it would be okay?" And then, more importantly, I want to ask, "Do you think differently now? Can you think of something you can do today to make things more like you want them to be? Can you think of something small to do, that matters?"

All I ask is one little thing. One today, another tomorrow. Another the day after. One tiny thing each day. Something easy.

Because you never know when a tiny thing could start an avalanche.

Jan 10, 2010

Craft or Bust 2010 Roster

Here be the official roster for Craft or Bust 2010 (in alphabetical order). Please e-mail me if you see something wrong with it ... Thanks much. :D

SupercrafterFound atGoal(s)
My goal is to knit one project (don't have to finish, but must work on it) a week, and to spin 4 yarns a week. oh, and I'm also wanting to do a sweater a month.
AngieBlogMy goal is to get my etsy shop up and running! I made the stuff, just haven't taken the pictures. I also want to clear out all the UFOs and manifest some long-held-off ideas.
Etsy shop
This actually helps half of my new years resolutions, so I will be trying to go for the whole 52 week stretch! :)
Blog 1
Blog 2
Goal: Make 1 item a week.
Carol in CanberraBlogGoal: Too easy==craft every day. I'd have to sit on my hands not to.
CourtneyAll sites currently being revamped — coming soon!Craft or Bust goals: 1) Complete six quilts in 2010. 2) Experiment with new bag patterns. Complete at least one a month. 3) Get creative with knitting projects. Don't just stick with favorites even though patterns are comforting. 4) Create a new meal every Sunday 5) Start a window garden.
Crystal (Silver)Blog (this blog!)
Web site
Etsy shop
Craft or Bust Goal: To craft every single week of 2010 and thereby keep my crafty productivity flowing. This should help me make another goal — feeling like a Real Creative Person.
DeAnne KnappBlog
Etsy shop
To get off my jewelry making ass and do a better job of photographing all the work I do finish so my etsy shop will have new stuff.
DianaBlogMy goal is to write up every original design.
ElabethBlogTo better document my crafting in 2010 and to make lots of rad stuff.
HelenBlogGoal: Let us be creative and keep crafting!
Jessica (the Knitting Linguist)BlogMy crafts are knitting and cooking/baking. I think that my goal will be to knit six pairs of socks this year. I don't know what king of goal I could have in baking because I already bake every weekend.
Joni RaeWeb site
My Craft or Bust goal: craft more often in 2010 and to get my goddess dolls onto my etsy store and get that going...
I love this idea and it is just the kind of external accountability that I seem to need. I dabble in a broad array of wool related arts and crafts mostly spinning and felting related. I'm also interested in collage with fabric and paper, doll making, jewelry design as well as digital photography and web design,, ...yeah I'm all over the place and have a hard time organizing it all and focusing. And worse documenting it. My goal is to organize all of these around wool by experimenting and exploring the qualities of wool in all its forms using various methods (knitting, crochet, felting and sewing) and photographing it for documentation in my blog And finish designing a real website to market it all through. I must document the process at least every week through 2010.
LunabudKnits AKA StephBlog
Facebook (also search for Stephanie Stratton ... although there are several of those ;))
Craft or Bust Goals: My first goal is to finish all UFO's on my knitting needles. My second goal is to clean, card, spin and knit a sweater out of the BFL fleece I bought last year. My third goal is to really hunker down and finish spinning my friends Alpaca fleeces so that her sister can then crochet them into a blanket for her.
Melinda WrightE-mail
I want to be more intentional in my crafting. I want to learn techniques that move me forward instead of just learning to learn. I want to apply what I already know to a purpose. And I want to finish things instead of always beginning and leaving half done.
Meredith CBlogI haven't blogged in a LOOOOng time, and one of my goals is to blog weekly. This will give me the motivation. My first blog of the new year will be announcing my participation in CoB. Another goal is to try out crafts I'm intrigued and maybe a little intimidated by, like Nuno felting. And I've been perfectly awful about capturing pictorial evidence of my craftiness. So learning to take pictures that I'm not embarrassed to post must be on the goals list.
Michelle a.k.a. HalloweentangoBlog
1. To craft, or better yet, create in the physical form the visions residing in my head and dreams. 2. work on various knitting/crochet/sewing/needlework projects that are in my storage bin in particular a twenty year old cross stitch. 3. Actually upload pieces to my Artfire store. Blog writing happens about once a week for me anyways so that part is natural.
Nic RBlogsomething new a week, be it a new recipe or a scrapbook page
RhondaBlogMy goal is to work on and complete at least one large project every 30-60 days and to finish at least one small project each week. Both of these can be in fiber, painting, metals etc. Sometimes it might encompass learning a new recipe and putting my "stamp" on it to make it mine or it might be completing a simple scarf and leave photographic evidence on my blog.
Sarah (Armillata Designs)Etsy shopThis year I want to explore metal working techniques like stamping and cold joins, and find ways to green up my projects with more reclaimed items or sustainable sources. I'd like to begin blogging. And of course, make sure I'm finishing a new project every week.
SusieBlogGoal: Hmm... How about... to learn/ perfect one new sewing technique a week, +++ craft/ produce one new unusual thing (unusual for me!)
Velma / velmalikevelvetBlog
Web site
Etsy shop
My goal is to do all 52 weeks, & to finish or frog all my pre-2010 Ravelry WIPs.
I'm going to work on staying consistent with crafting as I seem to craft in fits and starts...finishing some things would be nice.... completely abandoning other things when they just don't work out for me would be ok too - pass it on and let someone else take in to completion.

Craft or Bust Week 1 check-in and roundup

Doh! Today hasn't gone completely as planned ... not in a bad way, just in a running-behind sort of way. ;) (The best laid plans of mice and crafters, and all.) So for those of you who want to check in for Craft or Bust, do it here. I'll come back and edit this post later this evening to include the roundup of last week's stuff, the roster, etc. This post has now reached enlightenment and is closer to the form it should have been in earlier. ;) Ahem.

Craft or Bust: The Requisite Photo Booth Image Welcome ... to the very first full Craft or Bust roundup! WOOHOO! PAR-TAY!

Fourteen lovely and slightly mad (in the “batty in a good way” sense) people are officially craftin' (not bustin') along with me as of right now. Welcome again, siblings in endurance crafting.

In case it wasn't clear from my oh-so-wondrous original instructions, each Sunday’s post will consist of two main parts:

  1. a roundup (a.k.a. summary) of the previous week's check-ins and crafty progress, and
  2. a check-in, which I’ll start by posting about what I’ve done since the last check-in; then you guys will post your comments about what you’ve done since the last check-in.
So whatever you posted about in last week’s check-in, I'll talk about it this week for people who didn’t go back and read all the comments. (A little like this week's paycheck is for the work you did two weeks ago...) Note that what goes in the check-ins is what definitely shows up in the roundup, so if you want me to post something, make sure you include it in your check-in comment. It would be convenient if I were so on the ball that I had time go to everyone’s blog posts and summarize them myself for the roundup — but I probably won't be that on the ball ... and dude, what if more people decide to craft with us? Imagine if there were 50 of us — there would go all my Saturdays. ;) And I will think on some level that I should go and summarize, even if my logical brain disagrees — so be nice, save a girl some neuroticism, and make sure to share in your comments what you want me to share with everyone else. ;)

So! For this week’s roundup, then, it's time for introductions of the people who joined last week, and their Craft or Bust goals. I declared sign-up week Week 0.5, since it was only a partial week and the Craft or Bust Project hadn’t started yet when I posted about it first. Ready for the first round-up? Here goes (in approximate order of sign-up ;)).

The Week 0.5 Round-Up: Introductions

Velma wants to craft all 52 weeks of 2010 and finish or frog all her pre-2010 Ravelry works in progress.

Elabeth wants to better document her crafting and make “lots of rad stuff.”

Diana wants to write up all her original designs.

Anna wants to craft all 52 weeks of the year.

Sarah wants to explore metalworking techniques, make her projects greener, start blogging, and finish a new project each week.

DeAnne wants to "get off her jewelrymaking ass" (go, sista!) and photograph more of her finished stuff so it can go into her Etsy shop.

Meredith wants to blog every week, try new crafts, and learn to take photos she’s willing to show other people (a good skill for playing on the Internet).

Vickie wants to craft more consistently (me, TOO!) — to finish things if possible, but to be able to let go of projects, too, if they just aren’t going to get finished.

Melinda wants to craft more intentionally, learn techniques that move her forward and that she can apply to a purpose, and finish things instead of leaving them half done.

Amber wants to work on knitting one project and spin four yarns every week — and finish a sweater every month.

Joni Rae wants to craft more often this year and get her goddess dolls into her Etsy shop.

Nic wants to craft something new every week, no matter what it is.

Luna wants to organize her super-variety of craft interests, focus more, experiment and explore wool in all its glory (and crafts ;)), photograph the process for her blog, design a Web site to market it all, and document the process every week. (Whew … Luna, you sound like me. ;D)

Angie wants to get her Etsy shop running — she needs to take some pics of her finished stuff! — clear out her unfinished projects, and take some ideas off the back burner make them real now.

You, my Craft or Bust buddies, are an awesome bunch, and I’m glad we’re all in this together. :D Having those extra eyes watching is keeping me a little more crafty than I am with just myself, a boyfriend and two cats to answer to. Feel free to go visit each other’s sites and get to know each other — it’s the Craft or Bust pool of inspiration! (Speaking of which, have you joined the Craft or Bust Flickr pool?)

Here’s a link to the full roster. If you don’t see yourself on there and you should be, make sure you’ve posted your information on the sign-up post, and if you already have but you aren’t on the roster, e-mail me or tweet at me and tell me I’m a slacker. ;)

Week 1 Check-In: What Have You Done Lately? (Jan 3–9)

To answer my own question, this week I...
Wednesday was my crap-out day, on which I got nothing done, but that’s not so bad … I got a lot more done during the rest of the week than I thought I would. :D

Your turn! Week 1 covers Sunday, January 3 through Saturday, January 9 — what did you craft during Week 1? Post your name, ID, crafty update, and any links you want me to share in my next roundup! (and don’t forget to post your pics to the Flickr pool)

Jan 7, 2010

Love and celebrate your fiber on Distaff Day

The spinning wheel waits

Today is as close as I know of to a yarn-spinners’ holiday. It’s Roc Day, also known as Distaff Day or St. Distaff’s Day — and it was an odd sort of holiday, once upon a time. That is, it really marked the end of the winter holidays in a lot of European traditions: The day when, after the twelve days of Christmas, people went back to work. Specifically, spinners got back to work making yarn to be woven into all the good stuff we like to use in polite society, like linens, clothing, and tablecloths. (Apparently, women didn’t traditionally spin during the Christmas holidays. Sounds a bit like school holidays today. ;))

The holiday (or un-holiday?) is named after the distaff used to hold fiber near the spinning wheel, a.k.a. the rock, or apparently roc — it’s not just a mythical creature any more! Traditional activities included plowmen setting fire to the unspun flax fiber — how considerate ;) — and women throwing buckets of water at said plowmen as a convenient way of putting out the fire. Funny. (And darn cold, since most of Europe at this time of year isn’t exactly balmy.)

No fire-setting or water-throwing for me today, but in honor of Distaff Day, I’m doing a little more of that window shopping I love so much. (Anyone else notice that “window shopping” completely translates to computers? As in, “Let me open a new window and visit Etsy?") And of course I’ll be sitting down at the spinning wheel, as soon as I can make up my mind which of my fluffies look the most like they want to be transformed into yummy yarn.

There's also a Roc Day celebration at Heritage Village this weekend. I tried to find the spinners there last year, but the darn place is big and fascinating and I got up late … so I missed the spinning wheels and the fiber. Hopefully the spinning gods (or the nonexistent St. Distaff) will smile on me this year.

Do you have a Roc Day tradition? Post comments, send pictures! Or start a new tradition! How did you spend your Roc Day?


Roc Day PDF, Apple Leef Farms
Distaff Day entry, Wikipedia

Jan 6, 2010

I Dream of Handmade: a crafty-handmade wish list

Birthday giftIt's January, and that means it's birthday month! Also known as The Month I Have to Wait After Christmas to See Whether I Got the Really Good Stuff on My Wish List. As if I'm that patient. Part of the waiting strategy is window-shopping for stuff I might buy myself if there's a gaping hole in my life still apparent on January 27 (the day after my birthday). I'm not dissing the things I do get; I appreciate being appreciated. It's just that I can always use more of the creative, inspiring and truly glee-inducing stuff.

So here are some things I would have put on my wish list if I had seen them in time. All handmade stuff, all crafty goodness. Nom nom nom.

Go ahead. Take a look. (I'll forgive you if you buy something I want. Probably. ;))

And what about you? Did you get everything you wished for this Christmas (or Yule, or Hanukkah, or Kwanzaa, or Eid, or ... you know)? Do you buy yourself the things you don't get from other people, or am I a lone freak in that?

Jan 4, 2010

Kumihimo saves, mailbox fails

I crafted. And yea, the light shone down from above on the Land of Crafts, and the kumihimo gods declared that it was good. This, I did yesterday while watching the SO play Okami (a fun and rather Zen video game if I do say so — it has the awesome trait of encouraging you to do many small good things to help you build your skills; like real life, but, you know, praise is visible in the game ;)):

Kumihimo: 7-strand on a card

The cream is organic cotton and the green is wool. Not sure what it's going to turn into yet, but I was thinking necklace cord when I cut the yarn.

One cool thing about kumihimo is that it took, oh, 10 yards of yarn total to make this cord. Even the part of my brain that's stingy about using handspun can put up with that conversion rate.

Today was also the first mail day of 2010. (Anyone else notice that?) I have a rather late Christmas package on the way, so I wondered: What would the mailbox hold?


Alas. The answer: Only bills and spam.


Well. There's always tomorrow.

Jan 3, 2010

You're invited to craft your butt off ... or bust!

Velma beat me to it! That's a link to her inestimable blog, or rather, a link to her first Craft or Bust post ... and as you can tell from her Most Enlightening graphic, we're starting something COO.

Check it: Today's the first day of Craft or Bust 2010 — in which I attempt to craft every week for all the weeks of 2010, and henceforth maintain happy, juicy, snarkyfun, crafty productivity.

I hereby challenge myself:
  • to work on at least one craft project per week in 2010;
  • to capture photographic evidence of said work;
  • to post a weekly blog update containing the above evidence and written testimony as to What Has Been Crafted.
Note that I'm trying to craft every week, not finish something every week. Finishing isn't the point, here ... just getting off my butt and crafting regularly is the point. Making it a craft habit, instead of a craft binge cycle.

Want to craft with me? (Or fall on your face with me? I might, you know — my record's not so sterling. ;)) Check out the rules, which basically say: Be free! Set your own goal, come and go from the challenge as you choose. Just check in here once a week on the Sunday roundup post with the info to show me who you are, and what you crafted. POOF!

This is the official sign-up post. If you haven't posted all your relevant info already, leave a comment here with it. I need:
  • Your name
  • The link/URL to an Internetty place of your choice that will identify you as you, like your Twitter account, your Web site, or your blog, etc. This will be linked to your name whenever it's mentioned.
  • Your Craft or Bust goal: This can be anything, e.g., "craft for 12 weeks straight," "finish my grandma's sweater," "complete 10 paintings," "try a new crafty technique every week," or even "feel like a real creative person." Whatever inspires you!
Then I'll add you to the roster, which will be linked from the official rules page — a.k.a. the Center of All Info CoB-Related (and thus also the page you should link to if you need to send people here).

My info would look like this:

Name: Crystal (Silver)
Identifying link: http://quicksilvercrafter.blogspot.com; Twitter account: Impstar (I'll assume that if you leave more than one piece of information, the first one is your most identifying piece.)
Craft or Bust Goal: To craft every single week of 2010 and thereby keep my crafty productivity flowing. This should help me make another goal — feeling like a Real Creative Person.

Signing up today counts as your check-in for what I'm going to call Week 0.5 of 2010. ;) If you've done something crafty in 2010 already, go right ahead and talk about it in your check-in — I'll mark it as "bonus points" for supercrafter effort. Added to clarify: Anything you do from now through the approaching Saturday-which-has-not-happened-yet will count toward Week 1. /end clarifying additional stuff

Mumble: I'm off to a great start, what with other CoB players posting in their blogs before I do the official kick-off, aren't I? ;) Well, begin as you mean to go on — and I'm beginning by going on anyway, even if my aim's a little off.

You know, someone basically asked me on Facebook what the point of this is — don't I craft every day already? To which the answer is an emphatic "I wish!" If I'd gotten into the habit a long time ago, I probably would. But other things have taken precedence for most of my life — school, work, other people's drama. You know. So this is about being dedicated to Me Time and to feeding my crafty soul for purposes of being a better crafty businessperson.

(Still haven't read the rules? If you were waffling earlier, here's the link again, just in case you changed your mind. ;))

Bonus Craftigoodness for Today:

I fell into Craft zine yesterday while fanning my crafty flame, and found a bunch of things I want to try during Craft or Bust 2010:
Other inspiration/useful links: Coming next week: My first tutorial! What will it be??? Your guess is as good as mine — really...

Jan 2, 2010

Craft or Bust 2010: The Official Rules

Proclaimeth the Quicksilver Crafter: All info on Craft or Bust 2010 shall be set down here for posterity, yea, verily, and it was good.

What the heck are you talking about?

The Craft or Bust Project is a weekly creative endurance challenge*. The rules are simple:

1. Join whenever.
2. Stay as long as you like.
3. Create, check in, be inspired, show off your craftigoodness, feel good.

Any art or craft (with one exception) counts: knitting, sewing, wire wrap jewelry, mail art, writing ... Heck, if there are creative bakers, gardeners, or sky-writers out there who want to play along, join up! If you have something creative you'd like to do every week, I'd be happy to have you. :D

You can work on any art/craft projects you want. You can work on a different one each week, or the same one the entire way. The heart of this challenge is to learn to craft regularly; finishing stuff is icing on the cake (and a fairly likely side effect even without trying too hard, I think).

The exception to "any craft counts" is blogging, by itself. While blogging can be a creative act, my intent is not to turn the weekly update into a list of who posted what to their blogs. ;) There are other places on the Internet solely dedicated to that sort of thing, so I don't need to redo it here.

You can blog about your CoB projects, though, and I'll happily link to that. And redesigning your blog template or layout would also be a totally fine CoB project, if you're doing it yourself and you're going to be doing it over more than one week.

Why should I play this silly crafty game?

If you're like me, you should do it because sharing your progress with other people is fun, and will make you at least a smidge more likely to work toward your goal. If you're not like me, maybe you should do it anyway: for fun, for pride, to challenge yourself, to keep yourself accountable ... or even to promote your own talents, blog or crafts business. (But please no soullessly spammy advertisement-like behavior. Be a person first and let the business promo come naturally, fellow crafty business-owners.)

How to join:

Go to the original sign-up post and post a sign-up comment with the following information:
  • Your name
  • The link/URL to an Internetty place of your choice that will identify you as you, like your Twitter account, your Web site, or your blog, etc. This will be linked to your name whenever it's mentioned.
  • Your Craft or Bust goal: This can be anything, e.g., "craft for 12 weeks straight," "finish my grandma's sweater," "complete 10 paintings," "try a new crafty technique every week," or even "feel like a real creative person." Whatever inspires you!
Your information will be posted to the public CoB roster, so make sure you want it where everyone can see it. If your goal is private, you can always say "My goal is private." ;)

How to participate:
  • Be creative. For each week you're doing Craft or Bust, do something crafty. It should probably have to do with your goal, but if not, no worries — the point is to just craft, already!
  • Check in every week. On Sunday, there will be a weekly roundup and check-in post here on Quicksilver Crafter. Leave a comment on this post with your name, your identifying link (so your participation gets credited properly), an update on what you did in the previous week, and any related links you want to be included in the next week's roundup (blog posts, pics in the Flickr pool, etc.).
  • If you blog about Craft or Bust, please tag your posts with "Craft or Bust 2010" and link back to the CoB rules page (located here) on your post — or even add the link somewhere on your blog, if you feel so inspired. Include links to any CoB-related posts in your weekly check-in.
  • If you take pictures of your Craft or Bust projects, add them to the CoB Flickr pool, tag them "Craft or Bust 2010," and include a link to the related Flickr page(s) in your check-in.

Check-in format

Kindly format your check-in comments something like the following, to help save me-the-organizer some time while doing the weekly summary:
Name: Crystal
ID link: http://quicksilvercrafter.blogspot.com
Week 2 check-in: This week I crafted lots of stuff. I knitted two blankets and saved an old lady who was crossing the street from a rampaging tangled ball of yarn. You can read about it here: http://quicksilvercrafter.blogspot.com/saved-that-lady.html.
What happens next:

Each week's Craft or Bust roundup and check-in post will include your updates, links, pics, and whatever other crafty stuff you guys post in relation to CoB. Come back every Sunday to read and enjoy the plethora of crafty updates (I write hopefully — that is, I hope you'll join me in testing your craft endurance so I have something to talk about aside from myself ;)). I'll also keep a tally of the number of weeks you've participated by your name in the roster.

If you've set a finite, reachable goal, make sure you note when you reach your goal in your weekly check-ins, so I can update your status in the roster and put you on a list to receive any special goodies that come up for CoB winners. ;D

What's that about special goodies?

I'm thinking stuff like free craft project instructions, patterns, tutorials, e-books, and coupon codes. I'll probably donate some myself, for anyone who happens to be following along while I craft or bust. And if anybody crafts-or-busts along with me, I'll make sure there are extra goodies just for you. :D

If you want to donate some giveaway goodies for The Craft or Bust Project, send an e-mail to crystal@starncrossbones.com and let me know. (I promise I won't keep them for myself.)

Speaking of goodies...

It's the Craft or Bust RAK List!

Not a traditional giveaway, but a way to get goodies nonetheless!

RAK = Random Act of Kindness, and in this case that means sending of wish-listed goodies to each other. If you send someone something, it's out of the goodness of your heart, no strings attached. :D The idea of RAKing is to spread general positivity and enable other people to do things they wouldn't have been able to do without your help.

If you want to be added to the Craft or Bust RAK List, do the following:

  1. Make a wish list of things that would help you achieve your CoB goals. It can include crazy and extravagant items (you never know) as well as "easy" stuff.
  2. Fill out the short and snappy RAK List registration form below.
  3. Send your form and wish list to crystal@starncrossbones.com.
  4. Check the RAK List (which will be linked here as soon as it actually exists), and get RAKing!
  5. Every month, you should get an e-mail and/or a reminder on the CoB check-in post, to update your wish list/contact info. Keeping things current makes RAKing better. ;)

Further notes:

  • I, Crystal the Organizer, pledge to personally send at least one RAK a month. Just FYI. If I slack, get on my butt. ;)
  • Just to make sure this is clear: This isn't a swap, so it's not one-for-one. You send people stuff because you're just that darn nice (or in the interest of destashing, or whatever ;)), and they can choose to send stuff back, or pay it forward, or do whatever they choose with your gift.

CoB RAK List Registration Form

(We're doing all contact by e-mail since it's more secure than just posting all our information on our blogs. Cross your fingers and maybe we'll have something fancier and more convenient soon ... ;))

Contact E-mail:
Wish List URL (if you have your wish list on your blog):
Your Mailing Address (if you want people to be able to RAK you by surprise, or you just want me to take care of giving out the address):
RAKing Preferences (pick one of the below):
1. I want people to e-mail me personally for my mailing address.
2. I want people to e-mail the organizer for my mailing address.
3. I want to let my RAKers have the option of e-mailing me or e-mailing the organizer, depending on whether they want to surprise me.
Wish List: (Insert your wish list here. It can be an actual itemized list, or a paragraph, etc.)
Other Notes (allergies, etc.):

Related Links

Pssst — all the CoB links are officially collected on the Craft or Bust page here. Check it out for CoB graphics and an index of all the roundups so far!

Craft or Bust Flickr pool
Craft or Bust roster

*And I'll do this by myself regardless, but I thought I'd open it up to everyone in case there are people out there who, like me, think a little group encouragement might be a good motivator.

52 weeks to go: The Craft or Bust Project

Once upon a time, I loved challenges. (It was Long Ago, before the age of bloggers was a twinkle in the Internet's eye.) Mmm, fresh new-challenge smell. The feel of challengey wind in my hair. The youthful certainty that I Could Accomplish Anything — even when, in the end, there were items left forever on the to-do list. Because even as a young thing, I knew that feeling ubercreative and uber-me meant a challenge was a Win.

But I dislike failing at challenges; it makes me volcanic, in the pre-eruption, suspicious-steam-from-the-vents sort of way. And failing at challenges is what I usually do now. Oy (to say the least).

This has to do with the others-before-self problem I acquired once a certain movie beamed human-specific compassion capability directly into my brain. Hint: Avoid this if you like your personal space the way it is.

Aaanyway. I've been, frankly, crap about keeping to my personal goals for a few years now. This is Very Un-Me and Needs to Change. But joining other people's challenges just doesn't feel right this year. Maybe another moment of this year will be more right for it.

Until then, I have one choice: Start my own challenge.

And lo, the Craft or Bust Project is born.

I hereby challenge myself:
  • to work on at least one craft project per week;
  • to capture photographic evidence of said work;
  • to post a weekly blog update containing the above evidence and written testimony as to What Has Been Crafted.
Notice that I'm not saying I'm going to finish a project a week. I'd like to ... but the only requirement for the project is that I keep on crafting. This is about creativity and craft endurance training, not instant gratification. Any art or craft counts — knitting, wire wrap jewelry, painting, artist trading cards, you name it. To me: Just craft, already. (Or as my friend Beckka would say: Craft, dammit!) The one craft exception is blogging; see the rules page for why.

And because it's always more fun if multiple people are stressing out (in a good way, of course) over their challenge entries simultaneously, I invite you to join me.

Game rules:
  1. Every week, on Sunday, I'll post a new Craft or Bust update. Check in by leaving a comment on the weekly CoB post with the following information:
    • Your name
    • A place where I can link to you — your Twitter account, your Web site, your blog, your Facebook page, etc.
    • What you did that week
    • If you blog about Craft or Bust, post a link or links to your CoB-related posts. Make sure you tag your posts with "Craft or Bust" and link back to the CoB rules page (located [here — this spot to be linked once the link exists ;)]).
    • If you take pictures of your Craft or Bust projects, add them to the CoB Flickr pool, and include a link to the related Flickr page(s) in your check-in.
  2. Every week in my CoB update post, I'll include a roundup of the previous week's check-ins.
Whatever you link to in your check-in, I'll link to it in my roundup. So if you have a blog, this is a semi-sneaky way of getting exposure and visitors. (Rather like a blog carnival...) If you don't have a blog (or even if you do!), you can upload your photos to Flickr and I'll post them here, so people can see your craftigoodness in all its challenge-inspired glory.

And who knows? Maybe there will be prizes along the way. (Anybody want to donate something? Creativity-enhancing materials? Classes? E-books? Tutorials? Cheesecake?)

Tomorrow will be the first Sunday of Craft or Bust, so for tomorrow's check-in, my compatriots in crafting, give me a heads up in the comments area with as much info as you think is relevant, your reasons for doing Craft or Bust, and your ultimate goal. (And if you haven't yet, check out the rules page to make sure you have everything covered.)


This post inspired by Tara of Blonde Chicken Boutique and now A Novel Yarn (that's her new physical yarn studio ... wooeeeooo!). She wrote a couple days ago about year-long craft challenges, which made me think about what challenges I would tackle this year.

And hey, I even used this post as an excuse to flex my New-Year's-lessons-learned muscles, specifically the one on which is written: "It’s all right to take risks, and do what you think you can’t do." Crickets may chirp, I may craft on alone ... but what the hey.
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