2016 in Review and New Goals

It is pretty much accepted at this point that 2016 was a garbage fire of a year. So much hate and intolerance floated to the surface, the likes of which I haven't seen in my lifetime. It was sad and discouraging. Amidst all of that, I pushed the edges of my comfort zone and I managed to have a pretty empowering year. I hope the strength and courage I built in 2016 will help me fight in 2017. I am ready.

Let's review my 2016 goals...
1. Improve my handwriting. Nope, I did not spend one minute of 2016 working on this. Oh well.
2. Develop 4 new classes. I did achieve this, but I haven't taught one of the classes yet. Still going to call this a win.
3. Submit 1 article and 4 patterns for publication. Yes. I actually submitted several class and article ideas throughout the year as part of my attempt to become more comfortable with rejection.
4. Improve my overall health. Yes!! This goal was mostly about dealing with the residual effects of last year's broken leg, but ended up extending past that. I got my ankle and knee to the point where I could walk 8-10 miles a day without much pain and on uneven surfaces. Then I started working on my anxiety which has long prevented me from tackling other things that really needed to be dealt with. It was a really difficult year, but I experienced more victories that defeats and in the end I am stronger and healthier which feels pretty amazing.
5. Finish and frame twelve pieces for the shop xstitch project, again. Easy Peasy, I hit this goal in February or March of this year. Not sure of the final count for the year, but it was almost half a wall so I am feeling pretty good about this one.
6. Spend more time with friends, regular outings and phone calls. Yes and no. On a local level, I mostly failed at this. I had several months of self-imposed isolation where I only left my house for work and exercise. I did manage to spend time with a few dear faraway friends who I don't see nearly enough so on that front it was mostly a success. 

My 2017 goals...
1. Stop apologizing for who I am and what I want.
2. Make more art.*
3. Continue doing the things that make my body and mind stronger.
4. Get my Ravelry projects page up to date (again.) 
5. Reduce pointless screen time (i.e. stop staring at my phone so much.)

*Over the past few years I have done a few community art projects anonymously (some I owned up to upon completion, some I didn't.) No more of this.**
**Okay, maybe a bit more of this, but mostly I want to put my name on things.


For all the Nasty Women

It's been awhile since I posted so I thought I would share the project I've been working on this week. It was really hard to resist after this week's debate. I am offering the pattern for free, but if you really want to make a difference, donate a few dollars to Planned ParenthoodStitched on 14ct Aida, the finished piece will fit into a standard 5x7" frame or an 8" hoop. Downloadable pattern available hereEnjoy!!

A printable PDF is available here


Everyone has the right to pee

Printable version here.
I thought I was done blogging for the day, but then I received my daily email from the Daily Cross Stitch. For those not familiar with the site, it is a cute little cross stitch site that offers small, inexpressive cross stitch patterns. They also offer one free pattern per day in a daily email. They are usually cutsie little things like animals and baked goods, but today's patterns of restroom signs for men and women were obviously politically motivated. As an alternative to their design, I offer you this free pattern for an inclusive restroom sign. It's part of a much bigger piece that I am working on for the shop and will post in its entirety when completed, but this felt like it needed to be posted as a smaller pattern now. Stitched on 14ct Aida, the finished piece will fit into a standard 5x7" frame and will make any restroom better.

Tiny Shop Update

I've added some vintage knitting and sewing button packs to my online shop as well as a few new singles. Shipping is a flat $1.50 on buttons no matter how many or few you buy and as usual, these are also available at ReBelle.

In other news, I have been dyeing like crazy for the Kentucky Sheep and Fiber Fest this weekend. I will have a bunch of my fiber and a bit of my yarn at the ReBelle booth (we are in the same place as last year inside the big barn.) Next week I will do a big online shop update with what remains after the fiber fest so if you miss me there and can't make it to ReBelle, you can buy from me there.


Technology is Magic

This week has been a little too busy for blogging and I haven't been working on anything that I am allowed to share just yet so instead you get a free cross stitch pattern.

Yesterday I spoke to the Creative Disruption class at Transylvania University and I brought along a couple of the QR code cross stitches I've done. Mostly I use the QR technology with cross stitch for leaving little affirmations in unexpected places, mostly public bathrooms. Anyway, while this one was being passed around the class I remembered that I created a chart to share, but never did it, so here you go.

Worked on 14ct Aida, this design will fit into a 2x2" frame that can be placed anywhere your heart desires. Downloadable pattern here.


Quitting is for Winners

Lately, I have been taking account of many aspects of my life and eliminating the things that don't make me happy. I will spare you the details of my various transitions, but I do want to talk about knitting (something I have neglected on this blog for quite some time.) I went through all of my WIP's and either frogged them and donated the yarn or created a plan for finishing them. One WIP that I have been working on for a couple of years is the Beekeeper's Quilt. I have knitted about 60 hexipuffs and while I really like the idea of creating a blanket with my project scraps, I am no longer excited about the design. I haven't make a puff in months mostly due to the doubt that I will actually finish this project. I spent a little time thinking about what I like about the project- the use of lots of colors, the chance to try out sample yarns in a functional way, using some of my handdyed scraps, and seeing yarn used in old projects again. Then I thought about what I dislike about the project- the stuffed puffs (which where originally something I loved,) the difficulty of making a perfectly symmetrical hexagon, the fact that all of the finishing will be done at the end, and the laundering issues that will come with a stuffed blanket. I've put about 30 hours of my life into this project and now I am calling it quits.

I frogged my hexipuffs and have started a Cozy Memory Blanket instead. The Cozy Memory keeps the things I love about the Beekeeper while eliminating the things I don't like. There are several patterns online (here, here, and here to name a few,) but since it is just a mitered square pattern, I ended up creating my own technique that uses slipped stitches to make a knit ridge up the center. I am still working out the kinks, but am confident enough in my method to move from yest squares to blanket squares.

Shannon from the Soxcetera podcast is doing a knitalong (#blanketblitzkal) through May 31 and I am using this as a personal challenge to get the first 31 squares of my blanket knit with the ultimate goal of 100 by the end of the year. I haven't yet decided on a finished size, but I would like this to be at least a three year project so maybe whatever size it is in 2020. I am also going to try and keep a Flickr album of my squares and the memories (if any) associated with them.


More Indigo Dyeing

Last weekend I had the pleasure of teaching my fourth indigo dye workshop at ReBelle, as well as two shibori classes. I have talked about the technical side of indigo dyeing before so this entry won't be about that. If you want to learn a bit about indigo, specifically my love affair with pre-reduced indigo check out that post.

Shibori projects right in various
levels of oxidation.
I love teaching dye classes. They are open to all types of crafters and unlike my other beginning classes, they change every time I teach them so they are never boring. I started with just an indigo dye workshop the first time out, but other than the quilters who came knowing exactly what they wanted to do, the class seemed to be too unstructured for most people. The second time I taught this class it was for the local fiber guild who took nicely to the open dye format. The third time I taught at the shop I added a shibori class right before the dye workshop where I provided two projects (a wrap and a tea towel) and that class sold out pretty quickly. Things worked well with the project format, so well that we added a batik class to the mix and moved both resist classes to a Saturday and the dyeing to Sunday so that students would have a chance to prepare their fabrics using the more involved shibori techniques. This format worked really well, not only did students have the opportunity to try two different resist techniques, everyone had plenty of time to prepare their projects for the dye vat and the results were amazing. Now that all of the kinks have been worked out, I am really looking forward to the next indigo weekend in September.

The great unveilling, cutting the threads on some sewn shibori.