Archive for June, 2007

What Do You Get When You Mix The Grateful Dead with Breast Cancer Awareness?

Why, a PG rating, of course!

Online Dating

I don’t usually do blog memes, but thought I’d try this one for kicks. I was a little miffed at the results:

“This rating was determined based on the presence of the following words:”

  • breast (3x)
  • dead (1x)

That’s silly.

Anyhoo, gotta go. I’m dead tired and I still have to make the chicken breast for dinner.


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Mapping the Future of Craft

craftster button If you’ve never visited Craftster before, you’re missing out on the awesome designs of a lot of very creative people who are on the cutting edge of DIY culture. The mostly young demographic creates hip, modern twists on traditional arts and crafts.

It’s not your grandmother’s craft site. The Craftster forum features topics such as Stitch and Botch, Crafting for Good not Evil, Vegan Cooking, and Reconstructed Clothing, as well as the standard fare of show-and tell boards, tool and supply discussions, listings of local fairs, and advice on starting a business. The tagline, “No Tea Cozies Without Irony” sums it up very well.

Each post includes a “this rocks” button which has a clever icon of the two fingered ‘devil sign’ often flashed at rock concerts. Pressing it enables you to vote on the work, the best make it to the Featured Projects section on the site’s front page. Where else could you find a felt espresso machine, soap the looks like a raw steak or a cross-stitched portrait of Queen frontman Freddy Mercury? Most purported hip, new trends on HGTV or the DIY network have their roots in sites like this one.

Leah Kramer started Craftster in 2003. It now has over 75,000 members and recently received a mention in the Time Magazine article “50 Coolest Websites of 2006”.

NJ Craftster Heatmap

There are many message boards on the site, including a regional-specific NJ one that I frequent (in search of nearby crochet groups – hello TRKnitters!) One of its members, bethiej78, generously provided a heatmap showing the locations of all the participating craftsters in the thread. The map received enhusiastic responses from as far away as San Diego (!); I suspect the author will add more locations if the need arises. I think that the time and effort it takes to create something like this may qualify it as a craft in its own right.

I often think about the increasing overlap of digital and traditional mediums (Crafster discussion here). Digital artist trading cards (ATC’s), knitting graphs produced in photoshop, and online color palette generators are blurring the whole line between technology and craft. We now have tools at our disposal to create a whole new genre (cue the herioc star-wars type music here), equal parts fiber and fiber optic – a bastard child of post-modern pop culture and time-honored folk artistry. It’s become easier to find a voice via “social networking” on the internet. For me especially, the prospect of positive feedback from my community is great inspiration, on all levels. As Sen. Clinton paraphrased the African proverb, it really does take a village. So think globally and craft locally. You’ll be glad you did.

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Growing the Snake

New toy made at the request of my 3 year old; he’s very happy with it so far. I’ve sewn in the eyes and tongue, and have been stuffing it as I go.

The whole thing is crocheted in the round, pattern from Yarncat. I originally saw it at Dot’s Crochet a few months ago.


I’m trying to keep it a little soft and mushy so he can bend it. I could probably still manage to get some armature wire or pipe cleaners in there to shape it. That’s a stitch marker behind the head, it’s supposed to go on for 100 rounds. We’ll see. I’ll work on 5 or 6 rows before I get bored and put it down for a (too) long while. On the upside though, I did just find out that I can single crochet -in the dark- at the movies!

I love the way the variegated is making a spiral camoflauge pattern. The yarn is Red Heart super saver in “Sage Mary”. I may change the face, possibly move the eyes down and add a goofy smile.

He wants me to make him a dragon after this.



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June 3rd is National Cancer Survivor’s Day


A lot of us who crochet like to give our treasures as gifts to family and friends, some also donate their creations to charities. There are hundreds, if not thousands of large and small groups who make, collect and distribute to those in need. It’s very easy to get involved, and it’s a wonderful feeling knowing you did something constructive for a good cause.

Project Linus was started in 1995 after a Parade magazine article featuring the photo of a young cancer patient clutching a blanket spurred Colorado resident Karen Loucks Rinedollar to begin making blankets for her local children’s hospital. It is named after the “Peanuts” cartoon character by Charles Schultz (who actually coined the term “security blanket”), and has chapters all across the United States and abroad. The organization provides handmade blankets of all types to children who are ill or in need.

If you’re interested in crocheting “Chemo Caps” – soft, comfortable and attractive (or sometimes funny and p’d off, like Sharon Osborne’s) hats that some cancer patients wear when they lose their hair due to the rigors of chemotherapy – Bev’s Country Cottage has pages of patterns, including knit, crochet and sewing, for you to choose from. She also has patterns and links to pink ribbon items to make supporting breast cancer awareness.

The Breast Cancer Site, which funds free mammograms for underpriveledged women, is aiming for 6 million clicks this month. If they reach their goal, they will receive an additional $20,000 in sponsor funding. I subscribe their daily email reminders and try to click every day. You’ll get a free pink ribbon pin if you decide to sign up, and they also have buttons that you can use for your site, blog, or email signature (mine’s on the right if you scroll down) . Click this link to help:
Fund Free Mammograms @ The Breast Cancer Site

Lion Brand has a full page of pattern links, as well as an extensive database of organizations that accept donations of goods and yarn. It’s searchable by keyword, zip code or organization name. It’s a great resource if your knit or crochet group is looking to make a donation.

Whether you make booties or grannies or afghans or hats, just for today, think of how a caring crafter may have comforted or raised the spirits of a cancer patient. We have a lot of opportunities in life, and sometimes the smallest thing we do can mean the world to another.

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