a decade of the Crafties

Ten years ago today, I pushed publish on this blog. You can see that first posting here. Of course, my site has undergone several visual changes, and I didn’t really know the direction my crafts would take, but the main goal still satisfies: simply to record.

An older iteration of this blog

Most people take this time of year to showcase what they’ve been able to accomplish over the last twelve months, but that’s not really my kind of thing. I appreciate it in others – especially when I am a new follower and haven’t seen all the wonderful projects! I simply don’t prioritize the effort to do it myself. I did recently post heaps of photos on my Library page of most everything I’ve ever made, so if you are looking to see a visual collection, let me point you over there.

I want to instead think about how much has changed since ten years ago. This is not a comprehensive list by any account, but I think it is fun to pause a little and see how far I’ve come, how far my world has come, how far humans have come. Ten years ago:

  • I lived in a condo and worked at a bank. Today, I live in a house we bought that year and now work with my husband doing light tech/design work or contract work with outside groups. Between, I’ve worked (in no particular order) as a researcher, archaeologist, bioarchaeologist, adjunct, visiting lecturer, candy store operator, graphic designer, crafter, volunteer, and house manager. Boy’s office outgrew the single tiny room he was renting to a full floor with separated office space and server room.
Our house, before we purchased it
  • I drove a Hyundai Elantra, may her 16 year old soul rest in peace, that barely had a whistle and today I have an all-wheel drive car that nearly drives itself with all the bells and all the whistles. I was still holding onto the LG EnV, while today I carry around a micro-computer iPhone. At the bank, we might have still been using a dot matrix printer, though I do believe by 2009 we had upgraded away from using sorter machines running off of 5.5″ floppy disks. I blogged on a desktop Mac Mini, and now I have a MacBook Pro. I had no TV access (intentionally – we cancelled cable earlier and did not upgrade to the digital public TV) and lived off of Blockbuster movies, RIP. My TVs are bigger/clearer/thinner, my game consoles multiplied, and my movies stream through Netflix. The changes in technology are fascinating.
Young Sasha on boy’s first laptop (she’s ten now, too!)
  • I had just graduated with a Bachelor degree in Sociology (on the anthropology track) with the full compliment of an Associate degree in French, Fine Art, and Anthropology and Minors in Anthropology and Art History, and experience in art galleries, museums, and zoos. Now, I have a Master’s in Anthropology for Bioarchaeology with plenty of extra-curricular experience too numerous to name. My niece hadn’t yet been born – she’ll be 10 as well soon (and my nephew, 21!). I don’t think my brother-in-law was fully in the picture yet either. Boy and I were just planning our elopement – yep, our 10th anniversary is coming up as well (though we’ve been together for 20).
Album I created for my niece before she was born
  • I barely knew anything about crafting. Pretty much every project had surprises like giant wastes of thread that became knotted unbeknownst to me in the back, or skipped stitches, or missing bobbin threads. I’ve come a long, long, long way.
Surprise hole in quilt I made for the birth of my friend’s first baby

There are so many other things I could have listed, and the same holds true for anyone, of course. But how many times do we think back 5, or 10, or 20+ years ago and really take stock in all the changes? What was life like for you ten years ago in 2009?

Happy New Year to you and yours – may it be easier for you to chase the light in 2019!

Kandinsky’s Blue Mountain inspired ink print

2018 TAST

Pintangle's Take a Stitch Tuesday (TAST) by Sharon Boggon

You’ve read about my idea for this here, right? Ok! See all completed TAST posts here.

I completed Sharon of Pintangle’s 2018 TAST Challenge! I had one stitch left, #32 Buttonholed Herringbone. I simply dug out my Stitch #5 Herringbone pennant and changed one of the stitches to a buttonholed version. Ta-da:

I will post again about this TAST project since I still need to sew each pennant to some pretty fabric and make a long strip of bunting. I’m not sure when that will be – hand-sewing has my heart much more than machine stitching, but I do want to see this completed.

TAST was great – I challenged myself, explored stitches and color groups in ways I hadn’t done before, and have a record of my work! I also have proof I could follow-through on a long-term craft project – and proof that I can prioritize a self-directed project solely for pleasure. My skills increased, my creativity is expanded, and my pride earned a notch because I did it!

I haven’t possibly learned all there is to know about embroidery stitches, so I might look at 2019 TAST for new stitches in a different project, or I might try out Sharon’s Beyond TAST Challenge (though I am not sure I am ready for that yet).

Looking back, I prefer the organic mash of the later Roundup pennants I made over the stiff formalized earlier versions. At the end, I had several stitches on backlog so I could pair up ones that complimented each other, which is why the numbers skip all over. I liked that approach, so I’ve toyed around with the idea of designing a sampler project someday also.

I am super glad Sharon releases a single stitch each week rather than a full list for the year. I think, as a newb, I would have felt so overwhelmed by them all, or maybe tried to skip some thinking they were easy and I’d get back to it the next week which was difficult to manage time-wise often enough as it was! I know this is why I haven’t just sat down to make my own project starting with the first stitch in her dictionary or any of the books I have, and ending on the last.

That said, now I have the confidence and self-discipline to try something like that out!

TAST: Roundup 5

Pintangle's Take a Stitch Tuesday (TAST) by Sharon Boggon

You’ve read about my idea for this here, right? Ok! See all completed TAST posts here.

Without further adieu, front and back:

This is my last TAST pennant. No, no, don’t congratulate me yet! I have a single stitch left. See, after completing the last pennant, I ran into an issue – a big issue! I ran out of the fabric! So, I had to force as many stitches as possible onto this pennant – which actually wasn’t hard. Except for one. ONE! Ugh. But, I have a plan for it, so no worries. Anyway, up next is Stitch #46 Barb Stitch:

Stitch #31 Vandyke Stitch – totally would have been more awesome in perle cotton, but I did not have any on hand. You can barely tell that the center line has a lovely braided effect. However, I have done this stitch before so I do know about that – you can find it on my Butterfly Pillow.

That pillow also has Stitch #42 Coral Stitch. I tried to work it with the little knots spaced differently. Then there is Stitch #47 Berry Stitch. This is a neat variation – I usually add a straight stitch if I need to fill in a detached chain stitch, but adding a second detached chain inside (or outside, depending on how you work it), would definitely stand out more. Stitch #40 Woven Detached Chain is what makes up the stem and leaf of the little flower motif. Both times, the chain stitch collapsed into a linear stitch. I’ll need more practice with it!

Now, if Stitch #28 Half-Chevron wasn’t so versatile, I could have had room for the last stitch! But, I love it when stitches can be applied in so many ways so I just had to experiment with this one. The top (blue and purple) overlap. The two purples mirror each other. The second purple and second blue are offset. The pinkish-purple is turned sideways and reminds me of the Flying Geese quilt pattern. The dark blues each make a box – one with the points outward, and one inward. And the dark purple makes a little windmill effect.

Now, that single last stitch! It will be super easy to do, once I dig out the pennant I need…