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March is National Craft Month, but the month of March is also dedicated to the recognition of many other things. How many can you name?

Answer at the bottom of the email...

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The Short Storey

March 2013

Something fun and creative every month from your friends at Storey

Illustration by © Caitlin Keegan

March is National Craft Month

Welcome

Fuel Your Passion

Crafters of every kind share one essential trait: a passion to create. Knitting and crocheting, woodworking, beading, spinning, sewing and quilting, making soap or paper or beer or wine – all crafts are about the pleasure of making things by hand and the joy of wearing, drinking, using, or sharing the fruits of your labor. Storey’s craft books are designed to fuel and further your creative passions, offering you a wealth of inspiring projects and the techniques you need to succeed at the things you love to do.

contents

In This Issue

Storey’s Fresh Picks

Be a Crafty Know-It-All

The ebooks in our Answer Book series have the solutions to your craft problems and the answers to your craft questions. Get them now — each one is only $2.99 for the month of March! We’re also offering our handy little guide to braiding rugs, free of charge!

  • Braiding Rugs
  • free
  • Free in March!
  • Braiding Rugs
  • Braided rugs are easy to make, and you can create them out of old clothes and blankets, ending up with beautiful heirlooms full of meaning and memories. Nancy Bubel covers every step of the simple process, from planning the perfect size, shape, and color scheme to cutting your cloth strips, braiding them, and finishing off your rug.
  • The Beading Answer Book
  • buy
  • Karen Morris
  • The Beading Answer Book
  • This indispensable Q&A reference has everything you need to know to bead successfully. Packed with illustrated instructions and insightful advice, this handy little book will solve your most vexing problems. Don’t bead without it!
  • You save $12!
  • The Crochet Answer Book
  • buy
  • Edie Eckman
  • The Crochet Answer Book
  • This perfect little Q&A handbook will answer all of your hooking questions. Edie Eckman has anticipated every question that might arise and offers clear, complete answers, along with easy-to-follow diagrams to ensure success.
  • You save $10!
  • The Knitting Answer Book
  • buy
  • Margaret Radcliffe
  • The Knitting Answer Book
  • Veteran knitter Margaret Radcliffe is here to help you solve every knitting mystery! From needle sizes and yarn weights to dropped stitches, tight ribbing, chart reading, and curling edges, she covers everything you need to know. Hundreds of detailed illustrations combined with clear instructions will make this your go-to reference.
  • You save $12!
  • raw-energy
  • buy
  • Barbara Weiland Talbert
  • The Quilting Answer Book
  • This Q&A reference has the best quilting advice on the block! Stitchers of all levels will find sensible solutions to difficult problems and step-by-step instructions for tricky techniques. Talbert covers cutting, piecing, applique work, borders, binding, equipment, materials, and much more.
  • You save $12!
  • raw-energy
  • buy
  • Barbara Weiland Talbert
  • The Sewing Answer Book
  • Perfect for everyone from absolute beginners to experienced sewists, and for both hand and machine sewing, this reassuring resource answers your questions and solves your problems. The Q&A format makes it quick and easy to find the information you need.
  • You save $12!

Giveaway

Enter to Win Three Free Books

Thanks for Reading The Short Storey!

Here at Storey, we’re dedicated to publishing the best authors and the best content, no matter where (or on what device) you read. We’d love to know more about who you are and what we can do better. Click the link below, complete the survey, and you’ll be entered to win three Storey books of your choice. Three winners will be chosen at random at the end of March.

Take the Survey and Enter the Giveaway →

Ask an Author

Craft Inspirations

From the Black Keys to Law & Order — here’s what makes our craft authors tick.

craft author celebrities

Barbara Weiland Talbert

Author of The Sewing Answer Book and The Quilting Answer Book, Barbara has edited more than 100 quilting books and designs her own lines of quilts and tote bags.

  • Is there a craft tool you can’t do without? My sewing machine!
  • What do you listen to while crafting? Classical music.
  • Is there a color palette you gravitate toward? Pinks and greens.
  • How do you arrange your crafting supplies? I have three beautiful, large, white armoires purchased from Ikea. Inside each one, my fabrics are organized by color in large plastic tubs with lids. Notions and other supplies are in smaller, shoebox-size tubs. My thread is housed in an antique J. & P. Coats 6-drawer thread cabinet. I also have two bookcases for books and pieces of my sewing antiques. A large 1910 Art Nouveau armoire also holds fabric and thread in two plastic carts with drawers. My husband just built a cutting table that sits on two bookshelf units. Shelves holds cutting and pressing tools. A small drawer in the center houses scissors, small rulers, and rotary cutters!
  • How many projects do you generally have going at a time? Usually only one. I like to start and finish them as most of my projects become PDF downloadable patterns at craftsy.com.
  • One word to describe how you feel when immersed in your craft: Fullfilled.
  • Do you find more joy in the process of working on a project or in the completion of a project? It's the process that engages me, but I am also pleased to see the final result.
  • If you could give just one tip to fellow crafters, what would it be? Take classes to learn new tips and techniques for your chosen craft(s), but also venture out and take on new media. Last year I took a mixed media class online and found out I could be much more creative in that media than I ever realized. It fed my creative spirit and the work in my chosen crafts — sewing and quilting!

Crispina ffrench

Author of The Sweater Chop Shop, Crispina started making clothing from recycled sweaters and hand-woven clothing right after college, and in the years since she has turned her hobby into a successful business.

  • Is there a craft tool you can’t do without? Sharp scissors.
  • What do you listen to while crafting? Pandora. From bluegrass to trance. Then I love audio books and This American Life.
  • Is there a color palette you gravitate toward? My favorite is a mix of hot reds, oranges, and pinks. Love greens too. For me it’s about creating richness by mixing many hues of the same color.
  • How do you arrange your crafting supplies? By fiber content and color.
  • How many projects do you generally have going at a time? 25+/-
  • One word to describe how you feel when immersed in your craft: Satisfied.
  • Do you find more joy in the process of working on a project or in the completion of a project? Process. But it’s close.
  • If you could give just one tip to fellow crafters, what would it be? Delve in. Commit to your creativity.

Edie Eckman

Author of the best-selling books The Crochet Answer Book, Around the Corner Crochet Motifs, and Beyond the Square Crochet Motifs, as well as the newly released Connect the Shapes Crochet Motifs, Edie is a nationally known teacher, designer, writer, and editor in both the crochet and knitting worlds.

  • Is there a craft tool you can’t do without? Sufficient lighting.
  • What do you listen to while crafting? Audiobooks.
  • Is there a color palette you gravitate toward? I tend to like saturated colors of all hues.
  • How do you arrange your crafting supplies? In big plastic bins, or scattered willy-nilly around my studio.
  • How many projects do you generally have going at a time? 6 or 7.
  • One word to describe how you feel when immersed in your craft: Focused.
  • Do you find more joy in the process of working on a project or in the completion of a project? Process.
  • If you could give just one tip to fellow crafters, what would it be? There is no “right” or “wrong,” just happy or unhappy results.

Gail Callahan

Author of Hand Dyeing Yarn and Fleece, Gail is a weaver and a dyer of yarns. She dyes yarns exclusive to WEBS, America's Yarn Store, and for her own business, The Kangaroo Dyer. She also teaches workshops in her own studio and at WEBS.

  • Is there a craft tool you can’t do without? Coffee filters. Yup, it sounds crazy, but when I’m dyeing, I need to see how the colors look next to each other, and how they mix when they bump up against each other and combine. Using coffee filters saves my fiber from experimentation, and often a poor outcome.
  • What do you listen to while crafting? I love NPR, for talk radio, but the River 93.9 for music and a show called Bird Songs.
  • Is there a color palette you gravitate toward? Always greens and blues. Kathy Elkins, who owns WEBS, where I dye several lines of yarns, has had to tell me to “put down the green.”
  • How do you arrange your crafting supplies? I’m working on it. Since I have yarns from WEBS, and from my own site, Kangaroo Dyer, being dyed in the same space, I always have large boxes in different rooms to keep them separate. I had a friend come over and organize the dyes and dye powders in her logical way, to force me to put everything back each time, and this seems to be working.
  • How many projects do you generally have going at a time? I have the dyeing projects going in one room, and often the recipes are ones I have done over and over for 6 years. This doesn’t feel very creative, so now I have a table to the side where I work on new ideas.
  • One word to describe how you feel when immersed in your craft: Energized.
  • Do you find more joy in the process of working on a project or in the completion of a project? Good question. I guess that because when I see something I made years ago and the first thought that goes through my head is “I remember making that,” it means that I loved the process part the best.
  • If you could give just one tip to fellow crafters, what would it be? Don't focus on the outcome, this puts too much pressure on you. Remember that everything has a learning curve.

Gwen Steege

Author of The Knitter’s Life List, Gwen has been a fiber fanatic for nearly 50 years. She edits books on fiber crafts, knits, crochets, and weaves — sometimes using yarn spun from the fleece of her own sheep.

  • Is there a craft tool you can’t do without? My fingers.
  • What do you listen to while crafting? Audiobooks. I just finished Wolf Hall and started Wild.
  • Is there a color palette you gravitate toward? Blues.
  • How do you arrange your crafting supplies? Yarns, by color. Everything else is badly in need of arranging!
  • How many projects do you generally have going at a time? At least 10.
  • One word to describe how you feel when immersed in your craft: Grounded.
  • Do you find more joy in the process of working on a project or in the completion of a project? Process: that’s why I have so many things going. I always want to start/try something new and interesting.
  • If you could give just one tip to fellow crafters, what would it be? Don’t be afraid to try new colors and new techniques.

Judith Durant

Judith is the editor of Storey’s One-Skein Wonders Series — the newest in the series, Crochet One-Skein Wonders, releases next month! Judith is also a founding editor of Interweave Knits magazine. Her designs and articles have appeared in Interweave Knits, Beadwork, and Piecework magazines.

  • Is there a craft tool you can’t do without? Knitting needles.
  • What do you listen to while crafting? I usually watch old movies or Law & Order reruns when I knit.
  • Is there a color palette you gravitate toward? I love anything blue.
  • How do you arrange your crafting supplies? I arrange them into anything that will hold them — dresser drawers, storage bins, shopping bags under the bed.
  • How many projects do you generally have going at a time? At least three.
  • One word to describe how you feel when immersed in your craft: Calm.
  • Do you find more joy in the process of working on a project or in the completion of a project? Unlike many knitters, I love finishing my projects.
  • If you could give just one tip to fellow crafters, what would it be? Never stop learning new ways of doing things.

Nicole Blum

Nicole is co-author of Improv Sewing, with Debra Immergut. Nicole is an artist, crafter, blogger, and sewing entrepreneur.

  • Is there a craft tool you can’t do without? A needle.
  • What do you listen to while crafting? Pandora — anything from the Shins to Leonard Cohen to the Black Keys.
  • Is there a color palette you gravitate toward? Grays and greens.
  • How do you arrange your crafting supplies? By fabric type — knit in one box, canvas in another, weird things in another, etc.
  • How many projects do you generally have going at a time? Probably 3 to 5.
  • One word to describe how you feel when immersed in your craft: Satisfied.
  • Do you find more joy in the process of working on a project or in the completion of a project? Probably working on it, but it does feel good to make something you are really happy with.
  • If you could give just one tip to fellow crafters, what would it be? Make something — anything — every day!

Rebecca Yaker

Co-author of both One-Yard Wonders and Fabric-by-Fabric One-Yard Wonders, with Patricia Hoskins, Rebecca began sewing at age five. After eight years of designing apparel for two of America’s largest retailers, Rebecca started her own design business. She knits, crochets, weaves, does fabric printing, and consults on design.

  • Is there a craft tool you can’t do without? Interchangeable circular knitting needles...and a sewing machine, of course.
  • What do you listen to while crafting? I typically craft in silence, which allows me to find my flow.
  • Is there a color palette you gravitate toward? I love color and particularly complementary color combinations. Lately I’ve been throwing a lot of gray into the mix.
  • How do you arrange your crafting supplies? Categorically, and as neatly as possible. Yarn weights are grouped together, fabrics are neatly folded and arranged by print story (for example, all squirrel-themed fabrics are together). As neat as I think it is, you might think a tornado hit my space.
  • How many projects do you generally have going at a time? At least four, with more on my mind.
  • One word to describe how you feel when immersed in your craft: Present.
  • Do you find more joy in the process of working on a project or in the completion of a project? Most projects are like good books that I never want to end — I love the process. That said, I am always so proud and excited to share my finished work.
  • If you could give just one tip to fellow crafters, what would it be? As disappointing as it may be, it's ok to trash a project that has taken a wrong turn. Allow the experience — it will lead you down a new path.

Quick Tips

Starting and Running a Craft Lab

Alethea Morrison’s seven tips for organizing a creative club.

Micro Wind Turbines

Alethea’s craft club sewed these tote bags designed by Maribeth Pomerantz. Maribeth, crafter extraordinaire and blog author at lovelyworld.typepad.com, came prepared with a prototype of her bag design as well as complete written directions! Photograph by Maribeth Pomerantz.

A few years ago I started a club called “Craft Lab” — a group of people who gather every now and then to make something by hand together. One motivation for starting the group was to spend time being creative with like-minded people, since crafting for me is usually a solitary activity. The club lets me be social and crafty at the same time, without sacrificing one for the other. Another reason was to try new applied arts, pushing my creativity outside its comfort zone. And finally, the group gives me a forum for getting inspired by the work of other people. It’s thrilling to watch my friends’ artworks unfold.

If that sounds pretty darn fun to you, here are my tips for starting your own craft lab.

  1. Choose your focus. Our group has done everything from beer brewing and cheese making to sewing, block printing, beading, weaving, needle felting, fabric dying, and crocheting — which is to say we have no focus other than a desire to make things by hand and learn new skills. If your interest is really concentrated in knitting, maybe you want to start a knitting lab so that you can learn from and be inspired by one another in that single craft.
  2. Find your circle. I’m happy to meet new people and learn from a wide array of styles and personalities, but that’s a choice. My craft lab is open to anyone who wants to come, and I encourage members to invite anyone they like. I talked to friends, coworkers, and acquaintances about my idea and was surprised at how many people expressed an interest. People have busy schedules and aren’t always motivated by the topic of a particular lab, so with a circle of about 25 names, each lab usually has 5 to 10 people attending.
  3. Get organized. It’s easiest to have one member — maybe that’s you — who is the organizer and will communicate with the other members about upcoming events. Create a group of contacts in your e-mail program to make getting in touch easy.
  4. Find a host and a leader. Someone needs to host each gathering, and someone needs to lead each session, although the same person doesn’t need to do both, and you don’t have to have the same host or leader at each meeting. Lab leaders don’t need to be experts. They just need to have an interest and an idea that you all will explore together. Of course, if they are experts, that’s an added bonus!
  5. Work out the details. At a minimum, the organizer and the lab leader should agree on a date, time, place, and purpose for the lab. The leader should put together a materials list of whatever the members need to bring. Sometimes it’s easier and more cost-effective if the leader buys all the supplies, in which case you need to set a price for the people who plan to attend.
  6. Get the word out. E-mail your circle and let them know what’s being planned. Ask people to RSVP, especially if the leader is purchasing supplies.
  7. Enjoy yourself, and keep an open mind! Crafting shouldn’t be a competitive sport. Who cares if one person is better than another? What I love most about craft labs is that we are all doing the same activity, but we approach it in such different ways. One person works very tightly and meticulously, another is loose and spontaneous, and so on. Personalities emerge, talents are discovered, and perspectives are brought to light that you never would have seen if you didn’t spend a fun evening with these amazing people!

Alethea Morrison is the creative director at Storey Publishing and the author of Homegrown Honey Bees.

march madness

Craft Projects All Month

March is National Craft Month. To celebrate, we’ll be posting a new craft project each Tuesday and Thursday throughout the month. Join the fun! Like us on Facebook, follow the InsideStorey blog, or check in to InsideStorey on the dates below to get the projects as they go live.

Project Schedule

Memo Board from Sew Up a Home Makeover

Tuesday, March 5: Keep your crafting ideas organized on this great Memo Board from Sew Up a Home Makeover by Lexie Barnes.

Photograph © John Gruen

Formula One Racecar from Candy Construction

Thursday, March 7: Have some fun with the kids by creating candy racecars – make a candy track and take your car for a sweet ride! The Formula One Car is from Candy Construction by Sharon Bowers.

Photograph © Kevin Kennefick

Crochet Motif and Connection 62 by Edie Eckman

Tuesday, March 12: Two projects in one — Motif and Connection #62 from Connect the Shapes Crochet Motifs by Edie Eckman. Learn the motif, and then make a bunch and connect them to create a bigger project.

Photograph © John Polak

Cutting and Using Stamps

Thursday, March 14: Cutting and Using Stamps from Fabric Surface Design by Cheryl Rezendes.

Photograph © John Polak

Story Dice from Show Me a Story

Tuesday, March 19: Spark your children’s creativity and make storytelling fun with Story Dice from Show Me a Story by Emily K. Neuburger.

Photograph © Buff Strickland

Garden Apron from Sew & Stow

Tuesday, March 26: Get ready for your spring gardening with the Green Thumb Half-Apron from Sew & Stow by Betty Oppenheimer.

Photograph © Julie Toy

Picnic Lunch Mats from One-Yard Wonders

Thursday, March 28: Enjoy a springtime picnic with these Picnic-tastic Lunch Mats that hold a napkin and utensils from One-Yard Wonders by Rebecca Yaker and Patricia Hoskins.

Photograph © John Gruen

The projects will be posted on the InsideStorey blog on the dates indicated above.

Crafts on Our Blog

Alethea Morrison’s Craft Lab applies block-printing on fabric

Free Knitting Pattern for a wool-angora diagonal scarf

Gail Callahan gets you thinking about color

Gwen Steege reflects on knitters’ leaps of faith

Judith Durant encourages knitters to “bead up!

Kid’s Crafts: candy bejeweled eggs

A knitter tries her hand at weaving

Laura Bethmann prints with vegetables

Pam Art’s obsessive collection of wool is turned into a felted blanket

Sewing Makeover: Alee Marsh revamps lawn furniture

Sweater Remix: old sweaters become colorful home furnishings

Sew This: a fleece vest for a furry friend

Community

10 Great Crafting Communities

Craft together! Being part of a community helps you accomplish more than you can by working alone.

Crafting communities are growing every day. Consider joining one (or a few) to boost your inspiration and creativity. Here are ten of our favorites.

  • Craftcation Conference is an independent business & DIY workshop conference. It’s a retreat to inspire and stregthen the independent craft business community.
  • Craftsy is dedicated to providing solid education and resources for crafters. They have on-line courses in quilting, knitting and more!
  • Creative Bug offers workshops from top designers focusing on a specific project and all the necessary skills you’ll need to complete it from start to finish.
  • Crochet Guild of America. Cari Clement, president of the CGOA, tells us, “CGOA is home to all things crochet. Whether you’re a crochet newbie or an experienced crochet master, the CGOA is your home away from home. The only organization dedicated exclusively to crochet, CGOA is a meeting place for members who teach, learn, stitch, design – or just hang out and crochet. You’ll find camaraderie, a vibrant exchange of ideas and skills, and so much more, both online (crochet.org) and at bi-annual conferences.”
  • Etsy is more than a marketplace: it’s a big community of artists, creators, makers, collectors, and doers. Join a team, share ideas, attend an event in your area, join a streaming workshop, or watch an archived workshop.
  • IndieMade has a complete list of crafting organizations — it’s the place to go to find out where to go!
  • Kollabora is a community for makers — you’ll find plenty of DIY inspiration, learning, sharing, and supplies.
  • Madrona Fiber Arts was started by fiber enthusiasts who wanted to bring great teachers to the northwestern United States. We love the camaraderie, creative energy, and the sharing generated in their small, informal classes.
  • The Modern Quilt Guild supports and encourages the growth and development of modern quilting through art, education, and community.
  • Ravelry is a community site, an organizational tool, and a yarn and pattern database for knitters and crocheters.

Around the Web

Good News from All Over

Swap-O-Rama-Rama is a fun and crafty way to reuse and recycle clothing. Swap it, sew it, and show it off! Bring your unwanted clothing, exchange it for someone else’s, make modifications at the sewing stations, then show it off on the fashion runway. Your new DIY digs are yours to keep! Find a Swap-O-Rama-Rama near you or start your own.

Exercise Your Brain. Storytelling puts your whole brain to work by arousing the sensory cortex and the motor cortex as well as activating the insula cortex. The benefits of storytelling affect both the person telling the story and those listening to or reading it. Emily K. Neuburger’s book, Show Me a Story, is packed with fun projects and activities that encourage kids to tell their own imaginative stories — it’s gym class for the brain!

Modern Quilting. Quilting is back! Chic, bold, and inspiring — experimental sewists have redefined traditional quilting. This new twist on an old craft is on the rise and Modern Quilting Guilds are popping up everywhere! The Modern Crafting Guild of Austin, Texas, has craft blogs raving about QuiltCon 2013. “A first-of-it’s-kind . . . so. much. fun.” blogged Fresh Lemons Quilts.

Coming Up in April

Grow

Connect

We’re All Over Online

Scrolling Bonus!

Q: March is National Craft Month, but the month of March is also dedicated to the recognition of many other things. How many can you name?

A: March is Irish American Month, Music in Our Schools Month, National Frozen Food Month, National Irish American Heritage Month, National Nutrition Month, National Peanut Month, National Women's History Month, Red Cross Month, and Social Workers Month.

And almost every day of the month is a holiday! Here are a few favorites: March 3 - I Want You to Be Happy Day; March 6 - National Frozen Food Day; March 12 - Plant a Flower Day; March 15 - Incredible Kid Day; March 23 - National Chip and Dip Day; March 20 - Extraterrestrial Abductions Day; and March 29 - National Mom and Pop Business Owners Day. Get the full list of March holidays at holidayinsights.com.

Source: holidayinsights.com


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