March 2011

Is Wool Inhumane?

I recently read an article where Clara Parkes talked about the concept of humane wool, mulesing, and more. This is a complicated issue, and I can certainly emphasize with vegan knitters who restrict themselves to non-animal fibers for ethical reasons.

Mulesing is a hot topic in the fashion and animal welfare world these days. I felt like Parkes gave a softball answer to the question "what is mulesing?" For one thing, she doesn't actually answer the question. I think in order to really grapple with this issue, we need to be honest about the facts.

Mulesing is, to quote Wikipedia, "the removal of strips of wool-bearing skin from around the breech (buttocks) of a sheep." You read that correctly: they skin the sheep alive. (Not the whole sheep, obviously - just the butt.)

Cricut Imagine Versus Cricut Expression

I have never owned a Cricut product.  I am looking at purchasing either the Cricut Imagine or the Cricut Expression.  I would like to have a machine so that we can make homemade cards.  I thought we would all enjoy making homemae cards instead of spending a fortune on buying them.  I am really not sure which one to buy.  I do know they will be coming out with the Expression 2 in April.  I've researched both machines and know the pros and cons of each.  However, I still can't make a decision.  I didn't know if any of you had any thoughts that might just help me.  Thanks.

Surviving Stranded Knitting: A Primer

I am deep in the throes of a ridiculously over-complicated project. This is a hat which uses stranded knitting colorwork (what you might call Fair Isle knitting, although it isn't really) to make a Chullo-style hat with earflaps and a repeating motif of polar bears. Super cute! And also, not the easiest thing in the world to knit.

Your first step to surviving a stranded knitting project is to remember to breathe. Take your time. Don't rush it, don't stress it. Have a glass of wine. Relax! Take a few minutes to untangle the yarn strands when they get tangled up, as they surely will.

Remember, it's just knitting. You do this for fun!

March is National Craft Month

In our house, we don’t normally need an excuse to do crafts. In fact, if we did, we’d simply declare each day its own holiday—“Today is gold star day!”—and then create a theme from there. But since March IS National Craft Month, why not make every day an excuse to do crafts? But since the month is already half through, we have to get a move on it! Here are some ideas to make every day this month YOUR National Craft Month.

Do Micro-Movement Crafts: If you’re a fan of the author SARK, you may already be familiar with micro-movements, which are miniature movements to get you started on your project. A micro-movement might be, for example, setting your pen by your journal, or a roll of yarn and needle by your chair. Try doing a micro-movement craft project every day for the rest of March.

Be a Kid Again: If doing “grown-up” crafts sounds too intimidating, do some kiddie crafts instead—such as paint by numbers, paper dolls or chains, tracing your hands and making little puppets or turkeys, or whatever you like. If nothing else, at least get down on the floor and draw a little!

Do Some Grown-Up Crafting: Try something you’ve never done before, such as needlepoint, sculpting, watercolor, felting, crocheting, or anything that sparks your interest. Get an instructional DVD (many video stores carry these for free; Netflix also has some) or take a full class at your local community college. You can also often find classes at local craft supply stores, where you can get your supplies at, too. Just ask around and the clerks will be able to help you.