I just discovered CreativeBug.com. It’s basically a website dedicated to online videos for Knitting, Crochet, Sewing, and other crafts. From short how-to videos and projects to full craft classes and workshops. But it’s also kind of an online school for knitting and crochet. I love the idea!
What makes Creative Bug unique is that a project is taught entirely through video. Also, you will recognize many famous knitters and crocheters in these videos. Many of whom you may be a fan of already ! They are taught by expert instructors many of whom are well-known designers and crafters with decades of experience. And all in a very easy to follow and enjoyable way.
Each class, workshop, or project features a series of step-by-step videos. The first one I checked out was Norah Gaughan’s Knit Cabled Hat. Loved the way the project was broken up into different smaller videos for each step. The videos looked wonderful and I really enjoyed hearing about Norah’s love of cables too.
It sure beats you-tubing for random how-to videos!
How It Works
CreativeBug.com is not free. However, the monthly subscription is $4.95 and can be cancelled at any time. This subscription gives you unlimited access to videos each month. That’s not bad! Even if I signed up for a month just to take one class, it is well worth it! Also, a very affordable way to take classes for people who’d like to try out Knitting for the first time or people on a budget! There is a free section too that includes classes like How To Thread A Serger and other basic fun stuff.
Check it out! There is a 2-week trial available for new members too.
Hunting down just the right fabric, sewing machine, knitting needle, and even yarn is part of our wonderful hobby! There are so many places to search for these things from your local yarn shop, nation-wide craft stores, to online shops and websites. One unlikely place hobbyists may not think to look in is AMAZON.COM!
I have purchased many hard to find items that I was surprised Amazon carried, like this Pendant Yarn Cutter by Clover. They happen to carry many Clover items (heart them for sewing and knitting/crochet tools)! Along with OLFA rotary cutters, Gingher fabric sheers and much more! And for decent prices too.
They have an Arts, Crafts, and Sewing section! I especially like to find sewing supplies on here because they tend to have a large selection and for decent prices! But they carry anything from markers, colored pencils, drawing desks, and drawing pads to fabric markers, rotary cutters, and cutting mats! Stitch markers, crochet hooks, and even yarn and fabric. Ott-Lite crafting lamps, Dress Forms… And everything for your home crafting studio! Including Sewing Machines and Sergers!
Doing Your Shopping Online
I’m a big online shopper/browser for my fiber crafting needs. While looking for things like fabric and yarn are best done in person, shopping for machines, tools, notions, etc online can be a very efficient way of finding the perfect tool and for the best price. While there are so many wonderful sites out there, here are a few places to start:
Larger Knitting and Quilting Specialty Stores online like Fabric.com and Yarn.com.
Small Indie Yarn Shops Online like found on Etsy
Nation-Wide Craft Stores like Joann, Michaels, or Hobby Lobby
Big Box Stores like Target, Walmart, and Costco.
Are you a New Yorker? For more on where to buy Sewing, Knitting, or Crochet items in NYC, please check out my posts here in the Where To Buy section.
FABRIC OF THE DAY: Dog Fabrics! Dog-themed fabrics for the dog lover in all of us.
Timeless Treasures Dog Portraits Black
by Timeless Treasures $9.48 per yard
Sweetie Pie Snowmen Scottie Dog Toss Blue
by Wilmington Prints, Stella Jean $9.48 per yard
Dog Silhouettes Hunter Green
by Elizabeth’s Studio $9.48 per yard
Pugs Day Off Multi
by Michael Miller $9.48 per yard
Wild Wings Best in Breed Scenic Brown
by Springs Creative Products $7.98 per yard
Time with Friends Dogs & Cats Blue
by RJR Fashion Fabrics $9.48 per yard
Here’s a random list of handmade marketplaces online I’ve been compiling for awhile. Perhaps they will provide artisans some options and/or give shoppers more places to shop!
Bonanza (1000 Markets) http://www.bonanza.com/
Uncommon Goods http://www.uncommongoods.com/
Goodsmiths (Craft.ly) https://www.goodsmiths.com/
Lily Shop http://www.lilyshop.com/
Silk Fair http://www.silkfair.com/
Made It Myself http://www.madeitmyself.com/
Shop Handmade http://www.shophandmade.com/
Not Mass Produced http://www.notmassproduced.com/
Indie Public http://www.indiepublic.com/
Craft Juice http://www.craftjuice.com/
Ravelry (Patterns Only) https://www.ravelry.com/
Big Cartel http://directory.bigcartel.com/#handmade
Blue Caravan Australia http://www.bluecaravan.net/
Made It Australia http://www.madeit.com.au/
Indie Australia http://www.indie.com.au/
Artis & Grove Australia http://www.artisandgrove.com/
Felt New Zealand http://felt.co.nz/
Toggle New Zealand http://www.toggle.co.nz/
Paper N Stitch http://papernstitch.com/
Poppy Talk http://www.poppytalkhandmade.com/
Firefly Handmade http://fireflyhandmade.com/
Fabric of the Day: Hawaiian Print Fabrics
My mom and brother just got back from a fabulous Hawaii trip! They picked out the fabrics themselves and brought it all the way back to NY. The fabric was purchased at what they describe as a “huge fabric warehouse filled with giant spools of fabric” in Maui. I believe it’s this place:
Fabric Mart Maui
55 E Kaahumanu Ave Ste D
Kahului, HI 96732
❤ Thanks Mom and De!
What do you look for in a Sewing Machine?
Especially your very first adult sewing machine? Style? Cost? Features? I struggled with my first machine because I didn’t want to invest too much as a beginner. I just needed something to tinker with… Taking sewing classes to start is smart because you can learn and try out machines at the same time. But what about when you’re ready to buy?
I didn’t want to spend too much yet I still wanted the best machine I could find for my purpose. Basic yet versatile, so I could easily try whatever type of sewing struck my interest. Well-built so I could sew comfortably and for many projects to come. And lastly, something I wouldn’t outgrow too fast.
How much would that cost? What options were available? What’s a good value for the price? There’s lots of options, it’s hard to know where to begin. So here’s what I found during my research. Whatever your budget or purpose, hopefully this list will help you research and find just the right one. It’s a comprehensive list of home sewing machine manufacturers and the factors I used to narrow down options. You can get a decent well-built machine ranging from $70 – $160!
Sewing Machine Brands in Other Countries
Elna, Switzerland Website
Baby Lock, Juki, Japan Website
Consew, USA Website
Feiyue, China Website
John Lewis, UK Website
Kenmore, USA Website
Necchi, Italy Website
Usha, India Website
Yamata, China Website
Toyota, Japan Website
Merry Lock, Taiwan Website
Michley Tivax, USA Website
Sewing Machine Brands in North America
Singer, USA Website
Janome, Japan Website
Brother, Japan Website
Bernina, Switzerland Website
Husqvarna Viking, Sweden Website
Pfaff, Germany Website
Juki, Japan Website
Ikea, Sweden Website
$200 or below. Entry-level beginner machines usually range from $100- $499. To be honest, I wanted to see if I could get away with a kids’ hobby sewing machine for $100 or less but I found a vintage machine for $25 and went with that to start instead.
Under $100 can get your kid a great first sewing machine or budding home sewer their very own machine to experiment on. Affordable enough to take the plunge, plus it’s cute! It can even get the savvy crafter a very functional sewing machine that will serve them well.
Under $200 is generous enough to cover crafties like myself who need a solid basic they can rely on and grow with who doesn’t want to invest in the holy grail of sewing machines yet until they find what kind of sewing they’d like to focus on most!
$499 can buy a machine that can handle the seriously savvy or creatively crafty mom who not only sews for their pleasure but can double as a tailor, halloween costume maker, throw pillow/curtain/tablecloth maker and casual accessories designer/etsy shop owner on the side.
It’s a strict budget but it’s realistic. It can buy a trusty sewing machine that can both perform all the essentials and grow with you at the same time. Great for the dabbler, great for the serious kid learner, crafty mom, or for an adult learner like me who wants to gradually try it all.
❤ Features & Options
Straight Stitch, Back Stitch, and Zig Zag Stitch are all I needed. They are also the 3 most basic and most essential stitches needed for all beginning to intermediate sewers. Every modern sewing machine comes standard with these stitches.
Removable Sewing Bed. Hemming pant legs or sewing cuffs? Working with sleeves or skirts? Anything tubular where you will have to sew around the edge of a ring is difficult without this feature. The base of the sewing machine will pop out revealing an arm-type base. You should be able to slip a sleeve or pant leg on there and sew it around. Not all modern sewing machines come with this feature.
Foot Pedal Operated. Every modern sewing machine comes standard with foot pedal operation. Vintage machines do not though. They can come with anything from a knee pedal to a hand crank.
Sewing Feet and Bobbin Winders. Like detachable feet for Zipper or Button-hole makers, and Bobbin Winders. Bobbin Winders and Zipper Feet usually come standard with modern machines.
Reliable Stitch Length/Tension Control. Adjustable Tension Control is also standard among all sewing machines. Being able to control how tight your stitches are is handy for basting and working with different textiles. A machine that can do this reliably and accurately is important and not all machines can promise this.
Durability. How long the machine will last, if the feed dogs can reliably feed different textiles through, and how accurate the stitches are are what make a sewing machine reliable and durable to me. Perhaps if it can sustain long periods of accurate sewing at its maximum speed is also a factor.
Above is the winning picture for the National Geographic Traveler – 2012 Photo Contest by Cedric Houin. This captivating photo first drew me in by its strong sense of place. A snap in a moment of time, present day, yet so far away as to seem ancient. Then I noticed the remarkable textiles and cultural garb and then the antique sewing machine. And then best of all – she’s sewing!!! A fellow modern day sewer worlds away in a completely different context yet not so different. Novel!
This image was shot in the Kyrgyz lands of the Wakhan Corridor. The intimacy of this everyday life moment, shot inside of a family yurt, is in total contrast with the harsh environment these nomadic tribes live in. On the right we notice a television and a sound console. These tribes live weeks away from any village by foot. In spite of being located at an altitude of 4,300 meters in one of the most remote areas of Afghanistan they are equipped with solar panels, satellite dishes and cellphones. Ancestral ways of living, with touches of modernity. –Photo and Caption by Cedric Houin
National Geographic contributing photographer Alexandra Avakian, one of this year’s judges, shares her thoughts on the first place winner:
I’ve slept in the guest yurt of Kyrgyz nomads in remote mountains while on assignment for Elle magazine; the location is hard to reach and off the beaten path for most travelers, and therefore of educational as well as aesthetic value.
This year the National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest had over 12,000 entries of daily life from 152 countries and the photos are always breathtakingly stunning. From a moment in time at the ends of the earth to extraordinary landscapes, the transportive images are unforgettable. Winners receive awards from trips to prize money and of course get to share a slice of their beautiful culture, land, or just a snapshot of their travels. National Geographic also provides these awesomely beautiful photos in high-resolution wallpapers for your desktop, iphone, or ipad!
Look at these wall to wall gorgeous quilts by Thimble Blossoms!!! ❤ ❤ ❤
I love the designs, textures, color schemes… And especially the unique modern vintage style of each. It’s quaint and nostalgic but fresh and contemporary. Borderline hipstery, folk hipstery!
And very “decoratable”! The designs are unique yet versatile enough to fit a variety of home decorating and interior styles! Hooray!
Left: Quilts shown Flower Girl, Spool, Dilly Dally, Hopscotch at the Thimble Blossoms booth, Quilt Market 2012.
Thimble Blossoms is designed by Camille Roskelley who is a 5th generation quilter. I discovered her mom’s a quilt designer too and I can see where Thimble Blossoms got their design chops! I also love her fabric range that she designs with her mother, Bonnie, for Moda! (Love Moda!) Here are just a few of my fave quilt patterns from both Thimble Blossoms and Cotton Way, Camille’s mom’s pattern designs.
Swoon, Dilly Dally, & Hopscotch
Quilt Pattern Designs by Camille Roskelley
All patterns $7.95
Sweet Pea, Peppermint Pizzaz, & Sherbet Stars
Quilt Pattern Designs by Bonnie Olaveson
All patterns $9.00
Camille also has a cute quilt pattern book out! I checked it out on Amazon and it has a lot of quilting basics and tips and tricks for quilting! It includes patterns for quilts and pillows and according to the reviews is great for beginner quilters! It uses pre-cut fabric packs like jelly rolls etc which takes a lot of the cutting out from the quilting process.
Where To Buy
Thimble Blossoms Shop http://thimbleblossoms.bigcartel.com/
Cotton Way Shop http://www.cottonway.com/zencart/
Bonnie & Camille’s Fabric @ Fat Quarter Shop http://www.fatquartershop.com/
Book by Camille Roskelley on Amazon Simplify: Quilts for the Modern Home
Robots in Times Square also sold on Etsy from Regretsy.com
When Etsy first hit the scene circa 2005 or so, I remember where I was, what I was doing, and who I was talking to about it. Melodramatic, yes, but it was a big deal for me back then (as a tech professional, indie shopper, and crafter) and quite the nifty concept. An online market with a focus on handmade, quality handmades. What set it apart for me was that it not only gave everyone access to local handmades but it in turn gave handicrafts and handmades a better reputation. It wasn’t that long ago that the majority of handmades had a bad connotation for being shoddy and unskilled. You’d have to wade through so much bad to get to one decent, it just wasn’t worth it. It used to be only those in the creative or artist communities knew where to look for and how to spot the truly exquisite things.
To put it ironically, Etsy brought handmades to the mass market! It blew up into what it is today, a widely popular online shop where independent crafters can easily sell their wares. Simply register and start posting up your stuff. Fees, if any, were nominal. No need to set up shopping carts or payment systems. Or know much about webpages and websites. It was easy and accessible. It was a DIY business for DIY crafts that gave you access to a wide global audience.
For shoppers, it was a hub to find wonderful new artists and their fresh wares connecting an average shopper to an artisanal community they may not have found if not for Etsy. It brought say Brooklyn local to the web. You no longer had to live or shop in Brooklyn to get a taste of the wares it had to offer. It gave shoppers from all over the world the opportunity to shop similar experiences and at much more affordable prices too since the cost of setting up shop was low.
It grew so popular that Etsy Labs, a subsequent Etsy Craft School of sorts, and its collab with 3rd Ward emerged and echoed its dedication towards handmades. Etsy brought the handmade market to the forefront on the internet for many crafters and helped ring in a new era for handmades and DIY.
So, what happened?
These days Etsy is far from strictly handmades and independent artisans. It’s overrun with resellers who claim their item is handmade when it blatantly does not look handmade and can be bought in bulk from wholesaler websites! Or is ripped off from another website and passed off as their own work. It’s now a free for all marketplace not much different than Ebay. Except worse. It runs under the guise of being a handmade marketplace. Whereas Ebay makes no secret that it’s an open free for all marketplace period.
Even worse, Etsy censors comments and feedback that “call out” a shop owner who tries to pass off someone else’s work as their own personal work! That shop remains up and running, passing off those same goods, while the commentor is either banned or kicked off.
Someone’s pulling the old “switcheroo” as they say.
Etsy not only claims to be a handmades-only marketplace but a patron of sorts for the handmade arts. Yet we see examples like the above. To me as a consumer, it’s all misleading. Kind of like someone trying to pass off gold-plated for solid gold.
To artisan crafters and shop owners, it under cuts their sales and bottom line. Who can compete with mass-made items being sold for a fraction of the cost? I, as a consumer, may think why pay more for that handmade when this handmade is cheaper? It’s also sleazy to pose as an artisan when you are clearly not.
In the end, it’s just plain wrong for a shop/owner to make false claims whether it be about it being handcrafted or eco-friendly. And it’s doubly wrong for Etsy to allow it especially if they are well aware of it. And let’s face it, if there’s nothing genuine about the handmades themselves or the marketplace that features them, then where is the value in that? (more…)
Every single quilt pattern below is FREE from Art Gallery Fabrics. And is just a few of many other free quilt patterns they have. The skill level varies greatly but the patterns aren’t really marked. So if you’re a beginner quilter, try gauging how difficult a pattern is by looking at the intricacy of the pattern. Does it contain a lot of complex shapes? How many different shape variations are contained in the one quilt? Some easy ones are “Dream of a Garden” and “Posh Flowers”.