Crafty Stories

I like to tell stories through the creative arts. I may be slightly obsessed with books, movies, TV shows, yarn and fiber. Wanna hang out?

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Information about me for Swap Spoilers

Hello, future swap spoiler! I thought it'd be handy if I posted a bunch of information about me all in one spot, so here you go!

This information might apply to Instagram or Ravelry swaps, I'll try to make it wide enough in scope to work for both.

Basic information - how to stalk me online:
- I'm blogging here right NOW, but I almost never do, so just really read this post and then ignore the rest of the blog (unless you're interested in seeing the yarn I used to dye).
- On Ravelry I'm StoriedYarns.
- I'm @StoriedYarns on Instagram
- I'm jessecreations on Pinterest
- I've got an Amazon wish list here.
And, that's pretty much it. I don't really spend any quality time on any other social media sites, so it's best to stalk me in one of those places.

Handmade Items I'd Like to Receive:
First of all, let me just say that I love handmade as a general rule, so go for it if you've got an idea that's not on this list! I'm just trying to give you some ideas so you have a ballpark if you're looking for one. Here are some handmade items I'd love to get:

  • Wallet - I keep meaning to make myself one and I never have gotten around to it. I like the longer/bigger style, with plenty of room for cards and a zipper pouch for coins, if possible.
  • Sewing machine cover - I've got a standard-issue Brother machine, and a cover for it is one of those other things I never get around to making.
  • Wall art - I have a home office/studio area where I love to display things that inspire me - embroidery, cross stitch, art prints, mini quilts, you name it.
  • Bags - I love bags and frequently switch them out. Totes, purses, zipper pouches, knitting project bags, whatever. My preference would be for a large-ish purse or tote size, or a clutch for more "fancy" times.
  • Shoes - I seriously love those customized Toms style shoes; doesn't matter to me if they're actual Toms or they came from Wal-Mart. I wear a US 8.5 ladies' shoe size.
  • Jewelry - I don't have pierced ears, so please avoid earrings, but necklaces and rings are all good. I tend not to wear a lot of bracelets, but I do like them. Anklets would also be cool for the warmer months.
  • Pottery - I love coffee mugs, and pretty much anything else pottery-related. Usable, decorative, whatever!
  • Smelly-good stuff - candles, soaps, lotion, lotion bars, lip balm, wax melts. 
  • Neck accessories - scarves, shawls, shawlettes.
My Preferences:
Here are some additional things about me that you might find helpful -
  • Scent/fragrance: I prefer "clean" scents, woodsy scents, spicy scents, and florals. Not a big fan of fruity or sugary sweet stuff.
  • Colors: Right now I'm loving grey and navy, plus coral, light lemony/butter yellow, mint. I have long been a fan of orange, purple, and teal. My wardrobe also consists of a lot of black.
  • Home decor: My house is an eclectic mix, so I don't have much of a theme. Living room is tan/brown, slate blue, mulberry, and I'm trying to incorporate some butter yellow in there. Ditto with dining room. Kitchen is burgundy, olive, mustard, and cream. My bedroom is cream, orange, burgundy and teal. In my home office, anything goes - I'm going with inspirational/rainbow/colorful in there. 
  • I drink both coffee and tea, though coffee is usually just once a day and tea might be more than that. I like black teas, with or without spices (like chai). Not a big fan of fruit in my tea.
  • I also love chocolate, any shade except for the super-dark stuff. I don't like raisins or fruit in my chocolate, but any of the following are okay: nuts, caramel, sea salt, pretzels, mint.
  • I don't collect things. I have a small shelf in my home office, but it's pretty well full, and so I prefer not to have a lot of stuff that just kind of sits around without a purpose.
  • Favorite types of yarn: fingering weight to worsted, wool or wool blends or other natural fibers. I prefer to steer clear of acrylic both for wearing and for knitting.
  • Fabric: I love fabric of pretty much any kind. If it's apparel fabric I'd like at least 2-yard cuts just so I can make something decent with it, but for quilting cotton anything from fat quarter on up is great, or a bundle/collection of precuts.
Things that Make me Go Geek (in no particular order):
  • Young adult literature
  • Board games, both played with other adults and with my kids/family
  • South Park
  • The Muppets
  • musicals
  • Supernatural
  • Sherlock
  • Downton Abbey
  • Other British period dramas (Call the Midwife, for instance)
  • The West Wing and pretty much anything else those actors do
  • Doctor Who
  • Firefly
  • Star Trek
  • fabric, especially if it's bookishly themed or goes with any of the above-named fandoms or just has a cool, graphic print to it
  • yarn
  • spinning fiber
Let's see ... what else?
My word for 2015 is Captain - I'm trying to incorporate that into my life. Being the Captain of my own ship, so to speak, taking control of my life and what happens in it, what I do with it. Being cool under pressure and acting, not just reacting. Realizing that I'm responsible for my own life & happiness, and it's a good thing to put on my Big Girl Pants and get stuff done. I've got a Pinterest board for it you can find in my account there.

I often self-identify as a Vulcan, and I really think I could dig living there and being part of a society like that. It's not that I don't have emotions, but I don't like being ruled by them, and I often have a hard time relating to other humans. I'm kinda like Spock, I guess - human heart, Vulcan soul? (Also I seriously <3 div="" especially="" in="" quinto="" role.="" spock="" that="" zachary="">

Crafts I enjoy, in no particular order: sewing, quilting, knitting, crocheting (sometimes), cross stitching (sometimes), spinning yarn.

I hope that helps!! Remember, whatever you make, I just really appreciate that you put together a swap package just for me!!!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Nerds Craft it Better - An Open Letter to my Swap Spoiler

I'm participating in the #NerdsCraftItBetter swap on Instagram right now, and I wanted to write a letter to the person who's sending me a package, to hopefully help with the inspiration side of things. So if you're not that person, you may as well just ignore this post. Rest assured, I'll go back to not-blogging right after this is done. :)

Dear Swap Spoiler,

First of all, THANK YOU! I'm so excited you're going to be making something for me, and I'm telling you right now that I will love it no matter what! I just thought I'd put together a post that would help you stalk me online and learn a little bit more about me, because I know that as I look at my own swap recipient's profile I'm feeling a little overwhelmed and not sure where to start!

So, first of all, you can find me online:

Instagram: @StoriedYarns
Pinterest: jessecreations
Ravelry: StoriedYarns
Etsy: StoriedYarns (Please note that a lot of the ITEMS in my favorites are mostly for other people or things I'd want to show my clients, but you'd be mostly safe in my favorite SHOPS.)

Anywhere else, I really don't spend any quality time and anything I post there wouldn't be too helpful for you, I'm thinking.

On Pinterest you'll see I have a TON of boards that I share with other pinners - those are work-related and you can mostly ignore them. The ones you'll really want to pay attention to are the ones for previous swaps I did, the one about colors I love, and the one called "This is me, geeking out."

I am a fan of so many things it'd be impossible to name them all! For examples you can actually see my former Etsy shop, where I dyed yarn inspired by characters from my favorite stories (books, movies, TV, etc.). In general, I love:
  • Star Trek (all variations, but particularly the newest reboot, TNG, DS9, Voyager). I self-identify the most with Spock (esp. Zachary Quinto's version) and I love the Vulcans in general. I also really dig Tuvok, the Vulcan who is ALL about the mind melding and is kinda spiritual and cool.
  • Doctor Who. I love the newest ones, not the classic episodes/doctors. I think my favorite doctor is Eleven, and Donna's my favorite companion. I also really love the Ponds and River Song. I don't have cable so I only catch up with the good Doctor when he's streaming on Netflix, etc. so I'm a season or so behind.
  • Supernatural. Again, I'm a little behind. I was caught up before last year's season came to Netflix, but now I'm re-watching it with my husband so I haven't seen season 8 yet. Everything before that is all good. I can't decide on a favorite Winchester but I heart Castiel in a big way, and also Crowley. 
  • Sherlock. LOVE him. I also love Mycroft, and the relationship between the brothers (especially the way their lips curl up on one side when they talk about "other children").
  • I used to be a high school English teacher (and before that, an English major). So I love classic literature and young adult literature pretty much equally. Also a big fan of The Dresden Files series.
  • The Muppets. I grew up on The Muppet Show, my favorite Christmas movie is A Muppet Christmas Carol, and Gonzo is my favorite Muppet. Also love other Henson creations like The Labyrinth and The Dark Crystal.
  • Downton Abbey. Violet is my favorite character. I watch a lot of other British period dramas, too - I think my favorite of those is Call the Midwife. 
  • Britcoms. I especially love Gavin & Stacey, the Catherine Tate Show, and The Miranda Show.
I tend to prefer slightly-more-subtle references. For instance, I won't wear a T-shirt with Daniel Radcliffe's face on it but I will wear one that says "Hogwarts Alumni" or something like that. 

Here are some general types of handmade things I would enjoy receiving - I'm trying to incorporate a variety because I'm not sure what crafts you're into, but in general I'm into HANDMADE as a concept so I will love whatever you make me!!

  • Wall art - I work from home so my home office is prime real estate for displaying my freak flag on the wall. Currently displayed in that space: pictures my kids have drawn, profane signs and postcards, motivational quotes, book page quotes/art from some of my favorite nerd-doms, a poster of Wednesday Addams, a papercraft TARDIS, some zombies an Internet friend made me, a needle felted owl another friend made me, and a Lego Hamlet minifigure (I'm super bummed I never got Shakespeare to join him). Art prints or small sewn/quilted pieces, embroidery, cross stitch, etc. all welcome here.
  • Bags - I love bags and purses. For an everyday purse I need something large enough to hold my wallet and keys plus a small makeup bag and a small knitting project bag. I also use larger tote style bags for other things, and I really like smaller messenger-style or cross body bags. I could SERIOUSLY use a new wallet, one with lots of card pockets and some sort of zipper compartment for coins. Knitting project bags or zipper pouches are also welcome.
  • Spiral-bound notebooks, journals, etc. I'm kind of a "paper nerd" and I also love fun pens.
  • Pottery - coffee mugs, bowls, containers for other things, yarn bowls, whatever. I love the stuff. I also love any other type of coffee mug, like if you wanted to decorate one for me.
  • Yarn! If you're a knitter then you might want to send me handspun yarn, hand dyed yarn, or maybe even just yarn from your stash for my extra item. I'm a fan of any wool or wool-blend yarns, fingering weight on up to bulky. I'm also a spinner so I'd also love wool/fiber. If you're not a knitter then don't worry about this one. :)
  • Wearables: I prefer girly-cut T-shirts or other clothing types of items (I'll list my sizes below). I also love jewelry, especially necklaces or rings. I do NOT have pierced ears and I only wear bracelets if they're super lightweight/delicate because I type all day so it's annoying to me to have something clunking against the keyboard. I love scarves, especially infinity style or square/kerchief style. 
  • Bath and body stuff - soaps, lotions, lip balms, salves, creams, or even candles. I love scented stuff, particularly spicy/woodsy or fresh. Not a fan of fruity.
  • If you're super gung-ho I'd love a quilt, but that's definitely not what I'd call "medium" so please don't worry about it.
  • I'd love to add another apron or two to my collection - preferably a more "full coverage" or full apron style, not a half-apron. I don't LOVE to cook but I do enjoy baking and I'm messy when I do it.
  • I love stuff with quotes on it, either inspirational quotes, funny quotes, or quotes from any of my favorite nerderies.
Other Stuff I enjoy:
  • Tea and Coffee. I usually drink one cup of coffee every morning, and then a cup of tea in the evenings. My favorite tea is Stash Chai, but I like other black teas (regular or with spices). Not a fan of fruity teas. 
  • Chocolate. I love everything from white to dark. I don't like fruit or raisins in my chocolate, but I like it plain or with caramel, peanut butter, peppermint, sea salt, almonds, peanuts, pecans, pretzels, etc. Not a fan of spicy stuff, bacon, weird fruits, etc. in my chocolate.
  • Lotions, lip balms, soaps, candles, wax melt cubes.
  • Nail polish. I'm in an ongoing battle with myself to permanently stop biting my nails, and nail polish helps with that. I prefer darker colors (purple, burgundy/black cherry, dark blues, greys, brown, black). If you've got a good topcoat recommendation I'd love to know about it, too! 
  • British crafty magazines, sewing magazines.
  • Notebooks and pens, mechanical pencils.
  • I might enjoy small-ish hair accessories like bobbi pins or hair elastics with stuff on them. Not a big fan of headbands or other hair stuff.
  • I've thought for a while it might be fun to have an ear cuff (especially since I don't have pierced ears) but I haven't ever tried one.
  • Fabric! I'm a sewer and a quilter, I love it all from apparel to quilting cottons.
My Sizes:
  • I wear a ladies' US 14 in most clothing. I've got a 40.5" bust if that helps. I tend to wear a L or XL in girly-fit t-shirts. I don't usually wear unisex style tees but if you send me one that's L or XL I can probably sew/tailor it to fit me better.
  • Shoe size is US 8.5; my foot is about 10" long. Normal width.
  • My wrist measures 6.5" around.
  • My ring finger is 5.4cm around and my middle finger is 6cm.
  • My head measures 23" but I don't usually wear hats (I'm forever on a quest to find one that fits me and looks good but so far no luck).

Ok, I hope that's all been helpful and not too overwhelming! Again, I will love WHATEVER you send, and I'm so happy to get to know you once the swap is over!!!


Saturday, April 5, 2014

Lumberjack Attack Quilt

I finished a quilt this week! This marks the third finished quilt for the year, so I guess I'm on a roll! I figure it's best to ride this wave of enthusiasm before it's gone.

Here's my finished quilt top - it measures somewhere in the 65x75-inch range, a perfect size for me to snuggle up on the couch or take it with me on a picnic.

At times like these, it's handy to have a husband who's 6'3", because he can hold up my quilts for me. :)

Anyway, for the quilt I made up my own pattern because I wanted something to highlight the main fabrics - four awesome Lumberjack Attack fat quarters from Joyful Roots (note: my set of FQs was a special introductory bundle, but the set in the link is pretty similar).

I cut each fat quarter into 5-inch squares and then framed them in coordinating semi-solids from JoAnn's. The background is a charcoal grey Kona cotton, and the back is an all-over orange print (with a strip of grey to make it big enough). I hand quilted it using a 10wt hand quilting thread for a simple, bold look.

I bound it in the same orange from the back. It's full of orangey goodness, and I love it!!

Up next ... a triangle quilt for my grandmother's 96th birthday. Stay tuned!

Friday, January 31, 2014

Fiber Friday: Getting Ready for Nerd Wars and Ravellenics!

Hello! I actually have fibery things to share on a Friday - imagine that!

First up, I finished the pair of socks I've been working on since before Christmas (they got pushed aside several times to work on gifts for other people):

The pattern is Fruit Stripe Gum Socks, which is fun and easy to follow (and also free!). You may be able to see, but the pattern calls for making a ribbed ankle portion of the sock to help it fit better, and also a slip stitch section just after the heel on the sole of the foot. I'm interested to see how these make a difference (if any) in the fit of these socks vs. any other pair I've made. I also used the Fish Lips Kiss heel for the first time. I enjoyed knitting it, so we'll see how it wears! The yarn is a custom Christmas colorway I had commissioned from Sunset Stitches - a festive but not too obviously "Christmas" combination of bright red, lime green, turquoise and pink. I love it! And I'm glad it isn't TOO Christmas or else I probably would have waited until next November to finish these socks!

I learned while making these socks, though, that I will NOT be doing top-down socks again for a while. I really just prefer toe-up, and there's not much reason for me to ignore that preference!

In other news, tomorrow is the start of Nerd Wars Tournament 10, and I'm on the High Council of Time Lords for Team TARDIS so I guess I'd better finish some projects, eh? (It sounds much more impressive than it actually is, I just help out here and there with mod duties on the team.)

I've got my yarns all ready to go for February's casting on - some of them will be started as soon as this weekend, for Nerd Wars and general knitted fun, while others will have to wait until next week (ack!) for the start of the 2014 Ravellenic Games. Here's the whole bundle:

From left to right I plan to knit: socks I'll be designing (in my Storied Yarns Sparkle Sock), the Shattered Stars shawl (in my Storied Yarns Superwash Sock), a funky and basic slouch hat (using my handspun) and the Slouchy Shortrow hat (using Bohoknitterchic's Superwash Merino DK in her Ravellenics colorway). The socks and handspun hat will get started this weekend while the others will wait for Opening Ceremonies (I plan to focus on the shawl first and then the hat after that).

What about you - are you preparing for your new projects to go with a new month? What will they be?

Monday, January 27, 2014

Meet my Colorway: Jordan Baker

Hello, friends and fangirls! I've got a new colorway to introduce to you today - Jordan Baker, from my Great Gatsby series!

In the book, we learn that Jordan is a professional golfer; she's a fairly liberated woman, especially compared to the others in the book, and she's got lots of style. Also, an air of mystery; after all, "she had begun dealing in subterfugest when she was very young."

For Jordan's character I wanted something feminine but not girly, bold and attention-getting. I pulled together bright blues and greens and anchored them with deeper tones of violet, teal, and black.

Here's the colorway on my Sparkle Sock base, perfect for a Flapper:

A yarn like this needs a pattern that's worthy of it, right? After all, Jordan Baker is famous and doesn't like to be ignored! Here are a few suggestions for you:

Of course, how could I resist an adorable hat with ruching that's actually called Gatsby's Girl
Image from Kalurah on Ravelry

\And as soon as I saw Glitz at the Ritz on Ravelry I knew it would be perfect for one of my Gatsby colorways. Jordan could ROCK a shawl like this!

Image from Helen Stewart on Ravelry

And of course, what evening ensemble would be complete without an elegant pair of long gloves or mitts? How about Lacy Mitts!

Image from Roko on Ravelry

The Jordan Baker skeins are available in the Storied Yarns Shop right now, along with several others that arrived in my Roaring 20s shop update last week. Remember, now that I'm having monthly themed updates, the colorways I add to the shop won't come back around for quite a long time. So grab 'em while you can!

Happy stitching, flapper-inspired fangirls!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Pardon my Fangirl Moment

If you'll pardon my moment of Fangirl Geek-Out, I've got a bit of a shop update preview for you, kinda. You know what? It's Monday, and my children are off for two more days from school even though they've already been home for two WEEKS, so you know, this is what happens. I hope you enjoy. ;)

Adventures in the Dye Pots: January Edition

So last week, I was dyeing up yarn for my January Storied Yarns update. The theme is "Roaring 20s," which has me all excited. When I finished my dyeing for the day, I started imagining a sort of fanfiction played out in yarn form. Indulge with me, won't you?

Wouldn't it be cool if ... the girls of Downton Abbey made a trip to America, and wound up hooking up hanging out with the boys of Boardwalk Empire?!? Maybe it would go a little something like this:

Mary would probably consider herself way too proper for any of it, so I imagine she'd stay mostly indoors, hanging out with Margaret or something.

"Ho hum, this is dull. It almost makes me miss my kid, that's how bored I am."
"Sigh, I know. I'm so glad I finally got rich enough to have a nanny for mine, but it is pretty boring when you decide you're too good for the gangsters around here."

Then the good stuff happens. Of course, Nucky has to have someone to cheat on his wife with, and who better than Aunt Rosamund? You know she's got a wild child inside her, right? She has to! 

                          "I heard you like rich guys."                                                           "You heard right."

And of course Edith, she needs to have a little fun. I'm tired of her always getting shafted. I want her to have a new partner - in life and in crime - and for this little foray into the world of fanfiction I'm resurrecting Jimmy. Right?!? I know. So awesome.

                                 "Hmm, this could be fun."                                                     "Eh, she'll do."

And finally, Owen. He's one of my favorites! Since he's not technically a full-on gangster or a leader in the show, let's pair him with one of my favorite Downstairs Downton ladies - Daisy. She's looking for direction in life, and he's got it. Plus, he's hot, and she deserves a hottie.

"I totally get that whole repressed-servant-class thing."                           "I'm totally freaked out right now!"

Anyway, thanks for hanging out with me and indulging in my dye pot fantasies! Maybe it's the dye fumes, but these are the things I think about when I'm working. Stay tuned for the January update, coming later this month and featuring several of the characters I've been waxing on about today! 

Friday, December 20, 2013

Sport Weight Pattern Suggestions

Howdy! Today I'm happy to introduce the newest base to the Storied Yarns lineup: Storied Yarns BFL Sport! It's a 100% Superwash BFL skein and it comes in at 100g and 278 yards for $25.

Here's a picture of this base, all dyed up and ready to ship in the shop, in my "Ron Weasley" colorway:

I've got a few pattern recommendations for this yarn, so sit back and get ready to browse!
First up, socks! Sport weight yarn is slightly thicker than traditional sock yarns, making it great for warm, thicker socks or for gift-sock knitting (because it goes faster, ha!). Here are a few great sock patterns for sport weight yarns:

Boot Socks - Find on Ravelry
Kalajoki - find it on Ravelry

If socks aren't your thing, 'tis the season for hats, to be sure! Here are some adorable hat patterns (I think that first one is especially fitting for the colorway that's in stock right now!):

Hermione Hearts Ron - on Ravelry

Mel Ski's Drizzle - on Ravelry
Simple - but lovely! - on Ravelry

I'm a sucker for fingerless mitts any time of the year, so here are some of my favorite mitt patterns that I think would work out really well in this yarn:

Siren Sleeves - on Ravelry

Fallberry Mitts - free on Ravelry

And last but not least, a few more patterns just for fun:

Elk Tooth Shawl - on Ravelry

Summer Days - on Ravelry

Well, that's it from me! Be sure you check out the shop - I've done the final update of 2013 so there are lovely new skeins in store for you:

Thanks so much for a fabulous year! I'll see you back here soon with previews of the first update of 2014!