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I recently realized that I hadn’t written a post about crafts in quite some time. I never shared the glow-in-the-dark cross stitch I designed and made for my brother-in-law, which, even if I didn’t make anything else, would still be worth a post. And that was over a year ago. So. Here we go.

Pixel Art

Here is a gnome I cross-stitched, mostly following a pattern I found on Etsy (though I took a few liberties with it). It was a wedding present for one of my best friends from college, Jon, and his wife Cassandra.

The finished, framed gnome in all its glory The back of the gnome (because this is how cross-stitchers brag)

And this is the glow-in-the-dark cross stitch I gave my brother-in-law. I might make the pattern, or maybe even kits, available on Etsy. That glow floss is really annoying to work with, but I was so pleased with how it turned out; it was worth it. The glow photo isn’t super dramatic, but I blame the camera: it totally looks cool in person.

To read it out loud, you’d say “There’s no place like home.” Because, in IPv6, the address that refers to “home,” or “the computer I’m on right now,” is “::1.” In IPv4 it was No, I don’t ever get tired of that joke.

A finished and framed cross stitch that says "There's no place like ::1" with 1s and 0s acting as a decorative border A cross-stitch that says "There's no place like ::1" with 1s and 0s acting as a border Glowing text that says "There's no place like ::1" The back of the piece, because, again, that's how cross-stitchers brag

And this one wasn’t all me—not by a long shot. A friend came up with the idea (based heavily on Legend of Zelda), and then another friend (who is now married to the first friend!) and I put it together. I think it sits in their fireplace now. 💜

What looks like an 8-bit image of a fire, made with red and yellow squares on a black background


Obviously, I made a pussy hat, for the Women’s March on Washington. I used this pattern, which was easy to follow. I really like her foundation stitch and will probably incorporate that for future projects, too. I’d have used a brighter color of pink, but Amazon and my local Michaels were both mostly out of pink yarn. 😁

(I didn’t make the brim that her pattern suggested, because I thought I might try to get a second hat out of the yarn I had on hand. I might go back and do that, because the hat is getting loose. Also, yeah, I censored that one button for the picture, just in case. I mean, I don’t wear this hat to interviews, but this blog is linked on my resume, you know?)

A pink hat with cat ears and a bunch of activist buttons on it

Work continues on my crochet blanket. I now have a weekly knit/crochet group, so I will hopefully make progress more quickly. If you dig the look of this stitch, you too can make a blanket (seriously, this one is nice and easy) with this pattern!

Part of a blanket, crocheted, in purple, blue-green, and green jewel tones

Birds (mixed media)

I started 2016 with a plan to draw an owl every day, but we had company for a week and also ended up moving at the beginning of the year, and … look, I didn’t get that far. I’m pretty happy with some of the owls I drew, though, and I’d like to aim for something more reasonable, like “an owl a week.” Maybe, with practice, I could become pretty good at drawing!

A simplified owl drawing with swirly eyes and the word "HAIL!" A little felt owl with button eyes below a drawing of same A hand drawing of a barn owl A hand drawing of a great horned owl

Dale got me a set of LEGO birds, which I put together as soon as we got settled in the place we live now. I’m not sure why I don’t have photos of all three of them handy, but the blue jay is arguably the coolest one, anyway.

An eastern blue jay made out of LEGOs


I got into paracord, a bit, in 2016. I made several bracelets (one pictured below) and a belt (partially pictured, with a stitch marker left over from my hat). The belt stretched a lot when I wore it, so I need to pull it apart and take off a few inches.

I found some glow-in-the-dark paracord, so obviously I need to pick up a few more buckles and make some bracelets with it. Obviously.

A bracelet made out of brightly colored paracord, with a purple buckle Some woven paracord with a pink piece of yarn tied to it


A new craft that I’ve just gotten into recently is chainmail. I like it because there is not any kind of annoying “setup” or “finishing” step, unlike cross-stitch or crochet, and the only tools I need are two sets of pliers, plastic dip, and ideally some kind of fabric or non-slip mat to put my rings on. I’ve successfully made a helm weave bracelet in three colors (it’s the silver, gold, and copper one in the photo) and a rainbow Byzantine weave bracelet. I made the latter out of a kit I bought at Weave Got Maille; I kid you not, that is their real name.

A blue piece of fabric with pliers, three bracelets, and some small hand-made chains on it

I also made a box chain bracelet, which at first I didn’t like, but it grew on me; that’s the blue-green and purple squarish one in the photo. It’s good that I enjoy it: I could probably make a pretty penny at local craft fairs if I made a bunch of box chain bracelets in black and gold.

I’m working on mastering European 4-in-1 weave, which isn’t coming as easily as the others did; you can see a small piece of it off to the right in the photo below, beside a couple of links of Byzantine made from rings that are clearly too large.

The top right chain is my attempt to use up the stainless steel rings I bought—stainless steel is significantly harder to work with than copper or silver-filled rings—and to create a bird-safe necklace to wear around the house. (My tiny dinosaurs have destroyed quite a few normal-size necklace chains in our time together. This chain will stand up to their beaks, and stainless steel is safe for them to bite on.)

I am learning mostly from a book, but an online tutorial helped a lot with the Byzantine weave; maybe I should see what online tutorials can teach me about other weaves before I give myself any more headaches. 😉

Future projects

I’m very excited to announce that I was accepted into the Wild Cherry Herbal Studies Program, so I will have the chance to learn how to grow, forage for, harvest, prepare, and use herbs. I’ll spend one weekend a month, from April through November, in this herbal studies class—sometimes in a classroom, sometimes in the woods, and sometimes on a farm. There will be some homework between classes, as well. I can’t wait until the book list is announced!

Anyway, you might see me posting more about that kind of thing—and, me being me, I’ll share scientific studies about medicinal herbs when they exist.

Also, this is more of a current project than a future one, but I’m volunteering with Prototype, the new feminist makerspace in Pittsburgh. (That’s actually where my knit/crochet club meets, too.) I really like the founders, and I’ve already taken a great workshop there, where I learned to use a sewing machine. Plus, I met some really nice cosplayers/boffer LARPers, and I’m hoping I can talk them into running some classes on armor fabrication.

While I mostly crochet, make chainmail, and do work on my computer when I’m at Prototype, right now, I hope that before too much time passes I’ll be writing posts about the cool 3D printed and laser etched and machined and built-from-wood and quilted projects that I will have worked on, as well. (Yes, I generally get lumped in with the librarians who are into e-everything and makerspaces in libraries and all that, but I’ve never actually 3D printed anything, myself.)

Also, we’re moving again (our property management company is selling the house we’re renting), so if it’s another year before I make a craft post, well, ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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