“Finish one job before you start another!”

The unfailingly chipper Joe

The unfailingly chipper Joe. Who asked for his advice, anyway?

Every now and then, the admonition of the construction foreman from Tonka Construction, one of my son’s first computer games, starts playing in an endless loop in my head:*

“Finish one job before you start another!”

Sometimes I try to do too many things at once and end up feeling dissatisfied with everything; anxious about everything. This is one of those times. I’m at a lull in crochet design and bothered that I haven’t come up with my next big project. Meanwhile, I’ve been knitting socks, weaving scarves, and crocheting small squares for my latest Bandwagon Blanket — starting endless small projects — and feeling that everything is stale.

I’m not sure what the answer is. A good friend says I should just take it easy, and that I’ll get inspiration while doing something — anything — else. Read books! Bake Christmas cookies! Take walks in the wintry weather! Any and all of these things, according to my friend, will eventually help me get my mojo back.

My mojo could just be buried beneath a snow drift. It is that time of year.

I’m fighting the urge to just start new things for the sake of having something to do — and then failing to follow through. That’s generally my M.O. when I get cranky with life, but it usually just results in increased crabbiness. Instead, I’ll continue trying to take it easy, engaging in low-stress activities that make me feel good and, most importantly, finishing one job before I start another.

Or maybe I’ll just tell my inner foreman to shut up.

* Can you believe there’s even a wiki for Tonka fans?!

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Craftsy T-Shirt Challenge: The Participants


Six Craftsy instructors, including me, took up the challenge to transform a T-shirt or two into something else, using their crafty wiles. Of the six, I was the only one who kept the T-shirt as a T-shirt. The other five participants took things in a completely different direction.

Click the links below to read more about what they did. (I’ve also included [non-affiliate] links to their Craftsy classes. Notice that all but me are embroidery-quilting-sewing folks! I expected other crocheters and knitters to play with the challenge.)

Linda Bratten made a laptop case.


Linda teaches Exploring Natural Machine-Quilting Motifs.

Mimi Dietrich made a classy-looking flower with her T-shirt. (She had hoped to make an entire wreath, but life got in the way.)


She teaches two Craftsy classes, Finishing School: Edgings & Bindings and Hand Applique Made Easy.

Beth Ferrier also teaches two Craftsy classes, Machine-Finished Hand Applique and Oh My Stars! Six Pieced Blocks. Read here about her decision to make T-shirt yarn and crochet a market bag. (I wish I’d thought of it!)


Lee Chappell Monroe thought outside the (shoe) box and made T-Shirt Shoe Bags to protect packed shoes in her luggage.


Lee, also known as May Chappell, teaches Quilt Faster: Accurate, Streamlined Piecing.

Finally, Sue O’Very thought up her Upcycled T-Shirt Market Tote. For some reason, the planned slashes in her bag remind me of those in Elizabethan clothing.


Sue teaches a machine embroidery class, In the Hoop Gifts.

Which of these pieces are you drawn to? Or would you make something completely different with a surplus T-shirt?

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Slaying Crafty Dragons

The Craftsy T-shirt, she is finished, and soon I’ll find out how it compared to shirts transformed by instructors in other crafts — sewing, quilting, and the like. The only loosy-goosy rule was to take the shirt and play with it, using the craft you teach on Craftsy. I’m eager to see what other folks did. (That might be fodder for a future blog post.)

The first thing I did before attaching the flowers to my shirt was to complete the large bloom given me by my sister-in-law Candace. She said that the pattern had come from Lucy at Attic24, so I googled to discover that it was the beginnings of the Happy Flower.


Lucky for me, I have a whole Ikea bin dedicated to dishcloth cotton!


I used Lucy’s easy-to-follow instructions and quickly completed the flower. (It is so very happy!)


And, after a quick blocking, the entire Happy Flower, stem, leaves, and all, was ready for the T-shirt.

I think you’ll agree that it’s the star of the show.


I scattered the rest of the flowers willy-nilly across the front of the shirt, trying to make sure that the colors were evenly distributed.

B.A.’s orange flowers augment the new Craftsy logo.


Amy G’s button flowers were also a great addition. (One appears on the lower right of the picture above.)

And here it is: My shirt, in all its dubious glory.


I attached the flowers using craft glue. My big discovery is that craft glue is prone to seepage: the front and back of my T-shirt got stuck together, and I  had to very gingerly ease them back apart before hanging the shirt up.


And there you have it: One dragon slain. Thanks to all who contributed flowers and suggestions to this project.

Another dragon I’m getting ready to battle is the sewing machine. I had a miserable experience in a junior high home ec class featuring an apron and some very crooked seams. (I got a generous B- on it.) I was scared of the machine, and intimidated by the whole process, and hadn’t touched a machine since. Until last week.

I’ve decided that this is the winter I’ll get over my irrational fear of sewing. I’ve picked up an inexpensive machine at a local shop and will be taking some lessons there and elsewhere. I’m not really sure what I want to do with it, apart from mending, hemming, and perhaps sewing together strips for a rag rug that I’ve always wanted to make. The main goal is to get over myself, already.

I’ve also signed up for this Craftsy class to guide me through the process of using a sewing pattern. Pajama pants! What could go wrong?

There’s a third dragon, too — an omnipresent dragon. His name is Purr. Whenever and wherever I settle myself to knit or crochet, there be Purry. (Picture taken just this morning.)


This is one dragon, though, that I don’t wish to slay. (The pattern is Grille by Anne Hanson. I love her clear writing style and straightforward designs!)

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Happy Flower

My sister-in-law Candace sent along the beginnings of her Attic24 “Happy Flower” to be included on my Craftsy Instructor Challenge T-Shirt:


I just love the cheerful leaves! They are, indeed, happy making.

I’m really looking forward to Crochet Club on Thursday at Shall We Knit?, where we’ll make a few more flowers and plan the placement of the flowers on the T-shirt. If you’re local to Kitchener-Waterloo, why don’t you come by and play along? Details are here.

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Fall Flowers

We’ve had a lovely fall here — I don’t know that our maple tree has ever been more gorgeous. (Usually, our poor Norway Maple gets black spot, and its leaves fall before achieving true autumnal colors.)

Inside, I’ve been getting ready for the Craftsy Instructor Challenge. (If you need to get up to speed, just see this post.) Packages have come across the border from Heidi …


and from Patty …


… and local folks have promised some blossoms for my T-shirt, too. I can’t wait to see what they leave me at the shop!

I also got the shirt in the mail from Craftsy!


Fortunately for me, it’s a mere X-Large, rather than the 4XL promised.


I’ve “unvented” a simple edging that I’m learning to sew neatly onto the shirt.


I’m using Madelinetosh “Tosh Sock” left over from the cowl I made as a sample for my Craftsy class, Fun & Fantastic Textured Crochet Stitches.


I think I have enough to edge both sleeves and the hem.

The deadline for my receiving flowers for the T-shirt is Friday, November 18. I’ll do my best to use everything I’m given on the shirt. I can’t promise it’ll be beautiful, but it’ll certainly be … interesting!

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