This blog post originally appeared as the content for my January 2018 newsletter.
In the Shop
Earlier in December, serged cuts of monk’s cloth (loose weave) were listed in my Etsy shop. Serged cuts and yardage of primitive linen will be available in January. Cuts can be used on a gripper strip frame, stretched and stapled on a frame, or in a hoop. Subscribers can use the code PRIM20 for 20% off your order of primitive linen during January.
The 99% Invisible podcast put out a series called Articles of Interest. Each episode investigates an aspect of fashion, its history, and effect on society. Subjects include children’s clothing, pockets, and blue jeans, among others. Highly recommend.
One of my IG friends and fellow punch needle artist has started a podcast called Maker’s Chat. Andie, of Myra and Jean, is one of the most talented and kindest people around. I admire her curiousity and how, when she decides to do something, she just does it. I can’t wait to see where she takes her podcast.
Another must-listen is the episode of Collage Creative with Rose Pearlman. Many lovers of the craft, discovered punch needle through Rose. Host Amy Small (the woman behind the dreamy Knit Collage fibers) talks to Rose about her upbringing in an art camp (what a dream!) and how she found her way to rughooking.
This past holiday season, my go-to dish for gatherings was pimento (or pimiento) cheese spread. It is super easy to make. All measurements are approximate. You can add or substract anything to taste.
PIMENTO CHEESE SPREAD
1 cup shredded mild white cheddar
1 cup shredded sharp yellow cheddar
1 cup mayo (preferably Duke’s but any will do)
1 small jar diced pimientos, drained
Salt, pepper, other seasonings to taste (I like a bit of Trader Joe’s chili and lime seasoning)
Serve with white toast points or ritz crackers. Also good in grilled cheese sandwich, on a burger, or straight from a spoon.
*I am not an expert when it comes to dyeing fiiber. I am a curious crafter who wants to experiment and learn. For more information about dyeing, from people who know what they are talking about, see the list of resources at the end of this post.
Avocados are one of the easiest materials to dye with. If you are a reasonable person with good taste, you enjoy an avocado on toast, with mango (try it), or as guacamole (duh). The smaller, darker haas avocado is superior to that watery, larger avocado from Florida (I’m a native Floridian so I know of what I speak). Anytime you eat an avocado, save your pits and pop ‘em in the freezer. Some save the skin, but I find it too be too much work to clean. Remember — easy! Don’t forget to save the pits of those demon avocados that turn too early or are all icky on the inside.
Time to Dye
There are many books and websites that give you more thorough instructions and explanation. I will give you quick and dirty directions (again, not an expert. At all).
Experiment with different fibers. I’ve tried cotton gauze, raw silk, and a scrap of dropcloth. The raw silk turned a dark pink, almost maroon. The cotton gauze turned a lovely, delicate pink. The dropcloth.. well, it just looked not so great. I want to try dyeing a cotton knit next time. I see lots of pink tee shirts in my future.
Over the next few weeks, I will be posting short videos introducing you to the basics of the Oxford Punch Needle. Follow me on Instagram @modernpunch to stay up to date.
The first video of the series is “Types of Punch Needles.”
One question I get often is “where can I find the Oxford Punch Needle?” I bought most of my oxford needles directly from The Oxford Company, but there are several other sellers in the United States and Beyond. Many of these shops also sell supplies such as foundation cloth and yarn. This list is provided as a resource not an endorsement of any shop. Shops I have personal experience are listed with an asterisk.
If you are a supplier of the Oxford Punch Needle or related tools and supplies and would like to be included on this list, please send an email to email@example.com.
The Oxford Company*
Dorr Mill Store*
Myra & Jean*
Seal Harbor Rug Co.
Loop by Loop Studio
Needles in the Nest*
Let’s Get Punchy
I have a bad case of the Mondays today. Lefty was out of town this weekend, and the kid and I have had about enough of each other. Four (years old) is way better than three. But sometimes four is challenging. Now she is at preschool, and I am at home... trying to be creative.
The cut on my finger has made it difficult to knot. I am right-handed, and the cut is on my left index finger. It is healing well, but it is in the absolute perfect place to make tying a knot painful. If I use only my three other fingers and thumb, my wrist cramps after a while (#firstworldproblems, I know). Stitches come out tomorrow!
Not being able to knot and create macrame has been frustrating. My hands have been itching to do something. To make something. To scratch that making itch, I am attempting to make a hat or a cowl with a round loom. Years ago, I attempted to teach myself crochet and found it difficult. I may give it a try again using some superbulky yarn and my fingers.
I believe more than ever that macrame is what I am supposed to be doing. My next step is to form an LLC. Any macrame artists out there want to share any tips on starting a business, leave me a comment. What mistakes did you make? What lucky surprises did you encounter?
If you are one of the five people who watch my insta stories and follow my blog, you know that I sliced my finger with a pair of scissors. Because of this my macramaking has taken a backseat to general slovenliness. My hands are itching for some rope, though, and if you know of finger caps or some other protective gear to enable me to get back to the knots, leave a comment. Also, my hands and wrists are achy, I don't know if it's carpal tunnel or arthritis or just being in my 40s.
So if I haven't been making this week, what have I done?
Well it was going to happen sooner or later. My first serious macrame injury. Last week I worked on a macrame wreath to hang on the front door. On Saturday morning, I was trimming the fringe when... SNIP! I cut a nice triangle in my left index finger. I did not need to look at it to know I probably needed stitches. So Lefty and the kid dropped me off at Five Star Urgent Care and went to the bookstore. There was no wait, and I was seen right away. The nurses who tended to me and stitched me up were all so kind. The LPN who stitched me up asked if I would go back to knotting when I got home. Probably, I said.
I didn't. The numbing agent was wearing off and my finger was throbbing. My wreath would have to wait... until Sunday.
So on Sunday, I finished the wreath, adding a few floral elements for a beautiful finish.
A few weeks ago I found on Pinterest a rope trivet made with larks head knots around an embroidery hoop. I had some clothesline I wanted to use up, and I always have a few embroidery hoops around. So last night while watching Fear the Walking Dead I whipped up a couple of trivets.
Yet another hurricane is on its way, this time toward Florida, where friends and family still live. Hurricane Irma has already torn its way through the Caribbean and is expected to make landfall in South Florida on Sunday. I grew up and went to college in Florida. Many friends from high school still live in central Florida. My brother, who lives in northeast Florida with his family, told me that Irma is expected to reach them on Monday at only a category 1. Florida is a weird and wonderful place that often gets a bad rap. But it has some of the most beautiful beaches. Lefty and I were married in Seaside on the panhandle, where the beaches are a fine pale powder and the water blue. The east coast beaches are a little sandier and more populated. Playalinda Beach, my home beach, is one of the few unspoiled beaches of Florida. There are no condos, no tourist traps, just beautiful beach and dunes. Praying for my home state.
Well, Lefty was right. My garage studio is too cold to work in in the morning. So last week, I set about creating a workspace in my bedroom. This involved cleaning out and organizing my long-ignored sewing supplies and moving furniture up- and downstairs. Adding a workspace to the master bedroom forced me to pay attention to the aesthetics of the room. The master has always been a bit of a mess. No cohesive style, just a random selection of furniture with cluttered surfaces and drawn curtains. Now, art and photographs hang on the wall. I make the bed every morning and open all the curtains to flood the room with natural light. Living where we do, it's still a bit gray.
This leads me to my next topic. Photographs. Currently I am using my iPhone 6S. I've purchased a tripod and remote, which does make taking photographs easier. And I am learning a few tricks to taking better photos with the iPhone. But, as you can see, they still aren't great. I don't know if I'm ready to invest in a DSLR camera. Even the more affordable ones aren't that affordable. Perhaps, Santa will bring me one.
If you have any tips or tricks to taking better photos with a iPhone, please leave a comment. Or let me know of any online tutorials or classes, If you use a DSLR, what camera do you like? Any tricks to scoring a deal on a camera?
Macrame Monday is coming to you a day late because yesterday was Labor Day, and I took the day off to do fun stuff. Like laundry. I also had a killer sinus headache. Our weather has been cool then warm then rainy, and the shifting air pressure always does a number on my sinuses.
Last week I completed work on a project that I am very proud of. Every day I couldn't wait to work on it. It gave me good feelings. I began with the intention of creating a macrame-weaving hybrid, a macraweave.
I began with Niroma Studio's 6mm bright white cotton string and a 24" copper pipe. I measured two arms width for each cord and attached to the pipe with a larkshead knot. My original plan was to weave brightly-colored yard in the triangle on the upper right side. I created the space using diagonal clove hitches. Diagonal clove hitches have always given me trouble. When working right to left, they look great, but when I work left to right, they've looked sloppy. Somehow I found my groove and just kept going.
I abandoned my original plan and just went with it. A row here, a row there. I would know when it was done. As the hanging began to take shape, the zigs and zags evoked the waterfalls that surround the town. I named the completed piece "Waterfalls." I plan to create a series of waterfall hangings. I've always been attracted to lines and simple patterns. While waterfalls are not straight lines, the combination of diagonal clove hitches and random placement of the lines still manages to be both random and orderly.
Like anyone with a heart, mine is with the people of Texas affected by Hurricane Harvey. I grew up on the coast of Florida and experienced many almost and near-misses. I have a vivid memory of playing under the dining room table that my dad moved into our tiny kitchen during Hurricane David. I am fortunate to have never experienced the devastation of those who lived through Andrew, Katrina, and now Harvey. There are many ways to help those in need, and there are many comprehensive lists floating around the internet, but I thought I would mention two organizations that address specific needs.
I'm continuing to work through Knot: A Book. The Plafond and Pan Chang knots have me stumped, but I will keep practicing. Working with these knots is working my brain in ways it hasn't been worked in a long time. I've suffered from mom brain for so long. (It is real; I don't care what science says. This time.) In a way, macrame and knots are weaving my brain cells back together.
I finished another work that I will share with you on Monday. It is a perfect example of how I had a plan and the rope had another idea. The final result is something beautiful and the first work that I am truly excited about. And through the process I think I am finding my voice.
Stuff I Bought That I Love
The little doodad to the right is a MagSafe to MagSafe2 converter. That doodad is what is allowing me to type on this computer. For reasons that are too complicated to explain, there is only one power adapter cord for two newish MacBooks at my house. When that power cord is with Lefty, I am SOL. That is until I bought this $10 converter instead of a new power adapter. I can attach this converter to my 5+ year=old macbook power adapter, and it now works with the newer macbook.
Every Tuesday during the summer, I visit my favorite used home goods shop, Mimi's Attic, to pick up a fresh bouquet of flowers. If you have a flower CSA in your town, I highly recommend it. Not only do you support a local farm, but fresh flowers in your home is good for the soul. It's not expensive either. If you buy flowers at the grocery store or farmer's market, you might even save money by joining a flower CSA.
Every time I go to Mimi's Attic, I bring home a basket or two. This past week, I found the loveliest framed embroidery. I've hung it in a corner of our bedroom. I've always put our bedroom on the bottom of the list for decorating. It has always been, and is, a mishmash of hand-me-downs and random pieces of furniture. It does contain a few special pieces, like the wooden headboard made by my dad and the antique hope chest given to me by my mom. We spend so much time in our rooms, I need to pay more care and attention to it. One step... hang a beautiful piece of art
Mama's got a new pair of shoes. I've waited over 20 years, but I finally own a pair of Doc Martens. I wanted a pair so badly in college, but I could not afford them. So I bought some cheap, shiny, pleather, lace-up combat boots. I loved those boots, but they weren't the same as real Docs. Now as a full-fledged grownup (and lifelong boot lover), I have many boots for many occasions. Knee-high riding boots, comfy ankle boots, snow boots, and rain boots. But I'm also trying to pair down my wardrobe to things I truly love and wear. When Zulily ran a sale on Doc Martens, I leapt at the chance to own a pair of black oxfords. (I know, I know. You can't get more punk than Zulily). I can wear these with anything. Now the breaking-in period begins. These puppies are stiff.
This was not a good week for reading and watching. Or, at least, nothing was memorable enough to mention. I will leave you with what I have been listening to. Iron & Wine's new album Beast Epic.
Who Am I?
modern punch is me, Becky, mom of a kid and a dingo, wife for 20 years. I grew up on the Florida coast watching rockets launch from my backyard. Now I live in the beautiful Finger Lakes amongst the wonderful weirdos and waterfalls.
All opinions are my own. I am not an expert. I am not paid for anything. I have only one rule: don't be an asshole.