Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Minnesota Hot Dish

by Cheri of From Out of the Cracks

Today’s recipe is from Dana of wynzia. Dana says, “this is a Minnesota favorite, but made vegetarian style. My stepfather is from northern Minnesota, and he led me to love the wood-parched wild rice that is naturally-harvested by the Ojibwe tribe of Leech Lake. It truly makes a difference, but you can use any kind of wild rice for this recipe. This is quick and easy, uses just one pot, and most of the ingredients a cook is likely to have in his/her kitchen and pantry. I like this vegetarian version of wild rice soup, and the meat-eaters in my family tell me that they don't miss the ham or bacon or chicken usually found in this soup. But you be the judge."


Wild Rice Soup

1 C. mushrooms
3 T. butter
3 T. flour
1/2 C. chopped celery
1/2 C. chopped carrots
1/2 medium onion, diced
16 oz. vegetable broth
2 C. milk
1 C. cooked wild rice (best with wood parched, or Ghost Wild Rice)--follow directions on package
salt & pepper as desired


Melt butter in a heavy stock pot over medium heat. Sauté mushrooms, onions and celery until tender but crisp (about 5 minutes), stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to low and stir in flour, salt, & pepper, stirring constantly. Add broth & milk slowly, whisking to avoid lumps. Simmer for about 20 minutes on low, stirring frequently, until desired consistency. Add cooked wild rice and stir for about 3 minute. Serves 4-6


Tuesday, March 30, 2010

American Craft Council Show - Fused Plastic Fabric Demonstration by Julie Meyer



When: Saturday, April 17 from 3:00-3:30 pm
Where: American Craft Council Show - St. Paul River Center - St. Paul, MN

Julie Meyer balances the role of wife and mother to 3 young children and her full time Etsy business -
www.JulieMeyer.etsy.com - from her home studio in Minneapolis.

Two years ago Julie stumbled upon Etsy - about the same time she lost her job in the economic down-turn. She was fascinated with the success many shops had through Etsy selling their handmade items. Through the forums and the Etsy blog, Julie absorbed everything she could from those successful shops before she opened her own. Now, everyday she is delighted that she is able to make and ship her items around the world and watch her business grow.

Julie has been sewing for over 20 years and loves making functional items with a flair. Lately, she has started hunting for vintage fabrics to sew up into new treasures.

Besides giving new use to vintage fabrics, Julie has also found an easy and fun way to reuse something you probably throw away every day. There are millions of plastic bags dumped into landfills each year. In her demonstrations, Julie will share the step-by-step process of fusing these plastic bags into a strong fabric that can be sewn into everyday items.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Featured Shop - Cholula Jewelry

By Sara of Auntie B Online

What kind of name is Cholula? According to this shop's owner, Cholula is the name of a hot sauce and also the name of a town in Mexico. Most importantly it is the name of her horse. She describes this horse as "beautiful and sweet with a little bit of funny and a lot of sass. It seemed fitting for my jewelry! "

Cholula Jewelry is all that and more. Jessi presents a lovely array of fine silver rings, cuffs, pendants, and earrings. She even has horse jewelry! Let's take a peek...

This ring caught my eye immediately. I love the swirly look!


These earrings are so sweet. A perfect little circle with a drop of moonstone. So beautiful in their simplicity. And I love that they are posts!


This ring caught my eye because I love polka dots. The little beads of silver surrounding the stone are precious! I really like the oblong shape, and the name of this ring, Rawhide, describes the stone perfectly.


Go visit Jessi's shop Cholula Jewelry and see all the fine pieces she has to offer. In her work she captures the free spirit of the horse for which her shop was named. Keep up the fabulous work, Jessi!




Sunday, March 28, 2010

HandmadeMN Giveaway - Starglow Studio

By Toni of Wild Dog Studio

Congratulations to our latest giveaway winner! Thanks to all who entered and we wish you good luck with this week's giveaway!

Today we bring you a custom pet portrait from Lori Lee of Starglow Studio!




Custom Portrait Art of Your Pet (single pet, head study)
Hand-drawn & painted in Photoshop from your photo. You receive a high-resolution file of the art to print for your wall or make custom gift items from print-on-demand services.


How to Enter:
Visit Lori Lee's shop, pick your favorite item and leave a comment on this post about it. (Scroll to bottom of post and click on Comments, or just click here.)

Open to US and international residents! (no shipping - it's digital)

Please make sure we have a way to contact you!

For Bonus Entries:
Please leave each in a separate comment, as each comment is an entry (To qualify for extra entries you must do step one above).

1. Visit other HandmadeMN team members shops (listed in the sidebar here) and leave a comment(s) here with your favorite pieces.

2. Blog about this giveaway with a visible link back to this posting and comment here with a link to your post.

3. Tweet about this giveaway and leave a comment(s) with a link to your tweet(s).

4. Follow our blog (you want to do this anyway to learn about upcoming giveaways!). Leave a comment here letting us know you are a follower. If you are already a follower, leave a comment anyway, as each comment is an entry.

5. Follow HandmadeMN on Twitter. Comment back here with your Twitter link. Existing followers just leave your Twitter link here.

6. Become a HandmadeMN Facebook Fan. Comment back here with your Facebook name. Existing fans just leave your Facebook name here.

7. Become Lori Lee's Facebook Fan. Comment back here with your Facebook name. Existing fans just leave your Facebook name here.

8. Follow Lori Lee's blog. Leave a comment here letting us know you are a follower. If you are already a follower, leave a comment anyway, as each comment is an entry.

9. Follow Lori Lee on twitter. Comment back here with your Twitter link. Existing followers just leave your Twitter link here.

Contest ends Saturday, April 10, at 12:00 noon Central. One winner will be chosen by Random.org.

Good luck!

HandmadeMN members are not eligible to win.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Fun Friday Finds ~ Shades of Hot Pink

By Jenna Halek ~ Artistic Edition

Shades of Hot Pink
(Click on the image to enlarge)

Visit these HandmadeMN shops to see more:
Click on any of the names below
Second Row (Left to Right): yothreadworks, happypossum, MaryFosterCreative, palettepassion
Third Row (Left to Right): lillin20, glorioushats, cayennepeppy, greensquirrel
Fourth Row (Left to Right): notapotato, VidaBabyBoutique, LollyBopBaby, wynzia

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Eight Questions with...Heidi Eberle

Meet Heidi Eberle of Andover, MN. Heidi is busy with her family that includes her husband, 2 daughters (12 and 25) and two dogs (Golden Doodle and a Shitzu-Poo). She is currently unemployed but was a Project Manger for a large company specializing in Retail Security Technologies until being laid off in Feb. 2009 - she had been in that industry for 18+ years. You can find Heidi on her two Etsy shops Water Nymph & The Mermaid's Dowery or her blog Fancies Musings and Whimsies.

1. What types of items do you sell in your store?

I have two shops - In my handmade shop I sell one of a Kind Jewelry that incorporates lots of vintage style brass, vintage components and semi precious stones.

I also have a supplies shop filled with raw brass findings, chain and vintage components for Artsits and Designers.

2. Where do you get your inspiration?

Vintage photos, my antique doll collection and my collection and love of antique Arts and Crafts era jewelry.

3. Do you have a specific space where you do most of your work?

I do have a studio room however I always have things in some state of completion all over the house.

4. When did you first start crafting?

I can't remember ever not being creative. My mother taught us at very young ages (pre-school / kindergarten) to knit, crochet, sew and embroider - she was always creating beautiful things. My Mother sewed all of our clothes and costumes and knitted all of our hats, mittens and scarves as kids. I don't think we appreciated as much then as we would now. When we played "School" as kids and I was the Teacher - it was always "Art" class because that was always my favorite.

My mother saved everything and I still have a box of things I made in Kindergarten that I make a point to pull out and go through once in awhile just for the nostalgia. Suprisingly, I can actually remember making some of this stuff! I have continued this tradition with my own kids and they were/are prolific creators so we have lots of boxes of wonderful treasures - and we do sit down and look through them often.

5. Do you do any crafts or art beyond what you sell?

Yes, I do everything I mentioned above but I don't sell any of it with the exception of a few crocheted items (overflow). I also do assembedge art, altered books, write poetry, draw and paint.

6. What are your favorite places to buy supplies?

I can buy most everything wholesale but I love the touchy-feely experience of actually walking into a place and shopping so besides my wholesale suppliers ......... on a local level, I love Antique shops in Anoka and Elk River, farm auctions, JoAnns, Dick Blick, Michaels, Veberod Gem Gallery, Twin Cities Bead Bazzar (Fall and Spring shows), Beadbury in Osseo, Garden of Beads in Anoka, the antiques section of "Down Home Stained Glass" in Anoka (can you tell I like to shop locally?) I also hit country Antique shops when we travel, there are many along the roads and byways of Minnesota and no matter where I am, I am always keeping my eyes open for treasures which are often found in unexpected places. Last but not least - I love dragging my hubby to Ax-man, it's a great day date that we both enjoy!

7. What is the best thing you've ever done to promote your etsy store?

To be honest, I have not done anything special to promote either store. I do find that my handmade shop has picked up since I have been continually producing and listing new items - this shop was on the back burner and did not get much attention while I was working full time at a day job. When I made something, I would list it but it was very inconsistent. My findings shop has luckily taken on a life of it's own. I am fortunate to have strong sales and repeat customers, many of whom are international buyers. The key in the supplies shop is quality, uniqueness in selection, variety and offering lots of options and always adding new items to the mix.

8. What other etsy store(s) do you really like?

I would run out of room if I listed them all but ones I keep returning to or have purchased from are: pinkflamingo61, TimelessVixenVintage, BigDaddyO, subrosa123, vintageopulence, KitLane, Itkupilli, rubypearl, ravenwolf, otherpeoplesflowers, LaCamelot, idolatre, lovedtodeath, oneifbyhand, dippylulu, awesomeart, kerrykate, dolldisasterdesign, catholicguilt, pinksupply, TotusMel, marytofts, LucysLocket - and I am finding more wonderful shops everyday. Feel free to browse my favorites in both shops!

Monday, March 22, 2010

American Craft Council Show - Free Form Peyote Bracelet Demonstration by Cheri Meyer


When: Saturday, April 17 from 1:00-1:40 pm
American Craft Council Show - St Paul River Center, St. Paul, MN


Cheri Meyer of From Out of the Cracks began making jewelry about 25 years ago when she started collecting vintage buttons and trinkets for her designs. In the past three years she has mastered the art of free form peyote stitching--an off loom bead weaving technique. The photo above shows some of her beautiful creations.

According to Cheri,

"My free form peyote stitch bead work has no actual pattern or preconceived idea of how the piece will look when finished. It all starts with some visual inspiration that crosses my path, a mixture of color, a unique bead, a colorful pattern from a piece of material or a painting that speaks to me. Once the inspiration strikes my enthusiasm to gather a colorful pallet of beads becomes a passionate journey to take a needle and thread and one bead at a time to create something so wonderfully complex you can’t stop looking at it!"
That sounds pretty simple, but there is a skill to be learned that has been used for centuries in Egyptian and Native American beadwork. In her demonstration, Cheri will introduce this method and her personal adaptations to the process she uses for her peyote stitch bracelets. Cheri also has a wonderful gift of creating stunning color combinations. So, along with the necessary beading skills, she will share where she finds some of her inspiration for the color palettes she uses in her work.

March Challenge Winner

By Toni of Wild Dog Studio




Congratulations to Andrea of Sacred Suds for winning March's HandmadeMN monthly challenge!

Thanks to all who participated in this month's challenge, and stay tuned for some great "Growth" entries coming soon!


Sunday, March 21, 2010

HandmadeMN Giveaway - Chickadeesigns

Congratulations to our latest giveaway winner! Thanks to all who entered and we wish you good luck with this week's giveaway!

Today we bring you this awesome Retro Circle Pendant from Lindsay of Chickadeesigns!



Remember those fabulous retro circles that were just like that 70s wallpaper you loved (or hated...but now can't help but love!)?
Well, this pattern is done up to be a bit more modern with baby pink and beige. A great color combination for spring!


Lindsay's pendants are double cast resin with the image in the second layer.


They are approximately 1.25” x 1” and are bigger than a scrabble tile pendant. The pendant is waterproof and comes on a 16" silver plated ball chain.

How to Enter:
Visit Lindsay's shop, pick your favorite item and leave a comment on this post about it. (Scroll to bottom of post and click on Comments, or just click here.)

Open to US and international residents!

Please make sure we have a way to contact you!

For Bonus Entries:
Please leave each in a separate comment, as each comment is an entry (To qualify for extra entries you must do step one above).

1. Visit other HandmadeMN team members shops (listed in the sidebar here) and leave a comment(s) here with your favorite pieces.

2. Blog about this giveaway with a visible link back to this posting and comment here with a link to your post.

3. Tweet about this giveaway and leave a comment(s) with a link to your tweet(s).

4. Follow our blog (you want to do this anyway to learn about upcoming giveaways!). Leave a comment here letting us know you are a follower. If you are already a follower, leave a comment anyway, as each comment is an entry.

5. Follow HandmadeMN on Twitter. Comment back here with your Twitter link. Existing followers just leave your Twitter link here.

6. Become a HandmadeMN Facebook Fan. Comment back here with your Facebook name. Existing fans just leave your Facebook name here.

7. Follow Lindsay's blog. Leave a comment here letting us know you are a follower. If you are already a follower, leave a comment anyway, as each comment is an entry.

8. Follow Lindsay on Facebook. Comment back here with your Twitter link. Existing followers just leave your Twitter link here.

Contest ends Saturday, April 3, at 12:00 noon Central. One winner will be chosen by Random.org.

Good luck!

HandmadeMN members are not eligible to win.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Fun Friday Finds ~ Fun with Plaid

By Jenna Halek ~ Artistic Edition

Fun with Plaid(Click on the image to enlarge)

Visit these HandmadeMN shops to see more:
Click on any of the names below
First Row (Left to Right): pinswithfury, ZinniaSnipSnap, cayennepeppy, VidaBabyBoutique
Second Row (Left to Right): GinghamLife, PlushroomSoup, musicalkitten, glorioushats
Third Row (Left to Right): woolyredrug, notapotato, Owlshop, damonique
Fourth Row (Left to Right): WarmHugsCornBags, JuJuBeesBoutique, JGless330, JulieMeyer

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Inspire Me

by Cheri of From Out of the Cracks

“… from the sky, from the earth, from a scrap of paper, from a passing shape, from a spider’s web… We must pick out what is good for us where we can find it” 
Pablo Picasso

Where does that creativity come from? What was the inspiration, the spark? Do you go somewhere to get inspired?

Here is our featured HandmadeMN artist Candyce Fitzloff-Westfield from Connected Elements where she creates unique jewelry using beach stones, silver, copper, bronze, recycled glass, resin, and enamel. You can also check Candyce out on her Facebook fan page.

Lakes and Pines

Candyce says, “I created my first piece like this one for a friend and former co-worker who was moving from Minnesota to New Mexico. Her co-workers wanted me to come up with something they could give her to remember Minnesota. Of course I knew the piece needed to have beach stones… she is a Fisheries Biologist and the lakes of Minnesota were a big part of her life.”

Candyce then created the other elements from casting leftover silver into pine needles… another element of Minnesota! Candyce says, "this casting process took some time, I melted down the silver and then poured it into a bundle of needles. It took several tries to come up with something that was usable. I took the resulting pieces and arranged them with the stones…soldering it all together. The result was an organic talisman of what makes Minnesota special… the lakes and the trees!”

This project led Candyce to create several other pieces from this theme using the same elements…the stones and trees of Minnesota! “I love how that works…when one project leads to a whole new body of work!”





Monday, March 15, 2010

American Craft Council Show - PMC Silver Cranes Demonstration by Sarah Bober



When: Saturday, April 17 from 11:00-11:40 pm
Where: American Craft Council Show - St. Paul River Center - St. Paul, MN

Sarah Bober of SBDesign is a librarian by day, and an artist by night. She loves coming up with new ideas and creating fun, elegant jewelry for others to enjoy. One of her sought after creations are her silver origami cranes made from PMC--Precious Metal Clay.

PMC was developed in Japan in the 1900s by Mitsubishi Materials. It is made from a mixture of microscopic particles of silver and clay. The clay acts as a binder and gives the material the feel and pliability of modeling clay. Once the piece is molded and sculpted to its desired form, it is heated to burn away the clay, and the silver particles fuse into a dense metal object. Once fired, PMC is 99.9% pure silver.

In her presentation, Sarah will share the step-by-step process she uses to fold traditional origami cranes with this new, non-traditional material. She will then take viewers through the processes of turning the clay into fine silver jewelry.

As PMC is a Japanese product, it seems very appropriate that Sarah should use this medium to make origami cranes.

The ancient Japanese legend of the 1000 Cranes promises that anyone who folds one thousand origami cranes will be granted a wish by a crane. Origami cranes are traditional gifts in Japan for weddings and births.



Sunday, March 14, 2010

HandmadeMN Giveaway - Suz and Roo

By Jessica of Clay By Clay

Congratulations to our latest giveaway winner! Thanks to all who entered and we wish you good luck with this week's giveaway!


This week our giveaway is from a shop supporting a good cause. Enter to win these wonderful bracelets from Suzanne and her cat Roo of Suz and Roo. Isn't Roo adorable?


The giveaway is for three singlet leather bracelets, which can be worn alone or in combination. The bracelets are made from indigo-colored leather accented with brass beads. The bracelets are adjustable in size because they are finished with slip knots. These bracelets are stylish but simple enough to go with any outfit.

Open to US and international residents!

How to Enter:
Visit Suzanne's shop pick your favorite item and leave a comment on this post about it. (Scroll to bottom of post and click on Comments, or just click here.)

Please make sure we have a way to contact you!

For Bonus Entries:
Please leave each in a separate comment, as each comment is an entry (To qualify for extra entries you must do step one above).

1. Visit other HandmadeMN team members shops (listed in the sidebar here) and leave a comment(s) here with your favorite pieces.

2. Blog about this giveaway with a visible link back to this posting and comment here with a link to your post.

3. Tweet about this giveaway and leave a comment(s) with a link to your tweet(s).

4. Follow our blog (you want to do this anyway to learn about upcoming giveaways!). Leave a comment here letting us know you are a follower. If you are already a follower, leave a comment anyway, as each comment is an entry.

5. Follow HandmadeMN on Twitter. Comment back here with your Twitter link. Existing followers just leave your Twitter link here.

6. Become a Facebook Fan of HandmadeMN. Comment back here with your Facebook name. Existing fans just leave your Facebook name here.

Contest ends Saturday, March 27, at 12:00 noon Central. One winner will be chosen by Random.org.

Good luck!

HandmadeMN members are not eligible to win.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

HandmadeMN Spring Market - An Intro

by Rita Wetzel, RitasCreations and AndMoreBags

HandmadeMN is holding our first ever Spring Market on Saturday May 8! Over 40 artists and crafters will have booths set up at the Ballentine VFW in Minneapolis. We will have a wide variety of items for sale that day including jewelery, knitted and crocheted items, photos, paintings, notecards, quilted items, and much, much more.

The team is hard at work designing the promotional materials, planning the advertising, and organizing the details of the show itself. In future posts you will be able to see and read about these outcomes.

You will also be able to enter a drawing for a giveway basket! All contents of each basket are homemade items donated by HandmadeMN team members!

That's it for now... stay tuned for regular updates on our Spring Market. Mark you calendar now!

  • When: Saturday, May 8th from 10am to 5 pm
  • Where: Ballentine VFW, 2916 Lyndale Avenue S., Minneapolis

Friday, March 12, 2010

Fun Friday Finds ~ Sweet Cream

By Jenna Halek ~ Artistic Edition

Sweet Cream
(Click on the image to enlarge)

Visit these HandmadeMN shops to see more:
Click on any of the names below
First Row (Left to Right): wildheart515, looksSEWnice, SAOL, wynzia
Second Row (Left to Right): pinswithfury, ArtisticEdition, cayennepeppy, Trigo
Third Row (Left to Right): dmalia, mepottery, roseandvinnie, vintagenouveaudesign
Fourth Row (Left to Right): suepariseaupottery, ZinniaSnipSnap, palettepassion, regansbrain

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

HandmadeMN Demos at American Craft Council Spring Show - Save the Date!


HandmadeMN has been invited to present craft demonstrations at this year's 24th Annual American Craft Council Show in St. Paul, MN at the St. Paul River Center. The event, which runs Friday, April 16 through Sunday, April 18, will feature over 240 established artists presenting handcrafted jewelry, clothing, furniture, home decor, and more.

Several of our team members will be presenting demonstrations on Saturday, April 17 between 12:00 noon and 4:00 pm. Here's the list::



Cheri Meyer of FromOutoftheCracks
Free-form Peyote Stitch Bracelet
Peyote stitch is an off-loom bead weaving technique, using a beading needle and thread. The free-form variation results in a one-of-kind item, created as you go.

Sarah Bober of SBDesign
PMC Silver Origami Cranes
Love the look of origami but want something more durable than paper? Learn how to create origami cranes from fine silver using Precious Metal Clay paper.

Corrin Kaluza of Athena'sLittleOwl
Custom Flag Banner
Have something to announce? Learn how to create a unique, handmade flag banner using new or re-purposed items found around the house. These banners are perfect for parties, holiday decorating, weddings, kids rooms, etc.

Julie Meyer of JuileMeyer
Recycled Plastic Fabric
Creatively reuse plastic grocery bags instead of throwing them away! Learn how to fuse plastic bags into a fabric you can sew into totes, lunch bags and more.

Renae Redenius of Trigo
Shibori Felting
Shibori Felting is an exciting way to add surface interest to knitted wool fabric. This demo will not only guide you through the process, but it will also give you some wonderful project ideas!

Monique Parent of GlassGardenDesigns and Toni Kuffel of WildDogStudio
Fused Glass Pendant and Trinket Dish
See how a fused glass pendant is created! This demo will be an overview of glass fusing basics, and may even inspire you to take a glass class for more hands-on learning.


From the American Craft Council (ACC) website:
The show will also celebrate the American Craft Council's move to Minneapolis from New York in July, which spotlights the vibrancy of the regional and local craft community!
The HandmadeMN team is very excited about this move, and looks forward to collaborating with this renowned nationally recognized organization. We welcome the ACC to their new home!


For tickets and more information, visit: http://public.craftcouncil.org/stpaul



Monday, March 8, 2010

Dear Maggie: Inaugural Post!

By Maggie of BodiceGoddess


Welcome to the first post of "Dear Maggie", in which I answer your crafty questions!

You may be wondering, who is this woman, and who gives her the authority to answer crafty questions? Well, the answer to that one is that I am a college grad with an English degree and a history of screwing up a LOT of projects due to not reading the instructions or being ignorant of the consequences. I'm a costumer, crocheter, refurbisher and upcycler, and if I don't know the answer from my own brain, I know how to research. That's one question down! Here goes!

Ok, I'll pose a question. What type of yarn is best to use for a clothing item you're going to either knit or crochet, say a scarf? Do you prefer one that's a synthetic blend or what? Does one type wash best? Or stretch out? Inquiring minds want to know.

Yarn is a very tricky thing, and this is a really BIG question. I'll cover as much ground as I can. You want to think about yarn the same way you think about fabrics: You wouldn't want to use sheer drapery fabrics as a warm couch blanket, or fleece for lingerie - it just doesn't work.Most commercially produced skeins of yarn are designated somewhere on the package with a few little symbols. Skeins that come straight off of someone's spinning wheel may not have this designation, but spinners do their best to classify the yarn into one of these categories. Usually on the back of the label, there is a line drawing of a skein of yarn with a number on it. They look like this:

Each number represents a different weight of yarn. Weight is a misleading term; it means more "thickness" than "mass", as evidenced by the sweater I'm wearing as I write this. (Remind me later to tell you about my sweater.) To get even more technical, weight is calculated by measuring how many times per inch the yarn can be wrapped around a standard ruler. There are seven different weights of yarn (0-6).



Here we go:

0: Lace
AKA: Fingering, 10-count crochet thread
I've used this weight in Aunt Lydia's 10-count crochet to make juggling balls. Think hackey-sacks: very fine yarn equals holes that the beans can barely squeeze through.

1: Super Fine
AKA: Baby, Fingering, or Sock
Super-fine yarn is good for really lacy or small projects. It also has a tendancy to be really, really soft and smooth. Sock yarn is in this category because when you're making socks, you need yarn to be thin to create a thin fabric around the foot.

2: Fine
AKA: Baby, Sport
As for fine yarn, I've used it to make fancy shawls as wedding gifts, and I've put two skeins together to make an afghan. I'm a fan of using two strands of similar yarn in a low weight like this one, grabbing a big crochet hook and making a warm blanket.

3: Light
AKA: Double Knitting (or DK), Worsted, Sport
Light yarn is about the thickest you want to use to make socks; any thicker and you're into the territory of "slipper sock". Light - or "sport" - weight yarn is great for afghans because it's thick enough to keep you warm, and thin enough for patterns to lay flat when the blanket is laid out.

4: Medium
AKA: Afghan, Aran, Worsted
I annoy my mom with this one when I frequently call it "regular yarn." Many, many different yarns fit into this category, including the inexpensive One Pound by Caron, Lion Brand Vanna's Choice, and even TLC Amore. It's a good, solid yarn for good, solid projects. (This is the weight I used for the sweater I'm wearing, and we're still getting to that.)

5: Bulky
AKA: Chunky, Rug
As a Minnesotan, this weight and higher is my go-to for scarves. When I make scarves, I tend to use a bigger stitch and a bigger hook to acheive a thicker and warmer scarf. (Trade secret? Bulky yarn, a j-hook and a series of double-crochets gets you a decent scarf.) I've also used it to make my first afghan. Since it's thick, it is easy to work quickly. My favorite varieties are Lion Brand Homespun and Serenity Chunky Weight.


This scarf by MaryFosterCreative is crafted from bulky or super-bulky weight yarn.

6: Super Bulky
AKA: Bulky, Roving
Lion Brand yarns make an incredibly descriptive version of this weight, called "Thick & Quick." They're not kidding! It is hard for me to find an application for this thickness of yarn, and I must not be the only one, because it's constantly on sale. I've found it makes a great cowl, and it must be good for thick playmat blankets.




Yarn can also be classified by "ply," which is a technical term for the number of strands woven together (like how embroidery floss is usually 6 ply and I only use 2 ply when I cross stitch).

(Ah, yes! My sweater! I found a gorgeous pattern for a wrap cardigan and planned and planned when it came time to make it. The yarn used in my pattern was a 4, or medium, weight, in a boucle type, which is a bit more fancy looking than a "regular yarn". I instead used a worsted weight, which was both less expensive and easier to learn on. As a result, the wrap cardigan, which was meant to have a wonderful shawl-like front to it with a gorgeous drape, kind of hangs funny because the yarn I chose to use is heavier than the yarn the pattern called for.)

As far as the rest of the question, Cindy, yarn is typically labeled with washing instructions, however, I'm always leery of putting my hard work in the wash. If I have to, no matter what it is, it's machine wash cold, delicate cycle. No matter how tough the yarn is, I'd rather be safe than sorry when it comes to my stitches.

Natural vs. synthetic fibers is a timeless argument, and I think I'll touch more on this one later. The short answer is that I go with what feels best. If I'm making something for a baby, I use a soft cotton or blend. If I'm making something for a manly-man, I tend more towards wool. If my budget's tight, I'll go for an acrylic because they tend to be less expensive. (If my budget's really tight, I upcycle my own yarn!)

When it comes to stretching, the yarn itself usually has some stretch in it, especially yarns with natural fibers (wool or cotton will stretch more than acrylic). My mother always taught me when I was young to never hang sweaters or knits in the closet - stretch being the main reason. The stretch happens to the stitches themselves more than the fiber of the yarn. Defeat gravity by folding your sweaters and blankets and putting them on a horizontal surface, be it a shelf, a drawer, the couch or the floor.

*whew* That really was a lot of ground to cover! I hope that helps you in your travels through the yarn section of your local craft store, or heck, helps you through your local yarn store!

I can't wait to hear more questions, folks! Submit them in the comment section below, or send them to me at bodicegoddess.maggie@gmail.com.

Keep me thinking, keep me writing, and keep me learning.



Sunday, March 7, 2010

HandmadeMN Giveaway - dmalia

By Toni of Wild Dog Studio

Congratulations to our latest giveaway winner! Thanks to all who entered and we wish you good luck with this week's giveaway!

Today we bring you this great sterling silver pendant from Dawn of dmalia!




From the Spirit Series of sterling silver rings, this one is called "Hold it Together". Sterling silver 24mm (about 3/4") round pendant.

Material: Sterling Silver 16 gauge wire
Pendant: Circle approx. 3/4" round
Chain: 18" Sterling Silver rolo 1.5mm chain


How to Enter:
Visit Dawn's shop, pick your favorite item and leave a comment on this post about it. (Scroll to bottom of post and click on Comments, or just click here.)

Open to US resident only.

Please make sure we have a way to contact you!

For Bonus Entries:
Please leave each in a separate comment, as each comment is an entry (To qualify for extra entries you must do step one above).

1. Visit other HandmadeMN team members shops (listed in the sidebar here) and leave a comment(s) here with your favorite pieces.

2. Blog about this giveaway with a visible link back to this posting and comment here with a link to your post.

3. Tweet about this giveaway and leave a comment(s) with a link to your tweet(s).

4. Follow our blog (you want to do this anyway to learn about upcoming giveaways!). Leave a comment here letting us know you are a follower. If you are already a follower, leave a comment anyway, as each comment is an entry.

5. Follow HandmadeMN on Twitter. Comment back here with your Twitter link. Existing followers just leave your Twitter link here.

6. Become a HandmadeMN Facebook Fan. Comment back here with your Facebook name. Existing fans just leave your Facebook name here.

7. Become Dawn's Facebook Fan. Comment back here with your Facebook name. Existing fans just leave your Facebook name here.

Contest ends Saturday, March 20, at 12:00 noon Central. One winner will be chosen by Random.org.

Good luck!

HandmadeMN members are not eligible to win.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Fun Friday Finds ~ Sky Blue & Coral

By Jenna Halek ~ Artistic Edition

Sky Blue & Coral
(Click on the image to enlarge)

Visit these HandmadeMN shops to see more:
Click on any of the names below
First Row (Left to Right): Trigo, Crafterall, pickleberries, janraven
Second Row (Left to Right): ModernMeetsWhimsy, JulieMeyer, fromoutofthecracks, FoxglovePhoto
Third Row (Left to Right): wynzia, cayennepeppy, JennyBunny, KomfyKozy
Fourth Row (Left to Right): StoneyMistDesign, vintagenouveaudesign, JustAnotherDay, ShaggyBaggy

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Minnesota Hot Dish

by Cheri of From Out of the Cracks

Kelly Barto of Kellybot is passing along her Grandma's recipe. Kelly says, "in our household, we eat our tamales in mush/mound form. My mom says that's called Tamales en Casuela (in a pot)."

"Sometime before I moved to Minneapolis, maybe around 2000, I was at my Abuela's house and tape recorded her instructions on how to make tamales. The funniest thing on the tape is when Abuela says, "Now stir this constantly for an hour and a half." And I say, "What!? Constantly?" And she says, "Yes, or else it will stick." Well, maybe she never made them in a non-stick pan, because I don't have much trouble with that."



Tamales in Casuela

1 onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 T. olive oil
4 ears corn, kernels removed from cob
1/4 c. soy milk (or regular)
3/4 c. corn meal
1/2 c. tomato sauce
1 t. salt
10 - 15 whole green olives, pitted, with pimentos

In a large, non-stick pan, make a sofrito by sauteing the onion, pepper, and garlic in the olive oil until lightly brown. Puree the corn kernels and milk in a blender or food processor. Reduce the heat on the sofrito and add the corn/milk mixture, corn meal, tomato sauce, salt and olives. Mix well. Cook on low for 45 - 90 minutes, stirring frequently. It will be done when the corn meal is done (the same way rice is done). You can add more milk if it gets gummy or dry. Serve with hot sauce!

Serve my tamales on this fabulous Iron Red Dinnerwear from Sue Pariseau Pottery please!


Tuesday, March 2, 2010

March Challenge - Go Green

By Toni of Wild Dog Studio

This month's challenge theme was "Go Green". Check out the great entries below, then scroll all the way to the bottom to vote for your favorite! The winner will receive an advertising spot on our blog.

Voting ends at midnight on March 18.



Northern Sea


Submitted by:
From Out of the Cracks











Spring Green Freeform Mohair Scarf

Submitted by:
Mary Foster Creative









Vote For Your Favorite Now!