Thursday, January 31, 2008

Things I need to be doing instead of napping

If I have to pick up the arcs for my double wedding ring destash project one more time, I'm going to kill the two-year-old. You wouldn't believe the distance she can get on these suckers ...
Oh, and here's the official "thank you" to both adult Wendlings and LazyHusband, who all helped me finish turning and pressing the arcs this weekend over a game of Munchkin. You guys rock (especially the guys, who owe me for not posting the incriminating photo I took of them Crafting - oh, the horror!).

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Looking for a Valentine's Day gift?

I've got you covered:

Might have a sock problem

Not even finished Jason's pair yet, and I've already purchased this:

But I might have his second sock finished by the time this gets to my house, so it's okay, right? Right?

Monday, January 28, 2008

Bad sign

Any time that little blue-handled seam ripper comes out, bad things are afoot at Lazy Mama HQ. Good thing my #1 Sewing Buddy was there to help keep up my spirits.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

I'm so excited!

1. One of Jason's birthday socks was finished on his birthday! So he can hop proudly, at least for a week or so until I finish the other one.

2. I came up with a realllllly cool new idea for a series of quilts. I need to let it stew a little more and do some planning, but the concept has definitely got promise. Want a hint? One of the titles in the series may be "2D6."

3. I did some reorganization in my studio, and I now have all of my yarn stash in two plastic totes ... and a plastic shoebox ... and a couple bags that house yarn for my WIP pile. But that's it! Of course, I only did that by switching the yarn out of three small totes and into two large ones, while taking the contents of the large totes (upholstery fabric and silk), pitching about 1/3 of it, setting 1/3 of it aside to see if I can foist it off on fellow Cleveys, and packing the rest back up in the smaller totes. But still - two totes! That means I can go buy more yarn, right?

Friday, January 25, 2008

Memory Lane

I was just rereading some of my early posts, and I'm kind of wishing I had gone with my alternate slogan for the company:

Sort of feeling like I wimped out on this one. Oh, well - benign is good, I guess.

2008 Goals

Okay, I've been brainstorming and stewing over this for almost a month, and I think I've got it narrowed down to five key goals for the year. In no particular order, Lazy Mama's professional goals for the year are:
  1. Develop (and sell) at least 10 new patterns.
  2. Track how my resources are spent (time and money) so I can become more productive in the limited time I work each day.
  3. Present a more unified, businesslike appearance to the public (which includes making sure that all of my branding is consistent and professional, as well as making sure that my new products fit in with an overall "style" of design for the company).
  4. Sell my patterns to at least five new shops.
  5. Investigate ways to promote my business while earning money, such as teaching classes based on my patterns or writing articles for special interest magazines.

I'm also going to try to establish a schedule of posting in the blog on similar topics on a schedule - you know, Monday is "My Favorites," Wednesday is "WIP Day," etc. Either that, or maybe grouping my posts so that I have a theme for the week.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go be exceedingly productive and professional ... while wrapping my husband's birthday presents. Sheesh, isn't writing down the goals enough work for today?

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Because I haven't hawked my stuff here for a while

New SWAK blankets are up in the shop, including one I love so much I'm tempted to keep it, even though I have no earthly need for another baby blanket ...

Oh, and can we stop for a moment and savor the wonderful light I managed to catch this morning while LazyToddler was parked in front of a DVD from the library? Light like this in January in Cleveland is a godsend ... and I'm loving how the new color in my living room photographs. Shame that once the renovation is done, I'm going to have to move the couch in order to get to this wall.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Thanks for the free press, Valerie!

ValerieTyler has a blog she uses to promote local artists, and she decided to send some love our way:

Thanks for the mention, Valerie!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Trying something new

When I busted out my new sock yarn I was pleased to find that it was already split into two skeins, each of which was nicely twisted into a standard hank. Rather than start off by turning both of the skeins into center-pull balls (booooring), I decided to try out a method I read about on the Yarn Harlot's blog back in November.

Basically, I just untwist the skein and let it sit in a large loop on my lap (or around my neck like a necklace, which is what I've been doing so far) and knit it straight off the skein. There's a much greater chance that I'll end up tangling the whole thing into a giant Gordian knot, but so far it seems to be working well. When I want to get up, either the knitting (and yarn) come with me (as it did for a stand-around-and-make-decisions-about-my-new-kitchen-counter meeting this morning), or else I pick up the yarn, retwist it into a skein, and tuck it away with the knitting in a place where LazyToddler can't reach it.

One benefit I've seen to doing it this way is that every time I unwind one loop from my skein, I can knit for a long time, much longer than I can with one pull out of a center-pull ball. Instead of knit,knit,knit,pull,knit, it's more like unwrap,knitknitknitknitknitknitknitknitknitknitknitknit,unwrap. I don't think it actually saves me much time, as it takes less time to pull from the ball than it does to unwrap a loop from the skein, but at least I look a little less spastic when knitting.

Monday, January 21, 2008


My first ever pair of toe-up socks are complete! I can't imagine why they took so long to finish ...

Oh, yeah. I don't know how to stop when I'm ahead - that's why. Silly ridiculously long socks. At least they (mostly) fit!
And LazyHusband's socks are already on the needles. I'm going to try the toe-up approach again and see if it goes any faster when I'm not trying to do a seed stitch and use two different yarns to make stripes. Um, yeah - I'd say it's a good bet that it will go faster - I finished the first four inches while "watching" the second Fantastic Four movie tonight, and that was only 90 minutes long.

Latest custom order

Yet another adult size zombie bunny hat, this time with funky spiral eyes, which I think is even cuter than the previous versions. Like what you see and want one for yourself? Email me or convo me through, and I'll hook you up.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Could one of the steampunk folks please explain ...

... why you visit my blog? I've noticed quite a few visitors coming over from a LiveJournal steampunk fashion community ( ) and I can't for the life of me figure out why.

I love the look of steampunk, but nothing I make is remotely related to it, as far as I can tell.

Do I know one of you in real life or via etsy?

I'm not trying to get rid of you or anything - heck, we love the company, don't we, folks? - but I AM curious about how you ended up here, and what keeps you coming back. Any feedback would be appreciated! Thanks, punks!

Might be time to whittle down the to-do list a little

  • Finish the toe-up socks (about 3" to go on the final sock).
  • Finish the crocheted top to a dress for Liza (all finished except for one mercifully short sleeve)
  • Make socks for Jason's birthday using the custom-dyed yarn I got on etsy at Whimzy Pinzy (not even cast on yet).
  • Finish alpaca sweater for myself (about 2" finished of a top-down sweater in the round).
  • Finish quilting and binding on the kimono quilt.
  • Finish quilting and binding on the Heart Attack quilt.
  • Figure out what I'm going to do with the double wedding ring pieces I'm trying to use, which are currently scattered in three rooms of the house.
  • Figure out what I'm going to do with the dozen white cotton crocheted flowers that are supposed to be turning into accents for a quilt, which isn't designed yet and I don't even have an inkling of what it's going to look like.
  • Start writing out the directions for the Whatisit Tote pattern.

And this is just stuff that's actually started or has a deadline. Don't even get me started on the pile of "maybe I'll work on this next" projects next to my cutting table. I try not to walk to heavily near it, lest it collapse and crush me.

Some days I'm focused, some days I'm not. Can you tell what kind of days I had last week?

Friday, January 18, 2008


Outfit by Beneath the Rowan Tree; styling by LazyToddler.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

WIP Thursday

Tentative name: Heart Attack

Heart fabric was bought during a trip to Lancaster (PA) this summer, and the red strips are leftover from a scrappy bearpaw quilt I made years ago. And the white is leftover from ... something, I don't remember what. So this is another attempt to use up some pre-cut stash fabrics, and given the size of the sucker (35x70 ish), it's going to take me long enough to quilt it that I STILL won't be able to make any money off the thing, even with my supplies for free. Oh, well - at least it's brightening up my studio this week.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008


Knitters beware - read if you dare

You really have to have read the lead-up posts about knitting the leaves and the sock to get the full impact of this post. Let's just say I hit the climax of the story and threw up a little in my mouth, it's that distressing. At least to a knitter with a bit of a perfectionism problem ... my husband would probably be like, "oh, that's a shame." No, this is a tragedy for which there is not enough alcohol or chocolate in the world to aid recovery. The type of tragedy that makes you want to bang your head on the desk and ask, "why me? WHY ME????" and then possibly flush the project down the toilet, just to spite it.

Monday, January 14, 2008

WIP Monday - Look familiar, Kylie-Ann?

When we lived in Japan I stocked up on used kimono fabric in a variety of colors, including some very nice silks. This wasn't an easy purchase, since it involved buying used kimonos, then ripping out all the seams, washing the fabric, ironing it, and sticking all the fabric in a plastic tote for eight years. No, not kidding about the length of time.

Before it went into hibernation, though, I made a couple quilts out of the silk, including one for our friend Kylie-Ann. I only made two quilts with it, primarily because while the silk drapes beautifully and looks great when it's done, it stretches like a rubberband and will not stay where I want it to. You know when you crack an egg and get a piece of shell in the egg white, and every time you try to grab it it squirts out between your fingers? Yeah, that's pretty close to what it's like.

While I was working on K-A's quilt, I made an extra block that's been sitting in my UFO* drawer for, you guessed it, eight years. Well, in my effort to come up with projects I can finish quickly to sell on etsy without investing a lot in materials, I dug a bunch of UFOs out to work on. This one is first, and it will be going on for some time, since I decided to hand-quilt portions of it, which is going to take me forever. So much for making something that will give me a good return for the amount of time I invest in it ... but I couldn't stand to let it sit in the drawer any longer, and it's going to look so good when I get it done.

Likely next project - using up the leftover pieces from a double wedding ring quilt I made for Jason's friend's wedding like five years ago. I seem to remember there was a high curse-to-sewing ratio on that project, so if you see a blue cloud drifting over from Ohio, you'll know I've started.

Stupid UFO drawer. Somebody hand me a big chunk of uncut flannel so I can go make a baby blanket or something.

*UFO - UnFinished Object

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Please explain

Would someone please explain to me what it is, exactly, that compels me to have my next knitting project on the needles before I've even sewed up the seams on the previous one? Because I've got an earless zombie bunny hat custom etsy order sitting in my sewing bag, but an inch of an alpaca sweater for myself already finished. And don't even get me started on the toe-up socks that would not die. Gahhhhh.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Gotta love the free publicity

Thanks, Jason, for the write-up! Fellow etsyians, go check out his products ... they look really cool, if you're in this as a business and not a hobby. If I get one, I'll let you know how it works for me!

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Genki Ginkgo Table Runner pattern page

Genki Ginkgo Table Runner Pattern
approximate finished size: 16"x40"

Bring the Japanese concept of “genki” (“vigor, energy, or vitality”) to your table with this simple appliquéd quilt. Pattern includes full-size templates, several alternate arrangements of the leaves, plus instructions on an easy way to finish the quilt with a traditional Japanese quilting pattern known as “counterweights.”

A person with average sewing skills should be able to finish this project in about three naptimes (six hours).

Photos from the pattern -

quilting the appliques

marking the background quilting designs

Pattern includes illustrated instructions, a full-size template for the appliques, and suggestions for additional variations on the project. It is packaged in a resealable plastic bag (6"x9"), ready to hang and sell.

Wholesale price: $3.50/pattern
Suggested retail price: $7-$9, or whatever the market will bear in your area

Free shipping on your first order! Shipping charges for subsequent orders will be the actual charges for USPS Priority Mail to your destination.

I am willing to make free samples to display in your shop, if you are willing to provide the materials. Please contact me for more information on this service.

For more information or to place an order, please contact Gretchen Woods at Lazy Mama Designs: lazymamadesigns (at) yahoo (dot) com.

NEW!! You can also place orders through my shop at - just convo me with a request, including the number of patterns you'd like to buy, and I can post a custom listing for you at the wholesale price.Thank you for your interest, and I hope to hear from you soon!

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Product review - more handmade kid toys!

One of the things I like about etsy is that sometimes I am able to find less-expensive versions of toys I see in catalogs. That was the case with the silkies I bought from Beneath the Rowan Tree. I had seen similar scarves in several of the higher-end, granola-friendly toy catalogs, but I finally decided to get them after finding them (slightly) cheaper and handmade.

Basically, it's a set of six different colors of silk scarves, each about a yard square. It doesn't sound like much, but put those in the hands of a two-year-old ("I'm two-and-a-half, not TWO!!!!!") who has recently discovered her imagination, and you'd be surprised to see what happens.

I've been waiting to post this until I could get the video uploaded, because it really helps you understand what a great toy these are. This was what she came up with in the first 20 minutes we played with them:

Since then they've been wrapping paper, and a giant pool to jump into, and giant fish in the giant pool, and a wig, and flags, and ... And this is all since Saturday night. Score!
This is another gift I could have made ... after all, they're just squares of fabric with rolled hems. Hear that? Rolled hems. As in, "those curse-inducing banes of my existance any time I deal with sheer fabric" rolled hems. Thank you, but I'll pay someone else to roll them for me, and dye them, too, while they're at it :)

Monday, January 07, 2008

Heart Happy Wall Hanging Quilt pattern page

Heart Happy Wall Hanging Quilt pattern
Finished size: approximately 32”x32”

A little bit of piecing, a little bit of raw-edge appliqué, a little bit of quilting – this project has something to make any quilter’s heart happy in record time!

A person with average sewing skills should be able to finish this project in about three naptimes (six hours).

Photo from the pattern - pinning and cutting the appliques.

Pattern includes illustrated instructions, a full-size template for the appliques, and suggestions for additional variations on the project. It is packaged in a resealable plastic bag (6"x9"), ready to hang and sell.

Wholesale price: $4.00/pattern
Suggested retail price: $7-$9, or whatever the market will bear in your area

Free shipping on your first order! Shipping charges for subsequent orders will be the actual charges for USPS Priority Mail to your destination.

I am willing to make free samples to display in your shop, if you are willing to provide the materials. Please contact me for more information on this service.

For more information or to place an order, please contact Gretchen Woods at Lazy Mama Designs: lazymamadesigns (at) yahoo (dot) com.

NEW!! You can also place orders through my shop at - just convo me with a request, including the number of patterns you'd like to buy, and I can post a custom listing for you at the wholesale price.

Thank you for your interest, and I hope to hear from you soon!


Sunday, January 06, 2008

I'm done. I think.

There's some more quilting that could be added, but I'm not sure it should, so I'm going to bed. Sneak peeks after I get some sleep, y'all.

And in the midst of my late-night sewing frenzy, I came up with my next idea, which is possibly book-worthy. I've been biding my time, waiting for a book-worthy project to hit me before I bothered to research the whole craft publishing biz. Looks like I've got some catching up to do ...

Saturday, January 05, 2008


So I've been working for the past week on developing a new quilt pattern to roll out in January, and I've got the sample made and the text written and the photos finished and I've printed out the first copy to proofread ... and then last night it occurred to me that I've been meaning to make a Valentine's Day version of the Simple Snowflake pattern, and if I want to be able to sell it this year, I'm going to have to pull some late nights to get the sucker done, since I haven't even started it yet.


Good thing I already had some Valentiney prints in my stash, and I had a chance to run over and get some coordinating fabrics without the two-year-old who likes to play hide-and-seek at Joann's, and Jason's going over to a friend's house tonight and won't be home until 2am. Can you say, marathon quilting session? I can!

Friday, January 04, 2008

Just a quick promo for a fellow etsyian

I don't know if I've mentioned it here, but we're renovating our kitchen starting on Monday. "Gutting" is the word that comes to mind, as does "demolishing" and "fixing the stupid things the original builders got wrong."

This means that over the past two weeks I've had to devote valuable craft time to packing up stuff in the kitchen ... and living room and dining room, since we have to move everything in there to paint and install hardwood floors. This happened, of course, AFTER we had gotten rid of all the moving boxes from this spring. Oops.

But a fellow Clevey just finished a move and was looking to get rid of a whole bunch of boxes ... so VirtualLori hooked me up with something like 30 copy paper boxes, plus a whole mess of food cartons and boxes. The first minivan load took care of loading out all the books and dining room stuff; the second load is currently being used to build forts in the living room while I finish cooking a few last things this weekend. Then, it's off to the basement with just about everything from the kitchen, and I get to learn various take-out numbers by heart over the next six to eight weeks.

Where am I going with this? In addition to her freelance day job, oversight of the ClevelandHandmade web site and blog, and willingness to share her cardboard, VirtualLori has REALLY cool jewelry for sale on her etsy site.

As a "thank you" for the boxes, I'd love to send some business her way - or at least some extra hearts for her shop. Show her some love, will ya? And if you buy anything, tell her the Cardboard Queen sent you :)

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Simple Snowflakes Table Runner now a class at Quilter's Hive in Newark, DE

So, you want to make a Simple Snowflakes Table Runner, but you think you need a little hand-holding?

Why not drop by the Quilter's Hive in Newark, DE, on January 28th to take the class based on my pattern? Call 302-737-5699 to register.

(Thanks to my father's woodworking friend for seeing this - I never would have noticed it on my own. New Year's Resolution #342 - get on the mailing lists for all of my customers' shops.)

Let there be ...

... light!

Gotta run - there's actual natural sunlight entering my home. Could be the last time for months - and I have a LOT of photos that need to be redone. And some basking to do on the living room floor, if I can get the cats to move over.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Thou shalt not ...

... post smugly before the socks are done, lest ye accidentally start turning the heel on the second one an inch too early and not notice until you've finished the heel and gotten another inch up the leg. Gaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhh. There goes another Battlestar Galactica and two-thirds of a Dirty Jobs.

Working without a net

Yes, that's right - I'm following a pattern that pretty much tells me to "do this until it looks right." Then "do that, but I'm not going to tell you how to do that, you'll have to look it up on your own if you don't already know how."

The result? After four hours (maybe five - one stint was during Pirates of the Caribbean III, which was what, like four days long?) of knitting, I have this much of a pair of toe-up socks:

I managed to do the entire toe up through where you start to turn the heel, all during the pirate movie. The rest was done during two episodes of Battlestar Galactica, if I remember correctly. One and a half episodes of Dirty Jobs with Mike Rowe later, I've got another half of a foot started.

I'm loving this method - you get to do the exciting stuff right away! And when you get to the boring part, you can put it on a spare set of needles, start the other exciting stuff, and work until you get to the boring stuff again, all in the name of "making the cuffs as long as I can with the yarn I have left." And if the boring stuff gets too boring, I can say "well, I needed some anklets, anyway" and stop knitting! And I don't have to haul a pattern around with me, at least once I get the hang of short-rowing the heels.

The only thing I'm not loving right now is the striped pattern I'm doing, which was necessitated by a "they only have enough yarn to make one sock of each color" purchase back in September. Knitting the stripes is fine, but there's not enough contrast between the purple and the variegated yarn so that they actually show up. Oh, well - I know they're there. Plus, still warm, even if not super stripey.

Need more sock yarn. NEED MORE SOCK YARN! Oh, etsyians.......