Focus, man. Watch this.

Posted by on Sep 19, 2014 in Creativity, Failure | 2 comments

When was the last time you were as focused as this woman? Yukie Ota was playing flute at a very intense music competition when a butterfly landed on her face. On her face. This level of focus is an awe-inspiring achievement. I’d like to do more things that require a small fraction of the discipline this required:

[via NextDraft]

Huge Craftsy Sale (My Class Included)!

Posted by on Sep 18, 2014 in Blather | 0 comments

Craftsy’s put all their classes on sale! So today is your lucky day, because not only do you get to load up on really good classes (not just crochet ones, obviously, so poke around!), you also get to see me in this ridiculous photo. Again. (Note: This photo of me is pretty much the only thing I don’t like about this sale. This sale is amazeballs. Craftsy classes are great, and I’m not saying that only because I love the class I teach there.) Go forth, dear readers, and make stuff!

Craftsy Fall Sale

Video: By All Means Create

Posted by on Sep 17, 2014 in Creativity, Mighty Ugly, Why I Love Vancouver | 0 comments

Opus Art Supplies was the sponsor of the Creative Mornings talk I gave last month, and they asked me to be part of a video series they’re doing that’s inspired by something Van Gogh said:


“If you hear a voice within you say you cannot paint, then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.”


Well that’s pretty much perfect, right?

Can I hear that a little louder?

I mean, come on. You want that quote tattooed on your arm, I know it.

Watch the other videos in the series here.

Book Tour Events: Facebook RSVPs

Posted by on Sep 12, 2014 in Books I Wrote, Events | 0 comments

Please soothe my excitement/panic about how soon our book tour is by letting us know if you’ll be coming to our tour events! Leanne has spent hours and hours this week creating events on Facebook so we and our hosts can sorta kinda know how many people to expect. (I know, Facebook. Ugh. But their event feature allows for super easy RSVPs and invitations, so there you have it. Note that the Smithsonian event requires a free ticket.)

A different local artist/maker/thinker will host us at each event! It’ll be a panel-discussion format, so each event will be unique. The discussion will be followed by Q&A and a book signing. I’m so excited about it all! (The three workshops are, obviously, different. Leanne, Betsy and I developed the workshop just for this tour. There will be making and thinking and storytelling [and the option for book-signing].)

Here are the links! Please invite your friends, too!

San Francisco: The Booksmith

Oakland: Diesel Bookstore

San Francisco: Makeshift Society SF workshop (paid registration required)

Portland: Tillamook Station workshop (paid registration required) (no FB event for this one)

Portland: Powell’s Books

Seattle: Creative Arts Center

Vancouver, BC: Hot Art Wet City

Toronto: Textile Museum of Canada

Philadelphia: University of the Arts

Boston: Institute of Contemporary Art

New York: Brooklyn Craft Company

New York: Makeshift Society Brooklyn workshop (paid registration required)

Washington, DC: Smithsonian American Art Museum (free ticket required)

Stories in Stitches

Posted by on Sep 10, 2014 in Writing & Editing | 3 comments

I’ve been working on several editing projects this year, and I’m pleased to let you know about one that’s made its way into the world.

The third volume of Donna Druchunas and Ava Coleman’s Stories in Stitches is a gorgeous book that involves, as you’ve surely guessed, stories to go along with the knitting patterns in the book. The theme of this volume is World Wars I and II, and I had the pleasure of editing a few of the stories. The book is absolutely stunning, filled with historical images. Here are some photos I took of the copy Donna sent me:

Stories in Stitches

Stories in Stitches

Stories in Stitches

Stories in Stitches

Favourite Radio: CBC’s Q

Posted by on Sep 5, 2014 in Creativity | 2 comments

I am, for sure, a big fan of This American Life (I’d be kicked out of my demographic if I weren’t, amiright?). But my favourite radio show is Q. It’s a straight-up mostly-famous-people-and-bands interview show, and I love it because the host, Jian Ghomeshi, is, like, the best interviewer in all the land. Only the most manic, nihilistic, or maybe high-on-something guests seem odd on his show. The rest seem like human beings, and I just find human beings to be so damned interesting, don’t you? Famous people so rarely come across like human beings, and I don’t fault them for that, I fault the shitty interviewers who ask them dumb, ill-researched questions and lack the grace to put their guests at ease.

Q allows interesting people to be interesting. And so the show is downright inspiring, if not also enlightening. It was my daily companion when I was writing Make It Mighty Ugly. I’m not sure I’d have kept my tanks full without it.

The radio show is also recorded on video, and though I’ve never seen the TV show, they’ve just announced that it’ll be launching in some U.S. cities. Here’s a wee video they put together that may, hopefully, convince you to give this show a listen (or a watch):

What’s Your Story Interview and Book Giveaway

Posted by on Sep 3, 2014 in Books I Wrote, Creativity, Failure, Interviews, Mighty Ugly | 0 comments

About a month ago I had the pleasure of speaking with Meighan O’Toole for her podcast, What’s Your Story. We spoke quite a lot about feeling like a freak for any number of reasons, often in the context of various experiences I had with jobs, including those related to and Interweave Crochet. And obviously, we talked about the book. And for the first (only) time in my life, Meighan quoted me to me, which was both unsettling and lovely. Have a listen, eh? If you enjoy it, give it a heart over on SoundCloud or a rating on iTunes – those make Meighan super happy, as they should.

Meighan is giving away two copies of Make It Mighty Ugly over on Instagram – check out her post for simple instructions on how to enter. (If you aren’t on Instagram, perhaps this will be the thing to nudge you to join. It’s wormed its way deep into my heart, such that I now consider it equal to Twitter in the joy I derive from it and in how tremendously useful it is for work. Follow me there, eh?)

Oh, one more thing about the podcast. We talked about how problematic I find it when people attribute their successes to luck, and we briefly – too briefly – touch on the topic of privilege. Privilege is certainly a factor of luck, and it’s an important thing to consider when assessing one’s particular circumstances. I’ve become quite comfortable taking credit for my successes while also acknowledging the factors I have no control over, but I also experience all things in my life through the prism of some pretty undeniable privilege. I’m a straight white woman from a middle-class background who lives in a country with guaranteed healthcare. Each of these factors – and countless others, to be sure – contributes to the kinds of opportunities I’m presented with and to my ability to seize them. It’s important to think about this, because when I say things like, don’t attribute your successes to luck – you’ve earned them, I say it knowing that some people really do have more luck than others; more importantly, some people have considerably less luck.