Welcome to my new fiber crafts blog! I suppose I should start with an introduction…

I'm Melanie Richards, a Seattleite who has worked on the web in various and sundry roles (design, web development, platform program management). Like a lot of information workers, I spend a lot of time staring at screens and producing intangible outcomes. And like many others, I find it important to balance screen time with hobbies in the physical world. Part of this involves hiking along many of our local trails…

…and a big part of it is making things with my hands.

I actually picked up weaving a few years ago when I was feeling stressed about work and needed something to keep my hands busy. I watched a couple YouTube videos, made a hideous-looking tapestry, and later took a workshop with Natalie Novak (who very graciously answered my peppered questions). My favorite item I've woven is probably this eggy tapestry:

A tapestry of fried eggs on a navy background. The yolks are puffy, made of rya loops.

My first entry into knitting came from a gift card for 1:1 instruction at (now retired) Bad Woman Yarn. I learned English-style knitting from the owner, so I've mostly made larger/smaller rectangles, very slowly. My favorite rectangle is a blanket I made as a wedding present for my sister and brother-in-law:

A knitted blanket in neutral earth tones, in large stripes along the bias

As for sewing, I grew up in a hobbyist quilter's home, surrounded by homemade things. I haven't actually sewn too many things (this was a once-in-a-blue-moon hobby), but having a sewing machine really came in handy early in the pandemic when the demand for masks outstripped supply.

Goals for my fiber hobbies

For each of these 3 hobbies I'd like to level up in some way:

  • Weaving: I'd like to do large-format projects! I have a rug loom from Balfour & Co. and plan to take their rug-weaving course.
  • Knitting: I want to sew something other than rectangles (though I did knit a coffee cozy in the round before…it turned out ok). Specifically I'd like to try making a hat, socks, and *gulp* even a sweater. I am so intimidated by the idea of knitted items that really need to fit. Just have to do the gauge properly I suppose…
  • Sewing: I'd really like to step up my sewing game! I upgraded my machine a few months ago from an old, bottom-of-the-line machine that wasn't really serving me anymore. There's a lot of things I'd like to do here: quilt, make some practical goods for around the house/my other hobbies, and especially some clothes. It would neat if most of my wardrobe is handmade someday, but miles to go between here and there.

Goals for this blog

Primarily I'd like to document my progress all in one place for my own reference. I wouldn't call myself the most prolific crafter, but looking back on my earliest makes, I can already see the progress. I think it would be neat to capture that all in one place, in finer detail.

There's a really great and joyous community around these crafts, so I'd also like to participate in that culture of open learning. The community tends to be pretty heavily centered around Instagram today, so I'll post there as well. However, it's important to me to own my content, so that no matter where the community moves—e.g. if people finally get fed up with Instagram's demanding algorithm—I'll have that throughline. And honestly, I hope indie blogging does make a significant comeback.

That's me in a nutshell, looking forward to sharing what I make here! ✌

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