Crafts I Want to Punch in the Face

comments (49) March 23rd, 2009     

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Jen_W Jennifer Worick, contributor
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More than one badly drilled gemstone has made me bananas.
Nothing chaps my sewing hide as much as running out of thread on my bobbin just as Im finishing a seam.
More than one badly drilled gemstone has made me bananas.

More than one badly drilled gemstone has made me bananas.

Photo: Jennifer Worick

In between the crafting and book writing, I’ve been having a blast writing my new humor blog, Things I Want to Punch in the Face. The best part of it is that it’s gotten my creative juices flowing. Isn’t that the best feeling? Feeling in a groove, inspiring yourself with your handiwork? When I’m struggling with a manuscript or a complicated craft project, which is pretty much all the time, I break and shoot off a diatribe of black humor.

A friend was concerned that writing a dark blog would make me toxic and negative. In fact, it’s had the opposite effect. It makes me supremely happy, especially when I get feedback from friends and strangers. I know I’m producing something unique, something that perfectly channels one of my many voices and perspectives. It’s not unlike making a new craft, something that draws upon your skills and takes them to the next level. When I mastered a cabled sweater, I was jazzed. When I used a torch to fuse silver, I felt a thrill down my spine. And when I write something that resonates with me, I am creatively sated…at least for the moment.

But there’s a lot of bad writing and bad crafting in my world. It got me to thinking about the crafty stuff that I want to punch in the face, the things that send me over the edge…at least for the moment.

Here are my top ten craft things I want to punch in the face. I hope you’ll add to the list.

10. Lack of storage space. I live in a small one-bedroom apartment. Consequently, craft supplies are squirreled away under the bed, in kitchen drawers and cabinets, behind the couch, in the linen closet, in the entertainment center, you name it. I keep trying to feng shui. My craft supplies keep protesting, even when they are in the creative area.

9. Everything’s a hazard. Because I live in a tiny space crammed with crafting supplies, my friends with kids can never come over (even I feel at risk some of the time). Little ones could choke on a bead or button, suck on some tacky glue, or find a creative way to injure themselves if our eyes aren’t peeled. So I always visit their playpens.

8. Ripping out stitches.
Whether it’s knitting or sewing, I hate undoing work, no matter if it took me two hours or ten minutes.

7. Unrealistic requests.
I’m an alterations and repair one-stop shop. I love helping noncrafty friends when I can, but sometimes they don’t realize just how much work or time goes into something. I’ve been asked to replace the backing on a quilt, knit a shawl, knit a sweater, patch a sofa, make drapes, and reline a winter coat. I guess I should be flattered they think so much of my abilities.

6. Knitting at the wrong gauge.
I am lazy and impatient but after knitting too many giant or Munchkin-sized garments, I’ve learned to swatch for any new yarn or pattern.

5. Running out of bobbin thread. D’oh! I always think I can finish one last seam before I run out of thread in the bobbin. I am always wrong.

4. Beads that aren’t drilled properly. I’ve learned my lesson, but I have bought a lot of semiprecious gems that weren’t drilled through or drilled straight. I couldn’t get cord or silver wire through the hole. These days, I always try to feed SoftFlex or 26-gauge wire through before buying.

3. Disappearing tools.
I’ve loaned out a torch or pliers or a Dremel tool for a friend’s project, never see it again.

2. Multiplying materials. On the flip side, I often duplicate tools and materials when I’m out and about. I forget what size knitting needles I have at home when gathering materials for a new project at the yarn shop. I buy beads I’m pretty sure will match the gorgeous pendant on my bead board, only to find the shades or sizes are off.

1. Price questioning. It sucks when I underprice a handcrafted item because I don’t value my time and skill. It’s even worse when I finally ask a fair price and it’s questioned by chuckleheads.

What irritates you about crafting?

Or does it always bring you bliss?

In the future, you can find me at my website or blogs, Things I Want to Punch in the Face and Prairie Tales. My new book, Backcountry Betty: Crafting with Style, is in stores now.

posted in: storage, tools, irritations, pricing, peeves

Comments (49)

Nodan writes: The beads are very cute, this post is very helpful for me,thx
Posted: 2:35 am on June 26th
queenietoo writes: What gets me is when you have a person who always offers your services for free anf when you tell them you have something else to do they get all bent out of shape, like you asked them to schedule all these project for you in the first place or how about the person that saw your work and needed you to do something for them at a reduced price and you did and then they take pictures of your work and put it in their portfolio as if they did the work, oh and to top it off when somebody asks them to make one of the projects in their potfolio that you made, they come back and try and get you to do it for them at a reduced priced and sell it for more then they paid") OMG") and don't forget the person that brought one of your projects and then took it home and took it apart to try and see just how you made it and then want to return it because now they think they can do it for themself lol what a mess.
Posted: 7:39 pm on August 26th
BrassMonkeyOriginals writes: What harshes my artistic bliss? Mostly other artists who sell their work super cheap, with free shipping and a freebie in every package. Normally, I wouldn't care if someone undermined their business, or only wanted to make enough to stay in supplies, but with online venues becoming a dime a dozen, the "dollar store" artists make it harder on the rest of us who actually want to make a living from it. Not only do they undercut other sellers, but they also give the impression to perspective buyers that they shouldn't have to pay much for art...that since we're doing what we love, we don't actually care if we make any money at it or not.
Posted: 4:59 am on October 10th
Nicksnouna writes: Crafters Block get the punch in the face from me. I pick up items that I think I can use and then I get blocked for months! What gives? I'll also punch missing scissors, the tact issue, not charging enough, ungrateful family members, and
not thinking my crafts are worthy enough. Maybe I just like my designs so much I don't want to part with them...
Posted: 3:21 pm on September 30th
gnarlyis3 writes: The sewing patterns are so punchable - they make them to be cat magnets and they are so fragile that the wind will take them and make them chaseable and shred so satisfyingly under the claws. They also wrinkle horribly and need to be ironed to get them to lay flat enough to cut properly to shape sometimes and yet when I iron them the wrinkles want to catch under the point of my iron.
I was at a craft fair and saw one woodworker who had a beautifully carved sign that said, "Sure you can make one yourself but WILL YOU?" It ticks everyone off to hear other people say that they can do the same thing backwards and in their sleep.
It's started to annoy me when I send people who live far away gifts for events (babies, Christmas, etc) and they can't be bothered to pull out their camera or phone and email a photo of them or their kid with the gift let alone mention that it arrived.
I've become less bothered by people who want things 'donated' or wonder why I don't sell them when, after they approach the subject, I immediately jump in and explain that people aren't willing to pay what it costs for handwork unless it is from a famous designer or artist. It just takes too long to do even small jobs so I just do occasional gifts for family at special events. I've never had anyone want to continue on with the subject. Plus - I get the feeling that if some of these people really wanted the items they think I ought to do then they should be more interested in spending their time learning to do them. That they aren't so interested in investing their time makes me think that they don't really value either the item nor my time. It used to really wind me up but I know that it was really only me that got hurt by it - the people who were offending me were blissfully wandering off unaware that they had said anything atomic while I slouched around gathering a stress headache going over and over how punchable that person was.
I'm becoming more frustrated at how stores are becoming more polarized toward fads. Fabric stores that used to have a decent selection of wearable fabrics now are 70% quilting cottons with another 20% - 25% home decor. It would be fine if there were some stores specializing, but with no stores in the area that have wearable fabrics - just polar fleece and wedding fabrics when wearables are to be found - it is necessary to shop online rather than support local merchants.
The online scam shops! They are all supremely punchable and thank God that guy got hauled away by the cops before he ran my credit card! It was the first and last time I shop at a place that I haven't researched well.
and finally - way way too many ideas for the time I've got.
Posted: 6:07 pm on August 3rd
nancur writes: I live in a 4 bedroom house, kids grown and still don't have enough space! Whatever space you have, you fill to the brim.

Can't agree enough about the fabric stores (or lack thereof). I remember when fabric stores carried fabric that you could actually make very nice clothing out of. Today, unless I want to look like I should be part of a quilt or a blanket-there is nothing.

Also agree with "you should quit your job and do this or that". Thanks for the career advice-I never would have thought that was remotely possible unless you had told me.
Posted: 9:24 pm on July 18th
Jewelles writes: oi I really hate china making all the beads.. findings and USA bead sellers putting together a bunch of pretty lampwork beads knowing they came from china they didnt make them!
bead sellers sellin pearls and showin one side and the back side is ugly. sure they give credit sending them back but I have to pay for the shipping! cheaper to keep them. Or china making polymer roses and taking away my income. grrrr or how about bying beads at walmart with Swarovski crystals in silvertone sliders that are so beautiful only to learn that they had lead in them and having to ask the jewelry I made with them back cause I was so worried. I cant work this is my income and where others should say wow that is beautiful not wondering how to creat it and run me out of business by mass producing it in a country that limits the birth of children. how can our government put us inventers of craftiness to the wolves like that .. ok thats about it lol whew I do feel better ty darlin!
Posted: 9:39 pm on July 14th
Jen1964 writes: Right along those lines are the people who come up to you and ask,
"Do you sell your work?"
It's that or some attempt to convince you that you're work quality is marketable. I've never been able to find a dodge for that question, and my diplomatic answer, "Sometimes" just doesn't placate their type.
I feel like asking them what they'd charge per hour, for a project of this length. Let them alone to figure it out for a while. When their expression changes to one of enlightened shock, see if they're open to changing the conversation topic!
Posted: 2:23 pm on June 15th
DamarisA writes: When you get people who think that the price that you give them for a certain project that they want you to make is too pricey. Then they go and buy it from another person triple the price. Those are people who don't value the hard work of the person who has made something beautiful for you. They just need to be left alone.
Posted: 9:47 am on May 22nd
kaazan writes: I am so tired of fabric stores now being the "all things Craft stores" (Are you listening Joanne's?). So now that you have reduced your fabric inventory to four bolts of fabric and three of them are polar fleece, what are those of us who actually make more than new sew tie quilts supposed to do for supplies.

Oh, and PLEASE stop hiring people to work at J's and Mike's (our only choices) who do not know the difference between a heat gun and a hair dryer. I am tired of giving free sewing lessons at the cutting table.


Posted: 9:40 pm on May 2nd
Fair_Leia writes: People who say, "I did something like this in my high school jewelry class, only mine was bigger." And that is pointing to basically a piece of lace pierced in silver. Oh, please, dear passer-by, can I buy your high school masterpiece and sell here?
Posted: 6:10 am on April 21st
LITPROFNY98 writes: Hi,

It sounds somewhat self-serving, but I dislike finding a great new craft or reading about a new tool, and not being able to find it in the local store. I call it "being ahead of the crafting curve small-town-itis." For several months, I look and look for what I want (oops, I mean need!) in the local Michaels store and finally give up. Six months later - there it is! I know, what about the Internet, you ask. Yes, I can often find what I am looking for, but sometimes I just have to see the item, especially if it involves color (yarn, paint) or texture (yarn, scrap-booking materials).
On the other hand, I can beat myself up for not being able to make something look the way it is "supposed" to look. I watch the TV show, or read directions in a book, or watch Internet site video, and it looks so simple and so great. When I make it, yuck! If I want to feel really bad about my ability, I watch Martha Stewart and make one of the "oh, so easy" items. Not!!
Posted: 12:41 pm on April 11th
soyzicks writes: i know i am new to this but i have lots of things around my house also making walking through like my very own maze

i also live in a 1 bedroom and have 3 kids making it 4 of us all together

STORAGE SPACE is what i would like to comment on and my solution to my problem
in the kids room since i took over their closet i gave them bookcases to put clothes/shoes on and other treasures they might have

with the kids having bookcases i was then able to lay shelving (white plastic covered wire shelving from closet maid) across 2 bookcases creating a loft for storage
it helps that i am short at 5ʻ3" and the ceilings are 7ʻ tall --- lots of extra unused space
this also creates caves or walk in closets --- whatever their imagination can come up with
Posted: 7:20 pm on April 6th
ksun writes: I want to punch lack of storage space in the face, and also items with multiple uses...what category should I store it in? ore worse: what category did I store it in.

I will invest in a great sewing machine so I dont have to punch tension in the face, but not proper shelving! go figure.

And to dgoddess about your mural: The jokes on your friends sister, who obviously doesn't have the class to know what she's missing. Every time you walk into your nursery you can say "this is awesome, and I have the good sense to know it!".

I try not to forget that we do these things for ourselves not for approval from others.

Happy crafting!
Posted: 6:25 pm on April 3rd
JennieC writes: LOL. These are so funny. I don't have anything original to add. But, I was just inspired to think up a semi-solution to the bobbin issue. If I know the project will require more than one, why not wind two or three at the beginning? Doh. At least that saves rethreading the top thread.

And the people who suggest that I should quit my job to sell my work? Riiiiight - that would likely mean cutting my pay to about 1/5th - soooo realistic.
Posted: 10:17 pm on March 31st
stuffmonkey writes: The craft item I want to punch in the face is tissue paper patterns. If I don't tear them tring to open up the sheets that you need six feet long arms to undo then i tear them pinning the to the fabric or trying to cut them. By the time I get done taping them togeather, I could use the patterns for clothes.
Posted: 8:56 am on March 29th
lunarfool writes: hey while you are at it could you pleas knit me a couch????
shouldn't take up too much of your time, and should easily fit into your apartment, can you knit plaid????? har har har!!!
thanx for the article
i have a hard time finding the time and space at the same time.
Posted: 8:22 pm on March 28th
ohnoshesews writes: ugh...poor lighting in my cramped up apartment and living in a small rural town with NO good fabric/craft stores. Oh.. and here's another one... when my husband uses my sewing shears to cut something other than fabric (like cardboard or aluminum foil) and the worst thing yet.... people telling me that they can buy the same thing at Wal-Mart or Target and not have to "mess with doing it themselves". ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?! See if they get a HAND quilted baby blanket or HAND crocheted sweater from me ever again!!!!

Posted: 5:53 pm on March 28th
QittCatt writes: Things about crafting that I want to punch in the face:
-Needle threaders that just don't work.
-Fabric that frays, even when you think it won't.
-When your sewing machine decides the fabic is too thick and refuses to sew.
-Having too many ideas and not enough time!
-And definately when people ask you to make things so they can buy them and then when you do, they don't..... argh!
Posted: 4:41 pm on March 28th
donnajohn writes: I want to punch sewing machine tension in the face. And crammed workspaces. And not finding things after I tidy up and put them away. And I especially want to punch big commercial sewing pattern makers in the face for the thinnest tissue paper in the world, markings that are impossible to read, and teensy weensy pictures and print.
Posted: 1:17 pm on March 28th
PhoenixSun writes: It bugs me when people think that without experience, they can just waltz into a craft supply store, file for a business registration number, and start a business. Now, there are people that absolutely can do this, but it's the people that are producing low-quality goods, charging an arm and a leg for it and making good crafting go bad.
Posted: 10:06 am on March 28th
PhoenixSun writes: It bugs me when people think that without experience, they can just waltz into a craft supply store, file for a business registration number, and start a business. Now, there are people that absolutely can do this, but it's the people that are producing low-quality goods, charging an arm and a leg for it and making good crafting go bad.
Posted: 10:06 am on March 28th
auntgin42 writes: This is so true!!! I have a tendency to toss the "problem" craft item across the room and make it stay there for a while until it decides to cooperate. Thanks for the laughs!
Posted: 11:28 pm on March 25th
GrapefruitGeek writes: Ahh, the ripping out knitting stitches sends me through a WALL. I have learned not to make projects that rely heavily on proper gauge or have complicated co-dependent pattern repeats, because I will inevitably mess it up, and despise going back. Many a project I have left as is, and convinced myself that they're reminders of 'Don't Do This Again' on the other sock or glove or somesuch.

I'm also with dgoddess on the wall muraling. I'm an artist, so I constantly get request from friends of 'well can you paint this on my wall?' Because they definitely don't understand how much time and work and money it takes to paint a mural.
Posted: 2:33 pm on March 25th
MizzKodak writes: The thing I hate the most is lack of space and ungrateful people. I spend a lot of time making things they asked me to and when they don't wear it or say thank you it burn me. Another thing is I wish there were more craftsters around my area.
Posted: 11:07 am on March 25th
Memmay writes: Oh, People who admire your work and then ask you to make some of your items and then they will pay you. When you actually put a price on an item, suddenly they have a mother or an aunt who can make it for them. And the price will barely cover materials, with a little extra for maybe a food item at the grocery store. People seem to think that your specialty craft items are made in an instant and it takes no talent or intelligence to be creative! I make little infant sleepers with embroidery for women in our church who are expecting babies. The embroidery can take up to four hours, depending on the design. I can't work out of the home because of my health, and to advertise and try to sell on the auction sites is not profitable. I am praying eventually I will get in orders. So far, all I've gotten is lame attempts to get me to create more and to give them away. I am charitable in many things, but I am also worthy of my work when it's required of me. But alas, God does supply all my needs and I am thankful for this talent gift He has given to me. Pray for me that God will show me His will in this area. Am I suppose to give everything away? Thanks for listening!
Posted: 9:26 am on March 25th
dgoddess writes: Ya'll are crackin' me up. How is it that we all can have the same pet peeves and none of our friends or family realize how insenisitive they are? Another fun thing I remembered- the craft show snob- the one that looks at a piece and says "that's ridiculous. It's homemade for Chr!$t's sake!" Whila standing there in a $480.00 pair of Old Gringo boots. Bite my Aunt Fanny you spoiled Gritch. and P.S. gett steppin' in those fancy pants of yours. See Ya!!
Posted: 9:18 am on March 25th
Miba writes: Yes, deffinately the bobbin thing.

And ripping out stitches! I really, really hate doing that. When I see a mistake I sit there and go, "Is it really that bad? Maybe no one would notice if I just left it like this." But I usually rip it anyway.

I also hate button holes. My machine really sucks at doing them and can only do them right less than half the time. And my hand-sewing is pretty bad. So either way it looks like an eight-year-old did it!
Posted: 5:33 pm on March 24th
susanstars writes: I hate the empty bobbin moment! my new sewing machine won't wind them while you sew (unlike my old basic nothing-special model which was great for that) and thankfully I got a Sidewinder... but it is still maddening!

I also hate re-threading my serger and most of all when the long skinny virtually invisible wire needle thing is nowhere to be found. Serging stresses me out, when it goes wrong it's a nightmare.
Posted: 4:43 pm on March 24th
georgiamarbles writes: I TOTALLY TELATE TO THE EMPTY BOBBIN!!EVERYTIME IAM IN A HURRY AND THINK I CAN DO THIS!! THE BOBBIN RUNS OUT OF THREAD AND IT SOUND LIKE A SAPCE SHIP ABOUGHT TO TAKE OFF WHEN I FILL IT CAUSE I AM SPEEDING!!lol
Posted: 1:49 pm on March 24th
BarbaraLou writes: Hahahaha! This is great. Mine is with the space issue and the missing tools, except that its me! I will get tired of the clutter and rearrange, and then I can't find anything, so basically I just hid it from myself. Ugh. Umm, also people who think I am a miracle worker with alterations, etc. And of course, finishing a crochet project, cutting the yarn, and then seeing where I screwed up a stitch....I can't believe there aren't more craft people in asylums somewhere.
Posted: 12:51 pm on March 24th
LindaPermann writes: how about friends who don't want to take a craft class you're teaching because you could just teach them for free? sigh.
Posted: 11:59 am on March 24th
tequello writes: Oh my gosh! You are so spot on with your list. I think the one that peeves me the most is the unrealistic requests by friends/family. I had made a bunch of fingerless gloves to sell during Christmas (and I was giving some away as gifts too) and my sister not only takes a pair for herself, but also tell her boyfriend to come over and choose a pair. AND NEVER PAID ME! Then she has the gall to tell me the week after that she lost one of them, while she's chuckling. As if she got them from the 99cent store and they didn't cost or matter that much. *Fuming*

Ok, I'm done :) God - that felt good!
Posted: 11:39 am on March 24th
jannypie writes: oh geez, so sorry about the duplicate posts, i kept getting an error. *blush*

i'd like to punch internet errors in the face too
Posted: 10:47 am on March 24th
jannypie writes: love it.

how bout
-wrist tendonitis
-customer revisions that take as much work as the original
-crafters block
-bunched bobbin thread and skipped stitches
-sewing machine tension in general

Posted: 10:46 am on March 24th
jannypie writes: love it.

how bout
-wrist tendonitis
-customer revisions that take as much work as the original
-crafters block
-bunched bobbin thread and skipped stitches
-sewing machine tension in general

Posted: 10:45 am on March 24th
jannypie writes: love it.

how bout
-wrist tendonitis
-customer revisions that take as much work as the original
-crafters block
-bunched bobbin thread and skipped stitches
-sewing machine tension in general

Posted: 10:45 am on March 24th
twinmint writes: Coolest article title ever!
Posted: 10:42 am on March 24th
susanstars writes: ugh, so many of these hit home. I'll add: placing an online order, or leaving the craft store with my bag of stuff, and suddenly realizing the next day that I need one more crucial thing that would have been so easy to pick up in the same trip.

I was at the giant JoAnn just yesterday and what do I desperately need today? Tissue paper!
Posted: 11:01 pm on March 23rd
ritadona writes: 1. Knitting/Crochet/Sewing Patterns with errors. Doesn't anyone proofread them/try them out first before sending them off to be done by starry-eyed, trusting dopes like me?
2. Yarn snobs who practically roll their eyes when I walk up with the balls of inexpensive cottons instead of the 15 dollars a skein South American Alpaca.
3. Stores that have every other size hook or needle but the one I'm looking for.
4. Pressing seams.
5. Loop turners.
6. Having to make my own bias tape...

Gah! I need to stop because I'm getting all ticked off! Gah!

Posted: 10:41 pm on March 23rd
bo_beesha writes: I could identify with almost all ten, but especially number 7! Maybe it's my own fault-- maybe I talk up my own skills too much. Maybe it's because 4 times out of 5 when I'm complimented on an article of clothing or a piece of jewelry my reply is, "Thank you! I made it!"

But I feel like a grudgey, grumpy, resentful person when I'm asked to make necklaces for an entire wedding party or hem 7 dresses in one night.
Posted: 9:05 pm on March 23rd
samsstuff writes: Yes, for me it's the people who say "Oh, I can do that" or...well I won't go there. The lack of space thing too & yeah, pretty much everything else on the list!Yikes...
Posted: 8:49 pm on March 23rd
brookebethany writes: How about I finally get my schedule cleared to get into the studio. I have a great idea, the juices are flowing, I'm in the groove. STOP! I have to make dinner.
Posted: 8:13 pm on March 23rd
Softflexgirl writes: Missing scissors. I have a million pair of scissors and I can never seem to find a pair when I need them? Where, oh where do all of the scissors go?!
Posted: 8:12 pm on March 23rd
szyhomemaker writes: And bobbins...I want to punch all bobbins in the face.
Posted: 5:27 pm on March 23rd
szyhomemaker writes: How about the fact that I can't sell my gorgeous designer-quality childrens items on etsy for less than they're worth but people can sell keds adorned with lace and rhinestones (ala bedazzler) for almost $100 and tumbleweeds (yes, the kind of tumbleweeds that get stuck under your car) for $40 all day long!
That and the people who say "you should sell those!" but then never buy them from me.
Posted: 5:25 pm on March 23rd
Jen_W writes: Ah, the tact issue. I feel your pain, dgoddess.
Posted: 1:14 pm on March 23rd
Belladatura writes: Totally agree with dgoddess! Can't tell you the number of times people have said "Oh, I can do that!" Really? Then get away from me and go do it. "Oh, you must have a lot of time on your hands!" No, not any more. “Oh, you must have a lot of patience!” No, no I don’t. ‘Eff off.
Posted: 12:58 pm on March 23rd
dgoddess writes: People with no tact- When you have spent the past 4 months painting a mural in the nursery. A really labor intensive-looks like it came out of the theater and jumped on your wall-custom everything kinda job and one of your daughters friends says "OMG my sister did this exact same thing in her nursery". Then when you see the sisters nursery it's white walls with a Winnie the Pooh poster and Walmart bedding. Seriously?
Posted: 12:37 pm on March 23rd
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