Archive for the ‘Behind the Scenes’ Category

Halloween at Home

Given that I am a first class Halloween nut, or at least profess to be all the time, I thought I’d offer a little bit of proof by giving you a little peek at Halloween at home with some of the Urban Threads crew.

Welcome to my haunt!

If you ever had a dying curiosity to know what the Crane Wife looked like under blacklight, well there she is in all her glowing glory, hung up on my wall at home. Some of our party guests thought it was just a really involved Halloween decoration. I assured them I’m that weird year round, and it was in fact an art piece.

Some spooky signs I taped over some of our framed prints. Plus a peek at my crazy bunnies collection at home. I think they’ve outgrown that shelf, to be honest.

A lineup of some of the yummies we had at the party, complete with my glowing masks collection.

Recognize the banner? You should, you can learn how to make it.

Finally, I have all kinds of excuses as to why my steampunk windup doll isn’t nearly at the level of awesome as our Featured Project, mostly because I was somewhat distracted by another costume project this month, but really, there should be no excuses.

It was still fun to put together, if a bit rushed at the last minute. Btw, the tights and arm warmers were made with a variation on the tattoo tights tutorial.

My husbands costume was extra rushed, as I was at least weird enough to have a lot of my costume parts already from other costume adventures (that’s my bodice from my wedding!)

His however was made from a thrift store leather jacket, two costume hats put together, and a whole lot of hot glue and duct tape. He’s a steampunk tin solider. He was a very good sport about it.

I also had the good fortune to go visit another Urban Threadsters house before their party (which I actually missed, boo!) and I got some amazing shots of the decor. Yup, we’re all Halloween nuts around here.

The general theme of this party was kind of a dark nature thing. I loved it!

Recognize this design? I think it fits right in with the theme. It was made into a wall hanging using this tutorial.

Finally, our digitizer Danielle (who was an eskimo, to match her yeti husband pictured back left) would like to jump in before we leave and say goodbye. She likes to be subtle about these things.

We had a blast this weekend rockin’ the night away in howling good fashion. I hope you had an equally spooky weekend, the real action starts tomorrow night!

Happy Labor Day Weekend!

Warm weather doesn’t last all that long around here in Minnesota, so we have to take advantage of it when we can. You know what that means…

Skip out on work and have a picnic! Aww yeah.

By the way, that’s what happens when we raid the Embroidery Library projects bin and find all the cookout gear…

So, this afternoon our whole gang, Urban Threadsters and Embroidery Library peeps alike brought some yummy home cooked food and rocked it outside. There were also some epic battles fought over with lawn games.

Hope you all have a good weekend everyone! And don’t forget to get outside and enjoy it while it’s still warm…

Autumn is on its way!

Rescue Response

Ever since we launched this “Pay It Forward” design and idea, we have been touched and blown away by the response and stories we’ve gotten from you. It seems for a lot of you rescue animals are as near and dear to your hearts as anything. From stories of rescues who now rule the roost, to loved pets who have passed on, you’ve shared your comments on the four legged animals who make our lives a little bit more special.

You’ve also taken on the “Pay it Forward” cause valiantly, and pets around the world are sporting new bandannas and shelters are receiving beds and blankets, all because of you! It really is inspiring to see what good just a few people in the world can do with their crafty skills.

Take a peek at a few of the inspiring pups and projects that have shown up as part of the contest…

Sadie 3

july192011 410

Pearl TShirt Full




Urban Contest

These are just a few of the images and entries we’ve received. If you want to see them all, scroll down to the bottom of the post for a flickr gallery of everyone’s entries!

Of course, you guys aren’t the only ones with rescued furballs around. I thought this would be a fun time to share some of the rescued pets from the team at Urban Threads.

You of course all saw my furball from the original post, Keefer, who passed away a few years ago.

Well, it may be pooches that are showing up in droves in the contest, but around here kitties are boss.

This is Karline’s little rescue kitty Socks, who even made a guest appearance on one of our tutorials.

We also have a new artist around here named Caitlin, who predominantly works on Embroidery Library designs, but has tried her hand at a few UT things too! She has a couple rescue kitties. Trixie is on the left, and Lars on the right, who was rescued as a kitten.

You know how they say pets start to resemble their owners after a time? Well, I’ll give you three guesses as to who this neurotic kitty belongs to, but you should only need one…

That is of course Danielle’s cat Nova, and kitty is just about as strange as her owner. In the best way possible of course.  She looks like she’s been caught in a scandalous embrace with Darth, there.

The newest addition to UT’s furry team is a kitty Taylor just adopted from the same shelter I visited with the pups! This is Tootsie, and she seems to be taking to  her new space just fine. Isn’t she pretty?

So, rescue animals, and all pets for that matter, are clearly a big part of life for crafters, even us! It’s fun now and then to do a little something special to bring them into our hobbies, especially when they try so hard on their own by you know, stealing your fabric stash. Or using that new quilt you made as a doggie bed. Might as well show them a little crafty love, right?

Are you still working on your rescue entry? Hurry, you still have time!

Upload your images to our flickr group or e-mail them in to by Sunday the 28th at midnight for your chance to win a $50 gift certificate for your good deeds! Even if you’re just in progress with something, send us a photo of whatever effort you’re working on, and you’ll be entered for your efforts.

Want to see all the entries thus far? Check out this flickr slideshow! And thank you to all who have taken part to make the lives of rescue animals just a little bit better!

A Package…

A package arrived today.

with something rather special inside…

Hmm… where have we seen the likes of this awesome before?

Oh yes..

The Indelible Mr. Gear has sent us a present!

I thought I’d try them on.

Nope. Still not as cool as Marty. One day...

I love my new glasses.

Apparently I think I'm Blade.

In fact, I was not the only one who was a fan. Word got around the office, and soon everyone wanted in.

The hat is a nice touch

Danielle, resident digitizer and gothic queen.

Taylor, fellow artist rockin’ the double shades look.

Colman, our “Master of Skulls,” just had to try them on.

With Calcium!

Erm… our uh, in-office animal cracker consultant?

OK, this is just getting silly…

And let’s be honest.

Nobody wears them quite like Marty.

Thanks so much Mr. Gear! We will (squabble, fight, steal them back and forth, put them on our toys, and wear them) with pride. Want to know a little more about that awesome guy above? Check out his original featured project post. And know that nobody, really, will ever be able to rock them like Marty Gear.

The Instant Design Generator

One great thing I really love about working at Urban Threads is that everyone on the team is always trying to think of new and more innovative ideas for us to try. Themes and styles come from all over and combine in crazy weird ways to bring you exciting and sometimes slightly bonkers new designs. Sometimes, though, our brains just can’t cope with all the possible awesome combinations.

Like on Fridays. After lunch. When all you really want is a nap but what you really need is an idea. You know those days.

Lucky for us, we have a super secret, ultra high tech way of creating new bestselling designs, and today dear readers, we’re going to share our secret with you. Try and contain yourselves, because I present to you…

The Instant Design Generator!!

Behold the Awesome.

Pretty high tech, hu? Those are the best post-it notes money can buy. Or lunch money can buy. Same thing usually.

So how did this start? One enterprising day at lunch, we got into a great conversation about this little video, or what the design world calls “Put A Bird On It!”. Despite the fact that it made the design world cringe and look a little sheepish for awhile, we are not beyond putting birds on things. We’re not too proud to admit it. Nor should you, really, since you guys are the ones buying the birds and presumably, putting them on things.

C’mon, raise your hand if you’ve put a bird on something.

You at the back. Put that hand up.

We also have another phrase around here at the office. It’s called “Put A Gear On It”, and it generally refers to our penchant for making anything and everything Steampunk. If you haven’t noticed, we’ll try steampunk-ing just about anything around here, and to be honest, you guys are to blame. Just when we think we’ve run out of things to steampunk, you always come along and come up with something to add gears to that we never would of thought of.

It’s one of the many reasons we love you guys. You’re just as crazy as we are.

So… put a bird on it… put a gear on it.. what other possibilities exist in the exciting world of design? We set about one lunch break to find out…

I'm a dedicated fan that everything should one day be zombie-ified.

It was just too much fun once we started out. We had two categories: one was random objects and things, the other, stylizations for those things.

Everyone chipped in! Granted, after too long, things started to get weird, and suggestions more and more bizarre. We drew the line at “LOL-cat-ifying” everything for humanities sake. Still, we had faith in our newfangled design generator!

We were sure it would produce glorious things, and we could all take the day off and go eat cupcakes, and soon we’d all be rich and living on yachts. Or something. We might have been a little fuzzy on the details at that point. Too much Red Bull combined with illusions of grandeur might not have been a good match.

So, once everything was written down and sorted accordingly, we arrive at our marvel of engineering, worth I think, a second look:

Notice the quality of craftsmanship, once again. We're schmancy around here.

Let’s try it out…

What has our splendiferous machine produced? Nothing but solid gold bestsellers I assume…

Erm.. hmm. Let’s translate these, shall we?

Gold, surely! Nothing but class all the way. Who wouldn’t want to buy cross stitched bacon?

So, let us test to see how well a few of our ideas translate…

Yup, there they are, in all their glory!

Oh, ok, so the steampunk lolly could use a little work, and I’m not sure Chuck has reached the right level of awesomeness, but I’ m sure there are solid ideas in there somewhere. Perhaps. Maybe.


Ok ok, so the machine needs a little tweaking. But I’m SURE one day, probably after lunch, when I’m out of sugar free Red Bull and in need of an idea, this thing is going to produce sheer awesome-sauce.

You be ready for it…

BTW… any contributing ideas and/or themes? Feel free to submit styles and stuff in the comments (“give it goggles”/ferrets!), and I’ll write them down and add them to the generator.

Together people, we will build the ultimate machine. First embroidery… then, the world!


**I might have had Red Bull today…

Leaving Your Comfort Zone

Every once in awhile, you have to try something new.

Not just new. Something new and exciting and maybe more than a little bit terrifying. But it’s good to do because it pushes you to try new things and see just what you can do with yourself. So in going outside of my comfort zone, this post has nothing to do with embroidery, but does feature a lot of mud.

Pictured: a lot of mud. And maybe some people.

That’s the gang of us after completing a 5k obstacle course called Warrior Dash, in MN. I’ll mention here that I do not run 5k’s. Ever. Normal people who do try 5k’s for the first time usually pick one with less obstacles. And fire. And mud.

Oh, and they don’t usually run them in floofy tutu skirts.

Pictured: a lot of floof. And some skirts. But no mud!

Here’s Danielle and I (our resident crazy digitizer) all prestine and pretty ready to run our race.

aannnd here’s the after….

That’s D and I afterwards with our respective (and crazy) hubbies. Did I mention there was mud?

By the way, I will note that the whole outfit thing started innocently enough. We were all going to wear red/pink. And then D found a crazy 80′s pink floofy prom dress at a thift store. And then she found a red tutu. And then one thing led to another and somehow I was jumping over fire and climbing rope nets in a tutu.

These things happen sometimes.

I suppose as long as you’re trying the whole “new” thing, you might as well add “wearing a tutu while trying to rappel down a giant wall next to a guy dressed as a viking”. Yeah pretty sure I haven’t done that one before.

And you know what? It was awesome. Sometimes, it’s a little thing like trying something you didn’t think you could do, and seeing that actually, you can. And it’s damn fun. And it makes you think…what other crazy things could I try? Maybe even like crazy embroidery things?

Well, the gals at Urban Threads are inspired to try, that’s for sure.

Just maybe this time we’ll skip the tutus.


Well, it was a heck of a weekend, but Convergence has come and gone.

It was my very first year at this geektastic event, and it certainly didn’t disappoint. There were rooms where a dalek served you tea, a zombie den, a masquerade, steampunk galore and lots… I mean LOTS… of nerds.

Exhibit A

Yup, that’s me, dressed to the nines like the nerd I am in our fabulously stitchy Steampunk Coat. My hope was to show just how awesomely geek machine embroidery can be, or at the very least, introduce the geek world to the fact that it exists.

Truth be told, this is really the easiest way to explain what machine embroidery is. At parties when someone asks me what I do, I always struggle to find a clear answer. Saying I’m the Evil Genius of an online alternative machine embroidery company doesn’t usually get me many coherent responses, just usually a lot of blinks and then slow, backward steps. I might as well say I’m the inventor of LOLcats for all the good it does me.

(Though that would be the world’s coolest business card)

So, unless I have some cool stitchy stuff nearby to point to, I’m usually lost. I sometimes do have other stitchy stuff around to reference, but pointing to an embroidered tractor on a trucker hat doesn’t really get me any father into explaining what I do.

See That? That hat? That’s what I do, except absolutely nothing like that at all. Oh blast.

See? It doesn’t help. So, armed with my steampunk-y stitched coat, and a bunch of business cards tucked amongst the goggles on my top hat, I waded into the crowd to try my best. And what a crowd…

Normal everyday office hours around Urban Threads. That's right, we have Iron Man.

The costumes were fantastic. Nerds are so darn crafty, I just love them. You can’t tell in the photo really, but that Iron Man is homemade. Homemade! The crafty skills were endless.

And why pray tell are all my photos in black and white? Well, it could be that we went back in time to the steampunky age and they don’t have color back then.

They have rayguns, but they don’t have color photos. Right.

Or it could be that all I had on me was my iphone camera and they’re really better off this way. Could be that.

As it turns out, actually, nerds are even craftier than you think. SO crafty, that they’ve already heard of Urban Threads! I met these two fantastic ladies while wandering around looking at steampunk goods for sale. They recognized me! I feel so famous. Or it was the coat… either one.

Don’t they look fabulous? We chatted a little and I gave them a card. And then I got a peek of their fabulous stitchery too!

Check it! Urban Threads was representin’ without me even being there. I actually spotted a couple of Urban Threads designs here and there. This was definitely our kinda crowd.

Steampunk Alice in Wonderland. My kinda people.

Plenty of people indeed inquired about the coat and the embroidery. A lot of people assumed I must have bought it. Most had never really heard of machine embroidery, so it was fun to introduce them to it in such a steampunky way. I gave away all the business cards in my hat by the end of the night!

A few people said they had even seen to coat online already, either through Craftster or various blog sharing. It really was great fun to walk around in it and show the world a little of what we do, despite the fact that it was like a billion degrees in the coat. Sometimes, you have to suffer for your art.

Other than enlightening the world a little about the world of embroidery, I had a grand time at places like the house of toast (toast with any three toppings you want… from bacon to sprinkles) getting drinks in a steampunk airship, watching an evil presidential debate between Dr. Doom, the Master, and Mr. Burns, visiting the Willy Wonka Candy Land, running into Voldemort (almost literally), waltzing at the Steampunk Ball, and dancing with a Stormtrooper (who commented here yesterday… hi Mr. Stormtrooper!) Mr. T, and a Jedi.

What, you thought I was kidding abour Mr. T? He's a darn good waltzer.

I’m wondering if stitching up a costume could be a tradition for me every year, it was so much fun! Plus it’s a great exercise to pull out all the stops and see what I can do with our designs.

If so, do say hi to me next year. I’ll be the embroidery covered lass eating bacon-sprinkles-hummus toast in the corner, next to Batman.