A while back I found the amazing Urban Threads on Instagram. They make super cool, irreverant, tattoo-style hand and machine embroidery designs. My in-laws gave me a great little Brother combo machine for Christmas a couple of years ago, and I’ve been learning how to embroider with it.

The design size for that machine is small, up to 4 x 4″. But it’s been great for learning, and for some other small projects. But this was the first time I wanted to try uploading a design I bought online onto my Brother. I’ve been working with the pre-loaded designs. It’s a little complicated, since that machine doesn’t technically support Macs. For ages I thought this meant I couldn’t buy embroidery designs.

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But then I found a tip that said if you plug your Mac in, it just appears as an external drive with files. This turned out to be true, so finally! I could take advantage of all the cool designs out there.

And this particular design, called Tentacle Tea, jumped out at me when I saw it.

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I’m still writing for GeekMom, but I stepped down as a senior editor back in October. And I’ve actually been working on building a new site with some of the amazing writers and editors from GeekMom. Five other women who are brilliant, creative, technical, progressive, fierce. All of the adjectives. Writing about more than just motherhood, or geek life. The site is called GlitterSquid, and we’re slowly building something the six of us are all really proud of. Something that will grow and take shape while we’re all balancing our busy lives. It’s been incredible.

And so, as kind of a token to show these ladies how amazing they’ve been, not just working on this site together but also for being great friends and support during a tough fall all around, I thought I’d make some little hooplas with this design for each of them.

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I actually learned what a hoopla is during this process–an embroidery, usually hand-stitched but not always, that’s finished and displayed in an embroidery hoop. Which is never a good sign. As soon as I start learning the vocabulary for a new craft I’m done for.

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Each woman got a different color scheme, this royal and orange is mine. Actually, H pulled this one out of the pile for me to hang up in my studio. I finished the backs of the hoops with felt, hand-stitched on (you can tell it’s done by hand because my hand stitching is fairly atrocious).

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And they’ve all made their way around the country to their new owners: Natania, Andrea, Lissa, Marziah, and Ruth. Just a little celebration of our cephalopod mascot, and this crazy cool new venture.