featuring guest authors; crafting tips and projects; recipes from food editor and sleuthing sidekick Cloris McWerther; and decorating, travel, fashion, health, beauty, and finance tips from the rest of the American Woman editors.

Monday, September 14, 2015


Molly's Felted Mouse 
The Boston Globe says Molly MacRae writes “murder with a dose of drollery.” She’s the author of the award-winning Haunted Yarn Shop Mysteries, including the newly released Knot the Usual Suspects. Molly’s short stories have appeared in Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine since 1990. Learn more about Molly and her books at her website. She also blogs the first Monday of each month at AmyAlessio’s vintage food and craft blog and on the 23rd of each month at Killer Characters.

Dabbling and Dreaming

The last time I visited Anastasia’s blog, I admitted that I’m a dilettante fiber enthusiast. Yarns and flosses and fabrics call to me, and I’ve dabbled in any number of fiber-related crafts. But due to one thing or another – or two things at once, like a fulltime day job and book deadlines – dabbling and dreaming is about all I have time for. Once upon a time, when I did have time, I did a lot of embroidery and I sewed everything from baby clothes to backpacks to a bridesmaid dress to a teepee to two each of a) fake bear skin rugs, b) six-foot corduroy anacondas, and c) stegosaurus sleeping bags. I’ve done needle felting and quilting and I’ve been taught to knit so many times it’s embarrassing. Plus, I tried my hand at kumihimo braiding, because it has a minor role in Knot the Usual Suspects, the fifth book in my Haunted Yarn Shop Mysteries.

Molly's Counted Cross Stitch 
You’ll see some of my handiwork in the accompanying photographs. I loved working on all of them, but haven’t kept up my skills (such as they were.) There are pictures, somewhere, of my boys in the various sets of pajamas and bathrobes I made them over the years, but organizing photographs is another thing I don’t keep up with.

Molly's Christmas Kaleidoscopes
For the past several years, my nearby sister and I have spent Christmas afternoons doing crafts. Last year we made kaleidoscopes, which turned out way better than we expected. We used instructions from YouTube and from a couple of books I checked out of the library. This year, my sister says she’s found the best craft of all – bagpipes made out of garbage bags and recorders. Cool! I’m sure my husband and the cat can hardly wait. I also hope they’ll be easier to blow than the real thing, because bagpipes take an awful lot of wind.

I do wish I had more time for fiber and fabric crafts these days. Luckily I can enjoy them vicariously while writing the Haunted Yarn Shop Mysteries. Also, I belong to a wonderful group of local fiber artists and they’re kind enough to let me get my fiber fix by drooling and dreaming over their projects.

Knot the Usual Suspects

In the latest from the bestselling author of Plagued by Quilt, Kath Rutledge yarn bombs Blue Plum, Tennessee—and gets tangled up in the mystery of a bumped-off bagpiper.

It’s time for Handmade Blue Plum, an annual arts and crafts fair, and Kath and her knitting group TGIF (Thank Goodness It’s Fiber) plan to kick off the festivities with a yarn bombing. But they’re not the only ones needling Blue Plum. Bagpiper and former resident Hugh McPhee had just returned after a long absence, yet his reception is anything but cozy. The morning after his arrival, he’s found dead in full piper’s regalia.

Although shaken, Kath and her knitting group go forward with their yarn installation—only to hit a deadly snag. Now, with the help of Geneva, the ghost who haunts her shop, Kath and TGIF need to unravel the mystery before someone else gets kilt!

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Lynn Cahoon said...

Love all your craft ideas!

Molly MacRae said...

Thank you! And thanks for dropping by today, Lynn!

cj petterson said...

I collect kaleidoscopes but have never thought about making one. What a great idea. Best wishes for days filled with even greater ideas and super sales of your books.

Molly MacRae said...

Thanks, cj! We had a blast making the kaleidoscopes. They turned out better than we imagined, and we spent a lot of time saying "oooh, look at this, oooh, now look at this!" Kaleidoscopes are magical.

Nancy G. West said...

Molly, Congratulations on Knot the Usual Suspects (love the title.) I'm amazed at all you can do. I think you ought to write a series with protags brother/sister Andrew and Molly MacRae. How could anyone not love that?

KM Rockwood said...

I love your versatility and the way you've incorporated your craft interests into your writing. A writer who grounds his/her stories with things and places he/she really knows often gives an air of realism and authenticity to the work.

When I have time, I do counted cross stitch (which isn't as popular as it used to be, so I am very glad I saved my patterns, etc) and crochet or knit. I have to admit I haven't had my sewing machine out lately.

Angela Adams said...

That mouse is soooo cute!

Molly MacRae said...

Thanks for your kind words, Nancy - and, yes! Wouldn't that be a fun series to do? Andy and I need to plan a writing retreat to do some brainstorming!

Molly MacRae said...

Thanks, KM! I haven't had my sewing machine out in recent years, either. But I've still got a bunch of cross stitch patterns and knitting patters, and keep thinking, "someday"!

Molly MacRae said...

That was my first mouse attempt, Angela! My next mouse attempt will be a little one with a little bed in a matchbox. Thanks for stopping by the blog today!

Vickie Fee said...

I'm currently reading (and enjoying) Knot the Usual Suspects. Love the cover, too. I hope you'll post photos of the trash bag bagpipes!

Molly MacRae said...

Thanks for having me as your guest today, Anastasia. It's always a pleasure to visit Killer Crafts & Crafty Killers!

Molly MacRae said...

There will be photos, Vickie! And if we get any sound out of them, maybe a short video? Ha! Should be fun.