Results tagged “gift ideas” from Fabric.com Blog
Create Kids Couture has blessed us with another delightfully feminine sewing pattern: Allison's Ruffled Pillowcase Dress. They have put a very ruffley spin on the classic pillowcase dress. I love the details that have been added to this favorite dress pattern. A hidden elastic neckline disguised with a fabulous bow that looks like a tied neck. There is also a banded hem and oversized neck ruffle that will delight any aspiring princess.
As always, I put my own spin on it to reflect my love of graphic fabric and bold colors combined with my little girl's love of simple dresses. While I adore the pattern as designed and would swoon to see my girl twirling around in it, getting her into it would have been like wrestling a greased pig. We don't always agree on wardrobe. I lean towards "Oh, this would be so cute on you" and her retorting "but I can run around and climb in this" or just simply "No". I decided that this pattern could fit both of our desires with a few tweaks.
First, I slimmed down the dress and made it into an A-line by taking off 8'' total off the top on both front and back pieces and then angling down to the original hem. I then lined up the armhole pattern pieces on the angle and then free-handed the remaining ½'' or so to the top.
I cut wider bias trim (4'' wide to be exact) for the arm holes in a fluorescent yellow (remnants from my Sewing with Voile post). I also scaled down the ruffle to 3'' wide and twice the length of my new neckline. The ruffle was cut from an organic jersey knit so which is 100% cotton and has a softer drape than the quilting cotton used in the original. A small serged edge was added (just like a rolled hem I removed the finger but did not set my machine settings to rolled hem). I also left one end of the elasticize neckline open to accommodate the loss of the extra fabric. Without this extra fabric my daughter's head would not fit in. So I left the elastic which I loved and made the faux tie useable by first running the elastic into the neck line and then pinning each end 1'' away from the edge and topstitching in lace. This left room to tuck in the raw ends and the ties (which I also made smaller with the finished ties being 10-12'' each) and topstitching in place.
Lastly, I only used one row of shirring because I had already slimmed down the dress and didn't want to make it too tight in the waist. Oh, and I also eliminated the band at the hem and made the neck edge the same material as the dress because I felt with my color choices added something else at the neck or hem would have been too much. I hope you enjoy my changes and the original whether you have a girly girl or a less ruffled girl like mine you can get the perfect pillowcase dress from one great pattern.
If you are looking for a quick monster consider knitting one up from our "oh so cushy" Lion Brand Wool Ease Chunky. That's what I did and it was swift and lovely. I choose one of Dangercraft's many monsters, Claude the Closet Monster (from The Big Book of Knitted Monsters by Rebecca Danger), and paired him with Lion Brand Wool Ease Chunky in Orchid to make him super big. Claude was worked in size 15 US knitting needles and 2 strands held together. I ended up using 4 skeins with plenty left over for a smaller friend. The finished result is approx 24'' tall. It is a very good size for any kid to play with. Claude's eyes and one lone tooth are embroidered on with one strand of yarn and the same tapestry needle I used to close Claude up. I really got into the stuffing. I decided that I wanted my monster to look well fed with a nice tushy so I added extra padding in those areas and then pounded it into shape.
Claude came together beautifully but I am really in love with the yarn. It is so soft and squishy and it was a dream to knit. The best part however is that is machine washable so should any incident befall Claude I can toss him in the washer and he is as good as new. I am quickly growing tired of these new fangled toys that can only be hand washed. Give me a good washable toy any day. Wool Ease is the perfect blend of wool and acrylic so you get the warmth and softness of wool but avoid the itchiness of wool. So Claude can be cuddled close and often without regrets.
Please be careful though I caught Claude climbing out of the crib early the other day with the help of one of his knitted buddies. I am sure he is behind all my missing socks.
Eco-Felt (about 1/8 to ¼ of a yard depending on the size of you bib)
Lace (scrape piece, you can even use several pieces)
A piece of Organza at least 20'' long and 3'' wide for ruffle
Floral Stones (available in most big box stores like Target, Wal-mart, Garden Ridge, maybe even the Dollar Store)
One Chain (You can recycle an old or broken necklace like I did)
Fold a sheet of paper in half and draw out half of your necklace shape on the fold of the paper. I used the bottoms of various glasses to create my 3 circular shapes. Once you have a shape that you dig cut it out on the fold and open it up. That is your pattern for your felt.
Trace your pattern onto your felt and cut out 2 pieces. Set one aside. Fold your ruffle in half and on your remaining piece of felt pin your ruffle onto the wrong side of your felt. I placed mine in a very loose fashion, just sort of tucking here and smoothing there. It is not gathered just sort of tucked in places especially where 2 circles meet. It doesn't need to be perfect. Stitch in place
Add your piece of lace over the right side of your felt and stitch around the edge of your felt using a thread that matches your lace (then if your stitches are off it won't be noticeable). Trim your lace to the edge of the felt; it will curl up a bit making your felt visible.
Next, layout your stones in a pattern you like. You can experiment here with different colors and designs. These stones really catch the light, add color and weight to help your necklace hang well (if it is too light it will flop around and look unfinished). Once you have your pattern glue down your stones using your glue gun (Don't worry about glue strings you can pick them off later).
Figure out the length of chain you need (I pinned my chain onto my second piece of felt and slipped it on and then adjust the length). Hand tack the chain onto your felt and then glue your 2 pieces of felt together, sandwiching your chain and ruffle in the middle.
This necklace looks great with a blazer or over a casual sweater. I love it with my little black dress and a plain white tee. It is my new go-to accessory.
Glitter Twig: To make these clips you will need some small twigs, one package of Martha Stewart Glitter Glue and 2 small hair clips. My inspiration came from this picture I saw in a magazine last year. I loved them instantly and when I heard about our glitter glue I knew it was just the right medium I needed to create my own Twig Hair Clip.
The trick to this hair clip is finding twigs that interest you. Once you have your twigs, clip them into 1'' sections. Cover the twig entirely with 2 coats of glitter glue, allowing time to dry between coats. Once the glue is dry affix the twigs to your hair clips using your glue gun.
Pom Pom: These clips may be the easiest of the 3. I used our extra small pom pom makers to create these 2 pom poms from sock weight yarn and glued them on with a glue gun. Bam! So easy. The difficult part is choosing your yarn colors. I used a Snap clip for one and a Pinch clip for the other. I prefer the snap clips for decorating pony tails and buns and pinch clips for keeping hair out of the face.
Tassel: To make each of my Tassel Hair Clips you will need 2 skeins of embroidery floss (color A and color B). Wrap the floss around your index and ring finger held together about 10 times; you don't want it to be very thick. You can follow my Tassel making instructions here. Once your tassel is made, glue it using your glue gun to the end of your hair clip (you can find more hair accessories for your tassels in our store).
Quick tip for Pom Poms and Tassels: If you want a fun pom pom go for a yarn that runs to the fuzzy side. The fuzzier the yarn that you use for your pom pom the more it will hold the round ball shape and hide the tie holding it together. A smooth yarn tends to be floppy and show the tie, but the fuzzy yarn strands stand straight-out and hold a great ball shape, so look to wools and wool blends.
Tassels are the opposite; you want your strands to be smooth so they hang straight down and have a slight sheen. A fuzzy yarn in tassels will give it a tangled look. An ideal tassel can fall right back into shape after any movement and not require combing.
Tassels have hit it big this season, though not as big as the chevron or pom-pom, I think they will grow in popularity even more in 2013. Like Pom poms making your own tassels is the key to a hot look this season. Making your own ensures no one else will have your look, color or texture. Tassels are very versatile which is why they are so hot right now. Their many uses includes necklaces, bracelets, earrings, curtain tie backs, trim, blanket fringe and pillow tassels just to name a few.
To make your tassel select your yarn and cut a piece 8-10'' long and lay it perpendicular to the direction you will be wrapping your yarn (see pictures for examples); this will be your tie. Begin wrapping your yarn around your tool and continue until you have half the thickness of the tassel you want (then wrap a little more just to be sure). Clip your yarn off the skein opposite of your tie and then knot your tie around all your wrapped yarn and knot if again. Slide the tassel off your tool and cut the yarn directly opposite of your tie. Pull on the tie and grab all the yarn about ¾'' to 1'' below the tie and begin wrapping your tassel with your yarn (or other if you choose). Wrap until you get the look you desire and knot of your yarn and clip a long tail. Thread a tapestry needle with your tail and feed the needle into your tassel and down to disguise your knot and tail. Trim your ends and use your tassel.
I have seen these
great Woven Felt
Baskets all over the design scene lately. They are popping up in all the design
shows and stores. They are a great storage option for living rooms and kids
rooms. The look can easily be modified depending on the colors you use. You can
make one for a little boys room in blue
one for a girls room in cream
green, one for your room in a bold Fuchsia
and one for the living room in cashmere
tan to blend in. They are really a snap to make and lots of fun. The only
supplies you will need are a calculator, 72'' wide felt, a glue gun and some embellishments.
Each strip is woven of doubled felt to give strength to the basket.
To make your own, first you need to decide how big and what shape you want.
Square Basket (Width, Length and Height is X)
Length of each strip is the width of the bottom plus the height of the side (X+X).
Length of each ring is the width of the side times 4 plus 1 '' (4X+1)
Rectangle Basket (Width is X, Length is Y and Height is Z):
Strips A are the length of the bottom plus the height of the side (Y+Z)
Strips B are the width of the bottom plus the height of the side (X+Z)
Each ring is two times the width plus two times length plus 1 ''(2X+2Y+1)
The number of strips needed for the width is the number of inches (i.e. you want the bottom of your basket to be 15'' then you will need 15 one inch strips). The number of strips needed for the length is the same process. And it is also the same for determining the number of rings for your height.
Here is a great example, for a basket 15''w by 17''l by 12''h you will need to cut:
Strips A- 17, 29'' strips
Strips B- 15, 27'' strips
Rings- 12, 65'' strips
And you will need approx 2 yds of Rainbow Felt (remember each strip is doubled)
Once all your strips are cut you will need to assemble your rings. Glue one short end to the other end, overlapping one inch. Once all your rings are glued set them aside. Start weaving your bottom by laying out all your width strips parallel. Then weave in your first length strip using an over-under method. It helps to start at the center and mark your centers with pins or small chalk marks. Once you have all your length strips woven into your width strips, your bottom is complete and you can add your first ring.
Flip the strips that will go inside the ring toward the center of your basket and leave the rest lying out. Place the ring on top and then reverse your flip (flip all the inside strips to the outside and all the outside strips to the inside). Place another ring and do another flip. Repeat the ring and flip until you are out of rings. Glue and trim (if needed) your strips to the top ring, starting with the outside strips first and then doing the inside. Hold your strips in place until the glue is cool before moving on to the next strip. Finally add the trim around the top by cutting a 3'' wide piece of felt that is the same length as a ring. Start gluing it or hand sewing it in place. If gluing start with the outside first and then glue around the inside. Your basket is now basically done. You can finish it off with some embellishments as you see fit. I added a whipstitch around the bottom of my trim and added a few small pom-poms. Try adding rope handles or braided fabric handles. You can even try fusing some fabric onto your strips to add a print or extra "wow" factor to your basket. Vary the sizes and using them for anything around the house.
It will cost less than $13 to make a huge 15''by 17''by 12'' basket!
Here is a Target version for $25 15''by 15'' by 11'' for gray and cream
West Elm's large basket is $49 for 18'' by 14.5'' by 11 for gray only
Both start at twice the cost of our DIY version and by making your own you can choose your colors!
If you are a traveler than you know that more often than not when packing you plan for everything (socks, toothpaste, curling iron, face wash, etc) except dirty laundry. I like to think of myself as a pretty smart packer; I don't pack a lot of extras and try to cover all the essentials but I always forget about where to stow my dirty laundry on worn. I usually end up using a plastic bag from a local store but that is:
2) Not great for moisture and odors (hello, husband socks)
3) Often get mixed up with my purchases.
So I made a Dirty Laundry Travel bag that is perfect for any kind of travel. My double drawstring design makes closing a cinch and easy to hang from any hook or knob. The drawstrings are knit fabric so you can pull them tight for a snug closure and don't require sewing. When made from cotton it is breathable and lightweight but you can add a vinyl coated lining if you are using this for young children's clothing. The size is easily adjusted to suit your needs. I made mine 14 '' high by 15'' wide (Finished size) which should hold about a weekend's worth of dirty clothing. The Dirty Laundry Bag also works well for laundering delicates as well as storing toiletries in your luggage.
To make your own you will need
Scrapes of quilting cotton for appliqués
1 yd of 3'' wide Jersey Knit fabric (cut with the stretch)
Download Dirty Laundry Travel Appliqués here
Cut 2 16'' squares. Serge or zig zag across the top of each square and down 2'' on each side. Fold over 1.5'' of each top toward the WS and press. Stitch close to the top to make draw string casing.
Trace Dirty Laundry Appliqués onto Heat n Bond and cut out. Apply Heat n Bond to WS of your quilting scraps and cut out. Remove paper backing and arrange your appliqués onto the RS of one of your Dirty Laundry body pieces. Iron in place. Zig Zag stitch around each appliqué or use a straight stitch and add some additional stitching lines for details (see my underwear).
Place body pieces RS together and stitch using ½'' seam down one side starting right below the drawstring casing, pivoting at the bottom corner, across the bottom, pivoting at second corner and back up the third side. Finishing just below the drawstring casing, back stitch at both ends. Trim your corners and turn bag RS out.
Cut your jersey knit in half lengthwise, gaining two 18'' pieces. Pull each piece tight to cause the long sides to curl. Use a bodkin or safety pin to thread each drawstring through a casing. Double or triple knot each drawstring at both ends.
You can add embroidery to make one for each family member or loved one. I recommend making several in different sizes for longer and shorter trips, kids and even pets (great for keeping collars and leashes in one place when visiting the in-laws). I am packing mine into my hospital bag for baby#2 in a few weeks and plan to use it for future family visits.
You can also change the appliques and make a really great knitting/crochet project back-Christmas Gift Idea!!!!
The pleasure of the hunt is nothing compared to the euphoria of creating a piece that sells for $100 (retail) but can be made for little more than a few dollars. This is the case with this delicious Aramaic Bracelet. Inspired by a pricey fabric and sterling silver bracelet found here, our knock off is crafted from cotton (just like the original) but is modified with a D-ring and swivel hook closure. You could of course modify it further to imitate the original more with vintage closures and pliable aluminum but I am not a very skilled metal worker. Here is what you need to create a 7 in. Aramaic Bracelet like mine pictured
Scrap pieces of fabric in similar colors or featuring one color, at least 24 in. long (I used Amy Butler Cotton)
Cut fabric into 1 in. wide strips (by 24 in. length). Loosely, braid your fabric keeping the print facing up. Once you reach the end, stitch across the both ends to secure. Fold your bracelet in half and slide the D-ring over the folded edge. Match up both raw (stitched) ends and stitch together. Insert Swivel Hook over this end, fold over and stitch ½ in. away from swivel hook to secure hook. Clasp the hook on the loop to close and wear bracelet. Done! This is a fast and fun gift idea for friends and family. Since the Aramaic Bracelet takes just a little bit of time to make you can stock up for teachers, babysitters and stocking stuffers!
Mambo Braided Bracelet
While I was on Facebook the other day checking out the comments on my Mambo Yarn Review (Yes, I read all my commentsJ) I was inspired by a link I found while checking out one of Martha's Mambo sites. It was a really cool Braided Bracelet that I thought you all would love to make as a Christmas gift or a funky accessory for upcoming parties. It is a fabulous and exuberant bracelet that intrigued me more when I read the instructions. I didn't knit or crochet this bracelet at all. It is sewn and braided and the idea is ingenious. It did take longer than I hoped to sew up the first step of these instructions but thanks to a good movie on TV, time flew. The 2nd step was trickier. At this point you have 2 ends hanging off the thick middle, which is made up of the 3 strands you have sewn together. You fold this thick, middle section in thirds so that it is stacked at one end, 3 high. You sew this end together. Now you are left with 3 strands, sewn at the top and with the bottom of a loop and a loose end then other end. Now you braid your strands starting at the sewn end and moving the loose end through the loop when needed until you get to the end and then you pull the loose end and tuck it into the loop to secure. Now your bracelet is just about finished. Take your 2 tails and tie them in a knot to close the bracelet.
· A tip on braiding- I started out by folding my strands over as I brought them from the back to the front to pass over. This didn't give a very good look. You want to just braided keeping the same side up and not folding over. This will give a more dramatic braided style which is just like the picture
This is much easier when you read as you go instead of reading ahead. I will try to make a video while making my next bracelet to illustrate fully how to assemble this bracelet. It is easy and fun once you get the hang of it. There are several more patterns for funky accessories to create with Martha Stewart Mambo Yarn.
I love Weekend Sewing by Heather Ross because the projects look like a lot of fun, the pictures are gorgeous and the idea of projects whipped up over the weekend is great for busy sewers. However, I have learned to take this book with a grain of salt and always make a muslin. I have discovered from my previous projects that many of the projects in this book are ill-fitting and poorly graded. If you will remember the Flower Girl dress made with Liberty Art fabric. It was gorgeous but not sized correctly. After I made the size 2 and it didn't fit, I checked the gradations for the bigger sizes and they were too small as well. Then there was the Kimono dress from Dupioni Silk which called for the wrong drape of fabric and the overlap of the dress was all wrong. Now I have gone for the Guest Slipper because they are a great gift idea and should be very easy to make for friends and family. Umm, wrong again. These slippers are great gifts ideas and easy to make up... with my modifications! If you make them according to the book (which I did first) they will be:
Heel before modification
Heel after modification
1) Too small
2) The heel is too low and slips off
3) No fun because the sole is too thick and then you have to hand sew it on
Bah Humbug! To make these slippers fun and fitting, follow these steps:
First, I used some super soft flannel for the exterior to keep tootsies warm in the cold months. Second, I added ¾ in. to the length of the upper and 1 whole inch to the height of the back of the upper (see photos).
I did not modify the sole pattern piece at all. I only cut out 1 sole for the lining and 1 for the exterior, out of Micro Suede, and I interfaced the lining sole with fusible fleece for comfort. Next I assembled my slipper in 2 different ways, and you can decide for yourself which you prefer. For my muslin, I stitched the uppers together at the heel as per the pattern but then I stitched the uppers to the soles for both the lining and the exterior. I added the elastic to the seam allowance of the exterior and the loop to the lining. Then I stitched the exterior to the lining leaving a gap for turning. Turned and pressed the slipper open and topstitched around the edge. Since this was my muslin I didn't add the rick rack because I wanted to see how my assembly and the fit worked out first.
My second mode of assembly is faster but leaves the seam allowance visible inside the slipper but the edges can be pinked, serged or zigzagged for a more professional finish. This second method is more similar to the pattern as well. I stitched the uppers together at the heel and then stitch the lining and exterior uppers together and added the elastic. I then basted the exterior sole to the lining sole, wrong sides facing. With the slipper turned inside out I stitched the upper to the sole with the exterior sole face up and the upper lining side facing out. Then I trimmed the seam and turned the slipper right side out.
The first method eliminates a seam showing but makes it more difficult to add rick rack, elastic and loop but leaves a very nice finish. The second method just changes the end of assembly but there is no need to top stitch and who looks inside a slipper anyway.
All in all this is a good book with many good projects, the slipper among them. Just be sure you make a muslin and be prepared to modify. I recommend both the flannel and micro suede as they are great additions to this project. The micro suede inhibits slipping and looks good. The flannel is just right for hardwood floors on cold mornings.
I am loving all the new ruffle scarves out in the market this season. They are so fun and a great way to bring sophistication and style to a casual outfit, add color to your jacket or take an outfit from work to play.
A great way to create your own unique ruffle scarf is to use pieces from an existing pattern that features ruffles. You can modify the pieces without having to draft something from scratch. I used the flounce pieces from Kwik Sew Ruffled Collar Wrap Shirt. Though this pattern is designed for woven, I cut my scarf pieces from knit fabric for a warmer, softer feel. I wanted a really flouncy, bouncy, twisty scarf. The rest is complete pie (or cake whichever you prefer). After cutting 6 flounce pieces together, I stitched each piece together (right sides facing) with a ½ in. seam. Once done, I had 3 separate long ruffle pieces, I matched them up at the seam, layering one on top of the other, all with right sides facing up so all the seams, but the bottom, would be unseen. Then I sewed all pieces together right over the seam line. The next step is optional but makes it easier to keep your scarf from looking too crazy but does reduce the twisty ruffle effect just a bit. Line up and pin all 3 ruffles together on the inside edge and stitch down from center seam 10 in. on both sides along the inside edge. This will keep the ruffle pieces together better but will still leave the ends separate to be tied, dangled or twisted.
This is the perfect all-purpose scarf that you can wrap, tie, twist or tuck in to keep you warm or stylish as needed. It is fast and easy so you can make one or a few for friends and family. You can adjust the size by adding length to the flounce or adding ruffle pieces to bulk up your scarf or use a sweater knit or fleece for colder climates.
In my research for some pretty cool hostess gifts (we already know that chocolates, wine, and potholders are good standard gifts) I scoured the internet for ideas. Low and behold, apparently mustache appliqué and embossed gifts are very popular. On that note, I wanted to create a hostess gift that was tongue in cheek like the mustache but not beat a dead (or almost) horse. Behold the Necktie Napkins: now you can be fancy for dinner while showing up in t-shirt and jeans. You can wear that tacky Christmas tie that your dear great auntie Muriel gave you without going out of the house. Make your mother happy by both tucking in your napkin and wearing a nice tie to dinner. It is fun and easy to make a set of Necktie Napkins for your favorite hostess. You can choose between the Applique or Embroidery version. I prefer the Applique on our printed O'Tinsel Tree Cotton fabric but love the embroidery on a solid fabric like linen.
To get started you need a picture of a cool-looking tie, I used this one but tweaked it a bit. For the embroidery I traced the tie onto my napkin with a water soluble marker and then embroidered the outline with a back stitch and then added some stripes with a stem stitch in green to create the iconic tacky Christmas tie. For the appliqué, I cut out and traced the tie pieces onto a transfer agent like Heat n Bond. I then cut out the pieces from the Heat n Bond and applied them according to the instructions to the back of some natural colored linen and then affixed those pieces to another napkin. Using a zig zag stitch around the edges of the appliqué to secure it, I added a decorative stitch to some stripes on the tie. It is important that you place the tie about 3-4 in down from one corner of your napkin so when tucked into a shirt, it looks as though the napkin user is wearing the tie. Placement will vary according to the size of your tie and napkin.
To make your napkin you will need 1 yd for 2 napkins. I used O'Tinsel Tree Cotton and cut an 18 in. square for a 16 in. finished napkin. Use a double folded hem one all sides and topstitch in place.
We still have plenty of time to finish our Holiday gift list but most of us will procrastinate or worse overestimate our free time and fill the list with complicated, involved masterpieces worthy of induction in MOMA. Not everything needs to be 100% knitted or works of art incorporating 14 different stitch designs. Most, if not all, of your gifts just need to be from the heart and well thought out. You can achieve both of these goals by knitting parts of your project and adding them to completed items. Since I love ruffles (along with the rest of the fashion world) and know from my window shopping that they can make anything look better, I decided to add ruffled project to my Christmas list. All I need do is knit the ruffle and add it to my gift. Since I am knitting such a small part of my gift and will be saving so much time, this leaves me with the freedom to spice up the ruffles and try something new. It is ok to complicate it up if you are going for something small because mistakes will not put you back very far.
I am gifting a friend a set of vintage dish towels I found at a local antique store but since her taste is a little funky I knew a knitted ruffle would be right up her alley. The towels are in a gingham style so I decided not to make my ruffle too fancy since the towel was so busy but I did knit it in a contrasting color cotton yarn, like Lily Sugar n' Cream Yarn. To make my ruffle, I worked up a swatch to find my gauge and then multiplying by the width of the towel calculated how many stitches to cast on. I worked my first 4 rows in garter stitch to give me a solid flange to attach to the towel.
Row 5: *knit 1, yo; repeat to last stitch, knit 1
Row 6: purl across all stitches
Row 7: knit across all stitches
Repeat Row 6 & 7 for 1 in.
Work 4 more rows in garter stitch
You can make your ruffle as long or as wide as you like by adjusting the number of rows worked or stitches cast on, respectively. You can layer your ruffles for a bolder effect or knit them with a fine gauge yarn for more flutter. You can add ruffles to shirt necks, capes, placemats and pashminas. You can spice up new store bought items or scored vintage treasures. Adding ruffles can not only save time but also increase your stitch library since they are a great way to experiment.
To attach my ruffle, I pinned the flange to the wrong side of the dish towel, letting the purl bumps peak out just a little. Then with a size 12 needle and a straight, medium length stitch, I sewed 2 lined of stitching, one at the top edge of the flange and the second at the bottom edge of the flange. These two stitches secure the ruffle in place and keep it from flipping over to the back side. A stretch stitch is not needed since we are attaching to a woven but if you are attaching your ruffle to a knit, a zig zag stitch is needed in a size appropriate to the density of your knit and knitted ruffle.
It is important to note that you should match your yarn to your gift by taking the washing instructions into consideration. Since a dish towel will be washed a lot, choose a washable yarn like cotton or acrylic. If your gift is delicate like pashmina it is appropriate to choose an equally delicate yarn like silk or cashmere. For a knitted ruffle added onto a top, choose a non-irritating fiber like superwash merino which can still be blocked to the right shape.
Back to school time for me has always been synonymous with book covers. My brother and I would raid mom's paper bag stash and cut and color to our hearts content. Today, paper bags are a fond memory paired with remembering when we could eat Little Debbie's not gaining an ounce and run around outside for hours without even thinking of napping (not like to today when I yearn for naps). The reduced availability of paper bags means that we must turn to other mediums for our book cover materials and what else, but fabric, would be my first choice. It is also a better choice. It will last longer than paper, can be easily patched should it rip and can be easily coordinated to any book bag or jacket for the ULTIMATE back to school outfit.
My Fabulous Fabric Book cover is easy to make and here is what you will need to make one.
¼ yd of fabric for lining
½ yd of fabric for bias tape binding or one package of prepared bias binding
Download your instruction sheet here.
Wow! HotPatterns Bijoux Baby Jewelry Roll is just plain cool. I have long wanted a jewelry roll but have never found one worth the money at any of the big box stores. The fabric was never bold enough and the insides just didn't fit my needs. Boutique stores had a great selection but the prices were budget busting. I was floored when this pattern hit my inbox. I could not wait to get started and the hardest part was picking the fabric. I ended up going with a medium weight patterned linen (like the Timeless Treasures collection) and a textured medium weight home dec solid all pulled together with a light weight cotton in a tonal pattern. I was very pleased with the color play but more pleased with the finish project overall.
#1) The ring holder is just NEAT-O! I love it and don't think I have seen anything like it. I also love the button closure because I am a big fan of buttons. I don't have many rings (Only the cocktail rings displayed here) but maybe I will get some more just to keep on my ring holder.
#2) I am also a big fan of colored zippers so I loved adding even more color by using different colored 7 in. zippers here. The pockets are very roomy and perfect for some of my bigger pieces (large hoop earring are no problem)
#3) Since I prefer 1/2 in. seams, that is what I used and when it came time to fit the lining to the exterior, I added opposing pleats to the center section of the lining. I use these pleats to keep my earring backings from disappearing. They are also good for general keeping stuff in place should you find the need to dress on the go (in the car, bus, subway or a quick change after class).
The HotPatterns Bijoux Baby Jewelry Roll is a fast project and a GREAT gift idea for any of the ladies in your life. You could even swap the ribbon tie for a snap and expand the ring holder to fit watches and give it to the guys in your life as well.
For some reason I cannot fathom a useful tool has fallen by the wayside of late, the pencil case. I, myself, have stopped using them but no longer. I am tired of searching my purse, knitting bag and diaper bag for the elusive pen or pencil. I am sure that your school age children are no different. Who doesn't want a one stop shop for all their writing utensils, in an easy to tote package that can be identified by touch and grabbed with ease. I DO! So in honor of September and the Back to School Season, I have crafted an easy but super chic and fun lined pencil case. These pencils cases make great gifts for teachers, neighbors, September birthday party gifts and quick n' easy Christmas gifts. You can also whip one up to use as a clutch!
All you will need is:
¼ yd of lightweight cotton in 2 colors or prints
One ½ in. button
One spool of coordinating thread.
Download your pattern here and get cracking. In no time you will have pencil cases for your kids, your purse and maybe even just a few for fun (makeup brushes, dry erase markers, crayons to go).
Summer is almost here and I, especially, am eagerly awaiting the opening of the pool, first day on the lake or our first beach trip. I love to lounge by the water and read a good book. However, I always forget to bring a pillow. Who would remember something like that when you already have your tote stuffed full of towels, cover-ups and swimsuits. Well, I decided to knit up a Beach Pillow to serve as storage for a towel or cover-up so it won't be forgetten (and fits easily in your bag). Use the Beach Pillow by the pool, lake or ocean when it's time for some reading or a well earned nap.
The perfect beach or pool companion, this knitted mesh pillow cover is made to be stuffed with your beach towel, cover-up or discarded swimsuits. One side is mesh lace to allow for moisture wicking and breathability so you can store your wet towels or swim suits after a long day frolicking in the water or for a cool place to rest your head as you watch the kids splash about.I use mine to keep cool so I stuff my Beach pillow with my wet towel and settle in with my summer read while hubby takes his turn with the little ones in the pool. The Beach Pillow is also a good place to toss your wet swimsuits when the day is done. The cotton yarn will absorb the moisture without distributing it throughout your tote. The cotton plus mesh will also deter mildew. The Beach Pillow Cover is also a great way to carry your towels to and from. It will keep them neat, dry and easy for the kids to carry around. Beware of pillow fights on the walk to the beach!
Designer Dog gear is all the rage now. Everyone wants to look good; the same goes for your dog. Even should your dog care less, you care- a lot. If you are like me, my dogs were my kids before I had a kid and they still hold a special place in the household, often with more benefits than the child. Some dog owners get a thrill from dressing their dogs but my dogs are too rough and tumble to go for that. I get my kicks from chic dog collars. The selection at my local pet store is sorely lacking (we are talking webbing in a wide selection of colors including red, blue and black). So once again, the chore has fallen into my hands to create something more appropriate for my hounds. Making dogs collars is easy, though figuring out how to install the adjuster is no fun. It is a frustrating mess unless you have a good tutorial: Behold!
I started by measuring my dogs necks and adding 6 inches (for adjusting and extra for hems and securing). My Border Collie's (Murphy) neck is 16 in + 6 in. = 22 in. My American Bulldog's (Maggie) neck is 22 in + 6 in. = 28 in. We will work from Murphy's measurements.
¼ yd of designer quilting cotton
1 Center Release Buckle 1 in.
1 Adjuster 1 in.
1 set of D rings 1 in.
Next, cut a 1 in. by 22 in. from heavy interfacing or canvas and a 3 in. by 23 in. from Modern Meadow Picnic Plaid. Maggie's collar is Modern Meadow Dogwood Bloom. To make the straps, cut a 1 in. by 23 in. piece of heavy interfacing or canvas and set aside. Fold and press the 3 in. wide piece of your designer fabric (as instructed above) in thirds (you will have 2 folds but 3 three sections each 1 in. wide). Lay your interfacing piece in the center of your designer fabric and fold one side of the designer fabric over the top of the interfacing. Stitch this in place using a 1/4 in. seam. Fold over the designer fabric on the other side while turning under 1/2 in. to make a finished edge. Stitch again with a 1/4 in. seam.
To assemble the strap into a collar, I took a series of pictures to best describe how to assemble all the collar parts. I used a double turn ½ in. hem to finish and secure each end of the collar.
The bonus of making your own collars out of interfacing and quilting cotton as opposed to webbing is there is no need to melt the end, you can use any fabric you desire and these collars are washable. They are simple to make and fast to assemble that you can make them for any season, holiday or as great gifts.
I designed this belt to combine my favorite prints with the big, chunky leather style belts that are all the rage right now. I have seen these belts used to cinch in a billowy tunic, add definition to an empire waist dress and spice up a bland cardigan. I love them but have often bulked at the boutique price tags these leather belts can carry. I decided to make one for myself and share it with our Fabric.com blog readers who, like me, are budget minded but still looking to stay on top of the styles. This Belt can be made to fit any style. If you are more conservative your can make it out of Faux Leather or Suede to stay on the neutral side but if you prefer a brighter belt, use a bold Home Dec print like Ty Pennington's Impressions to add even more color into your closet. You can even use this belt in this season's IN color, orange, to introduce a contrast to an outfit of neutrals if you are color shy but looking to branch out (New Year's resolution?).
You will need a ½ yd of Ty Penninington's Impressions Home Dec Fabric
½ yd of Fusible Heavy Weight Interfacing
Download the Belt It & Cinch It Pattern Instructions here and have fun!
Part of my usual call of duty each month is to surf the Fabric.com website looking for interesting products to feature on the blog. This is a thankless task that I am loath to perform but alas it must be done and done by me. Upon my perusal for February's Blog calendar I stumbled upon PLAID Simply Screen- an at home silk screen craft that looked like tons of fun. It was! I am now a fully fledged silk screen fanatic. I could not wait to get started on this project and if you will notice from one of my pictures that I rose early and held off my excitement long enough (just!) to brew a pot of coffee. Silk screening with Simply Screen was easy and really fun but some tips are needed.
1) Wash and iron your item first. I just washed mine and didn't think to iron because I pulled said items (1 women's t-shirt, 1 toddler onesie, 1 cotton pillowcase) fresh from the dryer. However, ironing is needed. You want your item to be perfectly flat and wrinkle free. Paint can gather in the wrinkles or areas can be missing due to small wrinkles. You also will want a nice flat surface to lay your screen.
2) Use painter's tape. The directions call for it but I wanted to stress this. This is an important step. You don't want your screen to jump in the midst of your work. The tape also can serve as a guide for your paint line. Put your tape just outside the screen area and then don't go over the tape with your paint line.
3) Apply a good bit of paint. My first shot I just applied the paint nice and slow but you want to allow the paint to build up so your line is really think. Think: apply paint allow the drop to build up and then move your paint bottle a little and repeat.
4) Use pressure. When you are using the paint applicator use a good bit of pressure. You really want to push your paint through the screen. It is not enough to just glide the applicator over the screen; you need to use some pressure. Otherwise you will get light spots or parts of the design will have no paint. You can see this in some of my pictures as I was learning a good technique.
5) If you want to layer your designs, wait at least 12 hours before overlapping. I wanted to do a row of one design across the edge of a pillowcase. I did every other tile and then waited 12 hours to fill in the rest.
On the heels of my Kimono Dress from Monday, I wanted to follow up on bias tape. It reminds me of the purple car phenomenon: you never notice how many purples cars there are until someone points it out and then you see them everywhere. The same can be said of bias tape. You never notice how useful it is until you start using it, making it or finding a new way to use it. Bias tape has so many applications that a blog posting was definitely in order. Not only can it be used for the standard of finishing off seams such as necklines and sleeves but also as ties, straps, belts, and cording. Bias tape is an excellent way to use up and store your fabric scraps. As well as a great way to add a bit of color or contrast to a project. Bias tape is forgiving given its stretchy nature so you can use it on parts of clothing where you might lack confidence in the recommend technique, such as 1/8 in. double turn on the neckline. Bias tape can be purchased readymade but with several different sizes of bias tape makers, the options are endless and perfectly coordinated to your needs. I have surfed blog land and some of my favorite sites to come up with some great tips and tutorials for bias tape creations.
One of our favorite pattern companies (especially close to Shannon's heart), Colette Patterns shows us how to make a continuous bias tape. This cuts down on the amount of sewing to join your bias tape together. I particularly love it because I never know how exactly to line up my bias tape to make it match up. This tute eliminates that and all my bias tape strips are perfect every time. Thank you!
Craftzine features a great tute for hemming jeans with denim bias tape. This is a great finish for too long jeans or a great way to add your favorite color to your favorite jeans. A pal found that by adding some dino fabric to her son's jeans that he broke off the habit of wearing the same camo pants every day.
One of our featured blogs of the month- Adventures in Dressmaking- has another great tute for changing a boring sweater in to a vintage-inspired letter sweater using bias tape. It is super cute and can be changed into a Laverne and Shirley style monogram sweater without too much thought.
Prudent Baby offers a free pattern for a bias tape bag that is uber cool and reversible. By adjusting the scale of the pattern, this bag can be modified to be large enough for a diaper bag, knitting bag or smaller for an evening out/date purse. Very versatile.
My own Mom (who taught me to sew) made a delightful flannel kimono-seen above-, from Amy Butler's Little Stitches for Little Ones, for my baby complete with flannel bias tape edging. It is so soft and cozy that often there is a battle to remove it in the morning and get into play clothes. More kimonos made from quilting cotton, linen and sleeveless are planned to ease the morning transition.
We've all watched the Cricut infomercial. Whether it was one of those sleepless nights, rocking a new baby back to sleep or too much Diet Coke at Trivia Night (these are all autobiographical in case you didn't guess), it is eye candy to the craft minded. Though I have never been particularly inclined towards scrapbooking what really drew me to the Cricut was that it cut fabric. What sewer doesn't wish there was less cutting and much more sewing and wearing! Once I had my Cricut I was experimenting with cutting fabric with a quickness. I am still experimenting but most of my predilections for the Cricut have been satisfied. Here's the deal.
You can cut quilting cotton and cut it into any shape that you can cut out of paper with your Cricut. That is the awesome part and it is pretty awesome. Any shape or font that you can contrive out of your Cricut can be an appliqué of some kind. By first ironing on a fusible web to the wrong side of your fabric, you can cut any shape or letter of any size out of your fabric with perfect results. Make sure your DO NOT remove the paper backing or if there is no paper backing, iron on freezer paper to the right side of your fabric (the Cricut is made to cut paper so having a top layer of paper ensures a good cut). It is also important to have a new or fresh blade just like having sharp fabric shears are important to cut your patterns perfectly. Many online tutorials and guidelines I found recommend that you test your cuts on paper first to make sure the size and shape is just right for your project. It is easier to adjust and cut paper than to prep fabric and waste it on the wrong size.
I call upon my Cricut for many of my appliqué needs and it makes it a breeze. After a recent invite to a 2yr old's birthday party this past weekend, I wanted to make something personalized. After deciding on a cape, I prepped my fabric with some Steam A Seam and hand pressed it to the cutting board. I chose a lower case "n" from one of my Cricut font cartridges 3 in. tall and 20 sec later I was satin stitching around the edges and wrapping up the cape to give. As busy as my own 2 yr old is the Cricut makes it possible for us to still give handmade gifts no matter how limited time seems to be these days.
P.s. My next project is to use my Cricut to finish populating my magnetic tree mural in the nursery.
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or you can get the inside scoop on my projects, see their progress and get extra tips and tricks by following me@tdangermiller
Meet the January Cropped Sweater. This is my solution when cold days meets flowy tunics that are all the rage these days. I was tired of my empire waist tunics and dresses bunching up or bulging under my sweaters and cardigans so I set out to design a sophisticated cropped sweater that could hold its own style-wise but no be so bold as to distract from the whole. The January sweater features a diagonal rib pattern boat neck and a zigzag pattern down the arm. Deep ribs hug the sweater to your figure so no waist shaping is needed. The deep ribs on the cuffs ensure that brisk winds won't creep up your sleeves. The sweater stops just at your natural waist so there is no need to worry about bunching of billowing blouses. The fitted nature of the sweater will keep you looking slim while accommodating trendy tunics and dresses. The details are subtle. The cropped sweater is knit with 4 balls Lion Brand Wool Ease Chunky, but with additional 2-3 balls you can increase the length of your sweater to waist length. If you want to add color you can opt for a color change for the neckline or just the cuffs. Go for coordinating colors like Dark Blue and Light Blue or something bolder: Light green and Teal. I have been sporting mine for a little over a week and it works really well for most of my wardrobe. The fitted nature also fits under all my coats without added bulk. I really enjoyed designing and knitting this sweater. The Chunky Yarn knit up quick and the added warmth was perfect during the recent snow storm.
The January Sweater is advanced beginner. You will need to be familiar with knitting in the round, increasing, decreasing and switching needle sizes. The pattern is simple to follow but you will need 4 balls of Lion Brand Wool Ease Chunky, sizes US 10, 10.5 & 11 needles, tapestry needle and waste yarn. If you want to make a full sweater, bump up your yarn to 6 balls. This sweater is best knit on Interchangeables to make the needle changes easier.
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or you can get the inside scoop on my projects, see their progress and get extra tips and tricks by following me@tdangermiller
The plan was to post on a Hot Patterns Pattern today but when I was cleaning my kitchen the other night slowly doing my mental list of where I had to go this week and what I needed to make/finish; I noticed that I was at the threshold of Baby Season. Baby Season seems to coincide closely with Awards Season, so while the stars are strutting the red carpet in their fineries, I am making and wrapping bibs, booties, baby carriers and other sundries necessary for raising wee babes. I am quite sure that Baby Season is not a southern-only epidemic so I thought I would share a few of my favorite or most popular hand-made baby gifts. These are easy to make, of course-quick, and a big hit with mothers.
A nursing cover is a simple gift that works for a multitude of tasks (a great gift even for mothers who aren't nursing). I used mine for the obvious but also as a stroller cover when my little one napped or was over stimulated. My cover served duty as a changing pad/cover so as not to expose the baby in public when a private area can't be found, a quick and light spring blanket, and a sun shade. The list goes on and on. Making one is easier than listing all its useful capacities. You will need 1 yd of 2 different prints or colors of fabric. Picking out the fabric is the most fun (I think). You can go for any of the Premiere Prints that are sale today! For the funky, trendy mom- try our new Ty Pennington Impressions (I am loving the color combos). For a first child (and you know there will be more) make a nursing cover with one side a feminine color/print and a masculine on the other. I made mine from this awesome Kwik Sew pattern which also features a swaddler and sling. All three make a super baby shower gift.
The pattern lived up to the Kwik Sew name and was equally easy to read and assemble. This was just the ticket as the time I set aside to work on it was naptime and this day was particularly trying as naptime was out of favor. The project put me at ease and the satisfaction I received from the completed nursing cover was great enough to leave me ready for the end of naptime. I would recommend cutting and assembling several at one time, since they are so quick, in case you are invited to a party and difficulties leave you without time to make anything. I used 2 pieces of quilting cotton from my stash (working from my stash is my new years resolution) but I think in the future I will choose at least one side to be Home Dec fabric for better sun protection in the hot summers. Psst: You will need some boning.
I feel especially good giving hand-made gifts to my mom friends because I know they are well made, infinitely useful, will match the baby theme and will be well loved. I know that I am showing my friend how happy I am for her and hope much I love her little one by carefully picking out fabric, putting thought into a pattern and making something special for the new family.
You can follow us on Twitter! Get the scoop on Fabric.com Deals by following @fabricdotcom
or you can get the inside scoop on my projects, see their progress and get extra tips and tricks by following me@tdangermiller
I heart Amy Butler's books, all of them. Originally hooked when I was a newborn knitter looking for a great knitting bag, I stumbled upon her patterns while cruising blog land. I had to have it, though it had been sometime since I had sewn anything substantial. A new blog friend helped me with the pattern (Chelsea Bag) and walked me through it via email. My voracious appetite was whetted and I have since sewn just about every Amy Butler bag I got my hands on, even little known Amy Butler bags. So.... When I heard from a little bird called Momma, that Amy had a new, purse only book coming out (Amy Butler's Style Stitches), I quietly, with dignity, jumped up and down, ran down the sidewalk shouting at the top of my lungs with excitement. Once the book debuted and Fabric.com received it in stock, my plotting (err... planning) began. First I set aside a week for careful dreaming, perusing and drooling over the new book then I got to work. I decided since my general theme on this blog is to take a new approach that I could not just create one of the 26 patterns in some super cool fabric (tempting though that was) but that I would make a combo of 2 patterns to make a super bag, if you will, to tempt fabric.com blog readers. I decided that the Perfectly Pleated Clutch was not perfect enough and the Origami Bag was just what I needed to expand my knitting carrier collection. To combine the two, I borrowed the pleats from the clutch with the shape and instructions of the Origami. The new Dwell fabric was the perfect complement to this hybrid bag and lined with some awesome retro & mod quilting cotton.
I started by following the pleating instructions and pleated enough fabric to cut 2 pieces for the exterior to matching the Medium lining pieces (I used the lining piece measurements since I would not be piecing). I basted the pleats in place being careful to baste twice so that once I cut the fabric, there would be basting on each piece to keep the pleats in place. Once the pleating was complete I cut my exterior pieces and also the interfacing. Opting for sew-in interfacing so the pleating would not be distorted due to the possible misplacement of the iron or misalignment of the interfacing, this interfacing would allow the pleating to behave as pleating should and not stay frozen in place. I basted the interfacing onto the pleated fabric following the direction of the pleats. I followed the remaining Origami instructions leaving the pleat basting in place until the bag was complete. Amy's instructions concerning the insertion and sewing of the zipper leave a very nicely finished product. Once finished, I removed the pleat basting stitches and was super pleased with the finished bag. I think it is a perfect combination of the 2 patterns and a great expansion to the book's compilation of bags. Try your own combination of Amy Butler's bags from Style Stitches and don't forget to include a link on our Facebook page!
You can follow
us on Twitter! Get the scoop on Fabric.com Deals by following @fabricdotcom
or you can get the inside scoop on my projects, see their progress and get extra tips and tricks by following me@tdangermiller
Tea is the new coffee, at least according to my Christmas presents and most of my neighbors. Everyone is getting into tea. My mom has a drawer with practically every flavor made. When my neighbor comes over for "Mornings with our Machines" (AKA sewing time) she brings tea. It seems to me that if Tea is going to insist on being so popular, I will do my best to make sure it looks as good as it tastes. Everyone knows about the tea cozy and it is very effective, super cute and perhaps one day I will create a knitting pattern for one. There are tons of fun sewing patterns out for Tea Cozies as well. But it occurred to me that what was really needed to decorate your tea table were Tea Time Napkins. These specially sized napkins are just right for dabbing at the corners of your mouth and prettying up your cup and saucer. Embroidered with jazzy tea cups and edged with velvet ric rac, these napkins are gorgeous enough to adorn a tea table whether it is just a quiet cup for yourself or a get together with a close friend.
Here's what you need:
1 yd of quilting cotton (makes 6 Tea Time Napkins)
6.5 yds of velvet ric rac
Sublime Stitching (great tea and cake embroidery patterns)
Cut Twelve 10 in. by 10 in. squares. Embroider 6 of the squares (these will be the fronts of your napkins) with your favorite Sublime Stitches Tea patterns. I love the tea cups (obviously), cake and pie but you can get crazy with some Mexican dancing girls or some sweet birds. Once the fronts have been embroidered, apply the ric rac to the backs of the napkins (the blank squares) with the velvet facing up. Line up the ric rac with the edges of the fabric and stitch down the middle to secure in place (this should be a ¼ to 3/8 in. seam. With right sides facing pin the fronts to the back napkins and stitch around the edges, going over the ric rac seams to prevent them from showing and leaving a 2-3 in. turning gap. Clip your corners and turn your napkins right sides out and press. Top stitch around the edges to close the gap and finish the napkins. Press again and set your tea table. Make a set for your favorite Tea Time partner to prevent jealousy and so you can enjoy these delicious napkins where ever you drop in for a 'cuppa'. Pinkies Out!
Hands down, I love Coco Knits shoes patterns. Not only do they look very attractive on the pattern cover but it seems as though I learn a new technique or a different twist on an old standard with every pattern. For such conventional accessories as shoes, Coco Knits is very outside the box. I enjoy knitting these patterns. Usually while starting a new pattern that could be a challenge, I find the need to totally focus. But with the Coco Knits patterns, I am more relaxed and can engage in gossip, movies, or knit while watching my daughter play. Coco Knits are not relegated to 'Nap time only'. Now to the Prairie Boots pattern specifically. The Prairie boots ended up being super soft and comfy AND WARM. As a cold natured person (my feet are like icicles after Oct), I saw this pattern and had stars in my eyes. The finished product turned out better than I had dreamed. The chunky yarn gives a great textured look to the relatively simple stitches. The combination of garter and ribbing gives this boot a classic yet edgy look because of the structure and composition. I find that the boots look great pulled up with leggings and when you wear jeans or khakis, folded over gives the most warmth and style. Because these boots are knit with such chunky yarn, they are really cozy, like a snuggy for your feet. I love curling up on the couch to knit with these on. I find my need for a blanket has greatly decreased. Plus, at a recent holiday party at my house, a friend discovered these in my knitting bag and showed them around. Everyone wanted a pair. They were such a hit that I am planning on giving them as gifts and to those I can't get to before Christmas will be getting them as Ground Hog's day present, New Year's, or birthday gifts. I used Lion Brand's Wool Ease and it was a pleasure. The color selection is out of this world, making it easy to customize this gift for any one. Fabric.com's Bulky Yarn selection is amazing so you can make the Prairie Boot in any fiber, in any color for any loved one or just to fill your closet. Everyone knows that for a girl to truly be happy, she needs super cute slipper boots in every color to match any possible outfit selection. The buttons really add to the classic, modern look. I should also add that this pattern even fits my athletic calves so it is not just for the petite.
Now for the knitty gritty. I will be making these again, because they were so fun but also because they are so great to wear. But when I do, I think I will try using a size 9 needle for the whole boot instead of changing to a 10. The ribbing on the bottom of the boot gives lots of stretch while hugging the warmth to your feet. But I think I can still achieve this with a size 9. Should that not work on the upper boot because of the garter; I will delay the change from 9 to 10 needles until I start the garter stitch. I might try changing it up a little by making the boot taller.
p.s. I wanted you to know that these boots can handle the action so they are shot amide my daughter's toy mess. They are battle hardened and perfect for busy moms.
Knitted ornaments are huge this year and why not. They are so classic, vintage-y and can be customized to compliment your tree or coordinated in groups for a great knitted tree. Knitted cupcakes are a great addition to your holiday decorations because they are yummy, are a total icon for holiday baking and are soft to the touch for a baby/toddler friendly bottom of the tree (like at yours-truly's house). Of course, you know I love them because they are fast. These cupcake ornaments can last the whole year through as cute decorations on a cake plate, in a play kitchen or lining the shelf in a kid's room. I knit a whole plate for my mom to display on her dining room table year round.
These cupcakes are easy and fun to make. I based mine on the Floofy Cupcake pattern for free on Ravelry. I used a great bright Peaches n Crème cotton yarn in Peacock (Fabric.com has 5 pages of colors!) for the 'wrapper' of the cupcake. Then I changed to merino wool in a light brown color (Gedifa Extra Soft Merino in Nugat). I choose wool to give it a softer cake-like look. I wanted the light brown because I was jonesing for some caramel cake. Then after 3 rows, on the 4th row I started to strand some White Gedifa Merino to imitate white icing dripping down. Since the pattern is divisible by 6, I knit 4 sts in brown, then 2 sts in white for round 4. The next row, I varied it up a bit by knitting 3 sts in brown then 3 sts in white, then 4 sts in white, then 3 sts in brown, etc. I didn't follow that exactly since icing doesn't always drip the same. I did not add a ribbon hanger because when I pinned it on I thought it was too distracting. A ribbon was pretty but when I just used a wire ornament hanger and hung it in the tree, the hanger disappeared and the cupcake really stood out on the tree.
My cupcake ornament really adds something special to my Christmas tree. It softens the hard plastic, metal, glass and porcelain ornaments. The sheen of the merino catches the light and glistens just like moist cake and royal icing. The bright colors of the cotton mean you can make cupcakes in all colors and flavors (the merino comes in many colors as well) you can decorate your cupcakes with French knot or beads for Jimmies, or buttons make yummy embellishments too.
I love making wreaths but hate that they don't make it from year to year. Having seen all the great felt delights and crafty wreaths in blogland, I decided that a gorgeous wreath that lasts from year to year is in the cards after all. Deciding on Poinsettias was not hard as they are one of my favorite symbols of the season. Plus, I could easily incorporate buttons as flower centers and holly berries. The pattern is easy and the large flowers mean you only need to make 3-4 of them to cover your wreath. I covered an empty wreath with fleece to give the wreath a cozier look. You can also use sweater knits or minky. Measure around your wreath's circumference and girth and cut a rectangle using those measurements plus 10 in. to the length (this accommodates any tucks needed to make the fabric lay flat around the circle) out of sweatshirt knit. Secure with pins and mattress stitch the knit in place.
I cut out my patterns pieces (4 petals per flowers and 2-3 holly leaves per berry bunch) out of felt and selected my buttons. I used interesting ¾ to 1 in. buttons for the flower centers and 1/8 to 5/8 in. red buttons for the Holly Berries. Layout your completed poinsettias and holly leaves on your wreath and arrange as you see fit. Once you like the layout stitch each flower and leaf in place and then stitch on your holly berry buttons. If needed tack down the tips of your poinsettia leaves to keep them from flopping forward. Add a ribbon loop to the back and hang from your door. You can call it complete and set up shop by your front door to eavesdrop on all the compliments your neighbors will surely pay on your wreath. When the season is over, tuck it away to be trotted out again year after year!
The Felt Poinsettias and Holly leaves can easily be used to decorate other Christmas projects such as table runners, gift tags, Felt Advent calendar, garland, bunting, pins or headbands.
Wee Christmas Dress
One of the joys of sewing and children is making festive holiday clothing. However, Being the son of a teacher who loved a good (and I mean GOOD) holiday sweater, my husband looked at me with a very wary eye when I told him that I was making my little girl a Christmas dress. No bells, reindeer or dancing cookies, he told me with a look that brooked no argument. "Why" I cooed innocently, "I had no intention of doing anything of the sort." And that was mostly true. So given my new rules, I sorted through my mountain of children's dress patterns and selected my favorite Oliver + S pattern: Birthday Party Dress. I had some very Christmasy but not overly Christmasy fabric that I thought would meet the rules that I had in my stash from years past (plus the rest of the pillow case used in my Sewing Green by Betz White post). It is Chateau Roccoco by Free Spirit, but here are some similar fabrics available that are not obviously Christmasy but will deliver all the cheer needed
Sancutary (Prints featured below)
This dress was cut in 2T and fit very well is all the right places. While she is not yet 2 it looks as though it will fit to at least her birthday in 2 months and even to the spring. The pattern goes from 6 M to 3 T so I can get another years size out of this pattern.
I really enjoyed making Oliver + S patterns. They are surprisingly simple which is very good considering you are making kids clothing. All the details that will make the clothes durable and lasting all included and there are no difficulties getting the clothing on and off. This is too often the case with kids clothing, especially the outfits that are too cute to pass up until you try to get them on a wiggling child or off in hast. The buttons down the back make this an easy on and off. Plus there was no silliness to make the dress look wonderful but uncomfortable for the child to wear. The Birthday dress was all adorableness without hindering my little one's movement in anyway. I loved it, loved it, loved it. I enjoyed making it so much I am making the Tea Party dress for a birthday party we are invited to this month. I know it will be a hit!
You might still be rushing to get some more homemade holiday gifts under your belt or maybe just looking for some quick projects to help keep your sanity as you plan to spend the next weeks surrounded by family, friends and friendly strangers. I find knitting to be a really good excuse for some blatant "Me time". When I first whip out my needles the questions are inevitable but after the first few minutes all goes quiet as they watch me work and then drift away to leave me be. This might be just what you need this holiday season. But if you needth not quiet time, then these quick gifts make great ice breakers and are easy enough so you can share some seasonal gossip while your knit away.
Tea Towels: I love, love a pretty tea towel. These knitted tea towels make awesome presents or hostess gifts. They are some simple but so beautiful. Tea towels are also a good excuse to bust out your cotton before your spring sweaters come calling. They are small enough to test out a new cotton or linen yarn before committing to 10-12 balls for a sweater or shawl. These towels are meant to be used but don't be surprised if the recipient thinks they are too beautiful and uses them for display only. There are tons of free patterns on Ravelry, including a great one from Lion Brand but mine is from Mason Dixon Knitting. Try a cotton blend for better drape and sheen (Nashua Creative Focus).
Pocket Monsters: Though actually named Pocket Creatures, Pocket Monsters stuck in my head when I first beheld this free pattern from Knitty and I refuse (Refuse, I say) to correct myself. I love making these little guys and always make at least 6 each Christmas. They are fast, super cute and loveable to children and adults. In fact, my first monsters went to my brother and his wife and they love them. They are all handmade, even the warmer that is heated in the microwave to keep wee and not-so-wee hand warm. Pocket Monsters are also fantastic stocking stuffers! I think the Monsters would look smashing in this Filatura di Crosa Fancy Tempo yarn with its variegation and slubs. Very monsterish!
Photos by Shaun Krisher
1/2 yd quilting cotton (makes 2 hangers)
1/8 yd of muslin
2 small buttons
8 in. of 1/8- 1/4 in. ribbon
These fabric covered hangers with herb filled scented
satchels make great Christmas presents for your whole list. Mine are child
sized to make sure my little one's closet always smells sweet and her best
dresses are lightly scented with lavender. These are great in aboys' closets or
teens that often let unpleasant scents grow from lack of attention. You can
also fill the satchels with rice scented with essentials oils in a favorite
scent for special friends. These delicious delights take no time but are a
dreamy luxury to bring to any closet.
Click on the image to download.
1/2 yd 72 in. wide Craft Felt for background
6 sheets of 9 x 12 in. Rainbow felt cuts in several colors
16 in. wooden dowel
2 yds of Ribbon
Everyone loves a good (I mean GOOD) Advent Calendar and especially when you have kids. There is the token chocolate filled one I receive every year but that is just one chocolate. I wanted something big and full of pockets for my daughter. I dreamed of treat and candy filled pockets ready for sticky fingers every morning, excited to see what each pocket held. The Felt Pocket Advent Calendar was created to be fast and easy, with no hemming, little seaming and plenty of color. The pockets are a big 2.5 in. and all are hand embroidered with a different stitch, color and number for each of the #1-25 that is needed in an Advent Calendar. I made #25 extra special by cutting one square into a frame and stacking it on top of another. You could easily frame it in Rick-rack, ribbon, or felt flowers. Without hemming, this Advent Calendar is hassle free and a great nap time project but a little bit of a blank slate. You and your kids can pick some trimmings to make it yours and add some Christmas spirit. Felt Roses, Poinsettias, or Holly leaves come to mind. Don't forget you can print free coloring pages to use as Christmas stencils for your felt trimmings. If you opt to snazz up your Advent Calendar with embroidery, Sublime Stitching has some awesome pie, cake, and other food patterns that are perfect for bringing the joy of Christmas goodies to your Calendar! I am bringing out my copy to add on to my Felt Pocket Advent Calendar this year.
Don't forget to share your versions on our Facebook page!
I am pleased to introduce my & Fabric.com's November Free Knitting Pattern Download: Belle Handwarmers. The Belle is named for the yarn that created these toasty handwarmers, Amy Butler's Belle Organic Aran (50% Organic Wool 50% Organic Cotton), but the real inspiration was the Fabric.com logo. Colorful and textured, I knew that I needed some color work for this pattern. Pulled from the "R" and "O" both the multicolor and texture are mimicked in the tri color and floral texture.
The signature button also plays a big role in Belle, as a sleek closure and a style wrist detail. The longer wrist length coupled with the button closure ensures a warmer wearing and no sneaky breezes creeping up your arm. The featured stitches are surprisingly simple but designed to impress. These handwarmers are great gift that can be knit up over the weekend or several week nights. Give them to commuters with chilly steering wheels, those who work in frigid offices, loved ones who work outside, soccer moms with early morning game times or texting teens. Belle Handwarmers can be knit in 3 colors (as shown), 4 (with the wrist band, top band and thumb band in the 4th color) or just one (though you will need 3 balls total). Any worsted weight yarn will work but you will want to stay away from 100% cotton because it will not hold in the warmth and may stretch. Merino wool, alpaca and silk blends will be the warmest.
I once promised myself to only knit for myself... I kept that promise until my little one was born and now it seems as though my needles belong to her (even though I won't let her touch them- she puts items away never to be seen again). I can't stop looking for kid patterns or toy patterns. Anything that might get a squeal or a smile. Thus, one day whilst creating my November blog calendar I stumbled upon Bekah Knits Lollipop Skirt. My heart was hardly still and my needles started to sing. I had to make it- I HAD TO MAKE THIS SKIRT. It was cute and made of cotton- Deal- Done- Say no more. I quickly added it to my Google calendar.
My little girl looks adorable in this skirt and the length really works for both of us. The Lion Brand Cotton-Ease yarn was great to work with. The color selection is very extensive making it easy to pick your favorite colors for this skirt. The over 200 yds on each ball means you can get 2 skirts (depending on the sizes) out of 3 balls in different colors. I will make another skirt once she grows out of this one. It is so fun to watch her play in something I knit.
Please excuse a quick detour on Stash Busting. Like many sewers, I have acquired a stash. Often my stash can climb to such amounts that I must impose a limit upon my fabric purchasing until I can deplete my stash back to livable standards or I can hide most of it from the other members in my family (namely, the husband) so that all- including myself- are convinced that my stash is once again at a controllable level. Only then may I recommence fabric purchasing. I get the feeling that I am not alone in the sewing world in this circle of stash fighting/feeding.
Now, I was saying how this book is great for stash busting but it is also good for stash feeding. On the one hand, all the projects are geared to reuse fabrics. On the other hand, the projects in this book are so cute and fun that they make you want to purchase just the right fabric to make your own version. Either way, you will spend many delighted hours in your sewing sanctuary.
I choose to make the Easy, Breezy Skirt which reuses a pillow case to create a simply but beautiful skirt. By taking advantage of the existing hem of the pillow case and the fun detail that often accompanies pillowcases you can sew up a fun skirt in less than 30 min. I was able to reuse a pillowcase that I have been safe guarding for 5-6 years for just such a project. I took stock of my closet and noticed a definite lack of shorter skirts and thus cut mine to 16 in. (17+ in. to include casing). I was in 8th heaven given that all I really had to do was cut one straight line, sew a casing, insert the elastic and sew it closed. ARE YOU KIDDING ME!? I was done. Of course, you can also make this skirt out of Premier Print sheeting (which requires slightly more sewing and adds more flexibility for sizing and details) or quilting cotton (to combine your own funky patterns).
There are several more sheet/pillowcase pattern in this book as well as felted sweater patterns and many more great ideas for household fabric. Of course it goes without saying that all patterns can be completed beautifully with fabric yardage as well. The bottom line of course is that this book is perfect for Christmas gifting. Not only will you find a pattern for everyone but you will probably be able to make them all reusing found fabric from your own home. Sewing Green helps to make this Christmas a Green Christmas!
Have you ever considered all the presents you give? If you add up all that wrapping paper, that is a lot of one time use, now to be thrown away paper. Couple that with how pricey wrapping paper is getting these days and it is obvious a solution is needed. Reusable fabric wrapping is on the rise. Not only does it prevent tons of waste but it is beautiful, easy and so satisfying! Fabric wrapping takes no time to make and you will use it all the time. If you are like me you are always giving gifts: bread as thanks to the neighbors for getting my mail while away, repayment to a nurse friend for taking my frantic "my child is sick" calls, and host/hostess gifts. I give at least a gift a month, not counting holidays and birthdays. I always use fabric wrapping. It is so much easier to wrap (no tape!) than paper, it looks luxe and makes me feel so good to give in more than one way. One fabric wrap can last you years and years, saving you hundreds in the long run. Think about it. How many rolls of wrapping do you use each year: 5, 6 or even 10 rolls? The average price per roll is $5, over 5 years for 10 rolls/yr is $250!
Fabric wrapping is easy to make as well as eco-friendly. I will share my pattern for a small/medium wrapping. A half yd of quilting cotton will yield 2 small/med wrappings, 1 yd can yield one med/ large and 1 ½ yd can wrap one large present. You may even want to use Home Dec fabric for larger presents as they might be heavy.
For a small/med cut an 18 in. square from designer quilting cotton. You can finish the edges with bias tape for an extra bit of color or double turn the edges and topstitch. Cut 50 in. of ribbon of any size or rick rack and stitch to the center of the square on the right side of the your wrapping. You can add a second ribbon of the same size, perpendicular to the first. That's it- You're done!
Wrap your presents with beautiful bows. No worries over crumpled plastic bows or ripped paper- fabric wrapping is always lovely. In the off season your wrapping can double as tablecloths (just tie the ribbon in a bow as decoration), runners, napkins or wrap your ornaments in them and store for next year. The possibilities are endless and gift giving takes on a new meaning.
* Wrapped up is Rowan Organic Cotton Chicken
** Coffee may be optional for you but not me!
Our Green theme is going strong and continues with Heather Bailey's New Leaf Folding Totes now with a wipe able edition (more on that below). PLUS this pattern is perfect for Christmas gifts and stocking stuffers. Quick tangent: Not only can you make a few totes to give to a loved one but you can also make just the pouch (to store memory cards, business cards or change), the wallet (coupons as Heather suggests or as a travel jewelry pouch or small makeup case). This is a really great pattern especially for this time of year. Gift wrap is not required with Heather's super cute appliqués and sash.
I was hesitant when I first began my initial read through of the pattern. Just a glance at the back shows the tote, wallet, pouch and sash. I remember thinking to myself: "So I have to make a wallet for every tote and cram them in there every time to keep the tote neat and cute". Well, yes and no! Yes, basically you do make a wallet for every tote but it is built onto the tote so folding is easy and clever. The sash wrangles all your New Leaf Totes together so you can grab and go. Plus with the attached wallet and sash once you are done sewing you are also done wrapping. These are so gorgeous on their own that any wrapping can only bring them down.
Now- As I like to give you, readers, options and new ideas, I gave this pattern a wipe able, water proof lining in case your pasta sauce breaks or meat dribbles a little you can wipe and go. And no need to worry over staining your new cute tote. I applied Heat N Bond Iron on Vinyl to the lining pieces only. It was very easy and straight forward. However, this ruled out pressing any creases into my lining as instructed. I soon learned that these creases (had they been possible) would have been destroyed when I turned the bag right side out. The lining was really crumpled and creases would have disappeared. The lining can be smoothed and look quite nice once the bag is finished. The exterior creases keep the shape and make folding easy so there is not loss there. This vinyl lining is very sharp and makes for a great addition to this market tote. The fabric I used for the New Leaf Tote was: Nicey Jane Road Stripe, Nicey Jane Picnic Bouquet,& 100 % Cotton Muslin.
A few quick remarks on the pattern. It is easy and well written but I would move the wallet construction to before sewing the tote pieces together. I would also sew the wallet onto the tote exterior before you construct the tote instead of after. I had a real tough time sewing the wallet onto the tote after it was put together. I pulled the bag inside out and tried it that way but it was tough no matter what. I am amazed at how beautiful a market tote can be but given it is from Heather Bailey how surprised can you really be?
Since November is the month of giving thanks, I also like to think of it as the month of giving back and being green. As much as we love the holidays, it is about giving back so why not give a little back to the environment. In an effort to be more green, giving and draw attention to Fabric.com's many eco-friendly products, this month I will be highlighting eco-friendly crafts in honor of Thanksgiving and still bringing the fun or sewing, knitting and crafting in general.
Now- the fun stuff! You may not know but I harbor a secret love of felt food (well, not so secret anymore). This is probably due to my love of cooking coupled with neatness. There is nothing I love more on a rainy day than a good play kitchen full of good looking food! I also harbor another love for donuts. Thus when I found this project by Lilly Bean I knew I had to make it and make it green. Felt donuts look good enough to eat, PLUS with the addition of a simple ribbon loop these tasty felt goodies become great holiday decorations. Bedeck your tree with felt frosted delights or arrange them on a wreath or hang them from a colorful ribbon for a donut-licious garland!
Despite that most of the project is hand sewing, it is pretty quick and instantly satisfying. I nixed the sprinkles and subbed in some yarn swirl to mimic a drizzle of tasty sauce. Maybe some vanilla and raspberry. I used our Ecospun Rainbow Felt cuts from the Eco-friendly & Organic boutique in Cashmere and Walnut Brown: aka Cake donut and chocolate donut. The frosting is Shocking Pink and Peacock Blue: aka Raspberry and blueberry. The instructions were easy and it took about 30 min per donut including making the templates (I used my set of biscuit cutters, the largest one and the smallest), cutting, sewing and adorning. **Tip: for the frosting, I traced the largest biscuit cutter and then free handed the wavy shape using the biscuit cutter as a guide. You can also use I-cord for drizzle, rick rack or use a hole-puncher to punch sprinkles out of felt. I affixed my drizzle with a little fabric glue first and then applied the yarn after. This allowed me to choose the design of my drizzle.
These are a big hit in my house. My husband says they are too realistic and makes him hungry. I am going to make more to grace a cake plate in the kitchen. A whole mound of delicious donuts that will never tempt me!
Amy Butler's Midwest Mod Zinnia Pillow was a challenge but I love it. Let me jump right into it. I wanted to do something different with this pattern. It looks amazing in quilting cotton but I wanted to try to make this pillow more traditional to give it a different audience and show its versatility. I picked a cotton velvet that is delicious. My hope was that this more traditional fabric coupled with a more modern pattern would be a middle ground between modern and traditional, be appealing to both parties and maybe gather in some transitional, vintage and eclectic fans as well. That being said this pattern was a dozy but perhaps you can learn from my mistakes and take away the same or better finished pillow and avoid the pitfalls.
The velvet, while dreamy, is difficult and thick. I recommend cutting the back of each petal from coordinating broadcloth to reduce some bulk. I could not add the pleat on each petal due to thickness and also could not add the 3rd round of small petals due to bulk (it simply would not fit under my foot). I also wish that Amy had included the circle patterns and not just instructions to draw them. I am clumsy when it comes to drawing circles so I found an embroidery hoop that was about 15 in. but it was a little small and so was my pattern piece. It didn't mess up anything; it just would have been nice. Also, I pinned all the petals in the center to sew the 2 circle together which helped keep them out of my way. The velvet shifts a bunch so having the broadcloth on the back will help with that. The shifting really got in my way when I was tacking down the petals. I used my walking foot a lot to help with the shifting of the velvet. Most of my issues were due to bulk but just the sheer number of petals was a little disheartening. They were all small so it didn't take as long as I thought to sew them up. The finished product is definitely worth it. Some trouble also occurred with making the fabric buttons, but I used needle nose pliers to straighten the prongs a bit and was able to get the fabric to hold. But our glass buttons would also look incredible.
I must admit I am even more impressed with this pillow in person than on the pattern picture. It is gorgeous. Even my husband has admitted that it is a beautiful pillow. Though I would not talk anyone out of using velvet just not exclusively; I would recommend a linen or silk instead if going for a less funky- more subtle look. This pattern, once freed from its retro inspired roots is a perfect addition to an elegant, traditional living room, French colonial family room or even a Tuscan retreat!
Amy Butler's Little Stitches for Little Ones
I bought Amy Butler's Little Stitches for Little Ones as soon as it hit the stands, long before I was expecting my own little one, because I loved InStitches so much. The projects are ADORABLE and rated for difficulty (which is a blessing when pregnant with limited energy). Amy puts her signature style on baby items to help modern moms feel stylish, cool and totally unmom-like. I have completed a few projects from this book and so has my mom. The patterns are typical AB patterns, easy to follow, clearly written and sometimes a few surprise finishes that are fantastic. My two favorite projects have to be the Cute Baby Booties and the Modern Diaper bag.
I made the Modern Diaper bag when I was about 8 mos pregnant and was nearing the end and was nesting. I knew what I wanted in a bag and what I didn't. I supposed it would have to be big. I did not want black plastic that screamed diaper bag. I wanted a modern shape, lots of pockets (I have an affinity for pockets and drawers). After the cursory Google search for patterns, I went through my book stash. It had been a while since I purchased the book and had forgotten about it. As soon as I be held this bag, I KNEW it was the one. Maybe a half a day of cutting and sewing later and it was complete. I was even more in love it with than the pictures led me to believe. I immediately began packing it with wee baby clothes and sundries. (I ended up over packing as I later discovered) This bag made the trip with me to the hospital and has faithfully followed me ever since. We have successfully transitioned from tiny baby, to crawling and now walking/running toddler. This bag has carried everything and then some.
My second and perhaps most favorite are the Cute Booties. These were made around 7 mo of age, just as she started crawling. My little one didn't care to get past the army crawl for sometime because once you can go why learn a new way. This mode of propulsion was the demise of many a good pair of socks. She wore the toes out in less than a week. That coupled with the fact that she often crawled right out of her socks, I knew I needed something more. Once again I turned to my library and found the perfect solution in Amy's book. I cut 2 pair right away. The fluffy cushioning is just right to keep tiny feet padded and warm. The shoes are easy on and easy off and virtually unshakeable. The compliments these shoes garnered were also amazing. I had request from many non-parents for these booties in their size and many parents offered me great sums to make some for their kids. I have since retired the first pair but I have made several in graduated sizes since. The girl is too big for the given pattern sizes but thanks to my copier, I have managed to enlarge my pattern pieces and create more. They are really great for shoe-less homes, cold mornings and chilly nights when the footed Pjs are in the wash.
This book is a must for parents and non-parents alike. The patterns are easily adapted to adults, childless homes and when you are in need of a great shower, niece/nephew, or godchild gift.
I have been a long time fan of Heather Bailey's pear pincushion (who hasn't) and the rest of the fresh picked gang but this is my first time trying my hand at her pattern. I wanted to make myself some more pincushions (like shoes, a girl can never have enough) but everyone has made the pincushions; I wanted to change it up a bit. The resulting deliciously oversized apple pillow (11 in. high, 11 in. wide) is soft in all the right places and surprisingly perfect for knitting. I prop my arm on it when my shoulder starts to get fatigued and it is just the right height. To make your own is just as simple as creating the bitty version in Heather's pattern.
9 x 12 in piece of felt for leaf
9 x 12 in piece of felt for stem
Embroidery floss for whip stitching parts together and decorating the leaf
A piece of wooden dowel, skewer, bodkin or weaver's needle
Once you choose which piece of fruit you want to make big and juicy, enlarge each pattern piece by 300%. Cut out your pattern pieces and follow the original pattern, using ½ in. seam allowance. When sewing the last 2 pieces of the apple together start ½ in. away from the top and leave the same gap at the bottom. This gap will help when you get to the tufting instructions. I used a long piece of embroidery thread and after knotting it, secured it with a stitch or two to the top of the apple where the stem would hide it, then either tape your needle and thread to a skewer or dowel or using your bodkin or weaver's needle run your thread to the bottom of the apple through the center using the gaps we made earlier. Pull the thread tight and secure with another stitch at the bottom. Repeat until your apple looks good to you and secure your thread a final time with a good knot. Continue to follow the pattern directions to finish your fine piece of fruit.
I made one leaf out of felt and using the couching method I learned in Sublime Stitching I added some veins to my leaf with wool yarn. To make my large stem, I rolled an entire sheet of 9 x 12 in craft felt starting with the short end and rolling it up tight. I pinned it together and cut it to the length I liked (about 3 in.) and then whipped stitched it together. I did a running stitch across the top to secure the roll and to make it look more like a fresh picked apple.
The result is a big hit in my family. The baby loves to roll on it, the dogs like to snuggle against it, my husband props his feet on it and I use it for knitting. Deliciously oversized, these fresh picked fruit will make great holiday decorations, gifts and everyday additions to freshen up your house for fall!
Fall has arrived and with it brisk air, longer sleeves and an urge for apple cider and all things comfy. The days have not quite decided to be cool but in the early morning and evening there is a chill. A light shawl is needed to add the right amount of coziness and warmth for that stroll around the block, concert in the park or watching the leaves change color. I designed the September Shawl with fall in mind. I knew that some days I would need something to nestle around my shoulders (if I wore a shirt too light) or to wrap around my neck to just ease the nippiness. The September Shawl is also well sized for small children to wear if they forgot their coat, can't be wiggled into one or won't stand still long enough for you to wrestle them into it. With eyelet rows begging for light ribbons or icord to be woven through, you can coordinate the September Shawl with your outfit or change it up with some sparkle for date night. This is a perfect fast knit for Christmas presents too.
The September Shawl is knit with Filatura Di Crosa Zara, a DK weight super wash merino wool. It is soft and cozy with great stitch definition. Some techniques you need to be familiar with for this project are: increases and decreases, and reading charts. The September Shawl will also look great in a silk, cashmere or cotton. This shawl needs about 250-275 yds of DK yarn. The eyelet pattern coupled with the ruffle make for a feminine shawl that is both simple and elegant. Made in a glittery yarn or with some sheen the September Shawl is perfect for holiday parties.
Football season is here and the Sandra Lee in us wants to decorate to bring the fanatical spirit alive. We have all done the fleece throws and quilt blocks. But there are more ways to show your fervor in your living room or to spice up that (shudder) man cave.
Now at face value (and, ok, the name doesn't help our case any either) Amy Butler Gum Drop Pillows do not instill a whole lot of team spirit. They look luscious, beautiful and dreamy. In short the total opposite of Football. But should we couple our favorite team fabric with a great home dec pattern, we have instant fan power, a great place for extra fans to sit to watch the game or put up their feet. The Gum Drop pillows pack a serious punch. The pattern is so smartly simple that there are nofeminine details, no soft touches or pattern pieces to be tweaked to give it a masculine edge perfect for pigskin enthusiasts. Just a change of fabric can take this pattern to a different level. The medallion at the top seems to the best part for the fans at my house. Depending on your fabric choice, you can center your mascot at the very center of the medallion. My mom suggested that a team fabric can be stretched to accommodate 2 or more pillows by alternating team fabric with a team color fabric on each section of the pillow (4 sections of team fabric and 4 sections of a solid fabric). This pattern doesn't take much time or fabric. An 18 in. pillow (plenty big enough for feet or tushes) needs 2 yds and the 24 in. pillow 2 ¼ yds. You will need an insane amount of stuffing but if you are a recycler like me, old pillows and fabric scraps help a lot. I made the 18 in. in NFL Titans for my mom and have some Falcons set aside for my dad. They have a rivalry and I try to stay impartial but mom comes first. I found the pattern really easy and once the cutting was done, quick to put together. I took the pillow to the living room to stuff and hand sew so I could join in the action and put the pillow to good use once done. You can also check out our huge college selection here; don't over look the fleece!
I was so impressed with the finished product that I envision it in my own home though I never fancied myself a floor pillow gal. It will be great for kids to sit on for movie night, to put my feet on when I am working late on my laptop or just to curl around when reading. I hope to make 2 for the living room, as many as my little one wants in her room (once she is old enough to ask, that is) and maybe a few for my room and some for the guest room. You never know where you will need a good pillow (even dogs love it).
P.s. Just because it is a football post and it needs to be said: GO KU JAYHAWKS! And k-state- you know what I think of you.
Sweater Surgery by Stefanie Girard is one of the most fun books I have had the pleasure of reading in a long time. My library is full of resource books, books with great patterns, foundation books and go-to books but not many FUN books. It is kind of scary at first shrinking and cutting a sweater but there is a freedom that regular fabric cannot give. Mistakes turn into great details, seams are lovely and size is irrelevant.
Stefanie takes you through everything you need to know to turn your old sweaters into something new and special: toys, purses, different sweaters or any accessory your wardrobe is lacking. She talks you through picking a sweater for your project or vice versa, felting (washing machine and needle), tools and notions, deconstruction, reclaiming yarn, you name it. Stefanie shows the reader how to look at the details of a sweater and use them to their best advantage: the bottom ribbing of a sweater becomes the cuff of a mitten, the buttons of a cardigan are the central design on a bag, and the reverse of a fair isle becomes an endearing softie. The projects are a little bit crazy and a little bit bold but only because of Stefanie's sweater choices. The bones of each project are on trend and adaptable to many styles. There is something for everyone because you can make it your own with sweater choices. The fabric necklaces in the book may be too bold for you but if you choose neutral colors and amber colored beads, the whole look of the necklace changes. It becomes a remarkable accessory, a conversation starter upon close inspection but not a neon sign.
Stefanie also includes home accessories in Sweater Surgery that are amazing. Just imagine soft, luxurious sweater pillows to snuggle with on your couch. Such pillows are costly and popular at all the high end boutiques but with careful selection at a local thrift store you can have the same look for under $10 instead of hundreds. There are also some great holiday decorating ideas and projects in this book.
Each project is well explained and some include patterns. In the back, there is inspiration with summaries of how to achieve the look yourself or to use as a starting point for your own creation. I chose to use a mistakenly felted cable sweater and turned it into a sweater dress for my little lady come winter. I cut up the center of the sweater and cut off the arms. I left the seams on the right side because I really dug the look in some of Stefanie's inspiration photos. I stitched with a 2 in seam allowance on the sides and then cut the seam down to ¼ in. I then stitched up the center with a ½ in. seam, leaving 2 in. open at the top (to make it easier to get it over her head). I cut 8 in off the arms and sewed the arms back on with a ½ in. seam stretching to make the arms fit. I trimmed all the seams to ¼ in. The dress fits perfectly and looks even better (it will be great paired with some polka dot or striped leggings). I may use the left over arm for a softie or arm warmers for me when knitting in the cold. This book has got my blood pumping for more sweater projects and I am excited to reuse some of my old sweater instead of tossing them.
LaLa Scarf: pattern found in Greetings from Knit cafe
I truly hate to write reviews of this nature: the love/hate variety. If I love something, words flow from my fingers with a vengeance and the same can be said for hate. It is when I both love and dislike something that my mind gets muddled and I can't decide which way to go and which characteristics to give precedence to. Arranging your compliments and complaints in a certain order can sway a reader as much as your words. Let's go with stream of consciousness with this and see how we do.
First, I want to clear and air. Love/hate is a saying that easily comes to mind but I feel that my relationship with the LaLa Scarf is LOVE (note the capitals)/ Grrr. I love the finished product. I love the color combinations and possibilities. I love the delicate and small nature of the scarf and I love the look of mohair and the ruffle specifically in mohair. The Grrr comes in because I found this pattern frustrating and not all was due to the pattern but also to my own hang-ups. First, I was confused by the pattern in places. The eyelet row instructs you to do a double YO first and then each eyelet following you should wrap the yarn 3 times. I found this ambiguous. I did as instructed but the eyelets were too big, looked sloppy and floppy and not quite right. The following eyelet rows I just did the double YO all the way across and it looks MUCH better and appropriate. If this is correct, what does the wrap 3 times allude to? I also had a really tough time on the picot loops. I followed the instructions for about 4-5 picot loops but found that my loops looked like rats nests and proceeded to carefully and awkwardly frog back and try again. I went slower this time but with the same result. I decided to leave off the loops and bind-off with the light green yarn to add a whisper of color at the bottom of the ruffle. I used Rowan Kid Silk Haze in Garden and Jelly.
The finished scarf is deliciously soft, flowy and delicate. I can imagine wearing this with a light t-shirt, jeans and tall boots to add color to an outfit and to take it from casual to luxurious. LaLa would also brighten a holiday dress or keep your neck warm on a stroll to take in the holiday lights. This pattern could accommodate other lightweight yarns for a sleeker look should you have a friend who is less mohair and more cashmere. Or a combination there of. Due to my hang-ups with mohair (it is so thin that it floats on air and glides so quickly across your needle that control is difficult) I would knit the bulk of the scarf in cashmere or alpaca and the ruffle in mohair (the ruffle looks amazing in mohair).
Of all the knitting bags I have made (it might be JUST short of 100), Amy Butler's Stash N Dash is one of the top 3. It is perfect for knitting on the go (which I do a lot), small projects (my current obsession), socks and gifts. I made the biggest, Toiletry Bag, and it is perfect. I have decided I can use it as a project bag- in which I only have to pull out my needle, zip it and knit. It holds my yarn, tangle free and keeps it from rolling all over. This is also perfect when just knitting on the couch (keeps my yarn from little fingers) or at the Doctor's office. The strap hangs from your wrist so you can wear your yarn and quickly stash it away. The toiletry bag is also great for notions, wristlet for quick shopping trips, or a treasure bag for a little lady or man to tote their polished rocks, shiny coins or red marbles around. Oh and the bag is more spacious inside than it looks on the outside.
The Stash N Dash is quick to cut and sew up. I used a combo of quilting cotton (strap and top of bag) and home dec (lining and bottom of the bag) so I just interfaced the quilting cotton. Some more bags are definitely coming up and I am thinking of adding the straps or a little loop to hook a strap onto the smaller bags. These bags are a great option for Christmas presents because you can create a set in any fabric to match the recipient: dupioni silk for my sister in law, funky cotton for my mom and solids for my mother-in-law. These are also great teacher gifts, neighbors and the friend who has everything.
Everyone needs a sewing machine cover for, umm, business purposes. You know, for, umm, covering your business. Bah- who cares? If you really need to make an excuse for making a sewing machine cover than perhaps you have too much business. They are super fast to make (most of the time) and super cute. Just another way to drape fabric around your sewing room, nook, or desk. A sewing machine cover helps keep the dust at bay (dust can gather in your machine, messing up your tension), can keep little hands away, block spills, etc. but really the reason I made one- not that all those above reasons aren't correct and, of course, great, but that is not why I made one. I wanted to make my machine pretty. When non-sewers com over, as impressive as my machine is (and let me tell you, this baby is loaded) they won't notice or care. It will just be a sewing machine to them. Like a banana or a pot hole. Not "Wow what a great machine", just "Hey, you've got a sewing machine! So do you sew"? But now, it will be "Wow, that is cute, I love it". Plus it makes me smile every time I walk in the room. And isn't that why we all sew, to make ourselves happy! So if you want to carve up a little more happiness for your machine there are tons of tutorials out there: Patchwork, selvedge, ribbon. But I used a simple tutorial that I think all will love by Sparkle Power. Candace used 3 vintage prints plus the lining, which looks amazing. I just had about 1 yd of this retro, bird print that I have been itching to put in my room somewhere. So you can use this tutorial for as many prints as you want to use. Just follow the basics. Mine took about 30 min from cutting to topstitching. I was able to use some fabric I had bought from the Retro & Mod Section and I had some awesome grosgrain ¾ in ribbon. Unfortunately for me, I thought I was being clever when I measured my existing cover (that came with the machine) instead of the machine. I failed to take into account that the first cover was more/less free standing where as my new one would be more drappy so it is too long. I am going to say that I love the look regardless because I have no time to fix it. Don't try my clever route, measure your machine. Be sure and post your cover pictures on our Facebook page so all can admire and compliment.
I have my own theories on why socks are so mesmerizing. Let me regal you.
1) Socks are quick
2) There are a gazillion patterns so there is something for everyone
3) Everyone wears/loves socks so you have a go-to knitted present
4) You can be secretly wild with socks and no one will know but you.
There as many ways to knit socks as there are sock patterns. You can be traditional and use DPNs (Double Pointed Needles), Magic Loop (that's me), 2 circulars, 2 socks at a time, Toe Up (Also my preferred) and Cuff Down, etc. The easiest way to figure out your prefect combo of techniques it to try them all. I only recently (this year) knit my first, second and third pair of socks. This is because I was trying out all the different methods. I found what works for me and now I enjoy socks and have found the addiction. Also once you figure out which sock knitter you are you can purchase your needles. Since I am a magic looper, I bought all my sock needle sizes (00, 0, 1, 2, & 3, and every size in between) in 40-60 in. length cables.
There are some key techniques that every sock knitters needs in his or her bag. The first is a good cast-on (even if you prefer toe-up you might find a pattern you MUST make that is cuff down) that is stretchy and easy. The second if a good stretchy bind-off (Super stretchy bind-off). Three is practice with short rows (toe box and heel). Another good piece of info to know: needle size 00 through 4 have sizes in between in millimeters. Get familiar with them; they can help you obtain the correct gauge. Lastly, I know that store bought socks are cheap and easy but a handmade sock is a luxury few but knitters know. You can give that luxury to those you love and customize it to them. A hand knit sock fits perfectly and feels so lovely (better than a really great cup of coffee or big glass of wine).
P.s: The red sock is knit in Regia Kaffe Fassett in Mirage Fire,a toe-up pattern is coming up in October! The other sock is knit in a sock yarn purchased years ago with a lost ball band (Don't ya hate that), the pattern is cuff-down, Jaywalker.
Check out our great selection of Sock Yarn- Super Yummy!
Pearl gleams and shimmers. Pearl is elegant and sophisticated. Pearl is a knitted clutch with a textured body and lacey, scalloped flap. Pearl is lined with a sea blue Dupioni silk. Pearl is our latest free knitting pattern download.
I dreamed of pearl when I first saw Berocco's Lustra. For many months I wanted to get my hands on it and see what could be made with it to bring out the sheen and incorporate the slight fuzziness. The textured stitch came from a stitch guide but I had to reverse it for knitting in the round. The lace stitch is simple but delicate enough to add to the elegance of the clutch without detracting from the texture.
Pearl is knit with a worsted weight Tencel and Wool blend on size 8, 24 in. cable needles. You can sub in any silken or woolen yarn but I would not recommend anything too fuzzy or stark (like pure cotton). The slight fuzziness blends the gaps in between stitches in the texture. The pattern for the lining is also included. You can use any silky fabric or spice it up with patterned quilting cotton.
Pearl is perfect for any occasion where a clutch is needed. It's soft to the hand. A small luxury when you are stuck in heels for the night.
Now- I am not an old hand to embroidery but nor am I a green horn. You may find me safely in the middle of the road. This is just my experience we are discussing here, not my enthusiasm. That can be ranked way up high. You have to stand on your tippy-toes to reach it. But this is only since I discovered Sublime Stitching. Back when I was in high school and my mom started me with embroidery, we would head down to the local hobby/craft store and pick from their rather old-fashioned selection. It was just fine for my mom who was in the market for another "Home Sweet Home" sign but for a 14 yr old, a furry mouse hugging a computer just wasn't my style. Jenny Hart is much, much more my style. I mean, come on, she's got aliens, pie and pirates in there (the trifecta)!
Reading her book brought back all my fond memories of why I fell in love with embroidery all those days ago (despite the floral, whimsical jungle); the gentle "thunk" noise that the needle makes as it pierces the fabric, the gentle and precise movement, the freedom of color. Jenny's book is well written for a beginner or anyone looking to pick up tips. It features full instructions along with friendly How-tos, tips and "hey, check out this cool thing I found to do this better". The book has a nice selection of stitches followed by a stitch lesson and then PATTERNS-glorious patterns. Each is iron-on, including the stitch lesson. Most are bereft of added business in hopes that you will get creative and go crazy with your own business. I had such a good time with my stitch lesson. I choose to go with one color but different thicknesses of floss. I varied from 2-6 strands and found I much prefer 3. I left some of my lesson undone so you (my gentle readers) could see what the iron-on looks like. Jenny recommends 3-4 passes of a hot iron before checking but I found with my iron that one pass made it dark enough. My recommendation is to check after every pass. Just a little peek. I also used a 9 by 4 in. hoop as opposed to a circular hoop and thought it worked well for the longer stitch patterns in the lesson.
I have big plans for the rest of the patterns in the book and most fall into the Christmas present category. There are plenty of cupcake, ice cream and coffee patterns that are great for tea towels. I know my brother (with a band) will love one of the Mexican dancers on his guitar strap and my toddler has a ton of hoodies that need a little something special on the sleeve or front pocket. I might even try something for my husband but I will have to sneak it!
Felted Flower Bowls: what a fun, quick felted knit. I love projects like this: quick and gorgeous. Not only is this an afternoon, naptime project but it also make a great gift. Give a cluster of 3-4 to a friend for catch-alls or jewelry in different colors. They make darling teacher presents (keeping erasers, paper clips, thumb tacks, etc) or for a little lady to keep all her treasures.
But... in order to make the bowl you must first come to peace with felting. It was hard for me (my first felt was a cell phone pouch) to knit an object only to 'ruin' it, in a way, by washing it against its washing instructions. It was also hard to fathom that it would be so different after than before. But felting is so fun, shrink-dinks fun! To an extent textures can play well but in general you want to stick with garter or stockinette stitch. There are no ends to weave in and colorwork takes on a whole new meaning. While felting is easier in a top loader washing machine, it can be done in a front loader. I felted the flower bowl in a front loading machine. I choose the shortest wash cycle and checked on it after each cycle to see when it had felted enough.
Felting makes a fabric so knitting the item in its finished shape is not a necessary step. You can knit pieces or just on big piece and sew it together once dried (try Knitty's pumpkin). Felted knitting gets thicker as well as denser in the process. Felted items that work well are bags, appliqués, hats, slippers, and decorative items (agina with the felt pumpkins- I love 'em). Felt is great for shaping, cutting and is much more manipulative than non-felted knitting. Felting is only possible with coat fibers like wool, alpaca and llama. You must also be very careful of blends. I used Berocco's Lustra, a wool & tencel blend, and I will admit I had some concerns on whether or not it would felt. With a 50/50 blend my fears were pretty small but there was still a small sigh of relief when I pulled it out and saw how fine the bowl looked. I have a special place in my knitting heart for felting and I certainly cannot wait pass it on!
Here is a great article from Knitty.com on felting, ins and outs and how-tos.
Here is my project page on Ravelry.
If you haven't read Mason Dixon Knitting, you are seriously missing out. Many a knitter's obsessions have sprung from this book. I, myself, bought it after flipping through it for 2 min in a book store. I saw the pictures (didn't read a word), closed the book and took it to the check-out. I have since read it over and over and over. It is my knitting Pride and Prejudice. One project I have dreamed of but not yet attempted was log cabin. It is gorgeous and so simple. The way it is explained lends it easily to scrap yarn, mystery yarn and random yarn. You can knit till you run out and counting stitches is not really required. It is perfect TV knitting; you can knit it in squares for take-along knitting and it is great for beginners because it is just garter stitch. For those easily bored, just change colors when you tire of one. It is perfect for everyone! I began mine a couple of weeks ago from scraps of wool and wool skeins with missing ball bands. I would love to give you more info on the colors, etc but I cannot. I do know it is all wool. This blanket (oh, yes, it will be a blanket one day) will features pinks, browns, turquoise and maybe some cream; it will be for my sweet, little girl. I am picturing it as a nap blanket, for family movie nights and story time before bed. It will be lined on the back side with quilting cotton, muslin or Kona cotton once finished. I will probably hand stitch the lining on but I think it will be relaxing. The lining may make it possible for me to avoid weaving in all the loose ends (GOODY).
My log cabin began with my scraps of yarn and grew from there. Once I gathered all my wool (it really is my favorite fiber to work with) and saw the color scheme my random bits leaned towards, I knew at once who the blanket would be for and I left out the colors I didn't need. I choose the center color from the smallest scrap of yarn and knit till it ran out. I bound off the edge but left the last loop on my needle, then turned the piece to the right and picked up a stitch for every garter ridge. I knit back and forth till I felt it was big enough and then bound off on the right side leaving one loop on my needle and turned the piece to the right. I will continue till I feel the blanket is big enough. I may add a border or not. I have yet to decide. But the greatest thing is you do not need to cast on 500 stitches and knit endlessly back and forth. You cast on a few, knit for a while then build from there. You can make squares and sew them together later. You can change directions, add increases and decreases. You are golden as long as the basic method is kept true: knit, bind off on the right side, leave on loop on your needle, pick up more stitches and knit.
This is a project to challenge the mind or a relaxing way to knit up all your random bits. It all depends on your approach.
More great fibers to knit a log cabin blanket with are:
I heart new pattern day. Today is the debut of my Yoga Mat Tote designed just for Fabric.com customers. This pattern is made to coordinate with the Yoga Water Bottle Cozy in the stitch pattern and in fiber. Now you can look pulled together for your yoga class from your head past your toes. The lace at the top off the bag allows for more elasticity where you need it to quickly get your mat in and out of the tote. It also increases breathability. The cotton/acrylic yarn ensures fast drying to decrease instances of mildew or unfriendly odors. The acrylic mixed with the yarn helps the yarn bounce back better than 100% cotton. Lion Brand Cotton Ease comes in a bunch of great colors, bright and neutral.
The Yoga Mat Tote is a quick knit with just enough to keep you interested to the end. There is minimal finishing and some seaming. The strap is made from quilting cotton and is sewn on. The tote is knit in the round from the top down. This project is great for TV knitting, Knitting on the go (it is not very large) and knitting in public. You will need 2 skeins of Lion Brand Cotton Ease and ¼ yd of quilting cotton, as well as size 8 circular needles in a length longer than 24 in (I used magic loop), a tapestry needle and coordinating thread. The finished bag measures 24 in. high by 4 in. diameter.
You can check out more info and pictures on my Ravelry project page.
Scrap booking has become big- HUGE- these days. It is a wonderful pastime that can bring friends and families together. Giving a gift like a scrapbook is one of the best presents you can give and great for any occasion. But scrapbooking can be consuming. There are stamps, papers, dies, glitter, fonts, etc to purchase to make your scrapbook awesome. Or you can buy a Cricut, which will eliminate the need for hundreds of dies, fonts and stamps.
I have a feeling though that if you are this far into this article, you are already all for the Cricut. I know I fell in love one sleepless night years ago when I first spied the Cricut infomercial. According to the infomercial the Cricut is not just for scrapbooking but for general crafting and this is too true. Sure, you can whip up a card in no time but that is not just it. Let me guide you through a few of the many Cricut treasures the internet holds.
Let me first show you my article on making paper magnets with your Cricut. It is so easy that it can be your first craft project with your Cricut. I used this method to populate a tree I painted on top of magnetic paint in my daughter's room. I intended to make tons of fabric leaves for this tree but then I received my Cricut for Christmas and the project was finished in no time. I then stepped it up to birds and flowers, because any good tree needs both.
Next, I found a video tutorial from Above Rubies Studio for making name plaques that looks like a lot of fun. It involves painting but no artistic skill really needed. You will also need some vinyl to be cut with your Cricut. The host describes many gift ideas to broaden the range of this craft.
Custom Crops shows up how to make a really beautiful glass soap jar for your guests. This video even includes showing your how to decorate your soap on top of decorating the jar. I spied a second video tutorial by Custom Crops that walks you through making awesome sugar/salt scrubs and gussying them up as spiffy presents. A third video lead me to the sudden urge to make a bunting banner. These ladies are the go-to girls for non-traditional Cricut crafts and I recommend you check out all their videos (very well made too).
I hope this article has encouraged some crafters who are not scrap bookers to look at the Cricut in a new light. I don't really scrapbook but I love my Cricut. It is handy for all of the above as well as cutting out stencils, appliqués and letters. I also hope that I have allowed some scrap bookers to try something new or to get excited about their Cricut all over again.
It is hard to get started thinking on Christmas when it is still hot outside but if you want to really enjoy the Christmas season and resist the slow decline towards "Ba Humbug" that results in homemade gift procrastination, then you had better pay attention. Allowing yourself plenty of time also ensures that you will enjoy making every gift which will surely be evident and will also allow for fine finishing details that make your gifts so special. Of course you will want to make something extra special for everyone but allow for your schedule, the number of people you plan on exchanging gifts with and how fast you create. Estimate in your head (or on paper) how many hours you can dedicate to each gift and stick to it. You can always supplement with store bought gifts or, even better, baked goods.
It is important to plan and try not to deviate but leave some wiggle room (you might want to take the weekend off to take in the leaves changing color or visit your favorite festival). The wiggle room will keep you going and help you to feel refreshed.
Pick projects that the receiver will love but you will also love to make. It is infinitely more fun to give something that gave you as much pleasure to make as it will for your loved one to use or treasure. Our Creativity Headquarters is full of patterns and gift ideas as well as fabric. It is a great place to start your Christmas list. You can also check out other blogs for free pattern ideas, tutorials and pictures of finished projects. You will be surprised how another perspective can give you inspiration on new fabric choices and gift ideas that would not have occurred to you but that you must make.
Wee Wonderfuls has great free softie patterns for free as well as embroidery deigns
Angry Chicken has some awesome free video tutorials
Another reason not to wait is the sales. You don't want your perfect fabric to slip away ne'er to be seen again. We are always having great early sales so stock up now so you don't have to scramble later. Though most of our patterns are reorderable, sometimes the stock is depleted and can take a few days or a week to be refilled. That is time you can spare now but not as the clock ticks down. If you purchase all your supplies early, you can work on your schedule and not have to sweat bullets if the pattern you must have is still out of stock.
Christmas is a season of merriment and I hope that if you follow my advice it will be so for you. Gift giving is a delight for both parties so planning ahead, sticking to your plan and allowing wiggle room will guarantee that the smile on your face Christmas morning is the real deal and not hiding the fatigue, stress and frustration of last minute gift making. Plus you will need the time for cookie making (be sure to share you recipes!!)
P.s. More info on the advent calendar here
One of my favorite reasons to sew is for kids. Now that I have one our birthday party invitations have increased exponentially. We trek off to a kid party every month. I try to make something different for each kid so I don't get bored and each one has something special just for them. Sewing for kids is enjoyable because the restraints of matching are exchanged in favor of favorite colors; attention to detail is traded for creative stitches and sneaking in glitter where ever possible is always encouraged. I love sewing for kids and challenge myself to push the boundaries of picking prints, adding details (like secret pockets for treasures) and including something extra just for that child.
Some great kid patterns and tutorials are:
- My Puppet show pattern, birthday crown and super hero appliqué
- Twirly Skirt Pattern
- Birthday Bunting
- Dragon Tail
- Stuffed Dinosaur
- Kid Tent: I made this last week for a 3 yr old and last month for 2yr old twins and have had reports back from the parents that the tents were big hits. The 3 yr old spent all night in his tent and I even had requests for more tents from other party goers (Fabric.com keeps me way too busy to go into the tent making business, though). The pattern calls for making these out of twin sheet but you can sub in our solid color quilting fabrics or extra wide backing (a twin flat sheet is 66 in. by 75 in. or 4 yds of 45 in. wide fabric cut in half and sew together). You can pick out 1 yd or 2 of a coordinating print for the flap decoration and flags. I added an embroidered initial on one flag and another had the initial with Heat n Bond.
Now is the time to start planning your knitted Christmas presents. Not that it necessarily take 5 months to knit presents for your family and friend but it takes time to find the perfect pattern, find and order yarn and then time to knit it to perfection (especially if you are working on a new pattern). Starting now gives you time to make a list and do it right without stress. This way if you decide to take a night off for wine bar hopping, a wine tasting or trip to Napa Valley, you've got time. The last thing you want is it being Dec 22nd and you have 2 scarves, 3 hats and 1 sweater left to finish and block!
Now, where to begin? Ah...the fun part. Planning is always fun for me because it involves lots of window shopping, very little price tag looking and much imagining of people opening presents with looks of delight painting their faces. Make a list of those for whom you wish to knit presents. Next, decide the general genre of the present (i.e. hat, shawl, gloves, etc). Then start your search. I always start at Knitty but Ravelry is another good place to start given the rating system. Your library of books in another starting place. I curl up on a comfy seat pulled up next to the shelf with a cup of coffee. Once you have all your patterns selected, it is time to pick your yarn (SIGH. I love yarn shopping!). Make another list of all the yarn you will need. I generally categorize it by fiber. Then if I can combine orders or yardage (say you only need 50 yds from this ball and it will work for another project, then you can combine it and save). Unless I have a definite image of what one project should look like, I try to be flexible with fiber and color so I can combine.
Next, estimate how much time you will need for each project. I write this down on the pattern itself along with the yarn I selected for it. A good way to estimate is to check out completed projects on Ravelry. Each project lists when someone starts and finishes and you should get a good feel for how long it will take. Then get started. I would recommend prioritizing your list but at this point you have already made enough lists and you should just start whichever project you are most excited over.
But wait...Let's make a plan B. Let's face it, knitting Christmas present can be much like starting a diet: You are die-hard for a while then you get distracted and lose you way. That is why a Plan B is in needed in case you have too much wine too often or your husband insists on taking you out dancing (crazy talk, I know). I like to take readymade objects and add little knitted somethings so the sentiment of a handmade present is still there but in a limited amount of time. Some good ideas are:
· Hand towels with knitted edgings
· Knitted flowers added to a tank top or tee shirt
· Purchased sweaters with added details (knitted appliqués, monograms, edgings or ruffles)
· Crazy cozy- chicken for your teapot, pig for your toaster
· Knitted fruit and veggies are great for kids
There are many little things you can knit and give or add to readymade items. This will give you tons of satisfaction but none of the stress or guilt so often plaguing us during and leading up to the holiday season.
Writer's note: The above pictures are a super cute tank top with knitted flowers added on in a cluster and a knitted inset in red flannel to make a pillow. The pattern is Odin Eagle for my Norwegian MIL but I did not have time to knit the whole pillow. This compromise allows me to give my MIL something she will love in a 1/4 of the time. The striped scarf is my free Sally Stripe pattern found here.
Dad:He is the bringer of the Bacon. The master of the grill. The captain general of trash removal and, perhaps, dog walking.
My dad is one of the coolest guys I know and not just because he is my dad. He is half to blame for my craftiness. As long as I can remember my dad has had a workshop. For years he made all my mom's anniversary presents. He has never paid someone in install anything. My Father-in-law is similar. He is a fixer and prefers to do it himself. A Mechanic is someone another guy takes his car to. And then there is my husband (his second father's day!) he is amazingly handy, creative and helpful. I can only think that the best way to show my appreciation for their care and craftsmanship is to return the favor.
For Christmas last year I adapted this pattern, slightly, to make a fishing vest for my father-in-law. I used medium weight canvas in a manly green (which means it was more of a light olive, nothing too jarring for the menfolk). The material was heavy enough to be durable and not blow around in the wind, but light enough to feel light enough for Southern Georgia fishing. You can make this pattern for hiking, and camping. This is a great addition for the Dad who enjoys travel and sightseeing.
If you dad really wants a snuggy, is cold natured, enjoys movie night with the family or enjoys dressing like a fleece monk (you know, just around the house) this pattern is perfect. With our huge selection of fleece and minky, you can make this for every dad's taste. Make it in Camo, so he will blend in virtually invisible when it is time for the Honey-do list. Choose his favorite team or your favorite, if you are rivals. Or keep the peace and choose what will make mom happy, but dad still gets his snuggy.
If your dad goes through glasses like knitters go through wine at SnB then this sleek glasses case is perfect. You can make it in 3 sizes and any pattern you like. Again, you can go for a sports theme or try a more traditional, classic with faux leather, suede, burlap with contrasting stitching. Or nautical would look masculine paired with a solid lining. There is a great selection of prints in our Father's Day Sale section.
You can't go wrong with a laptop case (Indygo Junction and Amy Butler). It is something every dad needs but his is probably 10 years old and thread-bear. You can customize one for your favorite dad with a monogram (either stitched or painted), a cool appliqué (a classic Nintendo character, a ninja or pirate, or a skull and cross bones, perhaps). Mix & match fun prints if he is daring or go sleek and sophisticated with solids and textures. The Tempo collection is perfect for Eco friendly dads and is durable with a great hand.
Last but not least, if you dad grills and I mean, GRILLS then he will want to stake his claim on his own grill. Sure nothing screams manly-man than I stainless steel grill but does it scream your dad. A custom-made grill cover will not only show the 'hood your dad means business but also that this is his territory and he don't take too kindly to trespassers. Protect the grill, spice up the backyard and earning an extra burger is well worth the effort. Be sure and choose weather-proof and sun-proof fabric if your grill is kept outside. You can add snap pockets to the outside for bug spray, recipes, sunscreen and sunglasses. Add a loop for his hat. Go a little crazy with the grill cover since it is outside and there are fewer rules. You can paint a giant bottle of soda or beer if that is your dad, his initials, or a team logo. If you are going with a solid canvas, try some chalk board paint. Apply several coats, maybe some light sanding in between and let dry for 3 days. Dad can post the day's menu, the score or secret messages for the grand kids.
I hope this small list helps make your Father's day extra special. Be sure and post your ideas and pictures on our Facebook page.