Recently in Christmas Category
So because I was already set to blog on my serger (See previous post- Product of the Month: Sergers) I decided that you readers should have a project too. This is especially true for the newbies who are considering a serger but think they will only use it to seam up some t-shirts. These super easy napkins are a great stash buster (if you like to mix n' match) or the perfect way to add a splash of color to your table. If you have a dinner party coming up or are hosting your first family meal at your house and you need some gorgeous napkins fast then this project is for you. Bonus: You can learn yet another feature on your serger.
Most sergers are equipped to create a rolled edge so check your manual to determine how your machine needs to be configured. My Brother 1034D needs to have the stitch finger removed. Once you have your machine set up it is time to test the tensions on your 3 threads: Needle, Upper Looper and Lower Looper. Take a piece of waste fabric that is approximately the same as your project fabric to test your tensions. Turn your knife on and then trim away any messy edges as you stitch until you get your tension correct. I had to make my upper looper tension heavier than the recommended range so experiment inside the range first and then outside the range if the tension is still not right. Change each dial one at a time, stitch a few inches, check it and then make another change. If you make several changes at once and something is not right you won't easily be able to determine the problem.
The red is the messy tension and the green is the corrected
To make clean corners, don't pivot at the corner like with a traditional sewing machine. Stitch to the end of the fabric plus some extra to make a thread chain and then lift the foot and turn the fabric. Begin each corner beyond the edge of the fabric. Finish each corner with a small drop of Fray Check then clip off the thread chain. This will keep the corner threads from coming undone and will give it a nice finished end.
To make 8 napkins you will need 2 yds of cotton print fabric (44'' wide). Make an 18'' square template from poster board or freezer paper. Take your pre-washed fabric and fold it in half 4 times (you will have 8 layers) and then lay your template on top and cut out all 8 napkins at once. With your knife on run each napkin through your serger cutting off ¼'' to eliminate any frayed or wonky edges.
You can recreate any of folding designs by following my Kitchen board on Pinterest. The bow is my personal favorite but I also have a soft spot for the rose for having girlfriends over for tea. My napkins were created from Riley Blake Flutter in Doily Blue and Dream Blue (Due to be back in stock mid April)
1 skein of embroidery floss is a coordinating color (I used green for show but try to use a color to match your yarn)
Enough yarn to complete your edging (to be determined by the stitch pattern)
Project to be embellished.
With your embroidery floss using a backstitch or running stitch to work the edge where the trim is desired (I used a running stitch along the edge of the cuff for the stocking). Use a running stitch if your yarn is worsted or thicker and using a backstitch if your yarn is thinner than worsted. The running stitch will have spaces incorporated that work well for thick yarns. Also, let the size of your yarn determine your stitch size; a bigger yarn needs a bigger stitch to work into and smaller yarns need a smaller stitch. Don't work a thin yarn into a big stitch it will look sloppy.
Secure the end of the embroidery floss with a good knot. Using your crochet hook (size determined by your yarn gauge) work a single crochet into each stitch of embroidery floss. Use this first row to create as many stitches as needed for your pattern. Start your pattern on the second row. This first row should be all single crochets and will help hide your embroidery floss.
To recreate my scallop pattern use Martha Stewart's Merino Yarn in Peacock and *SC, DC, DC, TC, DC, DC, SC into one stitch, chain 3, repeat from *
SC: Single Crochet
DC: Double Crochet
TC: Triple Crochet
With 2 kids, I am constantly looking for ways to involve them in the holidays but without the risk to any of our decorations. That is a hard task when Christmas rolls around: glass ornaments, ceramic table toppers and porcelain angels abound. However, when I saw this Felt Christmas Tree project idea on Pinterest, I knew it was just right for my family. I set about planning my tree. I wanted it a bit different to blend with my funky/traditional Christmas decorating theme that I always seem to end up with so I cut my tree from turquoise felt. Next I cut several different circle shapes from red, green, blue and purple felt and some square and rectangle as well to serve as presents.
To decorate each ornament I used a combination of fabric and felt. I cut small polka dots from felt for my 3 yr old to decorate ornament. I also cut a snowflake inspired overlay for another. A simple white flower centered on a red circle serves as nod to the traditional. For my fabric decorations I let my love of polka dots have full access. I used several sizes of polka dot fabric and cut using my pinking shears for a decorative edging. Some of the presents feature ribbon and some felt add-ons.
I recommend using fabric glue for affixing fabric to felt but for felt-on-felt and ribbon on felt use your glue gun or a simple running stitch in a matching thread. The felt really soaks up the fabric glue so you need something thicker to stick anything other than fabric. When gluing fabric to felt, apply your glue to the fabric and then press it to the felt. Don't apply the glue to the felt first as it will soak it up.
Lastly, I hung my tree with thumb tack so my little one could hang "real" ornaments from the branches. I made her some small pom poms and tied the ends into a loop for hanging. You could also make more felt ornament for hanging. My little bit loves her Christmas tree and re-decorates it every morning after a visit to her advent calendar (free pattern available here). It makes a great backdrop for her Christmas photos. The best part is it is unbreakable and cheerful!
P.S. I realize the length of her pants ruin my credibility but she could not be persuded to wear anything else
I 'm so glad to be back from maternity leave after having my second child, a girl named Emily. I was going stir-crazy and longed to get my hands on some craft supplies again. Many hours were spent holding a sleeping baby, who would awake as soon as she suspected I would place her in a crib, so those hours were spent on Pinterest pinning ideas to make later. In those hours I rediscovered the Pom-Pom. Their fluffy, round goodness made my heart jump every time I saw them in another project. With Christmas rapidly approaching, I really wanted to incorporate pom poms into my holiday decorations. I decided on a pom pom garland because in my excitement I had already create a handful of pom poms in several colors and I had run out of wreath forms.
I got to work shifting through my studio looking for half finished skeins in colors to complete the rainbow garland I envisioned. In the end I had my color scheme but it was created with both wool and cotton. After I had made all the pom poms I would need I fell in love with the blending of the 2 fibers (wool and cotton) and loved the different texture it gave my garland. I used only worsted weight yarns and my medium Clover Pom pom maker. This made pom poms approximately 2 ½ inches wide. I wound them with extra yarn until I almost could not close my maker to create extra fluffy pom poms. I also trimmed some pom pom more than others because I loved the haphazard and impish look of a freshly made pom pom but I wanted a clean look to my garland so I did not leave all my pom poms with the "Beatles' haircut".
In the end I made 16 pom poms to make a 6 ft garland. DO NOT CLIP the tie used to secure your pop pom; you will use it later. Using a bulky weight yarn (this will prevent the pom poms from sliding up and down and unifies the garland. Knot on end about 4 inches from the cut end (you can opt for a loop instead) measure 72 inches and mark to make another big knot later then clip the yarn 4 inches after. Thread the unknotted end onto a tapestry needle and begin threading your pom poms. Insert the needle perpendicular to the pom pom tie (the one we discussed earlier- see picture below). Slide your pom pom on and repeat for all remaining pom poms. It is easier to line up your pom poms before threading to determine the order. Once you are done, slide all your pom poms down to give yourself room to tie the end knot. And you are done! For an extra fluffy garland you can double the pom poms or use our extra large pom pom maker. You can opt for nontraditional colors like turquoise, coral, orange and bright green. If you prefer a color themed tree, try making an extra long garland to create an ombre effect on your tree. Start with the darkest shade of pom pom for your color scheme on the bottom and work your way up to the lightest shade pom pom at the top.
A quick tip: Wind the Pom pom maker with both ends of the skein. You will make your pom pom twice as quick!
Linoleum Dishcloth by Kay Gardiner
Whether you are new to knitting or have been clicking the needles since you were "this small" you know that dishcloths are big business to a knitter. Some, like my Mother-in-law, knit them all the time for around the house and as gifts. Others, like me, knit them when they have some extra cotton to use up or as just a small project to knit during a movie. There are as many reasons to knit dishcloths as there are dishcloth patterns.
I love dishcloths but don't knit them that often. But when I used to teach classes, I would start my students off with a dishcloth as their first project for several reasons:
1) Unlike a scarf, a dishcloth is small and easily finished within a few days for a beginner. This means they get the sense of satisfaction of their first project sooner and can show it off and feel confident about starting a second project
2) Unlike a first scarf, you probably won't cringe when you look upon your first dishcloth and you can use it right away.
3) Dishcloths can be used 365 days a year
4) Frogging a dishcloth won't lead to depression
Dishcloths are infinity practical and everyone can use them. They are one of the few gifts that can be given to a guy or a girl (everyone cleans even if they don't dig the frog stitch pattern you selected for each of their dishcloths). Dishcloths make great samplers, so if you are dying to try a new stitch pattern, incorporate it into a dishcloth and try it out and then use it. Dishcloths are portable and great for summer knitting. They won't cover your lap; and people will easily recognize them so you won't have to explain the twisted shawl collar Vogue Knitting sweater that looks like your cat fought over (at least until you block and seam it- then won't they be admiring). Dishcloths are great for first time home buyers, hostess gifts, baby showers (make great burp cloths), college students, stocking stuffers, and everyday "I think you are special" gifts. These little gems help pass the time and can fit your exact mood. If you want something you can memorize and knit in your sleep while you watch baseball- done. If you want something a bit tricky to take your mind off things- you got it. You can even knit them with a mind-blowing challenge to take your knitting to the next level. Dishcloths are amazing.
Knit Striped Dishcloth by Lion Brand
Here is another quick and relatively simple kids' Christmas present by Noodlehead: Bicycle Bucket Tutorial. I say relatively because if you read the directions as written and trust that the author recommends the right products and don't try to "make it better" it will be a fun and easy project. That said let me tell you why I had to cut mine out 3 times and spent the better part of the day making one. Let me add that the mistakes were all mine and I regret using my phone to view the tutorial instead of printing it out so I could read the instructions.
First I decided that I wanted my bike bucket to be SUPER strong and durable so I decided to use Peltex to interface both the lining and exterior. This makes it too stiff and unsewable. I was seconds from smashing everything and jumping up and down on it (begin recut #2). Do not use Peltex at all. The medium weight is perfect even for quilting/light weight cotton. Also, if you do not have double fusible medium weight interfacing you can use one side fusible interfacing but make sure you interface the exterior and not the lining (begin recut #3). Please follow Noodleheads instructions and do not follow my example. Once I had it assembled according to the tutorial I discovered that it is very stable, durable and just right for holding rocks, sticks, buddies, and snacks. Oh, one more tip, sew on the handle bar attachment after you complete the top trim. It is much easier to navigate the around the top of the basket if you don't have the handle bar part getting caught up on your machine. If you want to add a monogram or name tag on the front like Noodlehead's boy version do it on the exterior piece before any assembly. It is easier to center and sew on when you don't have to worry about the basket structure. I really love the wide trim at the top. It really helps to hide any cutting errors but also adds extra color and pattern to make it extra special.
Overall I am very pleased with my bike bucket and next time I will print out the instructions and haul them up to my studio. If you follow the instructions it is a fun and worthy project that any kid will love to call their own. Thanks Noodlehead!
I have no idea why but whenever I plan to decorate for Christmas my first thought is: Pillow covers. I guess it is because being a knitter I spend a lot of time curled up on or staring at the couch so of course I want to decorate it first. AND I love a good cozy pillow, so this year when I planned my pillow covers for Christmas I was drawn to flannel. Flannel everything- background, appliqués, you name it. And no zippers as well, they ruin the coziness. No need to take notes, you can just add these pictures to your Pinterest boards. Last year I made a pillow from Velvet with I-cord embroidery and it was soft and squishable as a pillow should be but I was always worried about my little one pulling off the I-cord so this year I went all out. We are talking Heat n' Bond and zig zagging all over the place. I even managed to couch on some yarn for the ornament hangers. All easy and all so soft and cozy.
1 yd of Flannel for pillow cover (I used Quilter's Flannel 90 in. Wide in Natural)
½ yd of flannel for ornaments (I used Cozy Cotton Flannel Grid Marine)
A smidge of wool felt for the hangers on ornament in Red
10 yds of wool yarn in Navy
First find an image of an ornament that you love and print it out. I did a quick search of Ornament Clip Art.
Trace this image onto the back of your Heat N Bond 3 times and cut out all images in one big piece (don't cut out each ornament shape yet) and apply, according to instructions, to the back of your green flannel. Now cut out each ornament, peel off the paper and arrange on your pillow cover made from Hot Patterns Giving Thanks Pillow Cover Pattern in White Flannel. Once you have an arrangement you like, iron your pieces in place. Cut out little squares roughly ½ by ½ in. from some wool felt. Wool felt is a little too thick for Heat n Bond so I like to keep it in place with a glue stick. Zig Zag stitch around your complete ornament. Finish off by pinning some navy wool yarn from your ornament to the top of your pillow. Slowly Zig zag stitch over your yarn keeping an eye on it so it doesn't creep out of place. Trim all loose threads and enjoy!
With some simple modifications and one super-genius knitting pattern you too can knit your own knitted reindeer. I know it sounds too good to be true, but I speak the truth and here's what you will need.
1) Danger Craft Tofu the Dachshund Knitting Pattern
2) US size 7 needles (DPNs if you prefer or cable for your magic loop lovers)
3) 1 Ball of worsted weight yarn in an reindeer-ish color
4) 1 small pom pom (you can make or used a readymade)
5) Size 6 mm safety eyes
6) Contrasting worsted weight yarn for antlers, tail, belly button
To get started, follow pattern as written except for making the tail, ears and belly button.
I hand sewed my red nose on right after I light stuffed the nose. Then I added the eyes and finished stuffing. I found whip stitching gives the best finish for sewing on the arms. For the belly button, I didn't think an X was christmasy enough so I added a few more stitches to the X and made it a Christmas star.
The tail I cast on as described in the pattern but after 4-5 rounds, I started to decrease every 4 sts, skip a row and decrease again until there were 2 sts left and then I cut my yarn, wove it through the remaining stitches and pull tight and knot.
To make the antlers I used a 4 st i-cord. After working 4 rows, I slipped 2 sts to a cable needle, working with the remaining 2 sts on my working needles, increased using the Make 1 increase. The next row, I increased again to regain 4 sts. After 4 rows, I repeated the above and once I had regained 4 sts a second time I broke my yarn, wove it through my remaining sts and pulled tight and secured. I then picked up my first 2 sts from the cable needle and working in i-cord, increase using Make 1 (3 sts) work 4 rows and break yarn, weave through remaining sts, pull tight and secure. Repeat for 2 set of slipped sts on cable needle for 2nd antler branch.
Repeat all of the above for 2nd antler. You can choose to thread pipe cleaners though your main branch of the antlers for shape. I didn't because I liked how silly and floppy they were but older children may prefer be able to manipulate the antlers.
Make 8 companions for your Rudolf so he doesn't get lonely and embroider their initials to their chests so you little ones can name their reindeer as they sing Christmas carols.
I love a good juxtaposition of fashion, namely mixing men's suiting with a feminine silhouette. You will probably not find me in such a richly ruffled piece of clothing unless you can tone it down with some smooth, dark and simply decorated men's suiting. The combo is my cup of tea. I was looking for the perfect project to branch out our men's suiting and the overtly feminine design of the HotPatterns Cabriolet Dress/skirt was perfect. There are 2 layers of gathered ruffles that flow and drape to accentuate a woman's body coupled with a long tie to cinch in the waist and create a dramatic bow. If this design doesn't say "Woman" nothing does. The wool suiting I selected is dark blue with a simple and stark window pane detail in gold. That is it. It is rich and lightweight but dark and simple. The perfect fabric for a man's garment. The two together make for a striking combination that can be worn to a number of occasions. Paired with a fitted white button down shirt and red pumps makes a dramatic outfit for a work Christmas party. Worn as a dress with leggings and knee high riding boots and a fitted blazer can be fabulous outfit for Christmas shopping or an outdoor fall party. Or you can wear it as a dress throw on a shrug and a pair of bold heels for date night or girls night out!
I love this version and can't wait to wear it out. I might not be able to wait and will probably be seen sporting it at the grocery store and maybe down to the park. Nap time tomorrow might be spent finding new outfit combinations to post on Facebook!
Some tips on the pattern:
1) Either cut a second tie as a lining or serge or zig zag all your pieces before assembly. You can also opt for a decadent bias tape like dupioni silk.
2) Try using a second fabric for your tie to create interest or a color block effect.
3) You can plan and add a long button hole to slide your tie through if you want since it is not in the instructions.