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To make your own fringe hand towel you will need 1 yd. of medium weight linen for 2 towels and a skein of cotton or washable yarn and a crochet hook in a size to fit your yarn (check your ball band for the size) and the same size knitting needle.
Finish your hand towel but either hemming or serging. Measure and mark where you want each fringe; I spaced each fringe about ½'' apart. Using your knitting needle poke a hole at each mark about ¼'' from the edge. Twist it to make a big hole (it will close a little as you work) and then keep poking until you have all your holes. Using your crochet hook, work a row of *single crochets, 2 slip stitch* working each SC in a hole and the slip stitches (SS) in between. Work one slip stitch then turn.
* Work one SC in the first space and pull the loop out until it is about 7'' long. I use a 7'' long card in the loop to help me measure. With your hook at the top of the loop, start turning clockwise about 25-30 times. Then fold the twisted loop in half and allow it to untwist. It will twist on itself and create one dangly fringe. If your fringe gets twisted in the wrong spot just gently pull down on the loop to straighten it out. Stick your hook back in the same space and work one SC. Work one SS then repeat from the * to the end of the row. Cut a long tail and weave in your end. It is pretty simple but tedious. Pop in a good movie because you will be there for a while. To work my fringe over 16'' took me about 2 hours for just one end of the towel.
This is a great project to work on a road trip, at the beach or in the carpool lane. It is not big, no need to remember where you are in the pattern and if it gets dirty from being in the bottom of your purse for several week; its washable. The results will be amazing and justified. If you are looking for longer fringe then just keep adding to your original loop remembering that the finished result will be a little less than half (7'' loop is results in a 3'' fringe) and keep twisting until the loop gets tight and snug on you hook then fold in half.
This month's blog, a Beautiful Mess, is doozie. My jaw dropped when I beheld the craft page; it is full of wonderful, beautiful tutorials that make my fingers itch to get started. I cannot decide which is my favorite but I can give you a small list of my top " to-do's":
You can find just about anything to make on Emma and Elisa's blog. Want to try something new then why not try bees wax candles? Are you a princess and tired of people not recognizing then may I suggest making yourself a bloom flower crown? Do you enjoy a bit of whimsy in your bedroom then the horse throw pillows are a must-make (they are so adorable)?
Aside from crafts, these talented girls also blog on photography, recipes, fashion, beauty and decor. If you are looking for great photo tips and tricks, check out the photography tab. There are a bunch of great tutorials for cute and beautiful shots as well as techniques for jazzing up pictures on your computer. Do you enjoy lavender cupcakes, grapefruit donuts, and homemade funnel cakes (I know, I'm drooling too) then try the recipe tab to find all these food pleasures and more. Is your wardrobe a little sad then may I suggest the fashion tab. I love the fashion mixology where Emma and Elise show you how to make beautiful outfits from a small number of pieces. You can also check out a few makeovers and find some trendy tips to help bring in the new season. Step over to the Beauty if you want to try something new or just a new way for the same old ponytail. Take a home tour under the Decor tab and pick up some design basics.
Basically when you visit a Beautiful Mess you come for the DIY but stay for the makeup tips, recipes and photography tips. It is a one stop shop for inspiration and eye candy.
Green is key this month. Earth day is coming and spring in the air. I want to make my house clean, pretty and environmentally friendly. The well quoted adage is "Reduce, Reuse, Recycle" and i is meant to be followed in that order. Which means first order of business is to reduce your usage and #1 on my reduce list are paper towels. I use them all day for dozens of tasks: wiping precious faces, reheating meals, wiping counters, dusting surfaces, and general cleaning. I dislike using them but haven't found a suitable alternative until recently on Pinterest. I found reusable paper towels and nearly smacked my forehead. It was so obvious. I decided to make my own.
I opted for a cheery Denyse Schmidt Flea Market Fancy cotton print on one side and a thick double nap flannel on the other. This flannel would be great for dusting as well as being very absorbent (you can also go with fleece for superior dusting but its less absorbent). These towels are 10'' by 10'' and fit any paper towel holder. I recommend keeping an old paper towel roll to wrap your Reusable Paper Towels around. It just makes it easier to wind, unwind and keep in order. These towels are super easy to make. I do recommend you wash your fabric beforehand in the manor that you will be washing your towels. Choose durable fabric that can withstand all the abuse you are planning. Please choose plastic snaps if you will be using your towels to cover microwaveable dished.
1) Create a 10.5'' by 10.5'' template from paper or cardboard. Cut 8 from both your cotton print and flannel.
2) With Wrong side facing lay your cotton print on top of your flannel and either serge (cutting 1/4'' off) or zig zag stitch ¼'' from the edge then pink close to your stitching on all 4 sides.
3) Add 3 snaps to each edge of your towels to secure together. Overlap each towel by ¾'' and punch through both towels at once to ensure great placement.
If you do not like the look of pinked edges, I recommend you make your template 11'' by 11'' and then place your pieces right sides together and stitch around all sides, leaving a 3-4'' turning gap. Clip your corners and press your seams open. Turn your towel right side out and press again. Pin your gap closed and topstitch the entire towel. Add your snaps.
Enjoy your Reusable Paper Towels. They are great for washing windows, scrubbing spills, dusting lamps, cleaning kids and even for drying hands and dishes. I love mine and feel that they accomplish much more than the store bought.
I selected three layers of flannel, though you can use up to five for some extra fluffy chenille, in gray and white. I cut them as wide as the towel by 5'' high. I cut 2 gray and one white and layered them: gray, white, gray. This way when the stripes curled up you would see a hint of the white but mostly gray. Next, I traced out my chevron pattern onto a piece of paper from some Premier Print fabric. I tried to trace it from the fabric to the white flannel but it didn't work very well. Once traced onto my paper I then traced it onto the top piece of flannel (gray). You only need to trace one line since you will use your presser foot as a spacer (see picture below). You should use disappearing ink but since you really won't see it once the flannel is curled I used a regular pen.
Then, I pinned my layers to the towel and started stitching along my marker line. Once my first line was complete I used my presser foot to space the distance for my next line (approx ½'') and kept stitching until my flannel was covered.
Half done cutting
Next, you will need your scissors to start cutting down the middle of your stitching. Try to get it in the middle as much as possible. It doesn't need to be perfect since it will curl up but you want it pretty close. Clip all your lines and then admire your work. The hard part is done. Now you need to wash it. Mine needed two runs through the washer and dryer. I did washer, dryer, washer, dryer to get the most agitation. It will get even more frayed and curled as you use it and will look better and better as time goes by- that's the beauty of chenille.
I have a new baby so I am in need of storage, a lot of storage. However, I am also on a budget because having not one but two kids can eat by a good bit of cash. Pair that with my intense distaste for plastic bins which appear to be multiplying in my house due to the aforementioned budget and you have a recipe for something handmade. Enter canvas hamper, AKA toy bin, AKA living room blanket storage, AKA guest laundry. This is a soft fabric bin that lends itself to many uses and its creation can be blamed on the clones I see in my favorite Target and Home Goods commercials. To create your own you will need 1 1/2 yard of Home Dec fabric for the exterior, I used Magnolia Home Fashions, 1 1/2 yd of light to medium weight fabric for the lining, I used red quilting cotton, 1 1/2 yd of fusible fleece and 45'' of ¼'' flexible plastic tubing (this can be found in any hardware store in the plumbing section and its cheap.)
All seams are ½'' unless otherwise noted.
Draw and cut a 21.5'' (width) by 23'' (length) rectangle from paper; this is your body pattern piece. Cut 1 on the fold from your exterior, lining and fleece, set aside. Draw and cut out a 21'' diameter circle (Follow these directions here) and cut one circle from the exterior, lining and fleece, set aside. Cut one piece of binding from exterior for the top of your hamper 3'' by 43'' (this will finish the top of your hamper and will also hold your tubing). Cut 2 straps 4'' by 22'' from exterior fabric.
Fuse the fleece to the exterior body piece and circle. With right sides together, sew the body piece together along the width. Press the seam open and topstitch on either side of this seam to reinforce it. This also makes it look pretty snazzy and professional. Repeat this for the lining.
Fold your circles in half and add pins at either end to mark the half way points. Turn your body pieces inside out and fold your body piece in half with the seam at one end and mark directly across from the seam. With right sides together, pin your circle to your body piece matching up the pins previously placed. Sew circle to the body piece. Repeat for the lining. Turn your pieces right side out and place the lining inside the exterior matching the top edge and baste together.
To prepare your handles, fold each in half along the length and press. Open up each handle and fold each long side towards the center and press. Fold again along the length, completely covering the raw edges and press again. Pin and stitch along the length of your handle 2 lines of decorative stitching. Place handles opposite each other approx 9'' from the seam, matching the raw edges of the handle with the top of the hamper and stitch in place.
Next, with right sides together pin the two short ends of your binding and stitch. Press seam open. Fold your binding in half along the length and press, open it up and fold each edge towards the center and press again. Open it up. Pin the binding to the top edge of the hamper with right sides together and stitch in place. Fold your binding over the top edge of the hamper and tucking the raw edge under at the fold your pressed earlier pin in place and then topstitch it to the hamper leaving a 3 in gap to insert your tubing. Trim your tubing to 42'' and thread it into your gap until it is all in. Carefully topstitch your gap closed. Your hamper is ready for business!
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)
This medium is one of my favorites due to its versatility. You can use it on anything for anything. You name it someone has probably made it with Mod Podge. I have used is on several projects such as my Fabric Art Plates for our 2011 Dorm Days Series. Some cheap plastic magazine racks were made fabulous with Moda Fabric and Mod Podge. Our own Super Don used it to make a fabric topped table. My latest Mod Podge adventure is a present my oldest daughter received from my dad. He made her a wooden doll house from scratch complete with 3 floors, a fire place, swinging doors and stained wood floors. It is incredible. But the best part (to me) was that he left it undecorated. I could select the paint colors and add little touches like curtains as I saw fit. I jumped at the chance and as I was pulling out my favorite magazines for paint inspiration I saw a book of scrap booking paper I had purchased for my daughter's baby album. The light bulb went off. I would wall paper the doll house using scrap book paper and Mod Podge.
To start I knew I would not have enough of each print to fully wall paper each room. T compensate I decided to just do feature walls with the wall paper and paint the remainder. Please take the size of your rooms into account should you purchase a book of paper as opposed to single sheets or you can cover your walls in fabric (see special instructions below). Carefully measure your walls with a small ruler making sure to take width measurement at the top and the bottom of the wall in case the wall is not square. Or if you don't have a ruler that can fit, take a piece of paper and press it against the wall and add creases where ever you will need to cut, at corners, windows or doorways. Then transfer those marks to your wall paper. Once your paper is cut to size, add a generous amount of Mod Podge Matte to your walls and then careful line up and press on your paper. Add another coat of Mod Podge on top of your paper and allow to dry. I used my scraps from cutting out windows (for which I used a craft knife) as rugs on my floors. I have not yet decided which rugs will go where but once I do I will be using Mod Podge Gloss to glue them down and add a nice sheen to the wood floors. I am toying with the idea of layering rugs to create borders and weaving paper strips in the bathroom to mimic tile.
To wall paper for fabric or to work with fabric without all the stretching or distorting that can happen with wet fabric, I recommend applying Mod Podge to the fabric first and allowing it to dry on our Pressing Sheet or parchment paper. Once dry it will peel right off. This will make it stiff and easier to apply to certain projects like my walls or the magazine racks.
Granny Squares are the Chevrons of the crochet world. They are super hot right now and go with everything. But they don't have to be the granny squares of era's past; today's granny squares have blended in inspirations from floral, Asian and whimsical aspects of pop culture. Granny Squares rose to stardom in the 1970's where they dominated the knitwear scene. Today they are stars for different reasons: they are an excellent way to use up small amounts of yarn, they are quick and they are comforting. The granny squares look has worked its way into toys, décor and apparel unlike the 1970's though it is only the technique that has been incorporated.
Here are some of my favorite free granny square patterns.
Crochet Spot's Granny Square with a Flower is a very simple granny square with a lotus like flower floating in the center. The look is gorgeous because it is uncluttered.
Yarning has also created a floral based granny square but she has created hers in a more traditional fashion. You can see how this square works into a complete blanket which is incredible.
Hop Scotch Lane has taken granny squares to a new level. One project is a giant granny square blanket worked in beautiful yellow tones and another is an owl with a granny square belly.
But my favorite is Repeat Crafter Me's Owl Granny Square which is a traditional granny square with an owl worked first that stands out from the granny square background. You can work the owl without the background and use is as an appliqué. I made two using the pattern and let me tell you they are fun and easy. I made a girl version (pink, light green and teal) and a boy version (brown, navy, grey) using Lion Brand's Wool Ease. I loved making them and am planning on working up an afghan using this pattern and a traditional granny square pattern together.
The idea of a giant polka dot wall came to me as I was watching one of my favorite HGTV Shows: Sarah's House. One scene is a glimpse of her office which features a wall covered in circular paint chips. Sarah's paint chips are hanging on hooks but the idea of similar feature jumping into my head for my daughters' room. I set out to make it immediately and all it took was a book of scrapbooking paper, my Fiskars Circle Cutter and a box of thumbtacks (Oh and many hours). Here's how to make your own Polka Dot Wall.
One box of Silver Thumbtacks (I purchased a box of 200 from Amazon)
First work on all of your paper with the wrong side facing up, it is easier to cut this way and if you are working with glitter paper or shiny paper the cutter slides though it much better with the wrong side up.
Tape down your paper to prevent it from sliding while you cut and draw lines down the center of your paper vertically and horizontally, this will make a grid of 4 on the back of your paper. Set your cutter to 5.5'' and place it in the center of one squares of your grid. Cut your circle following the directions from my previous blog: Notional Notions Circle Cutter. Cut 4 circles from each sheet of paper and continue until all sheets of paper have been cut or you have enough polka dots for your wall (Mine has approx. 140 dots). Cut one final dot from a piece of scrape paper as your thumbtack guide (see pictures below). This will help you place the thumbtack in the center every time. Fold the guide in quarters and then open it back up. The 2 fold lines meet in the middle at the exact center, place a thumb tack there and remove. Cut a small wedge out of the guide, like a piece of pie. To use the guide you will place it over a dot, insert a thumb tack in the center of both the guide and dot then remove the guide by sliding it off the dot and thumb tack.
Next, layout your dots in small stacks of color and pattern so you can easily grab the next dot. You can start either in the center or one of the bottom corners and begin randomly placing your dots allowing at least 1'' between dots and no more than 3'' (this will give you a nice saturated look without looking over-crowded). You can layout your dot on a grid pattern by using a clear quilting ruler and chalk lines. I preferred a random layout because it reminded me of bubbles rising to the surface.
I placed my Polka Dot wall right above our crib to give my newborn an interesting piece of art to study when she is playing or (hopefully) putting herself to sleep in the upcoming months. The scale is much grander than a small mobile and will keep her entertained for hours. The patterns are sophisticated enough to grow with her. My 3 yr old also loves the wall and decides each day which dot is her favorite. This is wall art that can stay with them through the years.