Tara Miller: October 2010 Archives
My Autumn Stars Sock pattern for Fabric.com was firstly inspired by the yarn. I often find myself cruising the Fabric.com website looking for project ideas and when I saw this Kaffe Fassett Designer line I was curious. I loved the super wash but I fell head-over-heels (pun apurpose) for this colorway. It embodied all fall to me in its jewel tones variegated throughout with a heavy emphasis on red. As I knit the Regia into my sock pattern it only served to prove me right in my choice. The feel is amazing; my foot thanked me every time I tried on the sock to adjust the fit and gauge the pattern.
This pattern is secondly inspired by my first date with my husband. It was a fall evening much like we are experiencing now in Georgia and we were in college. Earlier in the day my Astronomy professor encouraged us to watch that evening's meteor shower. My husband and I later spent our first hours getting to know each other, not in a nosy restaurant or a dark theater, but under the autumn stars. The cascading eyelet lace pattern that I chose reminds me of that night.
This is a surprisingly simple pattern that can be memorized for enjoyable movie watching or conversations by the fire. A short row toe and heel make for a comfy fit and no seaming. I have also incorporated Jen's Surprisingly Stretchy Bind-off to ensure a comfy, easy fit throughout the whole sock. The only notions you will need are a tapestry needle, stitch markers and a measuring tape. This toe up sock pattern is quick and great for last minute gifts or holiday stocking stuffers (I am done with the puns, I think...)
For more project info check out my Autumn Stars Sock Project page on Ravelry
The Kwik Sew Decorative V neck Top is a great pattern. Not only does it live up to its name, Kwik Sew, but it was easy. This pattern came together in about 3-4 hours including resting the fabric, measuring, cutting and sewing. I was most pleased at how quick it really was. On my initial read through of the instructions I was pretty confident it would be a fast project but you never know once you get into a pattern and this was my first Kwik Sew Pattern experience. I think the real time save was the seam down the middle of the front of the shirt. This short cut doesn't detract from the style or hang of the shirt but it does make it super easy to attach the ruffle. The ruffle pattern piece also helped to quicken the pattern. It is in a spiral shape so the ruffle is created in the cutting not in gathers. I was so excited when I saw this. I also appreciated the construction method of this top, similar to that laid out in Sew U: the Home Stretch.
The Mods: I used a very light weight rayon jersey. It is not quite a tissue tee material but it is slippery with a lot of drape (very like slinky) and SOFT. The drape posed some problems with construction and especially with pictures. I suspect the knit used in the envelope pictures had more weight and less drape. I like the look of both. I have to say that the shirt feels like a dream, looks amazing and fits better than I had imagined. I didn't modify the pattern too much but I didn't want to make what was already displayed on the envelope. I added bracelet length sleeves. I wanted the ruffle shirt but with cold weather incoming the need for a sleeveless shirt is a long way off. It was really easy and I was please that the sleeves from View A fit View B's pattern pieces. The only change I made was to take 6 in. off the bottom of the sleeve. This does make me wonder why there are 2 different pattern pieces for view A and B. The neckline is low but not self-consciously low. It is flattering and comfortable. It will also look great with a lace edge camisole underneath. This ruffle shirt also looks great under an open jacket. The ruffle can soften a military style jacket.
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!
Few things evoke the feeling of fall and colder weather to come, cozying up with a good book and the suppressed joy (or stress) of the coming holidays like cables. I rarely knit them in warmer weather but the first morning I wake to crisp weather, my hands itch for my needles, some wool (of course) and an interesting cable pattern. Cables can be integrated into any pattern to give it instant warmth and texture. The hat is an old standard but the classic appeal can warm up any outfit or knit in an excepted color can turn a simple pattern on its ear. Hand warmers/mittens are a great gift for the office go-er forced to work in 50 deg, INSIDE! The small cable tucks double the layer and add extra warmth to your hands. Knitted sleeves are very on trend this season, like leg warmers for your arms; these fast knits can also extend your summer wardrobe by making it possible to continue wearing short sleeves well after everyone else has tucked them away. Cabled socks are a coveted gem as are cabled sweaters. Legend has it that around the British Isle fisherman's wives would knit specific cable patterns for their husbands and sons. Not only would the cables help to keep them warm in the cold sea spray but also serve to identify any souls lost overboard.
Cables are not really tricky; they just need some patience to learn the technique. Cables are typically worked in a rib pattern. On the right side the knit stitches are crossed to make the cable and the purl stitch form a contrast to ensure the cables stand out. The ribbing also helps add back stretch that the crossing of cables removes. Cables are not worked every row but crossed and then worked in the rib pattern for a certain number of rows before crossed again (as determined by the pattern). It is very helpful to use cable needles for cable work but in a pinch I have resorted to DPN (they can be long and unwieldy) and crochet hooks (awkward but doable). There are several kinds of cable needles, just a few inches long some have a curve or bend at the center of the needle to secure your stitches till you need them. Some have notches carved in for the same purpose. Practice and preference will determine which is best for you. To cable you will slip a set number of stitches from your left needle onto your cable needle and hold it either in front of back (this determine whether your cable will twist left- front or right- back. Sometimes the loops on my cable needle will be loose and my needle will try to slip out while I am working other stitches. I will tuck my cable needle into my knitting to secure it from dangling and slipping. It is also helpful to mark either side of your cable with stitch markers so you don't need to count stitches every row.
Cables vary some simple to intricate, so if you are learning cables I recommend finding a simple pattern, just one twist, to gauge how the game is played before you move on to the big leagues. The good news with cables is that they are all amazing and impressive so one simple twist can make any project look incredible just as much as an amount of pretzel fanciness.Pictures as shown: Cable needle held in front for left twist, Cable needle held in back for right twist, Tucking the cable needle into knitting to secure and prevent slipping, Pretzel cable
No project has seemed as intimidating nor as daunting as upholstery. I was determined to learn and with the support of my husband (who gave me the tools as a birthday present) and local thrift stores, I started my first project. I choose a simple chair (click to see the uglyiest of ugly yellow chair) from the Goodwill for $25, picked a delicious Joel Dewberry from our Upholstery section and stopped. Where to begin? How to begin? I took a moment to panic and then visited my library and choose a few books to help me get started and more importantly, finished.
The best book that I have found is the Complete Step by Step Upholstery by David Sowle. It is filled with tools, notions, tips, detailed pictures and various projects. I could not have done my chair without this book. Every question I had, every stage I needed courage to complete was in this book. There are some tips and lessons I would like to pass on outside of books.
1) Take pictures, before and during your upholstery. As much as you hate the old fabric on your thrift store chair, take detailed pictures of how it is pieced and where tuck and seams are placed. Continue taking pictures as you rip off the old fabric. You never know where some secret to securing the fabric or a special way of adding a nice detail will be hidden.
2) Carefully remove the old pieces of fabric and keep them as patterns
3) Do not skip the muslin and fleece step. It will really smooth out your piece and make it look amazing.
4) Get the right tools but they don't need to be new. Check out eBay or thrift stores
5) Don't ask your husband for his opinion on fabric. I did and he didn't like the thumbnail picture I showed him but he totally loves it in context on the chair.
6) Don't be afraid to splurge on a print you will LOVE. You saved on the chair (only $25!) and you are saving on labor. Check out the prices of new furniture pieces online and set your fabric budget by that. A comparable chair for $700, that $22/yd fabric is not looking so expensive after, especially if you know in your heart you will love it for years. A $5/yd fabric that you will change every year turns out to be not so cheap after a few years.
I learned very quickly that upholstery is very little sewing and more hammering and folding. It is a great stress reliever. It does take planning and some creative manipulation. I recommend lightly tacking in your fabric as you go and then going back and really nailing them in once you are sure the fabric is where you want it. Also, once I figured out placement for fabric, I would take my scissors and snip into the fabric and rip it the rest of the way. This makes a nice straight line, no jagged cuts.
It took me about a month to reupholster this chair but with practice I can get the time down for next time. I also had to work in my living room, which meant cleaning up every time I had to stop. I ended up keeping my tools and notions in a large rubber bin with a lid for easy transport and to keep little hands away from needles, tacks and tools. Also, Prudent Baby's tutorial on double welt is awesome! I watched it while I sewed. Making my own welt really finished the project. I applied it with a glue gun and was really impressed with how well it adhered and finished the look. I am so happy with my chair and am actively searching craigslist for my next project! I am thinking a wingback in a cool linen or houndstooth- Yummy.http://gruenetree.typepad.com/gruenetree/2008/08/soon-to-be.html
When I was a beginning knitter (not quite green but not sure enough to be confident) I attempted Bobbles but quickly put them off. I could not wrap my head around the knit, turn, knit turn. It took many patterns and much experience before I was ready again to try a, what appears to be so simple, bobble.
The trick is to trust the instructions and know that while they seem weird, you will get to where you want to be by following them exactly. You are basically knitting a bump in your fabric and you must build it up to make your bump. The building up comes from: first knitting into the same stitch. You will YO then K1. Do not take the stitch off your left needle, instead wrap the yarn around your right needle again (for the 2nd YO) and stick it back into the stitch on the left needle for the 2nd K1, repeat this a third time then slip the stitch off your left needle. You will now have 6 sts on your right where once you had 1, turn your work and slip the first st on the left needle purl wise and purl the remaining 5 created sts. Turn your work again and slip the first st on your left needle knit wise and knit the remaining 5 created sts. Turn again and purl 2 tog 3 times (the first purl 2 tog is tricky but keep working at till you get it right). Turn your work once more and slip the first st knit wise and knit 2 tog then pass the slipped st over the k2tog and you will have 1 st where once there were 6, knit the rest of the row, adding bobble where appropriate.
It really is easy but it is very different to turn your work in the middle of a row if you have never tried it before. Try making your first bobble with wool, if you are unsure. It is the easiest, most forgiving of fibers, with easy to see stitches. It is also not a slick yarn so you will not have to battle slippery sts while turning your work this way and that.
Bobbles are a fun texture to add to any knitted piece. They felt well and can be incorporated into any design. Bobbles can add drama to a simple cable, add distinction to a flora lace pattern or an interesting texture to a baby blanket for stimulation. Bobbles serve as berries, eyes, pebbles, or flower center in an encompassing theme. Bobbles also make great polka dots. If you feel, as I once did, that bobbles aren't 'your thing', I encourage you to try them if only to gain experience and see if your mind doesn't drift away and explore the possibilities.
This bobble pattern can be found in Barbara Walker's Second Treasury of Knitting Patterns, p 145.
Pictures: (top) Right side of Bobbles, (bottom) Wrong side of Bobbles. Both are attractive in my opinion
I heart knitting in the round for one reason- No Purling (depending on the pattern). Knitting in the round is easy but it takes some getting used to and there are some tricks to help you knit in the round better and easier.
1) Consider your cast-on when knitting in the round. Backward loop is SOOOO easy to cast on but so difficult to knit that first row, especially when trying to keep your stitches from twisting (more on that later). Long tail cast on is my number 1 choice but I also like cable cast on as well. Both give a smooth edge.
2) Twisted stitches: When first learning to knit in the round you will read everywhere about the pitfalls of twisted stitches but it is hard to avoid a danger that has no face. Basically untwisted stitches are all lined up with the cast on bumps at the bottom. It might be beneficial to check each stitch to make sure. EVEN if you have 300 stitches! That is all the more reason to check since you do not want to cast 300 stitches on over and over to fix a twisted stitch. When you have knit and your stitches are twisted you will know it within a few rows. Your knitting will not be a knitted tube but the whole tube will be twisted. You will be forced to rip back to the beginning. The real danger is at the beginning when you join to knit in the round but the whole first row you must be aware to keep those stitches straight.
3) Ladders: This generally happens at the beginning of the round or when knitting on several needle (magic loop, 2 needles, DPN) at the join between each needle. Prevention is easy for each cause. Before joining to knit in the round, cast on an extra stitch then slip it from the right needle to the left. Knit the first 2 stitches together (the extra stitch from the right needle and the first stitch from the left) to begin knitting in the round. Knitting these 2 together will make the join tight and prevent a ladder. When moving from needle to needle I like to knit the first stitch on a new needle, then when I knit the second and I pull it tight. Snugging the 2nd stitch will snug any looseness from the first stitch and secures the snug. Determining how tight to snug your stitches will take practice. Not tight enough will not help and too tight will make it difficult to knit the stitch the next time around. (the below picture is a ladder at the beginning of the round)
4) Gauge: your gauge with straight knitting and knitting in the round is different. How different varies from knitter to knitter. But know that it is not a good idea to knit a gauge swatch straight for a round project. Knit your swatch to match your project. If you are making a hat, swatch in the round. If you project is flat, swatch flat. You may knit tighter in the round, getting 28 stitches per 4 in. in the round versus 30 sts per 4 in. straight. You may think that is any big thing but over the course of a sweater, you might find that while you made gauge you sweater is finished and too tight. 2 sts over 4 in. in the context of a sweater is a big deal. If swatching correctly seems like a waste of an hour, consider the 30 hours of a sweater that doesn't fit.
I have always been blown away by Amy Butler color choices; it is characteristic that really set her above the crowd. The color palette was the aspect I was most excited about when I first heard about her Belle for Rowan yarn line. I was not disappointed. I am also pleased with its organic quality. I knew her line would be amazing simply because it is produced by Rowan and...it...is! The blend of cotton and wool is quite deceiving and intriguing. At first you can just feel the cotton, but then you notice the plush quality of the wool. It is easy to work with and stays together like cotton. It knits slower like cotton but it doesn't have the dry feeling of cotton but the soft trait of wool. It is stretchy like wool but it is not as fuzzy. It has all the best features of both fibers.
The stitch definition is above par lending it well to cables, color work, and tricky textures. Given the softness of wool and the smoothness of cotton, this yarn works well for wearing close to the skin: hats, sweaters, leg warmers, and hand warmers. There is no irritation so you know it will also be a great gift for babies and small, sensitive children. I am planning on using Amy Butler's Belle in my November Free Pattern Download but with some many possibilities I am having trouble narrowing it down. The swatch shown is actually one of my attempts to narrow down a design for November (you are looking at swatch number 4). Usually, I pick the yarn first and the project just follows but there are simply so many directions to go with Belle that I am happily frustrated.
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.
This inspiration for this article came from a neighbor who asked me to repair a cushion made of chartreuse burlap. They were gorgeous and unexpected. It made me look at burlap in a different way. I sat down that night and googled some burlap projects, home dec and anything I could think of. The internet is full of unbelievable and awesome burlap projects and I could not wait to try my hand with it.
One of my favorite items I found out in the blog world were burlap pillows. You would think they would be scratchy but once washed burlap is comfortable and durable (really good for us moms). Many of the cutest pillows out there that I covet were made to resemble vintage posters or famous quotations and then printed on to t-shirt transfer and ironed on. I made mine from one of my favorite quotations by the famous Pompey Magnus who served with and fought against Julius Caesar. I worked it up with Photoshop in a deep purple, but you can use Window Word as well. It was a fast and immensely satisfying project. Even my husband likes the pillow.
My second project I wanted to be a little more original. I love burlap for Fall, Halloween or Thanksgiving decorating. The woven texture, frayed edges and natural colors are perfect for tablescapes, chairs, and wall décor. My banner is cut with pinking shears to prevent too much fraying but I didn't hem so that I could have some fraying, just enough. I used my Cricut to cut the letters, the crow and haunted branch from some quilting cotton. It is important when you use the Cricut to cut a piece of fabric to fit your mat and then apply Heat n Bond to the back of the fabric. Make sure you have applied it well to the whole of your fabric- especially the edges. Then peel off the paper backing and apply your fabric to the cutting mat. Press it evenly to make sure there is contact all over. Your cuts will be as smooth as paper. Then you can just peel and iron onto your banner. I free handed the bat, evil eyes and ghost. Next, sew some bands to the ends of the banner to hang around your house. I have another "Happy Halloween" planned to hang from the porch columns and a "Turn back NOW" for the other window. You can experiment with other Cricut cartridges, but I used the Plantin SchoolBook font cartridge and Serene graphic cartridge. If your banner will hang in bright sunlight I recommend using outdoor fabric instead of quilting cotton. You can also use your Cricut to decorate table runners, table cloths, pillows, placemats, curtains, lamp shades, wall decors, etc. Just check out this Google search for more ideas! I am so in love!
P.s. For even more burlap ideas check out Tatertots and Jello's blog
This is my first year making my daughter's Halloween costume. Last year, she was so small that I just took a store bought costume and embellished it. You can see it here. This year she is walking and active and I knew it was time to start making her costumes. I should explain that as much as I love dressing up for Halloween and as much as I have been looking forward to helping my kids go over the top with their costume choices, I don't want it to be a huge hassle, work or lead to crying/tantrums of any kind. That is my ground rule. Knowing that I picked a Pj like costume last year so she would not be uncomfortable, I would not have to wrestle her into something weird and she could go about her life as usual which for a 9 mo old was sleeping and eating. Now almost 2, her life consists of RUNNING, pulling dangerous items off counters, pull puppy tails and RUNNING. Knowing that I took the inspiration for her costume from her nightly routine. After bath each night, we have enough time to throw a hooded towel on her head before she runs off. Of course, Little Red Riding Hood came to me and it was perfect. It's a super cute costume, obvious (No explaining to every neighbor who little red is) and as unencumbering as I can get while still dressing up. The cape is short and in an organic cotton jersey, so it is soft and won't get in her way. The hood and cape will also keep her warm should Halloween prove cool this year. Little Red is also really easy for parents to pair their costumes with.
I went on a deep search looking for the perfect pattern. After weeks of failure, I decided to combine patterns. All the big name patterns had capes that were too long, too big, not in the right size or the wrong hood. I ended up using a poncho pattern from Making Children's Clothes by Emma Hardy (pg 100) which gave the short, swingy cape I wanted with the side seams I was looking for. I used the hood from my own Baby Carrier Pattern because it was the size I wanted and was made for knits fabric. I decided to add some ruffles to really send this costume into cute overload. I added a 2.5 in ruffle around the edge of the hood and down the front of the cape. I also added a woven ribbon along the bottom edge of the cape. The poncho pattern called for lining but after I added mine it really changed the drape and swing of the cape so I think I will remove it.
I started by tracing my pattern onto freezer paper. This was because I thought I might have to modify the pattern but I ended up tossing my mods (the pattern cape was perfect!). I used all my collective knowledge of knits (Thanks to Sew U, Home Stretch by Wendy Mullins) and let my knit rest after washing and pressing. I added the ruffle to the hood before completing the hood and sewing it to the cape. I stitched on the lining just along the bottom then added the ribbon before sewing the remainder of the lining on so I could have the ribbon just along the edge without having to measure it. I plan on using a brooch to keep the cape on but I may add a ribbon tie when I remove the lining. The initial fitting of the cape proved that the arm holes I had envisioned (that is why I wanted side seams) were not needed and ruined the fit of the cape. I measured down from the shoulder 4 in. and made the holes 4 in. long. When pinning the side seams I used different pins to mark where the holes were places. The arm hole pulled the cape in at the side and reduced the swing. The cape is short enough that the holes are not needed and the jersey prevents the cape from being a barrier to any toddler play. I also used my walking foot and it has turned my knit-sewing world upside-down, in a good way! I enjoy sewing jersey now and the hassle and frustration is gone! I recommend it for sewing all costumes.
Stay tuned to our facebook page for pictures of the finished costume! I am so excited for Halloween!
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!