Tutorials: December 2010 Archives
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!
There are many connective stitches in knitting but the Kitchener stitch is one of the most popular because it gives a seamless appearance and a quality joining. You can use the Kitchener stitch to connect two pieces of knitted fabric end to end not side to side. The Kitchener stitch would not be used to join 2 sides of a sweater (try the mattress stitch) but 2 ends together (like a toe of a sock or the bottom of a bag). You can use the Kitchener stitch with live stitches on your needles or with bound off edges (like demonstrated below). It can be tricky at first but practice, practice, practice will make you a pro in no time. You will be amazed once you get the hang of it how many applications you will discover for this handy stitch. I wished many times that I had known of it sooner.
To seam 2 bound off Stockingette edges first I recommend you steam as much of the curl out as possible. This will make it easier to line up your edges, see your stitches and make sure you keep them even as you go along. Next starting at the right side, look for the stitch closest to edge that forms a point at the edge, with the V upside down (knit stitches are in a V shape so either the point faces up, with the V upside down or the point faces down with the V right side up), with a threaded tapestry needle, slide your needle under the point and out.
Do the same on the other piece of fabric, finding the upside down V closest to the right side edge and go under the point with your needle. Repeat with the other side, going all the way down your fabric. It is not necessary to pull your stitches tight as you go but you may. You can always pull both tails to tighten them up and watch your fabric zip together. You will notice that you have seamless joined your fabric by sewing knit stitches to join your fabrics. This gives a nice sturdy seam and flawless appearance. You can use this seam to join 2 identical ends of a scarf, the back of a shawl collar or the finger ends of mittens. It is not only immensely satisfying to watch your stitches disappear but also quite relaxing in itself.
I-cord is one of the most versatile of knitting stitches; even non-knitters can make i-cord. It makes great straps, handles and edges but knitted in long lengths, i-cord can be used for awesome textural embroidery. Since i-cord takes no time to knit in length and little concentration, you can easily knit enough for this project or a similar while watching your favorite shows, a movie or even at a kids holiday play. I decided on a pillow cover so I could just remove it and tuck it away each year. I can reuse the pillow with another cover and not worry about storing pillows. To recreate my Holly Pillow Cover you will need
1 skein of Acrylic Yarn
1 spool of thread to match the yarn
1 yd of Velvet
1 pillow to recover
Scrape of coordinating fabric (big enough for a 4 in. diameter circle)
The pillow I chose to recover was 20 in. square so I cut one 21 in. square for the front and one 8 by 21 in. piece and one 17 by 21 in. piece to make the back envelope. I laid my front piece right side up and with chalk; I wrote "Holly" rubbing it out till it looked right. Next, I cast on 3 sts and knit roughly 24 in. of i-cord in a green acrylic yarn (you might remember me starting this back in November). I dry fit it to the pillow to make sure it was long enough before I bound off and wove in the ends.
Using the chalk lines and pinning as you go, secure the i-cord onto the pillow front. Starting from the back of the pillow piece, use a running stitch to secure the i-cord in place. Finally, I used a glass to trace a 4 in. circle on a spare piece of red Sateen and made a yo-yo to highlight the 'O' in Holly, and adding some more holiday color. I used a running stitch around the edges to secure the yo-yo.
Next, with right sides facing pin the front pillow piece to the back pieces, overlapping the back pieces to form an envelope and using a 1/2 in. seam, stitched all the way around the pillow case. Carefully clip the corners and turn right side out. Slip your pillow inside and admire your work.
This project is fun and easy way to add Christmas cheer to your home. You can change up the words, of course, for any holiday but I like to stray from the traditional slightly with words like "Holly, Stockings, Eggnog, or Caroling" These words are obvious enough that determining the holiday message will be easy but a little bit different.
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.
Looking for a quick, no sew project that makes a great ornament for the Christmas tree or a garnishment for one of your Christmas gifts? I've got the perfect project for you!
First, gather up your supplies. For this project you will need a 2-inch styrofoam ball, straight pins, ribbon, scissors and 40-45 2x2 inch squares of fabric. I used cotton prints, but if you want to go for a more elegant pine cone, special occasion fabrics are also an option. This is a great way to use up some of your scrap fabrics, too. For my project I used owl fabric I had purchased several months ago (owls are very "in" at the Fabric.com offices right now). I have made several ornaments now - I found that the lighter fabrics show up better on my Christmas tree versus the darker color fabrics. You'll have to be the judge for your own tree.
Take a 2-inch strip of fabric and cut it down into two inch
by two inch squares.
These squares will be used to cover the styrofoam. Take
one of the squares and pin-tack it into the styrofoam. Then, fold a new square
in half. Fold the half into a triangle. The first four that you put down should
have the fold facing out.
I used four pins with each piece of fabric to hold it in the styrofoam. Don't be chintzy with the pins, because I attempted to conserve for one of the ornaments and had the fabric come undone. There will be some overlap between pieces at first, but you will cover this up with your triangle pieces of fabric.
The second row should go directly over the four pieces from the first row, a little higher on the styrofoam ball. The fold should be facing down now for the rest of the ball. Once you have completed this row, all subsequent rows should stagger in-between each of the preceding rows. Keep repeating this process until you get to the top of the ball.
When you get to the top of the styrofoam ball, some of your pins will start to show - this is fine! I ended my ornament two separate ways. For the example shown, I cut out a small square and pin-tacked it in. For another one, I ended with multiple triangles intersecting - try different ways and see what you like best.
Finally, it's time to add your ribbon. I used two separate kinds - a thin ribbon and a larger ribbon out of my box of supplies. I will say that I prefer the thinner and sheer ribbon - it allows the ornament to speak for itself versus detracting from your hard work. It's entirely your choice though.
Creating my first ornament took me about an hour and a half, but that could have been due to an episode of Glee distracting me as I worked. It still takes me about an hour to do an ornament during TV time. My grandma showed me the pattern - shout out to Granny - but she used a much larger styrofoam ball and only Christmas fabrics. Good luck crafting and be sure and clean up any stray straight pins you may have dropped when you finished. Safety first!
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.
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