November 2010 Archives

Pattern Review: the Happy Stacker

November 30, 2010


Heather Bailey's Happy Stacker. Oh, this project. For me, it was a doozy.

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You know how some projects you just jump into and you lose track of time and before you know it, you're done and a whole day has gone by but you're so happy with what you made you don't even care about experiencing missing time?

This was not one of those projects for me. I wanted to make it as a gift for a friend who had her baby several months ago. I was all excited picking out coordinating fabrics from the scrap bin in girliy girl colors with pretty swirly patterns. But that's where my enthusiasm waned and my pace slowed considerably. I would cut out a piece here and there. I would look at the stack of supplies for it I had set at the end of my cutting table, and I would beeline for something, anything else to work on. I don't know why I wasn't into it, but I just wasn't.

Then, I made a lunch appointment with said friend. That way, I KNEW I'd have to tackle this thing and finish it once and for all!

The center pole was easy enough. Awesome! "Why was I so unenthused about this? It's fast and easy!" I started thinking.

Then came the rings. Herm. The first one is a tricky business. The pattern instructions do a pretty good job of explaining how to properly turn and twist them as you sew to create lovely little fabric donuts, but even so, things remained somewhat of a mystery until I actually made one. Somewhere in there I started thinking, "This thing should be called the UNhappy stacker."

But the second ring was indeed easier than the first. The small rings are a little patience-testing, but the bigger ones are not so bad. I ended up basting a lot of things into place and then machine-stitching over my basting.

As my stack grew, I found myself more and more pleased with the project and less and less frustrated. (There's definitely a learning curve.)

When it was done, I wrapped it all up, ready to give to my friend. I'll confess: I was a little fretful about this gift. I don't have kids and am not really in the loop on baby presents. I honestly have very little idea what moms might like for their budding progeny. I was slightly fearful my friend would open it and have to conceal her horror at the monstrosity I had created.

Well, I needn't have worried. When I handed the oddly shaped parcel to my friend, her eyes got big and she asked, "Did you actually MAKE something for us?" When she opened it, she gasped and loved it and had all those reactions gift-givers dream of. (More importantly, her little girl went straight for it when mom got it home.) And you know what? Her excitement made all of the frustration so worth it, I started on two more for a friend who's just had twins (and who I hope doesn't stumble across this blog).

 
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So in the end, I give this pattern a thumbs up. I struggled with some parts of it initially, but once I was up to speed things went along fairly easily. And I am compiling a list of fabrics I'd like to use for future versions, including Eek Monsters, The Poky Little Puppy and Dr. Seuss Prints. There are so many fun cotton print collections, it's easy to coordinate to match the design theme of any baby's room. So if you have an new mom or soon-to-be mom in your social circle, odds are she would love a hand-made gift like this for her little one.


 

Belle Handwarmers: November's Free Knitting Pattern Download

November 29, 2010

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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.

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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.

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Ravel it:

Lollipop Skirt by Bekah Knits

November 26, 2010

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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.

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A few days later the yarn came and usually I organize my projects by time needed and post date but not this time. I immediately cast-on. And then I realized that this was going to be a long project (you all know how partial I am to the quick knits). Good thing it was nap time. I popped in a Jane Austen movie and got to work. I will be honest the first layer was a beast. It is over 200 stitches and for a size 2T you must knit over 3in. I decided right then to reevaluate the pattern (I was still too in love to give up) so I did some quick math and thought about my little lady and her habits. My little girl likes to run so she falls on her knees a lot and still crawls up the stairs so a shorter skirt seemed to work for both of us. I knit to 2 ¼ for the first layer and each subsequent layer. Once I finished the first layer I celebrated with a glass of wine and some hand balm. Each layer after went so quick and the decorative welt is a neat technique to learn and it really brings the whole skirt together. I decide to do away with the welt at the waist band and used the same color as the top tier just because I liked the look. The knit-on elastic casing was so smart and easy. I was surprised at how many finishing details there were included in this pattern and also how little finishing was required.
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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.

Raveled Here

Book Blog Bonanza Follow-up

Hey, readers!

While all of the winners from September's Book Blog Bonanza were notified via email about their prizes, there are still a handful of you who never responded. If you are listed as a winner and have not yet done so, please email your address and phone number to blogatfabricdotcom so we can ship your prize. Emails must be sent from the same address you used when registering to post on the blog.

Thanks!



Reuse, Recycle, Rejoice! Trash-to-Treasure Holiday Shirts Pt. 3

November 24, 2010

Third up in our series of holiday wear created from shirts found in the closet or at thrift sores: an elf shrug made by yours truly.

Anyone who has kept up with the blog lately may have noticed I have a penchant for pink. It's one of my very favorite colors, and I love that is has become increasingly included in holiday designs of all kinds. So naturally,  my first thought when thinking about this project was that I wanted to make something pink and a little silly. The rest kind of fell into place from there.

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This shrug was super easy. I started with a fleece sweatshirt that I loved but was painfully unflattering. Then I cut a shrug out of it. I ended up reducing the size of the shrug by creating a seam at the back and eliminating several inches of width from the garment.

The ruffles are made of crinkle chiffon. I opted to leave the edges raw to give a shabby chic vibe to the project.

The edging is made from bias-cut strips of red and white striped quilting fabric.

And to finish everything off, a small fleece pointsettia pin. This is a simple item made using basic shapes I cut from fleece and then layered together. It's just a free-hand affair, easy peasy!

Tune in next week for yet another staff shirt as we continue to celebrate the holidays and creativity!

Dropped Stitches

Dropped Stitches

A dropped stitch can seem like the end of the world but with some practice and patience you can pick them up like a pro and not bat an eyelash. Dropped stitches used to be a heart attack for me. But once day I decided I had had enough. Too much stress for such a small thing. I knit up a stockinette swatch (4 in. by 4 in) square and set to work practicing. The Stockingette provided me with practice for both knit and purl stitches. Since all knitting is made up of these 2 stitches practicing them will be your bread and butter. I also recommend some time with knit 2 together and purl 2 together. Below you will find some helpful step by step pictures of what a dropped stitch looks like (My dad always says: "The first step to problem solving is recognizing the problem".), the approach and the finished product. The loop is the stitch from the row below and the ladder is the strand of yarn above the loop. Thread the ladder through the loop to fix your dropped stitch.

Knit stitch:

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You want to approach a knit stitch from the knit side or front (side facing you) and pick up the loop and then pick up your ladder. Pull your ladder through the loop toward you. Place repaired stitch back on left needle and knit.

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Purl stitch:

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You want to approach a purl stitch from the purl side or the back side (side facing away from you) and pick up the ladder first then the loop. Pull the ladder through the loop away from you. Place repaired stitch back on left needle and purl.

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Knit 2 together:

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You will approach this the same as a knit stitch but there will be 2 loops and 1 ladder. With the knit side facing you, put your crochet hook into the left loop first then the right loop then pick up the ladder. Pull the ladder through both loops toward you and place on left needle. Knit the stitch.


Purl 2 together:

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You will approach this the same as a purl stitch but there will be 2 loops and 1 ladder. With the purl side facing away from you, put your crochet hook through the ladder first, next the right loop first then the left loop. Pull the ladder through both loops and put the stitch on your left needle and purl

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Practice all of the above until you feel comfortable. Picking up stitches will become easy and a no brainer with time.  

Living a Pin-Free Life

November 23, 2010

I love pin cushions. Their small size makes them perfect candidates for cute designs. Pin cushion pastries, fruits, animals, mini dress forms -- I love them all! But, the pin cushions in my life are just decoration now. There's nary a pin in sight. I haven't used pins in my sewing for over 6 years, and I couldn't be happier.

My divorce from pins was catalyzed by a kitten. In the fall of 2004, my husband and I adopted a tiny black fluffball with no tail... and a compulsion for eating non-food objects. Kitten Jiji attempted to consume anything that would fit in his mouth, including thumbtacks and, sadly, pins. We managed to catch him attempting to nosh on all such items before any damage was done, but we realized this was a serious problem. So we went on a cat-proofing rampage to beat the band. Since I was using our apartment's dining area as my sewing room and had no means to close it off, that meant the pins had to go.

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Initially, I was terrified. My sewing was so slow. I had to baste everything! Cutting took me forever because I wanted to maintain accuracy using only pattern weights. I was so trepidatious about every stitch. I thought I was doomed to sew in slo-mo forever.

But, over the next few months, I got more confident, and I got faster... and faster... and (dare I say it?) faster than I had been before pins. Now I always opt for pattern weights in lieu of pins. I baste sometimes, but not always. My husband is thankful he never steps on pins I've accidentally dropped on the floor. And I feel like I've gotten an even better sense of how fabrics want to go together.

The bottom line is: I am a better seamstress without pins. I encourage any of you out there who are afraid of going pinless to try it once in a while - just in the interest of stretching your skills. You don't have to make the switch permanently, but challenge yourself from time to time. Start small, with simpler projects, and tackle bigger challenges as your confidence grows. I bet you'll find it as liberating as I do!

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My little Jiji bear is no longer with us, but he was my constant companion in the sewing room throughout his life. He loved to "help" lay out patterns and play with instruction sheets and he always stuck close to supervise my work. I love that he left his indelible mark on the way I sew just the same as he did the rest of my life.



Sewing Green Book Review

November 22, 2010

I love Sewing Green by Betz White. No book could be better for quick, awesome Christmas projects/gifts. It is also perfect for the Green giftee in your life. If you are an eco-passionate person, you could choose to just give this book (a portion of the proceeds are donated to environmental causes) or whip-up any of the amazing projects in Sewing Green. There are few books in which I heart every project contained within its binding, but this book is certainly counted on that short list. Not only are all the projects seemingly quick (as opposed to a weeklong dedication of time and sewing space) but they are also stash busters.

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.

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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!  

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Reuse, Recycle, Rejoice! Trash-to-Treasure Holiday Shirts Pt. 2

November 19, 2010

As you may recall from our first entry in this series, this year we challenged our fabric.com staffers to create a new holiday shirt using shirts from their stash or from thrift stores.

This week's shirt is incredibly inventive, which is no surprise because it came from our Graphics Elf, Valerie. Val really transformed a plain shirt into something spectacular. It's got whimsy, color, and most importantly - owls! (Owls are very popular right now, and that is especially the case here in our offices, where everyone seems to have owl fever.)

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To assemble this crafty creation, Valerie used Angelina Straight Cut Fibers as a base. These little wisps of fiber are fascinating - you can heat set them together to make your own unique plastic fabric!

Once Valerie had created her Angelina sheeting, she positioned it onto the back of her shirt with a layer of organza over it and stipple stitched everything in place.

Next, Valerie created adorable owl appliqués using scraps of Artisan Batiks and Raja Batiks and fusible web. All the little details are embroidered in place, and the owls have darling button eyes. There's even a sweet little owl waving from a tree on the front of this festive shirt.

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Bravo, Valerie, on your intricate and charming masterpiece! You truly took this project to a whole new level!


Beautiful, Reusable Fabric Wrapping

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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.

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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!

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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

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** Coffee may be optional for you but not me!

The Fabric Maverick tells the truth about Christmas Stockings!

November 18, 2010

"All the stockings were hung with great care..." or so the story goes. The real truth about Christmas stockings is that they were never supposed to be hung on a fireplace!  Wise parents really created Christmas stockings to be hung at the foot of the bed in the children's bedroom. The idea was that if a child woke up early on Christmas morning, the stocking would keep the child busy so that the parents would get a few hours of extra sleep before being dragged from bed by excited children. Somehow this has been changed to hanging from the fireplace mantel. I suspect that a decorator was involved. Think about it! All the beautiful pictures in the magazines show a picture perfect room with a fireplace decorated to the hilt with matching stockings. In my world, most of my stockings do not match. Not even the ones I wear.

 

I decided to do some investigating to find out if I am the only unusual person. Looking back over years of Christmas stockings, I have found that I tend to be a traditionalist using the classic Christmas stocking as my base. My first stocking was one I made for my baby girl. I cross-stitched the top with her name and Raggedy Ann with a series of toys. It took months to create the top and an hour to complete the stocking. It was a work of art which I have treasured through the years. My next set of stockings I purchased a kit from Moda. It included wonderful precut pieces of wool felt with loads of trims to add to the stocking. I gathered my grandchildren around me so they could make their own stockings with my help.  These were very pretty when finished, but not exactly works of art. Those sequins were a real pain to glue on. Surprisingly enough these are still their favorite stockings when they come to my house. One year, Southern Living had a Christmas layout using plain old burlap made into Christmas stockings accented with jumbo red rick rack.  I happened to have a surprise Christmas guest coming so I rushed to create this burlap stocking. I was surprised to see how elegant it looked amidst my other Christmas decorations. Even the humblest materials can look great!

 

Now Holly, our resident elf, has a less traditional look to her stockings. She runs the gamut from stockings with curled toes to bloomer stockings that bear no resemblance to the traditional look. I was fascinated with these. They look so girly.

 

Let your imagination go wild! Stockings do not have to be in traditional colors of red and green. They do not need to be in the regular Christmas stocking shape. You can have curly toes, high heels, look like cowboy boots and more! I have found some fun stockings that look like mittens. Stockings came be made from home decorating fabrics, burlap, organza, tulle. They can be knitted or crocheted. Look at your stash and I bet you have all the materials you need at your fingertips. Here is our stockings: Stocking1.jpg   stocking2.jpgPost your Christmas creations on our facebook page. We look forward to seeing them!

Wipe-able New Leaf Tote

November 17, 2010

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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.

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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.  

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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?

The 12 Crafts of Christmas - Day 12

November 16, 2010

On the 12th Day of Christmas my true love gave to me: a minky throw that's ultra cozy!

Who doesn't love a cozy throw to curl up with while watching holiday specials on television? This minky throw makes a luxurious gift, and really could not be much easier to make. All you need to make that special someone feel hugged even when you're not there is 3.5 yards of soft, snuggly minky and about 40 minutes to an hour of your time.

I used one of the darling holiday minky prints from Kaufman that we have in stock. So cute for the holidays!

-Once you have your minky in hand, make sure your ends are cut straight across the grain of the fabric.
-Once everything is squared up, simply fold your minky in half, matching up the cut ends.
-Stitch around the three non-fold sides of your minky, leaving 8-10" open for turning. If you really wish to speed up production (great if you have a lot of these to make), I suggest you skip pinning and use binder clips to keep things in place instead. Much faster, and less likely you'll lose one along the way.
-Clip excess fabric from corners to reduce bulk.
-Turn throw right side out. Make sure you get your corners turned so they come to a nice sharp point.
-Top stitch around entire blanket 1/4" from edge, including the folded edge. Close up the opening you used to turn the throw with this top stitch. You may want to once again employ binder clips to ensure that everything stays neat while you top stitch. I find the clips are extra helpful for keeping the folded edge in place, since it tends to want to wiggle around.

Clip your loose threads and call it day - you just marked one more gift off your list!

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Worried about working with minky? Be sure to check out our helpful video for tips and tricks!

The 12 Crafts of Christmas - Day 11

November 15, 2010

** Please welcome our latest contributor, the fabulous Don from HR! Today's post is his handiwork - I just uploaded it for him while we work out some technical difficulties. Hooray for Don!  - Holly  **


On the 11th day of Christmas, my true love gave to me: festive custom stationery!


I settled in with lots of craft supplies, determined to produce some of my own cards to send out via snail mail to my friends this Thanksgiving and Christmas. I had just purchased a set of blank cards from Fabric.com and couldn't wait to see how they turned out. Armed with a set of markers, ink pad, my favorite owl stamp, ribbon and cardstock, I flipped on Wheel of Fortune and got stamping. Surprisingly, my efforts turned out well.

 

For the owl card, I pulled together all my green and blue markers and started to color. I used an olive green ink for the owl stamp. This makes a great "anytime" card. The hearts on the card could be changed with any color markers or even adding glitter (I was not that ambitious).

 

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For the "you make a difference" card, I rubbed my blue ink pad over one of the cards to create a variance in color, which was shown to me from one of my fellow crafters at work, Michelle. Then, I used crafting glue to adhere my ribbon and card stock to the card. I did use a little too much glue (oops), but my candle sat on top as a weight for the night ensured that the card was good to go this morning.

 

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For the "Heartfelt Thanks" cards, I plan on using this at Thanksgiving to send out to relatives. I purchased small craft jewels to embellish the stamps that I had purchased online, along with a maroon and brown ink pad. After using the stamps on the card, I attempted to use some glue dots for the jewels, which did not turn out well. I ended up moving to the craft glue to ensure the jewels stick to the stationary. This was the most time consuming part of the card creation. On the bottom of each card, I added a foil leaf that I had saved from last year (my mom is infamous for adding confetti to cards), attached with craft glue.

 

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For the remember card, I used a tree stamp from my collection, along with some sticker ribbon and a "remember" stamp.  I was attempting to create a more serious card with this endeavor. I accidentally messed up the first time I laid the stamp down with the olive green ink. Instead of tossing the card, I re-stamped it creating a look of multiple trees in the background. I laid the black sticker ribbon in front of the trees, trying to create the illusion of a wrought-iron gate in front of the trees. Finally, I added the "Remember" in black ink.

 

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As always when you are stamping, make sure you clean your stamps between ink changes and after you are completed.

 

 

 

Repair your knitting

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No one ever imagines accidents will ever befall their knitted goods, but accidents do happen. When they do it is important to know how to repair your knitting. There is no one sure way to fix every possible accident that could 'ruin' a knitted project but there are certain steps and techniques to know that can save your hard work and restore knitting. For an example we shall use a pair of Knucks that I knit for my photographer brother a few years ago as a Christmas present. Unfortunately, his dog loved them too- a little too much and chewed off the pinky. I have been circling it for a few weeks trying to decide how to approach the damage and repair it without reknitting. I just decided to jump in but work slow and see where it went. I still had some wool left over so I was feeling good!

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I started by pulling on the loose ends and pulling out any stray threads. Basically clearing the rubble. I wanted to get to a continuous row of loops to put back on a needle and perhaps just knit up the pinky again. However, the nature of the pattern didn't allow knitting just the pinky. Knucks are knit from the top down with the fingers knit individually then knit together then the body of the Knuck is knit down from the fingers. The damage did not go past where the fingers joined the body so I had to pull off all the fingers. One of the threads chewed was the row that joined the fingers together. 

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Once the fingers were removed, I put the body on a circular needle and set aside. I reknit all the fingers following the pattern to one row after the fingers were knit together. Next I stitched the fingers to the body with a Kitchener stitch. The Kitchener stitch allows for a seamless, invisible join of both pieces of knitting and can be used on live stitches or bound off ends. This was the easiest part and the most satisfying. Once done the knuck looked as good as new (minus weaving in the ends).

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Here is a quick review of the steps:

1)      Clear the rubble (pull loose threads and damaged rows). Don't worry about pulling out rows, you want to get to a full row and clean off all the damage.  If you pull out too much or all- you are no worse off than if you hadn't tried at all, so no worries.

2)      Put your clean live stitches on a needle and asses the loss. What parts are missing?

3)      Read the pattern, especially the part that was damaged and missing. Read how to reknit that area and how it is joined. Try to follow the directions as closely as possible to recreate the missing parts

4)      Join your reknitted part to the existing knit with a join that either closely resembles the original or is invisible, like the Kitchener stitch.

These steps can be used on sleeves, socks, gloves, toys, most knitted goods. Just pour yourself a cup of coffee, take a deep breath and jump in. If you find yourself over your head, don't worry. You can reknit from scratch. At least you tried and perhaps learned something new.

 Psst: I plan on doing a complete re-do of the embroidery on the Knucks using some of the techniques learn in Sublime Stitching.    


Knitting I-cord

November 12, 2010

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One of the basics of knitting is knitting I-cord. I made a comment last week on Facebook about how I never use my DPNs. Milinda Paquette kindly reminded me the importance of DPNs if only for knitting i-cord. And i-cord is important in knitting. It is a versatile technique that can be used for straps, ties, and decorative accents on toys or edges. I-cord is almost too easy for its return on value. I-cord is like the bias strips equivalent in sewing. I have used i-cord for pumpkins stems, toy arms, elephant noses, ear flap ties, belts, ETC.

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There are 2 easy ways to make i-cord: DPNs or knitting spool. Now, if you prefer to use DPNs, which I do, than the shorter the better (like the Hiyahiya 4 in. DPNs) because once you are done knitting a row you don't switch your left and right needles. Slide your stitches to the other end of your right hand needle and then switch your needles from right hand to left. Knit your stitches again, making sure to snug your first stitch. The tail pulls the stitches together and after about 3 rows you notice your knitting forms a tube.  If you have a shorter DPN then you have less sliding. Be sure you snug that first stitch but DO NOT pull it too tight otherwise it will be too tight to knit the next row (this took me a while to learn and I hated i-cord until I learned to loosen up a bit). You can make your i-cord as thick as you want but you must knit with at least 3 stitches. If you need it smaller, than sub in a lighter weight yarn. You can make your own knitting spool with an old wooden thread spool and some nails. Spool knitting is fun and really great for kids. To adjust the size you will need a bigger spool and more nails but it is a great kid's craft.

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You can also use i-cord as a totally awesome bind off. It is called attached icord and the edge is actually icord that you knit on as you bind off. Interweave has a great video. Attached I-cord is a great finish for blankets, sleeves, slippers and hats. 

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The 12 Crafts of Christmas - Day 10

On the tenth day of Christmas my true love gave to me... neck wear customized just for me!

If you can tie a knot, you can make an edgy fringe scarf or necklace for the fashion-forward person in your life. These are great projects for kids or teens to make for themselves or as gifts. Low on cost, high on fun.

The first item I made in my knot-stravaganza is a scarf made entirely from recycled tee shirts.

-I took three tees out of my scrap pile, and cut 1" strips across the shirts so they would stretch lengthwise.
-Then I stre-e-e-e-e-e-etched those pieces out so the edges curled in, giving the strips a ropey, corded appearance.
-After stretching, I cut one base strip about 40" long, then the rest of the strips into 7-14 inch pieces (I like variation).
-The next step was to attach all those little pieces to the longer piece. I used a Lark's Head knot (also called a Cow Hitch) to tie my smaller pieces on, but any knot you like will do! I went with a basic repeat of my three colors (I loved you, shirts - thanks for the memories!), but I encourage you to play with color patterns to your heart's content. The fabric has enough tooth that if you tie a nice tight knot, you don't need to do anything special on the ends. I just cut the extra fabric on each end off and tied it into a basic knot, leaving enough length so the "tail" would look like another piece of the fringe.


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If you prefer to start with fabric instead of a tee shirt, jersey is an excellent choice.



For my second knot-speriment, I wanted to go a little more elegant. This is a simple necklace (easy to extend in length to become a scarf) made from grosgrain ribbon. It's construction is identical to the scarf above, except I used a basic right-over-left simple knot. The ribbons were cut in 8-10" pieces, with the base piece about 40". It's a fast fun project, again, great for crafters of all ages!


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The 12 Crafts of Christmas - Day 9

coffee cozy wool.jpgOn the ninth Day of the 12 Crafts of Christmas, we have a great idea for the coffee lover on your Christmas list. It's also for the Eco-minded among us. Create a custom Coffee Cup Cozy from almost any fabric. I'll give you a quick description of the project, and then some variations.

You will need a cardboard sleeve from a coffee shop - the kind that saves your hands from getting burned. You will use this for your pattern. If you use a fabric like wool melton, felted wool or polyester felt, you will not need to add seam allowances because the fabric doesn't ravel. Otherwise, add 1/2'' all around for hemming and a seam.  If you choose to use a cute cotton print to match your

coffee sleeve fabric.jpgGiftee's personality, you will need a piece of felt or heavy interfacing cut without seam allowance. We also carry an interfacing called Insul-Brite that has insulating properties. You will center this ''insulator/stiffener'' in the center of your cotton fabric and fold the seam allowances over to hem. Sew the two sides together to make a circle. To finish the coffee cozy, if you have used fabric that ravels, serge or zigzag the seam allowance to prevent raveling.

 You can embellish your Coffee Cozy further with an embroidered initial or an applique. Just embellish before you sew your final seam so you can work with it flat. Needle felting is also a great embellishment if you are using wool melton, felted wool or polyester felt. The picture above is a needle felted coffee cozy my sister made.

Reuse, Recycle, Rejoice! Trash-to-Treasure Holiday Shirts Pt. 1

November 11, 2010

Ahhhh, holiday finery! Everyone has a Christmas sweater or shirt they pull out of their closet in November or December. Some are quite lovely, others a little tacky, but all of them represent the fun and wonder of winter and the spirit of the holidays.

This year, we challenged staff members to make holiday-themed shirts, but we added a twist: their shirts had to be made using an existing shirt from their collection, or something found at a thrift store. No new shirts allowed! In a time when many families are short on funds during what can be an expensive season, we thought it would be great to find new ways to love old things, and spread some cheer in the process.

First up is an elegant take on our challenge from our Merchandising Director Kristl. She started with two butter-soft sweaters in complimentary colors. Then she deconstructed them and reassembled the pieces into a color-blocked cardigan using her serger, leaving the seams visible on the outside of the garment. Printed chiffon flounces and a ribbon tie closure complete the look. Just looking at this sweater makes me think of cozy gatherings with family, but I love that it also has a style that far outlasts the holiday season. Kudos, Kristl!


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Stay tuned for more shirt makeovers from our staff as the holidays approach!

The 12 Crafts Of Christmas - Day 8

On the 8th day of Christmas my true love gave to me: a fabulous Recycled T-Shirt that you can make yourself!  What more could a girl as for?

I absolutely love this project,it is so easy to do, but it will look like you picked it from some swanky boutique!  This is the perfect Christmas project because it is perfect to make for your girlfriends, but I promise once you complete your shirt and see how amazing it looks, you are going to want to keep this baby for yourself! The best thing about this project is that it requires no sewing and doesn't take much time to complete.

The first thing you need is a T-Shirt.  You may have an old shirt laying around or you can go out and purchase one.  For my T-Shirt I went with more of a fitted one, but any kind of T-Shirt will work just fine.  For the shoulder fringe on the shirt you need strips of fabric, preferably a cotton knit fabric or a polyester/rayon knit fabric for the best results.  You may have scraps laying around, if not be sure to browse the knit section on our website for some fabric options.
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Once you have selected your fabric for the shoulder fringe, you will need to cut the fabric into strips.  Cut different lengths of fabric to add more dimension and make sure to taper the ends of the fabric strips.  Make the fabric is folded in half and cut the strips at the crease.  You determine how many strips you want for your T-Shirt, but I think the more fabric strips you have, the better your T-Shirt will turn out!

Now that you have your fabric strips cut, turn your shirt inside out and cut tiny holes on each side of the should seams.  These are the holes that you weave your fabric strips through.  Once you weave fabric strips through all the holes, you can go back again and weave additional strips of fabric through the holes to give your shoulders more bulk.

Once you have completed adding your fabric strips to each shoulder, you can stop there or you can embellish your T-Shirt even more.  You can add apparel trim in with your fabric strips, for example the ZipR Trim would give a really cool effect mixed in with the fabric strips.  Or even try adding some brass & copper embellishments around the neckline for more of an edgier look.  The style possibilities are endless! 


Worsted Swirl Hat

November 10, 2010

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Hats are one of my favorite gifts to give for the holidays because they are so fast but also infinitely customizable. With just a few hours of knitting you can make a silky hat with an intrepid flower for a trend-setting sister or a neutral, classic ribbed for Dad. I love that hats are knit in the round too (no purling!) Hats can be knit with any fiber and any weight yarn. Hats make especially nice Christmas gifts because everyone is looking to keep warm, stay cute and hand knits are SO IN these days. However, as much as I heart making hats for mom, dad, brother and sister, I really heart making hats for kids. Kids get so excited! You know your hat will not be worn just out and about but in play: sliding down the slide, running wild, and making snow angels. You can make feral and crazy hats for kids or bright and bold. A kid's hat can be knit to fit the exact exuberance of their personalities.

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In looking for a great hat pattern to share with Fabric.com blog readers, I came across this simple but interesting swirl hat pattern by Mandie Harrington. I loved it but I didn't love knitting it with fingering yarn. I also wanted to keep with our Green Theme and use an organic yarn. I converted the pattern to a worsted weight and choose Lion Brand Nature's Choice Organic Cotton in Wildflowers. Cotton might not be the best choice for a hat but this yarn is so soft, the slubby nature works really well with the texture of the hat pattern and the variegation of colors adds a wonderful effect to the pattern. The yarn coupled with the pattern makes for the most darling project. To make a 2yr size, I cast on according to the preemie (72 sts) and only knit 6 rows of ribbing but after that I followed the 12m- 2yr instructions. The larger size yarn makes for a less fitted hat. It is much more chucky but also fluffier and thicker. I believe that the while cotton may not be as warm as wool, the thicker yarn will make up for the difference. Plus since this hat is for my almost 2 yr old daughter, the softness of the yarn will greatly increase the chances of her keeping it on her head, which the wool would not. My gauge was 17 sts over 4 in. You can adjust this hat pattern to any of our organic yarn by multiplying your gauge over 1 in. by the circumference of the finished hat. That will be your cast on number- to keep in pattern round up your cast-on to the next highest number suggested in the pattern. Then follow the pattern instructions for the size hat you want to end up with. This is a great chic hat for just about anyone in your life.

Raveled Here 

The 12 Crafts of Christmas - Day 7

November 9, 2010

On the seventh day of Christmas my true love gave to me: a Cuddle Bug that's super cozy!

Blankets with sleeves continue to be popular - and they're super easy to make. We call ours a Cuddle Bug! You can give everyone on your list the gift of cozy comfort, without giving up all your sewing time this season.

These directions are for an adult-sized Cuddle Bug. Scale down for kids or smaller adults.

Start with 3 yards of fleece, and cut according to the diagram below. (You'll have a little left over.)


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-Cut two yards for the Cuddle Bug body.
-23" down from the top of the body, cut 2 circles 10 inches in diameter. To mark the center point of each circle for placement, divide the width of the body into thirds. Most fleece is 58-60" wide, so the center of each circle will be about 20" from each edge.
-Cut the remaining yard down to a piece that is 25" long along the grain.
-Cut the 25" piece in half lengthwise, so you have to sleeve pieces which are each 25" x approx. 30"
-Fold each sleeve in half lengthwise, and stitch closed along long edge.
-Sew the sleeves into the sleeve holes, orienting the seam towards the bottom and easing in as necessary.
(Since fleece is so easy to work with, I don't even bother with pins or clips on this step - just go for it!)
-If desired, finish the edges of the blanket body. You can hem them, serge them, cut them into fringe - you're the designer!

And that's it!

Cuddly fun for everyone. Couldn't you just curl up with a cup of hot cocoa and a remote right about now?


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Eco-Friendly Felt Food

November 8, 2010

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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!

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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! 

The 12 Crafts of Christmas - Day 6

On the 6th day of Christmas my true love gave to me: cosmetic bags o'plenty!

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The free Diva-licious Cosmetic Bag pattern is a perfect resource for your holiday gift-giving projects. Everyone can always use more cosmetic bags, and these babies go together in a flash. In a weekend, you could easily take care of many people on your holiday list!

The great thing about a bag like this is that it offers myriad design choices. Make it with a softer interfacing for a bag that conforms to odd-shaped items. Make it with heavier interfacing for a crisp, structured bag. Add tabs at the zipper stops or even a handle.

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The real key to customizing a bag like this for the recipient is in the fabric choices. Girly prints and pretty florals are natural choices for little ladies and grown-up girls, but don't leave out the men in your life! If you choose fun prints with a boyish slant, these bags become perfect on-the-go storage for small toys - just in time for holiday travel. A more masculine fabric like faux suede or faux leather makes these bags into perfect alternates for the standard shaving-kit style bag.

No matter who is on your "nice" list this year, they're sure to delight in a bag designed and sewn especially for them!

Knitters: Picking your needle

November 5, 2010

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A knitter's needle is as personal as a favorite pair of pants or how one takes coffee. It is a tiny piece of your personality and thus very important. You will spend many hours with your needles. Picking a tools that can make or break your knitting (and in the end your sanity) is important and should not be rushed into. As a new knitter, I tried everything as I discovered it but I was like a 10 yr old on a shopping spree. As I taught myself, my first needles were metal so I bought a bunch. As I explored more forums, I discovered bamboo so I purchased a set of straight and DPNs. Then I came across my first set of interchangeable in acrylic so that was another chunk of change. After that it was magic loop and the purchase of 40 in. plus cable needle since my Interchangeables were not compatible with magic loop. It went on and on until I finally settled down and found the perfect set for me. I still have many of my original purchases but I only use my "married set": I call them my "married set" because I dated all the others and finally fell deeply in love and have not strayed since. 

Many knitters are monogamous with their chosen set but others have not settled down, changing from needle to needle depending on the project and what is new. If you know you are destined to be a monogamous knitter than it is important to find your needle. You may choose to follow my path but there are easier ways to find your needle.

1)      Do you have any allergies or arthritis? This will rule out some needle right away. I am allergic to nickel so that was an early indicator and why I was drawn to wooden needles. Wood or bamboo is also key for older knitters.

2)      How do you knit? Fast or take your time. If you prefer fast, there are many "turbo" needles out there made with nickels and have pointy tips and slick finishes. If you like to take your time, maybe not slow but not super fast, and precise stitches then wood or bamboo may be for you. Some are well varnished and can be as fast as nickel but I often find that wood and bamboo grip more and prevent slipping stitches. Do you knit more in the round than straight? Then a set of circulars or Interchangeables are for you. My mother in law knits more flat than in the round and sticks to her straight needle and rarely touches her Interchangeables. I knit more round but I only use my interchangeable no matter what the project.

3)      Visit the forums and read what others have to say. You might find someone who knits like you and find your perfect needle without spending time and money on others.

4)      Do you like trends? Then, my friend, you are probably not a monogamous knitter but enjoy new needles with jewelry on the end, Knit Lite, and anything new and exciting. Go to it if you love it. There is no shame in "dating". If it keeps you knitting and happy- where is the problem? You might have less money for yarn but you do have some really awesome needles!

With our great selection of needles you are sure to find the right one for you. Plus, with our free return shipping if you don't- it's not problem to try them out to make sure. Make sure and ask for a Fabric.com gift card for Christmas so you can pick your favorite needle!!!

Pictured: my fave needles- Lantern Moon

The 12 Crafts of Christmas - Day 5

FinNecklace.jpgOn the fifth Day of the 12 Crafts of Christmas, I have Die Cut flowers from Faux Suede and made all kinds of accessories! This is a stash buster type of project. You only need a few things, which you may already have, to make fabulous accessories for all the fashionistas on your list! I decorated a hair clip, an existing chain necklace and a set of magnets to create a pin.

I used the Sizzix Die Cut Machine to cut out different shapes and sizes of flowers from faux suede. By the way, the Sizzix Dies cut many types of fabrics including fleece! We have one die with three different flowers that can be layered like we did. The adhesive to layer the flowers together is E-6000. I also used it to glue the flowers to the hair clip and the magnet for the pin. Another tip, if you use magnets instead of pins, you will avoid holes in your garments, and you can wear the pin more places, like a suede coat.

I already owned the necklace I decorated with the suede flowers. I am a huge fan of Anthropologie's style. This necklace has a hard and soft component that I have admired in their jewelry styles. I glued the leaves on the back of the largest flower first. I let it set, and sewed the flower on to my necklace. then I glued the rest of the layers over the stitches.

These faux suede flowers can decorate just about anything. The E-6000 adhesive will adhere fabric, wood, metal and glass. Let your mind wander over the giftable possibilities of this project!

 

The 12 Crafts of Christmas - Day 4

November 4, 2010

book1.jpgOn the fourth Day of the 12 Crafts of Christmas, we have decorated notebooks and journals. These little books make great gifts especially for the List Makers in your life. I love to use them for taking notes in the different meetings I go to regularly. I priced these types of jounals in my favorite specialty stores, and the sticker shock made my run for my paper and glue. Here's the result.

I happened to have a beautiful collection of scrapbooking papers and stickers from a past collection of Basic Grey. I don't scrapbook, but I love their designs, so I stashed it not knowing what I would do with it besides look at it. I bought simple composition books from my local WalMart. They had the cheapest price at under $1.00 per notebook in my area. I got out my glue and glitter, and here are some basic steps and some variations to inspire you to make a few of these special journal/notebooks for yourself or for gifts.

Choose your scrapbook weight paper for the outside of the notebook

Line up the edge of the paper with the edge of the black binding tape on the cover of the composition book. Make sure the side you want on the cover is facing up.

Fasten with large Gem Clips to hold in place while you trace around the outside of the cover on to the back of the paper.

Cut out the front of the notebook cover.

bookkit.jpgRepeat these steps for the back cover of the notebook.

Paint the rubber cement glue on to the front cover of the notebook, and carefully place the new cover you just trimmed to the front cover of the notebook. The rubber cement should allow you to scoot the paper into place, but work quickly.

Turn the notebook over to the back and repeat the process above to attach the back cover sheet.

Place a telephone book or other heavy weight on to the notebook for 15 minutes for the glue to start to set.

Choose a ''binding'' to cover the seam between the black binding on the notebook and the new paper cover you just glued on. It can be ribbon, paper, rickrack, or anything that is relatively flat and wide enough to cover the seam nicely. I used Hug Snug Seam binding.

Glue the binding over the seam and let the glue set about 15 minutes before you proceed.

At this time, you can consider extra embellishments like glitters, flat stickers and paper cutouts to decorate your notebook. Now is also the time to put any titles or words on your book. I used letter stickers and cartouches from my Basic Grey assortment to add titles.

When you have finished decorating, and given any glue at least 15 minutes to set after your embellishment session, it's time to cover your masterpiece with clear contact paper to protect everything. Lay the book flat on the back of the clear contact paper and draw around the book with a one inch ''seam allowance'' so you have plenty of overlap to the inside cover. Cut out the clear contact paper and pull off the backing. Lay it sticky side up and place one side of your book 1'' from the edges of the contact paper. Clip a square from the corners of the clear contact paper to remove some bulk from the corners. Roll the book over to the other side and repeat the steps above. You are about to fold the contact paper over the edges of the book and on to the inside covers. First clip the excess contact paper at the spine of the book to allow the contact paper to fold completely onto the inside cover. You'll see what I mean if you try to fold the contact paper to the inside without clipping at the spine.

You have a completed book! it's ready for gift giving, or keeping for yourself! 

No-sew Tutu

November 3, 2010

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You might be wondering why I am writing about making tutus right after Halloween instead of before so I will explain. In my house, the weeks right after Halloween were prime dress-up time. With the costume glow still upon us, my siblings and friends would bust out all our old costumes and dress-up clothes. Our other toys were put aside for imaginary princess and warrior games outside more often, enjoying the fall air. Tutus were always my favorite. I would stack them around me, wearing as many as possible; the object of dancing irrelevant. Being that time of year and my own daughter at the age when tutus become the staple of a proper wardrobe, I had to make one or several and write about how easy it was. I have heard from many people and received many comments that tulle is difficult to work with. Another reason for today's entry. I was determined to find a way to make tutus easy and fun for both the maker and wearer!

I scoured YouTube till I found a video by Wowzzy.com for a no-sew tutu that also shared tulle tips. It was easy but I will tell you that as you are cutting your tulle into the rolls put the cut strips under a pattern weight of some kind or whatever is handy. You DO NOT want your tulle unwinding; that is a pain! The tutu by Wowzzy.com requires 4 yds of tulle and 3 yds of ribbon. I made mine for a 2 yr old using our 54 in. wide Tulle in Amethyst (which is a gorgeous dark purple) and Jessica Jones 1 ½ in. Jacquard Blooms ribbon (amazing design) and planned to make a lining out of cotton but nixed it once I saw how my tutu was progressing. It turned out to have much more body than I had thought. From the video, I envisioned a more skirt-like tutu but what I ended up with was much more ballerina-like and better than I hoped. The video was easy to follow and watch while I cut and tied. I folded my tulle several time before I rolled it up since I was using one color and my piece was much bigger than the 4 small pieces used in the video. I cut my rolls to be about 3 in wide and then under folder each roll (carefully not to tangle) so I could fold it and cut each fold so I ended with 3 in. wide strips about 20 in. long. This made for a short, fluffy skirt.

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4 yds of tulle and 3 yds of ribbon made 2 tutus in the 2 yr old size. The same yardages would only yield one for a longer skirt or a bigger size. In all each tutu took about 45 min to make with cutting and tying and fighting the tangles. Once wore the tulle gets a little messy (I mean it is no longer straight and wrinkle free) but this adds to the body and fluffiness and really makes it look more like a ballerina's tutu. Plus it is all for fun. This tutu is also easy one and easy off with a delicious big bow in the back. Considering the ease of this pattern and the cost of the materials, I think have several in favorite colors is an excellent investment. Plus they make great stocking stuffers!!!!

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 Photos by Brandi Watson- Thank you!!

The 12 Crafts Of Christmas - Day 3

On the third day of Christmas my true love brought to me, beautiful fabric covered bangles and fabric barrettes!!!  For our third crafty Christmas DIY project, we have fabric bangles and fabric barrettes that are quick and easy to make.  This is a great project for the holidays because you can give them away as gifts or they can be used to dress up your own wardrobe. 

To complete this project you will need some fabric, a pair of scissors, glue, barrette covers, metal barrette clips, an old bangle and a little creativity!

First select the fabric you want to use to cover your bangle and barrette.  You can select an elegant fabric like silk or taffeta or if you want a funkier look try a batik fabric.   I covered my bangle and barrette in Kaffe Fassett fabric because I like the bold bright color palette.  If you can't decide on a fabric and need some inspiration browse our website to get your creative juices flowing.

Next cut up strips of fabric to cover your bangles and barrettes.  To make sure you have a good fit measure your fabric against the size of your bangle and barrette.

To cover your barrettes put glue on the fabric and place it on the barrette cover, make sure the fabric is pulled tightly so there are no wrinkles in the top of the barrette and tuck the extra fabric underneath the bottom of the barrette.  Once your barrette is completely dry attach the metal hair clip to the back of the barrette with glue and let it dry completely.
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For your bangle put glue on your fabric and wrap your fabric tightly around your bangle.  Tuck the extra fabric on the inside of your bangle and use a little glue to make sure it stays secure.  You can cover the inside of your bangle with fabric for a more polished look.  Once your bangle and barrette are completely dry, finish them off with Claudine Hellmuth Studio Multi Mediums Gloss, to give them a sleek glossy finish!




    








The 12 Crafts of Christmas - Day 2

November 2, 2010

On the second Day of the 12 Crafts of Christmas, we have decorated headbands with Design House Trim. This project is so simple, so wearable and so giftable! You can make very tailored headbands with solid grosgrain ribbons or completely over the top head bands with Design House Trim and appliques. There are just a few things you need:

We also have a great video from Jenni to give you a little more inspiration! So, get out your glue gun and make some great gifts!

Tomorrow's craft will have you jumping through hoops, or bangles.

Storing your knitting needles

November 1, 2010

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There are various ways to store your needles, ranging from plastic containers to a jumble at the bottom of your knitting bag. I prefer mine nice and neat so I can see what I've got, sizes and which are missing. I also like to keep my different needle separated: straight, DPN and circular. This gets tricky as you collect more needles but with the right patterns and some sewing time you can create a fun collection of knitting needle cases to fit your needs.

A great needle case makes it easy to keep your needle organized but also serve as a grab n' go for knitting away from home. You never know when you might need a needle change or even your trusty crochet hook for a dropped stitch. A needle case fits in your bag and keeps your tools snug and within reach. There are some great options out there to make your own.

Straight Needle case

Hanging circular needle holder

Circular needle case tutorial

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For a great DPN case, I have designed this compact roll that can fit a whole set of DPNs from 0-15 in one compact ribbon roll. All you will need is ½ yd of 2 coordinating fabrics, 1 yd of ribbon and some time. You can download the PDF pattern: 

Needle case.pdf.

You can match all your cases together or mix and match with a central color for a funky, eclectic look. I love to make and collect needle case and update them every few years. They also make perfect gift that are fast for a special knitter in your house.

**Psst: The DPN case can also be used for crochet hooks, colored pencils and markers!


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The 12 Crafts of Christmas - Day 1

simply screen T.jpgOn the first day of the 12 Crafts of Christmas, we have decorated T shirts and tote bags with the Simply Screen printing system from Plaid. This project can be as simple or as complicated as you want it to be. It makes a fantastic gift for kids or adults. The screens include subjects like Rock and Roll, Skulls, Eco subjects, and more. Buy a T shirt. Make a T shirt. Recycle a T shirt. The sky, and your imagination, is the limit for creating a great gift.

You will need something to print on. The instructions say that the Simply Screen paints and foils will adhere to most fabrics. The prints will have to be heat set with an iron, so for best results choose items that can take the heat. We recommend more natural fibers like cotton or cotton rich blends. You will also need the Simply Screen paint and screen of your choice for your project. We have a great video by Shannon that will show you how quickly you can create a great T shirt.

You don't have to use just one color as we did in the video. You can also use a small, but stiff, paint brush and several colors to create a more detailed design. Once you have printed your design and heat set it, you can List_Crystal Compact Two.jpgcontinue to embellish your design. The Kandi Cane heat set crystals will add some sparkle to your project and will give it a more professional finish.

On the second day of the 12 Crafts of Christmas, you can make a crowning acheivement!

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