Thursday, September 13th, 2012

Felt circles #4 – simple stitches

felt circles embroidery stitches 3 Felt circles #4   simple stitches
I loved the color scheme of this felt piece and I stitched it, like the most recent posts as I travelled through Scotland and Scandinavia. I always take a project with me and this time, it is a small embroidery kit. I used an old Qantas pack that I got years ago when I got upgraded to Business Class on a flight to Sydney. It’s a perfect size and because it has two zips you can open it from any place and not spill its contents. For the trip I packed a hand made felt cupcake pincushion – it is built on a drink bottle cap so the needles don’t go through the bottom and so it stands easily. I packed some pins, a few needles, thread, and precut circles of felt. I also have a tiny but cute and functional pair of scissors – so far the kit has gone through airport security without issue.

The threads are mainly on plastic spools on a book ring. This is very practical for traveling as I store my thread on these spools anyway. In one pack of spools that I bought there was included a huge book ring. Now I can just grab the colors of thread I need and hook them on the ring and I’m all set to go. When I get home, the spools just go back into my thread box.

felt circles embroidery stitches travel kit 6 Felt circles #4   simple stitches
Here are today’s stitches:

Row 1: Lazy daisy single stitches alternating with french knots.

Row 2: Herringbone stitch.

Row 3: Back stitch, actually I cheated on this and did it as two rounds of running stitch, the second round simply fills in the holes left by the first. It is a simple design but I think anything too complex will take away from the beauty of the herringbone stitch.

Tuesday, September 11th, 2012

Felt circles #3 – Halloween inspiration

felt circles embroidery stitches 6 Felt circles #3   Halloween inspiration
These aren’t my typical colors but because I am posting a bit out of order, I’ve done quite a few of these circles already so I’m branching out. One way to do this is to have others choose the colors for me. They choose 4 colors then I decide what gets cut at what size. Here I gave myself a very large bit of white that I regretted as soon as I saw it pieced together. So,I made up a stitch to try to fill it in a bit – I like the result and it is certainly bold but it does have a Halloween look about it with its dark purple colors and the spiderweb style stitches.

Row 1: Star stitch – the stitches holding the wooden bead have french knots at the end of every other of them.

Row 2: Running stitch.

Row 3: Lazy daisy single stitches and a small “V” shaped stitch between each of them.

Row 4: I just sewed long straight stitches radiating out from the center – I found this easier to do if I held the thread where it should go to test the rotation before sewing it. Then I sewed long stitches the other way, stitching around the radiating stitches to hold them down every second one. Finally I added cross stitches in a second color over the overlapping stitches where they hadn’t been already sewn down. I like the result and it’s one of the most freeform sewing I’ve done yet.

Saturday, September 8th, 2012

Felt circles #2 – Winter colors

felt circles embroidery stitches 1 Felt circles #2   Winter colors

I love the felt colors used here. I always use wool felt when I can and I buy mine from Etsy. Wool felt not only feels nicer to work with but it doesn’t tear when you stitch close to the edges and it self heals when you undo stitches. Seriously, when you have used wool felt you won’t want to go back to the plastic stuff for embroidery.

Today’s stitches are my own sort of. The first (inside) row is a triangle stitch just made up for the purpose. Then blanket stitch but so the edge is off center and used more decoratively Then a row of lazy daisy and every second one has a second stitch and a french knot. Finally a row of chain stitch to finish off and because it repeats the color from the first row it holds it all together better visually.

Tuesday, September 4th, 2012

Stitching circles in felt #1

felt circles embroidery stitches 2 Stitching circles in felt #1

Recently I came across a picture on Pinterest of some felt circles sewn with buttons. I liked the idea but the stitching was very plain and so I developed my own version.

You will need four colors of felt, a button or large flat bead with a single hole if possible. Mine came from my recycled jewelry stash. I had bought a wooden necklace around ten years ago but had never really found a good use for the wooden beads until now and now they are being used a lot. I am using DMC thread – the twisted one which comes in lots of colors. I bought a heap of various colors of them. They are pricey and a bit of a nuisance to work with because I have to unwind them and wind them onto paper spools before I can use them as they come in twisted skeins but apart from that, they are wonderful to sew with and their slightly lustrous appearance makes them look richly embroidered where 6 strand thread would not. I buy solid colors but the size 3 thread I use comes in variegated colors too.

Cut your felt into 4 circles. I drew patterns using various containers for the sizes – the smallest is bigger than the button and the largest is around 4-4.5 inches across. They aren’t consistently sized so the difference in size from circle 2 to circle 3 is bigger than the others but this was a choice. I use four different color circles and usually 3-4 colors of thread. I use the pieces as a way to play with color and to practice stitches – the size is small enough that if you mess it up you aren’t wasting a lot of materials.

Start by stitching the smallest two circles together using a stitch of your choosing. Blanket or running stitches are good but anything goes. Then attach the button using long stitches through it and the two circles. Then stitch it all to the third circle and then to the fourth. I put my circles a little offset so it isn’t all centered but you can do it as you like.

Over the next few posts I will show you some of the circles and the stitches I used.

For today’s circle I was playing with color and for the first row, lazy daisy single stitches with straight stitches to make a V shape between.

Second row, running stitch. Third rows, cross stitch then a row of French knots and finally single lazy daisy stitches. Where there isn’t room, just leave off part of the stitch or make it smaller.

Friday, August 31st, 2012

A Die Cutter with the Smarts

silhouette3 A Die Cutter with the SmartsThere are folks who want to pop a die into a machine and cut it and there are folks who want to design the shape then cut. If you’re the latter type of crafter then the Silhouette is for you.

silhouette1 A Die Cutter with the SmartsNot only is this a cool die cut machine but it also comes with software allowing you to create your own die cut designs.

silhouette2 A Die Cutter with the SmartsIf this weren’t enough, the Silhouette manufacturers also have a huge range of papers that you can use in the die cutting machine. There are double sided adhesive sheets, magnet paper, sticker sheets, there’s easy to cut vinyl, printable silver and gold foil as well as a printable tattoo paper.

silhouette4 A Die Cutter with the SmartsThis manufacturer seems to be getting everything right with this product – good quality software, a quality cutting machine and papers that make it easy for you to actually put your machine to use in more ways than simply cutting scrapbook papers.

Wednesday, August 29th, 2012

Cosmo Cricket is all about Cute with Style

cosmocricket1 Cosmo Cricket is all about Cute with StyleCute isn’t going away any time soon if the folks from Cosmo Cricket have anything to say about it. The new lines from Cosmo Cricket include S’More Love and Jolly Days are all about cute.

There’s Santa and Dancer in the new Jolly Days line and plenty of cute forest animals in the S’more Love line. The colors are great – think some retro colors and blue and gold included with the holiday papers and the designs are smart.

cosmocricket2 Cosmo Cricket is all about Cute with StyleWe’ve always liked Cosmo Cricket papers and I have fond memories of its Dutch Girl collection which I still have some papers from in my stash. These new paper designs are equally as good as any the company has ever made.

Monday, August 27th, 2012

Bow Tying Tools Make Bow Tying Simple

bowmaker1 Bow Tying Tools Make Bow Tying SimpleOne trend we saw a lot of at CHA Summer in Chicago was tools for tying bows.

If you’ve ever tried to tie a good quality bow you’ll know that it’s not as easy as it looks and typically your bow goes skew at the very end.

Luckily there are plenty of manufacturers that have got the idea all tied up and they’re selling tools that make it easy for you to create bows. From Little Pink Ladybug comes the Brilliant Bowmaker, Bow Making System and various kits and templates. One that I really liked is its Classic Kit.

bowmaker2 Bow Tying Tools Make Bow Tying SimpleThere are also kits available from manufacturers such as Clover that help you get started tying making great bows every time. Clover also has a range of flower makers that help you make flowers. In short, it’s worth checking out the Clover products next time you’re at your favorite store.clover flowers and bows Bow Tying Tools Make Bow Tying Simple

Friday, August 24th, 2012

Lusting after Washi Tape

queen and company washi tape Lusting after Washi TapeWhile I first encountered Washi tape in Japan quite a few years ago and well before it became popular here there’s still something super cool about Washi tape that just makes you want to go and grab a roll or two.

Queen & Company better known for cut felt embellishments and buttons is now well and truly a player in the Washi tape business. Sourcing their tape from China they covered their booth at CHA Summer with stripes and full rolls of Washi tape.

If you’re in a market for Washi tape then check out their cool range – they have something for every season, holiday and style including some cool Christmas and Halloween ones.

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012

Chalk it Up!

chalk1 Chalk it Up! One of the hot design trends at CHA Summer and one that we’ve already nailed here in our studio is chalkboards. Everywhere across the CHA show floor were things painted with chalkboard paint and covered with all sorts of messages.

chalk2 Chalk it Up! We saw everything painted with chalkboard paint from old recycled doors to repurposed metal trays. The surfaces were used as places to leave notes, signposts for make and takes and booths and just about everything in between.

chalk3 Chalk it Up! If you haven’t delved into this trend, perhaps it’s time to do so. At Michaels recently we discovered chalkboard paint in black and green and Rustoleum has a range of colors in its line of paints. All you needs is a couple of good coats of paint and when dry season the surface by rubbing it with chalk, wipe clean and you’re ready to go.

chalk4 Chalk it Up! We liked love the idea of painting chalk onto mason jars to label things in our studio or kitchen, painting it onto glass and canvas and repurposed tins but really there’s practically nothing that won’t take the paint that you can’t find a cool use for. chalk5 Chalk it Up!

Monday, August 20th, 2012

Yummy Vintage Toy Cars

cars1 Yummy Vintage Toy CarsOne trend I saw at Summer CHA that’s not entirely about crafting but is certainly one that’s all about cute is the use of small model cars to decorate workspaces. In no less than three booths I saw cute vintage toy cars being used as display pieces. If you haven’t already encountered the trend then check out your nearest antique shop for cool vehicles that you just can’t live without. I have a series of metal biplanes on my office wall but these cars were so cute I can’t wait to find one for my desk. cars2 Yummy Vintage Toy Cars