Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Making Quilting Patterns: Make the Size you Like

quilting patterns make your own quilt fan flower gardenQuilting and sewing both take a pattern, and even if you do not want to deal with the complexity of making a garment pattern, a quilting pattern is much easier to design your own. Of course a square is easy enough, like for this Trip Around the World quilt shown, but there are other quilt patterns or templates you can make, too.

Grandmother's Flower Garden is an old quilt pattern made with hexagon shapes, but if you purchase a pattern, you will only get one size.  We have instructions in an older blog about how to make a flower garden quilt block in any size you choose.

Have fun with a new year quilting project, and make your own pattern.

Until next time!


Sunday, December 27, 2009

Learn to Sew: Sewing for the New Year

learn sew sewing for new year
Sewing is a great hobby, but it is also a frugal living activity in the American home.
Learn to sew for the new year, or learn to sew better than you can at the present time. Sewing can include mending and alterations, too.

We sew, quilt, and do crafts projects on the sewing machine, but our machine has paid for itself many times over with the mending and alterations for the family and friends. We hope you can enjoy the pleasures of sewing this year, either in learning to sew, learning to sew better, or making time to sew more.

You don't need a fancy sewing machine to make beautiful crafts or clothing.

We hope you have a great new year and that sewing becomes your favorite pasttime.

See you soon!


Thursday, December 24, 2009

Cross-Stitch Needlework Crafts Like a Pro

cross stitch needlework crafts like proLearn to cross-stitch like a pro. Even if you think you can cross-stitch, there are techniques that will help you make uniform stitches with cross-overs going all the same way, and to help keep you from losing your place in the pattern.

You can learn to cross-stitch so your work looks professional, and just like the ones you see in the crafts magazines. It is not difficult, but takes just a little know-how. The key to cross-stitch is to make all the crosses run in the same direction. If you work from right to left, do half-cross stitches across and the top half cross stitch from left to right. This will always keep your second half on the top running from left to right. The look is professional!

We have been cross-stitching for at least thirty years, and it was a surprise to us that our early cross-stitching work now looks elementary. Before counted cross-stitch, we did stamped cross-stitch projects, and they were often stamped poorly or not lined up with the grain of the fabric. This helped contribute to the "elementary" look, but cross-stitching in rows going one way only probably helps the most to have uniform stitches, and cross-overs all going in the same direction. It makes a difference.

We hope you have time for crafts during the holidays and that you have a wonderful holiday time with love and peace.


Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Make a Wire Ribbon Flower for Packages

Craft a wire ribbon rose or flower for packages or for home decor. Wire ribbon is a great product! This flower takes about 36 inches of wire ribbon and just a few minutes to make. 

Start at the end and pull some of the wire out to ruffle the ribbon and to give you wire to tie the flower as you go. Roll the ruffled ribbon tight for the center and looser as you move to the outer edges. Wrap with the wire as you go so the center does not spring loose. Tie off with wire at the end.

Make a few of these flowers for your packages, or let your kids make them. They are that easy!

Have a great holiday!


Saturday, December 19, 2009

Sew Fabric Gift Bags for Any Occasion

Sew gift bags of fabric this year for any occasion. They are easy to make and are an additional gift to the recipient.

Gift bags can be made of scrap fabrics in any size, but about 8 x 10 inches is perfect. You may use a purchased bias tape or just make a double hem on the inside of the bag to run a cord through, and decorate the bag to suit the occasion or the person.

If your sewing skills are minimal, you can still craft fabric gift bags that can be used for years to come.

You have time to make these for Christmas, but they are also great for Valentine's Day, weddings, birthdays, and other holidays. Bags can be made large enough for a bottle or even a santa pack, but the size we use frequently are the jewelry bag size. You may even have some coin bags you can adapt to gift bags--like the one shown in the picture.

Have a great weekend.


Saturday, December 12, 2009

Sew a Fat Cat Christmas Ornament Pattern Too

Make a fat cat Christmas ornament quick and easy with chintz fabrics or with satin if you prefer.

You will need some fabric scraps, scissors, a needle and thread and maybe a sewing machine, and something for stuffing. Ribbon adds a hanger. 

You still have time to make these for your Christmas tree or for accents on the table or mantel, or for the kids to find in a Christmas stocking. They also look great in a basket with several different ones. There is no face, and both sides look alike except the bow.

We hope your Christmas projects are progressing and that you have time to make crafts and share the joy.


Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Make a Triangle Treasure Box Christmas Ornament or Gift Box

We do a few crafts projects that are not needlework, and one of the fun ones kids like are the triangle treasure boxes. These are Christmas ornaments, or gift boxes, or both, and are easy to make. They can be decorated by children, or with gift wrap paper, or with fabric and lace. The sample box we have here is made of a manila file folder, and it will hold small wrapped gifts like jewelry or candy, and will hang on the tree.

The triangle treasure box can be a re-usable ornament or gift, too, since the ribbon can be tied to be opened.

The basic pattern for the triangle treasure box is a square with four triangles on the sides.  The decoration ideas for a needle crafter are endless, since the manila folders allow sewing, glue, fabric and lace, beads and sequins, or make the box from a printed Christmas box.

We hope you are making lots of fun crafts for the Christmas season! See you with a new project in a few days.


Saturday, December 5, 2009

Christmas Stockings Easy Sewing Ornaments

Christmas stockings are fun and easy to sew, and you can make several different ones with scraps of fabric and few accessories.

We have made several Christmas stockings this Christmas season, and are always pleased to share ideas and instructions.

Fleece is a great fabric to work with, and most kids like the feel of it.

We have also been making cowboy western Christmas stockings from denim fabric. This pattern works well for mini Christmas ornaments to hang on the tree.

Can you stand one more? Here is our frugal living Christmas stocking. If you are like us, you have more fingertip towels than you can use in this lifetime. We use ours for sewing projects, and you won't have any difficulty figuring out how to make a stocking from a fingertip towel. If you have one with fringe or a nice edge, turn that edge to form the turn-down top for the stocking.

We hope you try some of these easy crafts for Christmas. We like to share!


Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Make Fabric Poinsettia Christmas Decorations No Sew Crafts

If you like crafts but do not sew, there are still lots of fun crafting projects you can do for Christmas. We make poinsettia flowers from red and green washcloths, and they require no sewing. This is our original crafts project, so you will probably not see it elsewhere.

You will need two red washcloths and a green one for each poinsettia you want to make. You will also need a large rubber band and something for the center berries. Fold the washcloth so the corners show. Add another red washcloth with alternating corners. Fold the green washcloth in thirds diagonally. Add the green washcloth to the back with two ends showing. Place a rubber band on the back by twisting the washcloths in the center of the back. Place a package decoration berry or similar item in the center.

We hope you are making lots of Christmas crafts!


Sunday, November 29, 2009

Craft a Ribbon Embroidery Rose Christmas Tree

Ribbon embroidery is one of the fun needlework crafts that you can learn and enjoy while decorating your home for Christmas. There are several different kinds of roses to make that can be used more than once if you apply them with straight pins.

This Christmas tree requires a styrofoam cone and wide ribbon as well as some ribbon rose garland and some ribbon roses you have made.

Christmas crafts are such great fun! We hope you will find time to do something special for your home and yourself. If you like needlework projects, ribbon embroidery may become one of your favorites.

See you soon.


Thursday, November 26, 2009

Mini Christmas Ornament No Sew Wreath Easy Crafts

Make a no-sew crafts wreath for your Christmas tree this year. Actually, these are so easy, you can decorate the entire tree with them if you like. These wreath mini Christmas ornaments take two kinds of wire ribbon and something to cut it with.

If your kids are old enough to use scissors or wire cutters, you can get some help with these. If they are not old enough for cutters, they can make bows after you cut the ribbon to size. Make Christmas decorating a family activity this year by letting your little ones help make these Christmas wreath mini ornaments.

See you soon! Hope you get lots of these made during the holidays.


Monday, November 23, 2009

Christmas Angel from a Crocheted Doily Recycle Crafts

Crocheted doilies are great for crafts projects, and we find recycle uses for all we get. A Christmas angel can be made from a circle or square in doily crochet. This Christmas angel can be a tree topper angel or can sit on your table or mantel for a Christmas decoration. This doily does not require a sewing machine.

To make this angel for your Christmas tree or as a decoration, you will need a doily and something round to make her head. If you want her to have a halo, a little scrap of lace will work. A shoulder pad will work for wings, and you can add lace or not, your choice. You will also need a needle and thread to do a little hand-sewing.

Use your creative talents to make your Christmas angel unique. The skirt can be spread out to let the angel sit for a decoration, or you may add a styrofoam cone under the skirt and cut to size to make sure she is as tall as you need. We often do Christmas crafts and share instructions. These are our own ideas and patterns, and we like to share for your personal use.

See you again soon with more Christmas crafts ideas and fun!


Thursday, November 19, 2009

Christmas Ornament Angel Pattern Kids Can Make

We have made a Christmas angel pattern you might like to use as an angel ornament or a Christmas decoration, and we like to share, so you may use the pattern for any non-commercial purpose. It is similar to the Christmas tree we did just below this, and can be used on cardboard for a stand-up decoration or on the tree. If you make three of these single units, they can be glued together to make a three-sided or three-dimensional ornament.

We hope you are getting time to work on some Christmas crafts, and that maybe with Thanksgiving holidays, you will have even more time. Your family may pitch in and help, if you let them. Well, if you insist.

See you soon!


Sunday, November 15, 2009

Make a Felt Christmas Tree Ornament in Openwork

Felt and fleece are fun fabrics to use for Christmas ornaments because they do not fray, and they hold their shape. We often make felt ornaments like snowflakes as they are easy and are a great crafts project to involve the kids. Felt and fleece are still economical, too.

This design is our own, and you can make it large and use it for a wall hanging, or make it small and use it on the tree. You are welcome to use it for any non-commercial purpose, since we like to share. A large piece can be backed with cardboard, and the kids can make small felt ornaments from scraps to put on the cardboard-backed felt tree.

Once you have the cut-out Christmas tree completed, you can put it on felt backing and then cardboard. That is what we have done in the picture here.

See you in a couple of days!


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Make Yoyo Lantern Christmas Ornaments

Christmas crafts are great fun, and we have been making Christmas ornaments with yoyos from our quilting crafts. These are our own inventions, and we are pleased to share. The most recent one is a fabric lantern ornament that you might like to make.

You may already have some yoyos made from a quilt project or from a previous crafts project.

To make a lantern Christmas ornament like the one shown, place two yo-yos with the flat sides together and stitch only through the two single layers of fabric. Tack the two yoyos together. Then, add a loop of your choice at the top by tacking it in place. We made a ribbon rose and added it to the center on one side only, but you may want to add several ribbon roses to make a fancy Christmas ornament. We usually use light colored fabrics because they show well on the Christmas tree, but metallic fabrics and reds show up, too. You may also put a cotton ball in the top and bottom yoyos to puff them up.

We hope you are in the Christmas spirit and enjoying working on some crafts projects. We are working on new ones every day, and will be bringing more later this week.

Have fun with needlework crafts!


Saturday, November 7, 2009

Make a Stable or Barn Crafts for a Christmas Nativity Scene

There are many characters available for Christmas nativity scenes, but the barn or stable seems to be missing. Even finding one at a reasonable price is difficult, especially including shipping.

You can make your own Christmas nativity scene stable or barn with very little effort. You don't even have to be good at crafts. Most of our crafts are needlework and fabric crafts, and this is an invention we needed for use with some cross-stitch characters--Joseph, Mary, shepherds, baby Jesus and sheep and cows.

This barn or stable takes only a cardboard box and tape, but you may want to use sphagnum moss or cover the box with fabric. The size of the nativity scene you have will determine the size of the box you need to use.

 You are recycling the box and reusing your old nativity scene characters. The world thanks you!


Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Make Heart Christmas Garland Fabric Scrap Crafts

If you like to use the scraps from your needlework projects, heart Christmas garland is easy and fun. You can make it tiny for a little tree, or large for a full-size Christmas tree. You might want to use Christmas fabrics or Christmas colors, or you may prefer a country Christmas look.

Handmade crafts are more popular than ever this year, and this one is frugal, since the fabric is scraps from other projects.

This Christmas garland does not require a sewing machine, either. It can be hand-sewn, and the hearts are stitched from the outside. No turning the fabric.

If you want smaller hearts, just cut inside the shape, and cut outside for larger hearts. Once you have some puffed hearts made (they are stuffed with cotton balls), you can sew them at the widest point just to get an idea of the look.

We will be sharing patterns and instructions for our unique designs for Christmas needlework crafts from now until Christmas. We hope you find something you like!

Until next time.


Saturday, October 31, 2009

Make Ribbon Embroidery Roses Two More Ways

There are several ways to make ribbon embroidery roses, and we have made a twisted rose in a previous blog.

There are also more ribbon embroidery roses that we make with ribbon or embroidery thread. One of these is the accordion folded rose, and it is the first of the ribbon embroidery roses that really caught my attention. It is made with two 9 inch lengths of ribbon. Place the ribbons at right angles, and accordion fold the entire ribbon. Then pull one end slowly, and it makes a rose. It really works! This is the rose shown on the left above. Once you have the rose or roses made for your project, use a chenille or large needle and thread the open end. Punch it through your fabric and tack the roses into place. These flowers are really worth learning, since they are useful for so many different crafts.

The other rose we like is the spiderweb ribbon embroidery rose. It can be made with either ribbon or embroidery thread. This is the one on the right above. This ribbon embroidery flower starts with five spokes from a center. Then weave the ribbon in and out of the five spokes. Weave loosely for silk ribbon and yours will look just like mine.

Needlework crafts are our favorites, and we like to share these fun and easy tips and projects. You still have time to make some crafts for Christmas!

Until next time.


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Make a Ribbon Embroidery Twisted Rose Crafts Flower

Ribbon embroidery roses are great fun, and there are several different kinds. I like the look of the twisted rose, and it works well on crafts items, not just ribbon embroidery. We use ribbon embroidery flowers for many of our crafts projects, and they are easy to make and have a unique look.

If you want to make a ribbon embroidery twisted rose, it takes two ribbons in about a 9 inch length, or 18 inches total. This will work for just about any ribbon that is less than an inch wide. We have used grosgrain with stripes here so you can see the crafting process.

Place the ribbons together with right side facing out.

Twist the ribbons together by holding both ends, until all areas are twisted.

Bring your hands together and the ribbon will twist around itself.

Begin rolling the ribbons from the far end, and you will make a twisted rose.

Once you do a few of these, you will love the simplicity of making the ribbon embroidery twisted rose.

See you next time with new needlework crafts. Thanks for stopping by.


Friday, October 23, 2009

Make YoYo Christmas Ornaments Crafts

Yo-yo circles are great for so many uses, and we have been making some fun Christmas ornaments and thought we would share this one with you.

This Christmas ornament takes three yoyo circles, and we do not use the glue gun at our house. We sew these three yo-yos at the bottom and at the top only, and add a ribbon for the hanger.

We hope you have lots of fun with these.


Sunday, October 18, 2009

Rickrack Flowers for Needlework Crafts and Ribbon Embroidery

Ribbon embroidery is a fascinating needlework crafts project, and there are unusual stitches and ways to make flowers. Most of the flowers are made with ribbon, but I have made some rickrack flowers recently that work well with the ribbon flowers.

You probably have some rickrack around the house from years ago. Typical of many of our needlework crafts, we use what we have available for frugal living crafting.

Here is a rickrack chrysanthemum made with running stitch on every other point of the rickrack. Once the hand stitching is done, just pull the thread to gather the flower.

Make a rickrack chrysanthemum with running stitch on every point.  Fun to learn and easy to make. Use these rickrack flowers on your small gifts, or make designs on fabric with several flowers. We will have instructions for other ribbon embroidery flowers within the next couple of weeks.

Have a great week!


Thursday, October 15, 2009

Embroidery on Rayon Velvet

If you love the feel of fabrics and fabric crafts, rayon velvet is right up there at the lap of luxury. It has the most wonderful feel, and is not stiff like velveteen.

Many people would not expect that embroidery would work on rayon velvet, but I have seen and made a few extraordinary pieces. Rayon velvet crafts work best for large items like tablecloths or lap robes.

It takes a large needle and twine or candlewicking thread to make the stitches show up well, but it works quickly and is a unique kind of needlework crafts. You can make a large design really stand out, and it works with unusual stitches, too. Stitches that are mostly top surface work best.


Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Make a Cat a Bed Warmer

Every cat needs a bed warmer for cold weather if it is an outdoor cat. Your cat has probably already made a cozy spot to stay out of the wind and snow, but when the weather gets about zero, even that is not enough.

Your cat can have a bed warmer just like a heating pad with very little effort on your part. It takes a sock and some rice, and maybe a couple of seams on your sewing machine.

Over time, the rice tends to break up and can come through a loose weave, so choose a sock with a tight weave or make a bag to fit inside the sock. Your cat can be a fat cat with a bed warmer or heater. Just put the rice in the sock and sew it closed. We use about a cup of uncooked rice. When you are ready to warm the bed warmer, put it in the microwave for 30 seconds or so. Wrap it in a towel and put it in the cat's bed, especially if it stays outside in the winter.

Your cat will thank you for your cleverness and crafting ability.

Have a great week!


Friday, October 9, 2009

Sew a Pillow from a Man's Shirt

Make a pillow from a man's shirt--repurpose a shirt that is too small or one Hubby does not like. Recycle and re-use to make great crafts projects.

The point here is to make a fun and easy crafts pillow project without having to make buttonholes or sew on buttons. You will be using both the front and back of the shirt--and one side will be the front of the pillow, and the other will be the back.

See how much fabric you have to work with. Standard pillow sizes are 12 x 12, 14 x 14 and 16 x 16 inches. Lay the shirt out flat and measure. If the shirt is large, you may be able to get the largest size--which would be about 18 x 18 cut squares, since you need to add an inch all the way around for the seams.

Once you have the pillow squares cut, you may want to decorate either side you choose to have for the front, before sewing around the edges. When ready, put front sides together and sew around the squares with about 5/8 inch seam allowance.

These pillows are so neat, because you can sew all the way around the outside and then just unbutton the buttons and turn the pillow.

Stuff with a pillow form or with a product of your choice. Sometimes I make a pillow form from two muslin squares, and a little smaller than the pillow. Sew around the muslin squares with about 1/2 inch seam, and leave an opening to turn. Turn the muslin pillow form and stuff it with old pantyhose or shredded foam, and whip the opening closed.

 This crafts sewing project won't take long, won't cost much, and will add to your home decor. Your friends may want one, too.

Have fun with needlework crafts!


Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Sew Mini Christmas Stocking Ornaments Crafts Fun

Christmas stockings are always fun, but most of us think of one large stocking for each person in the family. A Christmas tree with mini stocking ornaments is really a pretty decoration for your home, and you can make each of the stockings different.

We always have some denim mini stockings here, and some cowboy boots, since we live in Texas.

You can sew mini stockings by hand or with the sewing machine, since there is so little sewing. We recommend making mini stockings in one of two sizes--either three-inch size for a little Christmas tree or six-inch size for a large tree.

Here are some outlines you might use. Enlarge one to the size you want and add about 1/4 inch to sew all around. Cut two of the shape from fleece or felt, since these fabrics do not fray and are easiest to sew. Sew around the edge by hand or by machine, and you can sew right sides together and turn or wrong sides together and don't turn--just leave the rough edge. You may want to put a top around the mini stocking ornament, too. We have some undecorated examples in an article that gives more detail.

Ask if you have questions. We are delighted to share.


Monday, October 5, 2009

Quilt with Fussy Cuts Quilting Crafts

Do you like to do quilting with specialized cut-out pictures or patterns? We often do fussy cuts in quilting, particularly on pillows or just a center design for a quilt block.

Fussy cuts also are used for apron pockets, and other places you want to have a perfect match.

If you like a little more challenging work in quilting or crafts, you might want to try to do some fussy cuts.

You can figure out how to do this by trial and error, but don't forget to allow for the edge to turn under. We always leave 1/4 inch. We like to work from the center for the fussy cut, and in this one, we centered the nose of the large snowman. You can see how to measure and how to apply the shape to a flower garden quilt block. This is a fun needlework crafting project that lets you be creative and make something unique. 

Of course if you have questions, just ask. This should be fun!


Saturday, October 3, 2009

Fun with Needlework Crafts

Needlework crafts have been a favorite pasttime for children and adults, and some crafters do not get started early like I did. It is never too late to learn needlework if you have an interest, and there are so many crafts to keep busy with, it is sometimes difficult to choose.

Maybe you don't want to choose--and you can have several. Quilting has been one of my favorite needlework mainstays, but cross-stitch, sewing, crochet, macrame, ribbon embroidery and any creative off-shoots of these are also great fun. I learned knitting at a very young age, but it is not one of my favorites.

You can be a needlework crafter without much expense, particularly if you try small projects first and are resourceful in finding supplies online or at thrift stores.

There is no better time than now to resume needlework you already like or to start a new project. Fall is here and there will be more time spent indoors, and Christmas crafts are ideal to work on now.

See you in a day or so! Hope you get out the needlework crafts now.


Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Make an Original Quilt Pattern Quilting Crafts

Ready made quilting patterns are fun, but you may want to make your own quilting or crafts design at some time, but just cannot concentrate to figure out how. We usually make our own quilt designs, sometimes because we want a different size, and sometimes because we just like to create. We can share some ideas with you here.

Start with some squares in colors you want to work with. These are just some recent fabrics I washed, so they will give you an idea of what you need. We also use freezer paper and muslin. Freezer paper makes the first design, and muslin gives a backing to the sample square. We have folded the fabric pieces in the picture on the upper left so you can see the potential for even a simple quilt block. You can make a unique quilt pattern,  or this specific design. 

Another way to make your own design is with freezer paper and a ruler, pencil and compass. Decide the size block you want to make and mark the square for the completed size. After you make the design, cut all the pieces and add 1/4 inch all around to make a template for each pattern piece. Stitch a sample block before you decide to cut more. If you like the look, you did it yourself!

See you between stitches!


Saturday, September 26, 2009

Make Cajun Christmas Ornaments Felt Crafts

Cajun Christmas ornaments are a little difficult to find, but making your own is easy. You may want to use felt or fleece, or wood and a scroll saw.

Choose a theme for your Christmas ornaments. The Cajuns are known for alligators and the chicken chase, Mardi Gras and food. You can choose a theme for your tree, and colors you want to decorate with. You may choose to do all animals, or all farm animals. Make it fun, and conversational.

We usually draw shapes by hand, but if you don't feel confident with drawing your shapes, use a cookie cutter to draw around, or look for shapes on the internet. Children's coloring books also have great outline shapes for felt Christmas ornaments.

I usually just draw one side on the felt, fold it in half, and cut both sides at the same time. This corrects any distortion from the free-hand drawings.

Get a jump on Christmas this year, and craft your ornaments from safe and practical felt or fleece, or wood if you prefer.

Have a great time crafting your felt Christmas ornaments this year.
Always free fun, and free help.


Thursday, September 24, 2009

Create a Christmas Tree Skirt

Creating a Christmas tree skirt is almost a no-sew project the way we do it, but there is some crafting to it. These skirts are made of whatever you have available or whatever you can find, so they are perfect for frugal living or low budget fun.

Measure to determine the size Christmas tree skirt you will need, and then look around your house for an item that you can use. Look for a circular vintage crinoline or can-can, or maybe an old poodle skirt. Any circular skirt will do. A round tablecloth will also work fine. Use your imagination, and if you have to, you can make a trip to the thrift store for a circular item.

Cut a slash down one side and hem each raw edge. A tablecloth requires a hole in the center where the skirt already has the hole at the waist. Fold the tablecloth in half and in half again. You will need to cut a quarter circle, but not large. Most of the Christmas tree holders do not need more than a 5 inch diameter hole. That is 2 1/2 inches cut from the folded tablecloth.  Press and hem around the circle or add a bias binding tape and leave "ties" like an apron.

We will be sharing more Christmas crafts on this blog in the next few weeks. We have been working on some Cajun Christmas ornaments and crafts this week. Happy crafting!


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Make a Quilt in a Hurry Quilting Crafts

Quilting crafts should not have to be rushed, but sometimes we need a gift and a quilt is expected. You know how this works if you are a quilter--new baby, person just back from the hospital, friend of a friend--and they do not realize that these quilts take time. Lots of time.

Getting started and thinking through the project is half the work. Here are some ideas that may help the next time you need to make a quilt in a hurry.

Consider using a large scarf or picture in the center. This may save you hours of stitching. 

Find quilt blocks that are already made. Many are available on the Internet, sometimes vintage and beautiful blocks.

Tie the quilt if you do not have time to quilt it, or just quilt a line around each block to hold it in place.

This may give you just the inspiration you need to get a quilting project started that you can finish in time for the occasion you need it for. I usually have a quilt in progress, but often have to stop on that one to do a "quickie" for a friend. Bet you do, too.

See you between stitches,


Sunday, September 20, 2009

Learn to Crochet for Visual Learners

If you would like to crochet, but are intimidated by those coded instructions from the usual directions for crochet, you might want to try magic crochet. Magic Crochet magazines were a subscription for years, but have been discontinued, I believe. The idea behind the magic crochet instructions is to provide a line drawing with the information on the row you are working.

Magic Crochet is a great magazine, and the idea is to help visual learners, or people who just don't want to follow those little coded instructions.

We sell Magic Crochet back issues on a marketplace website if you would like to start crocheting or pick up where you left off. Magic Crochet back issues are available here. The Magic Crochet magazine has full-page line drawings to follow, and instructions in the back to understand how the drawings can guide you in crocheting. Most of their projects are thread crochet, like doilies and tablecloths, bedspreads and fine crochet work, so the picture instructions are really helpful. See what the instructions look like at the top of this page.

Crochet has been one of my favorite crafts for many years, and I have made doilies and baskets, afghans and pillows. Even doll clothes are fun to crochet!

See you soon!


Friday, September 18, 2009

Quilting Crafts Make a Grandmother's Flower Garden Quilt Pattern

Grandmother's Flower Garden is a hexagonal pattern quilt and is an old favorite. Sometimes I want to use this pattern in a different size than the size quilting pattern I have available, so it has been really convenient to know how to make my own pattern without doing any serious calculations. Use a 2 1/2 inch, 3 1/2 inch or 4 1/2 inch square to make a 2 inch, 3 inch or 4 inch hexagonal shape. Cut the square and fold it accordion style in thirds. Fold in half from the adjoining side to create a perpendicular line. Your paper square will have six sections or folds. Draw the quarter inch seam all around the square. With the three-part division at the top, draw a line from the line 1/3 across to the center inside line where the stitching will be. Do the same from the center line to the 1/3 fold at the bottom. You will create a > and a < on each side to make the hexagon.

The picture to the right is a Grandmother's Flower Garden quilt with what I call the garden path variation. I used vintage squares for the flowers, and since there were not enough of them, I added a muslin row and the brown rows between the flowers to make the quilt large enough. This is an example of one of the uses for a pattern of a different size--if you have blocks already started and need to add more.

See you between stitches.


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Make a Fan Quilt Pattern Quilting Crafts

You already know we like needlework and sewing crafts. Quilting is one of my favorite pastimes, and I never have enough time to share all the things I have learned over the years.

Grandmother's Fan quilt is one of the old quilting patterns that has lots of versatility. I saw this pattern for years as a child--actually worked on the blocks for a couple of them, and have inherited the blocks from 1956.

You can make a fan quilt pattern in the size and with the number of folds or spokes of the fan that you want. We used seven spokes in the fan, but that is really more sewing and does not look any better than six spokes. In recent years, I have made a pattern or two in different sizes with a different number of folds or spokes. If your fan block is a quarter of a circle, that is 90 degrees, so six spokes would be 15 degrees each and five spokes would be 18 degrees. You can do this with very basic math.

One of these days, we can look at the versatility of the fan quilt pattern and novel ways to use it.

Until next time!


Monday, September 14, 2009

Make a Washcloth Flower Basket No Sew Crafts

A washcloth flower basket is fun for the bathroom or fun to give away. It takes about a dozen washcloths in colors to match the bathroom, and requires no sewing. This is so easy, it should be listed in kids crafts somewhere, but I have never seen it anywhere but in my own bathroom. I made these several years ago, and have changed them a couple of times.

After you make a couple of these, you will wonder why you didn't do this years ago.

If you don't have any washcloths to spare, make some from old towels.  Just roll the washcloths to shape the flower of your choice. Experiment for different flowers. Wrap in a green washcloth and tie with a rubber band on the "stem" side.

Make some of these for Christmas gifts--inexpensive and easy crafts and you made it yourself!

Have fun with this crafts project. See you in a day or two!


Saturday, September 12, 2009

Thread a Needle Correctly. Yes, Read This and Learn Something

Have you ever tried to sew something by hand and the thread just keeps twisting?

I have seen great seamstresses have difficulty with this, and some suggest beeswax and all kinds of novel treatments to the thread.

What you really need to know is how to put the thread in the needle. Yes, you probably already know how to thread the needle, but do you know that every thread has a twist that only runs one way?

We have an article about this subject to help if you have twisting thread when you sew. You already know how? Do not cut the thread off the spool until you thread the needle. Then cut the thread and knot the end you just cut.  It can make a difference in your hand sewing work.

Hope this is helpful to some of you!

Until next time!


Thursday, September 10, 2009

Make YoYo Flowers for Quilting Fun

Yo-yo flowers are fun to make and can be done by hand sewing. Actually, they look better when hand-sewn and with larger stitches.

See how these individual pieces spiral around? That is because they are stitched with large enough stitches that they look like they are pleated.

The great thing about these flowers is that you can do whatever you want with them. They are great on pillows or on sweat shirts and sweat shirt jackets, too. They also are used for quilting.

Yoyos are great fun and you can make them in any size you want. They start with a circle, sew around it with a single turned hem about 1/4 inch, pull it almost closed, and tack.

Once you have a few yo-yos made, tack them together from the backside for a large flower. Each flower takes seven single yoyos. Click on the link to see the step-by-step instructions.

Have fun!


Monday, September 7, 2009

Sew the Facings Down on a Blouse or Shirt

Quick and easy use for your sewing machine: If you still iron a few of your shirts and blouses, and are constantly working with the front facings to keep them pressed, why not just sew the facings in place? Even if you don't iron your shirts and blouses, some of them have facings that wrinkle and keep creasing in the dryer.

For the last several years, I have been sewing the facings down to keep from having to iron them. Pin the facing to the front and press. Sew down the front on each side to keep the facing in place.
Do this the next time you have the sewing machine out to work on a crafts project or new quilting adventure. You will be glad you did.


Saturday, September 5, 2009

Needlework Crafts: Recycle with Quick Sewing Projects

Once you learn to sew, it seems that the crafts possibilities are endless. Many sewing projects become essential to keeping up a household. That includes alterations, particularly to children's clothing, and mending anything from socks to curtains.

Another great use for the sewing machine is in recycling. If you have towels that are frayed along the edges and no longer look good, they are ideal for recycling or as they say, repurposing. Each worn towel can make several washcloths, and at the price of washcloths, this is worth the effort. You can find make washcloths from old towels by using a purchased washcloth for a sample size. Cut the washcloths from the part of the towel that is not badly worn.

As a fun crafts project, you may want to make something from vintage pillowcases. You can make doll clothes, a purse, or a blouse embellishment with a little imagination. You can also think up your own ideas, like an apron for the holidays. The embroidery work is already done on the pillow cases, so you have a head start!

Make it fun and productive, too!