Friday, December 24, 2010

Make a Fast Christmas Angel with Felt

Paper Pattern for Felt Angel Crafts
Time for fun. Take a break from your Christmas holiday work and make something with the kids or something for yourself. Here is the paper pattern I used to make some felt angels, and I like to share, so you can use it for personal fun or make your own style of openwork scherenschnitte or paper cutting.
I put three of these together to make them stand up and make them three-dimensional.
Cut from Gold Felt
Have a safe and blessed holiday season!


Sunday, December 5, 2010

It's Nearly Christmas and We Need to be Making Crafts

Christmas Crafts are for Everyone      
Are You Working on Crafts Projects for Christmas?

Christmas season is the time for crafts, and we need to be working. We have about 1,000 uncut and unused crafts patterns recently listed for sale, so others can do crafts, but we have done few artsy fun projects this fall. I hope you have done better.  

What are you working on? I have some quilting projects going on, but need to set them aside for Christmas. One project we do almost every year is to make a barn or lean-to for a nativity scene. For some reason, everyone has Joseph, Mary and the Christ Child with no stable. You can find a picture of the lean-to in an older blog. We love to share these fun projects!

I've missed you guys!  Been so busy writing that I just cannot get around like I used to. Maybe I'm getting older, too.


Saturday, August 14, 2010

Ribbon Embroidery Flowers are Hot Weather Crafts

 Ribbon Embroidery Flowers are Crafts for Hot Weather

Ribbon embroidery is one of my favorite crafts projects--almost as much a favorite as yoyos. It is 104 in Texas this week, and ribbon embroidery is the coolest craft project I know. Quilting is a little hot right now. Anything on the lap is too much, but ribbon embroidery is just right.

Irises in Ribbon Embroidery

Pleated Flower
If you like to learn ribbon embroidery flowers, there are lots of them to learn. I like to make irises in ribbon embroidery, but it is almost time for poinsettias, too. There are different kinds of ribbon roses, but I like to make the accordion ribbon rose.  I make violets and similar flowers with five petals, and a pleated flower in ribbon embroidery, too.

You can see other flowers in ribbon embroidery on previous blogs and many of these can be used for thread embroidery if you want. Ribbon embroidery is a crafts project you can do independent of the fabric for flowers like the pleated one or the accordion ribbon rose. Make a bunch and have them ready to make bouquets on velvet or on a tam, or make a wall hanging with flowers of ribbon embroidery. You may also want to complete a sewing project with ribbon embroidery flowers. They are pretty on the collar of a shirt or blouse, and even around the waist of an empire-style bath robe.

Once you make the flowers, you can add leaves in ribbon embroidery. Enjoy this summer crafts project, and when fall comes, we can quilt again!

See you next time!


Saturday, July 17, 2010

Yoyos Make Christmas Ornaments for Fun Fabric Crafts - Angel

 YoYo Crafts Projects You Can Make -- Christmas Ornaments

Christmas is here for crafters and most of us are already working on a few crafts projects that will be Christmas gifts or decorations. Yoyos are one of my favorite decorative quilting and sewing techniques. Last year we made Christmas tree shaped ornaments from yoyos, and have recently made an angel. We have also made yoyo lantern Christmas ornaments and three-dimensional balls.

Now, back to the yoyo angel. We have not shared this one before, partly because we used materials we had on hand and the face looks a little goofy. You can do better, so here are the basic instructions.

We used six yoyos in sizes starting with 4 1/2 inches and a wooden doll face, some yellow yarn and a piece of pearl string. We added wings of tulle as an afterthought. Make the six yoyos in graduated sizes down from 4 1/2 inch circles. Maybe 4 1/4, 4, 3 3/4, 3 1/2 and 3 1/4 inches. They will be much smaller when completed with the basic pattern instructions in the link above.

The wooden head is a bead in 5/8 inch size and the face was already drawn on when we bought it. Maybe I was making clown ornaments at the time--I don't recall.  A cotton ball will work for hair, or cut embroidery thread, and the halo can be any gold thread or ribbon you choose. Fortunately, yours doesn't have to look like mine; it's the idea that counts.

String the yo-yos together starting at the base. I like to use quilting thread since it is strong. Tie a knot to start, and just punch through the center of the yoyos, one at a time. When you get them all in place, add the angel's head you have made by stringing it on the thread, since it is a bead. Push the needle through the bead and over the side, then back down at the neck and through all the layers and tack at the bottom. She can hang from the Christmas tree with the halo, or add a ribbon to the back where the wings are.

Your Christmas angel should look better than this one.
Use Net for Wings on your Angel
Maybe this is an Angel Clown?

Have fun and use your own ideas.  See you soon!


Sunday, June 27, 2010

Make Watercolor Quilting Fun with Fuse

Watercolor Quilting for your Summer Fun.

What are you doing with your summer? I've been working on a little watercolor quilt and thought I would share with you what I've learned.

Watercolor Quilt From Light to Dark

 Make Watercolor Quilts with Fusible Non-Woven Background Fabric

Watercolor quilts are usually made with light squares fading to dark ones to create a background for an applique design or just to enjoy the fade design. They are often made with 2-inch squares, and anything much larger does not have the same effect. You can make watercolor quilting much easier by using a fusible non-woven layout grid. You can buy this, or you can make it yourself. Here's what it looks like:
Make a Grid for your Watercolor Quilt

Once you have this grid made in 2 inch squares on fusible non-woven fabric, lay the 2-inch squares in place and press with the iron according to the instructions for the fusible web fabric. Now that all the squares are attached to the fuse fabric, you can flip it over and sew 1/4 inch seams horizontally and vertically to make 1 3/4 inch squares with perfect intersecting seams.

Impress yourself! Have some fun with something you didn't know you can do. Make something out of nothing--2-inch scraps are throwaways to most seamstresses and many quilters. You can make a pillow in no time.

Do you sew but haven't tried quilting? It's easy for you to make the transition.

Use this method for charm quilts, too, where every square is a different fabric. Just fuse the squares from the front, turn to the back and stitch 1/4 inch seams horizontally and vertically, and the piece is completed.

See you soon with more needlework crafts, sewing and stitching fun.


Sunday, June 20, 2010

Sewing and Crafts with RickRack from Grandma

Make Flowers with Rickrack

 Rick Rack Makes Flowers and Other Crafts Embellishments

Rick rack has been around since I was young, and that was a long time ago. In the 50s it was used for decoration on aprons and dresses as well as for crafts. Now that rickrack is back for crafts and crafting, you probably still have some in grandma's sewing box. No need to waste. It is still just as good as it was the day grandma used it on your sun bonnet, if it hasn't faded from sunlight. No wonder the sewing box is made of wood or a good light-proof product--it protects these fun crafts items for the next generation.

Braid Rickrack for Crafts

Rickrack braid is a double-duty product that works for hand-made purses and embellishments for tote bags, little girl's jeans and any number of crafts projects. It is easy to make and will use up the rickrack. The process is so easy, the kids can help. Braiding rickrack can be done with two or three strands of rick-rack, and the finished length will be only slightly shorter than the starting length.

Make Rickrack Flowers in 3-D

Rickrack makes great flowers for crafts or ribbon embroidery, and you can also make flowers to match the rickrack braid. Once the flowers are made, the rickrack no longer looks like zigzags. This project takes some hand-sewing--just in and out running stitch--and the kids may be able to help with this, too. Lots of home-school teachers look for children's crafts, and hand sewing is ideal for the 6-to-12 age group.

Have some fun with rick rack crafts!  See you soon with more needlework crafts, sewing and stitching fun.


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Sewing for Fun Saves Money and has Emotional Rewards

Sew or Mend, Make Alterations or Crafts
Save Money and Enjoy Sewing

Sewing skills can last a lifetime, and you can sew with any level of ability and knowledge and still make it worthwhile. If you have a sewing machine that you haven't used for years, get it out and dust it off. With the internet at your fingertips and the sewing machine at your command, you can learn to sew with little effort.

Sewing Saves Money

Do your own repairs and alterations and save money and save the environment. Every item you repair is one you do not have to buy new and one that does not go to the landfill. Much sewing is as simple as stitching a torn seam or hemming a pair of jeans.

A sewing machine can save you money if you throw items away that need a minor repair or alteration, or if you want to make curtains or bedding for the home. My sewing machine cost $200 in 1975, and has been used for 35 years to make children's clothes, home decor and thousands of repairs.

Sewing is Fun

There is an emotional reward of accomplishment in sewing, whether it is for repairs or crafts, quilting or making a new dress or robe. If you have never had time to sew, take the time now and use it as a therapy. It is much cheaper than the price of a therapist and you can stay at home to do it.

Learn to Sew

Dust off the old sewing machine and fix it if it doesn't work. There is very little that can go wrong with a sewing machine that you cannot repair yourself. Almost anything you need to know about sewing is available online now.

Whether you already know how to sew or have always wanted to learn, make sewing fun, save money with repairs to clothing and home decor, and find therapy in the emotional rewards.

See you soon with more needlework crafts, sewing and stitching fun.


Saturday, June 5, 2010

Make a Doll Quilt or a Quilted Pillow for Summer Crafts Project

Well, summer has reached Texas and we are into 100-degree weather. I like to sew but it is too hot to work with a full-size quilt, so it is time to make miniatures or a quilted pillow. A doll quilt is the perfect size at about 18 by 20 inches, and it will use your tiniest scraps. A pillow is about the same size and both of these projects can be take-along if you want. Doll quilt blocks are small copies of a full-size quilt block and should be about three inches square. Make a pattern and a sample block before cutting all the pieces. A doll quilt can be made by hand or with the sewing machine with completion planned for the end of the summer when heavy fabrics are more appealing. Sewing doesn't have to stop with weather changes; just adapt your sewing to the weather.

See you soon with more stitching and needlework crafts.


Friday, May 28, 2010

Decorate the Kitchen with Chickens--Sew a Chicken Potholder

We were in Arkansas this past week visiting my daughter who has chickens, and I had forgotten how funny chickens are to watch.  A duck came around the hens, and the rooster was about half a block away.  Wait, farm land isn't measured in blocks--but you get the idea.  The rooster high-tailed it to scare the duck away from the hens.  I was surprised at how protective he was.

Back to chicken potholders and sewing. We have some chickens in the kitchen at our house--in the form of potholders.  They aren't as fun to watch as the live ones, but they are fun to make and a serve a great purpose if you cook much. These potholders can be made of any fabric that isn't very flammable and that doesn't melt in a little heat.  We use felt for the comb, and sometimes use a pre-quilted fabric to make these fast.


Here's one I have been using--since the eye is in the wrong place.  These hotpads are made of three basic pieces--the sides, the bottom, and the comb. 



This is fun crafts sewing and it won't take long to make a couple for your kitchen.  If you are creative, you can make a rooster, too. We named the funny protective rooster Roo, or maybe that was Rue.

See you soon with more crafts and stitching fun.


Friday, May 21, 2010

Valances for Mobile Home Window Treatments

mobileValances can work for window treatments with blinds, and we made some for a mobile home we were preparing for sale. I promised photos a couple of blogs back, and finally got one for you to see.

There are some real advantages to making valances instead of curtains or drapes, since they take much less fabric and allow more outside lighting into the room. Be sure to prepare the fabric so the valances or curtains will hang nicely, as this is a key to getting the look right. 

The chair rail or wainscoting is fabric, too, covering a strip of Masonite. We used Aleene's fabric glue on the backside only to attach the fabric to the board, then attached the chair rail to the wall with a mastic product.

With no furniture in place, this looks bare, but fabric and crafts in a mobile home give it some personality and a style Once the furniture is in place, this will pull together. Curtains and valances are easy to make, and even purchased curtains and drapes usually have to be re-sized for a mobile home, since windows never seem to be a standard size.

Here's how the fabric looks with the light colors on the other side.

We hope this is inspiration for your home decorating and sewing projects.  See you soon with more needlework crafts sewing and stitching fun.


Saturday, May 15, 2010

Recycle Crafts: Save Money and Save the Earth

Saturday morning always reminds me of garage sales, and yes, I love them.  There are more unused crafts projects, fabrics, patterns, and crafts supplies than most of us can use in a lifetime. Crafts are also available at thrift stores and resale shops, flea markets and collectibles malls.  There are also some supplies available at craft fairs and shows.

Look for crafting material wherever you are, and wherever you go, and become a hoarder.  Well, maybe not a hoarder like they show on the program, but collect some crafts supplies for your projects.  With the cost of good thread for sewing projects, I have decided to watch for thread at estate sales, and it is surprising how much thread is available by the bag.  I now have all the colors of the rainbow, and most of the ones in between, even ones that are invisible to the old lady eyes.

Crafts can be expensive projects if all your purchases come from the local crafts store.  Get into frugal living and recycle by buying crafting materials on the secondary market.  You don't need to do it to the extent I do, but do it on a small scale, save the crafting materials for your next projects.  Here are some tips.

Think sewing, crafting, stitching fun anywhere you are.  If the items are new and look like they would make crafts, buy them for later.  This is how I got about 40 washcloths and made roses in baskets. You probably saw the flower basket instructions way back in this blog, and we did poinsettia flower basket instructions, too.

Baskets are everywhere, too.  I buy some baskets with the tags still on--never used--and they are great for storage of crafts until you need one for a project.

If you need special lace or fabric, look in the used clothing.  There are new or nearly-new clothes with expensive lace and fabrics just perfect for trim.

Buy all accessories like tape, straight pins, safety pins for quilting, rulers, and backing fabric.  These products are in abundance at flea markets and other secondary market selling spots. Use purchases from the secondary markets and save money as well as the environment.

See you soon!


Saturday, May 8, 2010

Sewing for Home Decorating; Curtains and Valances can be Fun

We're just about done working on the mobile home, and the latest sewing project has been some valances for the bedroom that has blinds.Valances can be in many designs, but the ones that are just straight across are easy to make.  They need to be twelve to fourteen inches in length, and the measurements are calculated just like drapes.

If you are interested in saving energy, valances are not energy-saving.

Start with the size you want--about 12 inches--and add the ten inches we discussed in the last blog.  Make sure the fabric is straight before you start the valance measurements.  The length before sewing should be 22 inches or even as much as 24 inches, and the width should be at least twice the window width.  The windows I am working with are 23 inches wide by 63 in length--but the length does not matter for a valance, except to make the look proportional.  A very long window may need a slightly longer valance, and a short squatty window can use a shorter valance. The valance should cover about a fifth of the window when completed, so a sixty-inch window needs about a 12-inch valance.

With the addition of ten inches for hem and rod pocket, you will have about 22 inches, and I use the total width of the fabric. This fabric is 45 inches, and for extra fullness, I want to sew two valances for each window.


Once you have the valance cut at about 22 or 24 inches, take a look at the selvage edges--the factory finished edge may be wrinkled or puffy.  I usually trim these edges for curtains or drapes, so the fabric will not be puckered or so they will hang without any pull on the sides.  Once the edges are trimmed, turn under about half an inch, then about 5/8 inch and press with the iron. Stitch each side with a seam and make sure it is not puckered.  Then, press the valance with five inches folded over at the top, and five inches folded over at the bottom, like we discussed in the last blog for curtains and drapes. Turn under half an inch for the raw edges on each end and press.

Stitch across the top at two inches down, and close to the turned-under edge.  This forms the rod pocket, with a two-inch ruffle at the top.

Make sure you have turned under the raw edge on the bottom, and sew the hem at 4 and a half inches.

C'est tout! as the Cajuns say--that's all--it's that easy!


Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Sew Mobile Home Curtains and Drapes, then Pillows


Sewing Mobile Home Curtains and Drapes

Mobile home curtains and drapes never seem to be standard size, and the easiest way to get new curtains or drapes for a mobile home is to make them yourself. We are getting a mobile home ready for sale, so I have been making mobile home curtains this week.

The first set I completed was a new set in the package from a thrift store. They were originally 84 inches, but the mobile home windows are about 32 inches wide and need about 63 inches for the length. An ample hem for curtains or drapes is usually 4 to 5 inches, so I cut these curtains at the bottom at 68 inches, folded under half an inch, and made a 4 1/2 inch hem. The scraps will make a pillow, since they are nearly 20 inches and the total width of the curtains. Do not be restricted by the size of the scraps, but use creativity to put together a pillow or two. If you need, select a center that is another fabric in about eight or ten-inch size, and just add strips of the curtain fabric around the square or rectangle.

Drapery fabric is always the best choice for curtains, since it has some sun-fading resistance, and is usually heavier than dress fabric. I had some drapery fabric that is lightweight but durable, and had enough for three curtain panels for the mobile home. Since I needed 63 inches completed length, I measured 73 inches for the curtains. The ten-inch added length is easy to remember and works well for most of the mobile home drapes and curtains. So, cut the fabric into 73 inch lengths (or whatever length you need, plus ten inches). Here is the "pattern" to see how ten inches works.

With this pattern, you can make any length curtain needed.  Make the width double the window width or more for fullness, and the full width of the fabric is fine. Just add ten inches to the needed size, and press five inches at the top and five inches at the bottom.  When sewing the top, the first two inches creates a ruffle, the 2 1/2 inches makes the rod pocket, and the last half inch is folded under.

Remember to use scraps for pillows for the room when working with the living room or bedrooms, or use the fabric to cover a chair rail to attach to the wall.

See you soon with more needlework crafts sewing and stitching fun.


Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Hang Needlework Crafts on Wallpaper Walls

Needlework crafts add a personal touch to a home, and fabric art can be mixed with other media to make attractive wall hangings and groups, but hanging needlework crafts on a papered wall is often a challenge.

Pounding a nail into wallpaper is a permanent solution that is not the best choice.  We have had wallpaper, including fabric backed paper, vinyl front, and jute, and have found a suitable way to hang art on wallpaper with no permanent damage.  It involves making cuts with a razor blade or sharp knife on the wallpaper.  Make a V shaped cut and lift the flap up. Place your hanger under the flap in the space where the paper is lifted. If you want to move the artwork, remove the hanger and glue the flap down. You will never see the cut!

We hang mostly needlework crafts at our house, but any art can be hung on a wallpapered wall without damaging the wallpaper permanently.  Do it correctly, and you can move the art around to redecorate or change the arrangement as many times as you choose.

Hope you find this helpful!

See you again soon with more needlework crafts and stitching fun.


Saturday, April 24, 2010

Recycle Pillow Cases for Crafts Projects, Make an Apron

Single pillowcases that are embroidered are great for crafts, and we have made several different crafts projects from old single pillow cases that are still good. Sometimes the mate is lost, or worn, or damaged, but the other pillow case is usable.


A single pillowcase will make an apron, but plan ahead so the design is pleasing. Here's how. Envision how the embroidered design will look on the apron, and devise a method that will make it go in the right direction, and in the middle of the front of the apron.

Here's what we did. Cut the pillow case in the middle of the back so that the apron has seams at the sides. Now, look at the embroidery and see if it needs to be turned right side up. If so, cut the pillowcase in half horizontally, and sew the plain half on the other side of the embroidery so the embroidery is near the bottom of the apron.

Cut two strips about 5 inches wide to make a waistband for the apron. If the pillowcase does not have about ten inches to spare, use a color of fabric that is found in the embroidery as an accent.

Stitch the sides with a narrow hem, and do the same for the bottom. Gather the top edge and sew the waistband and ties to the gathered area, right side to right side, starting at the middle. Turn the waistband over, press a narrow hem, and stitch. Then hem the ties and you have a new old apron.

Recycle old pillowcases into doll clothes, appliques for clothing, or laundry bags.  Have fun, but never pitch out any embroidery.  There are many uses for almost all of it, and particularly pillowcases and large flat pieces.
We share original patterns and ideas so you can have fun with needlework crafts and recycling. Have a great week!


Sunday, April 18, 2010

Mothers Day Crafts DIY Now Fabric Art or Flowers


If you give gifts for Mother's Day, now is the time to get crafts projects done and set aside before you are too busy with dinner and whatever else you like to do for Mother's Day.  We often make a bathroom decorator basket of flowers with washcloths that is easy to do and requires no sewing.  Find a basket you like that is seven or eight inches in diameter, and purchase some washcloths in a color that will match the bathroom decor. 

We also divide flowers and container garden plants to share for Mother's Day, and this should be done early so the flowers can get accustomed to the new pot.  Wait until close to Mother's Day to put some colored foil and a ribbon around the pot, and the gift recipient will never know that this is a Do it Yourself container plant that cost you almost nothing.

Be creative and make Mother's Day gifts from love and little money.  The mothers in your family will appreciate that you spend time and creativity on the gifts. Whether you choose fabric flowers or real ones, start now and get the project underway.

See you again soon with more needlework crafts, sewing and stitching fun.


Sunday, April 11, 2010

Use Craft Buttons for Embroidery Trim and Fabric Art

Craft buttons are getting prettier, and more intriguing for use on fabric crafts and fabric art.  If you have been looking at buttons lately, you may be surprised to find figural buttons for animals, butterflies, birds, and even faces.  These craft buttons are good accents for needlework crafts and fabric arts.

We occasionally find some craft buttons at a thrift store, and buy any we find just to accent pillows or use on embroidery projects or wall hangings.

Find some craft buttons, then find a project to use them.  If you have an embroidery project, do the embroidery first, then arrange the buttons to make a pleasing display.

Buy craft buttons the next time you see them at a bargain, and save them for a future fabric art project.

You can find lots of uses for craft buttons on needlework crafts, but be sure to consider that some ideas are not very practical.  Use on pillowcases should be restricted to an area where you do not intend to lay your head, unless you can sleep on buttons or don't mind marks on your face. The same is true for pillows you want to use.  Decorative pillows are a great place for craft buttons, and wall hangings are ideal.  Purses, totes and handbags are a good place for craft buttons, too.  Design your own items and create your personal style with needlework crafts and the use of fancy buttons.

See you soon with more needlework crafts, sewing and stitching fun.


Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Make Ribbon Embroidery Gathered Flowers for Needlework Crafts

needleworkRibbon embroidery flowers are one of my favorite needlework crafts, and I have made just about all of them.  The gathered silk ribbon embroidery flower is a common one, and we have made a few--certainly enough to teach the class.

Small ribbon embroidery flowers can be made of 3/8 inch ribbon and it takes a minimum of about 2 1/2 linear inches to make little flowers.  We sew the ends together before we start, then use a running stitch to sew one edge of the ribbon all the way around.  Pull it as tight as you want the flower to be and make a few stitches to secure the gathers so they will not come out.  You can make two of these and put them together for more fullness--and you can see we put a green one behind a pink one just to show how.

Sew these flowers onto the design you are working.  If you need larger flowers, use about a 4 inch piece of silk ribbon and gather it.  Place it behind the smaller flower petals to design a larger flower.

These gathered ribbon embroidery flowers are pretty with seed pearls worked in the center, or other tiny beads, or even a single sequin on the small ones.  Be creative with ribbon embroidery and make beautiful pillows, wall hangings, or even a purse.  Backgrounds can include velvet or velveteen, moire or felt.  Fleece looks pretty for items that are not washed, but I have not found fleece to be a good fabric for washable items, since it is made with a foam on the inside that is not very durable.

Needlework crafts are a great pleasure if you like to sew by hand, and there is so much to learn, and there are so many new things to try out. Ribbon embroidery is one of my favorites, but I try to share other crafts with you, too.

See you soon!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Use Fabric Yoyos for Crafts--Ideas for Free and Fun

If you have leftover yoyos from quilting crafts or if you find some at the thrift store (which I have done before), you can put them to great use for crafts projects.

Yo-yos make great fabric pictures and faces for people. They also make the sun and moon. Of course they make flowers, either in singles or multiples.

We have used yoyos for different Christmas ornaments, and they make a beautiful garland for the Christmas tree, too.

Fabric pictures or wall hangings are great ways to use the extra yoyos, and once you get started, you will think of all kinds of ideas. I saw a purse made of yoyos the other day.  It had yoyos attached to a fabric, with a lining fabric.The crafter used purchased wooden handles.

Have fun making crafts with leftover or recycled yoyos.

See you soon with more needlework crafts fun.


Yo-Yos Top to Bottom!: 18 Delightful Projects (No. 3068)

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Crochet an Afghan to Keep it Square

Crocheting is a needlework craft that many of us really like to do in our spare time, and making an afghan is one of the easiest crochet projects. Making an afghan square is another issue.

I have made several afghans in my lifetime, and a few have been more like a trapezoid than a square or rectangle. The afghan gets wider as it gets longer, and it took me years to figure out how to overcome this crochet problem. Frankly, it was embarrassing that an afghan was such a simple crochet project, and that I could not get it right. I have made crocheted baskets and a hundred doilies, crocheted lace by the yard, and still could not figure out how to make an afghan correctly.

Well, it is so easy a caveman could do it, but it takes two sizes of crochet hooks--one the size you are going to make the afghan with, and another one a size larger. Use the larger hook to make the chain and first row of stitches. Then, work the afghan with the smaller size hook.

Would you like to crochet but just cannot learn to follow the instructions? There are crochet patterns available to help the visual learner, with pictures of the crochet. These are Magic Crochet magazines that are no longer in print, but are still available on the internet.


If you have struggled with crochet before and thought you couldn't do it, you may like to try it again. It really is a fun needlecraft that can give you hours of pleasure.

See you soon with more needlework crafts, sewing and stitching fun.


Saturday, March 13, 2010

Swedish Weaving on Aida Cloth instead of Huck Toweling

Do Swedish weaving with embroidery thread, a counted cross stitch needle and Aida cloth, and work on the top surface of the Aida cloth instead of piercing the fabric like we do for counted cross stitch.  You can select a pre-made design or make your own, once you understand the difference in the Aida cloth threads and the Huck toweling threads.  Here is the basic difference:

 You can do Swedish weaving on Aida the same way as working with Huck Toweling.  Just pick a design and get started. 

Enjoy free crafts ideas from my half a century of learning needlework crafts.  You can subscribe to this blog so you know when I have a new project for you--usually every week. We like to share.


Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Make RickRack Braid for Crafts Embellishments

Make Rickrack braid from left-over rickrack.  We have rickrack from years ago when it was popular.  Confession here.  It may be forty years ago, or more.  I'm not counting, and hope you won't either.  Anyway, we have lots of rickrack in different sizes and colors, and it not only is making a comeback in crafts, it is versatile and downright attractive when used as braid. We learned to braid rickrack many years ago, and I'm not sure many crafters still know how.

We do the two-part braid and the three-part braid. This is fun and an old needlework craft that you can teach others.  Rick rack braid looks nice on just about anything that any other braid works on, including clothing, place mats, doll clothes, Christmas stockings and holiday crafts.  Once you get started making the rickrack braid, you will find some great uses for it.

We did a blog not long ago about making a chrysanthemum flower with rickrack  While you have the rickrack out, you might want to try it.

See you soon with more needlework crafts, sewing and stitching fun!


EDGINGS Collar and Cuff Set Book No. 254 + Book No. 236 (Clark's O.N.T., J. & P. Coats, The Spook Cotton Col., For Towels, Handkerchiefs, Lingerie and Linens, Monogrammed Napkins, Initials. Rick-Rack Edgings, Crochet, Thread-work. Hairpin Lace, Children's Wear,)

Learn to Crochet with Rickrack

Friday, March 5, 2010

Do Swedish Weaving on Huck Toweling and Aida Cloth


Swedish weaving or Swedish embroidery is an old needlework craft that has made a return on the crafts scene.  I taught Swedish weaving when I was in 4-H half a century ago, and still do some Swedish weaving on Aida cloth or Huck toweling occasionally.

If you can thread a needle and follow instructions, you can do Swedish embroidery or Swedish weaving crafts.  You will need an evenweave fabric or Huck toweling, a cross-stitch needle with a dull point, and some embroidery thread.  You can make your own pattern or design by marking squares on a grid paper.   

If you have a renewed interest in Swedish weaving, have some fun with it again, and if you have never tried it, have some fun with a new needlecrafts project.

See you soon with more needlework crafts, sewing and stitching fun!


Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Sew Crafts from Vintage Pillow Cases

Vintage pillowcases have made a return to recycle crafts and easy sewing fun. There are some great projects that can be made with embroidered pillowcases, even if there is some damage to them. You can make something that will work around the damage.

A single pillowcase will make a laundry bag or a purse, or a doll dress for a large doll. Two pillowcases will make an adult apron. You can also cut the embroidery from a pillowcase and use it on a shirt or blouse. Once you get started, you will run out of embroidered pillowcases before you run out of ideas. We like recycling crafts projects, and this is a way to save the beautiful embroidery done by others.

If your pillowcases are yellow or stained, wash them in Biz or an enzyme pre-soak fabric cleaner.  We also wash vintage items in soda. Sodium perborate or Borax is also a product that works to clean vintage pillowcases.

See you soon with more sewing crafts,  needlework and stitching fun.


Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Learning to Sew Lasts a Lifetime

Sewing is a foundation for many crafts. I've been sewing for more than fifty years, and like to teach and write about sewing and crafts.  Many people who sew do not realize that the fabric much be cut with the grain to hang properly. Preparing the fabric is not difficult, but is important to being a good seamstress. Wash the fabric and dry it like you will be drying it after the item is completed. Wash zippers and seam tape, too. This will avoid shrinkage at stitching lines.

Using a pattern is another important step in sewing, and sometimes it is not as easy as we might think. Most name brand patterns have detailed instructions for layout of the pattern to be sure you are cutting with the grain, and also for getting the most out of your fabric.

There are also a few good books on sewing. I learned to sew with the Singer book and 4-H projects, but there are also some new books on sewing that are good guides for learning techniques, and for use with any sewing machine. I have the Reader's Digest book and like it, but I bought it later, long after I learned to sew.

See you soon with more needlework crafts and stitching fun.



We have about 1500 sewing patterns that are vintage and collectible, but uncut and unused that are great to use for sewing projects, and much less expensive than new patterns today. I must confess that I am frugal beyond words, but refuse to buy a cut pattern, since they may be missing parts.

I finally set up a page to divide out the different groups of sewing patterns we have available for sale and thought I would share it with you. These are patterns you can buy from a marketplace website I sell on.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Sew a Chicken Potholder Fun Free Crafts Pattern


Make a chicken potholder or oven mitt for a fun crafts project. Recycle some fabric or scraps and smile as you do it, then put the completed project to use in the kitchen. This spring chicken is also a good usable gift for a friend, and easy enough to make several in an afternoon.

The chicken has an eight-inch circle quilted base and it takes two of the chicken shape and one red felt scrap to make the top part.

This crafts pattern comes from some of these I made years ago, and I do not know where I got the original idea.

See you again soon with more needlework crafts sewing and stitching fun.


Needlework Crafts Sewing and Stitching Fun

Monday, February 15, 2010

Framing Needle Art Pictures and Needlework Crafts for Future Beauty


Crochet, cross-stitch, embroidery and needlepoint are often fabric pictures to be framed, and as an avid garage sale runner, I see all kinds of framing and damage to needle art pieces that are not very old. With all the work that goes into needle arts, framing should not take a minor role, but should enhance the beauty of the piece as well as protect it for years to come.

Most needlework needs to be blocked before framing, and glass on a frame should not touch the needle art. How to avoid the glass touching? Leave off the glass or use a mat or shadowbox frame.

We hope you frame your work to be your legacy long after you are gone.

There are books written on this subject, but we have tried to condense some instructions in just a few words. Here is one of the books I have seen on this subject:


See you soon!


Friday, February 12, 2010

Identify Antique and Vintage Quilts Quilting Crafts

Can you Identify Antique and Vintage Quilts?

Can you tell new from old quilts? Quilting has been a frugal living project for women, primarily, for at least the past 200 years, and occasionally we see an old quilt on the market or at an antiques show.  Many of the quilts we see are NOT OLD, although the seller claims they are.  This usually occurs because the seller has not studied the quilt to determine the age.  There are some interesting ways to tell the difference in an old quilt and a new one.

One of the most common ways to tell old quilting is from the fabrics, since we did not have polyester blends until the 1960s.  Most of the quilts made in the first half of the Twentieth Century were made of cotton, many of feed sack prints or chintz flower prints. The colors of fabrics available for a quilt also tell the historical setting. 

Another way to tell an old quilt is to hold it to the light. If you see bumps or dark spots, check to see if these are cotton seeds. Old cotton batting was not smooth like we use today.

I grew up in West Virginia, the home of the Mountain Artisans, and grew up with quilts and quilting.  This is a fascinating fabric art form with a long history.  Hope you find it interesting, too.

See you soon, with a quilt block in my hand.