So, I have never been able to figure out how to knit with needles. But, I have picked up the Knifty Knitter looms that my mother gave my older daughter for Christmas a few years back and have started making hats.
Here's my second one:
Its made with one strand of Lion Homespun and one of Lion's Hometown USA super-bulky yarn. I like the way the variegated Homespun blended with the dark plum super-bulky yarn and made a really neat tweedy effect.
The flower on the side was made with the flower-loom also by Knifty Knitter.
While the hat is a bit big for our Bigfoot statue it fits me perfectly and looks like a sort of retro clochesque sort of hippie-hat.
I think I'm going to try a pair of arm-warmers next.....
I found the most amazing vintage Chinese sewing basket on Etsy last month and had to pick it up for myself. I use it to hold my embroidery tools and floss for each current project so I can carry everything from room to room without dropping stuff on the floor or losing it. Besides--it's just so darned cool to carry stuff in a pretty basket!
So, in addition to collecting pretty tools to put in the basket, such as the Chinese carved bone needlecase, the Chinese scissors from Sublime Stitching (I made the tassel for them myself) and the pretty vintage gold and enamel thimble, I decided to line the bottom of the basket so that the floss wouldn't get caught in the woven bottom.
I could have just used regular fabric, but I decided it would be more fun to embroider something for it. And I knew exactly what design I wanted to use--the Chinese Acrobats from Sublime Stitching.
Since I wanted the embroidery to look vintage like the basket, I used a piece of hand-dyed quilter's cotton for the fabric. It looks age-stained. Then, after I ironed on the design, I colored it in with Prismacolor colored pencils in a color palette reminiscent of the 1930's--because the basket looks very like it is from that era. (Whether it is or not, I have no idea--it just looks like it to me.) Then, I stitched up the little girls using 2-4 strands of regular cotton embroidery floss, and had a great deal of fun with their pretty costumes.
All in all, I think that the embroidery took me about three evenings to finish. Then, I mounted the finished embroidery on a piece of cardboard cut to fit the bottom of the basket that was padded with a bit of quilt batting. I admit to using packing tape to affix it to the cardboard--I decided I didn't want to use any glue or anything permanent in case I decided to frame the little girls later. But they are so cute in there, I might just glue them anyway.
Then, I popped them into the basket and they get to go with me and my embroidery wherever I go, and they are just so cheerful and pretty to look at while I'm reaching for my scissors or Thread Heaven or what have you....
I embroidered these jeans for my daughter's 21st birthday--she is a big Lovecraft fan, so when I saw this design at Urban Threads, I had to stitch it onto something for her!
I had a lot of fun with it--the thread I used is basically like pearl cotton size 5. It's made by DMC, and is called "Prism Craft Thread" and you can buy it in packs of multiple colors at places like JoAnn and Michael's. I used primarily the variegated threads, and had a great time using lots of dimensional stitches like Danish knots, Mountmellick stitch and French knots, sometimes with two threads loaded in the needle at a time.
This shows how both legs of the jeans look--the Cthulhu "heart" in the original design was whole--I decided it was more fun to show it with a bite taken out of it. The blood drops were made with pistil stitch, which is just a French knot with a stem.
It took me about five evenings of stitching, two to three hours at a time, to finish it.
She loves the jeans and has barely taken them off to wash them since I gave them to her!
My husband calls this our daughter's "Snow White" dress, because the cut and colors remind him of the dress in the Disney film.
I used the Molly Peasant Dress PDF pattern/tutorial from Sis Boo, and the fabrics are all reproduction 1930's prints: one red and two blue. I made the sash out of wide grosgrain ribbon which I tacked on the front and trimmed with a yo yo made from the sleeve fabric on which I stacked a white and then a red flower-shaped button.
The pattern/tute was simple to follow, and the results were fantastic. It only took me about an evening and a half to make and the girl adores it so much that I am probably going to make a couple more for her out of different fabrics. Then, in the fall, I will make some with longer skirts and sleeves....I'll probably even make her some in flannel for nightgowns.
It was really fun to sew and I had a great time digging through the stash to find great fabrics to combine for the best effect.
This is my second shirred garment, which I once again did without a pattern. I just used a bit of math and measurements to figure out what size to cut the four rectangles used to make the dress. The dress itself is based on my daughter's chest measurement X 2, (With the length determined by desired length plus 1" for hem on top and seam for ruffle on bottom) while the straps were the finished desired width X 2 + 1/4 inch for seam allowance, and the length was taken by measuring from chest to shoulder, multiplying it by 2, and adding 1/2 inch for seam allowance. The ruffle was the width of the dress piece X 2. For a fluffier ruffle, you would use width of the dress X 2.5, with the width of the ruffle being whatever size you want plus 1/2 inch for hem.
I hope that wasn't too confusing, but it makes sense to me and I am pretty math-challenged!
Once again, I loaded the bobbin with elastic thread using my machine--hand-winding is for the birds! I set the stitch length at five and loaded the top thread with a really pretty rainbow pastel multi-colored quilting thread. The shirring is thirteen rows, which is almost exactly a bobbin's worth of elastic thread on a width of 42 inches.
It was fun to make: all I did was hem to top edge of the dress rectangle and add trim--I used sparkly lime green rickrack applied to the back so only the top points show in the front. Then, I sewed together the two ruffle rectangles on a short side and hemmed them. Then I gathered them and stitched them to the bottom of the dress rectangle and then applied purple sparkly rick rack over that seam.
Then, I shirred the bodice with 13 rows of shirring 1/4 of an inch apart.
Then, I made the straps by folding them and pressing them in half long-ways, and stitched down one open short side and the open long side. Then I turned them, pressed them flat with the seam at one side, tucked the raw edge on the open short side in, pressed it flat and then top stitched a 1/4 inch all the way around.
Then I stitched the dress together with a french seam, encasing the raw edges inside the dress. (To do this, put your dress together wrong sides together--which is backwards from how you usually do it--and stitch a 1/4 inch seam. Turn the dress inside out, press the seam flat and then stitch a 1/2 inch to 5/8 inch seam, encasing the first seam and its raw edges inside the second seam. Easy, fast and fabulous!)
Then to determine placement of the straps I found the middle of the front of the dress, put a pin to mark it and put the front of the straps an equal distance on either side of that pin, then sewed them on by sewing over the first row of shirring stitches just where the straps lay. I did the same thing on the back, except I put the straps closer together on the back.
And that is it. Simple. Took a couple of hours and would have taken less time had I not had fits trying to decide what trim to use to perfectly complement the fabric!
I only wish my boobs weren't so big so I could make one for myself!
This was so much fun to make: I just took a rectangle of fabric the width that I wanted the top to ultimately be plus extra for the top and bottom hems. The length was twice the measurement of my girl's chest--which added to a bit less than 44 inches, so I just cut it the width of the fabric and left it at that.
I hemmed the bottom and top of the fabric, and added sparkly purple and white lace trim to the top, and sparkly purple rick rack to the bottom.
Then, I filled a bobbin with elastic thread using the bobbin winder on my Bernina 440 QE--lots of tutes on line suggested winding it by hand, but that bugged the crap out of me, so I used the machine. I tapped the filled bobbin on the table a few times to loosen the elastic up a bit, then loaded it up in my bobbin case like any other bobbin, and popped it in. Then, I threaded the machine with purple thread so it would show nicely on the green, picked up the elastic thread (on the third try, it was a bit finicky about that), set my stitch length to five, and did a test run on a different chunk of material.
When the world did not end, I went on to do ten rows of shirring on my actual fabric, 1/4" apart. At the end of each row, I left the needle in the fabric, turned 90 degrees, took a couple of stitches, turned 90 degrees again and then stitched on, back and forth.
When the shirring was done, I took out the elastic bobbin and loaded up the machine with a bobbin of regular thread, lest I forget.
Then, I took my shirred rectangle over and with my iron on highest heat and full of lots of steamy goodness, I steamed the crap out of the fabric by holding the iron about an inch above the fabric and repeatedly pushed the steam blast button and watched in delight as the fabric shrank up and gathered into delicious wee puckers. It was the best part--like a magic trick.
Then, I stitched it together into a tube and made spaghetti straps of purple fabric using my Fasturn tubes, sewed them on and added a sparkly purple button to the top as an accent and it was done.
The girl was dancing with impatience to try it on as I hand sewed the straps and button on, and she was thrilled to finally wear it today.
It was so easy, I am off to make a dress this evening!
I just discovered Thread Heaven silicone thread conditioner by accident--I needed another small item to fill an order minimum, and a box of it was perfect to put me over the minimum, so I bought it.
And then, I started using it--only for hand sewing and embroidery, mind you--and I am amazed at how well it works at making thread behave as it if were civilized. Even the most slippery stuff like silk, bows to the will of the Thread Heaven.
AND--I discovered that if you apply the thread conditioner to your six strand floss BEFORE separating it--the threads do not tangle as you pull them apart. Just go slowly and the things unwind and glide away from each other the way you always wanted them to, but they never did. (At least for me, anyway, the little buggers always snagged, snarled and often turned into nasty balls of knotted evil.)
The stuff is nothing short of miraculous. Thread will still tangle a bit, but it comes apart so much more easily than before--I haven't had to cut a knot out for the past month I have been using it.
I probably sound like a shill, but I promise I'm not. Just pointing out something that has helped me not only embroider more, but to actually hand sew and have it relax me, not send my blood pressure over the roof.
Besides, it comes in a cute little cobalt blue cube-shaped box and there are sparkles embedded in the stuff. How can you not love something like that? (My three year old thinks that it is magical solidified pixie dust because of the cute tiny blue box and the sparkles. I do not disabuse her of this knowledge--I tell her it is special magic pixie-dust stuff that helps Mommy's threads stay smooth and untangled.)
I used to make clothespin dolls when I was a kid, with thread-wrapped chenille stem arms, and painted faces and little clothes that I stitched myself and yarn or painted hair.
If I had known about wool roving for hair, I would have thought I had died and gone to heaven!
The inspiration for this doll, which I am giving to my three year old to play with is the book, by Sally Mavor. If I'd had that book as a kid--well, my room would have been entire universe of fairies, gnomes and elves, all poseable instead of stiff like my clothespin dolls. Here's a link to her website:http://www.weefolkstudio.com/
Anyway, I had fun making Mirasol, which is this wee fairy's name. She's 3 1/2" tall, and her face is a painted 20 MM wooden bead with the finer bits of her features drawn in with brown fine point Sharpie marker, because I discovered that my elder daughter had made off with all of my fine brushes and took them with her when she moved out for college. Her skirt and hat are made from the petals of some polysilk flowers I bought at the thrift store for like a dollar for a huge bag of them, and the top of her hat is wool/rayon blend felt, as is her top. Her body is chenille stem wrapped in embroidery floss with her torso padded out with roving.
I had fun sewing her clothes and picking colors for her. The next one will be more finely wrapped with more delicate looking limbs--I was just learning as I went, plus I had the assistance of the three year old AND the two year old kitty who was fascinated with all the beads, flower bits, chenille stems (she kept picking them up and running off with them) and of course, the embroidery floss. That stuff is as good as catnip--she kept stealing that, too.
I'm thinking of making a mobile of them hanging from an ivy and ribbon wrapped small grapevine wreath for the three-year old's room, so they can fly over her bed. Her room is decorated with fairies, so, it seems appropriate.
I have only been needle-felting for a few weeks, but I have learned that it is a lot like the polymer clay sculpting I used to do. In fact, my three year old said of wool roving that it was, "like fuzzy clay." I found that to be an extremely astute observation for such a wee girl!
Anyway, this is my fifth sculpture and my second mammal--the others are birds. It is a portrait of my husbands much beloved but lamentably late cat, Minnaloushe. I used only black wool roving with black rayon-wool felt as the base of the ears, which are then covered in roving. I used tiny amber glass seed beads for her eyes, which I had to go out special to the wicked and tempting bead store to get because none of my stash of seed beads were right. Out of the thousands of beads I had on hand, everything was either the wrong color or size, so I had to go digging through the local bead shop stock with blinders on to keep me on target, while holding a wee black cat in my palm!
Here is a closer view without flash, which shows her face better. Thoughts, comments and critiques are welcome. Thanks for looking!
So, my three year old daughter had tons of embroidered and appliqued denim garments through her short life, and being a thrifty and sentimental sort, I couldn't just pass them on or throw them out or donate them. So, I kept them until I had a pile of them and then had an aha moment: why not work them all up into a dress?
Which is what I did.
I took a plain denim short-all that had a snap crotch that fit my girl, but which she refused to wear because she is now potty trained and she recognized snap crotches as "for babies with diapers," and started cutting. I did the old seventies hippie trick of turning shorts or pants into a skirt by adding panels into the front and back leg openings, as well as some godets up the side seams. Then, I added length by cutting the embroidered hems off of two old denim dresses and sewed them into a strip together and then sewed them to the hem.
Then, I went to town and cut patches out of the remaining decorated denim. I folded the edges under and machine sewed each patch to make it durable and then, appliqued them to the base garment using two-ply non-separable cotton embroidery floss in decorative stitches. I used an upholstery needle to do this hand sewing--and discovered that I could indeed break an upholstery needle using my own hand....luckily no one but the needle was hurt, and I had another needle right there waiting to be used!
Then, I added decorative stitching all over the dress using the same variegated thread in bright colors. Note that I used a lot of pockets cut from other garments--there are now 13 pockets, all but one functional, all over the dress. I also added a few decorative buttons.
At the end, I used the super HUGE Wrights rainbow rickrack on the inside of the hem to give a multi-colored scalloped finish to the hem.
The girl LOVES the dress, and refuses to give it up.
The cool thing about it is this--when she grows out of it, I can just take it all back apart, save the patches, add to them and put together a new garment, over and over until the patches finally wear out on me. It was so much fun to make--took me about four days of what I call "heroic hand sewing" or "Conan the Barbarian Stitching" to do it--and lots of thimble action, but it got done and now she refuses to give it up!