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1  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Completed Projects / Adventures in Satin Stitching *Now with pattern* on: April 12, 2011 08:01:47 AM
My first foray into satin stitching occurred when I made my "elephants on trapezes" hoops for the Hoopla Diptych Swap. I decided that I wanted more practice, so I whipped up a little doodle and got to work:

I used silver thread for the glint in her eyes:

I know it's not perfect, but it was fun to make!

Here's the sketch I used--feel free to use it! I'd love to see your results.
2  NEEDLEWORK / Sublime Stitching Embroidery / Matryoshka Luggage Tag on: February 01, 2011 12:12:42 PM

I really like the way this came out! It's just a piece of cotton calico, folded over and reinforced with light interfacing, and whipstitched. On the back, I sewed on one of those plastic pockets that hold photos in wallets, which will contain my contact info.

My firsts for this project: French knots, thread blending, and that thing where I made the swirly pattern on her bow (no idea what that's called, if anything). I used Jenny's tutorial for French knots, and thought that they were a breeze!
3  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Completed Projects / Skeleton Cameo Embroidery on: November 10, 2010 01:42:54 PM
I made this for Faux_Valentine for the Hoopla Swap (#2), and I'm really happy with how it turned out.

How I made it: I printed off an image of a skeleton cameo, poked holes every few millimeters along the image's outline, and rubbed chalk over the holes to transfer the image onto black quilter's fabric. Then I used 2 strands of pale pink embroidery floss and backstitched the whole thing. I painted a wooden hoop with white pearlescent acrylic paint, so that it has a lovely silver shimmer to it. Voila! Now I just need to make one for myself. Smiley
4  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Completed Projects / North Star Embroidery on: August 23, 2010 01:22:48 PM
I made this simple gift for a good friend who was moving to another town. We are backpackers, and there's a way to find the North Star by using the Little and Big Dipper. The meaning behind this embroidery, then, is that he would never be lost, even when he's far away from home.

Close-up of the metallic thread:

(p.s. The dimensions are a little wonky, I know. Smiley)
5  JEWELRY AND TRINKETS / Trinkets and Jewelry: Completed Projects: General / Paper Bead Necklace in Blues and Pinks on: September 29, 2009 07:34:57 PM
I made paper beads when I was a kid. After getting a magazine that I was rather unimpressed by, I decided to upcycle it by turning it into a necklace! Here's the result:

They took forever at first, but I've got the technique down now. Smiley
6  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Completed Projects / I Will. on: August 14, 2009 11:32:02 AM
Sweet and simple. I say this a lot--jokingly--most notably towards a really annoying videographer in one of my grad school classes. Whipped this up while watching Mad Men one night; I like the raw edges.

7  JEWELRY AND TRINKETS / Trinkets and Jewelry: Completed Projects: General / My pet brontosaurus on: February 10, 2009 08:37:03 PM

I named her Bernadette. This was my first time layering opaque enamel over transparent, and I rather like the effect. That red is my favorite color...
8  NEEDLEWORK / Sublime Stitching Embroidery / Stitchymas on: January 25, 2009 08:09:30 PM

At last, I am posting two of my favorite items I made for the holidays: the first one is a bookmark (for a librarian mentor of mine), and the second, a cloth grocery bag with embroidered robot pocket for my brother (who is into robotics).

Now on to my Black Apple, Cowboys (& girls), and Dutch Russian patterns...
9  CLOTHING / Clothing: Completed Projects: Reconstructed / 1 Sweater=Hat, mp3 Cosy, Armwarmers, and Elbow Patches (with tutorials) on: January 02, 2009 01:32:35 PM
I had a beloved cashmere sweater that tore in the neckline. Once I decided to sacrifice it to make a hat, other ideas followed: elbow patches for a cardigan, armwarmers, an mp3 cosy, and stuffing for a pincushion. I copied the instructions from my blog--apologies if the instructions are too basic for craftster mavens:

Project 1: Little Edie Hat

skill level: beginner

time: 30 minutes-1 hour

materials needed: 1 sweater, scissors (or a rotary cutter and mat), marker, ruler, thread and needle, seam ripper (optionalhelpful if there are tags from the sweater to remove), and brooch (optional).

1. Lay your sweater down on a hard, flat surface. Smooth out any wrinkles.

2. Measure up eleven inches from the bottom of the sweater. Use a marker to lightly draw a dotted line across the width of the sweater (uniformly eleven inches from the bottom).

3. Use sharp scissors (or a rotary cutter, if you have one) to cut along the dotted line, being careful not to pull the sweater as you go. Cut just inside of the line, so that no ink shows up on the fabric.

4. You should have a tube of fabric eleven inches high. This will become your hat. Save the rest of that sweater!

5. Mark how wide you want your hat to be. I noticed that by folding my tube in two, I had the perfect width, plus extra warmth from two layers of cashmere. (If you are not so lucky, youll just have to cut up one side of the tube. Wrap that around your head, and pinch the edge of the fabric where it overlaps on your head. Add an extra inch in width, cut off the excess material, and stitch it up. Presto).

Back to the doubled-up hat:

6. Turn tube inside-out, so that the side seams are visible. Align those side seams so that one rests on top of the other. You can use a machine to sew along the seams, just make sure to use a stitch made for knits. I opted to use an embroidery stitch and hand-sew up the seams with embroidery floss, for turbo strength.Tie off each end of thread.

Center stitch:


7. This parts a little tricky to explainits like origami. You have a tube, bisected by a line sewn down the middle. Take one of those sections, and fold over the other tube, inverting along the way.

8. Youve got yourself a hat! You can sew up one end, but Ive found that my hat keeps me quite toasty without it. Im on the lookout for a brooch to perfect the Little Edie hat

Right-side out:


Project 2: Professor Sweater
Sort of like those jackets with the elbow patches that professors purportedly wear...

skill level: intermediate. Beginner if using non-stretchy fabric (corduroy, for instance).

time: 1 1/2-2 hours

materials: 2 sweaters, cardstock or scrap paper, scissors, marker, pins, iron, spray starch (optional), needle and thread (preferably embroidery thread).

1. Lay out what remains of your sweater on a hard, even surface. Use a large-ish expanse of the fabricenough to accommodate two of your ovals. I used the back of the sweater. Dont use the arms, as youll be using those for project #3. Smooth out any wrinkles in the fabric.

2. On cardstock or scrap paper, sketch an oval shape to the dimensions that you desire for your patches. You could use a template if youre a symmetrically-challenged artist. Draw a larger oval around your first ovalmake it approximately 1/2 an inch larger all around.

3. Cut out your larger oval, and position it on the sweater remnants.

4. Using a marker, gently draw a dotted line around the oval template. Be careful not to pull on the sweater. Repeat once.

5. Using sharp scissors, carefully cut out each oval. Check to ensure that they are the same size.

6. Generally, theres a right side and a wrong side for fabric. In knits, the right side usually looks like a series of v shapes with a vertical orientation, and the wrong side like horizontally-oriented dashed lines.

If you care about matching up the sides of the ovals to the sides of the sweater upon which you will be sewing, mentally note which side is which now. Place oval (right side down) on an ironing board. Fold in fabric approximately 1/2 an inch around the perimeter, and iron gently. I held the folded fabric, a little at a time, and laid the tip of the iron close to my finger, working my way around the oval. You could also notch the fabric to reduce bulk, although I didnt and it was fine. Dont pull on the fabric with the iron, just lay it down and hold for a second or two. If its not a perfect oval, dont worry about it too muchit can be fixed as you sew. If theyre really wonky, though, try to re-shape the oval in the weird spots and iron again (spray starch may help to create a crisper line). When youre happy with the shape, flip them over and press them for a second with the iron.

7. Take another sweater (or jacket, or whatever you want to adorn with your new patches). Figure out where you want to place the patches, and pin in place. You may want to carefully try on the garment to check your placement. I went a little overboard with the pins, placing them every 1/2 an inch or so around the ovals.

8. You might be able to machine-sew these in place, but given the stretch of the knits and the placement, I opted to hand-stitch them. I used two strands of embroidery floss (the strands being the individual threads, not the grouping of six that form the floss), carefully sewing about 1/8 of an inch inside the edge of the oval. Any small imperfections in your shape can be fixed as you sew, by carefully rolling the edge of the oval in or out as needed. Remove the pins as you approach them while sewing. As always, be careful not to stretch anything while sewing. If any pin marks remain, a quick press with an iron should remove them.

9. Tie off the loose ends, and admire your new sweater in the mirror.

Project 3: Armwarmers

skill level: beginner

time: 15 minutes

materials: sweater, ruler, marker, scissors or rotary cutter and mat, elastic thread and needle (optional), buttons (optional)

1. Fold what remains of your sweater so that the sleeves are aligned on a hard, flat surface.

2. Determine how long you want your arm warmers to be, and measure up from the ends of the sleeves. I left the edges raw, and havent had any problems with unraveling. If you have a loosely knit sweater or just dont like the look of raw edges, add an extra 1/2 to 1 inch to your arm warmers. Of course, this will add bulk at the tops, so be forewarned if youre working with a thick sweater. You could also cuff them at the tops. Maybe add a few buttons along one sidego crazy.

3. Mark a dotted line where you will be cutting. You could cut it at an angle for superhero-esque cuffs (I think that in that case, youd definitely want to eliminate the raw edge. If the knit is too bulky, you can just machine-finish the edges with an elastic thread (or with a stitch designed for stretchy fabrics).

4. Cut along the dotted line.

5. Thats it! If desired, finish/embellish as stated above.

Project 4: mp3 Player Cosy

skill level: beginner

time: 1 hour

materials: sweater, mp3 player, ruler, marker, scissors or rotary cutter and mat, pins, iron, thread, velcro.

1. Lay out your sweater remains onwhat else?a hard, smooth surface. Position your mp3 player on top of the fabric. I measured an extra 1 inch from the edge of the player around the bottom and sides, and 2 1/2 inches from the top, for the flap. Carefully cut out three identical rectangles from your sweater fabric.

2. Fold over the top rectanglethis will be the flap that encloses your mp3 player in its fuzzy cocoon. I allowed roughly 1 inch between the top of my player and the fold, so that it wasnt stuffed in there tightly.

3. Repeat step two on the opposite side of the fabric sandwich, so that the outer layers are folded outward, but the rectangle in the middle is left unfolded. Make sure that the outer layers are the same length. Like so:

4. Pin all three layers together, making sure that the edges align.

5. Stitch all layers together, ignoring the top flap for now. You can machine or hand-sew, roughly 1/2 an inch from the edges of the fabric. Clearly I wasnt too worried about perfect sewing:

6. Now turn it right-side out. The longer rectangle, which was in the middle of the sandwich, should magically be on the outside now.

7. Sew the edges of the flap, folding each edge in approximately 1/2 inch. Fold in towards the inside of the cosy, so that those exposed edges arent visible when its closed.

8. Now sew on the velcro strips. I used the softer piece of velcro on the flap, in case the player brushes against it when Im removing it. What I did was position one piece of velcro on the edge of the flap (but not to the very edgeI left about 1/4 inch of fabric around the velcro), sewed it on, and then aligned the complimentary piece (you might want to have your mp3 player inside the cosy at this point, to account for any warping of the fabric that may take place). I pinned the complimentary piece in place, then sewed that.

9. Andpresto! A cosy with two pockets: one for the player, and a separate one for the headphones. The cord easily extends outside of the flap, without it being too roomy inside.

Bonus idea:

If youve made four projects out of your sweater, and youre still hungering for more, you can use those scraps to stuff inside of a homemade pincushion.


The end! I didn't cut much info out, but if you want any more info or photos, my blog is http://blog.paperrosedesigns.com/.
10  Pennsylvania / Pennsylvania: Southwest / Independent Craft Stores in Pittsburgh? on: December 01, 2008 11:50:02 AM

I don't know of any independent craft stores in Pittsburgh, other than yarn store. Are there any--preferably multi-craft stores? I only know about the big box stores, which is okay, but I'd like to support the little guy (and lady).

I did look at the threads with info about independent fabric stores in PGH (which I'm guessing is out of date by now).

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