The theme of this month’s Aquila magazine is predators. My contribution is clearly the deadliest of beasts.
The theme of this month’s Aquila magazine is predators. My contribution is clearly the deadliest of beasts.
Earlier in the week I was sorting through some old files on my laptop and came across this.
I made it almost four years ago, and can't actually remember now whether I stitched the drawing and then looked for a way to decorate the edges, or dreamed up the edging before deciding what to add in the centre. Either way, it was the start of a journey which ended up as my book - a single hoop-based project which turned into over 100 more.
The crocheted edging is one of my favourite finishing techniques, not least because it's the perfect excuse to buy single balls of beautiful yarn in a whole mixture of colours. Cheap acrylics are to be avoided like the plague. I might even be suggesting the idea doesn't work with synthetic fibres and/or uninspiring colours.
It is, however, perfect for using up treasured scraps and leftovers. A single hoop doesn't require much yarn at all, and you only need pretty basic skills (like me) to make it work. And if you're not sure what to stitch in the centre of the hoop? Well, I have a hundred or so suggestions to get you started . . .
Tomorrow, I promise to post something entirely unrelated to embroidery hoops or publishing dates, but for now, I have a couple more book-ish links to share.
You can find out a bit more about some of the hoop projects in this Stitch, Craft, Create blog post, some general hoop info here, and an interview here. But - my favourite part - share a picture of one of your own embroidery hoop projects on the Stitch, Craft, Create Facebook page, and you can win . . .
+ a plain, ready-to-decorate-in-any-way-you-like embroidery hoop
+ some washi tape (maybe to help out with the decorating-in-any-way-you-like)
+ a bundle of embroidery threads
+ and the actual hoop I stitched for the cover.
Which seems like a pretty sweet deal to me. Your hoop can be something you've made recently or an older project, and it doesn't have to be super-complicated - even if you've used a hoop to frame a favourite scrap of fabric or simple piece of stitching, you can upload and enter. The competition is open until Friday, so you also have a couple of days to whip up something new, if you don't have any hoops in your back catalogue.
Despite what I said earlier about tomorrow's post being altogether non-hoopish, you could definitely adapt the idea into a quick and easy competition entry. Paper + pegs + fabric + hoop, might just = winner.
What's that you say? Obsessed with embroidery hoops? Well . . . yep. Guilty on all counts. I've spent a pretty huge chunk of the last year making and writing about them, so you probably shouldn't expect a slow down in hoop-related posts any time soon. The projects in the book are pretty varied though, so there's that. And there are over 100 of them, which hopefully ups the odds of finding something you really like.
Todays project isn't actually taken from the book - it's from this month's issue of Mollie Makes magazine. It does, however, feature quite a few techniques from the book, including embroidery, applique, decoupage, painting and using washi tape.
You can obviously adapt the idea to make the letters spell out whatever you like, and adjust the sizes, colours and techniques to suit, as well. Or, if you're feeling lazy or lacking the space to display a whole word, pick a single letter and make a monogram instead.
The 'e' is my favourite, partly because I love the way seed stitch looks on felt and also . . . you know, it's a deer. Wearing glasses.
Book news, ahoy.
I may or may not have an advance copy of the whole, finished, actual book sitting on my office shelves already, and I may or may not be surprisingly nervous about letting anyone else see it. For now, if you'd like a look at a few of the projects - because, you know, you're not just anyone - there's a small preview over here.
Eleven projects down, 89 still to share.
PS. I don't think I've already mentioned it here, but publication date is 30th August. If you're an especially eager beaver, then thanks, I love you, please feel free to pre-order an early-bird copy via the same link.
Hello, ahoy-hoy and welcome.
If you're visiting from shimelle.com, it's lovely to see you. Stick around, I have things to share. If we're old pals, well it's lovely to see you, too. Once you've finished reading here, you might want to skip on over to Shimelle's blog and read my guest post on five ways to make your own alphabet letters. These are mostly for paper projects - cards, scrapbook layouts and such - but my apparent inability to keep away from needles means there's also a bit of stitching involved.
The stripy 'hello' is actually a couched length of yarn, worked over a hand-lettered word. You can find a simple, traceable template here if you want to make something similar, or - of course - try a different word of your own. If you're not confident with your cursive, look around for a suitable handwriting-style font to use as your template.
Couching is really straightforward. It uses small, straight stitches to hold yarn, thread or cord in place on the surface of your project. Have a look at this quick stitch-guide, or a YouTube tutorial like this one, if you haven't tried it before. Although you'll need to be careful not to tear thinner sheets of paper, it's totally possible to work it on cards and scrapbook pages as well as fabric projects. If you give it a go, I'd love to see how it turns out.
Don't forget to click over and check out all five lettering ideas at shimelle.com, including an alternate version of this project. If you've already been there, you are, of course, very welcome to stay here and have a look around instead. There are lots more paper projects, tutorials, DIY ideas and you can also help yourself to some free downloads and printables.
It's been a while since I've done one of these, so I thought a little revisit of a favourite project from last year was in order. As much as I enjoyed making these easy appliqué t-shirts, I loved seeing my nephew wearing the pirate version even more, especially as he's super-fussy about his clothes. When it comes to job satisfaction, there's nothing quite as good the approval of a discerning 5-year-old.
These simple appliqué t-shirts can be made for children of any age, using either a new, inexpensive tee or an older one in need of a quick makeover. The details are made from scraps of fabric and felt in colours of your choice, and the very basic stitches make it a perfect project for beginners. Older children should be able to give it a go with minimum supervision (and maybe have fun adding their own extra details) while younger ones will need a little more help, but will hopefully learn some great new skills.
The idea can also be adapted to work on other items, e.g. jeans, jackets, bags, hats, cushions, etc.. and if you have something in your own wardrobe that needs a quick update, there's no reason you can't join in with the stitching, too.
YOU WILL NEED:
Scraps of fabric and/or felt
Fusible webbing (e.g. BondaWeb, Heat'n'Bond, WonderUnder)
Iron and ironing board
Erasable fabric pen (optional)
Buttons (for flower appliqué only)
STEP-BY-STEP | Pirate t-shirt
:: Print out the pirate templates (skull, bones and eyepatch) and then trace onto the paper side of fusible webbing. Roughly cut out each piece of webbing, leaving a small border outside your drawn outlines.
:: Iron the three pieces onto the reverse of your chosen fabrics. I used a different print for each one, but you might prefer to have matching skull and crossbones with just the eyepatch in a contrasting print or colour.
:: Cut out the three pieces, snipping through fabric and webbing, and this time following the drawn outlines precisely. (Don't worry if 'precise' is tricky for little hands - neatness isn't the primary objective here, and the templates are pretty forgiving).
:: Peel the paper backing off each shape and position on your t-shirt. Once you're happy with the way they look, carefully iron to fix in place.
:: Take a length of embroidery thread in a shade to match the skull fabric, and separate it so you're only stitching with 2 or 3 of the six strands (this makes it much easier for beginners to handle and also gives a smoother, flatter finish). Knot the end and start sewing simple running stitches around the outside edge of the skull. They can be as neat or as messy as you like (or can manage!). If you run out of thread, secure the end at the back of your work, and carry on stitching with a new piece.
:: Sew around the outside of the eye socket, the nose, the crossed bones and the curved part of the eye patch in the same way.
:: Using pencil (which will wash out later) or an erasable fabric marker, draw a line diagonally across the head to mark a 'strap' for the eye patch. Draw a curved line at the bottom of the skull to mark the mouth.
:: Sew along the strap line, using backstitch. (I used the full six strands of thread for this to create a slightly thicker line, but it would work just as well with 2 or 3 if you find that easier).
:: Sew along the mouth line, again using backstitch. Add some big single stitches going across the mouth line at random intervals.
:: Run the iron over your finished applique one more time, and it's then ready to wear.
:: Print out the flower templates (petals, centres and leaves) and then trace onto the paper side of fusible webbing. Roughly cut out each piece of webbing, leaving a small border outside your drawn outlines.
:: Iron the pieces onto the reverse of your chosen fabrics. I made two totally different flowers, but you might prefer to go for a matching pair.
:: Cut out all pieces, snipping through fabric and webbing, and this time following the drawn outlines precisely. (Don't worry if 'precise' is tricky for little hands - neatness isn't the primary objective here, and the templates are pretty forgiving).
:: Peel the paper backing off the petal and centre pieces and position on your t-shirt (set the leaves aside for now). Once you're happy with the way they look, carefully iron to fix in place.
:: Take a length of embroidery thread in a contrasting colour, and separate it so you're only stitching with 2 or 3 of the six strands (this makes it much easier for beginners to handle and also gives a smoother, flatter finish). Knot the end and start sewing simple running stitches across the flower petals and in towards the centre. The stitches can be as neat or as messy as you like (or can manage!). If you run out of thread, secure the end at the back of your work, and carry on stitching with a new piece.
:: When you've stitched across all of the petals, sew a button in the centre of each flower.
:: Using pencil (which will wash out later) or an erasable fabric marker, draw a a straight line beneath each flower as a stem.
:: Sew along each stem, using backstitch. (I used four strands of thread for this to create a slightly thicker line, but it would work just as well with 2 or 3, as before).
:: Peel the paper backing off the leaf pieces you cut out earlier and position them along the stem. You can add as many or as few leaves as you like. Iron into place, and then sew along the centre of each one, using running stitch again.
:: Iron your finished applique one more time, and it's ready to wear.
If you're a parent, you know how this goes, but please obviously ensure children are supervised and very careful when using sharp scissors, needles and most especially a hot iron. If in any doubt, you might prefer to do the cutting out and ironing stages yourself.
:: Appliqué is the perfect way to cover up stains or marks on clothing which no amount of washing will get rid of (marker-pen, bleach, etc..), and can also be used to disguise small holes or rips.
:: Don't forget, girls can be pirates, too! Choose pretty floral patterns or softer colours to give the template a more feminine look, and try stitching a bow to the top of the skull as a cute finishing touch. Similarly, fabric and stitching projects aren't just for girls - basic sewing skills are useful for boys too, and a fun pirate-themed project like this could be just the thing to change their mind about what is often perceived as a girls-only activity.
:: If you're not an especially confident stitcher yourself, or need to refresh your skills, you can find a step-by-step guide to the basics over at one of my favourite blogs, Wild Olive. The post on starting/strands and this one on running/backstitch will probably be the most useful, and the guide also includes alternative instructions for left-handers.
:: The templates and ideas here are really just a starting point. You can apply the same basic principles to all sorts of different pictures and shapes. Start by sketching out your idea, trying to keep details relatively simple, and then break it down into component parts. Trace each one onto fusible webbing, and apply as described above. If you're not confident about drawing your own designs, search online for suitable clip-art images or find simple, traceable pictures in your child's favourite colouring book.
When it comes to plagiarising, there's nothing quite like ripping off your own projects. I say 'ripping off', but it's probably more like following one of my own tutorials. I don't very often do this - new stuff is good, right? - but sometimes lazy needs must.
Very pretty but slightly plain cardigan + templates from this tutorial = happy present for a friend's little girl.
Our sofa is just the right side of thirty to get away with it.