Monday, March 12, 2018

Featured Posts: St. Patrick's Day Crafts

St. Patrick's Day Welcome Cards

Happy St. Patrick's Day week! As you may have read in my blog last  week, I'm taking a break from creating new posts for a while. (My needlework endeavors have been keeping really busy, and that's a good thing!) Instead, I'm going to feature favorite posts from the past that new followers may have missed.

Last week, I shared two Irish cross-stitch projects. This week, I'm featuring two Irish-themed designs: St. Patrick's Day welcome cards and felt Celtic pins. Click the link below each photo to visit the original post.

Felt Celtic Pins

Thanks for visiting--and for your patience while I take the next steps in my crafting journey. Please visit again next week, when I'll be featuring another of my favorite posts.

Monday, March 5, 2018

Featured Posts: Cross-Stitch for St. Patrick's Day

Cross-Stitched Irish Flag

My needlework endeavors have been keeping me really busy lately, and that's a good thing! I've been working on new cross-stitch and WoolFelt designs, and I've also rediscovered my love of crochet. In fact, crochet has become quite of an obsession. Luckily, that my crochet addiction is paying off. Several of my designs have been published, and more are scheduled for upcoming issues of my favorite crochet magazines.

As my schedule has filled up with designing and stitching, I've had less time for blogging. (If you're a regular reader, you may have noticed I've been posting less frequently.) While I'm going through this time of transition, I've decided to take a break from creating new posts for a while. Instead, I'm going to feature favorite posts from the past that new followers may have missed.

This week, I'm featuring two cross-stitch designs for St. Patrick's Day--an Irish flag picture, and shamrock and thistle pins. Click on the link below each photo to visit the original post, which features a link to a downloadable chart.

Thanks for visiting--and for your patience while I take the next steps in my crafting journey. Please visit again next week, when I'll be featuring two more St. Patrick's Day projects from my blog archive. 

Shamrock & Thistle Cross-Stitch Pins

Monday, February 19, 2018

Fly Away Home Pillow

It snowed here again last night, so I'm in the mood for a spring project. This pillow's bright colors and prints are just what I need--and how cute is that little ladybug? I like this design because it combines three of my favorite needlework skills: fabric piecing, felt applique, and embroidery.  Here's a list of thematerials I used:
  • Cotton fabrics: Green print -- one 3 1/2" x 12" piece and one 2 1/2" x 9 1/2" piece; black/white chevron, two 2 1/2 x 9 1/2" pieces; red polka dot, red/white floral, and white -- one 2 1/2 x 9 1/2" piece each.
  • DMC Embroidery Floss: 310 Black, 321 Christmas Red, 699 Very Dark Kelly Green, 906 Parrot Green, and 907 Light Parrot Green
  • Six 1/4"-diameter black buttons
  • Polyester fiberfill
The first step is sewing the strips of fabric together to make the pillow front. Follow the diagram shown on the right and use 1/4" seam allowance to sew the horizontal strips together. When all six strips are piece together, sew the remaining wide green strip to the side as shown.

The next step is embroidering the "fly away home" script onto the white strip. Print out the pattern at the bottom of the page to the desired size and use a fabric marking pen to trace the script on the white fabric. Use three strands of red floss and backstitch to embroider the script onto the fabric.

For the appliques, use the patterns at the bottom of the page to cut two leaves (mine are about 4 1/2" long)  from the Magical Forest felt, one leaf from Chartreuse, one ladybug head from Black, and one ladybug body from Bright Red. Embroider curved veins on the leaves with backstitch. Sew the buttons onto the ladybug body, and whipstitch the head to the body with black floss. Arrange the appliques on the pillow front, stuff them lightly with fiberfill, and pin them in place. Sew the pieces in place with coordinating floss and backstitch.

When the appliques are finished, add center veins on the leaves and a center line on the ladybug's body. Stitch right through the fiberfill and the pillow fabric to create extra dimension.

Now you can use your embroidery skills to embellish the design anyway you like. I added black backstitch antennae to the ladybug and whipstitches around the leaves to gives them extra texture. For the twisty vines, I used different shades of green floss and a combination of backstitch and long-and-short stitch.

To make this sweet little design into a pillow, cut a piece of backing fabric (I used solid green) the same size as the pillow front. Sew the two pieces together, right sides facing, leaving an opening for turning. Clip the corners, turn the pillow to the right side, and fill it with a pillow form or fiberfill. Sew the opening closed and you have a cheery pillow that's sure to chase the winter blues away.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Tutorial: Cutting Felt Shapes with Freezer Paper

I fell in love with WoolFelt a few years ago. To be clear, I'm not talking about the sheets of acrylic felt that you can find at at most craft stores. I mean wool-blend felt that's made from natural fibers. I get my WoolFelt from National Nonwovens. It comes in dozens of gorgeous colors. When you cut patterns from it, the edges are sharp--not fuzzy, like acrylic felt.

But how do you transfer patterns to WoolFelt? Fabric markers and pencils aren't very compatible with the felt's texture, but freezer paper works like magic! You might have a roll in your kitchen right now. If not, you can buy a huge roll at the grocery store for just a few dollars. It's become an essential item in my craft room.

To use the freezer paper method for cutting shapes from WoolFelt, draw or print your patterns onto heavy paper or cardboard. Cut them out and then trace them onto the matte side of the freezer paper.

Next, place the freezer paper patterns shiny side down over a piece of WoolFelt. Press the freezer paper with a hot, dry iron for a few seconds until the paper adheres to the felt. (Reminder--this method is for use with wool felt only. Acrylic fibers and hot irons don't always play well together.)

Let the fused felt and paper pieces cool for a few minutes, and then use a sharp scissors to cut the shapes out. That's it--just cut right through the paper and felt. Now comes the fun part. Peel the freezer paper away from the felt pieces gently to reveal the shapes you've made. Don't you love those crisp, clean edges? And here's a bonus tip: you can reuse your freezer paper shapes several times.

I hope you've found this little tutorial helpful. Now I've got to make some more felt hearts--Valentine's Day is just two days away!