Monday, January 15, 2018

Winter Blues Felt Baskets

Winter can get a bit gloomy, but I find that a snowy palette of pale blues and whites can be very calming. These little baskets translate the colors of winter into felt and embroidery floss. One features an embroidered branch embellished appliqued leaves and pearl "berries"; glass beads accent the windy embroidered swirls on the other. (The large basket is 3 inches diameter, 2 3/4 inches high; the small basket is 2 1/4-inches in diameter, 2 1/4 inches high.)

This project was originally published in Craft Ideas magazine, which sadly ceased publication next year. You can still click here to get the on the magazine's website. The directions follow below. (They're more involved than most of my blog project how-tos, so please bear with the step-by-step format.)

You'll need:

NationalNonwovens WoolFelt: two 9" x 12" sheets White, one 9" x 12" sheet Alluring Aqua, one 6" x 9" sheet Blue Snow

DMC 6-Strand Embroidery Floss: 747 Very Light Sky Blue, 3756 Ultra Very Light Baby Blue, 3766 Light Peacock Blue, White

Ten 1/8"-diameter pearl beads

Eight glass seed beads

Tools and Supplies: scissors, white tissue paper, fine-tip marking pen, straight pins, sewing needle, ¼" hole punch, tweezers.

Cut Felt:

Use the patterns (see link above) to cut the following shapes from WoolFelt:
White: 1 large basket middle band, 1 large basket inner band, 1 large basket base, 1 small basket middle band, 1 small basket inner band, 1 small basket base, 6 leaf. Use hole punch to cut 6 circles from white.
Alluring Aqua: 1 large basket outer band, 1 large basket base inset
Blue Snow: 1 small basket outer band, 1 small basket inset, 6 leaf from light blue.

Embroider and Embellish:

Trace the large basket stitching diagram onto the white tissue paper with the fine-point marker. Pin the tracing to the large basket outer band and embroider the branches as indicated by the dash lines with White embroidery floss and split stitch, sewing through the tissue paper. (The leaf stems will be added later.) When the branches are embroidered, carefully tear the tissue paper away from the stitching. Use tweezers to remove small pieces, if necessary.

Using the large basket stitching diagram as a guide, position the White and Blue Snow leaves along the branches and sew split stitch stems and center veins with white embroidery floss to hold leaves in place. Sew pearl beads along branches as indicated on the diagram.

Trace the small basket stitching diagram onto the white tissue paper with the marker. Pin the tracing to the small basket outer band and embroider swirls as indicated by dotted lines with Sky Blue embroidery floss and split stitch, sewing through the tissue paper. Use White floss and split stitch to embroider along the dash lines. Tear away tissue paper as above.

Referring to the diagram as a guide, position Wite felt circles on the design and sew them in place with White embroidery floss and straight stitches, working from the center of each circle. Sew seed beads in place.


To assemble the large basket, pin the large basket base inset, centered, on the large basket base. Sew along the outer edge of the inset with White embroidery floss and running stitch. Fold the large basket middle band in half widthwise and sew the short edges together with White embroidery floss, 1/8" from edge. Fold the large basket inner band in half widthwise and sew the short edges together in the same way.

Next, turn the large basket inner band so the wrong side faces inside and pin the base to one end of the tube with inset facing out. Sew the base to the band 1/8" from the edge with White embroidery floss and running stitch. When you've finished sewing, turn the basket so the inset is at the inside bottom and the side seam is on outside.

Turn the large basket middle band so the wrong side faces inside. Position the embroidered large basket outer band around the middle band. (The middle band should extend 1/8" beyond both long edges of the outer band.) Pin the outer band in place, easing the fabric so the short edges of the outer band abut. Use Light Peacock Blue embroidery floss and running stitch to sew the outer band to the middle band along the long edges of the outer band. Sew over the seam where the edges of outer band meet with closely spaced straight stitches and Light Peacock Blue embroidery floss.

Slip the middle band/outer band over the inner band so the top edges of the inner band and middle band align. Sew pieces together with White embroidery floss along top edge.

To assemble the small basket, follow the steps above, using Light Baby Blue floss to sew the small basket outer band to the middle band.

Monday, January 1, 2018

Crafty New Year!

It's hard to believe 2017 has come to an end. What a crafty year it's been! I shared a bunch of needlework projects here on the blog. (Here's a peek at some of my favorites--I hope you enjoyed them!) I continued to pursue my passion for cross-stitch and hand sewing, and was fortunate enough to have some of my designs published in Just CrossStitch, Quilts and More, Make It Yourself, and Craft Ideas magazines. Back in the summer I had a great time when the editors at American Patchwork and Quilting invited me to take over the APQ Instagram for a weekend. Probably the biggest thrill of the year was being interviewed by Pat Sloan on the APQ Quilting Podcast.

As a needlework designer, I'm always looking for something new to try. In 2017, I tried something old and rediscovered my love of crochet. One of my designs was featured in Crochet! Winter Warmers. Some of my other crochet creations are scheduled for 2018 issues of other magazines. I'll keep you posted.

I'm looking forward to see what the new year holds. I think my biggest challenge of 2018 will be finding the time to make all of the cross-stitch, crochet, and hand-sewn felt designs that are bouncing around in my brain. I hope you'll continue to follow my crafting adventures in 2018. Happy Crafty New Year, everyone! I appreciate your interest and support more than you'll ever know.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Mistletoe Garland Scarf

Is it a scarf? Is it garland? Yes! You can use this easy-to-crochet strand of mistletoe to deck the halls--or to deck yourself out for the holidays. It's worked entirely in chain stitch, slip stitch, and single crochet, so it's a super simple project for crocheters of all skill levels. The pom-poms are tied on when the stitching is finished. I used two skeins of Vanna's Choice yarn from Lion Brand in Kelly Green, one skein of Simply Soft Party yarn from Caron in Snow Sparkle, a size I/9 crochet hook, and a 1 3/8-inch pom-pom maker from Clover.

The extra-long scarf (mine has a length of about 80 inches) is constructed of chain-stitch loops worked on the top and bottom of a chain-stitch base. To begin, chain 250 with the green yarn.

Row 1: Single crochet in the 20th chain from hook, (chain 16, single crochet in the next stitch) across, ending with a single crochet in the last stitch.

Row 2: Turn work upside. Chain 20, single crochet in the base of first stitch, (chain 16, single crochet in the next stitch) across, ending with a slip stitch in the base of the last stitch. Fasten off.

For the "berries," make 18 pom-poms from the white yarn and tie them to the scarf in an arrangement you like. To finish, weave in any yarn ends.

Ta-da! Your mistletoe garland is ready to wear or display. If you'd prefer to make a holly garland, swap the Kelly green yarn for a darker shade and use bright red yarn instead of white. (I've really got to make one of those myself!)

I'll be taking a break from the blog next week to spend some quality Christmas time with my family. Hope you all are doing the same!

Monday, December 11, 2017

Festive Leaf and Berry Pillow

What's your favorite Christmas color scheme? I like so many, I can't settle on just one, so I use different combinations in different rooms. In the living room, where I display the tree, I go traditional with colors from the forest and nature. The kitchen, which has become the "Santa" room, is decked out in bright reds with pops of blue and other accent colors. In our very casual dining room, I decorate with cool grays, crisp white, silver, and sparkles.

This festive pillow puts a fun twist on the traditional red-and-green holiday combination. It was originally featured in a holiday issue of Craft Ideas magazine. Click here to visit the instructions page on their website. Here's a list of the materials I used: National Nonwovens WoolFelt in Magical Forest 0779, Chartreuse 0715, Spring Tickle 0728, and Red 0923; DMC Six-Strand Embroidery Floss in Bright Christmas Red 666, Bright Chartreuse 704, and Medium Parrot Green 906; green cotton print fabric; red baby rickrack; and a 14-inch pillow form.

I love the bold contrast between the red and the light greens--it definitely makes this pillow merry and bright. If this palette doesn't suit your holiday style, switch up the colors to create a pillow that matches your own Christmas color scheme. Happy holiday stitching!