Monday, August 31, 2015

Sunflower Mini Hoop

It's sunflower season! And since I don't have any of those giant yellow flowers growing in my garden this year, I made this mini version to hang in my house. The hoop is just 3 1/4-inches in diameter, so the whole project took just minutes to stitch.

For the background fabric, I used a small-scale green floral print and mounted it securely in the hoop. To make the applique, I cut a 2 1/4-inch diameter sunflower from yellow wool-blend felt and a 7/8-inch diameter flower center from brown felt. I used bright yellow floss and running stitch to sew the sunflower to the center of the background fabric. Next, I sewed the brown circle to the center of the flower with brown floss and running stitch.

The petals of real sunflowers are pretty, but I think the texture of the seeds in the flower centers is beautiful too. To add some fun texture to my mini sunflower, I sewed tiny 1/4-inch brown buttons to the center with ecru floss. 

To finish my hoop, I trimmed the background fabric to about 1/2 inch from the edge of the hoop. I then basted around the circle about 1/8 inch from the edge, pulled the ends of the thread tight to gather the edges, and secured it with a knot. That was easy, wasn't it? It's going to look so cute hanging in my kitchen.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Crocheted Bangle Bracelets

I hang on to a lot of odds and ends that "I'm going to use someday." Jewelry that's broken--or just worn out and tired--is one of my favorite crafting supplies. When I found a pair of plain black plastic bangle bracelets in a jewelry box, I decided they were in need of a makeover. To transform the bangles from boring to beautiful, I just grabbed a skein of metallic embroidery floss and a crochet hook. 

I used a size E hook to crochet around the bangles with the DMC Light Effects floss, which can be tricky to work with. (Its six strands don't always like to stay together.) To begin, wrap the end of the floss around one of the bangles a few times and then started working in single crochet. Just stitch through the center of the bangle as if you were working through a crochet stitch. Cover the starting end of the embroidery floss as you work around the bangle to secure it. 

As you crochet, place the stitches close together so they cover the bracelet completely. When the stitching is finished, cut the floss and knot the last stitch closed. Use a large-eyed needle to conceal the floss ends under the stitches. 

I used DMC Light Effects E168 (silver) to make these bracelets, which I think could be worn in any season. Light Effects comes in all sorts of metallic and pearlescent colors, so I think I'll be looking for more boring bangles that need a facelift. 

Monday, August 17, 2015

Busy Bees Cross-Stitch Pin

School may be just a few weeks away, but summer is still in full swing in my garden. The herbs are still growing, the pumpkins have a long way to go, and bees are buzzing around the flowers that are still blooming. I've always liked bees as a design motif, so I stitched up a pin that features five tiny bees buzzing inside a bee skep.

The design uses 18-count antique white Aida and just three colors of DMC floss. You can follow the chart below, or click here to download a free printable chart.

I mounted the finished embroidery in a pin setting from the Etsy shop Kailea, but you can also use another setting.

Busy Bees Cross-Stitch   ©2015 Kathleen Berlew

This Bee Pin was featured in the Fall 2014 issue of CraftIdeas magazine. I'll be sharing instructions and a downloadable chart for the coordinating Acorn pin in one of next month's blog posts, so be sure to come back!

Friday, August 14, 2015

See My Design in "Cross-Stitch & Needlework" Magazine

The Fall 2015 issue of "Cross-Stitch & Needlework" magazine is out, and my Falling Leaves picture is featured inside! Look for the issue on newsstands--it has lots of pretty autumn and Halloween designs.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Knitted Summer Cowl

Believe it or not, I sometimes accumulate more embroidery floss than I can use in my cross-stitch projects. Through flea market purchases and generous donations from family members who are familiar with my embroidery floss habit, I recently ended up with about two dozen skeins of different shades of green. I decided to wind them into a ball--tying the ends together as I went--so I could knit the floss instead of stitching with it. The end result is this lightweight summer cowl, which reminds me of lacy seaweed and fishnets.

To give the knitted fabric an airy feel, I used large needles (size 9). I'm typically a tight knitter, so maintaining a loose gauge was the biggest challenge for me. You can make your scarf or cowl any size you like, but for this one, I began by casting on 55 stitches.

I then just worked in garter stitch, knitting every row. This gave the fabric an interesting texture and kept the edges from curling. When the knitting was about 28" long--and I was almost at the end of my ball of floss--I bound off, sewed the two short edges of the cowl together, and wove in all of the loose threads. (There were many!)

This was such a relaxing projects. After casting on, I didn't have to count or think about changing stitches--just knit, knit, knit! I love the combination of greens--sage, chartreuse, seafoam, spruce--but I would love to make another one in different shades--maybe blues, oranges, browns. Time to start building up my floss stash again!

Friday, August 7, 2015

My Design Featured in "Stitch Parties" eBook

My Summer Party Banner was featured in the Stitch Parties ebook! This fun book also contains twelve other party projects to sew--wearables, accessories, home decor, and decorations. You can order a copy here at the Interweave store.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

My Projects Featured in "American Patchwork & Quilting"

My Log and Leaf Sachets are featured in the October 2015 issue of American Patchwork & Quilting magazine! See my projects, as well as other featured projects from this issue, here:

Used with permission from American Patchwork & Quilting® magazine. ©2015 Meredith Corporation. All rights reserved.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Flowery Fabric Pendant

As you probably know if you follow my blog, I'm a bit of a cross-stitch fanatic. But I also love embroidery. To make this pretty pendant, I used a piece of flowery fabric as a guide instead of drawing my own design. I love the way it came out, so I'm probably going to be making a lot more of these.

I started with this small-scale flowery fabric and a pendant setting from the Etsy shop Kailea. I used a fabric marking pen to trace around the frame of the setting so I would know which portion of the design to stitch. 

Then I just popped the fabric in a small embroidery hoop and used three strands of matching floss and backstitch to outline the flowers. I added tiny glass beads to accent the flower centers.

When I was happy with the finished design, I removed the fabric marker lines and mounted it in pendant setting. Small prints definitely work best for this project, so I'll be searching my stash for more fabrics to embroider.