Monday, September 28, 2015

Acorn Treat Bag

If you read my blog regularly, you've probably figured out that I have a bit of an acorn obsession. I have acorn jewelry, acorn pot-holders, and acorn ornaments, and I keep a bowl of real acorns in my living room. And yes, I make lots of acorn craft projects. The acorn treat bag I'm sharing here is made from felt and buttons. It originally appeared on Crafts 'n Things (now Craft Ideas) magazine's website.

To make your own acorn bag, you'll need brown, gold, and olive green felt; embroidery floss; and lots of fall-colored buttons (about 3/8" to 1" diameter). Click here to download the pattern and cut out the following pieces: two acorns and one leaf from gold felt, four caps from brown felt, one leaf from olive green felt. Also cut two 2" x 6 1/2" side pieces from gold felt and one 1 1/4" x 11" handle piece from brown felt.

Before we get started, the best tip I can give you is to refer to the photo as you work through the directions. The construction of the bag is much easier than it might seem in these directions--I promise!

The first step is sewing the buttons to two of the acorn caps. Use two strands of embroidery floss and fit the buttons close together as you sew. Be sure to keep the buttons about 1/8" from the felt edges so you have room to sew the pieces together later.

When two of the caps are covered with buttons, pin each cap to one of the plain cap pieces and sew them together with brown floss and running stitch along the curved edge. Tuck 1/2 " of the straight edge of one of the gold acorn pieces between the straight edges of the cap pieces. Sew the bottom edge of the caps together with running stitch, sewing through the gold acorn piece. Assemble the other cap pieces and the gold acorn piece the same way.

Now use running stitch to sew the long edges of the rectangular acorn side pieces to the sides of one the acorn/cap pieces. Attach the other acorn/cap piece to the side pieces the same way. When the acorn sides are sewn in place, sew the short edge of the side pieces together at the point of the acorn. Make a line of running stitch along the top edge of the acorn side pieces, and then sew a button to each acorn tip. 

To make the handle, fold the handle piece in half lengthwise and sew the edges closed with running stitch. Sew the handle to the inside of the bag at the top of the cap. Sew a button on the outside of the handle a few inches from where it attaches to the cap.

Embroider running-stitch details on the leaf pieces, and then sew the two leaf pieces together with running stitch. Make a small embroidery floss loop at the stem end of the leaf and hang the leaf from the button on the handle.

If you followed those rather wordy directions, your acorn bag is finished! I think it would make a cute Halloween treat bag for kids--or a mini fall tote for an acorn-obsessed grownup.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Crocheted Alpaca Bracelets

Last Christmas, I knitted a shawl for my sister from baby alpaca yarn. I loved working with the alpaca--it was so soft and luxurious--so I was thrilled when I ended up with a little ball for myself when the shawl was finished. I challenged myself to come up with a project that used the yarn, and after some trial and error, I finally came up with these crocheted bracelets.

You can adapt these designs to any leftover yarn from your stash. Just pick up your favorite crochet hook and follow the simple (and I mean simple) patterns below.

Textured Bracelet

Chain 6 and slip stitch in first stitch for form a ring. Single crochet in each chain, and then work in rounds, making a single crochet through the back loop only of each single crochet. After a few rounds, you'll begin to see a ridged, spiral pattern emerge. Continue working in the single crochet pattern until the length of your crocheted tube fits loosely around your wrist. (You want to be able to slip it over your hand, but not have it so loose that it falls off.) When the tube reaches your desired length, fasten off and cut the yarn, leaving a tail that's a few inches long. Use a large-eyed tapestry needle to sew the two ends of the tube together. Weave in the loose ends and your bangle is finished.

Flat Bracelet

Make a length of chain stitch that fits loosely around your wrist. Slip stitch in the first stitch to form a large ring. Slip stitch in each chain stitch around. Continue working in rounds, slip-stitching in each stitch. Make as many rounds as you like. My bangle is about 3/4 inches wide. (I would have made it wider, but I reached the end of my precious ball of baby alpaca.) To finish, fasten off the cut the yarn. Use a tapestry needle to weave in the ends. Bangle two complete!

These bracelets are fun to wear--they're so soft! I'm going to try this with some of my other leftover yarn.  

Monday, September 14, 2015

Acorn and Crow Cross-Stitch Pin

Last month, I featured my Busy Bees Cross-Stitch Pin on my blog. Today--as promised--I'm sharing my Acorn and Crow pin. This design started out as a cute but plain acorn, and then I thought--why don't I hide a little crow inside? I don't often use half- or quarter-stitches in my designs, but I used them here to keep the crow from looking too boxy.

Like the bee pin, this design uses 18-count antique white Aida and three colors of DMC floss--310 Black, 420 Dark Hazlenut Brown, and 3820 Dark Straw. You can use the chart below, or click here to download a free printable chart.

Acorn and Crow Cross-Stitch   ©2015 Kathleen Berlew

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

This pin was featured in the Fall 2014 issue Craft Ideas magazine.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Squirrel and Crow Napkin Ties

Even though autumn doesn't officially for a few more weeks, today--Labor Day--marks the unofficial end of summer. The weather will stay warm for a while, but the cool mornings of fall have arrived--and that's good news for me. Fall is my favorite season, so I'm looking forward to stitching up lots of squirrels, acorns, pumpkins, and colorful leaves.

The first projects on my autumn agenda are these cute napkin ties. The little squirrel and crow are super simple to stitch from wool-blend felt. 

To make the squirrel napkin tie, draw a simple squirrel shape (mine is about 2 1/2" tall) on white paper. Use the pattern to cut two squirrels from gray felt. On one of the squirrels, use two strands of light and dark gray embroidery floss to make straight stitch details on the tail and ears. Sew a black seed bead on the face for the eye. Pin the embroidered squirrel to the plain one, and sew the pieces together. I used light gray floss and whipstitch on the tail portion and darker gray floss and running stitch for the rest of the squirrel.

To make the crow, draw a bird shape (also about 2 1/2" tall) on white paper, and use the pattern to cut two crows from black felt. Cut a small triangle from orange felt for the beak and sew it in place on one of the crow bodies with two strands of orange embroidery floss. With black floss, add straight stitch details on the body to define the wings. Sew a white seed bead in place for the eye. Use black floss and running stitch to sew the two crow body pieces together.

When your felt squirrel and crow are finished, sew them to lengths of ribbon, stitching only through the back layer of felt. I used black and cream gingham ribbon that's been hanging out in my supply stash.

That's it! Aren't they cute? Make a bunch of squirrel and crow napkin ties and you're ready for your first fall gathering.