Monday, July 17, 2017

Seashell Hoop Picture


I haven't been to the beach yet this summer, but I do have lots of shells around the house to put me in a seaside state of mind. I also like to create beach-inspired needlework designs, like this scallop shell hoop art. The materials and skills required for this project are minimal. You'll need tan felt, embroidery floss, background fabric, a bit of fiberfill, and an embroidery hoop, of course. If you can hand-sew and use scissors, you can follow these easy instructions.


First, print out the scallop shell pattern to the size you like. Next, cut the seashell shape from felt (I used WoolFelt from National Nonwovens in champagne). 

Trace the pattern and the inner lines onto a piece of white tissue paper and pin it over the felt shell. Using two strands of embroidery floss and split stitch, follow the lines on the pattern, stitching through the tissue paper and felt. I used DMC six-strand embroidery floss in light tan (437) and very light desert sand (3774), but you can use any colors that complement your felt. 

When the embroidery is complete, gently gear away the tissue paper to reveal your stitching. You may have to use tweezers or a needle to coax every bit of paper out of the stitches. 


Now it's applique time! Place your background fabric in the embroidery hoop and secure it firmly. Position the embroidered shell in the center and sew it in place, using small applique stitches and stuffing the shell lightly with fiberfill as you go.


Trim the fabric and finish the back of the hoop as desired, and your seashell hoop art is ready for hanging.


Monday, July 3, 2017

Red, White & Blue Roundup

Happy Fourth of July week, everyone! Like many of you, I'm in party mode this week. So while I'm busy cooking up some treats for my family's Independence Day gatherings, I thought I'd round up some previous blog projects that celebrate the Red, White, and Blue. Click on the title of each project to visit its original blog post. Until next time, have a safe and sunny week!

Seaside Stars & Stripes Cross-Stitch


Fourth of July Napkin Ties
Red, White & Blue Op-Art Pin
Pom-Pom Flip-Flops and Necklace
Red, White & Blue Beanbags






Monday, June 26, 2017

Thank You, "Craft Ideas" Magazine


The Summer issue of Craft Ideas magazine just came out, and I'm so happy to see two of my projects featured inside. The pool bag, above, is crocheted in bright colors of easy-care acrylic yarn. You can use it at the pool or beach to hold sunscreen and other essentials, then toss it in the washing machine. The vintage TV photo frame, below, is sewn from wool-blend felt. I used buttons for the control "knobs" and a vinyl sleeve for the screen,which holds a 3" by 5" photo. Look for the issue on your newsstand for complete instructions for these and many other summery projects.


I'm sorry to say that I also have some sad news to report today. The Summer issue is the final issue of Craft Ideas. Formerly known as Crafts 'n Things, the magazine has been in publication since 1975. In those years, Craft Ideas has been a great source for all sorts of craft projects, from sewing and embroidery to painting and jewelry making. (Click here to read the official message from chief editor Molly Goad.) It was an honor to work with the magazine's editors and see some of my designs published on its pages over the past few years. Thank you, Craft Ideas! You will be missed.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Animal Crackers in My Soup Pillow


Does anyone else remember the song Animal Crackers in My Soup? It's very old, but still very sweet. It got stuck in my head somehow a few months ago and inspired me to make this pillow. It's sewn from blue gingham and red polka-dot fabrics and appliqued with lion, tiger, and elephant animal crackers swimming in a bowl of swirly tomato soup.

This project is a bit more complicated than most of my blog posts, so I'm going to explain it in step-by-step instructions.

You'll need:
National Nonwovens WoolFelt: Angel Wings, Strawberry Dream, Champagne
Fabrics: Blue gingham, red polka dot

DMC Embroidery floss: 309 Dark Rose, 422 Light Hazelnut Brown, 702 Kelly Green, 726 Light Topaz, 793 Medium Cornflower Blue, B5200 Snow White

Sewing threads to match fabrics
White baby rickrack
White tissue paper, sewing needle, straight pins
Polyester fiberfill 

Download and print patterns here.

Note: Use 2 strands of floss for embroidery

Cut fabrics:
From Angel Wings WoolFelt: one soup bowl (cut away shaded part indicated on pattern)
From Strawberry Dreams WoolFelt: one soup
From Champagne WoolFelt: one each lion, tiger, elephant
From blue gingham fabric: 11 1/2" square for front, 14" square for back
From red polka-dot fabric: two 14" by 1 3/4" strips; two 11 1/2" by 1 3/4" strips
Cut four 11 1/2" pieces of rickrack


1. Trace the swirly soup pattern onto tissue paper and pin it to the red soup piece. Backstitch along the swirl lines with Dark Rose embroidery floss, stitching through the tissue. When the stitching is complete, gently tear away the tissue paper, using tweezers if necessary. Arrange the animals on the soup and whipstitch them in place with Hazelnut floss. Embroider the details shown on the pattern with Hazelnut floss.


2. Trace lettering and flowers from the soup bowl pattern onto tissue paper and pin the tissue paper over the Angel Wings felt soup bowl. Backstitch the lettering with Cornflower Blue floss. Embroider the flowers with Dark Rose floss and lazy daisy stitch; embroider the leaves with Kelly Green floss and lazy daisy stitches. Add topaz satin stitch centers to each flower.

3. Pin the red soup to the center of the 11 1/2" gingham square and sew it in place along outer edge with running stitch and Dark Rose floss. Pin the soup bowl over the soup and sew around its outer and inner edges with backstitch and Kelly Green floss.

4. Pin the rickrack strips to the gingham square about 1" from each outer edge, as shown on the diagram below. Sew it in place with Snow White floss.

5. Sew a short red polka-dot strip to each side edge of the appliqued gingham square with 1/4" seam allowance. Sew a long polka-dot strip to the top and bottom edges of the gingham piece. Pin the finished pillow front to the 14" gingham square and sew the pieces together with 1/4" seam allowance. Leave an opening for turning. Clip the corner and turn the pillow right side out. Fill with fiberfill and whipstitch opening closed.

Congratulations--you've finished! I apologize if the Animal Crackers song is stuck in your head now too.
  

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Follow My @allpeoplequilt Instagram Takeover



Exciting news! The lovely people at All People Quilt (that's American Patchwork & Quilting, Quilts and More, and Quilt Sampler magazines) have invited me to take over the @allpeoplequilt Instagram account this weekend. I'll be sharing some of my favorite projects, works in progress, and a peek at my craft room. The takeover begins bright and early on Friday, June 2. Hope to see you there!

Monday, May 22, 2017

Red, White & Blue Beanbags


With Memorial Day just one week away, picnic season is upon us. Eating outdoors is my favorite summer activity. I've already pulled out my favorite warm-weather recipes, and I'm ready to dig into a new season of burgers and potato salad. To celebrate the holidays that mark summer's beginning, middle, and end--Memorial Day, Independence Day, and Labor Day--I designed this set of red, white, and blue beanbags. They're not only pretty; they're practical too! You can use them to hold your tablecloth, napkins, and paper plates in place on breezy days. You can arrange them in a basket to make a simple centerpiece. You can even use them in a beanbag toss game. (They are beanbags, after all.)

I used three cotton prints to make my beanbags: a blue swirl pattern, a red-and-white floral, and a red polka-dot fabric. They're embellished with red, white, and blue rickrack, and red-and-white gingham ribbon. You can, of course, use any ribbons or trims you have in your sewing stash. The instructions are quite straightforward, so I decided to explain the process with pictures, rather than words. To make each beanbag shown, just follow the corresponding diagram. Cut the fabric pieces to the sizes indicated. If you're going to add ribbon or rickrack, do so before you sew the pieces together. When it's time to sew, use a 1/4" seam allowance. 



When the beanbag fronts are finished, pin each to a 4 1/2" square of fabric in your desired print, right sides facing. Sew the pieces together, leaving an opening for turning, then fill the bag with dry rice (or another filler), and whipstitch closed.

Happy stitching--and happy picnic season!

Monday, May 15, 2017

Cross-Stitched Summer Cap


If you follow my blog, you know I'm a bit obsessed with cross-stitching. The only drawback is, cross-stitching has to be done on even-weave fabrics like Aida and linen. They provide a grid to guide you as you transfer a design from chart to fabric. So what do you do when you want to cross-stitch on an item that isn't made of even-weave? You use waste canvas! For this week's project I designed a cute gardening cap that doubles as a tutorial in using waste canvas.

I started with a pink cap that I bought at the dollar store and a 3" by 3" piece of pink felt from my stash. Next, I cut a 3" by 3" piece of waste canvas (I used 14-count Waste Canvas from Charles Craft), pinned it to the felt, and started stitching. If you want to give it a go, follow the Daisy chart below, using two strands of white and yellow embroidery floss. Cross-stitching on waste canvas fabric is just like stitching on Aida; the only difference is that you just stitch over the canvas threads and through the fabric (felt, in this case). When the stitching is complete, it's time to reveal the design.



This step requires a bit of patience, but it's worth it! Spray the surface of the waste canvas lightly with water and let it soak in a bit to loosen the canvas threads. Next, remove the threads of the waste canvas one by use, using tweezers to pull them out from under the cross-stitching. You can see my progress in the photos above. When you've removed all of the canvas threads, let the felt dry completely.

To finish the cap, cut the felt into a 2 1/2" circle with the daisy centered inside. I used matching pink thread to sew my daisy patch to the front of the cap. If you don't want to make a gardening cap, you can use your daisy to decorate anything you like. You can even use waste canvas to cross-stitch directly onto a shirt or a pair of jeans. I think I just got idea for another tutorial!

Daisy   ©2017 Kathleen Berlew


Monday, May 8, 2017

Appliqued Butterfly Picture


We try with varying success each year to attract butterflies to our garden. We suffered a setback a few years ago when our beautiful butterfly bush failed to survive an especially harsh winter. I designed this project so we can always have butterflies at our house, even if real ones don't find their way to our backyard. It hangs year-round in my craft room, but it would make a great gift for Mother's Day.

The butterfly wings are cut from WoolFelt from National Nonwovens (I used Mac 'n Cheese, Chartreuse, and Blue Bayou) and appliqued onto an even-weave background. The details are embroidered with DMC six-strand embroidery floss. I'm not gonna lie--this project requires some patience, especially the monarch butterfly. But it's totally worth the effort, don't you think?

This project was featured in the 2016 Garden issue of Craft Ideas  magazine. Click here to go to the patterns and instructions on the magazine's website.




Monday, May 1, 2017

Groovy Goldfish Beanbag Bookend


This cute little goldfish is my kind of pet. She requires no care, and she adds a splash of color to the shelf while she holds books in place. The word groovy may be betraying my age, but I think this design has a definite retro vibe. The neon color palette and gradient bubble pattern definitely deserve to be called groovy, don't you think? Plus it's a beanbag (filled with rice). You don't get much more retro than a beanbag.

This project requires two skills--cross-stitching and some simple sewing. I used 16-count Aida fabric and six-strand DMC embroidery floss (one of my favorite crafting supplies, as you know). The beanbag is assembled from another favorite crafting material--WoolFelt from National Nonwovens. The colors I used are Mac 'n Cheese and Sunburst.


This project was featured in the 2016 Summer issue of Craft Ideas magazine. Visit the project page here for a black-and-white chart and assembly instructions. If you'd like to download and print a color PDF chart, click here.

(Tip: As you can see from the photos here, the zigzag background is created with half cross-stitches. If you find the half cross-stitch symbols on the charts confusing, you can just refer to the photos.)


Tuesday, April 25, 2017

My Designs in Summer Magazines

I'm always happy to see spring arrive, but this April has been especially exciting. My designs are featured in four of my favorite needlework and craft magazines! Here's a preview of my projects. If you'd like to give any of them a try, you can find the issues on newsstands now.

From Quilts and More magazine: My Heartfelt Pillow is simple to sew from strips of pink and orange pink fabrics and sweet felt hearts. See my project, as well as other featured projects from this issue, here: www.alpeoplequilt.com/summer. 

Used with permission from Quilts and More™ magazine. ©2017 Meredith Corporation. All rights reserved.

Used with permission from Quilts and More™ magazine. ©2017 Meredith Corporation. All rights reserved.

From Make It Yourself magazine: Felt tomatoes, peaches, and cucumbers displayed in Mason jars. (I've never tried real canning, but I suspect I should stick to sewing my fruits and veggies.)

Used with permission from Make It Yourself™ magazine. ©2017 Meredith Corporation. All rights reserved.

Used with permission from Make It Yourself™ magazine. ©2017 Meredith Corporation. All rights reserved.

Used with permission from Make It Yourself™ magazine. ©2017 Meredith Corporation. All rights reserved.

You can find two of my cross-stitch projects in the June issue of Just CrossStitch magazine: a pair of Butterfly & Moth pendants, and a summery Flowers & Stripes Tote.



I love that Craft Ideas magazine publishes an annual Garden issue that's filled with all kinds of flowery and fruity projects. Here's a peek at my Crocheted Poppy Purse from this year's issue.


Don't the lemons and strawberries on the cover look yummy? I may have to make some time to crochet those too. Happy stitching, everyone!

Monday, April 17, 2017

Cross-Stitch Lavender Sachet


I just love making little pillows and filling them with lavender, pine, or potpourri. I'm not even going to guess how many sachet projects I've shared on my blog.  I designed this one to resemble a vintage French perfume package. It's filled with dried lavender buds, so it smells absolutely divine, and it's worked in cross-stitch, half-stitch, and back-stitch in just three shades of embroidery floss, so it's quite easy to make. Perfect for a Mother's Day present or a springtime gift for yourself, n'est-ce pas?

The sachet shown here was stitched on 18-count antique white Aida fabric, and it measures 5" by 7 1/2". If you prefer to work on 14-count Aida, your sachet will come out a little bigger (and will require more lavender buds). The lovely editors at Craft Ideas magazine featured this design in the Spring 2016 issue. You can click here to go to the instructions, chart, and key on the magazine's website. Bon stitching!


Monday, April 10, 2017

Pink Retro Telephone Pillow

©2017 Kathleen Berlew

The 1970s was a colorful decade of avocado appliances and pastel telephones. My family had white and beige wall and desk models in our house, but my grandmother had a pretty pink telephone on her nightstand that I absolutely loved. This little pillow is a tribute to that phone and to all things retro that have become cool again.

To make your own phone pillow, you'll need:
  • Pink retro print fabric, two 11 1/2" x 10" pieces
  • National Nonwovens WoolFelt®: Pink, Shocking Pink, White
  • Pink baby rickrack
  • Pink mini pompom fringe
  • DMC six-strand embroidery floss: 605 Very Light Cranberry, 818 Baby Pink, White, Light Effects E168 Silver
  • Polyester fiberfill
  • Buttons: one 1 1/8" white, ten 3/8" clear with glitter

©2017 Kathleen Berlew

Print out the pattern below and size it so the base of the phone is 6" wide. Cut the telephone base and receiver from pink felt. Cut the large circle from white felt, the small circle from shocking pink felt. Sew the white button to the center of the shocking pink circle with white floss. Sew the clear buttons evenly spaced around white button with silver floss. Use cranberry floss and whipstitch to sew the shocking pink circle to the white circle. Use white floss and running stitch to sew the dial to the center of phone base.

Next, pin the receiver onto one piece of the print fabric, centered, so the top edge of the handle is 1 3/4" from the top edge of fabric. Tuck a length of pompom trim under the outer edge of the receiver, pin it in place, and trim away excess. Pin the phone base onto the fabric so bottom edge is 2" from bottom edge and the cradle tabs overlap the receiver slightly. Tuck a length of pompom trim under the outer edge of the receiver base. Cut a 20" piece of rickrack and tuck one end under the receiver and one end under the base, as shown, and pin in place. Sew base and receiver in place using baby pink floss and running stitch, making sure to sew through rickrack. When you've finished stitching, arrange the rickrack "telephone cord" around the phone and tack it in place.

To finish the pillow, pin the appliqued print fabric piece and the backing piece together, right sides facing, and stitch around with 1/4" seam allowance. Leave and opening for turning. Snip the corners and turn the pillow right side out. Stuff it with polyester fiberfill and hand-stitch the opening closed. 

©2017 Kathleen Berlew

All done! Now show it off in your TV room and watch some episodes of The Mary Tyler Moore or your favorite '70s sitcom.