Monday, October 30, 2017

Halloween Pompom Garland


If you haven't decked your halls for Halloween yet, you're running out of time! Don't worry--I have a last-minute project for you that's super cute and super simple. All you need is a small amount of orange, gold, black, and white yarn. If you have purple, green, or gray yarn on hand, you can throw them into the mix too. You'll also need a pompom maker--one of my all-time favorite craft gadgets. (Mine is from Clover.)

Just use the pompom manufacturer's directions to whip up as many pompoms as you like. Beware--as I've said before, pompom making is addictive. When you finish your pompoms, give them a trim to even the edges, and then fluff them up. (Don't trim the two ends of the tying strand; you'll use those to assemble your garland.)

For the base of my garland I just crocheted a length of white chain stitch, and then tied my pompoms along it, evenly spaced. If you'd like to make this project even easier, tie your pompoms to a length of Halloween ribbon or colored craft twine. When your garland is finished, hang it around a window, wrap it around a chandelier, or wind it around a centerpiece for an extra splash of Halloween color.

If you still have a few minutes to spare, here are two more quick crafts from Halloweens past:

Candy Corn Hair Clips

Scrap Basket Halloween Pumpkins

Monday, October 23, 2017

See My Felt Arctic Animals in "Quilts and More" Magazine

Used with permission from Quilts and More™ magazine. ©2018 Meredith Corporation. All rights reserved.

When I first saw these shades of blue, white, and gray WoolFelt from National Nonwovens, they  made me think about ice and snow and Arctic animals. After a bit of sketching and stitching, I came up with this blue whale, orca, seal, and narwhal. I'm happy to report that they found a home on the pages of the Winter 2018 issue of Quilts and More magazine. (How awesome is the background that the Q&M people came up with?!) The issue will be on newsstands on October 24. Click here for a sneak peek inside--it's filled with gorgeous quilts and smaller sewing projects. 

Used with permission from Quilts and More™ magazine. ©2018 Meredith Corporation. All rights reserved.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Trick-or-Treat Mouse


This little felt mouse is all dressed up for Halloween! She was featured in the Fall 2016 issue of Craft Ideas magazine, which, I am sad to say, has since ceased publication. The patterns are still available on the magazine's website, though, so I decided to share the how-to on this week's blog post.
  
MATERIALS

WoolFelt from National Nonwovens in Smokey Marble, Shocking Pink, Lavender, Chartreuse, Black, White, Yellow, Mac 'n Cheese.

DMC 6-strand embroidery floss: 208 Very Dark Lavender, 310 Black, 415 Pearl Gray, 444 Dark Lemon, 741 Medium Tangerine, 899 Medium Rose, 907 Light Parrot Green, B5200 Snow White.

1/8"-wide bright green ribbon, polyester fiberfill, 2 black seed beads, 1/2"-diameter pink pompom, gray and purple satin cord (optional)
  
DIRECTIONS
Although Craft Ideas is no longer in publication, their website is still available. You can click here to download and print the patterns and diagrams for the mouse.

Cut the following shapes from felt: from Smokey Marble: two bodies, one head, four ears, one base, two large paws, two small paw; from Shocking Pink: two ear insets; from Chartreuse: one mask; from black: one bag; from Snow White: one candy; from Yellow: one bottom candy stripe; from Mac 'n Cheese: one center candy stripe; from Lavender: one cape. Use pinking shears to trim the long edge of the cape.

Make the Tail (Optional)
With a size 1 crochet hook and six strands of gray floss, make a chain 5 inches long. Turn, slip stitch in second chain from hook and all remaining stitches. Fasten off. Make cape ties: With crochet hook and lavender, make a chain 2 1/2 inches long. Fasten off. Repeat to make second cape tie. (Alternately, use gray and purple satin cord for tail and cape ties.)

Assemble the Mouse
Note: I used two strands of embroidery floss for all stitching.
With whipstitch and rose floss, sew an ear inset to each of the two ear pieces. Whipstitch the appliqued ears to two remaining ear pieces.

Referring to the diagram, use gray floss to tack ears, two small paws, and tail in place on one body piece (this will be the mouse's back).

Sew the mask to the head around the eye holes with green floss and whipstitch. Use running stitch to sew the mask to the head, sewing only as indicated on the diagram. Sew the seed bead eyes in place with black floss. Sew the bottom of the head to the front body piece with gray floss and running stitch. Sew the large paws to the wrong side of the body front with gray floss and running stitch.

Sew the pompom nose in place with the rose floss. Pin the body front to the body back. Cut two 7-inch pieces of bright green ribbon, tuck one end of each under the sides of the mask and pin in place. With gray floss and running stitch, sew body front and body back together, leaving bottom open as shown on diagram. When sewing sides of head, stitch only through body and head pieces and ribbon; do not sew through mask. With green floss, sew running stitch around outer edges of mask.

Stuff the mouse with fiberfill. Sew the base to the body front and back with gray floss and running stitch.

Sew a cape tie to each top corner of the cape with lavender floss. Sew the cape to the body back at the shoulders with lavender floss.

With white floss and whipstitch, sew the candy piece to the top half of the bag piece. Whipstitch the bottom candy stripe in place with yellow floss; sew the center candy the candy stripe in place with tangerine floss. Cut two 2-inch pieces of green ribbon for handles and tack them in place to the bag edge. Fold the bag in half, wrong sides facing, and sew the long edges together with black floss and running stitch.

To finish your Trick-or-Treat Mouse, hang the bag from the mouse's arm and tie mask ties in a bow at back of head. 

Monday, October 2, 2017

Trick or Treat Embroidery


Happy October, everyone! I'm kicking off my month of Halloween crafting with a versatile "Trick or Treat" embroidery design that features a fun font and cute candy corns. For the sample I've shown here, I used white cotton fabric and DMC embroidery floss in Dark Lemon #444, Pumpkin #971, Bright Chartreuse #704, Black #310, and White #B5200. I'll start with some basic instructions and tips, and then give you some ideas on how to incorporate your Trick or Treat embroidery into your own Halloween wardrobe and decor.

To begin, print out the embroidery pattern below and transfer it to your fabric. If you're using a light-colored fabric, you can trace the design onto it with a fabric marking pen. You can also use Sulky Solver Stabilizer or a similar product. Follow the manufacturer's directions to trace and stitch your design, and then wash the stabilizer away. (Tip: When I'm embroidering on lightweight fabrics, I like to iron a piece of light fusible web on the back to stabilize the fabric.)
Now it's time to start stitching! Place your fabric in a hoop or frame and thread your embroidery needle. I used three strands throughout this project so the stitches really stand out. Backstitch the outline of the letters with Black floss. To fill in the two "Ts," use the Chartreuse floss and a filling stitch (I used long and short stitch). For the candy corns, use Pumpkin floss for the outline, and then refer to the photo to fill the segments with Pumpkin, Dark Lemon, and White. I used split stitch, but you can also use satin stitch or another filling stitch.


When your embroidery is complete, remove it from the hoop or frame. If you've used a water-soluble stabilizer, wash it away and allow your embroidery to dry. To finish, press the completed piece face down on a padded surface.  

So what can you do with this little piece of Halloween stitchery? My embroidery, which is about 3" by 7 ½", is eventually going to make its way into a pillow. I have some orange and green prints that are just dying to be used in a Halloween project. Here are some other ideas: 
  • Make your own Halloween T-shirt. Print the embroidery pattern to the size you like and stitch it onto the neckline or sleeve of a plain white T-shirt. (Iron a piece of fusible web on the wrong side of the area that's going to be embroidered to stabilize it.) If you want to use a black T-shirt, use white embroidery floss instead of black for the lettering. 
  • Transform a canvas tote bag into a trick-or-treat bag. You can either embroider the design directly onto a purchased canvas bag, or stitch it on a piece of fabric first and sew the embroidered fabric onto the tote as an applique.
  • Dress up a boring basket of treats. Embroider the design onto a piece of White felt, trim it with ribbons, and tie it around a basket or bowl of Halloween candies to make them extra tempting.
  • Bring a bit of Halloween spirit into any room with a Trick or Treat ornament. Embroider the design in the size you like, sew it onto a backing of black fabric or a fun Halloween print, and stuff it with polyester fiberfill to make a pillow ornament. Add a matching ribbon for hanging and display it on a wall, in a window, or--if you are truly dedicated to celebrating all things spooky--on your Halloween tree.