Gypsy Ways 2014

My gypsy ways are returning…

Both new and returning readers to this blog may have noticed that my blogging has slowed a bit lately. This is due to a fantastic travel opportunity that is coming up very soon! From roughly May through October, my husband, dog, and I will be in motion.

gypsy ways - what remains of my printed photosFor the past few months, we’ve been concentrating on getting some personal projects done before we hit the road. We remodeled one of our bathrooms, and I finished up a massive project – scanning, organizing, and backing up all my printed and digital photos. This photo is of all that’s left of the printed photos and scrapbooks – a reduction of about 80% of the volume of what was before… heavy awkward scrapbooks begone!

More recently, I’ve been designing cross stitch projects, picking floss colors, and getting all the necessary supplies together to take with us. There are some wardrobe requirements for the trip, so I’ve had to work on that as well. I will say that the purchase of these two pairs of fabulous shoes was necessary (thanks to the sales at Macy’s for not breaking the bank, and man I just love that clear lucite platform!).

gypsy ways - orange strappy platform heelgypsy ways - black patent and clear lucite platform heel

 

 

 

 

 

 

Most of the time, we will have regular internet access. But on similar trips we have stayed in some remote villages where the neighbors were what you see in the video below and internet access was in the nearest library 20 miles away. If that scenario arises, I hope to regularly post some quick updates and photo highlights.

My Etsy shop will continue normal operations, thanks to my Mom who graciously agreed to help with shipping. I’ll be releasing new patterns as I finish stitching them from my current backlog of nifty designs, and as always, I’ll be working on creating new designs. I find a lot of inspiration along our gypsy ways!

So for a short time, my blogging will slow down, but it definitely will not cease. I count myself as one of the truly fortunate that I get to make this trip, so I hope to appreciate it in the moment and not only when I look back in the photos. As many have said, it is not the destination but the journey that really matters.

Variegated Floss Projects Part 4

Welcome to Variegated Floss Projects Part 4! In this six-part series I’m sharing a bunch of ways to use variegated floss in craft projects ranging from needlework and quilting to furniture, jewelry, and home decor.

Part 1 of the series covered variegated floss projects in the needlework areas of cross stitch, needlepoint, and embroidery. Part 2 had variegated floss in plastic canvas, quilting, felt, sewing, and pom-pom projects. Part 3 explored variegated floss projects in jewelry and scrapbooking, and this Part 4 will look at variegated projects in knitting, spinning and dyeing, and weaving!

variegated floss projects part 4 - DMC 4030

As I said in in Part 1, variegated flosses are beautiful and they make every piece that uses them unique. No two people will ever use the exact same length of a floss in the same way, thus every project will have a different result! This makes creating with them an exercise in curiosity and a fun adventure.

Variegated Yarn Projects in Knitting

Knitting with variegated yarns can present some choices and challenges, and Crystal at VivereNelColore talks about her experiences with them (like this darling Toddler Tee),

 

 

 

 

and at CrafterNews, a helpful guest post by Wendy D. Johnson explores the question “To Variegate or Not to Variegate?”

 

 

 

Slipped StitchLinda at PlanetShoup offers a list of “Practical Uses for Variegated Yarns and Threads,” and Sarah at IntrepidTulips has a list of “Knitting Stitches to Show Off Variegated Yarn.” The sock you see here is in slip stitch.

 

 

 

 

 

 

variegated floss projects part 4 - knit cowlNow on to some real, live, gorgeous projects that use variegated yarns. I have to say I adore the fantastic combination of color and texture in this cowl. The Weinstock pattern is by Kerrie James of dyod*Studio and available on Craftsy.

 

 

Then there are a world of scarf patterns out there. Some that lend themselves to variegated yarns include this Bennington pattern by Melissa Leapman on Better Homes and Gardens,

 

 

 

 

 

 

this easy and pretty garter-stitched scarf also on Better Homes and Gardens,

 

 

 

 

 

 

Drop_stitch_scarf_011106this bright and fun seafoam pattern by Christine at FrazzledKnits (with lots of clarification in the comments),

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chevron ScarfJody McKinley’s super colorful chevron pattern summer scarf,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

and this playful puppet scarf for kids (and fun adults) from Better Homes and Gardens.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

variegated floss projects part 4 - socksVariegated yarn can also make some outstanding socks. Anne Hanson of knitspot has her pattern for these basketweave socks available on Craftsy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some blankets and afghans look superb with variegated yarns, and I’ll just share a few favorites. One is this simple and elegant baby blanket by Jordan Reid on her RamshackleGlam blog.

 

 

variegated floss projects part 4 - windowpane afghanAnother is this Windowpane afghan on FreeKnitPatterns. Imagine these blocks in some various colorways of variegated yarns.

 

 

 

 

 

 

variegated floss projects part 4 - drops design over the rainbow projectThe Over the Rainbow blanket pattern by Drops Design is lovely and dramatic,

 

 

 

 

 

 

and I especially like this free pattern for the intriguing Honeycomb Waves blanket on MusingsofaYarnMom. The yarn used here is from Noro, which is so distinctive it really creates it’s own category of projects.

 

 

Beautiful Noro yarn projects can be seen in this Pinterest board by Sonja Sokol. There are some simply stunning pieces here.variegated floss projects part 4 - pinterest board of noro projects

POP blanket by Emily WesselOne of the most fun looking projects on Sonja’s board is this POP!! blanket tutorial by Emily Wessel at TinCanKnits. I love the fun of it and how it can use up some leftover yarns.

 

 

 

Another project that uses up leftovers is this fun blanket WIP by Barbara Delinsky (with a link to the pattern in the comments). It uses both leftover solid and variegated yarns to a bright and colorful result! Also note how she uses knitting as a way to relieve anxiety.

 

 

 

There are a host of good ideas for using up variegated yarn scraps in this post by Beth at SerenityKnits. One of my favorites is this precious treasure pouch she found on Ravelry,

 

 

 

 

 

 

and another favorite from her post are these variegated cotton ditty bags where the colors have pooled into curious shapes.

 

 

 

poolingPlanned pooling is it’s own art and science, as exemplified by this article by Karla Steubing on the TwistCollective blog. She combined her expertise as a professor and statistician and her love of yarn to study how variegated yarns can be manipulated into fascinating patterns such as in this shrug. She has instructions on how to plan your own patterns and co-admins a Pooled Knits group on Ravelry.

 

 

 

 

Variegated Yarn Projects in Spinning and Dyeing

This article on Squidoo is an amazing resource for various methods of spinning and dyeing yarns. Of particular interest is the list that starts about two-thirds down the page called “DIY Hand Dyed Yarn.” The techniques linked there involve crock pots, Kool-Aid ice cubes, handpainting, hot pouring, easter egg dyes, ombre-dyeing, and tie-dyeing, all to produce variegated yarns.

 

 

 

PB050069In addition to that, Stacey at FreshStitches has a tutorial on how to Kool-Aid dye yarns with long colorways, similar to those intriguing Noro yarns.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finally, my green and teal skeinsWhen it comes to spinning variegated yarns, I’ve found a couple of articles of interest. In the first, SeaGreenandSapphire describes their experiment of spinning in two different methods and shows the results.

 

 

The second article is by Lisa D. Jacobs on EnneaCollective and it shares some interesting information on “impressionist color blending using variegated rovings.” The article compares using the colorway shown here vs. a more monochromatic colorway.

 

Variegated Yarn Projects in Weaving

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketConsidering the volume of examples of the more artistic use of variegated yarns in weaving, I’m going to concentrate more on the more crafty side of the genre. For example, this excellent tutorial by Marlene of Wovenflame on weaving using a nail loom. These easy and quick squares can easily be combined into a larger, and what I imagine would be an incredibly warm and sturdy blanket.

 

On a much smaller scale is this tutorial from Sister Diane of CraftyPod while guest posting on Dabbled. These adorable woven sachets perfectly utilize this variegated yarn!

 

 

 

 

This unique combination of handmade paper and weaving makes for great wall art. Victoria Gertenbach has some more information on her TheSillyBooDilly site.

 

 

 

 

Picture of Branch WeavingNext is this interesting branch weaving tutorial by wold360 on Instructables. This example creates a lot of visual interest through using some different weaving patterns. Although this particular example doesn’t use variegated yarns, it’s easy to see that they would look great in the mix!

 

 

crafting with kids 1024x682 Gods Eye Yarn WeavingA simpler version is the classic God’s eye project. This version by Lorelei at CraftsMumShip uses tree branches and variegated yarns,

 

 

where this version on CraftsbyAmanda uses good ol’ craft sticks. I think the button accents are a cute touch!

 

 

 

 

 

wall decor embroidery hoopJust check out this fun finger knitted art tutorial by Hani at Craftionary. It’s inexpensive and colorful – I wonder what a grouping of these on a wall would look like?

 

 

 

Woven Straw Stars Ornaments - Cardboard VersionFrom the ever-crafty and ever-thrifty Pam at GingerbreadSnowflakes comes this cereal box star ornament tutorial. Derived from similar straw ornaments that celebrate the stars, this example is a cheerful combination of solid and variegated yarns.

 

 

Lastly are two flower projects from Knitting-and that use a Clover 24-pin Hanaami loom. There’s a tutorial for six-petal version (that includes directions for making leaves) and a very cheerful eight-petal daisy tutorial.  Take a look!

That wraps up this Variegated Floss Projects Part 4! Are there any more examples in these crafty categories of knitting, dyeing and spinning, and weaving that you would like to add to the comments?

Make sure you check out Part 1 which featured cross stitch, needlepoint, and embroidery, Part 2 which had plastic canvas, quilting, felt, sewing, and pom-poms, and Part 3 which had projects in jewelry and scrapbooking. Stay tuned for the next two parts of this series covering crochet, wreath making, string art, lace and tatting, and a whole lot more!

Craig Ferguson Cross Stitch Pattern FIERCE!

This Craig Ferguson cross stitch pattern is now available in my Etsy shop!

craig ferguson cross stitch pattern I think I just earned a merit badge in fierce!

This pattern is based on a funny quote from him when he was being “fabulous” for a minute. He must have just given someone a verbal bitchslap, or was talking about his wardrobe (well, he does have outstanding socks). I just wish I remembered the moment more clearly!

I do remember laughing my butt off at this line, and fortunately I wrote down the quote right then and there. “I think I just earned a merit badge in FIERCE!” is something you can be sure you won’t hear from any other talk show host.

For those of you unfamiliar with the gentleman, Craig Ferguson is the host of the Late Late Show, on after David Letterman’s Late Show on CBS. He is FUNNY, and most of what he says is improvised. It’s not like any other late night talk show!

If you’re a CraigyFerg fan, you might also be interested in my other pattern based on a quote from him: “The bastards don’t own me.” Check it out, fellow hobos, ’cause “it’s a great day for America!”

Variegated Floss Projects Part 3

Welcome to Variegated Floss Projects Part 3! In this six-part series I’m sharing a ton of ways to use variegated floss in craft projects ranging from needlework and quilting to furniture, jewelry, and home decor.

Part 1 of the series covered variegated floss projects in the needlework areas of cross stitch, needlepoint, and embroidery. Part 2 had variegated floss in plastic canvas, quilting, felt, sewing, and pom-pom projects. This Part 3 will explore variegated floss projects in jewelry and scrapbooking!

variegated floss projects part 3 - DMC 4245

As I said in in Part 1, variegated flosses are beautiful and they make every piece that uses them unique. No two people will ever use the exact same length of a floss in the same way, thus every project will have a different result! This makes creating with them an exercise in curiosity and a fun adventure.

Variegated Floss Projects in Jewelry

As you’ll see below, I found a ton of ways to use embroidery floss in jewelry. Some of the ideas below use variegated floss, others use solid color floss, and even others use a combination of solid color flosses to achieve a variegated effect. Regardless, I believe ALL of these ideas would look great with variegated flosses.

variegated floss projects part 3 - embroidery floss tasselsFirst up is this easy tutorial on Brit+Co on how to refresh jewelry with these DIY embroidery floss tassels.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rachel at LinesAcross has this simple and smart tutorial on how to make these beads using scrap paper and leftover floss. I think these beads show the nice sheen of embroidery floss. I can envision these beads incorporated into all kinds of fun projects!

 

 

 

Bracelets 

Create these fun pearl and floss bangles with this DIY from Kollabora,

 

 

 

 

 

 

DIY, recycling, upcycling, Jessica Quirk, Floss, bangle, What I Woreor try this larger scale woven bangle made from a reused bracelet with the tutorial from WhatIWore.

 

 

 

Combine a curb chain bracelet and embroidery floss for the “ultimate ‘grown up’ friendship bracelet” with this DIY on HonestlyWTF.

 

 

 

Although this tutorial is in Español, the directions for making these cool and colorful leather and floss bracelets on ElCuadernodeIdeas are pretty straightforward (and Google Translate helps). Check out the nifty tags they created for these bracelets as well!

 

ThreeBlindWives has a tutorial for creating this “copycat” bracelet. Based on a bracelet seen in a department store, CharlieinKC made this for a fraction of the price using embroidery floss, jump rings, and a clasp. How simple! And how pretty would this be with some gorgeous variegated flosses?

 

Rafia Jewelry Starfish Embroidery Floss Charm BraceletI spied this embroidery floss charm bracelet on Wayfair. I like the simple combination of the floss and the charm, but at the price they are charging ($49!), that must be one heck of a nice starfish charm. Like the “copycat” bracelet above, I think this could be recreated in a much more… um, frugal way.

[Might I suggest starting with a skein of DMC variegated floss in one of their 18 different combinations that include blue?]

Rainbow hemp bracelet with anodized titanium oxide beads.In a more casual vein is this variegated rainbow bracelet from (now defunct) CraftingSite.com,

 

 

 

 

variegated floss projects part 3 - hemp macrame variegated braceletand this pretty (and reasonably priced) macramé bracelet available on HempCraft’s shop on Artfire.

 

 

 

Square knot macrame bracelet.Instructions to approximate both of these projects can be found on this helpful DIY by RingsandThings. Bonus: They mention “Mirage Beads.” Check it out!

 

 

variegated floss projects part 3 - friendship braceletThen there’s the whole world of friendship bracelets. There is no shortage of patterns and tutorials for these ubiquitous pieces. A good place to start might be the DMC-USA website, with lots of free patterns. Many of these would look great with some variegated floss in the mix!

 

Earrings

variegated floss projects part 3 - embroidery floss wrapped earringsSimilar to a floss wrapped bracelet, Rachel at TransientExpressions posted this tutorial on how to make these fun floss wrapped earrings,

 

 

 

and on her ShowMeCrafting blog, Tammy has this helpful tutorial on how to create earrings that combine embroidery floss and beading.

 

 

 

 

Crochet Lace Doily Hoop Earrings Peacock Color Scheme Dreamcatcher Statement Jewerly Variegated Yarn Ready to ShipThere’s a lot of inspiration to be found in these earrings from PearlBridalBotique. They combine crochet, variegated string, and jewelry so nicely!

 

 

 

 

Necklaces

variegated floss projects part 3 - mini yarn skein pendant necklaceFirst up are these really adorable mini-skein pendant necklaces available at Max’sWorld. What hard core knitter wouldn’t love one of these! They come in a variety of colors and there are also earrings and brooches that would appeal to knitters and crocheters – too cute…

 

OhTheLovelyThings has a tutorial for making this very cool tassel necklace. They started with white floss and dyed their tassels to create the ombré colors (their instructions are excellent). If the dyeing seems a bit ambitious, I will say that DMC already has some wonderful color families. That, and adding a tassle made with variegated thread would make for a really unique look.

 

IMG_0967Using just four skeins of embroidery floss and a clasp kit, Kris at HowDidYouMakeThis created this awesome knitted cord necklace. The possibilities for color combinations with this tutorial are endless!

 

 

 

variegated floss projects part 3 - variegated floss necklaceAnother project full of potential is this necklace tutorial by Gina Michele. Again, with a minimum of supply costs (twine, floss, a clasp kit), she created an excellent one-of-a-kind and very attractive necklace. Cool.

 

 

Similar to the “grown up friendship bracelet” above is this tutorial for the “DIY Sparkly Embroidery Thread Necklace” by Erin at ThanksIMadeItMyself. What a great way to recycle old jewelry into something modern and fun!

 

 

Picture of Hardware Jewelry: Wrapped Washer NecklacesI’m going to share a few projects for making pendants from hardware. The first is a tutorial from Instructables that uses floss and metal washers to make this necklace. While I like that they used a lot of variegated threads, I’m wondering if this necklace ended up being really heavy around the neck.

 

I also like this tutorial by Diane at CraftyPod for her yarn wrapped pendants. The yarn covers the washers more evenly while also offering more opportunities for embellishments. I can see these pendants being used in jewelry, Christmas ornaments, mobiles…

 

 

However, if weight of the pendant is of paramount concern, I’d recommend using wooden washers as seen in this DIY by SeeThatThere. In fact, I think I’d use Diane’s instructions with these wooden pendants for the best result possible!

 

 

 

 

 

Variegated Floss Projects in Scrapbooking

Some of these floss-and-paper ideas use variegated threads, some use solid color threads, and some use a combination of both. Once again, I think all of these ideas would look terrific using variegated flosses.

Tutorial step 5For example, there’s this really clever tutorial illustrating how to add this texture to a scrapbook page by Tessa at FancyPantsDesigns.

 

 

 

Next, CreatingKeepsakes has this post of “Four Tips to Scrapbook with Twine.” Most of the twine used in their creative examples is about the same gauge as embroidery floss…

 

 

 

 

Next, NordicNeedle has a downloadable pattern and ideas for using various types of stitches, threads, and beads in a scrapbook layout. This particular layout has an Easter theme, but all of these ideas can be applied with ease in any other theme!

 

 

 

 

Embroidery on PaperOn About.com, Cheryl Fall shares a tutorial on how to embroider on paper, using her free Gingerbread Dreams Pattern Set. As she says, “use this easy technique to stitch embroidery designs on heavy paper or cardstock to add embroidered accents to cards, gift tags and for using in scrapbooking projects.”

This project is very pretty in the white floss seen here, so imagine this project stitched in DMC 4010 Winter Sky or DMC 4017 Polar Ice to add just a touch of color.

variegated floss projects part 3 - grapevine stitchingcardsThe UK store StitchingCards has hundreds of patterns such as this fun grapevine ready for download and use in cards and scrapbook projects.

 

 

 

 

variegated floss projects part 3 - Pine Tree Designs Stitched Paper TagFor some of the most striking combinations of paper and thread, look at the gallery of Stefani Tadio’s PineTreeDesigns. She uses a mix of variegated and solid color threads, paper, and beads to make some really lovely pieces full of crafty inspiration. If you’re interested in her technique, one of her projects was featured in Ann Martin’s book All Things Paper.

 

 

That gorgeous tag finishes this Variegated Floss Projects Part 3! Are there any more examples in these crafty categories of jewelry and scrapbooking that you would like to add to the comments?

Make sure you check out Part 1 which featured cross stitch, needlepoint, and embroidery, and Part 2 which had plastic canvas, quilting, felt, sewing, and pom-poms. Stay tuned for the next three parts of this series covering knitting, wreath making, string art, crochet, and a whole lot more!

Update: Here is Part 4

Blazing Saddles Cross Stitch Pattern – C’mon In

This new and very fun Blazing Saddles cross stitch pattern is now available in my Etsy shop!

blazing saddles cross stitch pattern willkommen bienvenue welcome c'mon in

The quote for this pattern comes from Lili Von Shtupp as played by Madeline Kahn. When someone knocks on her “dwessing woom” door, she replies “Willkommen, bienvenue, welcome, c’mon in!”

Cornflower blue 2I designed the floral border pattern in honor of the “Teutonic Titwillow” as the cornflower is the national flower of Germany. I spent quite a bit of time trying to get the floss colors as close as possible to the vibrancy of the real flower. At the center of the flower, I used DMC 4245, a variegated floss, to try to convey the mix of dark purples and blues.

You may see that variegation a bit better in the photo below which is of the work-in-progress.blazing saddles cross stitch pattern c'mon in work in progress

blazing saddles cross stitch pattern c'mon in lili von shtupp pink sequinsI used another variegated floss, DMC 4190, in the smaller central border. This is a nod to the pink sequined number that Lili put on when she was seducing the “shewwiff.”

“Ah! I feel refweshed!”

 

 

 

Blazing Saddles is a riot, of course. There’s no way they could get away with making the movie now. That fact makes the movie that much more precious to me.

I plan on hanging this project in our guest bedroom, but I can see this also working really well in entryways, powder rooms… anywhere you might have guests and/or movie buffs who really appreciate Blazing Saddles. I guarantee this is one of the more unique “Welcome” signs you’ll ever see!

If you’re a new visitor to my blog and a Blazing Saddles fan, you might also want to see one of my previous projects (below). It’s a cross stitch of the list that Harvey Korman dictates; a list of the worst scum and scoundrels he wants Slim Pickens to round up to attack the town of Rock Ridge. The words in the pattern are available in my Etsy shop as well.Blazing Saddles

I had an absolute blast designing and stitching this Blazing Saddles cross stitch project, and I hope you enjoy it too!

Variegated Floss Projects Part 2

Welcome to Variegated Floss Projects Part 2! In this six-part series I’m sharing a ton of ways to use variegated floss in craft projects ranging from needlework and quilting to furniture, jewelry, and home decor.

Part 1 of the series covered variegated floss projects in the needlework areas of cross stitch, needlepoint, and embroidery. This Part 2 will explore variegated floss in plastic canvas, quilting, felt, sewing, and pom-pom projects.

variegated floss projects part 2 - DMC 4050

As I said in in Part 1, variegated flosses are beautiful and they make every piece that uses them unique. No two people will ever use the exact same length of a floss in the same way, thus every project will have a different result! This makes creating with them an exercise in curiosity and a fun adventure.

Variegated Floss Projects in Plastic Canvas

082Making coasters is a perfect way to start crafting with plastic canvas, and this tutorial by Susan at HomeschoolingHeartsandMinds shows how variegated yarn and a simple pattern combine into a pretty and useful project.

 

 

PC Ornament TutorialA slightly more advanced project is the tutorial to make these awesome design-your-own ornaments from Diane at CraftyPod. As you can see, these are a great way to use up some variegated yarn scraps!

 

 

 

These intriguing Spirograph Necklace pendants by StealthandAces use the same plastic canvas rounds. In this photo you can see she used solid colors to produce a variegated effect, but why not see what happens with a variegated floss?

 

 

 

You might find some inspiration in this little PC purse made by Jenn at Clever, Crafty, Cookin’ Mama. It’s not a tutorial per se, but she gives enough information for others to attempt the same. I think the combination of the variegated yarn, the solids, and the stitches were a good choice for this cute project.

 

08.07.12 plastic canvas 13This little Christmas house on TheMakingBox is just darling, and I love how the speckled yarn used on the roof adds just the right amount of texture and character.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finally, from Craftster is this clever Bob Dobbs plastic canvas cross stitch project. User Oddityblaze used variegated yarn to create, in my opinion, an ideal psychedelic background for the cult icon.

Variegated Floss Projects in Quilting

variegated threadsSuperiorThreads has a great rundown of the many types of variegated threads they offer for machine and hand quilting. The selection of colors seems nearly limitless!

 

 

free motion quilting with variegated threadAmy at FreeMotionQuiltingAdventures gives some great tips on working with variegated threads in machine quilting – when to use them, and maybe when not to use them.

 

 

 

var-flower-heart-quiltA great use of variegated thread is this wholecloth quilt by Susan at WildOnionStudio. As you can see, “for the heart, [she quilted] over the lines several times to make that baby pop” while using a more neutral thread for the background.

 

 

This wholecloth quilt by MarveLesArtStudios also uses variegated thread, but this time the cloth is a batik pattern. This makes the quilting less noticeable but it’s pretty, practical, and a great way to practice your skills without a lot of risk.

 

I have to admit it’s hard to see in the photos, but it’s easy to grasp how the variegated thread they used would add some nice visual interest to this bold and bright Anchor Quilt at PieceNQuilt.

 

 

I also like the use of the variegated threads to help convey a flowery impression on this modern LinesSpring quilt by EschHouseQuilts.

 

 

 

Detail 1 of Royal Crustacean - fractal art quiltVariegated threads are also used extensively in hand quilting. One example are the subtle colors in this elaborate fractal Royal Crustacean quilt by Rose Rushbrooke,

 

 

 

 

 

 

and another in this simple and cute 9″ x 9″ quilt square by Elizabeth at PiecefulLife.

 

 

 

 

Kathleen Murphy uses some hand dyed cotton floss and some variegated wool yarn as you can see below on her unique Embellish art quilt.

Stitch Around The Clock page Augustus for CQJP 2013.Some of the best examples of variegated floss in hand quilting can be seen in crazy quilts. This type of quilting is closer to embroidery than quilting per se, but crazy quilts are such a huge niche in the quilting arena that I like to give them special consideration. One need not go any further than the Flickr Photostream of Margreet from Holland for some outstanding uses of variegated floss in crazy quilts. In this example at right, she beautifully combines no fewer than four different variegated flosses (there may be more!).

Evelyn Chow has curated this outstanding Pinterest board of crazy quilt embroidery. It is truly worth the time to check these out!variegated floss projects part 2 - pinterest crazy quilt embroidery

 

Variegated Floss Projects in Felt

First up, Fiona Duthie gives some great instructions on a couple of different methods to create your own “variegated” felt using Kool-Aid.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A little inspiration comes from this lovely combination of felt and variegated floss on these Easter eggs by Amy at InTheFold,

 

 

 

Felt Flowers - Crafty Staci 13and a little more inspiration is in these lovely felt lillies with their variegated floss accents by CraftyStaci.

 

 

 

Finally, there’s this project by Katie from DuoFireworks as a guest post on the WhipUp blog. She gives the pattern and more information on how she created these felt potholders by first knitting then felting with some Fingerwolle variegated pencil roving. So interesting!

Variegated Floss Projects in Sewing

Of course, most clothes are not made with variegated floss, however, why not have a little fun with your machine? Most sewing machines have some decorative stitches built in, and on SewMamaSew guest blogger Maggie Kertay has this great tutorial on how to show them off a bit!

 

 

 

 

variegated floss projects part 2 - machine decorative stitchesAlthough the above photo doesn’t use variegated thread, as you can see here they look great in decorative stitches! Sew4Home has an in-depth post on decorative stitches, tips on making them work, and some uses for them.

 

 

Kristi at Addicted2Decorating used both decorative stitches and variegated yarn on these pillows. Her tutorial gives detailed instructions on how she made this fun and unique decor for her home.

 

 

Variegated Floss Projects in Pom-Poms!

I put an exclamation point at the end of “pom-poms” above as it’s incredibly hard to talk about pom-poms without some enthusiasm – they’re so fun! Take these for example. Cheryl at SewCanDo made these as part of a book review. She used embroidery floss, baker’s twine, standard yarn, and chunky variegated yarn to make these funky poms.

 

How To Make Giant Pom Poms Tutorial vintagerevivals.com-14Mandi at VintageRevivals has a fantastic post including some lessons learned and a tutorial on how to make these giant pom-poms and attach them to a throw blanket. Why not try it with a variegated yarn?

 

 

Pom pom flowers - by Craft & CreativityAs you can see in this cute arrangement, Helena at CraftandCreativity did create multi-colored pom-poms and crafted them into these flowers. Her post has some tips on her process. Very very cute!

There are a ton of tutorials and examples of crafting with pom-poms. So many, in fact, that I will leave you with just these examples. But I hope that these show how well variegated flosses and yarns can be used in all these pom-pom crafts!

 

 

That bright and cheerful note finishes this Variegated Floss Projects Part 2! Are there any more examples in these crafty categories of plastic canvas, quilting, felt, sewing or pom-poms that you would like to add to the comments?

Make sure you check out Part 1 which featured cross stitch, needlepoint, and embroidery. And stay tuned for the next FOUR parts of this series covering knitting, wreath making, string art, jewelry, and a whole lot more!

Update: Here are Part 3 and Part 4

Should is a Bad Word Cross Stitch Pattern

This Should is a Bad Word cross stitch pattern is now available in my Etsy shop! Well, as you can see, the pattern doesn’t use the word “bad,” it uses stronger language. That more accurately describes how I feel about “should.”should is a bad word cross stitch pattern

“Should” is rooted in expectations you perceive from your friends, your family, from society and the media. “Should” leads to feelings of guilt and unworthiness – if I don’t do something I “should” do, someone will think less of me and I will think less of myself.

Here are some examples – maybe you have heard some of these before?

  • That dress should look amazing on me.
  • I should be saving for my retirement.
  • This vacation should be perfect.
  • I should be married (or at least engaged) by now!

As a much healthier alternative, concentrate on using these words instead:

  • I need to try on dresses until I find one that looks amazing on me.
  • I will put 10% of my paycheck into my 401K.
  • I hope this travel plan works out well, and if not, we’ll make the best of whatever we encounter!
  • I want to marry the right person.

At the same time, I tend to be wary of people who say “should” a lot. You know them – “Oh, you should do this,” “Oh, you should totally buy these,” “Oh, you should be fine by now,” “Oh, you should be so upset!” How often do their “should”s get others into trouble?

troubleInstead, listen for the people who give constructive options (“you could try this, or this, or this”) and for the people who have been through similar situations and say “well, I did this, and it worked out this way.” I’ve found that friendships with these types of people are much healthier.

Whenever my husband and I catch ourselves or each other saying “should” we extend the sentence by tacking on “…ah yes, but should is a shitty word.” It gives us a giggle and helps clear the mind a bit. Then we rephrase the thought and move on to better things!

Do you agree that should is a bad word? After seeing this project, do you think you will be more aware of how you and others use the word “should?”

Variegated Floss Projects Part 1

Welcome to Part 1 of this six-part series on variegated floss projects! I’m going to share a ton of ways to use variegated floss in craft projects ranging from needlework and quilting to furniture, jewelry, and home decor.

Variegated flosses are beautiful and by their very nature, they make every piece that uses them unique. No two people will ever use the exact same length of a floss in the same way, thus every project will have a different result! This makes creating with them an exercise in curiosity and a fun adventure.variegated floss projects - DMC 4211

This first post on variegated floss projects is going to concentrate on three types of needlework: cross stitch, needlepoint, and embroidery. These are probably the most popular ways of using variegated floss, and for good reason as you are about to see.

Before we get to the projects, Alison Murray at Dream a Little Big has this excellent tutorial on creating your own variegated floss, and in her part 2 she has a free pattern that you can use with your new floss!

 

 

 

All DMC Variegated FlossHowever, there are hundreds of beautiful variegated flosses available from a variety of companies and retailers. I’m proud to have all 76 colors of the DMC six-strand variegated flosses available in my Etsy shop. They’re gorgeous to look at and, with the consistent quality of DMC floss, they’re easy to work with.

Variegated Floss Projects in Cross Stitch

On About.com, Connie G. Barwick has a few things for newcomers to consider when working on variegated floss cross stitch projects, such as her free “Yummy Watermelon” pattern seen here.

Also on About.com, Connie shared some very helpful advanced tips on using variegated floss in cross stitch, including dyeing methods and how to achieve certain looks with specific techniques. Definitely worth the read.

variegated floss projects - cross stitch samplerThis pretty variegated floss sampler by Nancy Rossi through Better Homes and Gardens can be seen in a couple of places on the net. The pattern is not in print anymore, but you can still find it on Ebay.

 

 

 

 

 

variegated floss projects - floral borders bookThere is a ton of inspiration in this LeisureArts book of variegated border patterns. The different elements of these designs could be mixed and matched in a million different ways!

 

 

 

 

 

Tsmcs4blogIn a more modern vein is this great project by Elizabeth Hartman featured on her blog Oh, Fransson! She replicated the Tokyo subway map first for a quilt and then for this cross stitch. She changed floss colors every nine stitches, creating a variegated effect. I think variegated flosses would work very well in this project, with the added bonus of not having to tie off and start so darn much. Regardless, what a bright, colorful and fun project!

I love this little biscornu project by Lorraine at HippywitchCrafts. It uses variegated floss around the center and then again in the border. It’s just darling…

[Here's a link to more information on biscornus]

 

 

This pretty bookmark is a free design from Lady Kell of Kincavel. As the pattern is relatively simple, the variegated floss nicely augments the design.

 

 

 

Image of AventailSome of the best cross stitch patterns that lend themselves to using variegated floss come from Tracy Horner of Ink Circles. Her designs range from this small “Aventail

 

 

 

 

Image of Turkish Delightto the more complex “Turkish Delight

 

 

 

 

 

Image of Baroqueand her popular “Baroque,” all of which look stunning executed in variegated floss. Take a leisurely look through her store and her latest news to see all her great projects that could be executed in variegated floss.

 

 

 

variegated floss projects - nordic needle itty bitty patternAnother great source for patterns is Nordic Needle. As well as carrying many of Tracy Horner’s Ink Circles designs, they feature other artists as well. This Itty Bitty’s design is a perfect way to try out lots of new variegated flosses,

 

 

 

variegated floss projects - nordic needle coffee patternwhile this coffee pattern would look terrific in a variegated floss. Might I be so bold to suggest DMC 4000 – Espresso?

 

 

 

 

variegated floss projects - nordic needle plum puddingI’d also like to share this pattern, called Plum Pudding. Here, in it’s original purples, it’s a gorgeous design.

 

 

 

 

Then Kristal, one of the employees at QuiltingAdventures, stitched it in different colors, and I must say, to a beautiful result. When you look at some of the detail photos, you can see where she used variegated flosses to add just a sparkle of visual interest to some of the backgrounds. She started this color scheme by picking out some flosses from her stash. What an amazing stash that must be!

Variegated Floss Projects in Needlepoint

variegated floss projects - hexagon needlepointThis hexagon pattern might appeal to those people new to variegated flosses and would like a fun project on which to try them, or those who may have existing stashes of variegated floss. This example comes from the CarolStitches blog.

 

 

 

hexipuff-with-groutThe project originated in Janet Perry’s May 2012 Stash-Busting Club. I believe it uses the mosaic stitch shown here to make a glasses case (I wish I had a link to more information about the project). What a great way to experiment with variegated floss while working with hexagons – currently one of the most popular shapes in crafts!

 

A quick project is this needlepoint and leather keychain on RedFlannelPantry, given to a 16 year old girl when she got her driver’s license. Variegated floss in the basketweave stitch is a great choice to create the background effect you see here.

 

 

This post by Laura at TwoHandedStitcher shows how different colors used with the same pattern can produce completely different end results. I like how she used variegated threads to create a little more visual interest, especially in this green and gold example.

 

 

 

variegated floss projects - chrysanthenums gardenInspiration and patterns for needlepoint projects that use variegated floss can be found all over the web. The Caron Collection has several including this pretty “Chrysanthemums Garden”

 

 

 

variegated floss projects - venetian glass stockingand this “Venetian Glass” stocking pattern. Clicking the link to this design will also show how vastly different the same project can look using different colors and stitches.

 

 

 

 

 

variegated floss projects - detail of jmd projectThere’s plenty of inspiration in this post by Janet M. Davies. She has quite a few smaller projects that use lots of variegated floss, including this detail from one of her fantastic creations,

 

 

 

variegated floss projects - summer logsand 123Stitch has lots of needlepoint patterns by a variety of designers. A great example is this Summer Logs pattern that uses no less than 18 different variegated flosses in an amazing array of different stitches. This fun sampler would never get boring!

 

Variegated Floss Projects in Embroidery

I’ll start with some machine embroidery inspirations as I have a really lovely story about hand embroidery that I will use to wrap up this post.

variegated floss projects - machine featherDesignsinStitches has quite a few patterns that call for variegated thread. One example is this feather pattern; one of a set of 10.

 

 

 

 

variegated floss projects - machine embroidery butterflyEmbroideryDesigns has a series of four birds and this pretty butterfly,

 

 

 

 

 

Paisley Motifs Embroidery Designsand ABCEmbroideryDesigns has this cool Paisley Motifs set. This example is stitched in a rainbow variegated thread that suits the pattern perfectly.

 

 

 

 

And this is one of a set of 15 sea shells available through NeedlePassionEmbroidery. They are a really gorgeous collection!

 

 

 

 

I’ll start the hand embroidery with this lark of a project, embroidering patches for old jeans, from Charlotte on her Ta Da! blog. This little patch is a great way to experiment with different stitches and variegated floss.

 

 

Amy Friend at DuringQuietTime used a Sizzix to create the pattern for this lovely partridge Christmas ornament. She then used Cosmo variegated floss to stitch the embossed pattern to a very sweet result.

 

 

variegated floss projects - line embroideryI bet this pattern from Lady Kell of Kincavel would look great in variegated floss. It’s a bit of a flashback to a Rush laser show at the Planetarium, but there’s nothing wrong with that!

 

 

 

UntitledI love this simple but elegant idea from TheSmallestForest on using up leftover floss, and I love how she’s put some variegated strands in the mix. I think the variegated gives the piece just that little bit more randomness and visual interest than solid colors alone would produce.

 

 

Aqua Snowflake Embroidery PatternFrom Polka&Bloom, this fun and lighthearted Aqua Snowflake pattern, along with it’s siblings the Gold and Lilac Snowflakes, would look awesome in variegated flosses (if they’re not already). These three patterns are a lovely trio.

 

 

 

Stitch Around The Clock page Augustus for CQJP 2013.For some more beautiful inspiration and examples of embroidery stitches in variegated floss, you need go no further than the Flickr photostream of Margreet from Holland. On her crazy quilt blocks, she consistently produces embroidery of great quality. She uses a multitude of colors and types of stitches to achieve all kinds of textures and effects.

 

 

variegated floss projects - DMC 4235My last example is a story from Kim, one of my customers, who purchased skeins of DMC 4240 and 4235 (shown). As I love these flosses so much, I ask many of my customers how they use them. She replied: “I stitched a labyrinth in a hoop for my friend who lost her mom to ALS in October. Walking a labyrinth has meant a lot to her. I used the 4235 and my friend said the colors were just perfect.”

What a lovely way for Kim to support her friend! I’m really happy that I was able to provide Kim with the floss for her project.

If you would like to see the design, the labyrinth pattern she used is available from Jenny Hart’s Sublime Stitching, and it was featured in Jenny’s tutorial on the backstitch.

 

That rather touching note wraps up this first of six posts on variegated floss projects! Are there any projects in the crafty categories of cross stitch, needlepoint, or embroidery that you would like to add to the comments?

Stay tuned for more in knitting, quilting, scrapbooking, jewelry, decor, and a whole lot more!

Update: Here are Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4

Caddyshack Cross Stitch Pattern No. 2 – Gunga Lagunga

This Caddyshack cross stitch pattern is now available in my Etsy shop!

caddyshack cross stitch pattern gunga lagunga

This is my second Caddyshack cross stitch pattern – you can read the blog post about the first pattern, “Au revoir, gopher.”

Once again, the quote for this pattern comes from Assistant Greenskeeper Carl Spackler as played by Bill Murray.

The text of the scene is below (thanks, IMDB!), but it helps to watch the scene to appreciate the quote. I love how nonchalantly he has the pitchfork at the caddy’s throat. I don’t think the actor had too much difficulty expressing his concern over that pitchfork.

Carl Spackler: So I jump ship in Hong Kong and I make my way over to Tibet, and I get on as a looper at a course over in the Himalayas.

Young caddy: A looper?

Carl Spackler: A looper, you know, a caddy, a looper, a jock. So, I tell them I’m a pro jock, and who do you think they give me? The Dalai Lama, himself. Twelfth son of the Lama. The flowing robes, the grace, bald… striking. So, I’m on the first tee with him. I give him the driver. He hauls off and whacks one – big hitter, the Lama – long, into a ten-thousand foot crevasse, right at the base of this glacier. Do you know what the Lama says? Gunga galunga… gunga, gunga-lagunga. So we finish the eighteenth and he’s gonna stiff me. And I say, “Hey, Lama, hey, how about a little something, you know, for the effort, you know.” And he says, “Oh, uh, there won’t be any money, but when you die, on your deathbed, you will receive total consciousness.” So I got that goin’ for me, which is nice.

So if you’re looking for a reminder of what to say to remain graceful under pressure, this Gunga Lagunga pattern is for you! With it’s border pattern of Tibetan prayer flags, this stitching project will grace a desk, a mantle, a golf course locker, a meditation corner, or even the plywood wall of an assistant groundskeeper’s shack.

I had to be a little creative with the white prayer flag. Tibetan prayer flags are in a specific order – blue, white, red, green, and yellow. On a white background, the white flags disappear. I mixed one black strand with two white strands (hopefully to suggest the printing on the flags), and I think that was a good solution.

This Caddyshack cross stitch pattern was lots of fun to design and to stitch!

Ancora Imparo Needlepoint Framed

My Ancora Imparo needlepoint project is framed and hanging in its place, above the front door!ancora imparo needlepoint hanging

As some of my previous posts will tell you, this lovely monster at 22-to-the-inch was a labor of love. From her initial design in 2008 to the last stitch in December 2013, she was a beautiful challenge.
Ancora Imparo Framed In my last update, I had completed the needlepoint and the green backstitching and was ready to take her to the framers. Now that she is framed, I’m thinking that I would have framed her a little differently. I would have made the green mat thinner by half, and seen if there was a slightly thinner frame. The good news is that she’s gorgeous nonetheless, and she’s hanging proudly. Maybe someday in the future I’ll get her framing modified, but for now I’m very happy.Ancora Imparo Framed Detail

As you can see in the above photo, in general the framers did a good job of keeping the borders straight. No small feat when the margin of error is 0.05 inch (1 mm)!

Like any good Persian-themed project, I made some mistakes. Not on purpose, of course, but they are there. It’s somewhat easy to do when working with a counted (rather than painted) pattern. Usually I found them when it was too late – when I had moved on to a new color or was filling in the background. On a project in this small scale, these mistakes are tough to spot, so I didn’t feel the need to go back and correct them like I would on a project in a bigger scale. Besides, I think they give her a bit of charm

The last update on “AI” has more of the interesting history on her design and execution. She survived two trips across the Atlantic and countless miles of travel.

Imagination and creativity combined with persistence and patience reaps beautiful rewards. I’m immensely proud that I finished this beautiful Ancora Imparo needlepoint project.