Hexagon Table Runner Project

This hexagon table runner project was inspired by a number of things.

hexagon table runner project

First, I was just itching to play with my fabric stash. After several years of working solely on cross stitch and needlepoint projects, I wanted to play with the colors and prints of fabric again. I do love my stitching projects, but my heart really sings when I see fabrics juxtaposed in interesting combinations.

All Points Patchwork - coming soon!Second, I had never tried English paper piecing (EPP) before. When my friend Diane of Craftypod released her latest book, All Points Patchwork, I was intrigued by the technique. I was too busy with other projects to participate in any of the EPP blog hops at the time of the release, but working with EPP had been lingering in the back of my mind ever since.

Third, I wanted a table runner! I thought that a pair of my wood file cabinets could use a splash of color on top. With those three inspirations in mind, I set out to make my own EPP hexagon table runner.

Before I go further, I should explain that I had not yet purchased All Points Patchwork when I created this project, and I sure wish I would have. It is a treasure trove of all things EPP: tools, techniques, tips for creating with each shape, and design ideas. Further into this tutorial, I’ll share some things I would have done differently if I had read the book first.

Design

The design of this project was adapted from this “Modern Hexie Table Runner” project by Laura Hartrich. I liked her use of multiple background fabrics and a hexie layout that created gaps in the pattern to reveal the background. Her project is great; however, where her hexie layout was asymmetrical, I wanted to create a symmetrical arrangement. And where she used a simple applique technique to attach her hexies individually to the background, I was wanting the full EPP experience to join my hexagons together before appliqueing them. laura hartrich modern hexie table runner

I knew I wanted to use 1-1/2 inch hexagons so that this first attempt at EPP wouldn’t become too hard to manage. I also knew that the top of my two file cabinets measured just under 43 by 19 inches, and I didn’t want this project to overlap the edges of the cabinets at all. After some experimentation I ended up with this layout:

hexagon table runner project dimensions

1-1/2 inch hexagons “on their sides” as shown (rather than arranging the points at top and bottom) measure 2-5/8 inches high, so 5 rows add up to a total of 13-1/8 inches. A single 1-1/2 inch hexie measures 3 inches wide; however, 3/4 inch of the width of the NEXT hexie overlaps with the first hexie. Therefore, every column of hexies adds only 2-1/4 inches of width to the project. The seventeen columns of hexies shown here adds up to (3″ + 16 x 2-1/4″) 39 inches.

IF I HAD READ THE BOOK FIRST, I would have used hexagon graph paper from the beginning. Regular graph paper just didn’t get the spacing of the hexagons correct. This led to quite a mess that I didn’t catch until much later in the project when I removed the templates behind the hexies. I had to take out a bunch of seams, re-insert templates behind eight of the hexagons, re-position and re-attach five hexagons, cut all new pieces of background fabric, and I was left with barely enough backing fabric to do a wrap-around binding for the quilt. Lesson learned: use hexagon graph paper!

Fabrics

hexagon table runner project fabrics[Note: this photo shows the hexies BEFORE I sewed them together!]

The design was pretty well established so then I scoured my fabric stash, looking for candidates. I’ve been on a light blue kick for a little while now so shades of blue feature prominently. I also knew that this runner would be on a stained wood surface, so I wanted a few browns in the mix. From my collection, I ended up using fabrics 1, 2, 4, 5, 8, and 9. Then it was off to my local fabric shop to find prints for the background and the backing. There I found fabrics 3, 6, 7, and 10. I think it’s a good and slightly funky mix!

Background

I used fabrics 3, 6, 7, and 10 in the pattern you see below (10,3,7,6,10,3,7). I knew that 6 was going to be my backing and binding fabric, so I used only one piece of it in the center as opposed to the two pieces each of 3, 7, and 10.hexagon table runner project background

The background pieces were cut at 13-1/2 inches tall by 6-1/2 inches wide. That left enough for a 3/8 inch seam allowance between the pieces and an overall usable width of just over 40 inches. It turns out that I needed every bit of that 40 inches as the combined width of the hexies sewn together was 40 inches, one inch wider than the 39 inches I calculated. I think next time, I’d cut the pieces 14 inches tall by 6-3/4 inches wide, just to be safe.

I knew I was going to applique on the edge of the hexies and I knew there was some probable un-quilted space between the hexies and the edge of the runner. I also knew I wanted to anchor down the background a bit before I appliqued the hexagons. So at this point I layered my batting and backing fabric, pinned the layers (you can just see the white pin heads in the photo above), and quilted in the ditch between the seven pieces.

Templates

hexagon table runner project templatesTo create my own hexagon templates, I used Incompetech’s graph paper generator to make an original template on normal office paper. I cut out a hexagon and then traced it repeatedly onto manila file folders to make the templates. This tracing probably made the hexies a smidgen larger than they should have been, and this may be why my sewn hexies together measured 40 inches wide rather than the 39 I calculated. IF I HAD READ THE BOOK FIRST, I may have followed Diane’s recommendation that beginners use precut templates; however, with so few hexagons necessary for this project, I might still have created my own. Next time, I would make them with much greater precision, possibly printing the Incompetech hexagons directly onto the file folders.

Hexagons

hexagon table runner project fabricsThe layout calls for 38 hexagons. Although I made some (11) hexies from the background fabrics, I made the remaining 27 from the other fabrics. Here’s the breakdown:

  • Fabric 1: 5
  • Fabric 2: 4
  • Fabric 3: 3
  • Fabric 4: 5
  • Fabric 5: 4
  • Fabric 6: 2
  • Fabric 7: 3
  • Fabric 8: 4
  • Fabric 9: 5
  • Fabric 10: 3

Fortunately, even before Diane published her EPP book, she uploaded videos to YouTube that perfectly explain how to create hexiessew them together, and then remove the paper templates.

hexagon table runner project first hexieAfter watching these videos, I started basting my own hexies with ease! Once the fabric was cut, it took me less than three minutes to baste a hexie. I couldn’t believe it was so easy, and I felt silly for not having tried EPP before. At right is a photo of the first hexagon I had ever basted – it was a proud moment!

 

 

 

 

After all the hexies were basted, I laid them out on the background and played with their arrangement. I didn’t want any of the fabrics to overlap themselves in the background, and I wanted to balance out the location of the dark and light fabrics. This was the result:hexagon table runner project hexie layout

From here, I sewed the hexies together using Diane’s video instructions. After a good steam pressing, I removed the templates and was ready to applique the big piece of EPP to the background.

Applique

I took a great deal of care to lay out the EPP on the background: noticing where the pieces in a column lined up with the background seams, making sure that the top and bottom edges of the pieces were horizontal, and ensuring that the extreme left and right points were centered vertically. I then pinned the everlasting crud out of the EPP to make sure that it wouldn’t shift as I appliqued.

I first sewed around the seven gaps in the EPP and then sewed down the entire outline in one long take (see the red lines in the figure below).

hexagon table runner project applique

IF I HAD READ THE BOOK FIRST, I would have appliqued about 1/8 inch from the edge. As I did it, I appliqued about 5/8 inch, and I’m seriously considering whether I should resew it at the recommended 1/8 inch. The table runner looks fine as is, but if I were to wash it, some of the fabric on the back of the hexies might slip out and that would be a hassle to fix. I also think it would look a little better with the 1/8 inch distance when viewed up close.

I cleaned up all my thread ends and then buried the tails between the layers of the quilt.hexagon table runner project thread ends before and after

Binding

Last, I did a wrap-around binding (where the backing fabric becomes the binding) with a blind stitched finish on top. Unfortunately, I didn’t leave myself much fabric to do the wrap around, but I did manage, barely, to make it work. Just don’t look too closely at those corners, please!

Here is my new table runner in it’s new habitat, on top of its file cabinets, mere moments before it was filled with all the debris of modern life.

hexagon table runner project 2

I love it, and I’m looking forward to making more in the future. Maybe some holiday-themed hexagon table runner projects will follow!

Willy Wonka Cross Stitch Pattern

This Willy Wonka cross stitch pattern is now available in my Etsy shop!willy wonka cross stitch pattern so much time and so little to do

This pattern features one of the famous quotes from Gene Wilder’s character in the 1971 version of the movie. As the visitors to the factory have just walked in the door and are removing their coats, Willy says: “So much time and so little to see. Wait a minute. Strike that. Reverse it. Thank you.”

Only after I stitched the photographed example did I realize that I got the quote slightly incorrect! In my mind and on IMDB.com the line is “…so little to do,” whereas the line in the movie is clearly “…so little to see.” Nevertheless, this project will appeal to fans of the movie and to busy people everywhere (and who of us isn’t busy?).

photo of gene wilder as willy wonkaThe border of this pattern is a homage to the floral fabric in Willy Wonka’s waistcoat. With it’s purple, pink and white flowers on a background of black and light purple, it’s an enduing part of Willy’s ensemble.

 

 

 

 

 

On Spoonflower, there are two separate versions of this fabric, as well as two different “Golden Ticket” fabrics, a reproduction of the “lickable wallpaper” fruit pattern, and a rather unusual fabric of Willy with the Oompa Loompas.

If you’re unfamiliar with the movie, it’s based on the book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl. At it’s release in 1971 it received good reviews and fared decently at the box office. Since its release for television and home video, it has become a cult classic with quite a few devoted fans.

Dahl didn’t like this version of the movie, saying it strayed too far from his original book. One can understand his concerns, considering the change of emphasis from Charlie to Willy, the introduction of Slugworth as an enemy, and the inclusion of seemingly random literary quotes from various authors. I’ve also heard that the lyrics of the Oompa Loompa’s songs were completely different than what they sang in this this first version.

willy wonka cross stitch pattern so much time and so little to doDahl’s family was much happier with the Tim Burton-directed version of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory starring Johnny Depp from 2005. Although they are much different movies, I happen to like them both. Ah, but when it comes to quotable lines, the 1971 version certainly takes the (chocolate) cake.

 

This Willy Wonka cross stitch pattern is perfect for all fans of the movie Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory and for all of us with hectic schedules.

US Highway Cross Stitch Pattern

This US Highway cross stitch pattern and kit are now available in my Etsy shop!

us highway cross stitch road sign

The pattern is based on real US highway signs. The stitched example, Highway 89, is a roughly 1250-mile stretch from the Montana-Canada border to Flagstaff, Arizona. It is nicknamed “The National Park Highway” as it links seven national parks including Glacier National Park in Montana, Yellowstone National Park in Montana and Wyoming, Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming, Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks in Utah, and the Grand Canyon in Arizona. It also provides access to numerous other national park areas including national monuments.Bryce Canyon

[Bryce Canyon by Suzanham via Flickr]

Another fascinating location along Highway 89 is Thistle, Utah. According to Wikipedia, it is “a ghost town that was destroyed by a lake resulting from a landslide in 1983.”Thistle, Utah

[Thistle, Utah by Rick Smith via Flickr]

The US numbered highway system was approved in 1926. Before then, “auto trails designated by auto trail associations were the main means of marking roads through the United States.” With names like the “Bee Line Highway,” “Glacier to Gulf Motorway,” and the “Old Spanish Trail,” these trails’ names definitely sound more romantic than their numerical replacements.

Route 66 is probably the best known of all the US Highways, although it was officially removed from the highway system in 1985. It spanned roughly 2450 miles from Chicago, Illinois to Santa Monica, California. Before the numbered highway system, this path included parts of three trails: The Lone Star Route, the Ozark Trail, and the National Old Trails Road. It was the migration path for thousands of people during the Dust Bowl in the 1930’s and again during World War II. It inspired both a popular song, “(Get Your Kicks on) Route 66” and a successful TV show in the 1960’s. Eventually, the growth of the Interstate Highway System rendered Route 66 obsolete, however many parts of the old roadway have been specially designated as “Historic Route 66” and set aside for preservation.Route 66 Hackberry (Arizona USA)

[Route 66 Hackberry (Arizona USA) by Perry Tak via Flickr]

I can easily customize this pattern for any of your favorite highways. Create a reminder of a favorite drive or road trip with this US highway cross stitch pattern and kit!

This pattern is just the latest in a series of US and state highway sign patterns. Others in the series thus far include Colorado, Alaska, California, Texas, Michigan, Utah, Florida, New Mexico, Georgia, Washington, Montana, and an Interstate sign… Check ’em out!

Statistics Cross Stitch Pattern

This statistics cross stitch pattern is now available in my Etsy shop!statistics cross stitch pattern - statistically speaking most people are assholes

The quote for this statistics cross stitch pattern comes from an episode of The Nightly Show on Comedy Central. During one of their #Keepit100 segments, host Larry Wilmore asked the panel (and I’m paraphrasing) if your dog and a stranger were drowning, who would you save, the person or your dog? Rory Albanese replied “If it’s an adult, I save my dog every time because statistically speaking, most people are assholes.” Here’s the clip (you can skip ahead to 1:34):

Keep in mind, I don’t subscribe to this theory most of the time… but there are those moments. As soon as I heard this quote, I scribbled it down and knew I would stitch it someday.

For those of you who haven’t seen it, The Nightly Show is hosted by Larry Wilmore, who did frequent segments on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. The show debuted in January 2015 and can be seen just after The Daily Show. Although the show might have started off a little awkwardly, I think Larry and his staff have really hit their stride in recent months. The show packs a lot of laughs, fresh, diverse viewpoints, and some great [bleeped-out] cursing. That Larry is a self-described “blerd” (black nerd) appeals to me as well.

statistics cross stitch pattern - statistically speaking most people are assholesThis pattern is packed with mathematical and statistical symbols for various constants and functions. The first “t” is tau, which is a symbol used to represent Kendall’s rank correlation coefficient. The first “a” is alpha, which represents the level of significance, also know as the type I error rate. The second “t” is an addition (plus) sign.

The “S” in “speaking” is an integral sign from calculus, the “E” is a capital sigma that represents a sum, and the symbol for “n” represents an intersection. The “y” and the “G” are both related to Goodman and Kruskal’s gamma. The border pattern is comprised of lower case sigmas which represent the all-important statistic of standard deviation.

It was necessary to take a few liberties with subscripts that complete the pattern and add a little visual interest – but the t sub i very easily could represent interior temperature in engineering applications.

This statistics cross stitch project is perfect for statisticians, scientists, mathematicians, engineers, and smart people. It’s also great for curmudgeons and your favorite anti-social grumps!

MST3K Cross Stitch Pattern “Blow it…”

This MST3K cross stitch pattern is now available in my Etsy shop!mst3k cross stitch pattern the answer my friend is blow it out your ass

 

The project is a funny quote from Mystery Science Theater 3000 Episode 614 – San Francisco International. It’s a terrible movie, cleverly skewered by Mike and the ‘bots. It was written as the pilot episode of a series that lasted six episodes. The TV movie appeared in 1970 and featured Clu Gallagher, Tab Hunter, Van Johnson, and David Hartman. When it went to series, Lloyd Bridges played the airport security chief, a role he spoofed later in the movie Airplane!

Most of the plot revolves around an elaborate attempt to steal a large shipment of currency that looks surprisingly similar to boxes of Rush albums. One subplot involves a young boy, Davey, who manages to steal a small airplane and get airborne with no flying experience whatsoever. “You know, people are gonna hate you for quite a while after this, Davey.”

While the Urkel-themed host segments haven’t aged well (in fact, you will probably want to skip them altogether), the quote “The answer, my friend, is blow it out your ass” is a classic riff! You can see the entire episode on YouTube…

I used two DMC Variegated Flosses in this project: 4220 Lavender Fields in the lettering, and 4020 Tropical Waters as part of the border. I generally use brighter colors in my projects, but I wanted to make this look a little softer, a little breezy, a little like the Joan Baez version of “Blowing in the Wind.”

This MST3K cross stitch pattern is perfect for all MSTies (fans of Mystery Science Theater 3000) and for everyone who appreciates a funny and rude cross stitch project.

For those of you who have read this far and don’t have a clue as to what MST3K is, read this Wikipedia article. A MST3K revival just became the biggest Film and Video category Kickstarter project of all time, raising $6.3 Million for 14 new episodes in 2016. Can’t wait…

Keep circulating the tapes!

Glow in the Dark Thread Review

I’ve created this glow in the dark thread review as I was genuinely curious about two things: how to use the Kreinik’s line of glow in the dark (GITD) threads and the difference between the Kreinik and DMC’s E940 GITD floss. I carry the DMC floss in my Etsy shop and it has proved to be very popular. However, DMC has only the one color of GITD floss where Kreinik has seven colors and eight different sizes/types of thread.

The participants:glow in the dark thread review - all the threads I tested

Clockwise from top left you see Kreinik Blending Filament in Grapefruit, #4 Braid in Watermelon, #8 Braid in Lime, #16 Braid in Lemon Lime, #32 Braid in Tangerine, 1/16″ Ribbon in Blueberry, #8 Braid in Grapefruit, and the DMC E940 floss.

Kreinik also has #12 Braid, #24 Braid, and a 1/8″ Ribbon, but I decided against trying them out in lieu of the 4-8-16-32 progression you see above. Kreinik also has a seventh color, Grape, but it is only available in 1/16″ and 1/8″ Ribbons.

I used the Kreinik threads in cross stitch on 18 and 14 count Aida fabrics. I also used the Kreinik threads in tent or basketweave stitch on 18 and 14 count needlepoint canvases and in 7 count plastic canvas. I didn’t necessarily use every thread on every canvas – as you’ll see below, some of the combinations of thread and fabric were impractical.

With that in mind, let’s see how these Kreinik threads stitched up on a variety of cross stitch fabrics and needlepoint canvases. Let’s get started with the 18 count Aida…
18 ct aida light

The Blending Filament is interesting stuff – it’s a bit like stitching with very fine fishing line. It is composed of lots of extremely thin filaments that love to fray at the ends of the strand. I was able to thread it in a #26 tapestry needle pretty well. Using this color filament on white material took supreme concentration to make sure that all the stitches were done correctly. You can barely tell that the filament is there – it just adds a little plastic-y shimmer to the fabric.

The only issue I had with the Blending Filament itself on this 18 count Aida was that the strand frayed pretty badly while I was stitching. This didn’t happen with the filament as prominently on any of the other fabrics or canvases I tested. Below left you see the back of the Aida, and on the right you see the front. Keep in mind this filament was not necessarily designed to be used like this, so this is not a big deal. I just wouldn’t recommend using it in this exact same way.
18 ct aida issue with blending filament18 ct aida issue with blbf1ending filament

 

 

 

 

 

The Watermelon pink #4 Braid provided great coverage on this 18 count Aida, where the Lime green #8 Braid was a little too heavy (you’ll see how I made a few cross stitches crossing two at top just for fun). Using these Braids is like stitching with a heavy waxed dental floss. Rather than form knots, the threads tend to kink like a garden hose and they like to fray at the ends of the strand. I could not thread either Braid into my #26 tapestry needle. Unlike cotton floss that can “squish” into a needle eye, the #4, #8, and #16 Braids have no ability to compress whatsoever and needles with bigger eyes are necessary.

Stitching with the #4 and #8 plastic Braids produces an interesting texture on the fabric that I’ll call “crunchy.” You’re stitching with plastic, so “crunchy” is to be expected! It’s just different than the more soft and pillowy stitches that result from using cotton and wool.

Ah! But how do they glow? Well, they glow great!
18 ct aida dark

You can see the light coverage of the Blending Filament, the good coverage of the #4 Braid, and the lumpy coverage of the #8 Braid.

Up next is the 14 count Aida…
14 ct aida light

Again, you can hardly see the Blending Filament. The #4 Braid has some coverage, but the #8 Braid is about perfect on this 14 count Aida. I tried a little of the Lemon Lime #16 Braid, but it proved to be just too thick, distorting the fabric and holes pretty badly.

Stitching with the #16 Braid is like stitching with a very tiny paracord, so it doesn’t kink up quite like the #4 and #8 Braids. Finding a needle with an eye big enough to accommodate this Braid that won’t distort the fabric can be tough. And in the dark…
14 ct aida dark

the results are similar. The Blending Filament and the #4 Braid don’t quite cover the Aida effectively. The #8 Braid is about perfect, and the #16 Braid looks lumpy. Also, there’s not much difference in color between the Lime #8 and the Lemon-Lime #16 Braids.

On to the needlepoint canvases! First up, 18 count…
18 ct needlepoint canvas light

In tent stitch, the Blending Filament is hardly visible, the #4 Braid doesn’t quite cover, the #8 Braid gives a little more cover, but the #16 Braid is the one that effectively fills in the canvas.

Here I used the 1/16″ Ribbon in both tent stitch and backstich. The ribbon is flat, so it is quite easy to thread through a needle and it doesn’t tend to fray much. It does require constant untwisting and manipulation to keep flat. In tent stitch, it covers well but looks a little crowded. Ah, but in backstitch it really looks great! You can easily see the light color and the shimmery texture. The slight difference in the brightness between the tent stitch and the backstitch is true-to-life – the tent stitched portion really is a bit darker than it’s backstitched counterpart.

In the dark…
18 ct needlepoint canvas dark

the results are similar. The Blending Filament and #4 Braid are definitely visible but don’t cover at all, the #8 Braid is better, but the #16 Braid and the 1/16″ Ribbon cover well. The ribbon in tent stitch glows a little brighter than the backstitched section, but it’s not a huge difference. There’s also not much difference in color between the Lime #8, the Lemon Lime #16, and the Blueberry 1/16″ ribbon, whereas the Blending Filament in Grapefruit definitely looks more blueish. Interesting!

In 14 count needlepoint canvas,14 ct needlepoint canvas light

almost identical results as the 18 point canvas. The Blending Filament, #4 Braid, and #8 Braid aren’t enough to cover, while the #16 Braid and the 1/16 Ribbon covers nicely. The Ribbon looks better and less crowded in tent stitch than it did on the 18 count canvas, and again the backstitch looks nice.

In the dark, again similar results as the 18 point canvas:
14 ct needlepoint canvas dark

Nice coverage by the #16 Braid and the 1/16″ Ribbon.

The last material I tried was 7 count plastic canvas.
7 ct plastic canvas whiteI started with the #4 Braid, and here you can see that it, the #8 Braid, the #16 Braid and the 1/16″ Ribbon don’t cover the canvas at all. The Ribbon in cross stitch is enough to cover the plastic canvas grid but leaves the holes completely open.

Here I tried the #32 Braid for the first time. This braid, unlike it’s smaller siblings, does flatten out. It seems to be somewhat hollow in the middle – the closest comparison I can offer is that it’s like stitching with a tiny Chinese finger trap – and it has a bit of spongy give to it. Like using the ribbon, it does require some manipulation to get it to lay flat. Even the #32 Braid in tent stitch doesn’t fully fill all of the holes in the canvas (the photo shows the coverage as being a little more generous than it is in real life). However, the #32 Braid in cross stitch completely covers the canvas and fills the holes.

In the dark…
7 ct plastic canvas dark

the #4 and #8 Braids are barely visible, the #16 braid and 1/16″ ribbon are bright but don’t cover well. The #32 Braid glows great, but the full coverage is only in cross stitch. Here you can see better the difference between the color of the Blueberry Ribbon and the Lemon Lime #16 Braid, and the Tangerine orange of the #32 Braid is clear.

Thus far, this review has been all about using the Kreinik threads. Now here’s how the DMC floss compares with it’s closest Kreinik counterpart.
14 ct aida comparison light

On the left is Kreinik #8 Brain in Grapefruit, and on the right is two strands of DMC E940 Floss. I chose the #8 Braid as it provided the best coverage on 14 count aida, and I chose Grapefruit as it was the closest in color to the near white of the E940.

On the top, I did a few backstitches of varying lengths, and then I stitched six rows of cross stitch. It’s pretty clear to see that when it comes to behaving like regular six strand cotton embroidery floss, DMC has a clear advantage. It is soft and pillowy, whereas the Kreinik Braid has the “crunchy” texture I talked of above. The Kreinik produces a noticeably thicker and more sparkly stitch rather than the lower profile and matte finish of the DMC. The backstitches in DMC lie flat and behave well, and the Kreinik backstitches are a little more unruly.

And how do they glow?
14 ct aida comparison dark 0 seconds

They both glow well, but I’ll give the edge to the Kreinik, especially when it comes to the backstitching.

How well does the glow last over time? Here’s the glow after approximately 30 seconds:
14 ct aida comparison dark 30 seconds later

and again after approximately 60 seconds:
14 ct aida comparison dark after 60 seconds

The two are just about equally effective. Please keep in mind that the glow after a minute is more detectable by the human eye than by my camera. The glow is easily seen for much longer than just one minute!

So, after all this review, what would I use? Well, if the white color of the thread in daylight was fine, and I was doing cross stitch or needlepoint in 14-18 count, I’d use the DMC. It really is that much easier to use in those applications. However, if I wanted the stitching to be a color other than white or I was using plastic canvas, I think the Kreinik would be my choice. I would also use the #8 and larger Kreinik Braids and Ribbons in embroidery as couched threads (you can read more about couching here and here).

The DMC is definitely designed to act like six-strand embroidery floss, whereas the Kreinik is designed for a wider range of applications. How both of them are used is up to your creative talents!

Have you used any of these DMC or Kreinik glow in the dark threads? How did you use them and what are your impressions?

Compass Needlepoint Update 3

Once again I’m happy to share more progress on my compass needlepoint project!

compass needlepoint update 2In the last update, I had finished all of the radiating tiles and was ready to start filling in the background and the borders.

 

 

 

Here’s my latest photo – she’s looking gorgeous!compass needlepoint update 3

All of the border tiles are outlined, and I’ve started filling them in as well as the background. The four corners will be the same double stitch as the center circle and the four primary direction tiles. All of the other border blocks will have a different needlepoint stitch.

Compass Needlepoint Project WIP #6aHere you can see a bit more detail of the individual stitches. At the top, I’ve used Cashmere stitch worked diagonally. Next one down on the left is the Parisian stitch, and the Fern stitch below that.

I’m using the Hungarian stitch with ivory thread in the background of the center. It’s lovely, but it is really challenging to keep the pattern flowing in the tight areas between the blocks of color!

Compass Needlepoint Project WIP #6bFrom the top of this photo you can see the Brick Cashmere stitch, the Oblique Slav stitch and the Byzantine stitch. I had to add an extra element to the Oblique Slav section as the stitch with the thread I’m using didn’t cover the canvas quite enough. It still looks great, though!

 

 

 

 

I’m still very happy that I have slightly blended the colors, mixing 5 strands of the main colors with one strand of contrasting colors. I did this to better represent the speckled color and texture of the original tiles and to add a little visual interest. This looks good in the radiating tiles, but I think it looks even better in these border blocks.

The next step is to just keep filling in the background and occasionally take a break to have some fun filling in the border blocks with interesting stitches. I would LOVE to have her done by the end of this year (2015) as I have some other very cool needlepoint projects ready to stitch. However, this one has to get finished first!

The previous updates (Update 1 and Update 2) have info on the inspiration for this pattern – a patio tile pattern at the beautiful Cuq en Terrasses hotel near Toulouse, France. Take a look!

Airplane Movie Cross Stitch Pattern

This Airplane (the movie) cross stitch pattern is now available in my Etsy shop!airplane movie cross stitch project

The quote is from Leslie Nielsen’s character, Dr. Rumack. He repeats the phrase “I just want to tell you both good luck. We’re all counting on you” before, during and after the plane lands. You can see them in the video below:

I tried my hardest to make faithful recreation of the TransAmerican airplane (at a reasonable size) and I have to say I’m pleased with the result! If you count carefully, there are a few more windows than the original, but the pattern of dark vs. light windows is pretty accurate. I was happy that I was able to recreate the “TA” logo on the tail fairly well.airplane movie cross stitch project transamerican plane photo

The pattern can be modified for any of your favorite funny lines from Airplane! Other quotes I considered include “I am serious… and don’t call me Shirley,” “It’s a big building with patients, but that’s not important right now,” “Why, I could make a hat or a brooch or a Pterodactyl,” and “You ever seen a grown man naked?” There are so many possibilities that would work well!

Airplane! is one of the funniest movies of all time. It’s so crammed full of gags that nearly every time you see it, you’ll discover something new to make you giggle. One great example is that it took me at least a decade to realize that during the exterior shots of the plane, instead of jet engine sounds, you hear propeller sounds. The A.V. Club posted a brilliant article – an oral history of Airplane! – on it’s 35th anniversary in 2015 that includes great information about the movie. For example, did you know that Barry Manilow and David Letterman were considered for the role of Ted Striker?

According to Wikipedia “In the years since its release, Airplane!’s reputation has grown substantially. The film was ranked sixth on Bravo’s 100 Funniest Movies. In a 2007 survey by Channel 4 in the United Kingdom, it was judged the second greatest comedy film of all time, after Monty Python’s Life of Brian” and “In 2010 it was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress.”

This Airplane movie cross stitch pattern would perfect for all fans of the film, so go check it out… and stop calling me Shirley.

Men in Blazers Cross Stitch Pattern

This Men in Blazers cross stitch pattern is now available in my Etsy shop!men in blazers cross stitch pattern crap goals make my pants tingle

If you follow English football and have a sense of humor, make sure you catch the Men in Blazers. On a tight budget and a miniscule staff, Michael Davies and Roger Bennett create very funny podcasts, TV shows, Twitter and Instagram feeds, and they are even hosting their first “BlazerCon” in October 2015.

I have to credit my Dad with discovering the TV show that airs Monday nights on NBC Sports Network. I’m not sure how he found it, but as my husband closely follows British football, we are SO glad he did. Rog and Davo are smart, funny, and quick. The show is full of bizarre metaphors and obscure references – I’d say it’s like an English Premier League version of Mystery Science Theater 3000.

There’s a lot of “crap” in the Men in Blazers – as in “crap goals,” and their studio is in the “crap part of Soho.” There’s also a lot of “tingling,” usually in Rog’s pants or pectoral areas. Frequent references to Arsenal player Olivier Giroud’s “meaty french forehead,” Man City’s goalkeeper Joe Hart’s appearance (especially when he had the moustache), whatever nuttiness Louis van Gaal was up to in the last week, and keeping an eye on the crazy fans in the stands are some of their features.

The Men in Blazers have also tackled American football – this video is some of their highlights:

I actually had a tough time deciding what saying to use for this project as there are so many possibilities! I originally thought of a couple of their sartorial hashtags: #MovetoTweed and #LeantoLinen. Next I considered the name of their loyal followers: GFOP’s aka Great Friends of the Podcast. But then I decided some crap and some tingling needed to get involved and so I created this Men in Blazers cross stitch pattern, perfect for your favorite GFOP’s!

NFL Crib Mobile Tutorial

nfl crib mobile tutorialThis NFL crib mobile tutorial is my contribution to this year’s Crafty Football Blog Hop! I’m generally known for my cross stitch and needlepoint projects but lately I’ve been noticing so many fun felt projects I wanted to give it a try. I also really enjoy the colors of the NFL teams – they’re bright and bold, perfect for crafting. Why not have felt and NFL colors join forces in three dimensions?

nfl crib mobile tutorial 2015 crafty football blog hop badgeThis 2015 hop, like the 2013 and 2014 hops, is a combination of participants in the Crafty Fantasy Football League (#CraftyFFL) and fellow crafty and inventive football fans. At the bottom of this post, check out the links to the other participants outstanding projects!

 

 

Things you’ll need:

  • felt
  • embroidery floss
  • an embroidery hoop (I used a 5″ x 9″ oval shaped hoop as it was close in appearance to the outline of a football)
  • paperclips
  • fabric scissors
  • paper scissors
  • pins
  • cotton batting or cotton balls (optional)
  • needles
  • ruler
  • small metal or wooden ring (optional)
  • glue (school glue is fine)

NFL Crib Mobile

You will need 16 colors of felt and 13 colors of embroidery floss. The embroidery floss I already had in my supplies, but I purchased the felt and the hoop from the incredibly helpful Deanna of the Etsy shop BusyLittleBird. She (and Mr. BusyLittleBird) went above and beyond when helping me get the correct colors of felt for this project and I can not thank her enough!

I recommend her listing for 20 sheets of 6″ x 9″ wool blend felt as that size sheet is big enough to accommodate all the cut pieces necessary of any color. I can also recommend her listing for the 5″ x 9″ oval hoop, and in addition, she sells DMC embroidery floss if you need to augment your collection.

nfl crib mobile tutorial legendThe legend at right shows the names of the felt colors (as they are listed at BusyLittleBird), the DMC floss numbers, and the team color combinations necessary for the mobile.

Note: It will take two whole skeins of floss to wrap the 5″ x 9″ hoop. Also, some of the colors in the photo above are different than the colors listed in the legend – a result of post-purchase consultations with BusyLittleBird. I recommend you go with the colors in the legend.

 

 

Cutting:

On the mobile, each of the 32 NFL teams are represented by a double-sided felt square. Each side consists of a big outer 1 1/2″ square and a small inner 3/4″ square.

Let’s use Denver (my fave team – Go Broncos!) as an example. The outer square is Ragtime Blue and the inner square is Sunburst. Therefore, for Denver’s double-sided square, you will need to cut two 1 1/2″ Ragtime Blue squares and two 3/4″ Sunburst squares. Repeat this for all the teams, and refer to the legend for all the color combinations.

I used fabric scissors to cut the squares, although a fabric cutting machine or a rotary fabric cutter probably would have worked much better at getting the edges of the squares at precise right angles.

Next up are the 4 pennants and the 4 footballs, and here is a template of those shapes for you to use.

For the footballs, cut out the eight paper templates and pin them to the Peat Moss felt. You may want to do a rough cut to separate the pieces from each other, and then go back and more carefully cut around the edge of the paper football template.
NFL Crib Mobile

For the pennants, cut four big triangles of Kelly Green felt and another four of Chartreuse felt. You may want to pin the big outer triangle templates to the green felt in the same manner as the footballs before you make your cuts. The eight small triangles can be cut from scraps of the other felt colors.

After all the cutting, you can unpin the templates from the felt and discard the paper. You may need to trim a few pieces to get them a little more correct.

When you have finished cutting, in total you will end up with 64 big squares, 64 little squares, 8 footballs, 8 big triangles and 8 small triangles.
NFL Crib Mobile

 

Sewing:

Use three strands of the six strand embroidery floss to sew the small inner squares to the middle of the big outer squares. Use the floss color that matches the bigger felt square. Refer to the legend once again to get your team color combinations correct. The photos below show Tampa Bay’s silver and red sewn with the silver floss.

Make a knot on the end of the floss, and come up from the back about 1/8″ from the corner of the inner square. Make a simple running stitch all the way around, and then tie off the floss with a knot on the back. Repeat this process for all 64 squares.
NFL Crib Mobile

Put the two halves together back to back, with the knots on the inside. This time use only one strand of that same bigger square floss color. Make a small knot at the end of the floss. Starting at the middle of the top, whip stitch the two pieces together. The photos below show the basics of the whip stitch, but here is another set of directions you might find useful.
NFL Crib Mobile

Stop whip stitching at the fourth corner, leaving half of the top unsewn and open as shown in the photo below. Leave roughly 4 – 5 inches of the single strand of floss so that you can finish whip stitching the top later. Repeat this process for all 32 squares.  NFL Crib Mobile

NFL Crib MobileRepeat the same steps for the pennants. Sew the small triangles onto the big triangles with three strands of floss. Put the two pieces back to back, and whip stitch the pennants, again using one strand of floss. However this time, leave the entire top edge of the pennants open.

 

 

NFL Crib MobileUse three strands of white embroidery floss to sew laces on four of the eight footballs. Whip stitch one “laced” football to a plain football. This time, leave roughly 1 1/2 inch around the top center open and unsewn. At this point, you can stuff the footballs with cotton batting or even cotton balls to give them a little dimension.

 

When all of your pieces have been whip stitched, layout all the pieces into 8 columns of 5 pieces. Put one pennant or football in each string. Try to balance the position of brighter squares and darker squares, and try to avoid duplicate color combinations (I’m looking at you navy blue and red, for one) being adjacent to each other.
NFL Crib Mobile

One note, do not put a pennant at the bottom of a string like I have shown above. I found out that those little puppies won’t hang straight unless there is a square or football below them.

Assembling the Strings:

For this step, you will need another needle that is at least as long as the squares are tall – 1 1/2 inches. I alternated between the two green floss colors, DMC 699 and DMC 704, to make the strings. Cut pieces of floss 30″ – 36″ long and separate them into two three-strand groups. Thread your long needle with one of these three strand groups of floss.

You’re going to start from the bottom piece and work your way up each string of five pieces.

Double or triple tie a paperclip to the end of the floss. Trim the tail end of the floss quite close to the paperclip. Insert the paperclip into the unstiched gap in the square. Orient the paperclip vertically, and center the top of the paperclip and the floss at the top center of the square. Make sure that the tail end of the green floss is tucked inside the square.
NFL Crib Mobile
NFL Crib Mobile

Thread your smaller needle with the tail of the floss you used to whip stitch the two pieces together. Whip stitch the top of the square closed, making sure you stitch on either side of the green floss four or five times to secure the paperclip.
NFL Crib Mobile

As this mobile isn’t meant for much handling, no knot is necessary. Just draw the thread out through an edge of the square between the two pieces of felt and trim it close.
NFL Crib Mobile

NFL Crib MobileIf your next piece is a square or a football, insert the long needle through the bottom center between the two back-to-back pieces. Work the needle toward the top center, making sure you don’t accidentally pierce either of the two sides. Pull the long needle through the top of the piece.

 

NFL Crib MobileIf your next piece is a pennant, run the needle between the pieces roughly in the same location as the base of the small triangle.

 

 

 

Now you will want to look at the spacing between pieces on the string. In my example, I put about two inches between pieces. Tie another paperclip to the green floss where the top of the next piece will be. For example, if the next piece is a square, the knot on the paperclip would be 3 1/2 inches (2 inches spacing plus the 1 1/2 inch of the square) above the top of the piece below it. Using a ruler will definitely help your spacing.
NFL Crib Mobile

After you get your paperclip knotted in place, insert the paperclip into the unstitched gap and finish whip stitching the piece in the same manner as you did with the first piece on the string. Again, make sure you stitch on either side of the green floss four or five times to secure the paperclip inside the piece.
NFL Crib Mobile

Repeat these steps until all five pieces are on a string, and all eight strings are assembled.

Assembling the mobile:

All you will use is the smaller, inner embroidery hoop. Mark 8 equidistant places on the hoop, and then tie the 8 strings to the hoop using secure knots. You can tie the eight strings all at the same height or stagger the heights as I did. You should have plenty of extra string – don’t trim the excess yet!

Take three of the eight excess strings (I chose the strings at roughly the 12:00, 4:00 and 7:00 positions), and tie them together above the mobile so that the hoop will hang level. At this point you could attach a metal or wooden ring. I didn’t have one available, so I just made a second knot about an inch above the first knot.
NFL Crib Mobile

NFL Crib MobileTrim the five other excess strings down to a length of about 1 1/2″ and then use a little glue to stick the floss ends to the inside of the hoop.

 

 

 

Now you’re ready to start wrapping your hoop. It will take two whole skeins of floss, using all six strands, to wrap a 5″ x 9″ hoop. Use a little more glue to stick the beginning of the skein to the hoop. Work your way over that beginning and continue wrapping the floss around the hoop. Take care that you don’t catch up the eight strings below or the three strings that go up to the knot.
NFL Crib Mobile

Tip: Holding the hoop with all the strings attached and bobbing around while you’re trying to wrap the floss is nearly impossible. On my table I used a couple of new rolls of paper towels standing on end to assist me in holding up the hoop. Putting a big rubber band around each roll helped as well.

NFL Crib MobileTo tie off a skein, thread a needle with the floss, pass it under as many wraps as possible on the inside of the hoop, and then closely trim off the extra. After you tie off, you may need to scoot and shift a couple of wraps to cover some small gaps that show the wood hoop.

Congratulations – your mobile is complete! Here is mine, hanging out with some aspen leaves.

 

 

 

Check out what the other Crafty Football Blog Hop participants made this year!