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!

Update: Here are Part 5 and Part 6

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, Part 5, and Part 6.

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 3Part 4, Part 5, and Part 6.

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, Part 4, Part 5, and Part 6.

ACrafty Interview with Sylvia Windhurst

Welcome to today’s ACrafty Interview with Sylvia Windhurst!

Green Embroidered Heart TrioWhen did you start crafting? Did anyone help get you started or did you find your own way? SW: My mother is an artist. She is a printmaker as well as an expert knitter and seamstress. We were always encouraged to be creative, and I spent many hours drawing, sewing, and creating strange hats using scrap yarn and crochet hooks that my mother supplied. One of my favorite activities was doll making – creating a body out of a clothes pin or pipe cleaners and creating an outfit out of what ever materials we could find. I definitely credit my mother for fostering a creative atmosphere in our home and I hope I did the same for my daughter who is on her way to becoming a fine photographer.

Group of Beaded Bead Flying Saucer EarringsI actually have a fine arts degree in printmaking and continued to draw and paint for several years after graduating. Gradually as my professional life and family took up more of my time, I stopped painting and drawing. I have a full time job as a graphic artist/prepress technician, and thus spent my time designing, retouching and preparing the designs of other graphic artists for printing or web publication. Over the ensuing years, I really began to miss the idea of creating something unique with my own hands. I started going to life drawing classes and then began embroidering again. Then purely by accident about 8 years ago I saw some beaded jewelry online made with off loom bead weaving techniques – I loved the look and started learning both bead weaving and bead embroidery techniques. I am self taught – and I give credit to the many great craft bloggers out there who are willing to share their knowledge online as well as the crafters who took the time to post great YouTube instructional videos. I also invested in a small library of beading books and spent many night practicing and creating.

About the term craft — I think the term craft and art can be interchangeable – sometimes I think when something is termed a craft people look at it as a hobby – not something serious, so I like to think of myself as a bead and fiber artist and crafter. There are many people who create wonderfully artistic items using techniques considered “craft”. For example, last year I bought handcrafted brooms an from an artisan in Oregon. Not only are they lovingly handcrafted, functional brooms but they are aesthetically appealing and wonderful works of art as well.

French Lavender Sachet Embroidered Flowers Satin RibbonWhat crafts have you tried and what is your current favorite? SW: I dabbled briefly in stained glass and did not love it. However, if it has anything to do with beads, fabric, and thread, I am in heaven. I am still primarily a beader and hand embroiderer, but am incorporating my machine sewing skills into my work a bit more now. I also have played with polymer clay a little to make my own cabochons and that is something I want to continue exploring in the future.

What is your favorite craft book? SW: I don’t have a favorite, but I think Robin Atkins has written some nice beading books. Mastering Beadwork by Carol Huber Cypher is a great reference book for beaders.

There are also some really great bloggers in the beading world. Inspirational Beading and Beading Arts are two nice blogs that come to mind. Both are informative and share a lot of information.

Purple Paisley Embroidered Wide Felt Cuff with Ombre Color ShadingHow have your crafts changed over time? SW: They have changed most definitely. I think my technique is far better than when I first started – and I have a lot more ideas now. I am willing to take more risks, and am also more willing to admit when something isn’t working and start again rather than being stubborn and investing more time in a project that just isn’t coming together.

 

Are you a person who is comfortable playing with color, or do you work better with color palettes you find – say, in photos or in nature? SW: I love color, and am always playing with it.

Boho Beaded HoopsRed and Black Beaded Sterling Hoops
Pale Blue Teardrop Beaded Sterling Hoops with Purple, Green and Orange Accents

Those are three examples of color palettes I have used in my beaded hoop earrings.

Nature's Jewel NecklaceI was inspired by the iridescent colors on a beetle for this one. Not only are the colors unusual, but the piece ended up having a bit of an ancient Egyptian style to it, which I also liked.

 

 

 

What craft project are you most proud of? SW: It’s a toss up.

Bollywood Bib Necklace with MalachiteThis Bollywood inspired bib necklace is a statement piece that took me many hours. What makes it special to me is the weblike gold embroidery I created in the background. It just adds something unique to the piece.

 

 

 

 

Moss Green Forest Fairy Cuff with Agate FocalThis cuff is another piece that I am very fond of. It has painted leather leaves and embroidery combined with bead weaving and bead embroidery. Despite the fact that I used so many techniques in one piece I think the monochromatic palette keeps the design cohesive.

 

 

 

 

What is your most popular (or bestselling) project? SW: My beaded hoops are my best selling items. I have also done well with my cyclops pieces. I have a stash of realistic doll eyes which I used in little treasure boxes and a few stuffed creatures.

Mexican Folk Art Inspired Embroidered Cyclops Dragonfly Soft Sculpture Bead Embroidered Cyclops Gold Treasure Box

They are definitely on the odd side, which I like, and surprisingly sold quite well. I plan to make more cyclops boxes in the near future.

Moss and Burgundy Embroidered Tapestry Necklace with Vintage Rhinestones

Has a craft or craft project ever challenged you in an unexpected way? SW: I think the challenge is ongoing – I keep a notebook with me at all times to jot down ideas. A lot of times the translation of that idea into a workable project isn’t always smooth. Sometimes I have to experiment and accept when a technique isn’t working well and be willing to start over again. Also, I tend to be a bit of a hoarder when it comes to supplies and I need to remind myself that instead of constantly buying new supplies I need to find creative solutions to design issues using existing supplies.

Green and Gold Abstraction BraceletHow has crafting affected your character? SW: It has definitely made me more patient and persistent. I also find it calming. I initially started creating beaded jewelry and embroidered objects as a calming therapy after getting home from my “day job.” Even after starting to sell my work and running an online store, I still find the act of creating calming. The repetitive nature of beadweaving is particularly therapeutic.

 

Can you share a story about how your crafting has affected others? SW: I had made a cuff inspired by Boudica, the Irish Warrior Queen. It had a shield like shape (kind of like Wonder Woman’s arm pieces!) and a lovely brown, gold and green color scheme with an celtic knot symbol on it. A woman purchased it and messaged me saying that she had been suffering from some serious personal issues and that in recovering she had used Boudica as an inspirational figure, which was why she purchased the cuff.

Pink and Blue Microorganism BroochWhat crafty goodness do you have coming up in the future? Why is it appealing to you? SW: I am starting to play with hand painted fabrics as a base for my embroidery and bead embroidery. I am still in the experiment phase for the most part right now, although I did make a small series of brooches using fabric I had painted. The photo here shows an example:

I am also planning to play with polymer clay and make some cabochons to use. I have only used polymer clay a little bit but I am amazed at some of the fantastic things artists have created with this medium. I would love to take a class in metal polymer clay – I just have to find one that fits in with my schedule and is geographically convenient!

Many thanks to Sylvia sharing her art and craft with us and for participating in this ACrafty Interview series! You can follow Sylvia’s ongoing adventures on her blog, Facebook, Flickr, Tumblr, and her Etsy shop.

Would you like to be a part of the ACrafty interview series? Just contact me! You might also be interested in reading some more ACrafty Interviews with multi-crafter Diane from CraftyPodneedlepointer Haruhi Okubo of Cresus-Parpitatter and chainmailler Jeff Hamiltonbasketweaver Tina Puckettcross stitcher Meredith Cait, the two part interview with textile artist Arlee Barr, Halloween costume maker Justin Newton, and multi-crafter Pam Harris of Gingerbread Snowflakes.

Review – New DMC Floss Colors

For the first time in nearly 15 years, there are new DMC floss colors! The company has released other products in recent years – variegated flosses, metallic solids and medleys, fluorescents, and a glow in the dark floss (that works great), but these are the first solids in a long time.
DMC Floss New October 2013 At this time, these new flosses can only be purchased in a pack with all 16 colors. I’m hoping that they start selling the individual flosses soon! DMC has a press release with a link to a color card about these new colors that you can read. However, here’s my take (and you can click on the photos below to take a closer look):

DMC 3886First, I think the best additions are the purples. DMC 3886 is called Very Dark Plum, and it comes after 915 (top of photo). It is absolutely gorgeous and a very welcome newcomer.

 

 

 

DMC 3887I’ll say the same for DMC 3887, called Ultra Very Dark Lavender (first from top). These two purples fill some real gaps in the DMC pallette.

 

 

 

DMC 3880DMC 3880 is called Medium Very Dark Shell Pink. According to DMC, the color falls between 3721 and 221 (first from top in photo). I find this color to be nearly identical to 3722 (third from top)

 

 

 

DMC 3880 Suggestion and I’m wondering if this color would work better as in this photo, between 3859 and 3858.

 

 

 

 

 

DMC 3881DMC 3881 is Pale Avocado Green, and it is supposed to fill a gap between 471 and 470 (second from bottom)

 

 

 

 

DMC 3881 Suggestionbut I’m wondering if it may look better in this green color family, between 3348 and 3347.

 

 

 

 

DMC 3882I’m going to sound picky again, but I’m thinking that DMC 3882, Medium Light Cocoa, might go in another spot. According to the color chart, this color should go between 3861 and 3860 (second from top). I find the color to be nearly indistinguishable from 839,

 

 

DMC 3882 Suggestionand may actually look better between 3862 and 3031.

 

 

 

 

 

DMC 3883DMC 3883, Medium Light Copper (second from bottom) is a nice addition to this orange family, although it’s only a very slight variation from it’s neighbors 922 and 921.

 

 

 

DMC 3884DMC 3884 , Medium Light Pewter, falls between 169 and 317, (second from bottom) which is part of a realm of subtle differences in grays. I find it’s also very close to 535.

 

 

 

DMC 3885DMC 3885 is called Medium Very Dark Blue. While I welcome new blues, I find this one to be nearly the same as it’s neighbor 824. Fortunately, they’re both really lovely royal dark blues.

 

 

 

DMC 3888DMC 3888 is Medium Dark Antique Violet. According to DMC, it falls between 3041 and 3740 (first from top). Like the blue 3885 above, it’s a lovely color, but it is incredibly close to it’s neighbor 3041.

 

 

DMC 3889DMC 3889, Medium Light Lemon, (first from bottom) is a good addition to this series of yellows.

 

 

 

 

DMC Bright BluesBeside the purples at the top of this post, the two turquoises DMC 3890 and DMC 3891 (at top and fourth from top) are my favorite new colors. They expand these sets of incredibly bright and vibrant blues that I love.

 

 

DMC 3892DMC 3892 (second from top) is called Medium Light Orange Spice and it fills a gap in this family of orange. However, it is very, very close to the two colors 971 and 970.

 

 

 

DMC 3893DMC 3893, Very Light Mocha Beige, is a subtle step between it’s neighbors 543 and 3864.

 

 

 

 

DMC 3894I’m happy to see this new green, DMC 3894, A.K.A. Very Light Parrot Green (at bottom). This is a perfect newcomer to this nice bright set of greens.

 

 

 

DMC 3895Last, but not least, is DMC 3895, Medium Dark Beaver Gray. It’s a good addition to this range of subtle grays.

 

 

 

 

I have a couple footnotes on this post. First, in order to get the full effect of the differences and similarities of the flosses, you really need to see them for yourself in different types of lighting. I’ve tried my best to capture the subtleties of the color differences, but cameras can’t always do the same job as the human eye.

Interview Q2Second, you have to account for some differences between the color of skeins. DMC has incredible quality control and they produce amazingly consistent colors. However, I may have skeins that are slightly different in color than DMC’s laboratory conditions or the lighting in your house or workplace. So when you look at 3892 and think “That’s not even close to 971 or 970! Is she on drugs or something?” The answer is “well, maybe a glass of wine,” and please remember that colors will look different in various locations and lighting.

All that being said, what do you think of the new colors? Have you been able to see them in person? Has my review above helped you? Let me know in the comments!

new dmc floss colors patternUpdate February 2015: I now have a project that uses all of the 16 new colors in a fun geometric pattern. Take a look!

ACrafty Interview with Arlee Barr – Part 1

Welcome to today’s ACrafty Interview with Arlee Barr, textile artist. Arlee’s responses are so thorough and engaging that the interview has been split into two parts!

Here’s Part 1 to start your fascinating look at her art and process: acrafty interview - arlee barr embroidery for vest from original pen and ink drawing

When did you start making art? AB: I’ve always considered myself an artist, whether it was my first realistic renderings of an airplane (the family having lived several years above a hanger when i was quite young!), drawings of plants and animals, writing poetry and critiques for a Canadian literary magazine when i was 16, moving onto pen and ink renderings of fantasy elements in my late teens and then in my 20’s, with a child added to the mix, translating my drawings into embroidery and making clothing for myself and my son that were way past the considered norm of the time. ( I could find that boy in *any* crowd 🙂 )

I come from a long matriarchal line of women who Did simply because they had to, and knowing that it was the way of their lives. I credit my mother first and foremost. She taught me to break the rules, to think as an individual and to re-invent the wheel, teaching me to sew by hand when i was five: i created a series of Barbie type dolls with all of their clothes sewn on, seams visible and impossible to take off unless i cut them! When i was seven, i had lessons on a sewing machine and by the time i was nine, was making all of my own clothes. When i was 13, my grade 8 home ec teacher was bothered by the fact that while everyone else was busy figuring out the intricacies of an apron or pyjama pants, i was already making more complicated gusseted and gored mid Eastern styled dresses.

My mother was widely read, immersed herself in museum and gallery visits, bringing home a new sensibility about world apparel and style, almost a hippie in her wanderings through those respectable findings. Because of her, i see things differently, and she encouraged me to experiment and explore what could be done with a needle and thread. It wasn’t until my teens though, that i realized that what i was doing could be art rather than craft. I was also lucky enough to be hanging around with a bunch of students who were taken under the wing of an incredibly talented art teacher would take us to Hamilton and Toronto to the galleries and art colleges, on his own dime.

acrafty interview - arlee barr street pretty

What mediums have you tried and what is your current favorite? AB: I painted, i wrote poetry (still do), i created mixed media collages and shrines, i dabbled in everything i could but nothing really held my interest unless i went back to a needle and thread, whether on a machine or by hand. In my 30’s i started selling my wearable art and with the encouragement of friends and a helpful counsellor, entered a 2 year Textile Arts programs at North Vancouver’s Capilano College (BC), 1993-95. (Now known as Capilano University and with the program cut and gone, sadly…) I joked for years after that all i learned was how to better my machine applique from that 2 year period, not knowing how much of the art history and design ethic actually sank in. I’m grateful that it did, finally seeping up from the depths to colour what i am and how i do things almost 20 years later.

acrafty interview - arlee barr tawdry rose 3

acrafty interview - arlee barr hand of the fatherWhat project are you most proud of? AB: All of my work is full of pride and satisfaction. It’s as simple as if it didn’t work and i don’t like it, it never gets shown, or even finished! If i had to choose a favourite piece, it would be like saying i loved one child more than another, but i have a special fondness and memories for “Beautiful Bones” (2009), “Hand of the Father” (2010), “Raggedy Black Heart” (2011) and and my most recent completed piece, “Mother’s Heart”. All of them relate to certain emotional issues i have dealt with: the ubiquitous feelings of mortality and the sense that we are all beautiful and the same under the skin, my father’s death, a friend’s very confused and sad life ending and a response to Mother Nature (and indirectly to my own mother).

acrafty interview - arlee barr beautiful bones

What is the silliest question you’ve received regarding your work? AB: I was working on a complex, cloth woven and hand and machine embroidered piece while waiting in a doctor’s office, and a woman asked me if there was a pattern for it. When i said no, she sniffed and walked away—i think there are people who believe patterns, kits and someone else telling you this MUST be the way to do it and that it’s the ONLY way, is a very sad approach to “creativity” and being either artist or craftsperson. I also get tired of someone scanning over a piece i’ve spent months on by hand, and then asking me if i could make placemats for them. Nope.

acrafty interview - arlee barr haystack

What is your most popular (or bestselling) project? AB: I’m very grateful to have discovered the wonders and mysteries of natural dyeing and ecoprinting. I rarely use any commercial fabrics now, unless they are bits of scrounged or thrift shopped articles. This means that anything i create now is really built from as close to scratch as one can get without actually weaving the cloth first! I “share the wealth” by selling one of a kind fabrics for other artists who incorporate it into their own work.acrafty interview - arlee barr original fabrics

Do you sketch most of your work before you begin, or do you work without a pattern or plan? AB: Yes and no! My sketchbooks are full of very rudimentary scribbles and notes. Words are more important to me as inspiration: bits of poetry, a strange turn of phrase, an overheard bit of conversation. I then audition my fabrics and the one that speaks most emotionally to me is the one i start with. I’d rather have the actual art made than make art of the notes themselves. I’ve seen wonderful sketchbooks from other artists, but for me personally they are a waste of time, a waste of resources, and leave me no energy or inclination for the actual art! I’d rather be making it than planning it. I do lightly audition certain bits in a loose way on some paper, but that’s not always the case or a comfortable way for me to develop what i want to say. The only “serious” sketchbook work i do, is to sometimes do a print out of the base fabric with a few ideas and then overdraw on it where i might use certain stitches or motifs. I keep all of these print outs in a workbook divided into either dates worked on or thematically. I can then look back for ideas for future work, or see how things are evolving, and building a library of personal iconography.

The most important tool i have in the documentation process is my notebook of thread ends with the company, colourway and number recorded: since i do a lot of projects at once, i need to be able to refer back to which threads i have used in each one.acrafty interview - arlee barr imperfect world

 

– End of Part 1

Many thanks to Arlee for her participation in this ACrafty Interview series! Part 2 of her interview will be posted next Thursday, October 17, so stay tuned for the rest of this glimpse into her work. Also thanks to fellow ACrafty Interview subject Betty Busby (original interview and followup) for suggesting that I approach Arlee for the series.

In the meantime, you can follow Arlee’s adventures on her blog, her FacebookFlickr, and her shop

Update: Link to Part 2

Please note that Arlee does not want any of the images that she provided above copied, Pinned, or used in any way without her permission. An excerpt from her Flickr profile: “Please do not add my photos to your Pinterest without asking me–this violates the copyright clause that say *I* have exclusive right to decide where my work is distributed–my photos are ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.”

Would you like to be a part of the ACrafty interview series? Just contact me! You might also be interested in reading some more ACrafty Interviews with multi-crafter Diane from CraftyPodneedlepointer Haruhi Okubo of Cresus-Parpitatter and chainmailler Jeff Hamiltonpotter Nancy Germond, basketweaver Tina Puckettquilter and pursemaker Linda Martin, and cross stitcher Meredith Cait.

ACrafty Interview with Linda Martin

Welcome to today’s ACrafty Interview with Linda Martin, quilter and pursemaker!

acrafty interview - linda martin bargello quiltWhen did you start crafting? LM: I think I have always worked on craft type projects. I remember as a child getting craft kits as gifts. Making collages, animals, painting, knitting, sewing, and crochet were always something I did. My Mom and Grandma always worked with me on them and taught me many useful skills along the way.

acrafty interview - linda martin painting of son jasonWhat crafts have you tried and what’s your favorite now? LM: I probably have tried most every kind of craft. In addition to those I already mentioned I have made many clothes, curtains, tablecloths and pillows. For many years I painted with oils and acrylics. I made many landscapes, portraits and animal paintings. Working with color and design was always part of my life. My favorite now is quilting. It’s been a natural progression of my interest in color and design projects.

 

 

acrafty interview - linda martin musical quiltWhat project are you most proud of? LM: Right now I’m very proud of a project I created this summer. I was asked by a friend to make a “music” quilt. I thought a lot about it and came up with a very free form kind of create as you go project. Of course I had the help of a friend as we brainstormed ideas back and forth. The quilt took me outside my normal comfort zone of making quilt blocks and putting them together.

acrafty interview - linda martin purse 2Have you ever started a project without a pattern or a plan? LM: I can’t think of a time when I didn’t have some kind of a plan, pattern or design in my head. Sometimes things change along the way, but I have a picture in my head.

 

 

 

 

 

acrafty interview - linda martin seaside quiltHas a project ever challenged you in an unexpected way? LM: Some projects have challenged me for sure, but I have always found a way to complete them. Sometimes I will put a quilt away for a while and let it rest! Really my head usually needs a “vacation” from it while I figure out a way to make it work.

 

How has crafting affected your character? LM: Since I have been making some kind of creative projects most of my life, it’s hard to tell if my character has developed because of my life experiences or creative experiences. I suspect it’s both.

acrafty interview - linda martin purse 1Since I was an elementary school teacher for over 30 years my organizational skills from teaching have certainly help me be better at my creative projects. When I began teaching we had to create our own classroom environment. That gave me a lot of confidence in my ability to draw and paint. I had always been too reticent to to take art classes because of fear of criticism. But as I got compliments and “oh wows” on my work from fellow teachers, my confidence grew. I gradually began painting. This taught me lots of perseverance because painting is very much a developmental process. Observing details is also important to a successful product. (whether it’s painting or quilting). Color and patterns in nature transfer to the finished painting or quilt.

acrafty interview - linda martin regatta quiltEven though I’m no longer painting, many of these skills apply to my sewing and quilting. The balance of color and design elements are also very important. This is often the most important part of the quilt. Without the right balance the quilt will not work. When I finish a project whether it’s a purse or a quilt I’m really proud of it. Sometimes I look at the result and say wow, I did it!

As I’ve gained confidence in my work, I’ve definitely become more adventurous to try new things. This summer I made a landscape and a portrait quilt (wall hangings really)! I guess I was brave to try those things.

acrafty interview - linda martin quiltCan you share a story about how your crafting has affected others? LM: Some of my friends who are not quilters have been curious about what I do. I have shared my skills with them as well as the process of creating a quilt. I helped and encouraged one to make a purse and a pillow! I have also given many quilts and purses as gifts.

acrafty interview - linda martin purse 3What crafty goodness do you have coming up in the future? Why is it appealing to you? LM: I’d like to continue with making purses and quilts, trying to expand my horizons with new kinds of projects. Another goal of mine is to do more free hand quilting on my long arm quilting machine. That’s a whole other learning curve!

 

 

 

 

Thanks to Linda for taking the time to participate in this ACrafty interview series, and thanks to previous interviewee, jeweler Ron Buhler, for recommending her for the series! Best of luck with the free hand quilting…

Would you like to be a part of the ACrafty interview series? Just contact me! You might also be interested in reading some more ACrafty Interviews with multi-crafter Diane from CraftyPodembroiderer Ellen of Schindermania!, needlepointer Haruhi Okubo of Cresus-Parpitatter and chainmailler Jeff Hamilton, stone artist Jerry Locke, potter Nancy Germond, and Tina Puckett of Tina’s Baskets.

ACrafty Interview with Betty Busby – Followup!

I’d like to share the followup of my interview with Betty Busby…

Recently, I had the pleasure of meeting Betty Busby in person at her home and studio in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Betty was featured in my fifth ACrafty Interview in June 2013. As you can read in the interview, I am a fervent admirer of her work. Her use of color and the detail involved simply amaze me. acrafty interview - betty busby detail of quilt diatom 3

I won’t give away too much of what I’ve learned about her process, but she uses various combinations of Photoshop, digital printing, hand-painting, drawing, hand beadwork, and a hand made longarm quilting machine to achieve some of her effects. And those effects are stunning!acrafty interview - betty busby detail of her quilt reliquary

She also has a fabric stash that would make any quilter green with envy. I didn’t want to take a photo as Betty was a bit shy about her studio space – but I will say that my jaw dropped when I saw it.

acrafty interview - betty busby with her quilt disco urchinBetty is a true artist, and it was a great pleasure to meet her. Her quilts are in exhibits around the country and she does teach classes a few times a year. If you enjoy her pieces, I highly encourage you to follow her adventures and hopefully cross paths with her someday!

[Photo: I’m on the left, and Betty in front of her piece Disco Urchin]

 

You can follow Betty through her Etsy shop, her Flickr photostream, her website, her blog (which contains info on some of her techniques), and she JUST started selling fabric patterns through Spoonflower!

ACrafty Interview with Nancy Germond

Welcome to today’s ACrafty Interview with Nancy Germond, potter for Germond Designs.

freedomWhen did you start crafting? NG: I started crafting when I was really little – my favorite baby sitter used to spend hours drawing with me and my mom taught me to sew back in elementary school. I’ve been crafting since I’ve been walking!

 

 

acrafty interview with nancy germond '70s red birdWhat crafts have you tried and what is your current favorite? NG: I have tried everything from painting to macrame to knitting to decoupage to metal stamping. Clay is my current favorite medium because it is SO versatile and it has allowed me to incorporate many different crafts such as silk screening and painting.

 

Nest with Green EggsWhat is the silliest question you’ve ever received about your craft? NG: I once completed a tile backsplash for a client and she asked if the design would wipe off if she used water… practical question from her perspective but what kind of backsplash would that have been?!

 

 

Nancy Jean & Lima BeanWhat craft project are you most proud of? NG: I am super proud of my most recent sculpture – the inspiration was a 7000 mile road trip towing a 1975 trailer. The sculpture is a self portrait of me, with the wind in my hair, popping out of the top of the trailer’s ceiling (see picture). It’s titled “Nancy Jean and Lima Bean.”

 

 

 

What is your most popular (or bestselling) project? NG: My doodle bowls are very popular and I have many customers who keep growing their collection. Each bowl has a unique design and the size is perfect.
Doodle Bowl Grouping #2

 

Gold Aqua BowlHas a craft or craft project ever challenged you in an unexpected way? NG: Getting organized enough to travel with my art booth was quite challenging – thank goodness I have the Lima Bean! On my first out of state show, my car was packed with my pottery and my tent and shelves were packed into the camper. After my 12 hour first leg of the journey, I pulled into a KOA campground, crawled over the supplies and slept on my little twin bed. The golden rule is NO pottery packed into the trailer – it would end up in many, many pieces after the first bump in the road.

BlackBirdLIteBlueDotsHow has crafting affected your character? NG: Devoting 100% of my time to making art was a huge leap of faith but one I had to take! It can be challenging to make art that you hope someone will like enough to purchase but I’ve learned to trust myself and ‘go’ with it. I constantly quell the thoughts of self doubt and replace them with gratitude, thankfulness and joy at being able to do art full-time. I never have to ‘make’ myself do art – it’s something I always enjoy and ‘must do’ to be happy – like breathing and exercise. This summer, I made the decision to apply to art shows in Colorado so I could escape the crazy Texas heat – I call that ‘creating my own universe’ as well as creating my own art!

Bird and RosesCan you share a story about how your crafting has affected others? NG: After an art show at my house, a good friend of mine decided she could also follow her passion – baking. It’s a great story – Amanda and her mom, Kit started the venture called Tiny Pies. Since starting the company in 2010, they have been written up in Oprah Magazine and recently appeared with Katie Couric. While their success is due to a fantastic product and lots of hard work, I like to think that my decision to follow my passion inspired them.

Navajo Wisdom BowlWhat is the one question you’ve never been asked about your craft that you’ve always wanted to answer? NG: Hmmm – that would have to be “Would you be interested in having your product for sale in Anthropologie?!” followed by “Sorry, we won’t be able to pay you in dollars – would you accept bartering your pottery for our fabulous clothes?”

 

Grasshopper Butter dishWhat crafty goodness do you have coming up in the future? Why is it appealing to you? NG: [Some new pieces made their premier at a show in Salida, Colorado on August 10-11.] I love the interaction with people at art shows – it’s always interesting to see which pieces sell and to whom. I was super excited to sell a grasshopper butter dish to a woman whose husband worked for Grasshopper Mower- how perfect is that?! I am a total extrovert so while I love creating my pottery in my studio, I live for customer interactions at art shows! I am also excited to be back in the studio later in the month; I want to make some little wall plaques to sell at my next show in Durango late September.

Thanks so much to Nancy for participating in this ACrafty interview series! I saw her lovely booth at an art show a few weeks ago and was drawn in immediately. Nancy really struck me with her open and positive attitude and I hope you will be able to meet her and see her lovely works in person!

You can follow Nancy’s adventures on her websiteFacebook, and she’s aiming to really fire up her Etsy shop in September.

Would you like to be a part of the ACrafty interview series? Just contact me! You might also be interested in reading some more ACrafty Interviews with multi-crafter Diane from CraftyPodembroiderer Sasha of What. No Mints?embroiderer Ellen of Schindermania!, the multi-talented David Tedinneedlepointer Haruhi Okubo of Cresus-Parpi, and tatter and chainmailler Jeff Hamilton.