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!

Five Tutorials I Would Like to Try

link-love-icon250Following Diane and Tammy’s Link Love mission, today I’m sharing five tutorials I would like to try!

 

 

 

 

 

Chevron Scarf#1 Jody McKinley’s Chevron Scarf pattern on her JavaJem blog. I also featured this project in my recent post on variegated yarn projects. I just love how the six different colorways of Koigu combine so cheerfully. My biggest hesitation on this one is that I have never knit a single stitch. I’m thinking I’d have to tackle some much simpler scarves before attempting this beauty.

 

 

 

 

#2 This DIY Chevron Wall Art project by Emma of MyBojuLife. There’s lots of paint chip art out there, but this one grabbed my particular attention. I have a lot of leftover paint chips from when we remodeled one of our bathrooms, and this looks to be a quick and fun project.

 

 

#3 Rachel at LinesAcross has this tutorial on how to make beads from scraps of paper and leftover embroidery floss. This tutorial I also featured in a previous post on using flosses in jewelry. It’s a brilliant way to be creative and thrifty at the same time, and I think I have an idea of how to use these beads in projects other than jewelry…

 

 

 

#4 I love the concept behind this baby mobile by Alisa Burke guest posting at SewMamaSew. Once again, I featured this project in a fun previous post about water-themed crafts. With a minimum of planning and expense, she created this striking project. I don’t know any babies who are currently in need of a mobile, but I know some little boys who might like to help me make them a cool door curtain…

 

 

 

 

Picture of Rain Gutter Garden Planter Troughs#5 Last of the five tutorials I would like to try is some variation of this Rain Gutter Garden Planter tutorial on Instructables. Our house is on an incredibly tiny lot, and planters are our only option. Using rain gutters is an economical way to go vertical without creating too much weight. We’re thinking that some (shallow-rooted) herbs and lettuces might be a nice place to start!

My previous posts in the Link Love Mission include “Five Books I Made Something From,” “Five Posts I’m Proud of Creating” (note: from early in the history of this blog), “Five Favorite Projects for DIY Crafty Goodness,” and my favorite and most important: “Five Blogs that Make Me Laugh.”

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.

Five Posts I’m Proud of Creating – 2013

Once again following the lead of Diane and Tammy, I’m rounding up the “Five Posts I’m Proud of Creating in 2013” as part of their “Share the Link Love” mission.

I started blogging in February of this year, and what an adventure it has been! I honestly had no idea of exactly what I was getting into, and to be honest, I still don’t as blogging seems to be constantly evolving (just read Diane’s post on the topic). Creating posts takes more time than I originally thought, but I’m happy to be writing again after a gap of many years. I’m also trying to emphasize quality of posts over quantity of posts, and that seems to keep me motivated and to be working. With all that in mind, here’s five posts I’m proud of (in no particular order):

#1 FIRST POST!

Hitting “publish” the first time was a pretty interesting experience. It was nerve-wracking and thrilling while I was being hopeful and curious all at the same time. It was also the result of a failure (but a fail-forward type failure).
Computer keyboard and touch pad

(Insert sound effect here: “Yeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaggggghhhhh!”)

[Photo by darrenleno via Flickr]

The first AncoraCrafts.com was an e-commerce platform that I had spent a lot of time and money on setting up, customizing, and maintaining. And after an extended period of time, I never sold a damn thing on it. Not one. Hardly got any views. Obviously, I had to make a change.

Moving my listings to Etsy was the easy part, but changing the .com to a blog took a lot of work, mentally and digitally. Switching to a new web host and learning WordPress were two big hurdles. But the biggest challenge was in making the commitment to blogging – a decision I did not take lightly.

I’m very happy to say that ever since I hit “publish” on the first post in late February, although it’s a lot of work, I’m having a lot of fun with this blog!

#2 Followup on my ACrafty Interview with Betty Busby

acrafty interview - betty busby with her quilt disco urchinI published an interview with quilt artist Betty Busby in June. I have been in awe of her work since I first saw it and I was so curious about her process. In August she was gracious enough to give me, my husband, and our dog Scully a tour of her home and studio space in Albuquerque. It was a real honor and treat for all of us, and I’m really happy that I was brave and took the chance to ask her if she was available.

#3 Making a Better Blog

The Better IdeaMost of my very early posts on the blog are about my own projects and products, and that was fine. But in May, after doing a lot of reading about blogging, I had a kind of epiphany about the direction of my blog. I’m sure it will shift again someday, but this post sums up my current bloggy path.

[Photo: The Better Idea by (the brilliant) Peggy Dembicer via Flickr]

 

 

#4 Favorite Books – Crafty and Otherwise

As part of Rosalilium’s Blog Every Day in May project, I put more information about myself out on the internet than I ever thought I would. Of all the 31 topics that month, I really enjoyed creating this post about my favorite books.Bill the Cat for President

 [Bill the Cat for President from Bloom County. Photo by tjosephson2 via Flickr]

#5 My Hexie Madness Series

I had done a few other crafty roundups before, but the hexagon series really stands out. I dug deep, spending days on the internet to find examples of hexagon crafts in all types of disciplines. I ended up finding some really outstanding hexies in interesting places. I tried to find as many tutorials and patterns as possible, but where those didn’t exist, I did find some excellent sources of inspiration. Love the leather pouffe and these popsicle sticks – so fun! [Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4]

How about you? Share your “proud five” post over at CraftyPod!

Five Favorite Projects for DIY Crafty Goodness

I’ve been inspired once again this week by the Link Love post from Diane at CraftyPod and will share my five favorite projects (thus far).

Honeycomb Hexagon Wall @ Vintage Revivals-2#1 is this outstanding hexie ombré wall by VintageRevivals. First time I saw this photo, I was rendered nearly speechless – I mean HOW COOL IS THIS WALL!

 

 

Pin cushion tutorial#2 is this lovely and larger size pincushion tutorial from Lori at TheInboxJaunt. Love the ocean colors and the pattern in this small piece.

 

 

#3 is this tutorial from Jesse at NineRed that not only shows how to paint some awesome hexies, it also has great information about refinishing any piece of furniture, even if it’s ugly 70’s plastic!

 

 

 

Melted Bead Suncatchers#4 are these melted bead suncatcher projects from TheArtfulParent. These are so simple, fun, and bright, I can’t wait to try them out someday with the kids in my life.

 

 

hexagon crafts - scrapbook paper wall art by itsalwaysautumn#5 is this tutorial by Autumn at itsalwaysautumn. I knew this was something I wanted to try as soon as I saw it. It’s simple, inexpensive, gorgeous, and a great way to use and display some of your favorite scrapbook papers.

 

I’m going to give honorary mentions to two other projects – first is is this tutorial on popsicle sticks from LiEr at Ikatbag. These are great fun! Her kids did a good job…

 

 

Nicey Jane hexiesThe second honorary mention is this tutorial for bordered hexies (found through CraftyPod) that really makes me want to dive into making some of these little buggers!

 

 

I’ve made the last two links into honorary mentions as I showed the same photos in my link love post last Friday as well. As much as I love these projects, I just didn’t want to seem too repetitive.

You also might tell that most of my links here feature hexagons. Well, they’re from my four part series on hexagon crafts! Next week, I dive into a series on health-promoting crafts starting with good ol’ H2O – stay tuned…

My Top 5 Posts of 2013 Thus Far

I’m following the lead of Diane (of CraftyPod fame) today and posting my top 5 posts of 2013 thus far.

#1 Most Popular: Part two of my series on hexagons (HEXIE MADNESS, really), that covered crochet, felt, lace and tatting, polymer clay, origami, and last but not least, popsicle sticks. The hexie origami boxes are proving to be the most popular outgoing links, but my sentimental favorite has to be this colorful and fun popsicle stick hexagonal basket.

ACrafty Interview - Katie Kutthroat ain't nobody got time for that cross stitch#2 Most Popular: The ACrafty Interview with Katie Kutthroat. Katie was one of the first people I ever contacted on Twitter. Katie’s cross stitch has always cracked me up, and it has been seen on the set of the HBO show Girls. It was very interesting to get a glimpse into her crafty process and to see how she benefits from stitching.

#3 Most Popular: My book review of Crochet Saved My Life by Kathryn Vercillo of CrochetConcupiscience. Her book explains the benefits of crochet for a variety mental conditions including depression, anxiety, OCD and addiction, for physical conditions such as chronic pain, fibromyalgia, and multiple sclerosis, and as a tool in occupational therapy.

Her book also has a curious physical effect! Read the review for more info about Kathryn’s fantastic world of crochet.

 

Nicey Jane hexies#4 Most Popular: Part one of my hexagon series, this one covering quilting (featuring a link or two to CraftyPod), leatherwork, scrapbooking, weaving, and jewelry. Of all the links, I think the most popular is probably these bordered hexies, although the Diane von Furstenburg box clutch gets a lot of attention as well.

acrafty interview craftypod quilting happiness book cover#5 Most Popular: I’m very pleased to say that it’s my ACrafty Interview with Diane of CraftyPod! Diane was so gracious to give some of her valuable time to my fledgling blog. I have to say that CraftyPod is a wonderful resource of crafts and craft blog information, and I highly recommend anyone in a creative field to follow her adventures (and best of luck with the new book launch this week, Diane!).

 

 

Hexagon Crafts – Part 1

Welcome to this series on hexagon crafts, which should really be titled HEXIE MADNESS! Hexagon crafts are incredibly popular, and have been for years. It’s a trend I think and hope will be around for a long time. This is the first of four posts covering hexagon crafts ranging from crochet to cakes, pottery to popsicle sticks, and everything in between.
Hexagons

[Photo: Detail of a giant kite by Gerald Keller via Flickr]

Before I get into the specific projects, I’d like to share this story by Megan of SewingInCircles. While she was traveling, crafting hexies had a huge anxiety and stress-relieving effect for her:

“…we were stranded, flights were cancelled, next available flights were two days later….clearly a time when either alcohol or chemistry would be needed to calm the nerves.

“But never fear, the hexies are here!! (and a large glass of wine)

“By the time we actually boarded a flight, I was frazzled, I was like frazzle rock, or frazzle wrecked. But I pulled out my hexies and started to sew. The hexies were with me because I had no other handwork that was in a state to travel. But once again, handwork saved me on the flight from shaking the whole way.”

This is a great example of how crafts can benefit us all. So take a look at these great hexie projects, get inspired, and get crafting!

Hexagon Crafts in Quilting

Spoonflower-placemat-finished-2Diane of CraftyPod created this tutorial for Spoonflower for making these modern and bright quilted hexie placemats.

 

 

 

Nicey Jane hexiesThrough this link love post from also from Diane, I saw this tutorial for bordered hexies that, like Diane says, makes me “want to chuck my whole To-Do list out the window and spend my day making these things.” The colors and fabrics in this photo by Silly Lil’ Doe! are so attractive!

 

hexy mug rug tutorial 17Here’s a great tutorial from SewHappyGeek on how to sew a mug rug made of all hexies:

 

 

 

 

hexagon crafts - scrappy quiltAnd I love the vintage and scrappy feel of this quilt pattern available from BrigitteGiblin. This is a great way to show off some feature fabrics and get your hexie fix at the same time!

 

 

 

 

jeni baker color hex quilt patternIf you don’t feel like making a zillion tiny hexies, PinkChalkFabrics offers this Color Hex Quilt Pattern by Jeni Baker. Very fun!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hexagon NecklaceWild Olive takes the quilted hexie to the next level with this tutorial to make one into a necklace,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

and MicheleMadeMe has this tutorial available on making this adorable fabric hexie headband!

 

 

 

Hexagon Crafts in Leather

POUF - leatherI found these two products that certainly could be used for some crafty inspiration! The first is this very fun leather hexie pouf by KSIA-Berlin.

 

 

 

 

Diane Von Furstenberg Tonda Hexagon Patchwork Leather Box Clutch in Orange (blush) - LystSecond is this elegant and colorful box clutch by Diane Von Furstenberg via Lyst.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hexagon Crafts in Scrapbooking

hexagon crafts - scrapbook paper wall art by itsalwaysautumnI knew this tutorial by Autumn at itsalwaysautumn was a keeper as soon as I saw it. It’s simple, inexpensive, gorgeous, and a great way to use and display some of your favorite scrapbook papers!

 

 

 

 

Hex4Kelly Purkey on her It’s Me, KP blog has this very useful Photoshop tutorial on how to make hexagon photos without using a punch.

 

 

 

open hexagon explosion boxI had never really heard of an “explosion box” before I saw this hexagon box project by Karen on CraftsForAllSeasons. I imagine it would be a great present for someone who already has everything! Very clever…

 

 

When it comes to hexagons in real-live full-on-scrapbook pages, I’m going to direct you to this article by the GetItScrapped crew at DebbieHodge.com. The article covers using hexagon shapes, creating visual interest with hexies, using hexagon embellishments… covering just about every way hexies can be used in scrapbooking layouts. An excellent resource!

 

Hexagon Crafts in Weaving

hexagon crafts - woven hexagon by noreen crone findlayNoreen Crone-Findlay has a video tutorial on how to weave a hexagon using a Lily Speed-O Weave Loom. I can only imagine how warm a blanket made from these woven hexies must be…

 

 

 

Hexagon Crafts in Jewelry

Beadweaving Tutorial No 27 - Hexagon PendantHere’s a tutorial from Lynn Davy available on Etsy on how to make this fun, colorful, and sparkly crystal hexagon pendant,

 

 

 

 

and I found instructions to make these basic hexagon stitch beaded earrings from Chris Franchetti Michaels on About.com.

 

 

 

 

Honeycomb Necklace, Geometric hexagon jewelryYou might find some inspiration in this simple and elegant geometric honeycomb necklace by HyJewelry on Etsy,

 

 

 

Neon Statement Necklace, Honey Comb Hexagons, Modern Molecules Geometric Jewelryand with this bright and gorgeous neon statement necklace made of leather by BooandBooFactory. BooandBooFactory features a lot of hexagons throughout their shop – check ’em out!

 

 

 

Green Hexagon mosaic shell cuff (cuff button cuff links).For the sharp dressers, I spotted these beautiful mother-of-pearl hexagon cufflinks from CuffCuff.

 

 

 

 

hexagon crafts - hexagon earrings by india hicksAnd finally, once again not a tutorial, but I just ADORE these earrings by India Hicks that were available at Bloomingdale’s. They’re beautiful, and with the right outfit, they would be absolutely stunning!

 

 

 

 

 

That gorgeous note concludes this, the first of four articles on hexagon crafts. Is there anything else in these five crafty categories (quilting, leatherwork, scrapbooking, weaving, and jewelry) that you would like to add in the comments?

Stay tuned for hexie crochet, pottery, painting, needlework, stained glass, gardening and much much more!

[Update: here’s links to Part 2 (crochet, felt, lace and tatting, polymer clay, origami, popsicle sticks), Part 3 (sewing, pottery, knitting, quilling, woodworking, plastic and stained glass), and Part 4 (paint, cross stitch, embroidery, baking, lamp making, and gardening)]

ACrafty Interview with Diane Gilleland of CraftyPod

Welcome to this week’s ACrafty Interview with Diane Gilleland, the multi-craft, multi-talented heart of CraftyPod.

When did you start crafting? DG: Oh, I’ve been at it since I was a tiny kid. My Mom is very creative, and she always had crafty activities for my brother and I to do. It was just a natural part of our family.acrafty interview craftypod spring easter craft mosaic

What crafts have you tried and what is your current favorite? DG: I’ll try anything once! At the moment I’m most besotted with English Paper Piecing and plastic canvas. But just as an example, in the past week I’ve dabbled with: embroidery, machine sewing, hand quilting, making Kanzashi butterflies (that’s a Japanese fabric-folding craft), and building ornaments from thin birch shavings.

acrafty interview craftypod plastic canvas robotsWhat craft project are you most proud of? DG: Hmmm… that’s tough to answer, only because I’m a process-oriented crafter. The minute I finish something, I kind of lose interest in it. But I do love how this project came out – I rescued some vintage quilt blocks by English paper piecing them into tote bags. I also love my little plastic canvas robots.

 

acrafty interview craftypod kanzashi in bloom book coverIf you’re a seller, what is your most popular project? DG: I don’t sell handmade goods, but I did write a craft book about the aforementioned Kanzashi a few years back, and it’s been pretty popular.

 

 

 

 

acrafty interview craftypod quiltblock coastersHas a craft or craft project ever challenged you in an unexpected way? DG: Oh, definitely! Crafts challenge me every single time. I’m pretty obsessed with finding new ways to combine techniques and materials, and once I learn how to make anything, I start messing around with different ways to do it.

Each craft has its own mechanics, too – bookbinding is an exercise in slowing down and being precise. Plastic canvas is an exercise in thinking in 3D. Needle felting is about tactile sensation and patiently growing forms. Crochet is about understanding structure. I like being in all these different moments with craft.

acrafty interview craftypod plastic canvas minecraft blocksHow has crafting affected your character? DG: I’m a big believer in the idea that creativity is essential to happiness, and that all humans are creative in some domain. (Peyton Manning, my favorite NFL quarterback, is creative as all get-out at the line of scrimmage. Jaime Oliver is incredibly creative about making healthy home cooking accessible to non-cooks.)

I just think that we’re all at our best when we’re creating, whatever form that takes – we’re connected to what’s essential about us, and we’re manifesting that in the world.

For me personally, crafting is a way to connect with people through classes and the online community, but it’s also important as a way to enter my own thoughts, work out problems, and process emotions. It’s almost a form of meditation for me. Simply put, if I go too long without making things, I get quite crabby and difficult.

acrafty interview craftypod quilted hexagon coastersCan you share a story about how your crafting has affected others? DG: Way back in 2003, I ran across a piece in a magazine about the Church of Craft, which is a worldwide group devoted to crafts as a spiritual idea. I found myself wishing there was a chapter in Portland, where I live. And eventually, it occurred to me that there would be one if I started it!

It was a huge step for me, a shy person, to organize a public craft group for strangers and have to get out there and promote it. I changed a whole lot as a result of the project. But in the six years the group met, I watched people make new friends, share all kinds of helpful resources, and just get a couple hours to relax and make things among like-minded folks. I witnessed the healing power of crafts over and over again.

acrafty interview craftypod quilting happiness book coverWhat crafty goodness do you have coming up in the future? Why is it appealing to you? DG: I have a new book coming out on August 27! It’s co-authored with Christina Lane, who’s such a talented quilter. The book is called Quilting Happiness, and it works on two levels: it’s a collection of Christina’s beautiful projects, and it’s also filled with creative exercises, quizzes, little vision-building projects, tools, and stories to help you explore all the ways quilting makes you happy. We’re so excited to see this work finally making its way out into the world!

Thanks very much, Diane, for sharing your insights, and best of luck with your new book!

You can follow Diane’s adventures on her CraftyPod blog, Twitter, and Facebook. I was lucky enough to be featured in a CraftyPod interview in March. Her “Image-Only Interview” series is fascinating and addictive – I highly recommend you check it out!

Would you like to be a part of this ACrafty interview series? Just contact me!

You also might like to see the ACrafty Interviews featuring knitter Sabrina Larson and cross stitcher WhateverJames