Modern Tumbling Blocks Quilt – New to my Shop

My new modern tumbling blocks quilt turned out wonderfully! The 3D effect looks great and it’s even better in person. The colors are just as rich and vibrant as I had hoped. If you’re interested in purchasing this pattern, it is now available in my Etsy shop!modern tumbling blocks quilt
Plate Tectonics : Core Deco 2015.The inspiration for the quilt comes mainly from the works of graphic artist Matt W. Moore. I am absolutely enamored with his use of color and his eye for pattern.

As my quilting expertise is limited, I would not yet try to create quilts as complex as some of his pieces. Even if I were a great quilter, I would never infringe on one of his copyrights. However, his work is a great place to find seeds for other creative expressions.

At right is a woven throw blanket from his Core Deco line. I love the colors and design so much I just had to buy one! It looks great in the same room as my modern tumbling blocks quilt.

Modern Tumbling Block Quilt – Fabrics

I used all solids for this quilt, trying to maximize the three-dimensional effect. I started with a jelly roll of bright Kona solids, and then added fat quarters of deep purples, teal, jet black, and a ombre collection of royal blues. Here are all of my blues – at top the royal blues, in the middle are navy blues, and at the bottom are a sky blue and a blue with a touch of purple in it. modern tumbling blocks quilt - blue fabricsYou can see I certainly shied away from using many pastels. A few light pinks, blues, and greens worked fine but I tried a lemony yellow for some of the orange blocks and it was just too light to stand up to the other bright colors.

Here are the series of plum pinks I used:modern tumbling blocks quilt - plum fabrics

I used two types of green – a kelly green and a celery green. If you look above the kelly green blocks are fine. However, if I were to do this project again, I would find a darker celery green for the “dark” side of the block.

Below are the series of teal colors I used:modern tumbling blocks quilt - teal fabrics

Modern Tumbling Block Quilt – Techniques

I used English Paper Piecing (EPP) to put this quilt together, and for guidance, I used and recommend the excellent book All Points Patchwork by my friend Diane Gilleland.

Before I started this project I had only used EPP once before, on my hexagon table runner project. When you read that blog post, you’ll see how valuable her book can be, as I share lots of things-I-would-have-done-differently-if-I-had-read-her-book-FIRST.hexagon table runner projectOne of Diane’s recommendations is to use pre-cut paper templates, and for the sheer volume of templates necessary for this bigger quilt project I gladly took her advice. I purchased my templates from PaperPieces.com. If you’re not too familiar with EPP, you will be BLOWN AWAY by the variety of pre-cut paper template shapes they offer.

If you’re interested in purchasing the pattern for my modern tumbling blocks pattern, please be aware that it is a pattern only. It includes the chart, how many pieces of each color you may need, and some ideas on the order in which I put the quilt top together, but it does not include any cutting, assembly, quilting, or finishing instructions. Diane’s book and many others have excellent instructions on these topics that I need not try to re-create.

Below you can see my new modern tumbling blocks quilt in it’s new habitat near my Persian Flower project. I never get tired of looking at it – it’s visually enticing and very contemplative. I love it with the colors I used and I’d also enjoy seeing it in other color combinations as well. I think a version in earth tones like rust, gold, brown, green, and red would be very striking.modern tumbling blocks quilt at home

Kansas Sunflower Cross Stitch Pattern

This Kansas sunflower cross stitch pattern and kit of a state highway sign is now available in my Etsy shop!kansas highway road sign sunflower cross stitch pattern

The stitched example, Kansas Highway 7, is part of the Glacial Hills Scenic Byway also designated as part of the official route of the Lewis and Clark Historic Trail.kansas sunflower cross stitch pattern state highway sign

The sunflower pattern is easily one of the most interesting state highway signs in the United States. Many state highway signs feature plain squares or circles, but the folks in Kansas showed a little creativity when they generated this design.
Southbound K-99 near Alma, 4 May 2017

[Southbound K-99 near Alma by John Roever via Flickr]

Whether you’re a Jayhawker, a frequent visitor, or just a fan of the state, this Kansas sunflower cross stitch pattern and kit would be a great way to create a reminder of a favorite drive or place in “The Sunflower State.”

Kansas is just the latest in my series of State Highway signs! Thus far, there’s Colorado, Alaska, California, Texas, Washington, Michigan, Florida, New Mexico, Georgia, Utah, Montana, Louisiana, an Interstate sign, a US highway sign, and more are in the works. Until then, I hope you check out all the states and the other road sign patterns I’ve created – they’re a lot of fun!

Bill Hicks Cross Stitch Pattern “Life is Only a Dream…”

This Bill Hicks cross stitch pattern is now available in my Etsy shop!bill hicks cross stitch life is only a dream and we are the imaginations of ourselves

Bill Hicks was a comedian who died in 1994 of pancreatic cancer. You might not expect such a metaphysical quote from a comedian… only if you’re not familiar with Bill Hicks’ work. He was controversial, biting, and certainly not for those with delicate ears. At the same time, he was often spiritual, philosophical, and personal.

This project is only a part of a longer quotation of Hicks. Although he stopped using drugs in 1988, he still espoused their use, saying ““I’ve had some killer times on drugs.” He railed against the war on drugs and on the media focusing only on negative stories about drugs. Hicks instead hop[ed] for a different perspective:

[As if giving a news cast] “Today, a young man on acid realized that all matter is merely energy condensed to a slow vibration—that we are all one consciousness experiencing itself subjectively. There is no such thing as death, life is only a dream, and we are the imaginations of ourselves. Here’s Tom with the weather.”

anchor 1345 variegated flossOn a more superficial note, I filled the stars in border with seven different variegated flosses. The one I had really been wanting to try is Anchor 1345, called “Blue Hawaii,” and it didn’t disappoint. In fact, it’s gorgeous and you can see it in the star in the upper left corner of the pattern.

I stitched some of the stars filling in a serpentine way and some in a spiral way, and it was interesting to see how differently the colors pooled. For example, all three were the same color, Anchor 1345, but the star in the upper left corner was stitched serpentine in horizontal rows, while the fourth one below it and the first one from top right were stitched in a spiral.

This Bill Hicks cross stitch pattern is perfect for everyone who appreciates counter-culture ideas, alternative spiritual philosophies, variegated embroidery floss, and of course, Bill Hicks.

If you’re interested in seeing some of his work, below is a clip from The Late Show with David Letterman. At the taping in 1993, Letterman and CBS decided that his material was too controversial and his performance was not aired. However, in 2009, Bill’s mother was a guest on Letterman and they aired his set in it’s entirety. [Warning: this is not for the easily offended]

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!

DMC Glow in the Dark Floss E940 Now Available

DMC glow in the dark floss (DMC E940) is now available in my Etsy shop!

DMC E940 glow in the dark flossI’m offering this floss at a good price and at a reasonable shipping rate – same as all of the variegated flosses I offer in my shop.

As you can see here, this DMC glow in the dark floss really works! It’s a great way to add some intrigue to a Halloween project, to include a secret message into a needlework project, or to add some fun to a friendship bracelet!

You can use this floss as you would any other six strand floss, and it appears white in daylight conditions. In typical 14 count Aida cloth, using two strands works just fine. It has a very slightly different texture than regular floss, but that doesn’t affect how you treat it while you’re stitching or the quality of the stitches at all.

In the photos below, you can see how I used it this KM 0 pattern and kit, one of my series of street sign projects,

DMC glow in the dark floss E940 - KM0 glow in the dark street sign cross stitch daylight

DMC glow in the dark floss E940 - KM0 glow in the dark street sign cross stitch in the dark

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

and here I used it in this Monty Python sampler:monty python cross stitch pattern - Mind you, moose bites can be pretty nasty

Iron ManDMC has an nice little post on some other uses of this floss, and I found a couple of great examples on Flickr including this awesome Ironman project by Lindy.

 

 

 

As DMC says on it’s blog post, “One of the main challenges of crafting with this wonderful thread is photographing your awesome results, which can be tricky…” No doubt! I was unable to get a really good photo of my Monty Python project in the dark. The human eye can pick up the glow quite easily, but a camera lens is more difficult to manage. Don’t let that discourage you!

This floss is a lot of fun to work with, and I enjoy seeing how people use it in new and creative ways.DMC glow in the dark floss E940

Variegated Floss Projects Part 5

Welcome to Variegated Floss Projects Part 5! 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. Part 4 looked at variegated projects in knitting, spinning and dyeing, and weaving, and this Part 5 will feature crochet, lace and tatting, and basketweaving!variegated floss projects part 5 - DMC 4120

As I said in in Part 1, variegated flosses and yarns 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 Crochet

To start off, variegated yarns can present some interesting challenges. Jennifer at FiberFlux offers some great tips and techniques for working with these beautiful yarns, as well as a number of knit and crochet projects that look outstanding in variegated yarns.

 

 

 

 

There is more good information about what to do (and maybe more importantly what NOT to do) when working with variegated yarns in this post on About.com Crochet by Amy Solovay. This potholder is one of her examples of what NOT to do.

 

 

 

journbig 003There are a million blanket and afghan patterns that look great using variegated yarns. One of the more unique examples I found is this fun and scrappy granny square afghan by Robin Meade at LifeInColor.

 

 

Another unique design is in this octagonal blanket by Monika Rose. In an earlier post, she has more links to the pattern (by Red Heart) and information on the yarns she used.

 

 

 

 

 

 

variegated floss projects part 5 - basketweave crochet pillowMichael Sellick at TheCrochetCrowd has the pattern and video tutorials to make this fun basketweave pillow using two different types of variegated yarn.

 

 

 

variegated floss projects part 5 - crochet hat and scarfJust like afghans, there are a million ways to use variegated yarn in hats and scarves. This free pattern available on About.com looks like a great place to get started with variegated yarn in crochet,

 

 

 

 

 

Precious_cowl__3_small2while this Precious Cowl pattern by Sophie Gelfi Designs on Ravelry, gorgeous in the variegated yarns you see here, is probably better suited for more experienced crafters.

 

 

 

 

 

 

variegated floss projects part 5 - crochet potholder pastelUnlike her craft fail above, Amy Solovay has some successful potholder patterns out on About.com Crochet. This Shades of Spring is nice in pastels,

 

 

 

 

variegated floss projects part 5 - crochet potholder watercolorand this Watercolor potholder pattern uses five different variegated yarns!

 

 

 

 

 

teacher giftsI just love these very fun washcloths that were made as part of a teacher thank you by Julie-K. This post on her Kundhi blog has the link to the free Ravelry pattern.

 

 

 

Who can resist these amazingly adorable crocodile baby booties? The ones seen here are from BumbleBeeDesigns, and links to patterns and tutorials to make your own (for babies, children, and adults!) can be found in this post on Examiner.com.

 

 

Granny Square Necklace - 3I have more examples of using variegated floss in crochet to make jewelry in the third post in this series, but I thought this cute granny square necklace on TheHookandI looked perfect right here.

 

 

variegated floss projects part 5 - crochet hobo bagCrochet bags and purses look terrific in variegated yarns! Examples include this free Hobo Bag pattern by Red Heart Yarn on FaveCrafts,

 

 

 

 

 

 

this granny square purse by Dawn Sparks,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

this Dynamite Market Bag pattern by Jamie on CrochetDynamite,

 

 

 

 

 

and this Starling Handbag pattern by Alice at her FutureGirl blog.

 

 

 

 

Crochet Pattern - Big Crochet BasketWhile this basket pattern on ZoomYummy wasn’t crocheted in variegated yarns, I can only imagine how great it would look with some Noro yarns, perhaps?

 

 

variegated floss projects part 5 - crochet conch shellConnie at MiscFinds4U reviewed this free conch shell pattern from Joann.com. Her experience with the project was that she used a variegated yarn that complimented the shape, but she couldn’t get the stitches quite right (use this link to see the pattern on Joann.com). I think her project turned out great nonetheless!

 

Crocheted Layered flower with button centerThere’s a world of crochet flowers out there. I spied this lovely pattern that uses variegated yarn at CreativeJewishMom,

 

 

 

 

and this outstanding board on Pinterest, curated by Kay Kutchenriter, is full of all kinds of gorgeous crochet flowery goodness!variegated floss projects part 5 - pinterest crochet flower board

I like how Monika Rose used variegated yarns in this mandala project,

 

 

 

 

 

and I’m impressed with the variety of circular and mandala type projects that are available. This Pinterest board by Annoo Crochet is FULL of inspiration and patterns.

variegated floss projects part 5 - pinterest crochet mandalas

One of my most exciting finds for the this whole series is this most excellent “Light Carpet” as seen on dutchDZINE. It combines a flexible LED light string and a rope rug in such an ingenious way. Imagine this with some gorgeous variegated fibers in a rug, wall art, made into a basket – the possibilities are nearly endless!

Variegated Floss Projects in Lace and Tatting

Rainbow SnowflakeVariegated thread and tatting compliment each other so naturally. This snowflake project

 

 

 

 

 

Bookmark Exchangeand these bookmarks by Jeff Hamilton of Bridge City Tatting,

 

 

 

Tatted flower hair clipsas well as these hair clips

 

 

 

 

 

Shamrockand this subtly shaded shamrock pendant by Marilee Rockley of YarnPlayer are some great examples of how tatting and variegated threads can work together. As well as her own blog, YarnPlayer has some good links to tatting websites and dyeing websites, and her Flickr feed has many more gorgeous pieces of her tatting and her stunning hand-dyed threads.

 

Needle Lace Skeleton LeavesOne other really interesting link I found is a detailed tutorial on how to make these really lovely needle lace skeleton leaves by Kris on HowDidYouMakeThis? The tutorial calls for normal DMC six strand floss, and in these solid colors they’re beautiful. I imagine they would also be beautiful crafted from some variegated colors,

DMC Variegated 6 Strand Floss 4070 Autumn Leavespossibly DMC 4070 (Autumn Leaves)

 

 

 

 

DMC Variegated 6 Strand Floss 4122 Fall HarvestDMC 4122 (Fall Harvest)

 

 

 

 

DMC Variegated 6 Strand Floss 4020 Tropical Watersor even a non-earth tone like DMC 4020 (Tropical Waters)? Yummy…

 

 

 

 

Variegated Floss Projects in Basketweaving

Many basket weaving projects use solid color materials in order to achieve certain graphic patterns, but I was able to find a few examples of baskets that use variegated yarns. The first two come from the same source, the resourceful Adrianne at HappyHourProjects. This Woven Yarn basket tutorial has some solid instructions on how to make a coiled basket with simple supplies. In this example, you can see how the yarn colors pooled in interesting patterns.

Her Heart Shaped Yarn Basket is another great tutorial, and is a much quicker project than the one above. Once again, she gives the pattern and instructions to make this fun basket from very basic supplies. In this basket, you can see that the colors didn’t pool at all.

 

 

 

variegated floss projects part 5 - variegated thread coiled basketFinally, I spied this post of coiled baskets made by a talented group of 7th and 8th graders. I’m partial to this one – what a fun combination of colors!

 

 

 

 

That wraps up this Variegated Floss Projects Part 5! Are there any more examples in these crafty categories of crochet, lace and tatting, and basketweaving that you would like to add to the comments?

Make sure you check out Part 1 which featured cross stitch, needlepoint, and embroideryPart 2 which had plastic canvas, quilting, felt, sewing, and pom-poms, Part 3 which had projects in jewelry and scrapbooking, and Part 4 which had projects in knitting, spinning and dyeing, and weaving. Stay tuned for the finale of this series covering furniture, seasonal projects, string art, and home decor!

Update: Here is Part 6

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

Ancora Imparo Needlepoint Framed

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.