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!

Cross Stitch Guide to the NFL

cross stitch guide to the NFL

2014 crafty football blog hop badgeThis cross stitch guide to the NFL is my contribution to this year’s Crafty Football Blog Hop hosted by commissioner Diane Gilleland of CraftyPod! Like last year’s blog hop, this 2014 hop is a combination of participants in the Crafty Fantasy Football League (#CraftyFFL) and other fellow crafty and inventive football fans. At the bottom of this post are thumbnails and links to everyone’s creations.

Although I am a fan of the Denver Broncos, this year I decided to make a project that could appeal to anyone with some interest in football. If you’re unfamiliar with American football, this is a perfect way to introduce yourself to the league. And if you already follow football, this is a fun and colorful way to familiarize yourself better with all 32 teams and a little of how the NFL is organized.

Materials:

  • A piece of 14 count Aida cloth measuring approximately 10 inches by 8 inches. [In 14 count, this project will fit perfectly into a standard 5 inch by 7 inch frame]
  • 16 colors of embroidery floss – I used DMC numbers 815 (burgundy), 666 (red), 720 or 946 (orange), 783 (gold), 319 (dark green), 699 (green), 704 or 907 (light green), 958 (teal), 336 or 3750 (dark blue), 820 (royal blue), 996 (bright blue), 333 (purple), 838 (brown), white, 168 or 415 (silver), and 310 (black). See the legend for a printable list.
  • A needle for cross stitch – I use a #26 tapestry needle.

Pattern:

cross stitch guide to the NFL patternThe pattern (pattern and legend) is a tidy little graphic that shows all 32 NFL teams with their team colors, grouped by their conferences (NFC and AFC) and divisions (East, South, North, and West).

 

 

Stitching:

This pattern calls for cross stitch and then backstitch. If you’re new to cross stitch and looking for basic directions, I recommend you visit my Stitching Instructions page. Otherwise, the stitching is pretty straightforward. If you use 14 count Aida as I did in this example, use two strands of floss with your needle.

cross stitch guide to the NFL - work in progress 1As with most projects, start from the middle and work toward the edges. In this photo you can see how I started with (clockwise from top left) Tampa Bay, Jacksonville, Baltimore, and Detroit.

 

 

cross stitch guide to the NFL - work in progress 2Then I spread out from there, trying to do as much with one color at a time as possible, just to be a little more efficient.

 

 

 

cross stitch guide to the NFL - work in progress 3Finishing up the team blocks creates this pattern, which I thought looked pretty groovy on it’s own. I can easily see this pattern being turned into an awesome graphic quilt or blanket!

 

 

cross stitch guide to the NFL - work in progress 4The last of the cross stitch was the border of alternating greens.

 

 

 

 

Backstitch the title and the labels for the conferences, divisions, and team names, and ta-da! you’ve created a stylish and informative cross stitch guide to the NFL!cross stitch guide to the NFL - photo on ledge

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


Variegated Floss Projects Part 2

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

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

variegated floss projects part 2 - DMC 4050

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

Variegated Floss Projects in Plastic Canvas

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

 

 

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

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

Variegated Floss Projects in Quilting

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

 

 

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

 

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

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

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

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

 

Variegated Floss Projects in Felt

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

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

Variegated Floss Projects in Sewing

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

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

Variegated Floss Projects in Pom-Poms!

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

 

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

 

 

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

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

 

 

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

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

Update: Here are Part 3Part 4, Part 5, and Part 6.

ACrafty Interview with Pam Harris

Welcome to today’s ACrafty Interview with Pam Harris – multicrafter extrordinare!

Afternoon Tea and Craft on the PatioWhen did you start crafting? PH: I was about 6 years old and I learned to make little Zozobra’s by tying a Kleenex around a cotton ball and sticking on two little eyes. My Mom and I made them as part of a fund raising project for her club during Fiesta de Santa Fe. Most “craft skills” I learned were “useful” – sewing, embroidery, knitting; however, I do recall making little rolled paper beads with my Great Grandmother. I come from a long line of practical women so anything I made or learned to make (even when very young) had to have lasting value. I have pretty much carried that ethic forward throughout my crafty life.

What crafts have you tried and what is your current favorite? PH: You do know I am an incurable dabbler – right?

Knitted/felted snowman.  Pattern from Marie Mayhew Designs.Knitting, crochet, punched tin, polymer clay, beading, wire and beads, quilting, wheat weaving, shaved wood, wet felting, needle felting, weaving, embroidery, temari, soft toys, gourds, English paper piecing, sewing garments and household goods, spinning, decoupage, bread dough sculpture, macrame, paper, hand building and throwing pottery on a wheel….

Current favorite? Besides any craft having to do with Christmas and Winter Holidays you mean? Mostly working with fiber – any and all of the fiber crafts – what I find myself doing most of the time. I like combining techniques – so that several fiber crafts are included in a project

Celebrating St. Lucy Day - St. Lucy, Star Boy, Scandi-gnome and TomteWhat is the biggest project you’ve ever tackled? PH: It is a toss-up between Austrian shades for Diane’s bedroom when she was a girl, re-upholstering a sofa, and a 4 foot by 6 foot embroidery which took forever! I think I have gotten the need for big projects out of the way!!! Now I relish smaller projects and except for knitting and crochet, and I pretty much prefer to use my own designs.

 

First pair of socks!What project are you most proud of? PH: Learning to knit socks!!

Learning to knit socks was a looooong, fiercely fought battle between the part of me who wanted, like everything, to learn to knit socks and the side of me that is intimidated by anything that is not fairly easy to learn the first time. To give you a clue, just casting on required repeated views of “cast on videos!” Can you imagine what I went through learning short rows or picking up gussets? Many “near-tear moments” I’ll admit! (And a bonus – while knitting the first sock, I became an expert at unraveling my work!!!)

I had no one i could turn to for help so I had to rely on the internet. It is a hugely valuable resource for learning to knit or crochet or sew or….. Coming from a time when such a resource did not exist, I totally appreciate how much the easy access to knowledge adds to the quality of and opportunities to learn in our lives.

So, while the socks I have knitted provide welcome and beautiful footwear, they are much more – a constant reminder of the role persistence and unwillingness to give up plays in the process of learning a new skill.

Using Mod Podge to mount fall leaves to small canvasesWhat is the silliest question you’ve received regarding your work? PH: I can’t actually think of a single silly question. I have been frustrated at times by crafters asking me why their project didn’t turn out only to subsequently find out that they did not follow instructions.

 

Filling up mini muffin cups with tiny hexiesWhat is the most common question you receive regarding your work? PH: How do I manage to do as much as I do!!! The answer is that I tend to be very organized and carefully plan my time so that I can accomplish the things I want to accomplish.

 

Fall Leaves, Mod Podge and Mason Jar = Beautiful CandleWhat is your most popular project? PH: Pretty much a three way split between coloring Easter Eggs with Kool-aid, using Mod Podge and food coloring to tint jars to use as lanterns or vases, and using Mod Podge to apply dried fall leaves to jars. While there are several others that drive large amounts of traffic to my blog, these three are by far responsible for the most traffic.

Dutch Canal Houses embroidery to celebrate St. Nicholas Day/SinterclasDo you sketch or plan most of your work before you begin, or do you generally work without a pattern? PH: I use a pattern when and where it is needed – like a quilt or embroidery, knitted piece or a soft toy – however, as often as possible, I like using my own ideas. Some crafts like painting gourds, punching tin, working with shaved wood or beads and wire and while weaving – I tend not to pre-plan but let my muse have her way with me!!

Saori freestyle weaving, Crochet Tooterphant and Winter Solstice Quilt BlockHas a craft or craft project ever challenged you in an unexpected way? PH: I tend to try new things I know nothing about so I often get into trouble – in lots of unexpected ways!!! But I always find a way to make it happen – learn what I need to learn.

 

 

Punched Tin Butterflies massing on my Seasonal TreeHow has crafting affected your character? PH: For me crafting – making – is as necessary as breathing. It is not something I have acquired – something added. It is who I am. It is a natural expression of my predisposition to create. It is how I function on a daily basis. And so, engaging in craft activity brings me joy, fulfillment, satisfaction.

Taking my craft to a blog has brought me in touch with a unique and inspirational group of new friends from all corners of the earth – women (and men) who are authentic, creative, and each brilliant in her/his own way. I am grateful for these connections beyond words. AND I am thrilled that the blog gives me the opportunity to support and share their talents.

Danish Woven Paper Heart BasketsCan you share a story about how your crafting has affected others? PH: Nothing in particular comes to mind. But my heart is made happy hearing from crafters who leave me comments or who write me e-mails and share how much a tutorial I have written has helped them understand the process behind a particular craft.

 

 

 

 

Guess i am going to learn lace knitting!What crafty goodness do you have coming up in the future? Why is it appealing to you? PH: Weaving bags for Diane (daughter – Craftypod) and myself using all hand spun yarns; designing and creating a primstav (more info) using embroidery; learn simple carving so I can carve my own Christmas elves and Santas; knit a Finnish lace poncho from hand spun yarn; and continue testing cookie recipes for the “Winter Holiday Cookies from Around the World” project!
Sweet Pepperkaker addition to winter holiday baking!

 

Many, many thanks to Pam for taking the time from her busy schedule to participate in this interview series! Pam just celebrated her Five Year Blogging Anniversary (a huge accomplishment), and I know she’s got a lot of winter holiday crafty goodness coming up on her blog over the next six weeks. Just look at those cookies above and how elegantly they’re displayed – can you even imagine how beautiful her whole house must look for the holidays? It’s mindboggling!

You can follow Pam’s adventures on her blog Gingerbread Snowflakes, her Flickr photostream (and Flickr sets with picture guides to all her tutorials), and on Instagram (@gingerbreadsnowflakes).

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 (Pam’s daughter) multi-crafter Diane from CraftyPodneedlepointer Haruhi Okubo of Cresus-Parpitatter and chainmailler Jeff Hamiltonpotter Nancy Germondbasketweaver Tina Puckettcross stitcher Meredith Cait, the two part interview with textile artist Arlee Barr, and Halloween costume maker Justin Newton.

Water Themed Crafts Part 5

Welcome to healthy water themed crafts part 5! These are crafts that encourage us to drink more water and that help us appreciate clean rivers, lakes, and oceans.

Parts 12, 3, and 4 covered crafts ranging from crochet to polymer clay, woodworking to scrapbooking, chainmaille to knitting and much more. Today, in this fifth of six posts, I’m covering water themes in quilting, soapmaking, felting, perler beads, macrame, and furniture making.
Water Lily Leaf

Water Themed Crafts in Quilting

healthy water themed crafts part 5 - quilt patternThere are nearly endless examples of watery inspiration in quilts. First up is a pattern offered by McCallsQuilting for this interesting “Sunset on the Water” quilt.

 

 

 

 

A rich source of ideas is this Pinterest page from Theresa Callahan. It’s title sums it up well – “Fun: Fish, Boats, Water to Quilt, Sew, Craft, & Admire.” While these posts are concentrating on water rather than the things that inhabit the water, this collection has ample examples of ways to express water using fabrics.healthy water themed crafts part 5 - pinterest quilting inspiration

Artist Barbara Schneider has a series of quilts based on light reflecting off of water. I find many of these to be nearly photorealistic and stunning in that quality. You can see them on her eponymous website – worth every second of your time.

Linda Gass has dedicated many quilts to exploring water themes – water rights, water origins, water usage, water and land interactions. Not only do her quilts raise interesting questions, they are beautifully executed.
Linda_Gass_3

This beauty by Martha at QisforQuilter is a favorite of mine. She took an illustration by Charley Harper from the 1961 book The Giant Golden Book of Biology and turned it into this wonderful quilt. Look closely at the details of each organism in the drop – it’s fascinating!

 

 

 

 

Again, from the photorealistic group comes the quilts of Melody Randol. All of the pieces she features on her website are incredible in their realism.

Also beautiful (but much easier to see how she achieved it) is this bargello wave pattern quilt that utilizes mostly bali fabrics. It’s by Cecile Allen and was featured on the Quilter’s Club of America blog.

 

 

WaterfallThe water in this is more abstract but beautifully expressed in “Waterfall” by the truly talented Karen Cattoire. I love how the silks and organzas shimmer just as water does.

Water Themed Crafts in Soap Making

Here’s a “natural” looking sea salt recipe from Finchberry,

 

 

 

 

healthy water themed crafts part 5 - seaweed soapand this recipe from RavenMoonSoap contains both sea salt and seaweed. Author Nikki says it “carries a wonderful sea aroma.”

 

 

 

healthy water themed crafts part 5 - sea glass soapThe recipe for these sea glass soaps from The Ponte Vedra Soap Shoppe look like a pretty way to bring ocean colors inside.

 

 

 

 

 

 

healthy water themed crafts part 5 - soap wave textureThis video on YouTube by Missouri River Soap shows how to make a wave-like texture on the top of your homemade soap bars (skip to minute 11 to see her technique).

 

 

healthy water themed crafts part 5 - wave soap moldFinally, to make your soap projects look wavey, here’s two attractive molds. The first comes from WholesaleSuppliesPlus,

 

 

 

 

 

Image 1and this second mold comes from MilkyWayMolds.

Water Themed Crafts in Felt

We’ll start with a couple of felt board projects for kids. The first is this fun and kid-designed project by Alicia at The Creative Vault.

 

 

 

IMG_0652To start off the grown-up felting inspiration, I love all the wavey details in this tiny pincushion by Gretchen Brownbear on her Flickr photostream.

 

 

 

 

There a lot of needle felted projects that use ocean and sea colors, but I found this one on the SpinArtiste site to be a bit more unique than most.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Applying soapy water to woolWhen it comes to USING water to make felt, there is this wet felt tutorial at Rosiepink,

 

 

 

 

as well as this thorough collection of felting tutorials curated by Toni van der Geest on Pinterest.

healthy water themed crafts part 5 - pinterest felting tutorials

Water Themed Crafts in Perler Beads

Perler beads are perfect for fun and geeky projects. When it comes to watery ideas, here’s an underwater Mario scene by funkymonkey via SpriteStitch (love the coral!),

 

 

 

 

and here is a nifty perler bead water tribe symbol by Rachel via DeviantArt.

Water Themed Crafts in Macramé

Here’s instructions for a paracord macramé water bottle holder at KnifeForums that may encourage us to drink more water, especially those who enjoy the great outdoors!

 

 

 

Beach waves and sand knotted in cord and beads macrameSherry at KnotJustMacrame shares this project which beautifully expresses an ocean beach. From her post: “When I added beads, I kept them random, again mimicking the colors of deeper water with highlights up through the foamy green and into the sand.” Sherry offers some tips and tricks on her blog, and has tutorials for sale on her Etsy shop if you like her micro-macrame.

A study of water free form micro macrame necklaceSlightly earlier in 2013, she also shared this project, which was inspired by the “by the endless kaleidoscope of patterns” in water. It was her first piece of free-form macramé!

 

Water Themed Crafts in Furniture Making

DIYNetwork has a tutorial by Carter Oosterhouse on how to build this fun wave shaped cd rack. Although not many people display CD’s anymore, this could easily be used for paperbacks, DVD, bric-a-brac, etc. I also think this looks like a wall-sized mustache – what do you think?

 

healthy water themed crafts part 5 - wave shelfThen Instructables has these instructions on how to build your own circular cardboard shadowbox. The author states that “shape was greatly influenced by Elsa Paige bookshelf designs.” While the author’s example might be a little rough around the edges (it is for a kid’s room, after all), here you see a similar, but more refined, version by another user. All in all, it’s a fun way to incorporate a wave shape into your home décor!

water themed crafts part 5 - wooden wave tableIn furniture inspiration is this gorgeous wooden wave table by Merganzer via Xaxor,

 

 

 

 

 

water themed crafts part 5 - L'Eau chairthese fun Calligaris L’Eau chairs found through Houzz,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

healthy water themed crafts part 5 - wave hammockand finally, this enticing hammock by AuthorityHammocks. Does this look comfortable or what? Yes, please!

 

 

 

 

That relaxing chair completes healthy water themed crafts part 5, covering quilting, soapmaking, felt and felting, perler beads, macrame, and furniture making. Is there anything in these crafty categories that you would like to add to the comments?

Make sure you have checked out the previous posts of this series! Part 1 featured crochet, woodworking, quilling, lace and tatting, weaving and tapestry, and mosaic tilePart 2 featured polymer clay, embroidery, scrapbooking, metalworking, ceramics, and stained glassPart 3 covered healthy water crafts in knitting, paint, beadwork, chainmaille, leatherwork, and gardening. Part 4 included needlepoint and cross stitch, baking, glass work, basket weaving, and sewing.

And stay tuned for the sixth and last installment of these healthy water crafts, featuring jewelry, spinning and dyeing, flower arranging, origami, candlemaking, and more!

[Update: Here is Part 6 of the series!]

Road Sign Cross Stitch Patterns

The latest in my series of road sign cross stitch patterns and kits are now available in my Etsy shop! This pattern and kit is based on a “No Truck Passing” sign found all over Europe.

No Truck Passing Cross Stitch

A nice feature of the photo above is that my husband actually stitched this example – his first real project! Well done, darlin’…

This is just the latest of a long series of these European road signs. I’ve been concentrating more on the US Highway signs lately, but there are some very fun patterns from Europe:

No Horns!No Horns (pattern and kit) can be seen outside some small towns in Italy. I think it would make a great gift for new moms who are looking for something a little different than the typical “Quiet! Baby sleeping” sign.

 

 

Km 0The KM 0 sign (pattern and kit), based on the sign outside a Galician bar) would make an ideal present for people starting a new phase – new grads, newlyweds, first time homeowners…

 

 

Ruta del VinoThe Ruta del Vino sign (pattern and kit) comes from the Rioja region of Spain and is perfect for your favorite oenophiles (wine lovers)!

 

 

 

Speed CameraPhotographers and your leadfoot friends would enjoy this U.K. Speed Camera sign (pattern and kit),

 

 

 

Cycle lanesand the Cycle Lanes pattern (pattern and kit) is for all your favorite bicyclists!

 

 

 

 

Cambio de SentidoOne of my personal faves is this “Cambio de Sentido” sign (pattern and kit). While it signifies “at the next exit, you can turn around to go in the opposite direction,” it looks a lot like someone flipping the bird.

 

 

Railroad CrossingTrain enthusiasts would like this railroad crossing sign from the U.K. (pattern and kit),

 

 

 

 

High Windand this High Wind Warning sign (pattern and kit) is another personal favorite. I think it’s perfect as a gift for Chicagoans, lawyers, or possibly a mother-in-law. Also, can you see this hanging in a bathroom? You bet!

 

 

All of the road sign cross stitch patterns and kits (US Highways included) are sized to fit inside standard frames, and are detailed enough to look good while not taking forever to stitch. They would be a bright and fun way to decorate an office, media room, or kid’s bedroom. The patterns can also be used to make needlepoint projects or even quilts… Check ’em out!

Five Books I Made Something From

This week’s Link Love theme is “Five posts you {actually} made something from.” Well, I have yet to make something from a post, but I have made projects from five books!

The only difficulty with this post is that I don’t have photos of most of the projects I’ve completed. This is silly, I know. Someday soon, I hope to tackle my collection of old photos. I’m going to toss out unnecessary photos, and digitize and organize the remainder. Then, hopefully, I can create a kind of craft portfolio.

In the meantime, here’s a little bit of info about these five helpful and project inspiring crafty books:

#1 Beth Russell’s William Morris Needlepoint

This book is just plain gorgeous, cover to cover. Beth worked at the Royal School of Needlework in London, and her designs certainly are a faithful interpretation of William Morris’ works.

I needlepointed the Artichoke pattern you can see below. Whereas the photo was finished into a cushion, mine is finished into a framed wall hanging. The two projects are nearly identical and they’re absolutely beautiful!

 

#2 Danish Cross-Stitch Zodiac Samplers (Dover Needlework)by Jana Hauschild

I purchased this funky tome not necessarily for the zodiac element, but more for the flower border patterns. Every month has a different featured flower and they’re all very pretty without being too cutesy.

I rearranged parts of about 9 of the borders to make an all-flower cross stitch project and gave it to a friend as a housewarming present. I hope I can find a photo of it as it was really lovely and cheery.

 

#3 101 Needlepoint Stitches and How to Use Them: Fully Illustrated with Photographs and Diagrams (Dover Embroidery, Needlepoint)by Hope Hanley

This is one that yes, I do have a photo of the project I created. The book doesn’t include this sampler as shown – I just created the sampler, as I remember, on the fly with a scrap piece of small gauge canvas. The piece is only about 8″ x 10″. I would love to remember how I came up with the layout!

Needlepoint Stitch Sampler - 1996

 

celtic#4 Celtic Charted Designs (Dover Embroidery, Needlepoint)by Co Spinhoven

This book contains animal patterns (as you can see by the cover), geometrics, knotwork, and then some spiral patterns. One of the biggest spiral patterns I needlepointed in green, gold, red, and purple for a friend’s wedding. Her wedding had an Irish theme, so I thought it was appropriate.

My friend recently told me this great story about the project. “My aunt, my mother’s sister, came to visit on her way from Iowa to the LA area. When she came in the front door (huggy-huggy) she saw the wedding gift artwork/[needlepoint] you did for us. She touched the glass and said all sorts of Kansas-Missouri things, and then carried it with her when I gave her a tour of the house.” How cool is that!?!

samplerquilt#5 Design and Make Your Own Contemporary Sampler Quilt (Dover Quilting)by Katie Pasquini

If you have never made a quilt before, this book is a great place to start. The book includes instructions for three different sizes of quilts, including everything from how much fabric to purchase to how to finish the edges. I made my first quilt using this book.

I wish I had a photo of this quilt project to share. Not so much for the patterns, but for the fabrics I picked out (I’m still proud of my choices, 15 years later!). Fortunately, this quilt is still in my possession and I’ll get it photographed sooner rather than later.

 

 

Disclosure: Ancora Crafts is an Amazon Associate – your purchases from the links above will help support Ancora Crafts. I own every linked book in this post. I will only endorse products that I believe, based on our personal knowledge of the products, are worthy of such endorsement.

ACrafty Interview with Meredith Cait

Welcome to today’s ACrafty Interview with Meredith Cait, embroiderer of Hardcore StitchCorps.

When did you start crafting? Did anyone help get you started or did you find your own way? MC: We were always an artistic family in general, but I wouldn’t say I started seriously crafting until I was 17. I’ve pretty much always found my own way with craft. My mom taught me to thread a needle and make a stitch when I was a kid, a friend showed me how to cast on, knit, and purl, and after that I work out the rest for myself. With cross-stitch and free embroidery it was very much on my own. A felted knitting pattern I did involved embroidery, and the book showed you how to do stem stitch. After that I just tried to mimic embroidery I’d seen before. When I found a piece of Aida floating in my craft supplies I decided to give that a go.

What crafts have you tried and what is your current favorite? MC: In high school I did a lot of collage with found objects (I eventually ran out of small, interesting trinkets) and had a stint making earrings. I used to be an extremely prolific knitter, and had a recent period carving linoleum stamps. Embroidery probably is my favorite though, in part for the ease of creativity. You can do SO much with counted and non-counted embroidery. People are also really easily impressed with embroidery!

Unlikely Small AdsWhat is the silliest question you’ve ever received about your craft? MC: Other than “How do you get the back so neat?” I don’t really know that I’ve received any! I don’t talk to many people about my crafts, and never have much opportunity to do it in public. I’m also sort of rubbish at making friends online (especially for someone who grew up using the internet), so I’m still in that “How do I befriend these other crafty folks, oh no I’m sure I’m annoying them, run away” stage.

 photo embr_zps514cdfdd.jpgWhat craft project are you most proud of? MC: It’s a pretty old piece, but I’m so proud of the Mercer Mayer illustration I did on a onesie. I didn’t have any transfer materials back then, so I just looked at the illustration, penciled it on the fabric, and free-handed most of the details. I’m also proud of my Roman mosaic, since it’s the first pattern I made from an image (granting that image was a mosaic…).

 

 

 

 

It Gets BetterWhat’s the largest craft project you’ve ever tackled? MC: I haven’t done much that’s very large. As far as most stitches my Roman mosaic had 12,000. Because I’m disabled and not able to work, I tend to use crafts as my sense of being productive. This makes me focus a little more on the number of pieces I can finish, since that generally lifts my mood when I’m down. I’ve got the most immense pile of finished pieces just sitting around.

What is your most popular (or bestselling) project? MC: Bestselling is definitely my Dalek pattern. It was one of the first in my shop. My most viewed on Flickr is the Robert Frost piece “Never be bullied into silence” with a rainbow border, which makes me quite happy.

 

 

frida photo frida.jpgHas a craft or craft project ever challenged you in an unexpected way? MC: I’m the first to admit that I’m a lazy crafter. Since my focus is generally keeping occupied and finishing things, if something’s hard I often don’t attempt it. I have a piece of non-counted embroidery that’s a portrait of Frida Kahlo. I started it after learning more about her, and feeling like after one of her surgeries she might have developed the same nerve pain disease that I have, given the descriptions. My usual reluctance to tackle more involved stitches or designs was forced to take a backseat because I felt so strongly about working on a Kahlo piece, and had such a strong vision of how it should look. Of course it’s still unfinished, but I’m getting there.

DMC color project finished!How has crafting affected your character? MC: People think that embroidery must require patience, and if I weren’t disabled maybe it would have made me patient, but I do literally have all the time in the world. For me I think it’s helped me calm down or slow down a little. I put on an audiobook, start stitching, and that’s meditation for me and it’s very much a way to help control the pain. I think maybe it’s made me more sharing as well. I want other people to feel the joy of creating their own patterns, even when it means less business for me.

May Cthulhu Devour This House LastCan you share a story about how your crafting has affected others? MC: I have a niece and nephew who live in the same town I do. I mostly give them homemade gifts, and my sister emphasizes it to the kids when something was handmade. When they come to my house they see even more handmade things. The last few times they were here they asked if I’d made pretty much everything they touched. I love that this is their first thought, versus “where did you get/buy this.” Long before kids know how much work goes into something, they do value the handmade, and I’m hoping to start knitting or stitching on canvas with my nephew this winter.

Rice pudding...What is the one question you’ve never been asked about your craft that you’ve always wanted to answer? MC: I suppose it’s maybe WHY I craft. Crafting really has saved my life over and over since I got sick, in a lot of ways. When I had literally no disposable income, opening an Etsy shop meant I could still buy new socks and underwear, afford cleaning supplies and Christmas presents. Having something to keep my hands and brain busy helps cope with the day-to-day tedium and pain. I can’t draw anymore really, and embroidery helps me let out creative energy. Making things lets me feel productive and that’s really important to me.

 photo blackworkquiltfini01.jpgWhat crafty goodness do you have coming up in the future? Why is it appealing to you? MC: I have the start of a series of traditional quilt block designs worked in blackwork going, and I’m hoping to expand on that again soon. I’d love to eventually make a proper quilt out of them. I’ll never be able to become a quilter, as you really do need a lot of sitting up for that (and precision is not my strong suit), so I keep thinking of ways to cheat that. I have plans for a patchwork piece, made of scraps of evenweave fabrics of different counts, colors, and sizes as well.

Thanks so much to Meredith for participating in this ACrafty Interview series! I’ve admired Meredith’s work for a while now through her Flickr Photostream. Her pieces are definitely the kind of pieces I would stitch! She beat me to the punch on the DMC sampler (8th photo down), and I was also inspired by her hilarious “Unlikely Small Ads” (third photo down). That project, based on a segment from the UK TV show “Mock the Week” was one of the reasons I tackled my recently completed “Blazing Saddles” project. I always look forward to seeing what beauty and/or snark she will stitch next!

You can follow Meredith’s adventures on her blog and on 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 CraftyPodembroiderer Ellen of Schindermania!needlepointer Haruhi Okubo of Cresus-Parpitatter and chainmailler Jeff Hamiltonpotter Nancy Germond, Tina Puckett of Tina’s Baskets, and quilter and pursemaker Linda Martin.

ACrafty Interview with Linda Martin

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

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

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

ACrafty Interview with Betty Busby – Followup!

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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