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Showing posts from 2009

Free Vintage Crochet

I just happened upon this site today (while trying to figure out what size crochet hook to use for a pattern I'm planning to work in laceweight yarn), and I thought it seemed worth bookmarking.

Free Vintage Crochet is just exactly what it sounds like-- free vintage crochet patterns.  Of course I like the free part. ;o)   The vintage aspect is also very appealing to me:  1) because I like things that are a little (or a lot, sometimes) old-fashioned (& thus it gives me a thrill to think of working and wearing a design from 1916 or whenever), and 2) because "vintage" means that they're (probably) not very common these days, so your crochet creation will stand out from the rest.  (I don't mind using a pattern that practically everyone who crochets is doing, if it's something I really like, but it is nice to be unique every now and again.) 

I haven't looked through all the categories yet, but from what I can see, there are some nifty patterns available the…

My Next Crochet Project ;o)

I think I've figured out my next crochet project!  I can hardly wait to begin!!  

Now, which lucky person on my Christmas gift list is going to get this little gem. . .?  ;o)

Isn't that just incredible?

What were you supposed to do with this "Giant Floor Ball"?  (No, seriously, that's what it's called.  Look closely at the bottom right-hand corner.)  Is it for sitting on?  Decoration only?  Could it be a toy for the children?  Or is it strictly for leaning against, as the model demonstrates?  Don't you just love the look on her face?  There's nowhere she'd rather be than cozied up with her Giant Floor Ball.  It's her favorite place for romantic daydreams.  (Maybe this woman just has odd taste in home decor.  See that figurine on the table behind her?  Well, it's not my taste, at least...)

There are more yarn atrocities from the same source (a book) on this page.  

Luna Lovegood Scarf

Last time I wrote, I had decided to try a scarf that was basically a bunch of Solomon's knots (love knots, lover's knots). I gave it a try, and after the first or second row didn't know what to do next. It was night, and I was tired, so that may have accounted for it. Whatever the reason, I couldn't see where/how I was supposed to attach the next row into the previous one. I'm going to give it another try-- and maybe seek advice if I still can't figure it out on my own-- but in the meantime, I happened upon a different scarf pattern.

The Luna Lovegood Scarf (pattern by Melissa Helton) is so called because it's based on an accessory worn by a character of that name in a Harry Potter movie. I liked the looks of the scarf, and none of the stitches seemed too difficult for a beginner. The pattern uses chains, single crochet, double crochet, shells (multiple double crochets worked into a single stitch), and a simple picot edging. (The pattern is written i…

Testing the Waters in Crochet. . .

A while ago, in an effort to re-acquaint myself with basic crochet, I crocheted several dishcloths. I still haven't woven in the ends and given them a whirl in the sink, but making them did the trick of getting me interested in crochet, again.

I spent part of the weekend (ok, way too much of the weekend) looking through free patterns online (and hoarding them away for future use), and I found a few that looked especially interesting. Now I just have to match the yarn in my stash to the patterns. Oh, and figure out how to translate the patterns into finished objects. My crochet know-how is still very limited, but the only way I'll learn new stitches is to try them.

I think I'm going to start with this scarf-- or this one, which is basically the same thing-- but that's only if I can figure out the "love knot" (aka "lover's knot" or "Solomon's knot"). I gave it a quick try last night, but I didn't quite get it. What I saw before…

Rag-Quilted Pillows

After thinking about it for a long time (as usual), I finally got around to sewing a few rag quilt-style throw pillows. When I snapped these photos, the light was a little low, and they turned out a bit blurry. Maybe I'll take and post a few better ones, one of these days, but I thought I'd better share what I have so far, before I forget to blog about them altogether. ;o)

I used a variety of fabrics in colors and prints that coordinate with the colors in the rug and sofas in our living room. There's a lot of tan/beige, cream, and brown in that room, with accents in green and rusty red. The fabrics I used ranged from denim and flannel to cotton blends.

I followed the usual rag-quilting procedures. Each pillow is basically two (very) mini rag quilts sewn together around the edges and stuffed with fiberfill. You could get away with one mini rag quilt per pillow (using a single piece of fabric for the pillow back), if you wanted to speed up the process, but I thought it&#…

New Photos of Old Mice

Though I've posted a couple of videos featuring these felt mice pincushions, I don't think I've ever put up a still photo of the group.

Here are a couple:

(I've written before about making this type of pincushion. The mice in the tutorial from which I got the idea look a little different from mine. You can read more about the changes I made on this blog entry.)

Meanwhile... I've done the cutting for a new cover for a throw pillow. Yes, I'm finally getting around to making those rag quilt-style pillows for our sofas. I'll be sure to post photos once there's something to photograph. ;o)

Blogs of the Bizarre

A couple weeks ago, I actually went into a temporary sewing frenzy, whipping up six items for gifts in a matter of only a couple of days. (Three ragged denim and flannel totes and three plastic bag dispensers.) Unfortunately, because I was working on them literally until the very last minute, I didn't have time to take any photos. (That always seems to happen when I'm making gifts! A side effect of my dreadful procrastination.)

In better news, some time ago I came across a blog I deemed worthy of bookmarking: What Not to Crochet. As the title suggests, the blog features crochet projects that the author (at least) doesn't recommend. Mostly it's just bizarre or unattractive pieces of crochet-- and that's always fun to look at, right? ;o)

From there, I found a few similar blogs:

You Knit What??
Same premise, only with knitting instead of crochet.

What Not to Knit
Another blog about knitting disasters.

The Purse Blog, "Fugly" entries
This time, ugly bags ha…

A Pillow for My Camera

Well, technically, it's a bean bag.
Only there are no beans in it. . .

After thinking about it for I-don't-know-how-many months (if not years), I eventually got around to working on this extremely difficult project.

Actually, there are very few sewing projects easier than this one. It's just a very simple pillow-- and not a very pretty one, at that, with my ugly (but functional and mighty sturdy) "closure seam"*. (I couldn't even be bothered to switch to black thread to match my fabric! What a sloppy seamstress!)

For stuffing, I wanted something lightweight. From what I understand, there are times when you'll want something heavier-- and for those times, it's good to use beans, rice, or something similar. One day, I might make a refillable bean bag for that type of filling. However, there are also times when weight isn't an issue, and convenience and comfort call for something lighter.

I'd read online about people using tiny styrofoam (or si…

More Photos of the Lattice Window Rag Quilt

I decided to take a few more photos of my second rag quilt, and while I was at it, I thought I'd put them here, too:

I think this orientation better shows why this quilt (on paper) reminded me of the window (as I wrote about in my last entry). Of course, these are just squares "on point"-- not real diamond shapes, but I'm not ready for real diamond shapes, at my current level of sewing know-how. (g)

"Lattice Window" Rag Quilt

Last weekend, I washed my second rag quilt. Before the photos, here are a couple of reminders for my future self-- or tips for anyone new to rag quilting:

First Tip:
Double or triple check that you've snipped all the seams of your quilt, but even after that, be sure to give it one more good look when you take it out of the washer. If you're like me, you'll probably find that you've missed at least one seam. It's much easier to notice at this step, and if catch it now, before popping it into the dryer, the seam will rag enough that it won't be glaringly obvious.

Second Tip:
Even after removing copious amounts of threads and lint after washing and repeatedly cleaning the lint filter during drying, I still find that the back of my quilts-- the flannel sides-- are very messy. (This is after the first laundering. I hope that this will be less of an issue on subsequent washings, but I haven't needed to wash them again, yet, so I can't say for sure. Pilling w…

Pincushions in Motion

Here's a little stop-action video I made, with my felt mice and doughnut pincushions in starring roles. ;o)

My video-making skills need a little polishing, but it was still fun to put together!

Home-Grown Pincushions

More pincushions from right here on the homestead! Yee-haw! It's a pincushion round-up!

(Wait. That didn't really make much sense, did it? You'll have to excuse me. I may tend to go a bit wild on this blog, from time to time, since I don't think many people are actually reading it. As opposed to the ten or twenty souls who read my personal blog. (g))

So. As I was saying. . .
I don't believe I ever got around to posting a photo of this "girly-girl pincushion" before. It's "girly-girl" because it's so pink and purple, of course. It's inspired by those penny rugs that had such a resurgence in popularity a while ago. I topped it off with one of my handmade polymer clay buttons. (I do so love to work those into my little sewing projects!)

While I had the camera warmed up, I snapped a couple photos of one of my first, simplest pincushions, which is now serving in the capacity of a needle-cushion. (I suppose I ought to make myself a…

Parade of Pincushion Links

I'm still obsessed with pincushions!

--Jen Segrest's Flickr tutorial for making a "basic bottlecap pincushion" (which can be adapted and/or decorated however you like). She also has a blog, with lots of pincushiony goodness.

--Bella Dia's "Little Houses" on Flickr. They're a charming set of pincushions made in the shapes of houses and mushroom homes (for fairies, I presume). (Actually, I'm not sure these are strictly meant as pincushions, but that's what I see when I look at them.)

--"The Adventures of Henrietta Hedgehog (Pincushion)" (Very cute!)

--A Flickr group for pincushion photos. (Have I linked here before? Oh well...)

That'll do for now. . . Hope you enjoy those sites as much as I have! :o)


Don't worry; it's not real! ;o)

Some time ago, I came across a pattern for a very cute mouse pincushion-- one that I only recently got around to trying. I changed a couple of things, as you'll probably notice if you clicked over to the tutorial. The most obvious difference is that I made my stitches visible. (I used the whip stitch in a color that contrasted with the felt.) I also stitched around the ears and used teensy-tiny buttons (that I made myself from polymer clay) for the eyes.

My stitching skills could use some polishing. I imagine this is another instance of "practice makes perfect", and as such, is a great excuse for making a few more of these little felt mice! (I stuck this one in with a gift, so my sewing box is still mouse-less.)

Hm. What colors should I make the next one. . .?

I love these pincushion projects-- just enough hand stitching to let me play around with thread and needle, but not so much that I get impatient with my lack of skill as …

I went ahead and did it.

Yep, my plastic grocery bags now have a home. ;o)

I basically followed the tutorial that I linked to in my last entry, though I did tweak it a bit. I didn't start with quite as wide a rectangle as in the tutorial, because my fabric wasn't wide enough (more on that later). I think my rectangle ended up being about 14 inches wide.

Also, I didn't have any elastic on hand, so I came up with another solution. I sewed the "tube" at the bottom, fed a piece of yarn through it, gathered the fabric up to tighten the hole a bit (but not too much), and knotted the yarn. Unless I'm missing something, I think this will work just as well as the elastic, and it's free (assuming you have a little bit of yarn or string lying around the house).

I used fabric scraps I happened to have on hand, because I hate wasting nice, new fabric on a project before I know how it'll turn out. (Besides, this is going inside the pantry, where hardly anyone will ever see it.) Actuall…

Storing Grocery Bags in Style

Ok, I'll admit it: The perceived usefulness of these links will vary greatly from person to person.

I've gotten by for years just using one plastic grocery bag to hold all of the rest. Or, actually, several plastic grocery bags crammed to the bursting point with the rest. I take them back to the store to be recycled, but most of the time I forget, so I end up with lots of them stuffed on the bottom shelf of the pantry.

However, "getting by" and doing it with style are two very different things. ;o) If, like me, you're tired of looking at plastic bags, you may want to give this grocery bag dispenser tutorial a look. It seems like a very quick and easy project-- and if I had some elastic on hand, I'd probably give it a try right away. (I have an idea that might allow me to do it even without waiting for my next shopping trip. We'll see. . .)

If you're less interested in the looks of the thing and happen to have an old sweatshirt destined for the ra…

Faux Chenille Links

My mother mentioned faux chenille to me a long while back-- over a year ago, probably. I'm interested, now, too-- probably because of my "experience" (oh, yeah, I'm so experienced! (g)) with rag quilting. (Rag quilting and making faux chenille aren't the same thing, but I think it's fair to say that they're related...) A quick search revealed at least a few good links with basic information. I don't know when I'll ever get around to trying it, but here are a few links to refer to, somewhere down the road:
"A Primer for Constructing Faux Chenille" (on Nannette Holmberg's site)"Creating GREAT Slash-Fabrics", by McKenna Linn"Faux Chenille", by Sue Bleiweiss"Faux Chenille Purse Tutorial", by "Butterflyspain"

All Ragged Out

I finally completed the ragging process on my lap quilt, this afternoon. Here's the detailed play-by-play, in case anyone's interested (and in case I should forget my own process, if it takes me another couple of years to get the next rag quilt ready for ragging):

First, I made a "blanket bag" for washing the quilt in, to catch the lint and loose threads that might otherwise clog the drain. I took an old queen size flat sheet, folded it in half, and pinned the two halves together. I sewed together two of the open sides, leaving one of the two shorter sides unsewn. I then removed the pins and turned the whole thing so that the seam was hidden inside. (That might not have been necessary, but it's a force of habit.)

I decided to try out one of the tips I recently wrote about-- that of throwing the quilt into the dryer on "air" (without heat) for a few minutes prior to washing. It did take out a fair bit of lint and loose threads, but I don't know th…

More Rag Quilting Links

I don't think I've linked to these pages before. . . The following are a handful of rag quilting-related sites and photos I came across within the past couple of weeks.

- - - - - - - - - - - -

I really like this type of rag quilt, with its "circles and diamonds" pattern. It's a nice change from the rows of squares you typically see. (Don't get me wrong-- I like the simple squares, too, but if you're going to be making very many rag quilts, you'll likely want to spice things up a bit, somewhere down the line.) This pattern reminds me of a stained glass window, for some reason.

(Incidentally, I'm pretty sure I've seen photos of that pattern done as a traditional quilt-- without exposed seams-- but I'm such a quilting novice that I have no idea what the design might be called. Anyone care to educate me? (g))

If you like the quilt, too, and are interested in giving it a try, then you're in luck; Cathy Brose has generously provided us with…

The Sticking Scissors Get the Oil...

I finished snipping my rag-quilted lap quilt last night, during the commercial breaks in the LOST season premiere. Now I just need to figure out how to wash it. I think I'm going to make a "washing bag" out of an old sheet. I've used an old pillow case before, to catch the loose threads from smaller projects. We'll see how it works for a small quilt. . .

The snipping wasn't too bad. Doing it in stages really helped keep it from becoming too much of a chore. Be advised, though, that when people talk about "watching TV" while they snip a rag quilt, what they really mean is listening to the TV. (g) It's best to do this with something that's more audio than visual. (As a matter of fact, I think I'll listen to an audio book the next time I have some snipping to do.)

The snipping went much faster and easier after I oiled my snippers. I wrote yesterday that they were sticking-- not springing open as much as they were supposed to. I tho…

Rag Quilting Tips

Here are a few rag quilting-related tips I stumbled across on a message board (I think) called something like "Craft Exchange Friends". I was only able to read them thanks to Google's cache, so I thought it worthwhile copying them down for future use, while they're still available:
"Cutting Tip: If you cut the squares diagonal on the fabric instead of on the straight grain of the fabric you don't have to spend all that time ragging the edges. After sewing all the squares together place the finished quilt top in your washing machine and dryer, the edges will come out fringed. This method is called Faux Chenille." --SharonI haven't tried this myself, so I can't recommend it from personal experience, but it makes sense to me. There might be times, though (such as when you're cutting squares from cast-off clothes), when it would be impractical to have to cut on the bias-- mainly because it takes more room. . . if you understand what I mean. (g…

Denim Rag Quilt: Progress!

I'm almost ashamed to admit how long it took me to finish sewing my first denim rag quilt. . . I started cutting the squares in November 2007, and I didn't finish sewing it until a day or two ago! Rag quilts are just about the simplest quilt you can make, I guess, and yet it has taken me a bit over a year to finally finish my first one. (g) (And it's still not technically finished, since I have lots of snipping to do-- not to mention putting it through the wash a couple of times to get it really raggedy.)

In my defense, once I started sewing at it in earnest, it didn't take me long to do. I ran into a problem-- a broken needle on my sewing machine-- early in the project (probably back in 2007). After that, I set it aside and was hesitant to pick it back up again, wondering if my machine (and I) could handle all those layers of fabric. It turns out I needn't have worried, though. I went through the rest of the project without breaking any needles.

All in all, the pr…

Interesting Books for Stitchers and Button-Lovers

Woo, fell of the face of the Earth for a while there, but I think I'm back, now. ;o)

So, maybe you received some cash over the holidays and you're looking for a way to spend it. No? Sorry 'bout that. . . Anyway, I've still found a few fun books while wandering around Amazon, and I thought I'd share.

Button It Up, by Susan Beal
This one won't be released until March, but that's not so far off. As you may have guessed by the title, it's about buttons. (I'm sort of obsessed with buttons-- have been ever since I started making them out of polymer clay-- and even before that I was semi-smitten with them.) The blurb says this book "details 80 fashionable projects including bold and beautiful pendants, rings, bracelets, necklaces, brooches, earrings, and more. Also included are instructions for an eye-catching assortment of accessories and housewares, from bookmarks and keychains to purses, market totes, and embellished curtains. Readers will find …