An Abundance of Blooms

Posted on

Happy Sunday, all!

Supposedly tomorrow is the first day of Spring here and while the temperature may not reflect that, the amount of sun has definitely improved! It makes me think of green grass, warm breezes, and flowers. Fragrant blossoms arching toward the bright light, full of color and beauty. It’s a bit early for them, though, so what’s a girl to do? How about we make some of our own? I’ve always admired the colors and realism achieved when creating coffee filter flowers:

With a little swipe of essential oil around the sides, these could also give off a delightful scent!

During my spring cleaning, I found an awful lot of stray buttons. We could always make some button flowers:

Perhaps to be made into badges or hair clips?

Or maybe you still have some fabric scraps laying around from other projects and rather than the roses in our Spring Cleaning tutorial, you want some cute little flowers for embellishment:

These would also be great for hair ornaments!

Of course, there is always room for a little bit of crochet so why not some pretty petals of yarn:

These could be placed on a bag or blanket or whatever catches your fancy.

Oh it just makes me think about all of the warm days to come! I sure hope they show up soon.

Stay crafty!

~Laura


Let’s learn about Needles – Needle Sizes

Posted on

Last week I talked about the anatomy of the needle.  Today we are going to look at the different types of needles and what you use them for.  All of this information is courtesy of Schmetz and Generations Quilt Patterns.

When a quilter talks about sewing machine needle sizes, they’ll say, “It’s an 80” or “It’s a 12” or “It’s an 80/12”.

Just what exactly do those numbers mean?

The Sizing Systems

The sizes are found on the front of the packaging (circled in red to the right).

That first number is the Number Metric (shown as NM). This system was set up in the 1940’s to standardize needle sizes.

It is simply the diameter of the needle shaft in millimeters multiplied by 100 to get rid of the pesky decimal places. That means that our standard “80” needle is really .80mm in diameter. (You’re glad you asked, right?)

What it means to you as a quilter is:

The larger the needle size, the stronger and thicker the shaft.

So where does the ’12’ of the 80/12 name come from?

It is nothing more than the merging of two measuring systems. The ’12’ comes from the corresponding Singer or US needle system. The ’80’, as we’ve learned, is the diameter of the shaft in millimeters multiplied by 100.

Next week I will talk about trouble shooting needle problems and how often you should change them.

Would you like to save and carry any of this information about needles?  Schmetz has their own app!  It has all of the information we have shared here plus more.  Download it from the Apple App Store or Google Play.

-Toni


Happy St Pattys Day!

Posted on

Happy St Patty’s Day!  I figure today is a good day to look at one of my favorite quilt patterns, the Celtic Knot.

Ancient-Symbols.com explains the significance behind the Celtic Knot.

Interwoven patterns first made an appearance in the handicrafts of the Roman Empire. In the third and fourth centuries AD, knot patterns were first seen—an art form that was soon adapted to mosaic floor patterns too.  In or around 450 AD, before the Celts could be influenced by Christianity, Celtic culture took the form of knots, spirals, plait, braid, step and key patterns to depict richly symbolic seven creations.

Celtic Knots are complete loops with no beginning and no end.  So of course it was natural to make them into quilts!  Here are a few patterns I found so you can make a Celtic Knot of your own.

 

 

There are many different ways to make a Celtic Knot Quilt.  If you have made one, share it with us!

-Toni

 


Tinted Decorative Glass

Posted on

Hey there Thursday readers!

Well, where we’ve just had Pi day, and it is indeed March, it’s snowy here, where I live, and it doesn’t look like the snow is going to stop anytime soon. Does that mean we shouldn’t be looking at spring focused DIY? Not at all! What better way than to do a craft that can be used for flowers and decor or for lining window ledges to get a smattering of colour. I am bringing for you a super easy tutorial for making tinted glass. Now, usually you see this kind of thing done in the form of beach glass, where glass jars are done in an aqua colour. This one is a little different because the tints used are really nice and vintage – like antique medicine bottles. I have used the tutorial from Fancy that Design House, and of course there many tutorials floating around, but as I said, I loved the colours that were chosen for these jars, and I love how easy it is.

I love the look of these and they’re so easy and can be used as really beautiful accents to any rustic decor, or to sit on windowsills to tint the light coming in. I also love that you can just save your old pasta, jam, mason or any jars you fancy to use for this, so it can be done on the cheap.

You will need some supplies, but they are minimal and you might just have them laying around the house. If you don’t, Mod Podge (or a similar craft adhesive) can be bought at almost any  craft store, and then the others you can pick up at any grocery store. Just make sure that outside of the jars, mod podge and food colouring that you also supply yourself with mixing bowls, some newspaper to cover your work area and to line a baking sheet (rather than using rather expensive parchment paper), a baking sheet, paper towels, and a stir stick or spoon. You’ll also be heat blasting them in an oven, so, you’ll need access to one of those too.

 

Your first step is to mix Mod Podge, water and food colouring in a small mixing bowl. For just one jar, you’ll need about 1 tbsp of mod podge with about 1/2 tbsp of water, so depending on how many jars you will be doing, you’ll need to bulk up your recipe as necessary. In this bowl you’ll also want to mix your food colouring. Depending on the colours that you’re wanting to do, you can start with a more green colour, and add drops of food colouring as you go to give you variations in your colouring so that you don’t have to make separate batches of the goo to have different colours. Just add a drop of whichever colour moves you after each one. Though the goo might look gross, rest assured when it dries it will be a glorious antiqued browish colour.

You will also need to prep a baking sheet by lining it with newspaper. You’re now ready to pour the gross looking goo mixture into your jar and rotate it around so that the inside gets completely covered. Be ready with a paper towel when you get to the mouth of the jar, to catch any dribbles as you reach the edge, and make sure that all the glass is covered or you’ll have a bald spot.

Put your covered jar upside down on the covered baking sheet and repeat the steps above if you’re doing more jars. Remember to change up your colour mix a little! You want to let your jars sit upside down for about an hour so that any extra goo can run down the sides and exit. This will also help prevent streaks.

In the meantime, prepare another baking sheet by lining it with wax paper ( though I don’t see why you wouldn’t be able to use parchment if it’s on hand, or even foil). When your waiting period is up, turn your jars right side up and put them on the newly prepared sheet. You might have leftover goo puddles, but that’s okay, just bundle them up and throw away the newspaper. Put your tray with the jars right side up in a warm oven (225 degrees F) for about 45 minutes. If you check after 45 minutes and notice streaks, leave them in a little longer. When your time is up and you don’t have streaks, remove from the oven and give them plenty of time to cool.

There’s just a few things to remember. Some streaks will be inevitable, especially the darker you go. These jars aren’t great for water, as Mod Podge is water soluble. So if you insist on putting things in there that require water – you could try putting a coat of water resistant sealant, but there’s no guarantee. Rather than fresh flowers, try getting some silk foliage, or dried flowers in the fall. My mother uses delicate branches from bushes in her garden and they look fabulous.

Happy crafting!

~ Megan

 


‘Bad Weather’ Days

Posted on

Happy Wednesday! Across many parts of the United States, we are being hit by bad weather towards the end of our winter. Trees had begun blooming, grass growing, and in rolls the storm. Suddenly you are stuck at home, with or without power, wondering what to do with your day off…

As long as I am warm and there is power, I try not to worry too much. Relaxing on my favorite chair with a book or movie and drinking some coffee or cocoa is a great day for me. Some people like to keep busy, though. This may be the perfect time to bring out some crafts or games you’ve been waiting to try.

  • If you like to crochet, this fun PDF pattern of an Octopus Scarf looks great!
  • If you like knitting, maybe some fingerless gloves!
  • If it look like there might be power issues, a candlemaking project might be a good one. Check here for a recipe!
  • Some people love to cook, especially a one pot stew or recipe. I’ve found some great ones on Epicurious, or you might open up one of your cookbooks- I have several from family members.

Whether it’s a project or a lazy day, stay warm and safe this week!

 


DIY Vinyl Art for Bags & Purses

Posted on

I’m not a big purse person, never have been, and I don’t care to have decorated ones as a result. The idea of customizing one though? Sign me up!

This idea comes from the folks at StudioDIY, and is all about making a custom donut image for your round purse, but if they’re not your thing, I don’t see why you can’t apply these methods there to any purse/bag you like! You’ll want to visit the DIY page to make sure you understand the process to tweak it to your needs, but here’s the quick run down of supplies required for this project.

It involves lots of spray adhesive to get everything together, so you’ll want to make sure you’re in a well ventilated space or outdoors so fumes don’t become over powering. I’m not sure if this would work on fabric, but I think it would since it’s mostly the adhesive keeping things in place. So if you’ll excuse me, I have a blank to tote to customize.


DIY Picnic Blanket

Posted on

 

While you wouldn’t know it in some parts, Spring is almost upon us and I for one can’t wait to say goodbye to cold winter weather. In celebration of that, I thought I’d share this project for making your own Picnic blanket so it can be enjoyed as early as possible. 😀 For this project you will need:

  • 1 vinyl or waterproof tablecloth
  • 1 cotton tablecloth of matching size (48×60 is a common one)
  • 3 yards of twill ribbon (cut in half.
  • thread to match your tablecloth
  • Sewing Machine
  • Sewing Pins

You’ll want a nice flat area you can lay booth table cloths out on so you can pin the edges together. While doing this, take the two ribbon strips and fold them in half. Then, place them 1/3 and 2/3 of the way on the short end between the two cloths with the middle folded section on the inside. Make sure to pin them in place as you’ll be using these to tie the blanket closed.

 

With your blanket pinned, simply sew around the edges to bring everything together. When sewing over the ribbon section, be sure to back-stitch/reverse over them to make them more secure. You’ll be pulling on this point when you tie it closed so you want it to be reinforced. Once it’s all sewn up you’re done! Roll it up and place it in your car to be ready for your first spring picnic. 😀


Making Your Own Luck

Posted on

Happy Sunday, all!

This coming week includes a very special day of the year for me – St. Patrick’s Day! I have a rather large affinity for my Irish heritage, always having been obsessed with stories and images of the island, it’s music, and the knot work that is often incorporated into Irish art. One of the most prevalent symbols of the particular day, though, has been the shamrock. This humble little plant, found in grassy knolls across the world is a symbol of pride and tradition to those of Irish origin and descent. It’s considered lucky to find a four-leafed clover but the three-leafed shamrock (origin of the word in Irish Gaelic simply means “little clover”) is also a source of luck, inspiration, and spirit, especially on St. Patrick’s Day. It’s usually a bit too cold yet here in the Midwest to find a field of clover so we’ve been forced to make symbols of our own. I’ve found some great ideas all over the web for “greening up” the place!

First up is for those with a rather large stash of washi tape:

If this inspires you to start a washi tape stash, I am so sorry.

Or how about something for that big tin of buttons (or maybe raid grandma’s?):

Everyone still plays the cookies or buttons in the tin game, right?

Do you perhaps have some Scrabble tiles from other projects? Then this may be the project for you:

Or maybe just a game of Scrabble that happens to be missing some pieces?

I’m a rather large fan of this burlap and felt wreath, especially for the little rainbow that’s included:

Those super cute shamrocks could be used for other things as well.

Lastly, to adorn yourself in a bit of greenery, there is always a bit of crochet to be had:

Cute and easy with a little safety pin on the back!

I wish you luck and light this week and all the rest of the year. We’ll see you next week wherein I’ll start digging up some spring inspired projects!

Stay crafty!

~Laura


Let’s learn about Needles – Types of Needles

Posted on

Last week I talked about the anatomy of the needle.  Today we are going to look at the different types of needles and what you use them for.  All of this information is courtesy of Schmetz and the Schmetz website.

SCHMETZ COLOR CODE CHART

Did you know that SCHMETZ is color coding their home sewing needles (needle system 130/705 H)? Most, but not all, household needles now have two bands of color. The top color band indicates needle type and the lower color band indicates needle size. Due to special features, SCHMETZ Universal, Hemstitch, Double Eye, and Quick Threading needles only have one color band to identify needle size.

SCHMETZ_Color_Code_ChartLG

 

needle_eye_comparison-Revised-011614

Denim/Jeans Needle — Color Code: Blue Feature: Modified medium ball point and reinforced blade. Fabric Use: Denim and similar fabrics. Advanced point design is a SCHMETZ exclusive. For penetrating extra thick woven fabrics, denims, or quilts with minimum needle deflection, reduced risk of needle breakage and skipped stitches.

Embroidery Needle — Color Code: Red Feature: Light ball point, wide eye and groove. Fabric Use: Use with rayon, polyester and other specialty embroidery threads. The special scarf, widened groove and enlarged eye protect fragile threads and guard against excess friction allowing trouble-free embroidery and decorative stitching

Jersey / Ball Point Needle — Color Code: Orange Feature: Medium ball point. Fabric Use: Knits and some stretch fabrics. Made especially for sewing on knits. The medium ball point does not damage or break knit fibers.

Leather Needle — Color Code: Brown Feature: Cutting point. Fabric Use: Leather, artificial leather, heavy non-woven synthetics. Do not use on knit or woven fabrics.

Metallic Needle — Color Code: Pink Feature: Elongated eye. Fabric Use: Metallic and other specialty threads. A “must have” for sewing with sensitive metallic threads. The elongated eye prevents shredding and breaking of metallic threads.

Microtex/Sharp Needle — Color Code: Purple Feature: Very slim acute point. Fabric Use: Micro fibers, polyester, silk, foils, artificial leather, coated materials. Very thin acute point creates beautiful topstitching and perfectly straight stitches for quilt piecing when precision is paramount.

Quilting Needle — Color Code: Green Feature: Special taper to the slightly rounded point. Fabric Use: Made especially for piecing and machine quilting. The special tapered design allows easier fabric penetration and helps eliminate skipped stitches.

Stretch Needle — Color Code: Yellow Feature: Medium ball point, special eye and scarf. Fabric Use: Elastic materials and highly elastic knitwear. The medium ball point, specially designed eye and scarf prevent skipped stitches.

Topstitch Needle — Color Code: Lt. Green Feature: Extra long eye. Fabric Use: Topstitch, heavy, multiple or poor quality threads. Achieve perfectly straight stitch lines and even stitches when using a straight stitch plate.

Universal Needle — Color Code: None Feature: Slightly rounded point. Fabric Use: Numerous – woven and knits. A great general purpose needle.

So what do those needle sizes mean and how do you pick the right one?  I will tell you next week!

Would you like to save and carry any of this information about needles?  Schmetz has their own app!  It has all of the information we have shared here plus more.  Download it from the Apple App Store or Google Play.

-Toni


Barn Quilts

Posted on

At the London Friendship Quilt Guild yesterday Gardiner’s Gate spoke to us about the history of Barn Quilts and how they make them.  I am sad to say I had never heard of a Barn Quilt until last night so I want to share their history with you.

Craftsy gives us a great explanation.

A BARN QUILT IS A LARGE PIECE OF WOOD THAT IS PAINTED TO LOOK LIKE A QUILT BLOCK.

Even though the name implies that an entire quilt is painted onto the wood, it generally is only a single quilt block. The size of the squares vary, but usually, they measure 8 feet. After they are painted, these blocks are hung on the exterior of a barn, house, garage or other building.

The majority of barn quilts are comprised of simple geometric shapes, like squares, rectangles and triangles. This makes them easier to create. They usually are painted in solid colors, though every now and then, you’ll come across one that has been painted to look like printed fabric. The simplicity in shape and the vibrancy of solid colors make these blocks easily seen from afar. If they are too complicated, the details can be lost.

THE EARLIEST VERSIONS OF BARN QUILTS HAVE BEEN AROUND FOR HUNDREDS OF YEARS.

Just as fabric quilts have their own unique history, so do barn quilts. While barns were not painted back in the day, they were decorated with different types of folk art. This included quilt blocks once paint was readily available and affordable. People chose certain blocks to reflect particular meanings.

In the early 2000s, barn quilts start showing up again, and these are the ones we are used to seeing today. This is also when the first quilt trail began, originating in Ohio.

A quilt trail consists of many barn quilts that are mapped together and visited. Those following along the trail receive a map with all of the locations marked, and viewers drive through the countryside to see all of the blocks. Today there are quilt trails all over the United States and Canada. A wide variety of people have created them, including quilt guilds, schools, churches, and 4-H clubs.

Want to find a quilt trail?

Barn Quilt Info has a map of all of the quilt trails in the United States.  Ontario Barn Quilt trails have a map of all of the quilt trails in Canada.

Want to make a Barn Quilt of your own?

Wikihow

An Oregon Cottage

The Quilt Ladies

If you make a barn quilt of your own, share it with us!  Now to convince my family to help me make one for our home.

-Toni