Crafting on the Go

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Happy Sunday, all!

Gen Con starts this week and we are super excited to be there again! I don’t know about you but I always have some kind of projects I am working on and many of them are small enough to tote along with me. The problem I often have, however, is how to best travel with everything I need but in the smallest possible space. Even when there are only two of us in the car, we are often gone for at least a week and that requires a lot of luggage so the crafts need to be condensable. I currently have a couple of specialty bags that travel with me for different purposes. The one for my embroidery/cross stitch has two large side pockets and a three ring style plastic organizer for floss bobbins in the center. It lays quite flat and I definitely have plenty of room for a couple of projects at once. I sometimes have to carry more so I’ve been looking for another to buy or make and in my searches have found the following…

This first one on Craftsy is everything you could wish for and more. It is quite a large tote with all kinds of pockets for pretty much anything you need to bring along and it seems pretty straight forward. I really like the optional shoulder strap and the variety of pocket and zipper options the pattern mentions so that you can completely personalize it to your needs.

   

This second one from the Embroidery Library looks like it may lie flatter, more like my current project bag and could be a great option if I want to use these for a different project a piece.

This last one from Handmadiya was just too cute for me to pass up and it is also incredibly small so it may be great to organize smaller items within one of the larger ones.

 

I’m honestly tempted to make the last one just because it is so adorable. In any case, next week we will have a look at some totes that may be better for yarn type projects on the go.

Stay crafty!

~Laura


Zenbroidery

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About 2 years ago, adult coloring books became the hot new thing. Remember when that happened? Sudden any store that carried books now had “adult” coloring books that were basically geometric patterns the be idly colored in. Well, it took some time for the sewing world to follow it seems, but follow they did. Check out what I found at Jo-Ann’s yesterday.

This is just one of many patterns in a new line called Zenbroidery by Design Works. Same basic principal of adult coloring books applies, but here you are embroidering free style on a stamped fabric. No patterns to tell you what to do, just an image and your imagination on how to fill it.

You can find all sorts of themes such as kitchen wares, Inspiration words, Mandalas, animals, and much more. They’re also fairly inexpensive at $5-10 each as the kit only provides you with the fabric and instruction sheet (which is mostly filler and stitch suggestions). You must provide your own floss separately. Not a problem for someone like me that has a collection of a few hundred from years of embroidery work, but could be an issue for those that work only from kits. They do sell their suggested color packs of floss of course, some of which include beads for added options, that are only $4-5 but you could still just chose your own.

While I wouldn’t recommend these for beginners to embroidery I do find the idea behind them fascinating. They’d make a great idle project to fill time and certainly let you explore more then just the basic stitches most kits use, but I do wonder at how many people would display the finished product. Either way they’re worth a look into at least next time you’re in your local craft store. 🙂


A Cozy Needle is a Happy Needle

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Happy Sunday, all!

Today we are ensuring that we continue to take excellent care of the tool that arguably works the hardest for anyone that does any kind of sewing. Last time we covered needle cases which are great for trips and transporting odd sized or duller needles. This time we are going to give our needles a bit more care and store them in soft felted cloth, more specifically in a needle book. Most needle books are fairly simplistic: take several squares of felt and sew them together in the middle to form a spine, then fold in half. Some crafters and artisans have taken this to a whole new level. This first one from Mouse Garden uses the traditional and adds their own flair:

Simple, pretty, and ready to carry your needles!

Using all felt makes it easy to add simple embroidery or other designs. Like this second rather whimsical one from Crafty Cat Lady UK:

I love it’s cute whiskers!

Many of us that mix our different sewing projects can also relate to this third one  from Angelic Emporium that may help to clear up some of our quilting scraps to make something useful for hand sewing components:

Plus a skull and roses needle book is super cool!

Finally, if you want to be super fancy, I suggest treating yourself to one of these beautiful vegan leather needle books from Naeh St Design:

All the way from Germany, no less!

Keep your needles happy and they will always treat you right! The felt pages of needle books not only serve to prevent accidental stabbings while rummaging around in a project bag but also help absorb leftover oil from your skin! Next week we will look at a different type of needle case.

Stay crafty!

~Laura

 


If You Don’t Mind…

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Happy Sunday, all!

I promised some needle minding this week and I have some great ones to share! So what is a needle minder? It’s generally some sort of magnet that clips to the front and back of your stitching project so that you have somewhere to “park” your needle instead of using (or in addition to) a pin cushion. I’ve definitely covered some really cute wooden needle minders previously (see the article here) from A Needle Runs Through It and she still does not disappoint:

A cuppa to watch over that needle? Or a reminder that you are, indeed, a crafty girl?

I love me some engraved wooden minders, especially if they are cute like this hedgie from Beadeux:

I especially love the iron of having something prickly minding your sharps!

I do tend to like plenty of food themed items as well so this pizza themed minder made from polymer clay by Chapel View Crafts is super adorable:

I’d like mine as a veggie, though, please!

Or perhaps if you like to branch out in your food selections, a cute sushi fabric covered minder by Just Joshin Creations is just the thing:

Though using this may just make me crave California rolls.

My absolute favorite, though, has to be this amazing Kraken minder from UnconventionalX:

Unleash it on your next project!

With any one of these, your needles can be perfectly in sight at all times and if you’ve every sat/stepped/poked yourself with a needle, you know how important this can be. Keeping with this theme, I think next week we may venture into the realm of decorative thimbles.

Stay crafty!

~Laura


That’s the Point

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Happy Sunday, all!

Last week I took us to the wonderful world of biscornu and it got me thinking about other tools of the trade that can also be fun or beautiful. The first necessary tool that comes to mind besides the needle/thread itself is scissors! I have a wide variety of scissors that all have different duties but for a biscornu, I’d more than likely be using my embroidery scissors. For years, I had the utilitarian plastic handled ones that my mother had previously used until I found my rainbow stork pair:

They look something like this!

They were so pretty and shiny that I had to have them! The stork tends to be the most widely used and popular design but I have found quite a few more than I wouldn’t mind owning. These mermaid shaped ones were definitely the first fun ones to pop up in my search:

Perfect for doing some seaside stitching.

I was also intrigued by these butterfly shaped scissors:

Perhaps for a local park or garden-side stitching?

Or maybe add some whimsy for the stitchy cat lover in your life (could be you?):

Purrfectly cute!

I think my absolute favorite and the one that will soon be making it’s way into my kit, though, has to be these unicorn scissors:

Make all of your projects feel magical.

Since we’ve made our way through pin cushions and scissors, I thought next week we could take a look at some fun needle minders. What are those, you ask? Tune in next week to see!

Stay crafty!

~Laura


Beautiful Biscornu

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Happy Sunday, all!

I’ve been getting my crafty groove back lately and it’s inspired me to finally plot out something I’ve wanted to do for quite a while. Make my own geeky biscornu! What is a biscornu, you ask? It’s essentially a fancy pin cushion but there are so many different ways to assemble and decorate them! The “traditional” style usually has 8 sides with a repeating pattern in some combination of cross stitch/black work/other embroidery and even some beads as embellishments:

Scrolling flowers, vines, and bees seem to be very popular choices.

There are plenty of tutorials out there for assembling your own and I quite like this one from Tiny Modernist:

Complete with lovely southwest style pattern!

But as you hopefully know if you read my posts on Sundays, I love things with a geeky theme so, of course, I am going to include pattern links for some! One of my favorite cross stitch pattern makers, Cloud’s Factory, has several for adorable biscornu, like this Alice in Wonderland:

Appropriately titled, “We’re All Mad Here” and I am definitely mad for it!

And one of our lovely Sprite Stitchers, Sirithre,  has some amazing biscornu patterns in her Etsy shop. One of my favorites is this Lord of the Rings pattern:

And you can stab the Eye of Sauron every time you stitch!

I have so many ideas for amazing biscornu designs! I’ll make sure to share when I put some into action. Until then, have a relaxing rest of your weekend.

Stay crafty!

~Laura


Adorable Mini Plush Animals

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I know I’m biased since I make small cute things myself, but I just love adorable animal plushies. Extra points if they have a cat one cause, much like most of the internet, I’m a sucker for adorable cats.

Maine based artist Floydine makes these one of a kind felt animals and they are just so cute. Not only are they tiny and hand sewn, but the little detail embellishments really make the piece, imho. After the cats, some of my favorite ones are the horses.

I love how they’re the realistic horse with the My Little Pony style imagery on the backside. Their use of imagery on the plushies doesn’t end there though. You’ll also find ones with little embroidered scenes on their sides instead.

There’s not much in their etsy shop at the moment, but if you also like adorable animals, this is certainly a shop to check out and bookmark for the future. 🙂


Incredibly Lifelike Embroidery

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So I know I posted about embroidery recently already, but I just saw this and had to share it.

Yes, that is embroidered, AND it’s super tiny. :O I’m seriously in awe. I know it’s become popular to do miniature sized creations lately but this is just incredible to me. The artist who named them is Japanese artist ipnot and she was inspired to work with thread due to her grandmother. She introduced ipnot to embroidery and she was so taken by it and the french knot that she then spent years perfecting her techniques.

Working with a selection of over 500 different colors and shades of yarn from varying brands and lines, ipnot creates everything from sushi rolls to chocolates bonbons and more. Each tiny creations is remarkably realistic and her use of different stitches and colors to even emulate texture is amazing. It’s all in Japanese, but if you like the few things I’ve shared here you should do yourself a favor and check out her main gallery as there is so much more.


A Racket Job

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So I’ve seen a fair amount of things used as embroidery canvases. Clothes, shoes, flags. Just about anything fabric based has been attempted really; which is why this artist stood out to me.

Perhaps not what she was originally wanting to be known for, South African artist Danielle Clough has also enjoyed embroidering many a canvas surface, but her racquet designs really jumped out at me. Embroidery it’s self often lends well to impressionist style art due to the way it’s created, but she really takes it a step beyond with her bold use of colors as well. The gamer side of me also enjoys the pixel like additions of some background color that she occasionally uses.

Using a racquet as a frame/canvas also reminds me of the Dadaist movement with their ‘anything is art’ approach (a movement I love to pieces), so it’s possible this just hits all my art nerd interests only, but if you like the few I’ve posted here I recommend checking out her gallery at the very least. She has a store as well, but it’s currently down.


Birds of a Felted Feather

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Perhaps it’s my bias towards sewing skills, but felt and embroidery projects always catch my eye. It’s like my brain is playing a Where’s Waldo type game but with fabric and thread without telling me. 😛 It’s no wonder I easily came across these awesome felt sculptures as a result.

Jill Ffrench, is the owner and artisan of Fantails and Feet, a custom felt sculpture artist that makes beautifully expressive birds out of felt, thread, wire and wax. While you can see she has a passion for peacocks, her entire collection of birds is simply lovely.

I especially love the extra detailing the feathers get to selectively make them pop, but they’re all wonderful. If you’re a bird lover, or know someone who is, I definitely recommend giving this shop of fine feathered friends a look over.