For the Host with the Most

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Happy Sunday, all!

Since the holidays are coming up and most of us are forced to interact with people we don’t see often, I thought an opportunity to bring the host/hostess a little handmade gift would be very appropriate. Some of these take longer than others to make and some make multiples at a time so if you have plenty of parties/get-togethers or just want to get a head start on some stocking stuffers or secret Santa gifts this may be the time to start! First up, for those that already have crochet implements, this crochet rope trivet is super sturdy, cute, and serviceable:

For those hot tea pots or even candles (especially if you include those in the gift, too).

It appears to be simple crochet but may take a little bit of muscle to get it through the loops. Next up is an idea for making their table a little prettier, some quick and easy sewn reversible napkin holders:

There’s also instructions on the site for a matching bias tape table runner.

If you have a little more time on your hands and are comfortable with the corner to corner method of crochet, then this Thanksgiving themed pillow set CAL that just released it’s last part of the pattern is for you:

So super cute and perfect for the season!

If you’d rather not assume their decorating style or give them something they are more likely to use, how about one of these neat little tea trees:

This is also a chance to get creative in finding tea bags in several colors.

Or even trying your hand at making these dip mix filled ornaments:

Whichever you choose or if you want to brainstorm on your own to suit your particular host/hostess, we all just want them to feel appreciated. Next week we’ll continue with some ideas for cooking/baking based host/hostess gifts that I’ve really wanted to try out!

Stay crafty!

~Laura


DIY Dog Bed Tutorial

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As a quilter I don’t use a lot of home decor fabric.  I was just introduced to Crypton Home Decor fabric that is odor resistant and spills bead and wipe up easily.  Why is this important?  Fabric.com gave us a great pet bed tutorial that you can make with any fabric, but the Crypton is recommended because of the amazing versatility and the cute dog themed patterns.

Supplies Needed

The instructions they give are great and can be easily found on their website.  But in addition to great instructions they also supplied us with a great video!

If you make one, share it with us!  We would love to see it.

-Toni

 


How to Cut on the Bias

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If you pick up a piece of fabric, you can stretch it in three ways, vertically, horizontally, and diagonally.  This diagonal stretch is the stretchiest and is the bias of the quilt.  You may need a cut of bias for hems, bindings, or may have a pattern that calls for this special stretch.  But cutting the bias may be something new to you.

The Dutch Label Shop is where I get my special labels for the backs of my quilts.  I love the quality of the labels and the way they look on my quilts.  In addition to making a great product, they periodically blog about important things sewers should know.  One of the blogs they ran was how to cut on the bias.

Reposted from The Dutch Label Shop:

First, you have to understand two other fabric terms: selvage and grain.

WHAT IS SELVAGE

Selvage is the name given to the self-finished edges of a piece of fabric. It keeps the fabric from unravelling and fraying. Often it serves the further purpose of providing information about the producer and designer, information that is printed directly onto the unpatterned area.

When a fabric store associate pulls down a bolt, rolls it out on their cutting table, and cuts you a portion of it, they will always cut perpendicular to the selvage. Each piece of fabric will therefore have two self-finished edges, top and bottom.

WHAT IS GRAIN

Just like wood or meat, fabric has a grain. In reference to fabric, the term “grain” indicates the way the fabric is knit or woven together. Take a close look at any piece of fabric. You will notice threads running parallel and perpendicular to the selvage. This is the grain of the fabric. Take your hands and place them on a perpendicular line and try pulling the fabric. There will be no give. Do the same on a parallel line. Again, the fabric will not stretch. Cutting along a parallel or perpendicular line is cutting “with the grain.”

WHAT IS BIAS

Now, back to bias. Take your hands and place them on the opposite selvage, diagonally across from each other, and pull. The fabric stretches! This is because you are pulling along the bias, against the grain. When a pattern calls for a bias cut, it is to take advantage of this stretchy quality. Bias is the thread line which cuts the grain at a 45 degree angle.

 

BIAS SEWING BASICS: HOW TO CUT ON THE BIAS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

HOW TO CUT ON THE BIAS

To easily measure this 45 degree angle, take the top corner of your fabric and fold it down to the bottom edge of the fabric, creating a diagonal fold. Cut along the fold, and voila! You’ve cut on the bias.

If you would like to see more posts by Dutch Label shop or check out their cool labels, you can find them here.


Designing an Embroidered Patch

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So not everyone has a fancy machine and software to whip out patches on a whim, including myself, but sometimes you want to have them for a family/business event or even to sell for your own company without having to learn an entire new vocation. Well my friends, that’s where the lovely people at Stadri Emblems come in.

They’ve created a great guide to get you started on not just what you need to know about patches, but what you need to think about when designing them. Stuff like, does your entire patch need to be made from thread or can some of it be a woven background? They also have a staff on artist on hand that get assigned to each customer so you can work one on one to get the patch you wanted, starting with a free image design and quote.

What if I’m not a designer or artist?

Don’t worry; all of our orders come with artwork set-up for free. Whether your design just needs some small tweaks or you only have a napkin drawing, we have you covered. If you don’t have finished art, here are a few tips for describing what you are envisioning to your artist:

 

1. Be as descriptive as possible! If there are any details that are important to you, let us know!

2. Feel free to send us photos or examples to help the artists know what you’d like.

3. Make a rough sketch, if possible. Even if it’s not very detailed, having a sketch can be really helpful to our artists.

If this is something you’ve considered at all getting done, I really recommend giving this company a look. They’re very straight forward and helpful with the work and the finished quality speaks for it’s self. Now if you’re looking to get into the field with your own machine then this likely isn’t he route for you, but they still offer good tips in their guide that you should take into consideration when working on your own designs. 🙂


Loot Carriers Made Easy

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Happy Sunday, all!

Last week I promised some DIY loot bag ideas and these will not disappoint! 3 of the 4 do involve sewing but they are all pretty easy to make, even for those new to sewing. The first one up is a very simple box bottom bag done in fun Halloween print from Almost Supermom:

Best part is making them to suit the size you want…for more loot.

I think they are super cute and will give everyone some more practice on the basics. Now you’ll have the pattern for a basic box bag! Bonus! Plus the fabric selection is completely up to you – so if your kiddos want a bag to match their costume, there is plenty of fabric out there to choose from (like those new Star Wars fabrics we mentioned?). The second has a similar tutorial but on a much cheaper scale. So if you are trying to save a little money by making your own trick or treat bags, this bandanna bag tutorial from 2 Little Hooligans is the right choice for you:

I am NOT a fan of candy corn but I do love that bandanna pattern.

I think that one is also super cool for customizing as I’ve seen all kinds of themed bandannas out there. Again, this does not have to be used solely for Halloween purposes. Super awesome bandanna bags for all occasions! The third one is interactive and kind of creepy. This “sticky” spider web loot bag from Merriment Design has just the right amount of fun for the little ones:

They also make flies and other bugs that the spiders could have “trapped”…just sayin’.

I love the innovative use of the Velcro to bump up the play factor. The fourth one I found is for those of us that either don’t know how to sew or would rather let our sewing machines have a break after rocking out some amazing costumes. This duct tape bag from Dukes and Duchesses looks simple and useful:

Plus this one is guaranteed to be fairly waterproof in case Halloween is a bit damp.

I’ve seen all kinds of cool, creepy, or even shiny types of duct tape that could be used for those. Hope you’ve enjoyed our festive romp through DIY bags this week. May your bag overfloweth this Halloween season!

Stay crafty!

~Laura



Schmetz monthly needle facts

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It is time again for needle facts from Schmetz!  I love the needle facts and news they send to me every month and want to share them with you as well!

Sewing Machine Needles Don’t Last Forever.

The needle is not a permanent machine part.

Needles get dull from use. Needles are meant to be changed.


Clue it’s Time to Change the Needle

– Damaged or broken threads –

– Skipped stitches –

– Puckered or damaged fabrics –

– Wiggly squiggly seams –

– Popping, clicking or clunking sound –

 

Why Chrome?
– Less friction on thread passing through eye –
– Penetrates fabric with less resistance –
– Smoother stitch creation –
– Resists heat – improved durability & performance –
– A premium needle not available in big box stores –


Available now at local quilt shops & machine dealers.

 

-Toni


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

 


Classes, classes, and more Classes!

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This past Tuesday I had an amazing time with the Youth Sewing class at the Family Centre.  We made some pretty cool hair ties (that also double as skinny neck ties).

I LOVE teaching classes.  It really energizes me and makes me love sewing even more (if you can believe that).  We have a really cool idea in store for the next two adult classes, so if you live in the London, Ontario area, keep an eye on my social media.

Speaking of classes, I still have some openings for the GenCon classes I am teaching.  They are selling out fast, so if you want to learn English Paper Piecing, sign up soon!

English Paper Piecing Quilt Technique

 

 

 

Description: Learn to English Paper Piece, or get help with an existing project you are working on. In this class we will start with the basic hexagon flower using scraps of colorful and character fabrics (like Dr Who or Comic Books).

Class Length: 2 hours

Date/ Time /Game ID:

  1. Thursday, August 17th/ 10:00am /SPA17103527
  2. Friday, August 18th/ 10:00am /SPA17103528
  3. Saturday, August 19th/ 9:00am /SPA17103529

Cost: $18

English Paper Piece a Catan Board Quilt

 

Description: Learn to English Paper Piece by creating a small version of the Catan board, 9″ wide to be exact. In this class we will start with the basic hexagon shape and add on triangles (for sand) around the edges.  Options for finishing your miniature quilt will be discussed.

Class Length: 2 hours

Date/ Time /Game ID:

  1. Friday, August 18th/ 7:00pm /SPA17103534
  2. Sunday, August 20th/ 12:00pm /SPA17103535

Cost: $34

Nicole’s Scarf classes are all sold out, but don’t despair!  If you bring generic tickets with you and someone doesn’t show up, you can have their spot!

Now to make all of those kits for the classes.


Schmetz Monthly Needle Fact

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That’s not just a little piece of steel making your machine stitches. German engineering designs, calculates, tests and inspects the SCHMETZneedle. Take for instance the eye, did you know that needles have different eye shapes?

The most popular needle, the Universal, has an eye that is 40% the width of the blade. Really! There are three other needles with larger eyes, the Embroidery and even more pronounced is the elongated eye of the Metallic and Topstitch needles.

Now what does a larger eye mean? There is less friction on the thread as it passes through the eye. Ever sew with a thread that breaks or tends to shred? Guess what, use a needle with a larger eye. If you have old thread or maybe a poor quality thread, use a needle with a larger eye. The thread and needle work hard and fast. Help them out when you can with a larger eye.

Remember . . .

Change YOUR Needle!

– The needle is meant to be changed –

– The needle gets dull from use –

– The needle is NOT a permanent machine part –

-Toni