Monday, November 29, 2010

Monday Project - Poinsettia Scarf

Two weeks ago I posted about several projects I was working on - remember the poinsettia scarf with huge squares?  After trying several different hook sizes, I decided what I really didn't like about it was how thick the squares were.  It's very 3-D - which would be great for a potholder or pillow, maybe an afghan.  But I like scarfs I can twist, fold, and wrap around me!  And I was now hooked on the idea of having a poinsettia scarf for Christmas.  Hmmm.  I've worked with granny squares enough, so I decided to design my own.

Materials List:

*1 skein each of Lion Brand Wool-Ease (or any worsted weight yarn) in Ranch Red (A) and Forest Green Heather (B)
*2 skeins Lion Brand Wool-Ease in Fisherman (C)
*Size H crochet hook (there really isn't a gauge for this pattern, so use a hook that gives you the size of square you want)

Lion Brand yarns has a great set of videos on learning to crochet.  They don't have any on granny squares, though, so I've inserted a couple of short ones showing you how to get started on a granny square and how I hook the squares together.

1.  With C, chain 4 and join into a ring.

2.  Chain 1 and single crochet 12 times into the ring made.  Join to the first single crochet with a slip stitch.  Fasten off the yarn.

3.  Join A.  Chain 3.  In the first sc, complete 1 double crochet, 1 triple crochet, and 2 double crochet.  Chain 1.  Skip one sc from the previous row.  In the next sc (2 dc, 1 trc, 2 dc) - a petal.  Chain 1, skip the next sc from the previous row and repeat a petal.  Repeat this pattern around the ring until you have 6 petals.  Join to the top of the first petal with a slip stitch and fasten off A.

4.  Join B into one of the ch1 spaces from the previous row.  Chain 3, complete 1 dc, 3 ch, 2 dc.  Chain 3 and in the next ch1 space (2 dc, 3 ch, 2 dc) - a leaf.  Chain 3 and repeat leaves until you have six.  Join to top of first leaf with a slip stitch and fasten off B.

5.  Join C into one of the ch3 spaces between leaves.  Chain 3, 2 dc in same space.  Chain 1 and in the next chain ,space, (3dc, 3ch, 3dc) - a corner.  Chain 1, 3dc in next chain space, ch1, 3dc in next chain space, ch1.  In the next chain space, make a corner.  Repeat around until you have completed the square.  Join to the top of your first ch3 with a slip stitch and fasten off C.

6.  Make 14 squares.

7.  To join the squares, using C, you can sew them together or hook them together.  To hook these squares together, I put two squares end to end and join C into the right top corner of the bottom square (in the chain space).  Slip stitch into the chain space of the square above it.  Chain 1.

Slip stitch into the next middle dc of the square below.  Chain 1.  Slip stitch into the next middle dc of the square above.  Chain 1.  Slip stitch into the next chain space of the square below.  Chain 1.  Slip stitch into the next chain space of the square above.  Chain 1.

Continue in this way across, ending with a slip stitch in the left corner of the square above.  Fasten off yarn.

This way of attaching does make a pattern, so decide if you want to attach the squares with the right sides facing you or the wrong sides facing you.

I attach two squares first and then add them to the scarf - it's just less bulky for me to work that way, but whatever works for you, go for it!

8.  To make an edging, attach C to a corner space of one of the end squares.  Chain 1 and make 1sc.  Make 1 sc in each dc on the scarf, 2 dc in each corner you come to, and 1 sc in each of the places you joined squares.  Continue down the length of the scarf.  When you get to the end of the length, 3 sc in the corner.  Continue in this way until you are back to where you started.  Join to the first sc with a slip stitch.

Chain 4, 1 dc in first sc from row below.  Slip stitch in the next two sc of row below.  *(1 dc, 1 chain, 1 dc) in next sc of row below, slip stitch in the next 2 sc of row below.  Repeat from * until you get back to where you began.  Join to first dc with a slip stitch and fasten off.

Happy Creating!  Deborah

Friday, November 26, 2010

Friday Inspiration - Here We Go!

Today I have some inspiring Christmas themed fiber artworks to get you going as we enter the holiday season.

Kathleen Theriault, Father Christmas

Colorado batik artist Kathleen Theriault's website is a definite stop for inspiration!  Father Christmas is a good example of the fine details and exquisite batik technique in her work.  Her faces are amazing!  If you've ever tried batik, you know how difficult (uh - nearly impossible) this is.

I love molas and talked about them in this past Friday Inspiration.  This depiction of the Nativity was created by an unknown Kuna artist.  The website has lots of mola inspiration.  Someday I'm going to have to try one!

Unknown Kuna artist, Nativity.

I came across Murray Johnston's quilting some time ago and decided to save sharing her until now so I could show this beautiful quilt.  It's just a small taste of the gorgeous work she does and shows on her website.  I love how she works each little fabric piece in to the whole - it all meshes together beautifully.  And the quilting on the background isn't just to quilt the fabric, but really adds to the whole theme.  And wait until you see how she uses light in her forest quilts!  Very inspiring.

Murray Johnston, Snow Trees

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Wednesday Sewing - Christmas Candy Jar Tablerunner

Awhile back, I made bug jar quilts for a new baby and his big brother.  While I was working on them, I kept thinking how cute a table runner with Christmas candy in jars would look.  I had great plans to immediately make that right after the quilts - yeah.  Something always comes up!  It's finished now and I love it!

The pattern and detailed instructions are in my original bug jar quilt post here and here (it was a two part series).  I also show you how to begin freestyle quilting in this past post.

Materials List:

*1 yard front and backing fabric- I used the same for the front and the back.  If you use different fabrics, get a 1/2 yard of each.
*Christmas candy fabric - fat quarters work fine here.
*jar lid fabric - you only need a tiny bit of this.
*batting or fusible felt - I'm loving fusible felt!  I used it for this project.
*Steam a Seam 2 or other fusible fabric bond
*bias tape

1.  Cut front and backing fabric pieces 18" x 36".

2.  Print out the bug jar pattern.  Trace four jars and four lids onto the fusible side of Steam a Seam 2.  Peel off the backing paper and iron onto the wrong side of your fabric.

3.  Cut out.

4.  Peel off the backing paper and position on your front fabric.  To help in doing this, I drew a line down the middle of the fabric with chalk.  Place the first two jars w/lids on 4 1/2 inches from the top, 4 1/2 inches from the bottom, and 1 inch away from the center line.  Place the next jars 2 inches from the first jars.

5.  Iron into place.  Use a tight zigzag stitch and sew around the raw edges of the jars and the lids.  Cut a 18"x36" piece of batting or fusible felt.  If you're using the felt, iron it to the front piece - if you're using batting, layer this below the front piece.  Put your backing fabric on the bottom and pin to hold everything in place.

6.  Quilt.  I used my free motion foot and quilted around the jars and around the individual candies in the jars.  I then quilted a free style Christmas tree and random loops pattern for the background.

7.  Trim edges to make them even again and round corners.  I do this by folding the fabric in half and cutting two corners at a time.

8.  Pin on bias tape and sew into place.  If you haven't used bias tape before or aren't sure how to attach the ends, see this past post here.  Iron and you're done!

Happy Thanksgiving to my US readers and Happy Creating to everyone!  Deborah

Monday, November 22, 2010

Monday Project - Layered Felt Christmas Ornaments

Next weekend our house will transform into Christmas Central - I love this time of the year!  I like to have new handmade ornaments to add to the tree each year.   This year I designed three from layered felt with the North Pole as a theme.

Materials List:

*assorted colors of felt
*assorted colors of embroidery thread
* beads - I used clear with a silver center on the North Pole and pearl beads on the reindeer
*a small amount of 1/8 inch ribbon - I make small loops and use an ornament hanger, but you can also use more and have a longer ribbon hanger
* Patterns - download here

If you have not made layered felt ornaments before or want a review, look at this past post.  It also have instructions for the basic embroidery stitches I use.

Attach all pieces with a blanket stitch.  I used two strands of embroidery thread through out, except for the embroidered features where I used four strands.

Print out two copies of the patterns.  One you'll be cutting apart and the other you'll use to see where pieces go.  Cut each piece out on the outside lines.

North Pole:

1.  Cut two of the whole pattern from white.  Cut out the top ball and cut one from sparkly white.  Cut out the sign and cut one from beige.  Cut out the stripes and cut one each from red.

2.  Sew the top ball on with a blanket stitch on the bottom side only.  Leave the outer edges unsewn.  In a spiral, sew clear beads on individually.

3.  Sew sign on top and bottom edges, leaving sides unsewn.  Sew red stripes on the same way.  Using gold embroidery thread, embroidery "North Pole."

4.  Attach front to back, inserting a ribbon at the top.


1.   Cut one of entire pattern and one of entire pattern except for the antlers from brown.  Cut out the antlers and cut one from beige.  Cut the harness straps out and cut one each from dark green.  Add a small amount to the inside short edge of the chest harness so it will go under the stomach harness.  Cut out the hooves and cut one each from black.

2.  Sew on chest harness, leaving the two short edges unsewn.

3.  Attach stomach harness, leaving the edges unsewn, and sew pearl beads to both harnesses.  Attach hooves leaving the edges unsewn.  Cut a small red circle and attach to nose, leaving edge unsewn.  Embroider face with a french knot eye and outline stitch mouth using four strands of thread for all.

4.  Sew antlers onto the back pattern piece.

5.  Attach front to back adding a ribbon loop.  I used a variegated brown.


1.  Cut two complete patterns from dark red.  Cut a square of felt for face, adding enough to each side so it will go under the beard and hat trim.  Cut out the hat trim and sleeve cuffs and cut one each from white.  Cut out the robe trim and cut one each from white, adding enough to the inside edge of Santa's left trim so it will go under the right trim and enough to the top of the right piece so it will go under the beard .  Cut out shoes and cut two from black.  Cut out mittens and cut one each from black, adding enough to the tops so they will go under sleeve cuffs.  Cut out beard with nose and mustache still attached and cut one from white, adding enough to the top edges of the beard so it will go under the hat trim.  Cut out nose and mustache and cut one from white.

2.  Sew on the left robe trim, leaving the outer edges unsewn.  Attach the right robe trim leaving the outer edges unsewn.  Attach the face square with a small drop of glue.

3.  Attach beard, leaving top edges and outer edges unsewn.

4.  Attach hat trim, leaving outer edges unsewn.  Attach nose/mustache piece, leaving nose area unsewn.

5.  Attach boots and mittens.

6. Cut a small circle from pink and attach as nose.  Attach sleeve cuffs, leaving outer edges unsewn.

7.  With four strands of thread, add arm lines and eyebrows with an outline stitch and eyes with french knots.

8. Attach front to back - I used a variegated dark red thread - and add a ribbon loop.

Happy Creating!  Deborah

Friday, November 19, 2010

Friday Inspiration - Sugane Hara

I just discovered the work of Japanese fiber artist Sugane Hara and I'm mesmerized.  The works here were created by stitching, ply splitting, and knitting fibers and wire, however, she also has some beautiful shibori dyed pieces on her website.

To the right is Who would want her son to crash a plane?  2002.  Polyester organza, machine stitched and burned, knitted stainless steel.

Her work is other worldly - beautiful in eerie way.

Vessel of Life/Frozen Moon, 1996.  Dyed and painted rattan, 
randomly interlaced, machine stitched on water solve film.

And as stunning as these look, so much is lost in viewing the reproduction of a piece (especially when looking at 3-D work) versus viewing the piece in real life.  She exhibits internationally, so I'll be keeping an eye out for a west coast US show!

Shore/Dialogue, 2002.  Polyester organza, rayon thread,
machine stitched and burned.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Wednesday Sewing - Quilted Bib

I'm having a lot of fun playing around with free motion quilting!  I tried some that is more like thread painting on this bib for little c.  If you're new to free motion quilting, I explain the basics in this past post here.


*Pattern - get it here
*Top fabric
*Backing fabric- I like to use flannel on the back of bibs
*Fusible felt or quilt batting
*Bias tape - I didn't end up using the one I have in this photo!
*Velcro - I like using the iron-on type

1.  Cut the pattern out and tape together, matching letters on the dotted lines.

2.  Cut one from top fabric, one from backing fabric (reverse the pattern), and one from batting or fusible felt.

3.  Iron felt to backing fabric.

4.  Pin all pieces together.

5.  Free motion quilt holly leaves onto the front.  Practice a few times first on scrap material!  I found this gets a pretty cool thread painting look if you go over the lines a few times, giving it a "sketchy" look.

6.  Free motion quilt the berries.

7.  Free motion quilt the background - I used a random squiggle pattern.  Start in the middle of the bib and work toward the edges, then work down the narrow part, removing pins as you go.

8.  Pin on bias tape and sew into place.  If you haven't worked with this before, check out this past post here.

9.  Attach one inch pieces of Velcro.

Happy Creating!  Deborah