Monday, April 29, 2013

Bread Cloth Part III - Embroidering the Designs

A couple Fridays ago, I posted on embroidery inspirations.  One of the sites I linked to is one I love to browse Mary Corbet's Needle 'n Thread and if you went there you may have noticed that she's working on a Mission Rose project.  Being currently hooked on Arts and Crafts/Craftsman/Mission style work, I knew this was what I wanted on my bread cloth! I did a modified version of it.

*bread cloth (see here for pattern and here for crochet edging)
*embroidery floss - I used DMC #'s a medium coral orange (3776), a pinker coral orange (3778), a lighter yelllow (743), a lighter sage green (sorry - forgot to put my number on the card), a darker sage green (3345), brown (300), and cream (739)
*embroidery needle
*Mary Corbet's Mission Rose pattern
*Rose petal pattern (you may need to adjust the size before you print it out)

To see more about what I used to transfer the design, see this past post.

1.  Transfer the Mission Rose pattern to two of the bread cloth points.  I used an outline stitch and three strands of floss throughout this project.  First embroider the center of the rose in cream, then the inner petals in yellow.  Next embroider the outer petals and the rose bud in the pinker coral.

2.  Next, embroider the foilage shown below in the lighter sage green.

3.  Embroider the rest of the foilage in the darker sage green.

4.  Embroider the curlicues, pointy rose petals, and the inner outline in coral.

5.  Embroider the outer outline in brown.

6.  Use cream to make the french knots next to the curlicues.

7.  Transfer the rose bud pattern to the remaining two bread cloth points.

8.  Embroider the bud in the pinker coral and the foilage as shown below in the lighter and darker sage greens.

And you're done!

Happy Creating!  Deborah

Friday, April 26, 2013

Friday Inspiration - Rugs!

I really don't need anything more to put on my "learn how to make" list, however ..... I've been looking for rugs and having a hard time finding nicely made ones that won't take a second mortgage or that don't look, well .... ordinary or cheesy.  So off I went searching out what different types of handmade rugs there are!

And The Day Came

I've always been fascinated with hooked rugs and Canadian artist Wanda Kerr is inspiring me to give them a try.  I'm not fond of the folksy hooked rug look and hers couldn't be further from that - they're works of art that are created by hooking!  And The Day Came is just one gorgeous example from her gallery.  She also teaches classes if you live near Wiarton, Ontario - but even better, she teaches online classes

If you're an avid needlepoint-er, you probably know about Beth Russell.  She sells books and kits with beautiful and often intricate needlepoint designs, some of which can be made into rugs with the right yarns and canvases.  I love her rug based on a William Morris cotton chintz design.  Needlepoint tends to take me a very long time to finish.  If I started a rug, I just might get it done by the turn of the next century!  Although it'll take some pretty amazing medical advances to give me the time to finish it.  Her designs are still gorgeous!

So, on a more realistic note, I found a couple of interesting crocheted rugs I think I'll give a try.  The first was made by a Russian designer (I think her website's in Russian) named Olga.  Don't panic when you can't read the instructions - she has a very nice picture tutorial!  I like the look of the heavier thread with the recycled t-shirt yarn.  The right colors and this could look very classy.

And this gorgeous rug from Tuts+ Hub is actually also crocheted from recycled t-shirt yarn.  I was amazed when I saw that!  I'm seeing one of these in the bathroom and maybe on each side of the bed.  If your decor goes toward bright, it'd look great as a colorful mandala!

Happy Creating!  Deborah

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Transferring Embroidery Patterns

I've been looking for quite awhile for an easy way to transfer embroidery patterns onto the fabric I'm working on and I may have finally found it!  I get sore fingers from pressing through the transfer papers and the iron-on pens I tried haven't worked - until now. 

I've been working on a bread cloth and while looking for my transfer paper came across a Sulky pen I picked up at Joann's awhile ago.  I never gave it a test and didn't have high hopes .... but when I tried it, it actually worked!  And worked quite well.

To get it started, press down on a piece of scrap paper (as directed) - and be prepared for a flood of ink.  Next time I'll press a little lighter.  I also suggest drawing a few lines on scrap paper as it kept flooding out strongly for awhile.  My other suggestion is to press lightly when tracing the embroidery design - it helps the lines be a little lighter and thinner.  The instructions say that more then one copy can be made from one tracing, but I didn't find that to be so.

So now I'm on to embroidering!  More on that Monday ...

Happy Creating!  Deborah

Monday, April 22, 2013

Bread Cloth Part II - Crocheted Edging

Here's Part II of the bread cloth I'm working on!  See Part I here.

*size 20 crochet thread
*size 9 steel crochet hook
*sewing needle

1.  Attach crochet thread and chain 1.  Single crochet in each blanket stitch all the way around, making three single stitches at the point of each arm.

2.  Slip stitch to first single crochet.  Chain 5, skip 2 single crochets and slip stitch in the 3rd stitch.  Repeat all the way around.  Make sure you make a slip stitch at the point of each arm - you may have to adjust the chain size on either side to make this work.

3.  Oops!  I got moving too fast and forgot to take a picture of the next row, but it's pretty simple - you're just adding another row of chain 5's.  Chain 5 and attach to the next chain five space on the previous row with a slip stitch.  Repeat to the end and slip stitch to first stitch.

4.  Chain 3 (counts as your first double crochet).  Double crochet three times in the first chain 5 space.  Slip stitch in the next chain 5 space.  *Crochet 5 double crochets in the next chain 5 space and slip stitch in the following chain 5 space.*  Repeat between stars until you come to the chain 5 space before a point.  Crochet 5 double crochets in the next three chain 5 spaces and then continue in the same pattern as before until you reach the next point.  Depending on how many chain 5 spaces you have, you may need to do a little adjusting to make sure you have the three spaces in a row where you do 5 double crochets line up on the point and the chain 5 space on either side of the point.  I worked an extra slip stitch, 5 double crochets in a chain 5 space when I needed to get everything lined up right.

If you don't want to add embroidery, you're done!  I'm off to start embroidering, though!

Happy Creating!  Deborah

Friday, April 19, 2013

Earth Day Inspiration

In honor of Earth Day next week, I'm going to work through more of my pile of thrift shop bargains!  Actually, I cheated a couple of weeks ago and went to Goodwill, even though I still have enough pieces to work on to clothe several people.  And I don't know if it's because of Macklemore & Ryan Lewis' song Thrift Shop or what, but my Goodwill was the busiest I've ever seen it on non-clearance days!  I still got some great deals, though ....  If you haven't seen the video, it's hilarious and can be seen here - WARNING!!!  The f-word is used a bajillion times!

Whether you want to call it altering, refashioning, restyling, upcycling, or whatever, these sites can inspire you in deciding how to work with your thrift store finds:

Stampington  & Company puts out a quarterly magazine devoted to refashioning, Altered Couture.  I love this publication, however it is a bit spendy.  An alternative is to go to their website and look at past issues.  When you click on one, several double page articles come up - a little small, but that's why computers have an enlarge option!

Marisa Lynch's New Dress A Day blog is fun to follow - Marisa decided a few years ago to make 365 dresses by restyling thrift store dollar dress.  She's still doing several a week and also has a book with helpful hints, also called New Dress A Day.

Jillian Owen's Refashionista blog is really fun!  She takes you through how she alters a thrift store find and then shows you the party or gathering she wore it to.  Her remakes are very fresh and up to date fashions.  And besides showing you the pieces she's worked on, Jillian often has such posts as how to get started, how to shop a thrift store, and where to find your nearest Goodwill clearance center.

And finally, on TrashtoCouture, Laura refashions her finds into amazing, often funky new clothes.  She does a lot of redyeing, too! 

Happy Creating!  Deborah

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Bread Cloth Part I

This is a bread cloth for a round basket or bowl - it's still in progress, so I'll don't have finished photos of it in yet!  I'm crocheting around the edges in Part II and then embroidering on each of the arms in Part III.

*about 1/2 yard fabric - I'm going to be embroidering on this so I chose a plain, osnaberg (like a loosely woven muslin)
*size 20 crochet thread
*size 9 steel crochet hook
*hand sewing needle
*pattern found here

1. Print off the pattern and cut it out.  Fold your fabric in half and then in half again so that you have a folded side that's solid and a folded side that has an opening in it. 

2.  Lay your pattern on top, matching the solid fold side to the solid fold and the open fold side to the open fold.  Pin and cut out.

3.  Hem the edges.  I used the size 20 crochet thread and finished the edge with a blanket stitch, turning the edge under slightly as I went.  Make the stitches very close to each other.

Happy Creating!  Deborah

Monday, April 15, 2013

Alternative to Google Reader

I'm switching gears with this post from fibers to reader apps!  As you've probably heard, Google Reader will cease to exist on July 1, 2013.  This was not welcome news to me as that's how I organize and read all of the blogs I follow!  And since I have 512 (as of today) readers who access ArtThreads through Google Reader, I imagine a lot of you are also wondering what to do with your blog lists.  I've been trying out several over the past week and have decided to start using feedly.

Feedly works very much like Google Reader - only a little better, in my opinion.  There is a list of unread blog entries you can click on and get caught up.  That's what I was looking for!  And there are some top feeds of the day they think you may be interested in - sometimes yes, sometimes not so much, but they're easy to ignore.  The only complaint I have is that if you read my post in the feeder instead of clicking to go to the actual site, the photos don't line up right and the print is pretty small.  But I have a feeling that happens with quite most feeders - so if you want to see what I really put together, click through to Artthreads!

One of the top features that makes it easy to recommend feedly to all my Google Reader followers is how extremely easy it is to begin using it.  If you sign up before July 1, you will have a seamless transition - you won't have to re-enter all of the blogs you follow by hand.  I'll walk you through to show how easy this is:

1.  I went to and this is what I saw.

2.  I clicked on Connect to Google Reader and a box came up asking if I wanted to download the Firefox App.  This is also available for iOS, Android, Chrome, and Safari.  I clicked yes and my Google account information came up.  I clicked on it and the screen asked me if I wanted to allow access to my Google Reader.  I clicked Allow access.

3.  I clicked Install and then, as prompted (sorry - I didn't get screen shots of those two pages), restarted Firefox and voila!  I had a reader page up!

4.  I had three blogs that had new posts since I last looked at Google Reader this morning - they're listed in the upper right corner under "In My Feedly."  You just click on one to bring it up.  To read it, click on the entry and to skip it click the really giant check mark.  Clicking the check mark then takes you to the next new blog post in your feed.

5.  Okay - I'm going to return to the main page I first got.  It's tiny, but if you notice in the left hand column, under All it has the number 3.  WHATT!!!????  I have a lot more than three blogs, what happened to them?!  No need to panic - it only lists the number of unread blog feeds you currently have.

6.  Click on the little lines next to All and you get all your blogs.  Makes sense!

7.  Now notice those icons in the upper right hand corner on the above screen shot?  Those give you the choice of how you want your feed to look.  You can have it all in script like above, you can have a photo, the title, and a few lines like this,

8. You can have the same thing arranged a little differently - they call them "cards,"

9.  Or you can have large previews.

10.  When you click on the blog title, it opens up the entire post for you to read and also gives you a little bar at the top with icons to click for sharing to some popular social media sites.  Clicking on the blog title again opens up a new window to the actual blog website.

There's probably a lot I'm missing that one can do to play with this - I'm just happy to have solved my blog feed problem!  If you want to read more on making the transition, the feedly blog is here.  They've been adding apps for different browsers and platforms, so be sure to look at the newer posts to see what's now available.  And if you read all the comments at the bottom of the page I linked to, don't worry.  A lot of people are confused about what will happen when Google Reader goes away.  The short answer is, you'll log onto feedly that morning and will read your feeds just like usual!

Happy Creating!  Deborah

Friday, April 12, 2013

Embroidery Inspirations

I keep getting stuck in a rut using the same embroidery stitches!  A couple of years ago I made myself try and use new ones, but then I didn't embroider for awhile and now I'm back to my old same old.  While looking for inspiration, I found a few sites you might also like.

I always key into any news coming out of the Royal School of Needlework, but for some reason had never looked at their website.  There are lots of pictures to look at, including some fascinating step-by-step explanations of restoration work they've done, like this Tudor Rose.  I died over the class descriptions - if I lived in England I'd be a regular!  However ..... I did not know that a couple of times a year they have classes in San Francisco.  This is very exciting!  See the information on the intensives here and the day classes here.

Okay - back to reality since I don't live England and can't go to this year's San Francisco classes!  Except for missing the camaraderie of a real life class, the internet has some very good sites for taking one's needlework to the next level.  My favorite stitch instruction site is Sharon B's Dictionary of Stitches.   For those new to Sharon, she's an amazing needleworker from Australia.  Take a look at the gallery of her inspiring work here.  Also, she features different stitches every week on her blog, Pin Tangle.

And finally, whether you're a beginning embroidery or have been doing this for a long time, if you haven't looked at Mary Corbet's Needle and Thread website, do it now!  I'm working my way up from the beginning, which is a good idea if you're wanting to improve your embroidery skills.  She started out with more of the basics and has moved into showing how she does her own work - which is gorgeous!  Right now she's working on a goldwork and silk piece inspired by an old ecclesiastical embroidery. And if you have problems figuring a stitch out from diagrams, Mary has a library of video stitch tutorials here.

Happy Creating!  Deborah

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Remodeled Button Up Shirt

Okay - I promised something lacy for my next clothing remodel and here it is!  I started with a Goodwill $1.00 deal, a great linen/cotton blend button up shirt with rolled up sleeves held by a buttoned placket.  I've been mulling about sewing some type of lacy, linen/cotton shirt based on the fashions I saw in January on Downton Abbey so this was perfect.

First I took off the plackets that held up the sleeves and pinned lace along the bottom hem, the sleeve hems, the pocket flaps, the edge of the collar and the button placket.

The back looked so plain, I added lace to the two back seams and the mid shoulder seam, too.

I sewed everything in place, changed the buttons out for pearl-look ones ....

and a new shirt was born!

And believe it or not, I'm going to leave this one white.  Yep - even my husband was shocked!

Happy Creating!  Deborah