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Archive for June, 2011


Bias Opinion

Tuesday, June 14th, 2011
By Twistie

If you sew a lot, you need bias tape. Most of the time, though, it’s difficult to find ready-made tapes that match the color of your project. That’s why it’s a good idea to roll your own.

The Simplicity Bias Tape Maker will make that job easy for you. With the press of a button, you’ll get single-fold one inch wide bias tape made from the same fabric you’re sewing with. Extra tips are available separately ranging from 3/8″ to 2 1/2″ quilt binding tapes.

And best of all, the price is right. The retail price on this bias maker is $99.99, but you can get it from Amazon for a much less painful $58.99.


Quickie Question: Romantic Crafting

Monday, June 13th, 2011
By Twistie

Today is a red letter day at Casa Twistie: it’s our eighteenth wedding anniversary.

And it suddenly occurs to me that after a quarter century together and eighteen years of legal bliss… I have never made a really crafty gift for Mr. Twistie. Not one. Then again, he’s never written me a song, either, so nyaah! And it’s not like I can see him really getting thrilled about a bobbin lace microphone cover, anyway.

I’ve cooked him special meals, certainly, and done creative things that don’t bear airing in a family-friendly blog. But I’ve never made something just for him.

But I’m curious, what about all of you? Have you made any crafts projects for a significant other? Your current SO? Do you have any plans to do so? Care to dish about it here?


Bygone Beauty Today

Friday, June 10th, 2011
By Twistie

This collar, cuff, and chemisette set dates from 1895, but you can make it according to the original instructions today.

In fact, if you want to create an historically accurate outfit from corset to cloak, bonnet to boots, then you should head over to Ageless Patterns right now.

After decades of professional costume work, the creator of Ageless Patterns found herself frustrated with the lack of historical patterns to work from, particularly for men, and began collecting all she could. Now she reproduces the patterns on an engineering copier for accuracy, adds a seam allowance, but otherwise leaves the original as it is, instructions and all.

That means these are not for beginners, but if you have some experience you can figure out the arcane language and sometimes less than explicit directions.

Whether you’re looking for a camp dress for Civil War re-enactment, an Edwardian wedding gown, a fabulous frivolous hat, or a corset only your significant other will see just for fun, this is a great place to go. You can even find patterns for purses, pillows, slippers, and trims.

Heck, if you’ve ever dreamed of crocheting up a pair of underdrawers for a little boy, Ageless Patterns has you covered there, too!

Ageless Patterns also carries several other select lines of historical/ethnic patterns, including: Past Patterns, Folkwear, Patterns of History, Decades of Style, and Buckaroo Bobbins.

So if you have an historical costume in mind, whether for a woman, man, boy, or girl… or even a doll, Ageless Patterns is a great place to start – and quite possibly end – your search.


Inspiration Gallery: Reverse Applique

Thursday, June 9th, 2011
By Twistie

I love reverse applique.

Whether it’s an elaborate South American mola like the one pictured above, or a simpler piece,

like this clever  set of instructions from Craftzine on how to use the technique to repair a ripped or stained shirt, the principle is the same. You take layers of cloth, and cut down to the layer you want for each individual part of the design. Once you’ve got your motifs cut, you bind the raw edges.

(more…)


Contest Time!

Wednesday, June 8th, 2011
By Twistie

Friends, it’s time to face one another in a Craft Corner Deathmatch… of sorts.

Nobody will be forced to go up against the Craft Lady of Steel, nor will anyone stand a chance of winning a scrapbooking cruise. Alas. Even more sadly, the lovely Amber will not roll out the materials looking like she just returned from a week-long rave.

Instead of a panel of minor celebrities sitting in judgement, you’ll have… well, me. Instead of a random pile of crap, you’ll have whatever materials and techniques you like to use. Instead of a scrapbooking cruise, the winner will receive a fabulous prize that any crafter in any medium can find a use for.

So what are the details?

(more…)


No Wonder They’re Crying

Tuesday, June 7th, 2011
By Twistie

I’m loving this tie clip. If you’re looking for a last-minute Father’s Day gift, or something to give the groomsmen for standing up for you at your wedding, this is a great idea (also comes in earrings!). And the motif? Is onion skins. Cool, and appropriate for an event where someone might need an excuse for tears.

At $28.00, they’re affordable, too.

They’re the work of jerseymaids. She takes polaroid images and mounts them in jewelry findings. Lockets, pendants, cuff links, watches, earrings, brooches, and yes, tie clips, all get the special treatment. There are even lamps and other home decoration items, if jewelry isn’t what you need. And if you’re not fond of onions, there are plenty of other images to choose from.

All in all, I think it’s a pretty cool use of photography.


Quickie Question: Sage Advice

Monday, June 6th, 2011
By Twistie

Via Nothing to Say and Saying It

All of us have gotten advice from someone in our crafting lives. Sometimes we take that advice, and sometimes we don’t. Sometimes we later wish we had made the opposite decision. And every twice in a while, we give advice.

I’m curious: what is the best piece of crafting advice you ever got? What was the worst? What’s the one piece of advice you would give to anyone trying out your craft for the first time?

In my case, the best advice I think I got was to never be afraid to undo what I’ve done. In bobbin lace, one mistake can lead to no end of hassle and confusion a few stitches later. So even if I’m showing people how it’s done and talking about how even a small child can do it successfully… I will still undo a mistake I’ve just made. It saves a lot of tears, recriminations, and language not suited to public arenas with many, many small children within hearing – and repeating – range.

The worst piece of advice I ever got was to stick to white, ecru, and black thread because that’s what colors lace comes in. In fact, once I’d done some research, I learned that the oldest surviving bobbin laces are gold, silver, and brightly colored silks (well, not as bright now after the effects of light and age on vegetable dyes, but they started out bright), with the now familiar neutrals coming into favor later in the day. I like color. Color makes me happy. My lace comes in all sorts of colors… including – but far from restricted to – black, white, and ecru.

The piece of advice I give most often and consider important is that if a pattern is frustrating you, get up and walk away from the pillow for a few minutes. Let go of the situation and come back to it when you can look more calmly at it. Sometimes the mistake is easily fixed, but you get so flummoxed and tense that you just can’t see it.

So how about you? Tell me all about it.


Born to Lace

Friday, June 3rd, 2011
By Twistie

via the Higgs Family Website

Pictured above is Miss Annie Baker’s Lace School, Risely, in 1914. The school was established in 1906, but it was among the last of a dying breed by that point. The large scale handmade lace industry was already well on its way out, between changing fashions and the common availability of machine made laces.

But lace schools had been a part of the British landscape  for a more than a century at this point. These schools dotted the landscape and were a major source of education for children of the poorer classes. And yes, boys went to lace schools, too.

(more…)


Crafting With Kids: Beads!

Thursday, June 2nd, 2011
By Twistie

If there’s one thing that most kids love when it comes to crafts, it’s bright, shiny stuff. In particular, it’s hard to have too many beads. But beads can get expensive. How to get the most bang for your buck? Shop in bulk, of course!

Amazon has this attractive collection of 150 grams of lampwork glass beads for $9.99. That works out to more than 50 beads, in a variety of colors, sizes (mostly 6 – 14mm), and techniques of production. In short, it’s a fun grab bag that will appeal to nearly any kid old enough to safely enjoy them.

Or, if you’re looking for more variety, there’s always Mr. Kitty’s Big Bead Bonanza. It weighs in at half a pound, filled with beads of every color, material, and shape. You may even find a few findings mixed in!

Get them for your kids, get them for yourself… I won’t tell. Just have fun with whatever arrives in the bag.


Crafting With Kids: String Them Along

Wednesday, June 1st, 2011
By Twistie

When you want to get kids into crafts, you can’t go too far wrong by coming up with projects based around strings, yarn, or thread. Of course, sometimes you could use a hand finding the inspiration.

And that’s where Design Original Strings & Things Book comes in. It’s got a plethora of fun projects for thread-based amusement whether you’re entertaining small fry or teens. The projects include things like making dreamcatchers, creating jewelry out of old bottles and thread, embellishing clothes and more. Most of the ideas are based around recycling things from around your house, so they’re even designed to be easy on the budget.

Speaking of tight budgets, this book is easy on them, too. It usually runs a thrifty $8.99,  but if you order it from Create For Less, you can get it for just $5.19! At that rate, you’ll have money left over to get some thread, too.












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