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Archive for the 'Embroidery' Category


Happy Thanksgiving From Crafty Manolo!

Thursday, November 22nd, 2012
By Twistie

May you gobble up as much delicious stuffing, cranberries, pumpkin pie, etc. as you please today. Oh, and if you like the rather festive needlepoint canvas shown above, head on over to Past Times Needlepoint and purchase it along with custom chosen embroidery threads.

Or, you know, find one that appeals more to you personally.

But I gotta say, I’m loving that turkey.


Got Subversion?

Thursday, November 8th, 2012
By Twistie

I have to admit that few things in life would tempt me to do a great deal of embroidery again. My crafty flair does not run in that direction. I might, however, consider picking up counted cross stitch if only to do some of the deliciously wrong pieces available in kit form from Subversive Cross Stitch. (*WARNING* Many patterns feature language NSFW) For instance, I may not drink, but I want to do the Will Stitch for Cocktails piece shown above.

You can purchase the PDF for just $5.00, or get the kit. The basic one is just $12.00 for: material, thread, pattern, and instructions. If you spring $20.00 for the deluxe, you also get two needles and an embroidery hoop.

And if you’re looking for a crafty yet internet savvy holiday gift for the crafty geek in your life, be sure to check out the Internet Meme Ornaments.

You can choose from such popular memes as Business Cat, Pedobear, and the Socially Awkward Penguin. Each kit complete with instructions, fabric, thread, acrylic ornament, and ribbon to hang the ornament from the protrusion of your choice for just $12.00. Not bad.


You Can Take It With You

Tuesday, October 30th, 2012
By Twistie

Need something to help you carry your embroidery, cross stitch, needlepoint, tapestry, or patchwork quilting materials with you when you’re on the go? Take a look at this lovely quilted cotton organizer from Roberts Crafts.

The upper section features two see-through pockets and a space for larger equipment such as scissors, patterns, and fabrics. The lower section has six large zippered see-through pockets for things like thread, thimbles, needles, and so on.

Here’s a view of it closed. Oh, and that aqua color? Yeah, that’s the one it comes in. Apparently the red is not available.

The dimensions when closed are 9.5×9.5×7.2 inches. I don’t know how clearly you can see it in the illustration, but there’s a self handle on top for easy transport.

You could carry enough crafting materials to get you through a good long vacation or boring conference with that kind of space!

All that for only $62.00? Sign me up!


Whole Lotta Natural Beauty

Monday, October 1st, 2012
By Twistie

The instant I saw this piece, I needed to know more. I wanted to know more about the artist, the technique, the materials, the inspiration. I wanted to see more of the work.

The artist is Lotta Helleberg. She was born in Sweden and relocated to Virginia in the 80′s. She now lives with her husband and children in Charlottesville, making art and loving nature.

The art and the nature go hand in hand at all times. Whether she’s creating wall hangings, pillows, handmade artist’s books, table runners, or sachets filled with organic lavender, Helleberg’s work combines a spare elegance with a profound respect for nature. The result, as you can see, is tremendously beautiful.

The materials she works in most include: antique/vintage linen fabric, natural dyes created from local plants, recycled/handmade paper, and silk. Her dye processes are eco-friendly, and many of the motifs are created with the help of local flora.

If you’re in the Virginia area, you’ll be able to see Helleberg’s work up close and personal from October 12 – December 5 at Over the Moon Bookstore in Crozet, VA and in the Artisans Studio Tour in Charlottesville, VA on November 10&11. Helleberg is studio #8.

Or, if you’re up in the Ontario, Canada area (As opposed to Ontario, California), Helleberg’s work will be on display at the Joshua Creek Heritage Art Center in Oakville, Ontario from November 2 – 18 as part of the show De rerum natura (On the Nature of Things).

As for the rest of us, well, we’ll just have to get by on browsing her website and her online store.

You know, I really could use a spiffy new purse….


Second Question: Is It On?

Thursday, August 9th, 2012
By Twistie

I was wandering through the archives of Geekcrafts, as you do, when what to my wondering eyes should appear but this brilliant IT Crowd cross stitch:

There are eight other great geeky cross stitch projects in the same posting, but honestly… this won my heart like few things I’ve seen of late.

And if you don’t know what it’s about, do yourself a favor and watch an episode or two of The IT Crowd. It’s one of the most hilarious things I’ve ever seen.


A Picture is Worth a Thousand Stitches

Thursday, June 14th, 2012
By Twistie

Have you ever wanted to take a family photo and turn it into a cross stitch pattern? Well, it turns out you can do just that for free online at MyPhotoStitch.com.

Just upload a photo from whatever source you have, and the site will convert it into a cross stitch chart, complete with suggestions about what colors of DMC thread will look best.

Of course there are limits on how big the picture can be and how many colors are involved, because, well, this is a free program and it’s got limits like all free online programs. Still, they do suggest in the FAQ that you can send in a bigger, or more elaborate photo and request a custom job.

Anyway, the pattern stays available for about an hour online, during which time you can download it and print it off. There is, however, a gallery of patterns put up (with the originator’s permission) and available for download to anyone. I was particularly amused by the cross stitch pattern of some random knitting… and the zombie Hello Kitty, of course.

But wait! There’s more! The good folks at Regretsy saw this one and couldn’t help themselves. Helen Killer asked readers to create patterns and send her the images. She would then pick her favorite and have the reader make it, or send money to commission someone else to do the stitching and display the results on Regretsy.

Of course the readers have already sent in a plethora or possibly several myriads of demented, twisted, bizarre, or otherwise potentially scandalous ideas and Killer has opened up the floodgates to a reader’s poll to determine the winner. When last I looked, Carol Channing shouting ‘raspberries!’ was in the lead, closely followed by the Captain Picard facepalm. I voted for Spock and Jesus. Then again, readers are invited to vote early, vote often, and vote whimsically.

Warning: some of the images are astonishingly unsafe for work. Visit the poll from your desk (or anywhere else, for that matter) entirely at your own risk and don’t say I didn’t warn you. Just keep in mind that scatological humor runs rampant at Regretsy.


Fun Crafts, Free Patterns

Wednesday, May 30th, 2012
By Twistie

(Magnet available from Zazzle)

Sometimes it’s fun to wander the web and see what goodies we can find to try out for free in the crafting world. Whether it’s a new craft entirely or a new technique in something we’ve done before, or just a fun variation, there’s always something fun and free out there. But don’t just take my word for it! Here are a few examples to whet your appetite for crafty goodness online.

Mosaic Patterns Online features a new free pattern each month. This month it’s your choice of this gorgeous butterfly or a really spiffy dragonfly. Oh, and if you download the free pattern, you can also get a discount on some of the supplies for making it a reality.

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INspiration Gallery: Hardanger Emboridery

Friday, May 25th, 2012
By Twistie

(Image via Lynxlace, where you can find many more attractive images and instructions)

The first time I heard about Hardanger embroidery, it was described to me as ‘Hardanger lace.’ I can certainly see why people wanted to call it lace, with those pretty openwork areas. Still, it is technically a form of embroidery rather than a true lace… but if you call it lace, I won’t report you to the Crafts Correctness Police. I tossed their number yonks ago.

So what is Hardanger embroidery and how is it done? Basically you take a piece of 22 count evenweave fabric like this, available for just $2.99 in white or ivory from Roberts Crafts:

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How To Use It: Playing Dress Up

Saturday, May 19th, 2012
By Twistie

We love to craft. We love to make things with our hands. We love to show off our work.

Then again, the last thing we want is to look like we’re auditioning to play Ma Ingalls in a low-rent touring company of Little House on the Prairie. We prefer to exhibit a sense of style, a little elan in our homes and our wardrobes.

To that end, I’m going to show you a few classic, well-cut clothes and suggest some hand-crafted embellishments to go with them.

For instance, this silk cashmere knitted turtleneck dress from the Spiegel catalog is a stunner in its own right. It’s a versatile style that can go from the office to an evening of dining and theater without missing a beat. You could wear it to a wedding or on a romantic getaway. It’s also a breeze to accessorize with handmade jewelry, a painted silk scarf, or a jaunty hat of your own devising.

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Left Handicrafts

Thursday, February 9th, 2012
By Twistie

I don’t know how many of you out there are fellow southpaws, but my parents knew pretty much the moment I emerged from the womb that I was a dyed-in-the-wool leftist… er… leftie. Any and all political leanings came much later in life. Probably my first political act (and it was an accidental one at that) was when I was five years old and I inadvertently convinced the principal of my elementary school to order left-handed scissors for all the classrooms.

Anyway.

We who are wired the other way ’round have had to face a lot of challenges in life. One of the most annoying to me is the fact that when there’s a craft we want to learn, we’re often forced to either do it with out less agile right hands, or we have to sit down and figure out how to turn everything around to work with our dominant hands. Things have gotten better over the years, but I must admit that one of the things that really appealed about bobbin lace to me was the fact that it doesn’t favor one hand or the other. Both hands are used pretty equally throughout the process. As long as I have a pair of scissors I can use in my left hand (and those are nearly universally available now!) I can use any book, any pattern, any tool I can lay my hands on.

But what if you want to learn something that does make more use of one hand than the other? What if you’re not good at turning things around mentally? What if your right hand just doesn’t have the necessary dexterity for the craft in question?

Well, I’ve found a few good resources to help you learn some of these crafts.

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