crochet coasters

I went home for Easter, and while at my parent’s house, my mom asked me if I could make her some replacement doilies for her bedside table—maybe in black, or a very dark blue. Uh, what? While I’m sure there are some very nice doilies in those colors, I knew they’d look terrible on her dark wooden table. It turns out she was trying to avoid the constant coffee stains that show up on lighter color doilies, so we compromised.

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Isn’t that teal much nicer than navy? It’s a bit more green in person than in the pictures, and though light enough to still stain, I’m hoping the mercerized cotton yarn  I used will hold up well to any requisite cleaning.

 

traveling toy house

Last summer two of my younger cousins visited, and were totally enraptured by my spinning wheel and knitting. Every time I got either out, I was immediately surrounded! Of course, one of the things they were most curious about was what, exactly, you could really make with knitting. I figured a good demonstration they would enjoy would be a knit toy, so I showed them a rabbit I’d made for my younger sister a few years ago. Well, as soon as the rabbit appeared, I got the question I was fairly sure was coming—”Maia, can you make me one???”

So obviously they each got matching rabbits for their birthdays. 🙂

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For Christmas I made them each a few more outfits, but now that summer is coming up again I thought it might be fun to try something a bit ambitious—a portable toy house, which will certainly be a challenge for me to sew. I’ve seen a few of these on pinterest and flickr, but since I wanted mine to fit the rabbit toys I really just winged it. So far I have the front done, and it looks pretty cool!

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Now just 6 more sides to go. 😉

patchwork pencil case

When my sister went to college I made her a pencil case for her first care package. 🙂 It may seem a bit more appropriate for an elementary-schooler than for a college student, but I think cute pencil cases and stationary always makes classes and homework more fun, no matter what age.

Unfortunately, a pen got uncapped in the case and spilled ink everywhere. My sister was sad, but I was actually a bit happy that I got the chance to make another of these cute patchwork cases.

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I used A Spoonful of Sugar’s wonderful pattern. It was very easy to follow, and I feel like my result matched their pictures pretty well! I really liked the cute kitty fabric especially.

Anyway, my sister was quite happy to get a new pencil case and says it holds up well. And just in case, I may have to make a few more if, say, something also happens to this one. 🙂

pattern: embroidery project pouch

The last time my parents were visiting, I was working on some basic redwork embroidery. While sitting and chatting, my mom kept staring at the needle going back and forth through the hoop, and finally admitted that she couldn’t believe how relaxing embroidery looked! While I’m sure most embroiderers have experienced plenty of moments in which embroidery is the exact opposite of relaxing, I do think it’s a very enjoyable craft to pick up. Not only can embroidery be used to decorate almost anything made of fabric, but it’s also relatively inexpensive to get started with, and can achieve great results with only a bit of practice.

My mom is probably the least crafty person I know, but I thought she might enjoy trying some embroidery herself, so I threw together a kit for her. Of course, once I’d gathered all the supplies, I realized they really needed a cute way to keep them together—hence this embroidery project bag! It requires very basic sewing & quilting skills, although of course you could make it fancier by doing embroidered decorations, more patchwork, or adding appliqué. I made it sized for a 5″ hoop, but you could also easily increase the dimensions.

embroidery project pouch

materials:

  • lining fabric: cut 9″ x 6.5″ piece, 2.5″ x 6.5″ piece, 6.5″ x 6.5″ square, and 34″ x 2.5″ strip (for binding)
  • back fabric: cut 9 x 6.5″ piece
  • front patchwork section: cut three 2.5″ x 2.5″ squares
  • front fabric: cut 6.5″ x 6.5″ square
  • top pocket flap: cut two 3.5″ x 6.5″ pieces (either of same or contrasting fabric)
  • bottom pocket flap: cut two 4.5″ x 6.5″pieces (either of same or contrasting fabrics)
  • scissor sheath: two pieces cut according to pattern (download )
  • batting: cut 9 x 6.5″ piece, 2.5″ x 6.5″ piece, and 6.5″ x 6.5″ square
  • wool felt: cut two 3″ x 2.5″ pieces with pinking shears
  • ~2″ piece of elastic
  • one button
  • one 7″ zipper

instructions:

  1. Cut out all the pieces as specified in the materials.
  2. Sew together your three 2.5″ squares, using a 1/4″ seam, and press.
  3. Take your three 6.5″ square pieces: the front fabric, lining, and batting, and your zipper. Pin the front fabric to the batting, and lay them together on top the zipper, facing towards the zipper. The top edge of the front + batting should line up with the bottom edge of the zipper, and the lefthand edge should fall 1/4″ beyond the zipper pull. Lay your lining fabric, facing towards the zipper and front fabric, on the other side of the zipper and line it up to match your front fabric + batting. Pin all of this in place—you should have a fabric sandwich of batting, front fabric, zipper, lining fabric.  IMG_3246
  4. Sew together, 1/4″ from the edge. Unpin and press down. IMG_3250
  5. Repeat this process with your patchwork strip, 2.5″ x 6.5″ piece of batting, and your matching lining fabric on the other side of the zipper. Press up. IMG_3251
  6. Top-stitch around both sides of the zipper, and trim whatever of the zipper sticks out beyond the edge of the fabric.
  7. Take your three 9″ x 6.5″ pieces: the back fabric, lining, and batting. Pin them with the batting sandwiched between the back and lining fabrics, and quilt them together. Pin this quilt to your zippered piece, with the lining fabrics facing each other.
  8. Fold & press your binding strip in half. Line the unfolded edge up against the edge of the front of your pouch, and sew around your pouch with a 1/4″ seam.
  9. Fold binding around the pouch, pin, and whip-stitch in place.
  10. Now take your pocket flap pieces and piece of elastic. Pin the pieces with wrong sides facing, and sew around with 1/4″ seam, leaving a small opening to turn them inside out. For the top flap, add an elastic loop before sewing.
  11. Turn pieces inside out and press. Pin in place on your pouch and sew them along the top, continuing (without sewing them to the pouch) in order to top-stitch the rest of the sides.
  12. Take your scissor sheath pieces and cut out the pattern from them. Sew together with 1/4″ seams, wrong sides facing, leaving a small opening to turn inside out.
  13. Turn scissor sheath inside out, and press. Then pin to your pouch, and sew around (leaving top open).
  14. Sew your felt pieces to the pouch. IMG_3260
  15. Sew a button on the bottom flap, matching the elastic loop.
  16. You are done!

You can use whatever combination of fabrics you like. I went for a blue & yellow theme, with gray accents in the scissors sheath, lining, and binding fabric. To draw things together, I used the inside fabric of the flaps, the outside fabric of the flaps, and the back fabric for my trio of patchwork squares. I also added a bit of purple ribbon as accents because I thought it was cute. 🙂

If you make this project, please link your pictures/blog in the comments! I’d love to see other people’s take, and of course, go ahead and ask if you have any questions! I’m not that practiced at sewing tutorials yet, so I might have missed explaining some things. 🙂

harry potter!

Today I thought I’d share one of the embroidery projects I’m very proud of. My friend requested a harry potter ravenclaw patch to put on a scarf she knit, as she wanted it to match the colors of her scarf perfectly. Off we went to the craft shop, and after some exceptionally careful color-matching, I walked away with some embroidery thread and promised to make one!

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Yeah, that was three years ago. 😦 Oops! Either way, I finally finished the ravenclaw patch this winter, and now am just waiting until I can stitch it onto my friend’s scarf for her. I’m so happy with how it turned out, however, because this was a very ambitious embroidery project for me. I’m still very much a beginner, and that much satin stitch was somewhat overwhelming. Not to mention how tiny it is!

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I simplified the design from the official store version, leaving out the braid in the crest’s border and slightly altering the edge lines especially. Most of it I worked in satin stitch, although I used long and short stitch for the white part of the banner and for the eagle’s body. I found Mary Corbet’s tutorial extremely helpful for that! I then used a fusible webbing for the appliqué, and will also reinforce that with stitching once I add it to the scarf.

I’m sure any reasonably sharp-eyed critic can spot a few mistakes, but I’m excited to see it on the scarf—I think it’ll end up looking rather fancy! 🙂