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Monthly Archive for February, 2011

Wool Felt Hearts

by Fiona Duthie

These wool felt hearts have been a Valentines mainstay in our family for years. The hearts made their first appearance when my sons were quite young, starting a tradition of them coming downstairs in the morning to find a Valentines neck pocket each, hanging in the doorway and filled with little treasures. After discovering what was hidden inside, the boys would wear their hearts as necklaces all day and look more sweet than any Valentines candies have ever been.

We have made variations over the years; quilted cottons; knitted yarns; wet felted wool; folded paper….but always come back to these felt lovelies!

Materials

0.25 yard red wool felt will make 7 hearts- we used National Non-Wovens

2 inch square pieces colored wool felt, such as white, pink, lilac, yellow, or coral- we used
wool felt sheets from Bear Dance Crafts

red sewing thread or embroidery floss

sewing needle

ribbon or braided yarn for necklace or for hanging.

wool for stuffing

optional: embroidery floss and beads for embellishing

For Wool Felt Heart Pocket:
Step 1) Cut out two large hearts and one small heart (or any other shape you desire).
Step 2) Sew the small heart onto the large heart, using blanket stitch. Leave a small opening and stuff with a small amount of wool roving, or some fabric scraps. Finish sewing around the small heart.



Step 3) Sew around the large heart from widest point, and around the bottom to the other side, catching in the necklace ribbon or braided yarn. Secure the necklace well with a few extra stitches. Embroider a vine and leaf design on the small heart, and /or sew on some beads. As an alternative, cut felt circles in a range of colors and sew onto the large heart using either blanket stitch or running stitch.





The Wool Felt Hearts also make beautiful decorations, hung together as a garland or wall hanging or hung on a door knob. Try stuffing them with dried herbs for use as a sachet; with beans for bean bags or with wool or emery for a pin cushion. These make beautiful gifts – simple to make and lovely to look at.


To make the Filled Hearts, follow all the steps for the Wool Felt Heart Pockets, but in step 3, sew all around the large hearts, leaving a space open and stuff lightly. Finish sewing around the heart.

If your heart will be a hanging decoration, sew on a length of folded ribbon to the back.

You can also use the small heart pattern to make our Love Dove mobile. Cut out 16 small hearts in different colors of wool felt. Sew two colors together, using blanket stitch and leaving a small opening for stuffing. Stuff and finish sewing around the heart. Repeat for all eight hearts. It’s nice to use different colors for each side so the colors shift as the hearts catch a breeze.

Living Crafts Cover Winter 2009

The Doves are made from the Peace Doves pattern in the Winter 2009 issue of Living Crafts. To make the two tiny doves reduce the full size pattern by 72%. Sew on a thread hanger through the top of each dove and heart- we used some gold metallic embroidery floss for a little shimmer to catch the light. With its soft, fresh, colors, the Love Dove Mobile is charming to hang for Valentines Day, and to welcome Spring. Wouldn’t it be beautiful hanging over a child’s bed?



Felt and Pattern Giveaway

National Nonwovens

National Non-Wovens has generously offered an assortment of felt for the lucky winner! Their gift includes a perpetual calendar with many patterns, and …. ready for this? 36 each 5” square 100% wool felt sheets in 6 colors, 11 half-yards of wool/rayon felt in 11 different colors, along with 8 half-yards of bamboo felt in 8 different colors, a total of 25 colors of felt to add to your stash!

Wool felt is such a delight to work with. It feels soft and substantial in your hands, and is a perfect canvas for embellishing. In addition to the above, Bear Dance Crafts has a great assortment of wool felt kits for each season and are including 4 seasonal favorites here as a giveaway for
Living Crafts readers:

Butterfly Kiss

Butterfly Kiss: These two little butterflies hanging under a heart can be hung almost anywhere. Made with wool felt and bead heads, this project is easy enough for a beginner.

Heart Elf
Heart Elf: Adorable heart elf comes with pink-toned felt and fairy-tale wool hair in pink and purple tones. She sits perched in a sturdy heart covered with felt and felt leaves, has little pink wings and little beads decorating her clothing.

In The Clouds

In the Clouds: A hanging kit with lots of hearts plus clouds, with a doll on top of the largest cloud.

Horses

Wool Felt Horse: Make this wonderful hand-stitched wool felt horse with clear instructions and full-size pattern. Finished horse measures approx. 8″/20 cm tall.

To enter this drawing, worth over $200, please leave a comment on this post by Sunday 8 p.m. EST (February 6, 2011). Winner will be announced Monday.

And the winner is…

Vicki Compton 2011/02/05 at 7:47 am
  Real wool felt is a rare commodity these days…but the feel and colours are worth it! My kids and I love creating things with this naturally warm and beautiful fabric!

Posted by Living Crafts on Feb 5, 2011 07:09 AM | 758 Comments

Valentines Shawl

valentines shawl

This exquisite shawl by Knit/Lab is called Teardrop and has 110 tiny clear beads in it. The pattern includes a rectangular chart as well.

Posted by Living Crafts on Feb 4, 2011 08:48 AM | 2 Comments

Log Table Tutorial

Design Sponge does it again with a great tutorial for making your own log table. I prefer shorter rounded legs, but these metal ones give it a great modern look.

Posted by Living Crafts on Feb 4, 2011 07:58 AM | No Comments

Dollhouse Pencils

miniature colored pencils

So easy to make these tiny color pencils for your child’s dollhouse. Here’s the tutorial at Zakka Life blog.

Posted by Living Crafts on Feb 3, 2011 01:16 PM | 1 Comment

Good Finds: CHA Tour Part I

I just came back from the CHA Conference and want to give you a brief tour of what I liked. This is a craft trade show, and includes paper products, sewing, knitting, crochet, fine arts, etc. I enjoy mostly meeting with people at yarn companies, book publishers, and discovering new products.

C & T Publishing has a new award winning product that caught my eyes: Transfer Artist Paper. You can use your inkjet printer to print anything you want on this paper, and then iron it onto fabric. I’ve never been fond of this kind of thing in the past because you end up with an image which feels like plastic, and no matter how beautiful or natural and soft your fabric is, the image part has a cold, synthetic feel to it. With this product, I noticed the t-shirt still stays soft and nice, so it is definitely worth a try. I have requested that they send me a piece so I can try it myself. C & T has even come up with a book on how you can use this method for many different projects. It is called Create with Transfer Artist Paper, by Lesley Riley. Here’s the photo of the product next to the printed t-shirt (please note, the shiny crown and wand are stitched on top of the t-shirt after the image is printed):

Transfer Artist Paper

I also saw a nice new book coming soon by Stash Books, an imprint of C & T, called Countdown Calendars. They had displayed it nicely next to one of the projects in the book, so I snapped these photos for you before the book is available for sale.

Countdown Calendars

crocheted flower trim

This crocheted flower trim was a great find, made with cotton, by Petaloo. They also had little packages of just the flowers in different size and colors. This line was probably the only natural line they had among hundreds of products, but it is a great item to use for many things!

I had a lot of fun looking at these felt projects at the EK Success Brands booth from their Dimensions Needle Crafts line:

felt projects

felt projects

felt projects

felt projects

felt projects

felt projects

felt projects

felt projects

felt projects

felt projects

Vanna White

Here at the Lion Brands Yarn booth, Vanna White is being interviewed by FavCrafts.

loveseat but I find myself more interested in this love seat

loveseat here’s a photo of the front

matching cube and here’s the matching cube chair – never mind the yarn mummy sitting on it

crocheted pillowHere at Patons Yarn booth I am smitten by this crocheted pillow

crocheted dolls

crocheted dolls

crocheted dolls And by these Sugar & Cream crocheted dolls – the girl in Kimono is my favorite.

crocheted sachets with herbs insideHere are some crocheted sachets with herbs inside. What a great idea for shoes.

I found a creative example of how you can use your millions of miles of finger-knitted and cording your children make. It can even be felted after assembling together like this.

pom pomsLove the pom poms.

Vickie Howell’s yarn manufactured by South West Trading Company – she was showing it to retailers and I got a photo of her but it didn’t turn out good. The photo didn’t do justice to her pretty self, so I deleted it. But here are some of the pieces she’s made with her yarn:

Vickie Howell’s yarn

And here’s the sample photo:

And I found some nice photos of her at the event here.

And here’s some silk yarn I discovered from May Arts.

silk ribbon

silk ribbon

Artemis is the only silk ribbon brand I knew of, which is hand-painted and was reviewed in Living Crafts Good Finds section in the last issue, but I also like these silk solids in different widthss from May Arts.

Part II coming to a blog post near you very soon. Most exciting part in it is that I found paper to make lanterns with!

Pardis

Posted by Living Crafts on Feb 3, 2011 12:21 PM | 3 Comments

Gnome Hat Photo Contest

Living Crafts Fall 2009

When planning our Fall 2009 issue (on newsstands in late August of that year), Thomas Horst’s felt coat was scheduled to be on the cover. The gnome hats (designed by Alanah Caron) were going to be the side dish. But the image of those two gnome boys fishing in the creek so charmed our staff and newsstand manager that it won the cover. As the editor, it was a hard choice. I love both of these projects. I felt uneasy about the decision for a long time, and I know that beautiful coat deserved to be on the cover more than anything. I hope Thomas Horst will grace our magazine with a project again—if he will still give me the time of the day, it will be on the cover this time.

Felted Coat You’ll find instructions on how to make this fabulous coat in the same issue.

But something about those beloved gnome hats caught on. When our art director was designing the issue, her teenage son and his friends saw the hats and thought they would be great to wear on the ski slopes. As a matter of fact, I believe Susan’s son was determined to learn how to knit it himself. As we learned later, he was not the only one. That winter many gnome boys and girls were seen on ski slopes all over the country! What I had thought would be a favorite among toddlers and kindergarten boys, went way beyond my imagination and became a favorite of teenagers and adults as well.

Gnome Boys

Father and son gnome hats

I’m glad we made the decision to include instructions for both the adult and the child size.

Boy Gnomes and Mom

Since the Fall 2009 issue came out there has been many gnome and pixie hat designs out there on the blogsphere and in knitting books, but I believe our pattern is the only one that comes in adult size too.

brown hat

Now it is winter again, and nearly two years later, with this new blog, we have a photo contest for all of you. If you can, dig up some photos of you and your family members in the gnome hats you’ve made with our pattern, or take new ones. They don’t have to be made with the yarn specified, but with our pattern. Please send them to me by February 22nd, and on the 25th, we will post the finalists on our website so everyone can vote to pick the winner!

The prize for the winning photo is a $100 gift certificate to choose products from Briggs and Little, the manufacturer of the yarn specified for the gnome hat in our Fall 2009 issue. In addition, the winner receives a two-year subscription to Living Crafts!

Please email your photos to editor@livingcrafts.com by February 21st 11:59 p.m. EST, and the finalists’ photos will be posted on our blog within a week for voting. Winner will be announced by February 28th.

Posted by Living Crafts on Feb 3, 2011 10:35 AM | 7 Comments

My Life My Craft: Starting a Fabric Business

Cynthia Mann and family

When Cynthia Mann launched her online fabric store, she was looking for a way to combine her love of making things with work that kept her close to home and her two young boys. Three years later, Fabricworm.com is a thriving business. Cynthia is not only selling beautiful fabrics, but, together with her graphic designer husband Jason, she is designing them. A further leap: Cynthia also manufactures her own organic line, Birch Fabrics. After being told again and again how cost-prohibitive organic would be, she decided to do her own research and found a way to marry costs, her family’ s passion for “ reducing our global footprint,” and her customers (and her own) need for a “ healthier alternative for the world.” Birch Fabrics is also the name of her recently opened brick-and-mortar store in California, stocked with 100% organic cotton fabrics.

Cynthia calls her life “ a dream realized,” but it is a dream that came with a big commitment of time and energy. “ There was a time there where I worked about 80 hours a week,” she says. “When things were really busy I would wake up in the middle of the night around 1:00 or 2:00 AM and cut and pack orders for a couple of hours while everyone was sleeping.” This was about the time Cynthia realized it was time to hire help. Her two full-time and three part-time employees are, Cynthia says, “the engine that runs the vehicle.” They will often sew together on lunch breaks and after work. Cynthia and the girls – Andrea, Bre, Arleen, Belin and Melanie – have “all really bonded around our love for all things crafty!”

Bird Quilt

Many, whether young mothers or not, dream of turning their love of craft into a viable business. Cynthia’s advice for anyone starting out:

Do’s

- Research—tons of it—before you spend even a dime.

- Find out about demand in the marketplace and also competition—ask family and friends questions related to your ideas and business; join forums and chat groups online to get a sense of the demand for your product.

- Evaluate ALL the costs—Remember to include your time as a cost.

- If you have children at home, find someone to help you with them – for at least a few hours a week. You need uninterrupted time to concentrate on the research.

- Start small and grow slow.

And some Don’ts:

- Don’t price your goods too low and sell yourself short.

- Don’t jump right into it with a big investment

- Don’t assume that because you love something that everyone else will too.

- Don’t be afraid to ask for help from family and friends.

- Don’t lose sight of what you wanted to do, and why you wanted to do it, in the first place!

When it comes to balancing work and family Cynthia says it can be “tough.” But she feels fortunate to be co-parenting with “a hands-on dad” who also works at home.

Father & Kids

As far as balancing everything with craft, she says that though she doesn’t sew as much as she would like to, she tries to put in at least one or two hours on the machine a week. She enjoys designing, and suggests that anyone interested in fabric design “sketch and doodle like crazy, these can turn into the most unique and interesting designs.” Cynthia’s own favorite designer is Etsuko Furuya (her company is called Echino).  “She’s incredible,” says Cynthia, “her use of pattern, is like no one else, and she inspires me every day.”

White Pillows

Though she says she “ stumbled” into this calling, clearly Cynthia is a woman who had a goal and accomplished that goal. When asked what, at this juncture, is the best thing about running fabricworm, she says, it is “ friendships.”

“ I’d have to say one of the best things is the friendships I’ve made, not only with my employees, but with the online community as well. I’ve met so many interesting, inspiring people. I just couldn’t ask for a better occupation.” “Not to mention,” Cynthia adds, “I have access to the most amazing fabrics in the world – at least in my opinion!”

Fabric Giveaway

Fat Quarters

Today’ s giveaway is by Birch Fabrics:  a fat quarter set of all 9 prints from the Beach Mod collection by Monaluna, each a fat quarter measuring 18″ x 22″, retail value is $40.50.

Bolts of fabric

To enter, please leave comments by Thursday, February 3rd, 8:00 p.m. EST and the winner will be announced on Friday.

And the winner is…

 Monica   2011/02/02 at 7:03 am
 What cute fabrics! What a wonderful giveaway – thanks!!

Posted by Living Crafts on Feb 1, 2011 09:14 PM | 513 Comments

Knitted Guinea Fowl

Knitted Guinea Fowl

This curious looking South African bird is offered for sale at Mamma4Earth etsy shop. Linda has many other knitted animals to offer for those of you who do not have time to make your own! She also has a blog called Natural Suburbia with nice tutorials.

Posted by Living Crafts on Feb 1, 2011 06:46 AM | 2 Comments

Folk Art Circus Fabric

Folk Art Circus Fabric

This vintage style cotton fabric is offered at Britex for $14.99 per yard.

Posted by Living Crafts on Feb 1, 2011 06:44 AM | No Comments

Cross Stitch Double Decker Bus

Check out this Cross stitch double decker bus.

Posted by Living Crafts on Feb 1, 2011 12:26 AM | 2 Comments























  




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