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Monthly Archive for September, 2011

Book Review and Giveaway! Sweetwater’s Simple Home

Sweetwater’s Simple Home will get you inspired to sew something handmade for every room in your house! This new release from Stash Books features 35 beginner-friendly projects, including quilts, pillows, table linens, and accessories—many can be made in a day or less.

  • The 35 projects are fresh and modern and there are great ideas for making things pretty and practical.
  • The mother and daughter team behind Sweetwater Designs also shows you how to incorporate simple, creative techniques for decorating with appliqué, stenciling, stamping, and embroidery.With
  • Sweetwater’s inspiring designs, it’s easy to add expressive touches everywhere, from the dining room to the bedroom to the laundry room. Keep it simple and surround yourself with things you absolutely love.



Stash Books is giving away a copy of Sweetwater’s Simple Home to one lucky reader. To enter, leave a comment at the end of this post (by Sunday 12 Midnight Pacific time – Sept 25)  telling us what handmade treasure you would sew for your home.




We Have a Winner!

Adrian Montfort-Guy Submitted on 2011/09/24 at 3:35 pm 

A beautiful book. I craft a lot, but haven’t had the courage to try quilting – I think I would like to make some simple quilts for my boys bedroom. I have fond memories of the quilt my gran made, the tents and forts that quilt became and it always seemed to smell of her. I’d like to give my lads those kind of memories.



Posted by Megan Scott on Sep 23, 2011 08:49 AM | 431 Comments

Sunflower by Sarah Northrip

End of summer and beginning of autumn is marked by the fully grown sunflowers, bending their heads for the birds, and inviting them for a feast.  Enjoy!

Wool felt sheets

Embroidery thread (matching color)

Roving (I used 2 shades of brown)

Sunflower pattern


Embroidery needle

Needle-felting needle (fine gauge)



Cut out pattern pieces as directed.  It may give a more realistic look to cut the front and back out of slightly different shades of felt.

You can mark the dot to match the pieces or simply arrange them in a way that is pleasing to you.  Take a few stitches around the center to hold the front and back petals in place.  These don’t have to be anything fancy or particularly even, as we are going to cover them up shortly.

Place the sunflower on a felting brush or a piece of foam.  It is fine if the petals hang over a bit, as we are only going to needle-felt in the center of the flower.

Pull off a bit of dark brown roving and loosely roll into a ball.  It should be a little bigger than the center of the sunflower. Place roving on center of sunflower and poke with a fine needle-felting needle, felting the wool in place.

The roving will show through a bit on the back.

Take a small amount of lighter brown roving as shown.  Shape into a ring as you needle-felt it on to the middle of the sunflower, leaving a round of the dark felt showing in the middle.

If you feel the center should be bigger, simply add more dark wool around the edge.  Needle-felting is a very forgiving medium!

Next, twist some of the petals between your fingers here and there to add the feeling of movement.  Sunflower petals are always curling, turning and twisting, rarely laying flat!  You may wish to moisten your fingers or mist the petals slightly first and allow them to dry for more permanent shaping.

Your sunflower is finished!  It could now be sew onto a purse, hair clip, brooch or hat pin.  For a very finished look, or if the back will show, follow the pattern directions for cutting and layering the back.  You can sew right through the needle-felting and if you take delicate stitches, they will not show on the front.  If your stitches do show, simply layer a tiny bit more roving over and needle-felt in place.

For the hat pin below, I used scraps of wool to create a stem and blanket-stitched them together onto the sunflower back.

Care of your Sunflower(s):

Bear in mind that these flowers are hard to clean, being made of wool.  It is best to pin them on clothing, rather than sew them on, so that they can be easily removed before washing.

If using your sunflowers for decorations, you can dust them now and again by using a hairdryer on low, held 6-8 inches away.

Posted by Living Crafts on Sep 23, 2011 08:14 AM | 44 Comments

Peace Felt

by Fiona Duthie

Marie Spaulding's Peace Dove 2011

The International Day of Peace, September 21st, was first celebrated in 1981. It is a day to celebrate and foster peace, and to observe an absence of war, with an international call for a 24 hour cessation of hostilities, issued by the UN.

Marie Spaulding of Living Felt, was inspired by this day to create Peace Felt, a global feltmaking collaboration-  “To connect every country in an energetic circle of peace, unconditional love, and gratitude. For Peace to be Felt in hearts across the world.”

Marie creating her Peacefelt for her receiving partner in Belgium

On this, the International Day of Peace, Marie shares with us her vision, inspiration, and information on Peace Felt.

“At the time I received the inspiration for Peace Felt, I was asking for guidance in how I could be of greater service to Good, to Love, to God. In the vision I received, a number of desires came together…I had specifically wanted to create a celebration around the International Day of Peace, and I have wanted to connect fiber artists in a meaningful way. Peace Felt answered all in one project. The power of all of us together is immense and this project connects our hearts and our intentions in harmony, while also celebrating the craft of felting.”

Lynette Spaulding working on her feltwork: Peace Grows Out of Self Love.

“Projects made for the exchange have included wall hangings, sculptures, flags, scarves – just a wonderful variety of
heart-felt expressions. If you are a weaver, quilt maker, basket weaver, fiber artist, sculptor, mixed media artist, etc. you may wish to participate by incorporating handmade felt into your preferred medium.  The projects must include at least 25% hand-made felt (either wet felting or needle felting). Most are 100% felt.”

Peacefelting in Belgium

“This year 15 countries are participating, with 300 individual and group members matched. Each participant or group is connected with a Receiving Partner and a Giving Partner.  The participant will send their PEACE FELT to their Receiving Partner, giving it in the spirit of unconditional love, free from the expectation of a return gift in “exchange”. Instead, that same participant will receive a PEACE FELT from their own Giving Partner allowing them to be the recipient of unconditional love without anything expected of them in return.”

Peace Felt participants often build up lasting friendships, in online conversations as each person’s or group’s felt project develops. Dita, in the Netherlands, shared this letter from her group to their receiving partners, which reflects so well the motivations surrounding Peace Felt:

“Dear Jan and Group,

On 9/11 (this very special day), my friend Jitske and I organised a day for Peace, a day of commitment and creativity. The first part of the day took place in a Mongolian yurt, which gives a special feeling because of its round form.

By singing and dancing we formed a circle inside the yurt and opened our hearts, and in this way we made contact with our deepest wishes. These wishes were later translated in a personal ‘peace of felt’.

We danced and sang for peace, outside in the whole world, but also within ourselves.

We have put our footprints for peace on the “earth”, represented by silk fabrics, of which we afterwards have made flags. In the pictures you can see 2 flags in front of the yurt. I have also felted a flag for you, with silk tops in the colours of the rainbow, representing all people.

The footsteps on the flag make contact with each other. It was a very special day. All our wishes for peace are inside the flag. By hoisting the flag, you let our wishes come true.

We enjoyed it very much to be also connected with you, on this wonderful day.”

Marie leaves us with the foundations of Peace Felt and wonderful insights to meditate upon on this International Day of Peace:
“It is in the giving that we receive.    By creating and giving from our hearts, without expectation of return; by giving our attention to love and peace and unity, we, as the giver, receive that back.

We all deserve the joy and freedom of receiving without obligation. It can be so hard to accept a compliment or a kind word, the receiving of a gift of love and returning only gratitude and appreciation is powerful for both the giver and the receiver.

What we put IN to what we are doing, we energize. If we make something for someone else with love in our hearts, they feel it.

We are Many, We are One. When we join together in a common thought, we connect and energize that thought. Let us plant seeds of Love, Community and Support through our passions and our past times.”

Thank you Marie, for your thoughtful words, and for initiating and sharing the wonderful exchange that is Peace Felt.

You can read more about Peace Felt and learn about particpating next year by visiting and on Facebook.

Fiona Duthie

Fiona Duthie is a regular contributor to Living Crafts.

In her studio on Salt Spring Island, BC, she creates in a bountiful beauty of color, wool, and texture, inspired by the natural world. Fiona designs fine feltwork, felting and knitting patterns, gives workshops in natural craft, and runs her hand dyed, artisan fibre company, Kattikloo. You can read more about her fibers, projects and creative living at and on Facebook.

Posted by Fiona Duthie on Sep 20, 2011 11:56 PM | 1 Comment

Knitted Baby Hat

Pattern by Fiona Duthie -Photos by Nicole Spring

Remember our Living Crafts Knitted Child’s Hat from last year?

Well, the cool weather is upon us again, and just in time, the Living Crafts Knitted Child’s Hat is now also available in sizing for babies- a quick knit and a great gift for the fall and winter babies in our lives.

Our baby hat is soft and warm, covering and protecting our littlest ones’ ears and neck from cold winds and drafts.

Materials: 1 Skein Noro Kochoran yarn, 50% Wool, 30% Angora & 20% Silk

Note –one skein will be enough to knit 2 hats. The Noro Kochoran has a beautiful angora halo when handwashed gently in a mild soap. It also felts only moderately when put through the washing machine and dryer- try going up one size and washing it for an even more warmth and softness!

Needles: size 8 (5mm) Straight and Double Pointed needle sets

Gauge: 14 stitches and 22 rows equals 4 inch square

Instructions given for two sizes:  The beautiful baby is pictured here at both 3 months and 6 months, wearing the 3-6 month size.

3-6 months years, measures 14 inches at widest part of head

(6-12 months, shown in parentheses), measures 16 inches at widest part of head


Using straight needles, cast on 28 (32 stitches).

Knit 12 rows garter stitch (knit every row). At the end of last row, turn work and cast on 20 (22) stitches. 48 (54) stitches total.

Evenly divide stitches while transferring onto dpn’s. Turn knitting.   Place a marker to show beginning of round.

Purl one round, joining to work in the round, being careful not to twist stitches.

Knit one round.

Purl one round

Knit every round until piece measures 4 inches from hat front edge.

(6-12 month size only- K7, K2together, repeat to end. Knit 1 round)

Both sizes:

K6, K2together, repeat to end of round.  Knit one round.

Repeat these two rounds, knitting one less stitch before the K2together, in each decrease round, up to and including:

K1, K2together, repeat to end of round. Knit one round.

K2together, repeat to end of round. (6 stitches remain)

Note: for a flat topped hat- break yarn, pass yarn end through remaining stitches, pull tight and sew in end yarns.

K2together, repeat to end of round. (3 stitches remain)

Pass stitches onto 1 dpn. Knit 4 rounds I-cord. Break yarn, pass through remaining stitches and sew in end yarns.

Make two cords, each 10 inches long, either by knitting 3 stitch I-cord, braiding or fingerknitting,

Sew one end of each cord to corner of ear cover to make the underchin tie.

Sew in all end yarns, and wrap your baby (or someone else’s!)  in some woolly love!

Fiona Duthie

Fiona Duthie is a regular contributor to Living Crafts.

In her studio on Salt Spring Island, BC, she creates in a bountiful beauty of color, wool, and texture, inspired by the natural world. Fiona designs fine feltwork, felting and knitting patterns, gives workshops in natural craft, and runs her hand dyed, artisan fibre company, Kattikloo. You can read more about her fibers, projects and creative living at and on Facebook.

Posted by Fiona Duthie on Sep 19, 2011 01:33 PM | 34 Comments

Needle Felted Corgi

By LaVonne Stucky



Felting pad

Felting needle (# 36 is my favorite)

Small, sharp scissors.

Roving in the following colors:

“Orange” Corgi


White core wool*

2 black seed beads or wire eye beads

It also helps to have a picture of a cute Corgi in front of you as you’re working. This will help with proper perspective and placement of parts. If you’re not lucky enough to have one, many of Tasha’s books contain them or you could do an internet search.

*Core wool is wool from a particular breed of sheep that I like to use for the inside for my projects because it is spongier than my wool.

To begin:  Tear off a piece of core wool the length you want your corgi to be and roll this up like a jelly roll. Start poking all around the roll, shaping and poking the ends. The more you poke, the firmer it will become. You can always add another layer if it’s not chubby enough for you. If you feel it’s just too long, you can always cut it down with scissors.

Take another small piece of core wool and wrap it around your finger to form a bit of a point. This is for the head and nose. Remove from finger and start poking, forming a nice nose. Leave the opposite end unfelted in order to add it to the body. When you feel you have sufficiently poked the head and nose into shape, add it to the body, poking and forming as you go.

Legs:. Remember, Corgi legs are little short nubbins! You don’t need much, but leave a “tail” on these as well for attaching.

Go ahead a place the legs and poke into place when you have them complete. By now this will look like some alien being and nothing like a Corgi. Don’t worry; it will begin to take shape.

Color: Now is when you will begin to take small tufts of the “orange” Corgi color and start layering it over the body and belly. Pay close attention to the face and the placement of the orange. You can use long, thin pieces to accomplish the lines around the face and along the bottom of the body where the legs are. Add this color to the under belly too.

A few things to remember: The more you poke, the denser it becomes. You can gain a lot of contour and shaping by poking more to achieve the look you want. Your project can be added to or subtracted from. Cut it off if you don’t like it. Add to it if it needs more shape.

Ears: Form a triangle with the orange wool, leaving tufts on the long end to attach to the head. Poke ears in place and blend in the remaining wool. Add little tufts of white and black inside the ears.

Eyes: Roll little balls of black wool and poke into place for eyes. You can add seed beads with a needle and thread or glass eyes on a wire with a spot of glue. This is typically the last thing I do on the Corgi.

Nose and smile: Do the same for the nose as you did for the eyes, only slightly larger and leaving it a bit open so you can make the shape of a little heart. Extend the end down into a smile. Corgis do smile, you know!

Beard or bib: I like to take a small tuft of white wool and create a bit of a beard or bib. This also allows me to soften the lines between white and “orange”. Do this to the belly as well.

Tail: Make a small nubbin of orange, leaving the end loose to attach.

All that’s left to do is to take a small pair of sharp scissors and trim off any unwanted “hairs”.

He’s certain to become the favored companion of your favorite doll.


Today’s Giveaway is two nights in the wagon of your choice at Serenity Sheep Farm Stay.  This is for the 2012 season, May-Oct.  Your stay can be as private or as interactive as you wish. This is a $200 value.

To enter for a chance to win leave a comment by 11:59 p.m. Sunday, September 18th. Good luck!

LaVonne lives on 40 acres in the heart of the Gallatin Valley near Bozeman, MT with an assortment of farm animals. The land has been in her husband’s family since the homesteading days. Her shepherding began over 20 years ago with just 2 ewe lambs who were born on her birthday.  They produce lovely Shetland/Romney yarn, roving and of course, raw fleece.  Her clientele is made up of mostly hand-spinners as well as knitters from all over the world. LaVonne’s  love lies in needlefelting, of which her wool is perfect for.  Please visit her website for more info.

Posted by Living Crafts on Sep 16, 2011 09:16 AM | 158 Comments

Tasha Tudor Day [was August 28th]

By Clarice Fox-Hughes

My daughters sat at the table surrounded by a sea of the most delightful books. They picked their favorite page and proceeded to sketch away. As we perused through each of Tasha Tudor’s books, we were drawn into a magical world. One of the things I loved about that day was my girls did not worry about making perfect sketches. For they knew Tasha would have told them, if she were there, to enjoy the moment. Not to copy her but to work from their hearts. Tasha’s message was loud and clear.

I remember that day and how Tasha Tudor’s death had inspired us to dedicate our afternoon tea to her and thus started Tasha Tudor Day. We wanted to take a moment to remember Tasha and how she inspired us to follow our hearts and to look for the blessings around us. Above all, she inspired us to be brave. To us Tasha is a hero of sorts because she lived her life on her terms. Granted it was a charming life full of corgis racing goats at the fair, dolls having tea parties, carving fierce and horrid pumpkin moonshines “as all true pumpkin moonshine should be” and birthday cakes floating down a stream. My girls know Tasha’s life was not always charming but she chose to see her life as charming.

This is the lesson we want to carry on. So on Tasha’s birthday, August 28th, we always celebrate Tasha Tudor Day. We put on our skirts (I think there is some unwritten rule somewhere that says you cannot wear pants on Tasha Tudor Day ;-) , make a pot of tea, sit in our garden looking at Tasha’s books and remember.

“Life isn’t long enough to do all you could accomplish. And what a privilege even to be alive. In spite of all the pollutions and horrors, how beautiful this world is. Supposing you only saw the stars once every year. Think what you would think. The wonder of it!” Tasha Tudor

For those who are not familiar with Tasha Tudor, she was a writer and illustrator of nearly 100 books. Her first book, Pumpkin Moonshine, was published in 1938. She went on to win many awards, including Caldecott Honors. Her work is celebrated around the world. Tasha lived in a beautiful home hand-built by her son Seth. It looks like a home that was built in the 1830’s, as this was her favorite period of history. It is now a museum. I invite you to come by Tasha’s family blog (Rookery Rambling), mine (Storybook Woods) or my co-host Suzanne’s (Blueberry Cottage) to celebrate Tasha.

Cover of Tasha Tudor’s favorite book:  Corgiville Fair

Cover of Tasha Tudor’s favorite book: Corgiville Fair

Clarice Fox-Hughes,Clarice Fox-Hughes, is the writer of Storybook Woods. Where she blogs about cooking, crafting and making the most of what she has. She also has written a baking book and a novel Wren Bay, based upon her blog, with 41 of her recipes.

Posted by Living Crafts on Sep 16, 2011 09:14 AM | 8 Comments

Embroidery Hoop Weaving Loom

This is an inventive and inexpensive way to make a beautiful weaving loom, using an embroidery hoop as a multipurpose tool!  We had a young visitor who was very keen to learn to weave.  We couldn’t find a loom locally, and didn’t have time to build one…this led to some creative brainstorming on different ways you could make a loom. Something new and different, that could travel well, not catch on things, be used by a beginner with ease, and be simple to build.

Embroidery hoops can be purchased in most fabric and department stores, and often found in thrift shops. This one cost only a dollar.  The embroidery hoop weaving loom is nice to hold onto, and gives room for little hands to easily work their threads in and out…in and out…seeing both the front and the back of their work as they go…

An 8 to 10 inch (20cm to 25cm) embroidery hoop works well.  Start by stretching an elastic band over the inner hoop.  This will provide some grip to hold the threads in place while warping the loom.

Tie on your warp thread. We used crochet cotton.

Wrap your warp yarn around the middle third of the hoop.

End your wrapping at the same end as you started, giving an even number of warp threads. Tie warp thread off at the top of the loom.

Make a foundation row by tying a yarn onto the side of the loom, and then wrapping around each warp thread to bring the front and back warp threads together, and to space them evenly. Tie the end of the yarn to the other side of the loom.  Repeat on the other end.  This foundation row really helps beginning weavers.

Ready to weave!

Plant dyed, rainbow colors on bulky yarns are fun for weaving. Children love to watch the colors change as they weave, and the results are always beautiful! The colors give them a good focus…to weave until they finish one color, or to weave one rainbow range in a sitting…although often no encouragement is needed to weave more!

You can cut the weaving out of the loom and knot off the ends, or leave it in and display as a wallhanging.

You can read more weaving tips and ideas in the Living Crafts Spring 2009 issue, and check out the free Treasure Purse instructions in the Living Crafts Craft Room.  We hope your children will enjoy these projects- as much as our enthusiastic weaver does!

Fiona Duthie

Fiona Duthie is a regular contributor to Living Crafts.

In her studio on Salt Spring Island, BC, she creates in a bountiful beauty of color, wool, and texture, inspired by the natural world. Fiona designs fine feltwork, felting and knitting patterns, gives workshops in natural craft, and runs her hand dyed, artisan fibre company, Kattikloo. You can read more about her fibers, projects and creative living at and on Facebook.

Posted by Fiona Duthie on Sep 13, 2011 04:08 AM | 15 Comments


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