Archive for the ‘News’ Category
Thursday, November 24th, 2016
Deals & Steals
Head’s Up! These are all affiliate links. This means I might get a small commission if you make a purchase through these links.
In the US
Craftsy’s Black Friday–Cyber Monday sale is on and all classes are $17.99 or less! In addition, supplies are on sale for up to 70% off.
I am a Craftsy fan. I love learning, experimenting, and playing. And I love classes: The structure propels me into action while introducing me to new materials and techniques.
Craftsy classes are professionally made videos, available any time of day or night, so that I can watch whenever it’s convenient, and as many times as I’d like. There are class forums for asking questions, sharing project photos, and interacting with the teacher and other students.
But don’t take my word for how fun, informative, and inspiring these classes are, you can try before you buy: Watch free online classes, and see for yourself.
Craftsy offers classes in all sorts of delightful crafty genres, but if you want, you can jump right to the hand-embroidery classes.
I am currently enrolled in seven classes, one of which is Joan Hawley’s Zip It Up! class. I have a vision of embroidering fabric to make these Runaround Bags from the class.
All the bags from the class stitch up quickly, look great, and make fun gifts. Add embroidery to make them super special!
Something new for this holiday season: Photos of your embroidery on cards, mugs, gift wrap, and more!
Ready to give it a go? TinyPrints is having a Thanksgiving sale!
Create and Craft
DIY crafts, supplies, and 24/7 Craft TV.
Something new! Double your crafting output, double the fun by watching Craft TV while stitching. You can watch on your TV, PC/Mac, tablet, or phone, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. How’s that for inspiration?
In addition to crafty programming, Create and Craft has popular large-company embroidery kits and patterns. Dimensions, Janlynn, Bucilla . . . stockings, ornaments, quilt tops . . . yanno.
They also carry basic embroidery supplies: DMC threads (floss and pearl), mostly-white fabrics, needles, lights and magnifiers, etc.
If cross stitch is your thing, you can head right there.
Interweave and Keepsake NeedleArts
You’ll find a wide variety of craft magazines and books here, as well as digital media. These are the publishers of Piecework magazine and Cloth, Paper, Scissors—to name two of my favorites! You can find back issues and collections of magazines on cd. If you’re a knitter or crocheter, there’s tons here for you. Embroiderers, yes, there are patterns and books for you, too.
‘Tis the season for ornament stitching!
Remember how we were talking about filet embroidery recently? It’s generally stitched on a handmade net. Want to try your hand at netting? Here are simple bookmarks that use the technique—and you know we’re still collecting bookmarks for Stitching for Literacy, right?
I’ve taken several classes here and have been pleased. If your schedule is super flexible, you can catch classes live and for free. If you aren’t free to watch while they’re running for free, or if you want the freedom of watching at your convenience or over and over, then buying the classes is the way to go.
The free option can be useful for checking out a class and deciding whether you’d like to own it or not.
Want to take better photographs of your embroidery? Check out the craft photography classes. Also of interest might be the craft & maker classes. See these and more offerings in the class catalog.
Annie’s offers patterns and supplies for crochet, knitting, plastic canvas, beading, card making, and more. They also offer online classes. If you’ve taken any, please let us know what you think.
Start holiday crafting with yarn–or thread?–crafts.
Leisure Arts has a Warehouse Clearance Sale with up to 75% off patterns, supplies, and kits.
For non-clearance items, seniors, teachers, and military folks can get 15% off with the following coupon codes:
In the UK
Sew and So
For our friends in Europe—though they’ll ship anywhere in the world, too.
Sew and So also has an exclusive DMC Cross Stitch Ideas Collector’s Box and cross stitch kits, among other things.
Or check out Modern Cross Stitch: Over 30 Fresh and New Counted Cross-Stitch Patterns.
Or just see what’s new at Sew and So
Stitch, Craft, Create
Another source in Europe, primarily for sewing, knitting, and crocheting, but check out their daylight lamps and magnifiers.
Check out the Brand New Craft Books.
Free Standard UK Delivery On Orders Over £30!
Free Worldwide Delivery On Orders Over £100!
Sunday, March 20th, 2016
Becky G. is the Gadget Guru.
Anyone who’s been around here for long probably knows I am a minimalist when it comes to embroidery tools. For instance, I own just one
pair of embroidery scissors. It’s possible I am the only first-world stitcher with a single pair of small, pointy scissors.
Becky and I are the Odd Couple of stitching: While I have few tools, she has many.
This is the column where Becky introduces me (and you) to her extensive collection of stitchy gadgets and explains how she uses them. It’s the Gadget Guru series!
The jury is still out on whether I will abandon my minimalist ways and adopt assorted gadgets for improved needlework results, ease of stitching, or convenience.
This week, Becky shares some of her fabric-preparation gadgets.
Note: This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through one of these links, I may earn a small commission. Affiliate income helps support this site.
Fray Check / Fray Stop / Fray Block (We’ll talk about sergers another time.) You need something to keep your fabric’s cut edges from fraying. I’ve heard that some needlework shops will serge the edges of your fabrics for you; although, I’ve not actually seen that happen. I like Fray Check best of the three liquids listed; it’s a little thicker and stays where I put it.
Just be really careful using any of them; if it drips in the wrong spot on your fabric, it’ll show. And it’s permanent. Ask me how I know.
Jen: I have Fray Check, but I never use it. For small projects, I may just let the fabric fray. For large projects, I’ll serge or zigzag the edges myself. But Becky says we’ll talk about sergers later.
Gridding Thread Easy-Count Guideline has saved my life. If you grid your fabric, this stuff is great. It’s a solid polyester thread, so you can’t split it with your needle. Ever try to pull out a guideline that you’ve stitched through? Oy! I’ve also used Coats Transparent Black thread, it’s a lot thinner, and I think it’s harder to stitch with. And if you use a lot of guideline, go to a sporting goods store and buy 8# red fishing line; it’s a whole heck of a lot cheaper than the Easy-Count.
Jen: I’ve never gridded my fabric. I’ve never felt it was necessary, but I can easily imagine many stitchers finding it useful. Maybe I’m just lazy.
Fabric gauge A necessary thing for figuring out the thread count of your fabric. Many varieties and styles.
Jen: I just use my regular old ruler.
Stitch Starter I got mine in a class by Belinda of Blue Ribbon Designs. It’s a 3” square of clear plastic, marked on three sides in ¼” increments and on the fourth side in 1/16” increments. There are also markings for a 1” square and a 2” square. It’s great when you know you purchased enough fabric for a 3” margin, you can just whip this out to measure where to start stitching. It’s also small enough to carry in your stitching kit as a small ruler.
Frames / Q-snaps / scroll rods / Evertites / Hoops Many different types of fabric holders that do the same job in the same way. Mostly. I don’t use hoops anymore, they just didn’t keep the fabric snug enough for me and I just didn’t like them. Scroll rods are okay, but I don’t like the ones with Velcro or that I have to stitch my fabric to. I like q-snaps because they’re easy to put together and take apart for travel. I have some hand-made covers for them to help contain excess fabric.
I’ve heard that slate frames are great, especially for needlepoint. I’ve never used one so can’t comment on that. But my all-time current favorite is the Millennium Frame, from Needle Needs in the UK. I have two sizes, they keep my fabric nice and tight, yet they come apart easily to transport. I bought a poster tube (for transporting rolled up paper posters) large enough to hold my biggest set of Millennium Frames including the fabric; I just take off the side adjusters, roll the frame and fabric up, and tuck them into the poster tube along with the side pieces, chart and threads. It’s unfortunately not cheap, especially the shipping since they’re in the UK and I’m in the States.
For one thing, [on a stitching frame] the project is permanently set up and accessible. For another, it makes parking threads on this type of project much easier. A frame goes a long way to ensure even tension. A frame gives you room for your chart, so that it’s right in front of your eyes. A frame allows two-handed stitching, which means you make progress a little faster.
But there are disadvantages to a frame, too. They take up room. They require a specific posture, to reach the stitching area. (You can’t always cozy down on the couch with a project on a large frame!) And it’s more difficult to pack the whole project up and away, tidily, in a small space.
Jen: Tools to keep stitchy fabric taut are things I have and use. I’m a hoop gal because I was stitching before Q-snaps existed, and I’ve never felt the need to try something new. I find the (newish) plastic Susan Bates Hoopla hoops with the little lip on the inner ring keep the fabric nice and tight. That lip really helps. However, I much prefer my homemade floor frame because it keeps the fabric nicely taut, and there are no hoop creases to deal with.
Jen again: Well, all of these things are, indeed, useful. Do you have these things—and do you have multiples like Becky? Do you use them? Do you have different favorites?
Becky and I want to know!
Sunday, March 6th, 2016
Still Stitching for Literacy
Students at Mountain View Elementary School select a hand-stitched bookmark to go with their brand new books.
It’s that time of year when we start thinking about the graduating fifth graders at Mountain View Elementary School in Anchorage. Every year, we celebrate the reading accomplishments of these students with hand-stitched bookmarks.
Since the dissolution of Arctic Needleworkers, the Anchorage EGA chapter, readers here have stepped up to keep the tradition alive, stitching and mailing bookmarks for these students. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
Stitchers, thread your needles . . . it’s time to stitch bookmarks again.
Where to Find Bookmark Patterns
There is no shortage of bookmark patterns. Your local Indie needlework shop is bound to have a bunch, and an Internet search will turn up countless free and paid options.
In fact, you may already have bookmark patterns in your pattern stash. But that’s not always the point, is it? Part of the stitching fun is finding and stitching something new.
Here are some things I’ve found.
Heads up! Some of these are affiliate links. If you make a purchase after clicking on one of these links, I may receive a small commission.
Leisure Arts offers a bunch of bookmark charts, usually containing multiple patterns.
Keeping in mind that the recipients are kids, this Stoney Creek Collection is a great choice. The 12 patterns include seasonal themes as well as book themes. I’d love to see a bunch of the skull-and-crossbones and space bookmarks. I especially like the Batty over Books and Book Lover ones, too.
Do you like surprises? This Bookmarks Galore pattern collection is like a mystery stitch-a-long: the pattern image is so small you really can’t tell what you’re getting! This cracks me up. But there are 66 patterns in this collection—66!—so there’s bound to be something fun and useful. And for just $6.95, well, the fun of the mystery alone is worth that. I can make out cool-looking cat and bear bookmarks that are cat- and bear-shaped, and I see that there is at least one corner bookmark pattern included. If you’re an adventurer, this might be a fun option.
The Hold That Thought bookmark collection contains 37 patterns along with alphabets so you can add your own sentiments. It’s actually two collections: Words of Wisdom and I Can Read. As you would guess, the I Can Read patterns are designed for kids. We’ve had some of these donated in the past, and I can tell you they’re popular with young readers. Also, if you’re in a hurry to get a pattern—or if you just appreciate instant gratification and/or want to save trees—this collection is downloadable.
Ornaments as Bookmarks
Now that we have cool elastic for bookbands, consider using ornament patterns for bookmarks. These colorful owlet kits would make great bookbands, don’t you think?
Funk & Weber Patterns
Oh, yeah! We have bookmark patterns, too! Even better, you can get them all in a collection for 40% off plus free shipping!
Funk & Weber Cross Stitch Bookmark Patterns
Bookmarks 101: Simple, Smart, and Swanky Finishes
You can also make bookmarks from just about any tiny bit of embroidery: a doodle, a UFO, an isolated motif from a larger pattern. Learn all sorts of clever and creative ways to finish bookmarks with the Bookmarks 101: Simple, Smart, and Swanky Finishes ebook.
Learn to finish bookmarks and other stitchy doo-dads.
Will You Stitch A Bookmark for Us?
Will you stitch a bookmark or five for us? It doesn’t have to be one of these patterns: Any hand-stitched bookmark will do. The goal of Stitching for Literacy is twofold: We want to encourage and reward reading, and we want to expose kids to needlework and help them develop an appreciation for it.
Leave a comment below or drop me a line at mail AT funkandweber DOT com, and I’ll tell you where to send your bookmark donations.
Tuesday, December 29th, 2015
Not sure what you think about something? Make a claim on social media, and loads of people will
tell you how you’re wrong help you clarify your thoughts.
A blast from the past: Holiday lights during the caretaking years. You don’t work on this Christmas craft in July!
When I think of taking time off around the Christmas holiday, I think of filling that time with crafting, specifically crafting Christmas things: cards, ornaments, ice candles, wax candles, cookies, etc.
Yes, yes, crafting is a part of my life outside the holiday, but holiday crafting is different. (more…)
Wednesday, October 7th, 2015
Stitchy guilt: noun, a feeling of responsibility, remorse, or shame for the crime of embroidering something beautiful then relegating it to a closet or drawer where it cannot shine its light or sing its song, and where no one ever sees it.
Tsk, tsk, tsk.
Would you plant a seed and then put it in a sunless closet and not water it?
Well, would you?
Denim-covered mat for framing embroidery.
You’re Not Alone
Okay. Relax. You’re not alone. Believe me, this boat you’re in is ginormous but still in danger of sinking from too many passengers. And did I mention that I’m the captain?
Stitchy guilt can strike anytime, like when the baby turns six and still doesn’t have the sampler we started six-and-a-half years ago. Perhaps the guilt hits hardest when we want to buy materials for a new project. How can we justify more stash when the project, if it gets stitched, is not likely to get finished into the end product we have in mind? Holy-hemstitch, what if we have no end product in mind?!
Enough is enough! We know that the act of stitching is a joyful, healthy thing. It’s crazy to ruin that with shame because we are afraid to take the last step. It’s time to put an end to stitchy guilt. It’s time to finish our embroideries!
DIY Framing: Lacing embroidery to backing material.
Ending the Guilt
Sounds great, no?
“But how?” you ask. “Professional framing is expensive. My local shop doesn’t offer professional finishing, and I don’t know where to send it. Isn’t that expensive, too?”
What do you say we finish our embroideries ourselves?
“I don’t know how,” you say.
I will show you.
You’re speechless, but I sense hesitation, maybe doubt.
Hemstitching and mitered corners, two of my favorite things!
D-I-Y Embroidery Finishing Classes
Whether you want to frame your embroidery; piece it with other fabrics for a quilt, tote, or something else; make it up into a pillow; or hem the edges so it stands alone, I can show you how. I’ve done them all, numerous times. I love finishing! Really!
With your embroidery skills, basic sewing skills, and a little ingenuity, you can finish your embroidery yourself and get beautiful results. You can purchase special materials for a custom look, score finds at the thrift store, or upcycle gems from the basement: Any way you choose to go, you’ll infuse the entire project with your unique style. You’ll feel great sharing your embroidery when it’s beautifully finished and the stitchy guilt melts away.
“The hardest part was just deciding to do it.” ~ Ruth H.
If you want to do it, I assure you, you can. And I can show you how.
PillowPalooza: Diamond tuckable pillow in want of embroidery.
Goodbye, Stitchy Guilt
Last year, I decided to kick stitchy guilt to the curb. I dug out embroideries I’d stitched in the 1980s and 90s. I framed one, made a couple of pillows and a wall hanging. It was so much fun, that I’ve decided I should re-finish some of the early Funk & Weber models.
It’s not easy being a
super stitchy model. Ours have traveled thousands of miles in planes and cars, been packed and unpacked countless times. They’ve had glass put in the frame and taken out, over and over. They’ve been shipped through the mail, displayed in shops and shows, and packed away in a trunk. Some of the frames are looking tired. What if . . . !
It’s true: I had so much fun finishing ancient embroideries that I’m looking for more things to finish, re-finishing already finished pieces.
What do you say? Are you ready to kick your stitchy guilt to the curb?
Piecing multiple embroideries. No angles were measured in making this.
Join Me For a Finishing Adventure
Four finishing classes are now self-serve. Work through them whenever you want at any pace you want. Choose between the following:
- D-I-Y Framing
Or snag all four! Check out the Classes page for further info, and end stitchy guilt for good.