Working Through My Crafty To-Do List

oven mitt
As part of an ongoing effort to work through all of my crafty project pins over on Pinterest, I made myself an oven mitt. I used this tutorial from Jennifer at Sew Hooked.  I’m really picky about my oven mitts and have such a hard time finding ones that fit, feel right, and are pretty. I like to feel that I still have control of my hand with the mitt on.  Making my own mitts seemed to be the way to go.

I did modify this just a bit.  The tutorial called for using glue stick on the fabric layers before quilting.  I pinned and basted.  My glue stick is dried up and even if it wasn’t I still would have pinned and basted.  I know my limitations when it comes to sewing pieces of fabric together and I need lots of pins and other reinforcements!  The pattern seemed a little large, so I did a 5/8 seam instead of 1/4 inch.  I probably could have used the 1/4 inch.  Once you turn it right side out, it’s a lot smaller than it looks.  It fits well though.

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I also added a contrasting cuff just because.  It’s not quite done.  I have some basting stitches I need to remove, but can’t find my seam ripper.  I have developed a very annoying habit lately of not putting things away where they belong.  I then spend WAY too much time looking for them!  The final touch to the mitt will be a bit of crochet edging around that cuff.
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I’ve got to come up with a different solution for my sewing machine.  Because I don’t want to mess up my dining room table, I just stand at my work table to sew.  This is a very, very bad idea.  My back is killing me now.

What do you think of that old sewing machine?  I bought it when I was pregnant with my first child, 30 years ago, to sew his layette.  Sometimes I think I’d like one of those fancy new machines, but this thing works just fine for the little sewing jobs I do.  That sounded really old; I might as well have said, “one of them there new fangled contraptions.”

Up next on my crafty to-do list?  I still want to make this tissue holder and this apron, and I’d really like to have a couple of these totes.

What’s on your crafty to-do list?

Crafting Fun

tea towels and pincushion jars
I’ve been in a very crafty nesting mood lately. I made some more tea towels. Yellow and aqua is such a happy color combo, don’t you think?  I still think they look like burp cloths, but they are pretty in my kitchen:)

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I added some crochet flowers to the front of one.

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On the other one I used Diane at CraftyPod’s tutorial to make kansashi flowers and used them to cover up the places (some of the places!) where the corners didn’t line up.  Oddly enough, I had more trouble lining up corners on the second towel than the first, even though I went to more effort to make sure I was being exact!  I sewed on an upside down yo-yo to the top of my flowers.

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I added a loop to one corner of each towel for hanging.

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I’ve been trying to work through all the craft pins I have on Pinterest too! I loved these jars so thought I’d start there.

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On the first jar, I followed the directions and glued down the excess fabric on the inside, with a hot glue gun, and added a paper circle to cover it up.  I did the same on the second, but this time it was too thick, so the lid wouldn’t screw back onto the jar.  I took it apart, heated up the glue with a heat gun this time, peeled it off and tried again.  Instead of glue this time, I sewed a fabric circle onto the back.  That was actually a little tricky.  If I do this again, I’ll use the hot glue, but make sure that the glue is closer to the center, inside the area where the lid screws onto the jar.

I have a stack of fabric on my work table waiting for my next projects.  I’m planning on this apron, and an oven mitt to match my tea towels.  And I love quick and easy projects like this tissue holder to give quick crafty gratification when there’s not time to finish a big project.

What are you working on this week?

Making Things

Rowan's quilt
While I was in Colorado, my friend helped me with this rag quilt for my granddaughter.

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I had the Charm Pack squares that I had picked up in Iowa back in January. I still needed some backing for the quilt, so we went to this adorable little fabric shop in Old Town Fort Collins, called Mama Said Sew.  I got the backing plus a few extras!

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She threw in a little surprise. I guess I’ll make a rug mug or pot holder from these.

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I just happened to pick up a postcard while I was in the shop that was the exact same size as my Charm Pack squares. I marked out the squares on the backing fabric and my cotton batting.

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The proprietor at Mama Said Sew helped me pick out this sweet grey fabric to match what I had.

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After I had all the squares cut out, I moved them around to find a nice composition.

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Then somehow, while sewing the squares into strips, I messed up my very carefully curated arrangement!

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My friend taught me a really neat trick to save on thread when you are sewing a bunch of small pieces together.  Have a piece of scrap fabric on hand.  When you get to the end of your seam, place the scrap there and sew a few stitches onto it.  Then you can snip the thread between the main fabric and the scrap, leaving the scrap there.  Then just turn the scrap away to start on your next piece.  Does that make sense?  I had trouble understanding what she was telling me at first until I could actually see it happening.

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I tried really hard to be exact, but as you can see, I wasn’t!

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Luckily you can’t tell from the front!  After sewing all the pieces together, I sewed all around the perimeter.  I snipped all the seams and threw it in the washer to fluff it up.

Now I have to decide what to do with that other fabric I picked up.  I was thinking perhaps an oven mitt from the green and blue floral, with a crochet trim of course!  I might make some more tea towels from the other, but haven’t made up my mind yet.  Do you have any suggestions for a cute and simple sewing project for the kitchen?

Stocking My Shelves

crochet triangle bunting fuchsia coral peach goldenrod yellow coffee brown wedding bridal shower party
The shelves in my fiber art shop have gotten awfully bare. I’ve been trying to play catch up there; still I did take last week off from crocheting. My hands needed a little rest:)

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I already had these triangles made, and I crocheted them onto the cord this week.

rag crochet
I’ve been wanting to try rag crochet, so I rustled up some of DH’s old shirts and turned them into some fun farmhouse kitchen decor.

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I made a couple pot holders.

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I made a couple bowls.

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I was really surprised at how different it was to crochet these strips of fabric. Being accustomed to crocheting with tiny thread, I expected this to go really fast. That wasn’t quite the case. Pushing the hook through the loops got tricky at times, and my normal formula for crocheting a flat disk didn’t work with this. I had to keep trying and adjusting as I went. I have a bunch more shirts to keep learning on.

All of these crochet lovelies are in the shop🙂

Handmade Joy Exchange

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Earlier this year, I participated in Anne’s Handmade Joy exchange over at My Giant Strawberry. I posted here about what I received, but never did show you what I made, which was this fabric bird.

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My first version of this bird is the one I made last winter at my mom’s house, with the kitchen curtain fabric. This one is also made with vintage fabric, this time ordered from A Farmhouse in France on Etsy.

handmade joy fabric bird
I have stacks of fabric that I intend to use to make more of these birds, and I finally found some very sharp (I hope) needles and a thimble for doing the hand sewing!

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Today would be a good day to cut out some more pattern pieces!

Hop over to My Giant Strawberry to see the Handmade Joy made by others!

Let’s Try Joomchi

Earlier this year, at a Utah Surface Design Group meeting, I got to watch a demonstration of Joomchi. Joomchi is an ancient Korean paper felting technique.  It is an obscure craft, originally passed down through oral traditions,  that is just now enjoying a resurgence among handmade paper artists.  The earliest written record of joomchi is during the Choson dynasty (1392-1910).  There was a time in Korea when woven fabrics were too expensive, so people made garments from joomchi.

I’ve been wanting to try this myself, but didn’t trust my handwritten notes from the demonstration, so I went looking on the internet. I could not find a single tutorial, or even much information about the craft at all. There is a highly recommended book by Jiyoung Chung who is a leading contemporary joomchi artist. I’ll get that when I can, but until then I decided to rely on my memory.  Be forewarned, this was an experiment, and it didn’t turn out right actually.  I’ll show you what I did anyway.

joomchi 1
You start with mulberry, or handmade, paper.  You can buy this in huge sheets at art supply stores.  I remembered that I had some small sheets, and decided that would be good to practice with.  This is messy, so I did it in the kitchen.  You put down your first sheet of paper and thoroughly soak it with water.  The artist doing the demo used a spray bottle, but not knowing where mine was hiding, I just used a sponge brush and a bowl of water.  Lay down your next sheet and wet it.  Carefully smooth out all the air bubbles.  Again, the artist had a special tool for this.  I used my hands and the sponge.  Keep doing this; you should have at least 3 or 4 layers.  On the top layer I placed some punched flowers.

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Next, accordion fold the stack of wet paper, then roll it like a snail.  Now go play with this ball for about 20 minutes, squeezing and squishing.  I just checked my notes again, and found one of my mistakes.  If my handwriting were more legible, perhaps I wouldn’t have missed this!  After the first 20 minutes, unroll it, roll it up the other way, and do another 20 minutes.  Ahhhh!  Now I get it!

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Now, carefully unroll the paper and flatten it out.  Wet it again (I wonder if you’re supposed to wet it a second time between the 20 minute squeeze sessions).  Pinch fold it with your fingers.  Twist it to ring out the water.

Lay it out flat to dry.  I took a rolling pin to it at this point to really flatten it out.  I do remember her saying that when it was felted enough there should be pinholes.  I don’t think there were really any pinholes in mine.  To be honest, my hands hurt and I didn’t want to squeeze it anymore.

This is what it looks like dried.  The final product should be soft and pliable like fabric.  Mine is pretty stiff, and one of those flowers keeps trying to come off.  I also remember the artist saying that there was some kind of “handmade” paper that you buy in craft stores that doesn’t felt because of the way it’s processed and chemicals that are in it.  I don’t really know where this paper came from or what it’s made of.  I do plan to try again and this time do the second 20 minute squeeze, along with some battering with a rolling pin.  That should do the trick!  In the meantime, I do plan to make use of this piece for my Arthouse Co-op Random Spark project.  More on that later:)

Have a beautiful weekend!

Beautiful Gifts from Faraway Places

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DH and I long to travel, yet for the past several years we’ve had to restrict this to the arm chair variety, and of course living vicariously through our world traveling friends and family.  Recently, we’ve been absolutely spoiled by friends bearing gifts from other lands.  Our globe trotting Ninja was here a couple weeks ago.  Knowing how much I adore textiles, she gave me this beautiful tablecloth from Madagascar.  She thought I could add my own colorful touch to it with some stitching.  I just don’t know though.  It’s so amazing as it is!

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She also gave us this wonderful puppet from Cambodia. Isn’t he beautiful?

beautiful gifts from far away places
Shortly after Ninja’s visit, some friends invited us for dinner. Her mother had just moved here from Japan and brought lots of beautiful textiles with her. I was knocked off my feet when she gifted me with the contents of this bundle!

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They thought I could put these to good use making pretty things:)

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There are gorgeous scarves.  This top scarf uses an ancient Japanese dyeing technique called Shibori.  It’s a very intricate and involved process that includes tying, stitching, binding, folding, and dyeing.  There is no way I’m cutting up this treasure!

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There are three child size kimonos.  Hirokosan tells me that these sell at the thrift stores like t-shirts here.  I’m going to just let them hang around awhile before I take the scissors to them.  I want to be absolutely sure that I know what I’m doing first, and I just want to admire them.

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This one is a baby girl’s kimono.  It’s still very long; it’s put on the baby and then wrapped up like a present:)  The colors in this one are amazing.

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This one is for a little boy.  I can just imagine the make-believe play this would spark in a little guy!

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My own imagination is churning away, thinking of all the possibilities for this cloth!

Have a happy weekend.  I’ll see you Monday:)