Sunday, September 18, 2016

Pattern: Raggedy Dolls

I am so honored that my country Raggedy Ann doll pattern is not only in the Country Christmas Crafts of Handmade magazine, but it also made the cover! Look for Issue 35 No 4 at newsagents.

To share my love of rag dolls, here's a free downloadable embroidery pattern to celebrate. 

Use these on a baby quilt, or a toddler outfit, or across a crib bumper pad. Or embroider both the Raggedy Ann and Raggedy Andy on a bit of cotton fabric and turn them into little playdolls.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Tutorial: Mexican Tissue Paper Flags

Admittedly, these flags have been folded and stored away for some time. I made them in the mid-1990s and brought them out for birthdays and other festive occasions.

Since this month's pattern bundle included a pattern for embroidered Mexican flags, it's the perfect time to post a tutorial for traditional paper flags. (You can buy that pattern bundle in my Craftsy shop or in my Etsy shop.)

This butterfly pattern was my children's favorite. The link for the pattern download is in the materials list.

Materials needed:
butterfly flag template
tissue or other specialty paper
small scissors with sharp blades or an Exacto knife
hole punch (optional)
a few paper clips
string or yarn
glue stick

How to make the flags:
Print the butterfly pattern template. Enlarge or reduce as needed to fit your tissue or colored paper.

Stack the paper; you can cut several sheets at a time.

Line up the right side of the template (the center of the butterfly) with the folded edge of the paper. Attach the pattern to the stack of tissue paper with paper clips.

Cut the pattern, in this case removing all the areas in black.

If you are using an Exacto knife, you'll want to lay the stack down on a thick piece of cardboard or cork or other cutting surface. With scissors, you can hold the work in your hands.

The hole punch is for making the border holes shown in the butterfly template photo but this is optional.

Remove the pattern and unfold the paper. Separate the sheets of cut paper.

You can iron the paper very carefully between two sheets of thicker paper, such as drawing paper, but this is only if it has become very crinkled.

Fold the tops of the cut paper flags over a line of string or yarn and glue in place.

It isn't difficult to create your own designs. You can draw a bird in flight or a skull and cut out a few elements within. Make sure to leave some grid lines or "rays" that connect the central design with the four sides of the flag.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Tutorial: The Ladies of the House Brooches

Sometimes you need an inter-generational gift for all the women in one family. Or maybe you just want to brag about your own family at the next reunion without carrying a bag full of photos.

Here is a set of embroidered brooches for all the Ladies of the House that will let everyone know who's related to whom.

Use thread colors of your choice. Since I was using various colors of fabric, I chose to use mainly black embroidery floss and accent with just a little color.

Materials list:
embroidery pattern (download) 
scrap fabrics such as cotton or linen
a little stuffing
embroidery floss
brooch pin backs
embroidery needle
3" hoop (optional)

Transfer the pattern to the fabric using your favorite method. Need help? Here is a post about transferring embroidery patterns.

Use back stitch and running/straight stitch for most everything on the brooches. I used a few french knots also.

When the stitching is complete, on the back side, draw a little border around the stitched area. Leave a bit of room around the design, about 1cm.

With right sides together sew the front and back fabrics together, leaving a small opening at the bottom for turning and stuffing.

Clip any inner curves carefully.

Turn the brooches right side out using a chopstick. Push out all the edges and carefully press with a warm iron on the backside of the brooch.

Stuff and sew the opening closed using a ladder stitch. Add a small pin back.

Alternately, you could attach a little jump ring to the top and thread a chain or cord through to make a pendant rather than a brooch.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Correspondence Vs. Posts

Now and then I find myself sharing something in my newsletter and think: this is really a blog post with some information to share with everyone.

And then I switch over to my blog and write the post and publish it and then put the link in my newsletter and then a whole bunch of people click the link and head over to the blog.

This is an online communications and marketing tactic to get people to my site. Supposedly, the point is to funnel you all to my website/blog and then you'll all become participants in my programs and customers of my products. 

Which, yes, would be massively awesome.

But I am personally less interested in behaving to online marketing standards than communicating the way I am comfortable and I think other women my age enjoy.

So here's my way: 

BLOG: I post Embroidery School and tutorials and patterns and sometimes pictures of some odd thing I've made. "Welcome to my home. Have a seat and a cup of tea. Let's bring out the needles and threads and make something."

NEWSLETTER: This is where you get the news and lists. "Hello (your name), are you there? Want to chat for a few minutes, because I have stuff to share with you." 

Today, I was listing some links for sewing and stitchery guilds and organizations in the newsletter and had that momentary "I should write this up on the blog" thought. But then I decided instead to let you know why I'd like to leave it in the newsletter and not put it in a blog post. 

I like to send you a newsletter that communicates with you, that doesn't always just divert you back to the blog. My newsletter is NOT supposed to be just a weekly reminder to go to my blog. 

UPDATE OCTOBER 2017: I am no longer sending a weekly newsletter. It's just the blog and my Etsy shop. And of course, I am always available via email.

Please enjoy the blog and its tutorials and patterns and lessons. There will be a few announcements now and then. But if you want to know what I've been finding on the web or locally or get special deals and just chat, you'll have to sign up for the newsletter. I think it's more personal. And we are people after all. People who share with one another, even from far away.