Friday, December 25, 2009

Gifts for stitchy people and a tutorial

Hope everyone had a Merry Christmas - or at least a good day.

This year I made Christmas gifts for my stitching buddies: fabric covered tape measures with matching bottle cap pincushions (thank you to VeryBigJen for her Flickr tutorial on bottle cap pincushions) and personalized magnetic needle books for most everyone. (One gal mostly knits, the other already received a different personalized needle book on an earlier occasion.)

It was a lot of fun to select fabrics, color combinations and buttons that I thought the recipient would find pleasing. It was also fun engineering the magnetic needle books. There were a few false starts on those but I finally worked it out. Would you like to see the process? Here's a tutorial on making the needle books:

Fidget's Magnetic Needlebook

What you'll need:
fabric for exterior
fabric for interior
iron-on interfacing
flat flexible magnets
sharp scissors
a sewing machine or hand needle and thread
Aleene's Jewel-It glue or a multi-purpose glue that works with fabric

Getting ready:

Cut two pieces of fabric 2 5/8" by 3 1/2". One piece is for the exterior where the stitching will be done - if you want stitching. The second piece is the interior and will be mostly covered by the magnets. Use the same material for both or don't. Do what makes you happy!

Cut four pieces of iron-on interfacing about 1" by 1 1/4". This is roughly the size of each face of the needlebook less the top-stitched edge. Adjust the size so that there is about a 1/4" open border around the edges of the material and about a 1/4" in the middle for folding.

Cut two magnetic strips 1" wide by 1 3/4" long. I bought a roll of magnetic tape that was 1" wide, so that part was easy. Unless you're making many needlebooks or have a use for the excess magnetic tape, buying a roll may not make sense. You could use the flat magnets that you find with advertising and/or calendars on them but because these are thinner you'll need to either adjust the size of the magnet (make it a bit wider) or the size of the needle book faces (make them narrower.)

If you want to add stitching to your needlebook, now's the time to do it. I centered the stitching on the bottom half of the exterior fabric so that it would be on the front cover once assembled.

Putting it all together:

Flip the interior and exterior pieces over and position the interfacing in the four quadrants of the fabric. Be sure the interfacing is bumpy side down so that it fuses with the fabric, not your iron. Iron the interfacing according to the manufacturer's instructions.

Match the interior and exterior fabrics right sides together and pin in place. Sew completely around all four edges.

Trim the seams and angle the corners. Flip the piece over so you're looking at the interior side. Take your sharp scissors and cut a slit in the center of the interfacing on one side. Make the slit large enough to turn the piece but don't go all the way to the edges. Don't worry, we'll cover the hole later.

Use your tweezers to reach into the slit and grab a corner. Gently pull the fabric and turn it right side out. Use the tweezers to poke the corners out, but be careful not to poke through the seam.

Press the piece flat.

Top stitch about 1/8" from the edge of the needlebook on all four sides. I found it easiest to set the needle position to the left and stitch counter-clockwise (or to the right and stitch clockwise) instead of at center. This allows both feeddogs to move the fabric instead of just one if you tried to stitch that close to the edge from the center needle position. Trim any loose threads.

Put the magnet faces together. If you're using a tape or flat magnet that has sticky sides, put the sticky sides to the outside - but don't peel off the backing yet. If you're using an advertisement or calender magnet, put the printed side out. Test fit the magnets to the inside of the needlebook and make any necessary adjustments to the size of the magnets. Remember to try closing the needlebook. Once you're happy with how they will sit, peel off the backing on one of the magnets and put a drop of glue on the sticky side...

and use your finger to spread it around to all the edges.

Turn the magnet sandwich over and position the gluey side inside the needlebook. I usually do the side with the slit first.

Peel off the second backing paper and apply the glue in a similar manner.

Press closed and wait for it to dry.

Taa-daa! You're done!

Add needles and repeat as necessary.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Kitty Pillow

(Click the pictures to see larger versions.)

Stitching buddy BS had a birthday on Monday. In addition to loving to stitch, B loves cats. This pillow made her happy. It's the first crewel I've done in years, no, probably decades - yup, just like riding a bicycle - and it was a nice change of pace from flossy embroidery. The orginal backing material was a lime linen, but I like the floral canvas from Jo Ann's better. Happy birthday, B!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Final TUSAL for 2009

Oh, no! Just realized that yesterday was the New Moon, and that means it's time for the Totally Useless Stitch-a-long hosted by the lovely Yoyo at Dragon My Needle. And it wasn't just any old new moon: it was the final one for 2009 - time to start a new ort bottle. And just in time as the one I'd selected for this year is about full. I'm planning on going to the hardware store and buying a cork for it. It will look great sitting on a shelf in my craftroom. Along with TUSAL bottle is the wee little Waste-Knot-Whatnot. There are a lot of black knots from AC's 15-sided biscornu and plenty of white ones from as yet disclosed gifts.

Yoyo has graciously agreed to host the 2010 TUSAL - thank you! To join in the fun, you have to go HERE to sign up. C'mon! Join the fun!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

All she wanted for Christmas was a new right hip

Today, Mama got what she's needed for a long time: a new right hip. The doctor said the surgery went well and all the new parts were a good fit. She's in good spirits and feeling pretty good, considering. Here's to Mama and her new hip and pain-free days ahead in 2010!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Baby's Better and Birthday Crafting

The baby netbook is all better now - and it didn't cost a fortune. Luckily, there wasn't anything on the netbook that wasn't on another computer or storage device somewhere else, so it didn't matter if I had to start from zero. My netbook had a recovery disk that allowed me to reset the netbook back to factory specs, as if it had just came out of the box. So that's what I did. And you can bet your boots that the first thing loaded onto the virginal netbook was anti-virus software!

Some of the December birthdays have happened so I can show off what I made for AC and DP, who happen to share a birthday. These were the items I was wanting to crow about in the November 30 post.

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AC is a lover of bright green and tchotchkes and I wanted to try my hand at blackwork and making a 15-sided biscornu. Anita, at Stitch Creations, had created beautiful patterns for blackwork squares and instructions for making a 15-sided biscornu. The pictures for assembling the biscornu were so perfect that it didn't matter I don't speak or read a word of Dutch - stitching is a universal language! So, I started the blackwork on the trip to Alaska and finished it last month. Thanks, Anita! AC loved it and I loved making it for her.

DP is fond of frogs and I'm fond of making quirky things out of the mundane. This cute little frog caught my eye last spring and I knew I had to make something out of it for DP. It was hollow and had a hole in the base so it just about screamed Orts! to me. I took a paper mache box, stained it with a food coloring wash, rubbed it with gold paint to pick up the texture on the box, varnished it, applied some rub-on transfers and lined it with cloth. A hole was carved into the lid and Mr. Froggie glued onto it. The lid lining was extended up into the cavity so it all flowed together. It looked good on paper, looked good put together, but I haven't heard from DP yet if it actually works as designed. Sure hope so but if not, it's still cute.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Grumble, grumble

I'm running behind on postings because my new baby netbook caught a virus - all because I was stupid and didn't load anti-virus software on it. Grrrrrr Totally my bad. I hope to get something posted from my laptop soon.