Have a safe and happy holiday season

Christmas wishes graphicThis morning I want wish all my readers a safe and happy holiday season.

A free hand embroidery pattern.

I hope readers enjoy this pattern . You can outline the tree decorations in stem stitch or chain stitch and I have left plenty of spaces for beads and sequins if you want to add them. I came up with idea as I was looking for something simple and quick to put on a small gift bag but you could use it on a card too. Anyway I hope people enjoy it.

Many readers have noticed my revamped newsletter. I often give away a free pattern for my regular subscribers. I don’t pester people too much, but write every 2-4 weeks. In the process of creating these patterns, I have really enjoyed rediscovering my pleasure using Illustrator. They have been a lot of fun and I plan to continue sharing these.

Christmas-free-hand-embroidery-pattern

Other free resources

If  you need to know how to work hand embroidery stitches, I have provided free,  12 Surface Stitches for Beginners. Follow the link for a direct PDF download.

There are also free modules in my stitchers worksheets which cover the basic stitches. They are free and none of my stuff asks you to subscribe to anything or join this or that, they are a simple give away. For more stitches can also visit my stitch dictionary

cq seams tutorial screenshot In this past year apart from running the Take a Stitch Tuesday challenge, and giving away free crazy quilt block patterns from my I Dropped the Button Box Quilt I gave out a tutorial on how to work decorative crazy quilt seams. In case you missed it, here is the  download  and keep it as an ebook on a tablet, or print it out easily.

News of next year

As of January 9th I will have been writing this blog for 11 years a good 9 of those I was writing daily. Since an internet year is roughly 4.7 years to 1 normal year that means I have been writing this blog for the equivalent of 51.7 years.

An internet year is like a dog year and measured in terms of how fast technology and content changes compared to the non-digital world. So if you have ever felt that doing a particular task online involves a steep learning curve or got annoyed at things changing all the time, usually just as you have learnt to do something, then what you have suffered is the experience of internet time. Another way to compare it is a shop might do a renovation to freshen their look every decade or so whereas a website will revamp every 2 years or so.

After writing this blog for so long I feel in need of long service leave! Now don’t go in panic I will be back. The last decade of blogging has added so much to my life such as traveling to America to teach crazy quilting, it has provided me with an income online teaching which has been totally wonderful as I have worked from home doing something I love. Probably one of the most exciting things I have done is to design a product, get it manufactured and to sell it through my website. I can’t explain the thrill it is to imagine something, and then make it a real thing. Of course this ‘thing’ I am talking about is my crazy quilt templates.

So don’t fret, I will be back blogging after a break. I still have many ideas for interesting things I can do on this site. I would love to stay in touch via my newsletter as I will be bouncing back in a couple of months or sooner if I feel genuinely refreshed. It would be great if I could drop you a line to tell you. Subscribing is easy just follow the link, enter your email address, remember to confirm your subscription otherwise you will not get the newsletters.

I also plan to use my ‘break’ time to complete my book on crazy quilting. Readers will be pleased to know that the first draft is done, I have taken a heap of new photos for it. So with that eye candy sitting on my hard drive, the book project is well underway. Hopefully with not having the blog eating into my creative time achieving this gaol will be easier. I want cross a book on crazy quilting off my 2015 todo list.

There will be a few shifts and changes next year. As regular readers know In 2014 I wrapped up my online classes. I wanted to clear the decks for 2015 to be a year that allows me to be open to changes. I know that sounds like a lot of preparation to free myself up, but that sort of planning was needed. The idea is to take a break from online life, roll up my sleeves and complete the book, then look again at a lot of ideas I have and see what project is next.

I have plans to develop Tones and Tints in 2015 but not until after I have the book done. My interests have been shifting toward this direction for quite some time. So after deciding that restless mood of mine is not a whim and I will follow my instincts. The two areas will be kept separate. In 2015 I will have Pintangle for stitch related interests and Tones and Tints for drawing, paper arts and art/studio journalling. I am venturing more into both drawing and mixed media but more news about that next year.

That is enough of the babble from me. From my home to yours, wherever you are, no matter what faith my best wishes and thoughts of the season. And for all my readers I hope all your needles are easily threaded, your floss stays knot and tangle free.

See you next year!

Tutorial How to Piece a Crazy Quilt Christmas Stocking

I know that the holiday season feels to be an age away but for anyone who creates hand made gifts the organised amount us will be already busy stitching. (I know one lady who starts making things in March for December!) I thought I would share this link to a tutorial on how to make a Christmas stocking

One Big tip  from me!

If you use this method you will need to prevent the fabric distorting as you embellish use use the sew and flip method as illustrated here but stitch  each piece directly to the the pattern. In other words use the pattern as a foundation cloth otherwise as you embellish the stocking the whole lot will stretch out of shape.

If you have not seen the sew and flip method over a foundation cloth visit Loopy Lace and read Annies tutorial on How to Machine Piece Crazy Quilts or Piecing a Crazy Quilt Block by Barbara Blankenship also covers the same technique.
I would also lightly press with an iron as I piece i.e. iron each piece flat as it makes for a neater finish.

Here is a video on how to make a Christmas stocking.

 

How to Make a Braided Belt

screenshot of websiteKenneth King has written a tutorial for Threads magazine on how to make a Braided Belt. It’s an old idea with a modern feel.

As I mentioned a week or so ago, this time of year I start poking about looking for gift ideas. They get bookmarked until a later date.

Often my female friends are easily catered to but finding something for the men in our lives is a bit harder.

Take a look at Braided Belt: The Next Generation it may be just the project you need.

A sewing project that makes an ideal gift

screenshot of websiteIt is early in the year to start digging around for hand made gift ideas for Christmas but anyone who makes gifts knows how much energy can go into the process so we have to start early!  We can only hope the recipients have a sense of this long thoughtful process too. I start poking about mid year bookmarking possible gift ideas.

Over on the Coats site is a new sewing project that is a quick and easy to make Glove box organiser. The free pattern is an ideal hand made gift, or fundraiser item that can be made for local fetes etc.

This Glove box organiser would look great in a special fabric or contemporary print.  The pattern is simple enough to run up a few of these organisers making it ideal pattern to use up fabric scraps or even as part of a stash buster drive to use up old fabric.

So pop over and download the free pattern (it is a pdf file) If you do not have time to make it now, save it for your end of year gift project sewing.

Free Pattern: Maureen’s Sewing Caddy

screenshot of websiteOver on Maureen’s Vintage Acquisitions Blog your will find that Maureen has released free, the pattern for her Arm Chair Sewing Caddy.

This type of caddy not only looks good but is also very useful. If you have not seen this type of design in use they hang over the arm of a lounge chair with the pockets falling either side of the arm.

If your chair has a very wide arm just add an inch or so to the middle of the pattern and they sit perfectly holding your scissors, needle case, odd threads etc The padded section in the middle you can use as a pin cushion.

The design is a classic and Maureen has adapted it for crazy quilters so pop over and down load a free copy of her sewing caddy