Hooked on Needles

Monday, June 30, 2008

Another "Vintage" Crocheted Shade Pull

Here is another original 'vintage' shade pull for you. This one is similar in its beginning rounds to the first one I posted here and the overall look is still what I would call Flower-ish. But it's very easy and quick to make and looks pretty hanging in the window. Here are the directions:

Using a 1/2 inch plastic ring, #10 crochet cotton and a size 7 steel crochet hook, work 24 single crochet into the ring, joining with a slip stitch to the first single crochet.

*Chain 3, skip 1 single crochet, work one single crochet in next stitch.* Continue working from * to * around the ring, joining with a slip stitch at the base of the first chain 3.

Work 1 single crochet into the first loop, *chain 5, 1 single crochet in next loop* ending with a single crochet in the first chain 5 loop.

Work 6 single crochets in each loop around.

Work 100 chain stitches, or whatever number you need to make your hanging loop the desired length. Slip stitch at the base of the chain. Weave in ends and hang.

Vintage Crocheted Shade Pull 2This is a close-up of the finished design. I think it is pretty and sort of delicate looking, but I also think it would hold up to years of use hanging on a window shade.

Vintage Crocheted Shade Pull 2This is how it looks hanging in my front office window. Don't you think it's much more attractive than the old tassel?

If you like these shade pulls for a change, soon I will show you some beaded shade pulls that add a little color and shine to your windows.

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Sunday, June 29, 2008

Summer Embroidery Class for Children

We have a beautiful new children's room at our local library where I take my own children at least once a week for storytime or just to play and pick out new books to bring home. They always have fabulous programs for the children with music and magic and all kinds of fun things for all ages.

I spoke with one of the librarians a few months ago to see if they might be interested in offering some kind of needlework class for some of the 'older' children. I suggested knitting, crocheting or embroidery, and she picked embroidery.

So this week I have been working up my sample embroidered journal cover which the children in the class will do over four one-hour sessions later this summer.

I purchased seven square spiral-bound journals at my local Michael's store for $1.00 each. That will be enough for each student and one for my sample. I decided to start out with a maximum of 6 children, ages 10 to 12, in this class.

I wanted the fabric to be heavy enough so that the thread and the cute design already on the journal front would not show through, so I chose this blue denim and purchased 1 1/2 yards. I laid out the journal on my cutting mat to determine the dimensions necessary to make an old fashioned brown-paper-bag-type of book cover. I figured out that I would need to cut the fabric two inches larger on the top and on the bottom and four inches larger on each end.

Then I set to work drawing up a design. I thought children of this age group would enjoy something cheerful, and I'm also not a very good artist, so the design had to be simple! So this rainbow/clouds/sun/rain design is what I landed on. I drew it on white paper and poked holes in it at appropriate places so that I could transfer my design to the fabric with a fine point Sharpie by making dots on the fabric through the holes. It worked out great!

This is what the cover looked like pinned in place on the notebook with the design transfered with blue Sharpie for the lines and black Sharpie for the dots.

I chose DMC Perle cotton in bright rainbow colors for the rainbow, white for the clouds, light blue for the raindrops, and the sun will be done in the same yellow as in the rainbow. I thought the Perle cotton would be good to start out with so the children won't have to worry about separating their floss.

I unpinned the fabric from the journal and hooped it with an 8-inch spring hoop, big enough so that the whole design fits inside. Each of the children will get a hoop to use for the class project and keep afterwards. For the rainbow design, I chose a fun and funky zig-zag stitch which will be easy for beginners and show instantaneous results. I stitched small straight stitches at evenly spaced intervals in red on the first two lines of the rainbow design.

Then from the front of the fabric, I stitched through each of the straight stitches, alternating between top and bottom row, to form a zig-zag.

With the orange thread, I stitched the third row of straight stitches. Then from the front of the fabric I stitched through the straight stitches, alternating between the orange and the lower row of red to form the orange stripe of the rainbow.

I continued this same technique with the yellow...

and the green...

and finally the blue and purple. I know rainbows end with indigo and violet, but for my purposes, I thought purple was sufficient!

I hope to finish up the sample this weekend so I can share it with you and bring it to the library to be displayed. Hopefully I'll have a full house for my little basic embroidery class for children and the art of embroidery can continue on with the next generation!

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Saturday, June 28, 2008

Make your own "Vintage" Crocheted Shade Pulls

A few years ago, a friend of mine asked if I could replicate some very old crocheted shade pulls that had been hanging in her house for as long as she could remember. She had lived in this old New England farmhouse for over 50 years, so they must have been quite old! She brought one to me to use as a sample, and I worked out the pattern and made her as many as she needed.

I never kept a picture of them, nor did I write down the pattern, and have since regretted both. How often I have thought how nice it would be to replace the $1.50 tassel shade pulls that I got from Home Depot with something pretty, unique and vintage looking! So here's what I did...

I gathered my materials which consisted of...

Vintage Crocheted Shade Pull 1... a new ball of #10 white crochet cotton thread, some plastic rings in two sizes because I didn't know which size I would end up using, and my #7 steel crochet hook with Comfort Grip.

Then I started to think up a pattern and here's what I came up with...

Vintage Crocheted Shade Pull 1Starting with a slip knot on my hook and a small plastic ring, I put my hook through the ring, drew up a loop around the ring...

Vintage Crocheted Shade Pull 1...then drew up another loop through the two loops on the hook to complete the first single crochet.

Vintage Crocheted Shade Pull 1I worked 22 single crochet stitches on the ring in the same manner and this is what it looked like after the first 8 stitches.

Vintage Crocheted Shade Pull 1I joined the ring of stitches with a slip stitch into the first single crochet as shown above.

Vintage Crocheted Shade Pull 1This is what my ring of 22 single crochet stitches looked like when finished.

Vintage Crocheted Shade Pull 1Then I worked three chain stitches, skipped one single crochet and worked one single crochet into the next stitch. I continued this all the way around the ring until I had eleven loops and joined with a slip stitch at the base of the first chain three.

Vintage Crocheted Shade Pull 1Then I did one single crochet in the first loop, worked five chain stitches and then one single crochet into the next loop.

Vintage Crocheted Shade Pull 1I continued all the way around the ring working five chains and one single crochet into each loop, joining with a slip stitch into the first single crochet of the first loop. This is what it looked like.

Vintage Crocheted Shade Pull 1In each loop around, I worked one single, one half double, one double, one triple, one double, one half double and one single crochet to make the little flower petal like curves. Then I joined with a slip stitch in the first single crochet as before. This is how it looked after four petals were complete.

Vintage Crocheted Shade Pull 1And this is how it looked when all the petals were complete.

Vintage Crocheted Shade Pull 1Then I crocheted 150 chain stitches and joined with a slip stitch at the base of the chain to complete the hanging loop. You could make this part however long you need for your own shades.

Vintage Crocheted Shade Pull 1This is the old shade pull purchased at HD at the same time I purchased the shades. I removed the pull, leaving behind the little white button that screws into the bar at the bottom of the shade, and replaced it with my own brand new, handmade, original, unique, 'vintage' crocheted shade pull.

Vintage Crocheted Shade Pull 1What do you think? The picture isn't the greatest and I apologize for that. I had a hard time trying to get the camera to focus on the shade pull instead of the scenery. But you get the idea.

They only took me about an hour to do each one, and that included time for taking pictures along the way, so they work up quickly. Make a few for yourself and see what you think.

I have a few more patterns that I worked up and I will share them with you soon!

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Friday, June 27, 2008

Another Katie's Hand Embroidered Irish Step Dancing Dress

Katie K.'s hand embroidered Irish Step Dancing Dress turned out to be my very favorite of all the dresses I made and/or embroidered over the many years that I provided this service. Take a look at the pictures and see if you like it as much as I did.

Katie K. chose a lighter and a darker shade of each of five different colors for her embroidered designs. I just love the way the colors work together and the overall richness of the effect.

This is the design of Katie K.'s initials which were embroidered in split stitch using regular DMC stranded floss on the right sleeve before the seam was finished.

This is the same Celtic knot design that Katie L. and Brooke chose for their hemlines. This one is embroidered using both shades of each of the five colors Katie K. chose, in sort of a light-and-shadow or bright-and-soft configuration. It's my favorite part of this dress.

This is the same design that Bridget and Katie L. chose, but in yet another color combination. It was always interesting to see how creative the girls would get with their colors.

This pink and pink design is similar to the pink and white heart design that Brooke chose for her dress, except that these hearts are not quite completely formed in this design. Still it looks like hearts and is appropriately pink.

Katie K.'s belt is the same design as Katie L.'s but done in the soft purple.

I just love this square design that Katie K. picked for her brat.

And here is Katie K.'s completed dress. A beautiful and cheerful dress for a lovely young lady and a talented dancer.

If you are interested in my method of embroidering these velvet dresses using a hoop without crushing the velvet, click HERE for complete instructions.

Happy Stitching!

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Thursday, June 26, 2008

My Own Beaded Stitch Markers

Recently in a post about Beaded Stitch Markers I talked about this really cool website called Wormspit.com. If you haven't checked it out, you should, especially if you ever use silk for any purpose. It will give you a whole new appreciation for this beautiful natural fiber.

But silk isn't the purpose of this post. It's the Beaded Stitch Markers that Michael shows how to make on his site. I made some myself and thought you might like to see them.

This is what I used to make mine:

I purchased two packages of toggle clasps from my local craft store. Each package has six of the round pieces and six of the straight pieces. The round pieces are what I used for the stitch markers. Any ideas for what to do with the straight pieces would be welcome!

I also used some head pins that I had in my beading box, leftover from past projects.

I got out some beads I had leftover from previous projects, and I also purchased two strings of beads from the craft store. I wasn't sure what I'd be in the mood to use, so this is what I had to choose from when I sat down to make my stitch markers.

I also dug out my good old faithful Rosary making pliers, shown on the right, and got the needle nose pliers from the toolbox in the basement.

Then I started playing with beads and this is what I came up with. I liked the combination of the Cool Multi Colored Glass Luster Beads, along with some smaller clear glass beads and some even smaller round silver beads.

I lined up the beads on the head pins and used my pliers to make a loop in the top, putting it through the hole in the round half of the toggle clasp, and this is what I got. My loop in the top of the head pin is not quite as neat as Michael's, but I think my head pins were much shorter than the pins he was using so I had very little left to hold when making the loop.

Still, I thought they came out quite nicely. I love the different shaped beads...

...and the colors in this set that I used.

They seem to have a good weight to them, and the toggle clasp used has a hole big enough for at least up to a size 9 needle.

Altogether it took me about an hour to make all twelve of these stitch markers. Now I just have to find a knitting project so I can actually use them!

Do you have some little dressed up tool or accessory that you love to use? Share it!

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Wednesday, June 25, 2008

One Katie's Hand Embroidered Irish Step Dancing Dress

Recently I've been talking about the hand embroidery I had done on a few Irish Step Dancing dresses and I showed you some of the designs. Here are the designs from another dress I did for a lovely young dancer named Katie L. This was her fifth year dress which was newly made since she had outgrown her first velvet dress, thus requiring all the embroidery from the two previous years to be done again. Being a fifth year dancer, she had earned the privilege of wearing the brat, or scarf, and also the belt and her initials on the right sleeve, plus two more small designs on the front of the skirt. All this in addition to the original third year designs and the fourth year small designs. Quite a lot of embroidery to be done all at once! And this dress was one of two that I made and embroidered that year!

One Katie's Hand Embroidered Irish Step Dancing DressThis is the chain stitch embroidery design that Katie L. chose for her brat. The fabric was a silky satiny type of polyester which draped nicely across the back when pinned at the shoulder and opposite hip. The shape of it was square, but it was folded into a triangle to be worn. The embroidery was put on the exposed corner so it could be seen from the back. Lovely design and very nice color choices.

One Katie's Hand Embroidered Irish Step Dancing DressThis is Katie L.'s belt design. I stitched it before sewing up the belt so that I would not have to stitch through two layers of velvet. As you can see, this design is Much Simpler than the belts I did for Brooke and Bridget!

One Katie's Hand Embroidered Irish Step Dancing DressThis is one of the small designs on the front of the dress. I just love the simple lines and curves, and I think you just can't go wrong with rich purples and greens.

One Katie's Hand Embroidered Irish Step Dancing DressThis is the other small design on the front of the dress. It is the same one I did on Bridget's dress, only in a different color combination.

One Katie's Hand Embroidered Irish Step Dancing DressKatie L.'s initials, done in split stitch using regular DMC embroidery floss.

One Katie's Hand Embroidered Irish Step Dancing DressAnd this is Katie L.'s completed dress. I love the knot design at the hem with the rainbow colors used throughout the dress all brought together. She did a nice job choosing her designs, placement and colors.

The other dress I did that same year was for another Katie and it turned out to be my absolute favorite dress of all. That one can be seen by clicking HERE!

Happy Stitching!

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