Hooked on Needles

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Canton Village Quilt Works - Fabulous Giveaway!

Stop over and see all the wonderful goodies that Jackie from Canton Village Quilt Works brought home from Quilt Market to share with some lucky people. You'll be glad you did!

Happy Stitching!

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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Crocheted or Knitted Cotton Floor Dusters

Cotton yarn is wonderful to work with and can be used for so many different things. If you've been following Hooked On Needles for a while, you might remember that I made quite a few cotton dishcloths and washcloths. Some of you have even received them in packages from me or made them yourselves.

After making so many of the cotton cloths, I have accumulated quite a collection of leftover cotton yarn. This is what it looks like at the moment...

Leftover cotton yarnWhat a mess of yummy cotton! But have no fear! I have a way to use it all up in practically no time at all!

If you have wood floors in your home, chances are you have one of those name brand floor dusters which require the matching name brand disposable cloths that you use once and then throw away. Then you have to remember to buy more when you run out.

Here's an inexpensive and reusable solution that works just as well...

Crocheted or Knitted Cotton Floor DustersThese cotton floor duster covers were made using the free pattern from Michael's website with some minor adjustments. The top one is crocheted and the bottom one is knitted. They both fit my name brand floor duster and they do a great job picking up dirt and dust (and lots of other things too!) from my wood floors. And since these also have cotton wrapped around the edges, they do a much better job on edges and in corners than the name brand disposables do.

Crocheted or Knitted Cotton Floor DustersThe crocheted duster is made using single crochet in the back loops only, giving the duster these great little ridges for trapping dust and dirt.

Crocheted or Knitted Cotton Floor DustersThe knitted version is made with small sections of garter stitch alternating on the front and back to produce these bumpy strips which also trap the dust and dirt very well.

Crocheted or Knitted Cotton Floor DustersThe pattern from Michael's calls for stitching both the knitted and crocheted versions of these dusters in three pieces - one large piece measuring about 10 inches by 4 inches, and then two smaller pieces measuring about 2 inches by 4 inches. I decided to save myself some time and stitch both of my samples in one long piece, combining the numbers for the 3 pieces to get my cast on or chain stitch beginning numbers.

Crocheted or Knitted Cotton Floor DustersThen I just folded over the two ends and stitched the edges together to make my super easy, fabulously functional, and very frugal crocheted or knitted reusable cotton floor duster cover!

Crocheted or Knitted Cotton Floor DustersMuch more colorful than the name brand disposables, don't you think?

Crocheted or Knitted Cotton Floor DustersIt looks nice and clean right now, but after I use it on my floors, it will be ready for a spin through the wash. Just throw it in the wash along with towels or socks or whatever else you want, then hang it over a hook or shower curtain rod or clothes line to dry, and it will be ready to work for you again!

These handy dusters work up so quickly that I am making up as many as I can for my son's upcoming school Holiday Fair. Two other moms have also joined in on the fun and picked up their knitting needles after many years to make some for the fair too. With everyone trying to pinch pennies these days, I am hoping they will be good sellers at the fair and help to bring in a little bit of money for the school.

Happy Stitching!

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Sunday, October 25, 2009

A fun Halloween Giveaway over at Laura's

Go visit Laura at Decor to Adore for a fabulous and fun Halloween giveaway! And check out her clever fall hair accessories while you're there. They are very cute and would be so fun to wear this time of year.

Happy Stitching!

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Saturday, October 24, 2009

Moda Jelly Roll Giveaway from Blueberry Buckle

Here's another fabulous giveaway to share with you. But you better be quick because it ends Sunday morning. Check out Blueberry Buckle Quilt Studio for a delicious Moda jelly roll giveaway just for sharing some information about your own fabric preferences...

Blueberry Buckle Jelly Roll
I'm already dreaming of the wonderful things I will make when I win this prize! What would you make with it?

Happy Stitching!

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Thursday, October 22, 2009

Super Awesome Giveaway !

Brenda over at Pumpkin Patch Primitives is hosting a super awesome giveaway right now that I really really want to win! I found out about it through Jane at Sew Create It and I'm so very glad I did. I have recently been bitten again by the quilting bug and have been enjoying lots of time at my sewing machine, so getting my hands on this fabulous fat quarter bundle would be a real treat for me. Take a look at what I'm talking about...

I love the muted colors and the fun patterns on this fabric. Table runners, place mats, tote bags and other fun project come to mind!

Depending on the number of entries, more than one prize may be drawn! Doesn't that just look delicious? Go check it out!

Happy Stitching!

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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Ma Ingalls Half-Granny Crocheted Shawl finally complete!

The half-granny crocheted shawl that I started recently is finally finished! I do believe Ma Ingalls from Little House on the Prairie would be pleased.

This was the perfect project to use up the leftover Bernat yarn from the Sweet Liberty afghan because it is such cozy yarn and I just love the colors.

Take a peek...

Ma Ingalls Half-Granny Crocheted ShawlI had to get pictures this morning before the sun hit the back deck and all the ladybugs started swarming again! It's that time of year here in New England!

Ma Ingalls Half-Granny Crocheted ShawlThese dining room chairs are high backed so the length of this shawl is very generous.

Ma Ingalls Half-Granny Crocheted ShawlI worked a little picot edge with the blue which consists of a single crochet in each double crochet, a single crochet in the next space, 3 chains, another single crochet in the same space. Continue that pattern all along the lower edges of the shawl. I actually ran out of blue about 10 inches from the end, so I ended the border right there. I was determined not to have even a scrap of this yarn leftover! It is still a lovely and cozy shawl without those last few inches of border.

Ma Ingalls Half-Granny Crocheted ShawlI don't think there is a nicer color combination than red, white and blue!

Ma Ingalls Half-Granny Crocheted Shawl

Ma Ingalls Half-Granny Crocheted Shawl

Ma Ingalls Half-Granny Crocheted Shawl

Ma Ingalls Half-Granny Crocheted Shawl
A fun and easy stash busting project! Anyone want a nice shawl?

(Editor's note: Click HERE for a video tutorial on stitching this shawl!)

Happy Stitching!

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Sunday, October 18, 2009

Beading, acorns, fire and snow...a cozy New England fall weekend

It's been a busy time around here lately with all the usual family stuff, but I have been working on a few projects, some of which I've finished and some not. But this weekend we took advantage of Saturday's cold but clear weather to rake the front yard of the thousands of acorns dropped from our huge old oak tree. That was quite a project but a good one to get done before the Nor'easter came blowing through on Sunday.

I am sorry to say I did not have the presence of mind to take a picture of the wheelbarrow full of acorns before it was dumped down the back hill, but here's a little peek into the activities of Sunday at our house, after going to church early and out to breakfast...

Beading project in progressI spent a good portion of the day sitting at the dining room table working on a Christmas project using one of my favorite methods for making a wall hanging. You've seen similar projects here at Hooked On Needles.

Here is what the day looked like inside and outside...

...very cozy inside! The fire was going all day long, using up just a tiny portion of the wood we cut and split from the trees that came down last December in the big ice storm. But outside the snow and rain and more snow and more rain and wind and cold were furious. The perfect combination for staying indoors and getting things done, don't you think?

Happy Stitching!

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Friday, October 16, 2009

Halloween Apron Swap gift received - so cute!

George the mailman was my friend today. Just as I was sitting down to work on a Christmas project, he brought me a little Halloween something from Micki who was my swap partner for the Halloween Apron swap. Here's what I pulled out of the package...

Halloween Apron Swap gift received...a nice little bundle of softness all wrapped up in a piece of fun pumpkin fabric and black ribbon. I was liking it already! But wait until you see what was inside...

Halloween Apron Swap gift receivedCheck out that very fun and fancy Halloween apron! The picture really does not do it justice. It is a half apron with a wide orange waist panel, then the main body of it is the candy corn fabric with a black pocket. The bottom ruffle is orange fabric with sheer black spider fabric over it and it is so darn cute, I can't even think of words to say how cute it is! The black grosgrain bow finishes off the fancy look perfectly.

Also in the package were some happy pumpkin socks, a candy corn kitchen towel and a Halloween hot mitt that will very quickly replace my old one that keeps burning me!

Halloween Apron Swap gift receivedHere's a close-up of the spider fabric. Isn't that just so fun and festive? Even my husband noticed and commented on it - and that's saying something! You can't see it in the picture, but the spiders have sparkles on them which just adds to their appeal.

What a fun swap this was for me on both sides of it. I thoroughly enjoyed designing and making the apron I sent to Micki. And the apron I received is so unique and fun and far beyond my expectations. I think I'll wear it when I answer the door on Halloween night!

Thanks Micki! Thanks also to Aunt Pitty Pat for organizing this fun Halloween swap to get us all into the spirit (pun intended!) of the season.

Happy Stitching!

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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Red and Aqua D9P blocks are finished!

This is what happens to 25 red and aqua 9 patch quilt blocks when you cut them into quarters...

Red and Aqua D9P blocks are finishedOh my! What a crazy table full of bright and cheerful red and aqua fabrics!

Red and Aqua D9P blocks are finishedI made each of the 25 9-patch blocks unique, mixing and matching the fabrics so that some of the blocks had one of each fabric and others had only one red and one aqua fabric repeated. The variety of blocks that resulted in the cutting of the 9-patch blocks is really amazing! What fun to see it all come apart like that!

I'll be mailing these blocks to Jane very soon, and then I'll be waiting anxiously to see what wonderful variety I receive in return. These blocks will certainly make an eye catching quilt!

What is the wildest color combination you ever used in a quilt? I'd love to know!

Happy Stitching!

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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

My Friendship Bag arrived, and I love it!

Late last week I received a package in the mail from Betsie over at Red Dirt Mama and this is what she made for me...

My Friendship Bag arrivedIt's the cutest little bag in the most perfect colors just for me! Betsie was my secret partner for the Friendship Bag swap which was so fun to be involved in.

My Friendship Bag arrivedAren't these fabrics just lovely? The greens are so soft and beautiful, like something I would use to decorate my home. Perfect.

Thank you again, Betsie, for the wonderful job you did on this pretty little bag just for me. I love it!

Happy Stitching!

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Monday, October 12, 2009

Red and Aqua D9P blocks coming together

Not long ago I showed you the yummy fabrics I received from Fabric.com for two swaps I signed up for. Well, today I finally got a chance to sew some blocks together for Jane's Red and Aqua Disappearing 9-patch block swap. I had a house full of company this weekend - two sisters from out of town - and was it ever fun! One sister was here from Wisconsin with her husband for his niece's wedding, and one sister was here from Pennsylvania with her four children just for the fun of it, so we all surprised our oldest sister (the nun I made this fabulous tote bag for) by showing up at her school's Columbus Day fair on Saturday. What fun that was!

So anyway, I spent this afternoon in my sewing room putting together 10 of the 25 9-patch blocks I need for this swap and here is what they look like before pressing or cutting...

Red and Aqua Disappearing 9 Patch blocksWhat a color combination! Certainly not one I ever would have chosen, but I'm having fun with it!

Red and Aqua Disappearing 9 Patch blocksI was able to get all my squares cut during the week, knowing that the weekend would be full of fun family stuff.

Red and Aqua Disappearing 9 Patch blocks I have plenty of reds and aquas cut for the remaining 15 blocks, so perhaps this week I can lay them all out on the pool table and then stitch them all up. It's amazing the different combinations that can be made with so many fabrics. The first 10 are all different from each other and I am going to try to get the last 15 to be unique as well. I know there are lots more fun ways to put these fabrics together!

I'm also still working on my crocheted half-granny shawl which is just about finished. I decided to gather up all the leftover yarn from the Sweet Liberty afghan and just crochet each color until it was gone. I have just a little bit of the blue left now, and when that is gone the shawl will be complete. I should be able to show it to you very shortly.

Happy Stitching!

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Thursday, October 8, 2009

The making of the Halloween Apron

Yesterday I showed you the finished apron I sent for my Halloween Apron swap gift, and today I'm going to show you how I came to that finished design. It all started with the fabulous variety of fat quarters I received from Grace Full Creations this past summer. With so many fun fabrics and colors to choose from, I could create just about any scene I wanted, but this one of course would have to be a spooky Halloween scene. I had asked Micki what she liked about Halloween, then tried to incorporate some of that into the design. I knew she was very much into the spooky aspect of the holiday, so the graveyard scene seemed appropriate, and perfect for the bottom of the apron. Then of course there must be a full moon for a bat or witch to be flying in front of.

Here's how I started...

The making of the Halloween ApronJust as I had done with some of my other aprons, I cut the leg off a pair of old jeans and opened it up. The hem edge became the top and armholes were cut out. Then I began drawing the scene right onto the denim using my air-erase marker. I had printed out lots of different elements for this design so I could choose whatever I thought would look best as I went along.

The making of the Halloween ApronI had to get a skull in there somewhere because Micki said she liked them!

The making of the Halloween ApronAnd every graveyard scene needs a scary ghost or two just to set the mood!

The making of the Halloween ApronThen I went through my fat quarter collection and picked out fabrics for each element. None of these fabrics had a Halloween-specific theme, just great colors and interesting designs.

The pumpkins and the bat were traced from the graphics I printed out from various free clip art sites. I had planned to use a witch silhouette in front of the moon, but in the end decided I liked the bat better.

The tombstones and cross and ghosts were drawn freehand along with the sections of the hilly ground. The moon was drawn with my handy dandy school compass to get that perfect full-moon shape.

The making of the Halloween ApronThen all the fabric was cut into the appropriate shapes and fusible web was added to the backs to adhere the pieces to the denim. I've decided I really like fusible appliqué!

The making of the Halloween ApronI used a loose zig zag stitch on my sewing machine to stitch around the edges of all the shapes using black thread. I also added some details on the pumpkins and the leaf using the walking foot on my sewing machine.

The making of the Halloween ApronThe ghost faces were hand embroidered using black embroidery floss, along with the year on the cross tombstone.

The making of the Halloween ApronThe bat's eyes were just little straight stitches of white perle cotton...

The making of the Halloween Apron...and the RIP was backstitched using the same white perle cotton. The spider web was machine stitched using the walking foot, after I drew it freehand using the air erase marker. That is one of my favorite elements on this apron!

The making of the Halloween ApronI wanted to add a pocket to this apron because Micki said pockets are very important to her, so I found this darling fabric panel that had many different little blocks of Halloween scenery on them. I thought this one would make the perfect pocket for the middle of this graveyard scene. I lined it with the same orange fabric of the pumpkins, leaving just a little strip visible at the top edge of the pocket.

The making of the Halloween ApronThere's a cute little pumpkin just sitting there on that hill waiting to be scooped out and carved into something frightening!

The making of the Halloween ApronThe skull design was worked in backstitch using white perle cotton and a little piece of stitch and tear stabilizer with the design drawn onto it. I did not have a marker that would show up on this dark fabric, and this method worked great on the Irish Step Dancing dresses I used to embroider, so I used it here. It worked great!

The making of the Halloween ApronOnce the front of the apron was finished, I cut out strips of fall fabric for the neck and waist straps, and I made the fall apron for the reverse side to match the shape of the denim. Then I stitched them together with the straps in between and the right sides together, leaving an opening for turning. Once the apron was turned, I pressed the edges and top stitched around the whole apron to close the opening and finish it off.

The making of the Halloween ApronThe reverse side of the apron was simply a piece of fall fabric cut to the same shape as the denim, with a pocket of coordinating fabric stitched onto it. This makes the apron useful for a whole season instead of just the time around the end of October.

Next time you want to decorate something with a one-of-a-kind scene, pick through your fabrics and start cutting out shapes. Heat up your iron, practice you zig zag stitch and get creative with your walking foot. You just never know what you'll come up with!

Happy Stitching!

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