Hooked on Needles

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Everybody loves a winner!

Isn't that the truth? But I have to say, I still love all the rest of you who entered my 600+ post celebration giveaway recently, even though you didn't win! Thank you so much for taking the time to stop in and visit! Now let's get down to business, shall we?

After checking each entry for the ability to get in touch with the person should they be a winner, I wrote down each eligible name on the back of one of my Snoopy daily calendar pages. That's quite a pile of entries!

Then I folded each one twice and dropped them all into this little plastic Jell-O bucket that I found among the children's toys.

The red bucket was too small, so I dumped the contents of Grace's food basket and put them all in there to allow plenty of space for shaking and stirring and all those things you do with giveaway entries before picking them.

Since Grace is now a very big Kindergartener for the second day, and so far is loving it, I had to employ the winner-drawing skills of my dear husband who luckily works from home. What would I have done without him? I guess I would have had to draw the winners myself. Whew!

So here are the names he picked out of Grace's food basket, in order:

Blonde Chick was the first name out of the bucket so she wins the $40 CSN Stores shopping spree! Congratulations!

Second name out was QuiteContrary who wins her choice of one of my giant pin cushions! Congratulations!

Third name drawn was Sharon Lozano (who had some extra entries because she made a purchase from my Etsy shop!) and she will receive the quilted book cover with the star on the front! Congratulations!

And the last two names out of the basket were Terri Sue and Deanna who will each get to pick either my Cinch Sack pattern or my Table Runner pattern to receive as a PDF file. Congratulations!

So there you have it! Five winners ~ hooray! Congratulations to each of you!

I'm almost finished with Nancy's Cinch Sack made with that fabulous swirly fabric that I showed you HERE. So that will probably be the next thing I share with you. Now that the children are all in school, and I have not yet found a part time job, I am trying to get some major house cleaning done during the day, so the sewing machine might be a little quiet for a while. I am also crocheting an afghan which I work on in the evening when I finally sit down and relax for the day. That project is coming along quite nicely so I might share a little sneak peek soon!

Happy Stitching!

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Saturday, August 28, 2010

Surprise! My Next Project will be ...

...a bag! Can you believe it? What a shock, I know! You all remember the cinch sack I made as my entry into RJR Fabric's Summer Solstice Bag contest earlier this year. I wrote about it HERE. Well, that very bag, made with the gorgeous aqua fabrics from the Summer Solstice line, has been my own personal handbag ever since I made it. I used it on my trip to New York City with my daughter in May, and it was so great not having to worry about my old purse slipping off my shoulder all the time. I could put it on my back and forget about it, knowing that all my stuff was safe and sound inside.

So anyway, I was at a bridal shower a few weeks ago sitting with my friend Nancy, with whom I had not had a chance to visit in a very long time, and she commented on my bag. So I showed it to her, with all the great features on the inside, and told her about Elizabeth's bag that also had a hidden zipper on the inside. Nancy was sold. She had a project for me! So we went shopping the other day, and out to lunch of course! Here's what we got...

Nancy's Cinch Sack fabricIt was just a quick trip to our local Joann Fabrics as we both had Things To Do, but it was fun and she picked out these cool fabrics. The swirly colorful fat quarters on the top will be the outside of the bag, both front and back. The two green fat quarters will be the inside lining of the bag. The other rusty colored fat quarter will be for the zipper pocket. Then of course there's the zipper and the soft brown twill tape that will be the drawstring. The gold thread will be used to do the quilting of the outside bag pieces.

Nancy's Cinch Sack fabric
Aren't these swirly prints so fun? I think these fabrics will make a great looking bag for Nancy. These are just her colors, earthy but bright, and very fun!

I'll work up a tutorial while I put in the zipper pocket on this one too, since I had promised that a while back and have yet to do it. This is a great project for a tutorial because of the contrast between the lining fabric and the pocket fabric. Hopefully I can get to it this weekend. We'll see!

In the meantime, please stop in and sign up for my giveaway...still a few more days left! Click HERE to read the rules and check out the great prizes. One of them is the pattern for this cinch sack that I will be making for Nancy which is available on my Etsy shop. The pattern does not include instructions for the zipper pocket, but that part will be a free tutorial right here at Hooked On Needles so you can add it if you want to.

Happy Stitching!

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Friday, August 27, 2010

More stash busting ~ Pillowcases for charity

What to do with stacks of fabric that have been staring at me for months? I'm in the use it up mood lately, so I went through the stack and found a few pieces that were meant to go together. After a short time at the cutting table, another short time at the sewing machine, and a little hit with the iron, here's what I came up with...

More stash busting ~ Pillowcases for charity...two colorful pillowcases using fabric I purchased from Connecting Threads a while back when I was in the acquiring more mood!

More stash busting ~ Pillowcases for charityI love this pillowcase pattern, which is available all over the internet for free, but I like to refer people to the free e-pattern from Grace Full Creations because I love that on-line shop and Ronna is so wonderful to do business with. Just sign up at the site and then click on the Free e-pattern link on the left sidebar. It's easy!

These boy-ish pillowcases will be going along with my Stripes and Blocks charity quilt and matching pillowcases, which are definitely girl-ish, to our local family shelter very soon. If I find some more yardage that I can use up, I'll whip up a few more of these run pillowcases to send along as well.

My 600+ post celebration giveaway is still going on, so if you haven't yet signed up, now would be a good time to click HERE and enter! You could win a $40 shopping spree or one of several other fun prizes. Go check it out and put your name in! I'll be looking for you!

Happy Stitching!

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Thursday, August 26, 2010

Gracie's Cinch Sack ~ complete! -- Preserving a child's artwork in fabric - a tutorial

After spending some time with Grace the other day picking out fabrics for her bag, I got right to work on it. It really didn't take much effort. Just a little time, a little of that iron-on double stick interfacing stuff whose name escapes me now of which I have almost a whole bolt and use often, and the desire to preserve this precious piece of artwork in a way that would make a little girl very happy. So if your little creative one ever brings you a piece of art that you just cannot part with, here's an easy way to keep it forever - or until it's loved to pieces!

Gracie's Cinch Sack ~ complete!This is Gracie's original pencil drawing, done on a piece of regular paper for which she had to pay her father one hug after retrieving it from the printer. That's the deal - one piece of paper costs one hug. He loves working from home!

Gracie's Cinch Sack ~ complete!I traced each different part of the princess dog (did you notice the crown?) onto that double stick stuff and ironed the appropriate pieces to the appropriate fabric which had been previously chosen by Grace, trying very hard to preserve every odd curve and misshapen part. It's Grace's artwork I'm trying to preserve after all, not mine!

Then I cut out each shape and peeled the other side off before placing it onto the Paddington Bear fabric which would become the bag.

Gracie's Cinch Sack ~ complete!After a good pressing, it's almost done! I did forget about tracing it from the wrong side so that the dog would be oriented the same way on the bag as it is on the drawing. At first Grace was upset about that, until I pulled out the full length mirror and had her hold the picture in front of her and look at it in the mirror. Then she was ok with it! Whew! Don't they look cute together?

Gracie's Cinch Sack ~ complete!So there she is with all her little parts in the fabrics Grace picked. Just so you know, the parts that you might think are legs are actually tights. She corrected me several times on that one! And the circles at the ends of them are...you guessed it...shoes!

After pressing all the parts, I zig zag stitched around each piece to secure the edges to the bag. She picked out pink (are you surprised?) ribbon for the straps on the bag, so after stitching up the side seams and folding over the top for a casing, I threaded the pink ribbon with THIS awesome tool, poked the ends into the boxed corners, and viola!

Gracie's Cinch Sack ~ complete!There you have it - one happy little girl with her very own bag! What a fun project this was, mostly because Grace was so excited about it from beginning to end. She stood right at my elbow as I pressed, cut and stitched each piece and when I finally clipped the last piece of thread and had her try it on...oh my! You would have thought I had given her the world! Too precious!

Not all kids are budding bagaholics like Grace, but you could take your child's drawing and do this same thing with it and make it into a pillow (click HERE for a very easy pillow cover tutorial), a picture for the wall, or a pillowcase for your child. Or you could use the artwork to make something special for the grandparents, like a tote bag or pillow. Get some of that double stick stuff and see what kind of precious pieces of art you can preserve in fabric. Your kids will get a kick out of it! Great stash buster project too!

Don't forget to sign up for my giveaway by clicking HERE. Still a few days left to put your name in for a $40 shopping spree and some made-by-me prizes!

Happy Stitching!

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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Fiskars 45mm Rotary Cutter - my new favorite gadget

Remember the other day when I showed off my recent Amazon purchase of Lynette Anderson's great new book and my new rotary cutter? Well, ok, maybe you don't, but that's ok. I barely remember what I had for breakfast this morning! Anyway, HERE is where all that excitement happened in case you want to refresh your memory. The book is great and I highly recommend it.

All you serious quilters or otherwise fabric cutters out there probably already know how great a 45 mm Fiskars rotary cutter is, but until I received mine the other day, I had no idea what I was missing. Here's why...

Fiskars 45mm Rotary Cutter - my new favorite gadgetOk, so here's what came in the mail...the new book and the new rotary cutter. And here...

Fiskars 45mm Rotary Cutter - my new favorite gadgetis what I have been using to cut my fabric since I very first became interested in quilting enough to invest in equipment, I'd say at least 20 years ago. Now that I think of it, it might have been even earlier than that! So that little tiny rotary cutter on the left has been my only rotary cutter for all these years...and I've cut A LOT of fabric! It was always good enough, and I never knew any different. So I was happy.

And then Lynette's book came out, and I could pre-order it for way less than the purchase price at any book store, and I really wanted it. But I hate to pay shipping. Hate it! Which meant I had to purchase something else to bring my total over $25. I was surprised that Amazon carried rotary cutters, and that they were available for the free shipping offer too. So I said what the heck. Time for an upgrade. Is $10.20 too much to pay for this rotary cutter? I didn't know, but now I do! Cheap at twice the price! This thing goes through layers of fabric like a hot knife through butter! Wow, I surely did not know what I was missing! As Woody from Toy Story said, "If you don't have one, get one!" Well, he was talking about a moving buddy, but you know what I'm talking about...

Now I am so excited to start working on my next fabric cutting project. I don't quite know what that will be, but I'm sure it will be something for one of the swaps I recently signed up for. Besides the Halloween Tote Bag Swap over at Aunt Pitty Pat's and Chookyblue's annual Secret Santa Christmas Swap, Sweet P over at Coffee Time Stitches is hosting a 3-2-1 Winter Tote Bag Swap that I joined. The Halloween and Christmas swaps are closed now, but the Winter swap is open for sign-ups and promises to be another fun one. Maybe my next project could be for you!

Oh, and don't forget to sign up for my giveaway by clicking HERE!

Happy Stitching!

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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Gracie's Cinch Sack

My name is Mary Grace, and I'm a bagaholic! There, I said it! I feel better now, but I don't think I'm ready to work towards overcoming my addiction. We'll save that for another decade, or century. I think it's genetic or contagious or something like that too, because my little 5 year old Gracie also seems to have this overwhelming urge to possess bags, boxes, containers, anything that can hold stuff. Ever since I made my Summer Solstice cinch sack, which I have used constantly and totally love, Grace has been asking me to make her a bag too. I put her off for a little while by telling her that she needed to design it herself, just like I designed my own bag. She took that to heart and set about drawing the cutest little dog you ever saw in true 5 year old artistic fashion! It's a real hoot, and truly a piece of artwork to be preserved for the ages! I'll show it to you later. I wasn't sure what that had to do with her bag though.

Yesterday I finally was able to clean up my sewing room from previous projects and concentrate on Gracie's bag. She knew exactly what she wanted - a cinch sack just like mine with her dog on the front of it. Okie dokie! We went through my fabric stash and I let her pick out whatever she wanted. Are you ready to see what she picked? Keep in mind...she's only 5!

Fabric for Gracie's Cinch SackOk, so the Paddington Bear fabric will be the bag itself. Perfect background for a fabric dog, don't you think? Uh huh. Me too. And all the other fabrics piled on top are for the different pieces and parts of the dog. Oh my!

Fabric for Gracie's Cinch SackMaybe an overhead view will make them all look like they go together a little better. Well, maybe not! But keep in mind, she's only 5. And she has a vision of the perfect bag. I just hope my handiwork can live up to her vision. We'll see. Wish me luck!

And don't forget to sign up for my giveaway! Click HERE to enter.

Happy Stitching!

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Monday, August 23, 2010

It's Quilting Cats & Dogs - A book review

George the mailman came through once again! As soon as I found out that Lynette Anderson's new book It's Quilting Cats & Dogs was coming out in September, I did a little research and discovered that I could pre-order it from Amazon.com and receive it as soon as it was available. Delivery date was originally the end of August, then it was moved up to August 23 which is today. I was very excited to receive it a bit early, but much to my surprise George dropped it on my front porch on Friday, three days earlier than expected! I've been enjoying it all weekend! Take a look for yourself...

It's Quilting Cats & Dogs - A book reviewTo get free shipping, I had to order one other item so I splurged on a 45 mm Fiskars rotary cutter. That might not sound exciting to you, but when I show you what I've been using for the past 15+ years to cut my fabric, you'll understand! But that's for another day. Back to the book...

Don't you just love the cover of Lynette's book? It's a bag, for heaven's sakes! And you know how much I love love love bags! And that cute little black dog is Hugo with his little bird friend Mr. Bird. If you follow along on Lynette's blog, you know that Hugo and Mr. Bird and Felix the cat are regular topics of conversation. They are just as adorable in their real-life versions as they are in Lynette's fabulous stitcheries.

It's Quilting Cats & Dogs - A book reviewHere they are together in several different forms, drawings, embroidery and appliqué. Lynette's book gives so many fun ideas and directions for making lots of creative things with cats and dogs on them. This little coin purse is one of the items at the top of my own to-do list! And I'm thinking that purse won't be far behind!

It's Quilting Cats & Dogs - A book reviewLynette does lots of stitcheries and appliqués on bags, quilts, needle books, pillows, purses, boxes, pin cushions - and she includes instructions and templates for all of them, along with thread colors for all the embroidery and informative tips on practically every page. The Friends Wall Hanging pictured on this page is done in punch needle embroidery which is fun and easy to do and produces a rug-like texture on weaver's cloth that can then be used as a wall hanging or picture, pillow, tote bag insert or on the top of a box. I've also seen punch needle embroidery made into a brooch or pin, name tag, Christmas ornament or gift tag. Also on my list of things-to-do!

It's Quilting Cat's & Dogs is bursting with colorful pictures of Lynette's creations and instructions so that you can make them for yourself. She even has sections covering materials and equipment, basic techniques, embroidery stitches, and templates for every design in the book. If you love cats and dogs, and don't forget birds, and want some ideas for incorporating them into your projects, this is the book for you. Put it on your Christmas list, or better yet, just click below and order it for yourself from Amazon. Maybe your mailman will surprise you a few days early too!

Happy Stitching!

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Saturday, August 21, 2010

600+ Posts ~ Time to Celebrate!

This giveaway is now closed. To see who the lucky winners are, click HERE.

Number 600 was actually back on August 6th when I showed my Boy's I Spy quilt all finished and ready for my Etsy shop! But I had to wait a bit longer to have a celebration so I could offer these great prizes...

First Prize: A $40 shopping spree at any of the 200 CSN Stores online! I mentioned it back on August 11th after being contacted again by CSN to do another promotion. It's a great deal all around -- my site gets traffic, their site gets traffic, and one of you gets to spend $40 on anything you want! I love it! And I love CSN Stores too, having made several purchases from them myself. You know I wouldn't recommend them if they didn't give me great service and great products!

Second Prize: One of these GIANT pin cushions, made by me using Vickie's great tutorial over at Spun Sugar Quilts.

Giant Pin Cushions

Third Prize: This quilted book cover, made by me from a fun Connecting Threads kit using their Mama's Cottons fabric.

Quilted Book Covers

Fourth and Fifth Prize: Choice of either my Cinch Sack Pattern or my Petite Point Flowers Table Runner Pattern which are available for purchase in my Etsy shop.

Susie's Quilted Cinch Sack - My RJR Fabrics contest entry

Petite Point Flowers Spring Tablerunner

If you're still reading this, I suppose you want to know exactly how you can be in the running for these prizes. Here are some things you can do for entries into this giveaway...do one or two, or do them all, just make sure you leave a separate comment for each one because telling me you did them all in one comment will only get you one entry! And also please make sure I can email you by replying to your comment. If not, please include your email address in your comment. Otherwise your comments won't be included in the drawing!

So here are the rules...remember, one comment for each one you do:
  1. Check out the links at the top of my sidebar and choose the one that interests you the most. Click on it and from the list you find, pick a project or post that appeals to you. Leave a comment telling me which one you like.
  2. Check out my Etsy shop and add it to your favorites by clicking 'Add to favorites', then leave a comment telling me you did this.
  3. Become a follower of Hooked On Needles and leave a comment telling me, or tell me you already are a follower.
  4. Share this giveaway on your blog and leave a comment telling me you did this.
  5. Friend me on Facebook and leave a comment telling me you did this. There is a link on my sidebar that you can use to friend me!
  6. Purchase something from my Etsy shop and leave a comment telling me you did this. This one will earn you 5 entries into this giveaway!
Whew, that's a lot of ways to join in the fun! So do one or five or all of them and I'll draw five winners on August 31st. Maybe you will be one of them!

Happy Stitching!

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Friday, August 20, 2010

Crochet tips and handy helpers

Since posting my multi-part video tutorial on crocheting slippers, it occurred to me that some of my newer readers might benefit from some of the crochet tips I have posted previously. So here are a few links that some of you beginner crocheters, and seasoned as well, might want to check out. You could learn something new that just might help you in your crochet!

Stitch chart - a great chart to remind you of the little details of good crochet technique. I refer to it frequently myself and I've been crocheting for somewhere around 40 years!

Making patterns easy to read - good for any kind of pattern, not just crochet!

Keeping track of rows - good for knit or crochet patterns.

Comfort Cushions for crochet hooks - for those of us with 'hand' issues like carpal tunnel syndrome or arthritis.

Locking stitch markers - a very handy helper indeed for knitting or crochet!

A complete list of all my crochet posts with links to each one. Included are video tutorials, picture tutorials, patterns, ideas, projects I've made and project made by others, information and inspiration.

You can find links to all my previous posts, which number over 600 now, at the top of my sidebar listed under the different categories.

And speaking of such a large number of posts...my next post will be my 600+ post celebration giveaway which you won't want to miss! Prizes will include a little shopping spree as well as a few handmade items and perhaps one of my original patterns too!

Happy Stitching!

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Thursday, August 19, 2010

How to Crochet a Slipper Part 2 - Video Tutorial

Time to finish crocheting those slippers that we started HERE yesterday!

Cozy Crocheted Slippers

HERE are the instructions in case your dog ate the copy you printed yesterday. Just go ahead and print them again!

Now tell me that wasn't the easiest pair of slippers you ever crocheted! I hope you enjoyed these videos and our crochet time together. And I hope you make these for yourself or someone else special for Christmas or any other occasion.

Happy Stitching!

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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

How to Crochet a Slipper ~ Video Tutorial

Winter is coming and chilly floors will be greeting your feet in the mornings soon enough. How about crocheting a pair of cozy slippers for each of your family members before the first frost hits?

Here's a video showing exactly how to follow the instructions which you can print out for yourself HERE.

Cozy Crocheted SlippersDon't they look cozy? The yarn I used is Red Heart Super Saver, just because it's what I had on hand, but I would recommend using a yarn that feels better and is softer, and perhaps non-synthetic like a cotton or wool.

So go to the link above and print out your instructions. Follow the formula for calculating your beginning chain. It might be helpful to read through the instructions before beginning so that you have an idea of how the slippers will come together, or you could watch the videos (part 1 and part 2) before beginning as well.

Here's part 1 to get you started, and I'll post part 2 tomorrow.

The request for this video came from Kari who wanted to make a pair of slippers for her then-fiancé-now-husband, but I'm sure there are plenty of others out there who would love a quick and easy crochet slipper pattern to work up before winter. They would make great gifts for friends and family, and would be a great take-along project for fall sports or while waiting in the pick up line after school!

Happy Stitching!

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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Giant Pin Cushions ~ fun, cute and pretty easy too!

I've been having such fun the past couple days trying out a sew-along pattern from Vickie over at Spun Sugar Quilts. It's for Giant Pin Cushions, and I mean GIANT! They are a full seven inches across and three inches thick! They are what you might call Party Pin Cushions -- big enough for a whole group to use!

Giant Pin CushionsI did them both using fabric from my stash. The one on the right is made from two fat quarters I had. I have enough of each leftover to make several more if I wanted to. They don't take much fabric at all!

Giant Pin CushionsThe one on the left is made from some of the leftovers of Celebrate Spring charms and a little yardage from when I made my Spring Table Runner.

Giant Pin CushionsOne of these will be a giveaway prize when I finally post my 600+ post celebration giveaway soon, along with another item I have made and another nice little prize for some lucky person, so stay tuned for more information on that.

If you would like to make your own Giant Pin Cushion, hop over to Vickie's sidebar and check out her sew-along with all the appropriate links listed there. She has instructions for English Paper Piecing and for machine piecing which is what I used. These are quick and fun projects and a great way to use up little scraps or leftovers from your stash. Plus they would make great gifts for your sewing circle friends or your favorite quilting buddy.

Happy Stitching!

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Monday, August 16, 2010

Piece 'I Spy' Quilt Tops ~ Check!

Don't you love checking items off your to-do list? I sure do! One of the things I wanted to accomplish this summer was to use up the 120 I Spy charm squares I received in Karen's I Spy Block Swap last year. The first quilt, this boy's quilt with fun striped binding, was completed and is now in my Etsy shop, and now I can happily announce that I have completed the other four quilt tops and have even cut the backing for each one!

I Spy Quilt TopsHere's the pile, all colorful and fun!

I Spy Quilt TopsOoooh, I didn't realize how blurry this picture is until just as I'm writing this! Sorry about that. Anyway, you can see the backing fabric folded up on the side with all those fun penguins on it. This is the same fabric that I used for the little squares in the denim sashing.

I Spy Quilt TopsHere's another one that got denim sashing, and the little squares are made with that bright animal print that will also be used for the backing.

I Spy Quilt TopsHere's the pretty pink girly quilt top, with soft pink oxford cloth sashing and barely darker pink squares with little white lines in between. The backing fabric has pink music notes all over it.

I Spy Quilt TopsThis fourth quilt top has wood grain fabric as the sashing and backing, with green leaf fabric for the little squares in between.

I Spy Quilt TopsThe leaf fabric will also be used for the binding on this one.

So that's another project to check off my list for this summer. Whew! I am hoping to long arm quilt these four myself, but I must wait until my favorite long arm quilter has time to teach me how to use her machine. Then I'll have to find time to actually use it and get these done! School is starting again soon and this will be the first year that all three of my children will be in school (college sophomore, 2nd grade and Kindergarten!), so I should be able to find time for this and other things on my list as well. We'll see!

Happy Stitching!

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