Hooked on Needles

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

New Items in my Etsy Shop

Summer seems to have hit us full blast here in New England with high temperatures and humidity - the perfect excuse to hide in the cool basement and sew! I've done just a little of that recently, but mostly have been preparing for a visit from my parents and one of my sisters who live half way across the country. It will be nice to have them here for a few days and be able to spend some time with them.

But I did want to let you know that I have added a few more items to my Etsy shop, so take a peek at what they are below and then pop over there if you are interested.

Wide brim sun hatYou've seen this hat before when I was making those darling little pink sun hats for a friend. This one turned out especially well, but all my children's heads are too big for this hat now. Too bad they have to grow up!

Red Floral cinch sackThis quilted cinch sack is not too big and not too small, and I just love the fabric in it! You have seen this one here before as well, when I was getting ready to make my bag for the Summer Solstice bag contest. It's a great bag, and cinch sacks are fabulous for shopping and doing things where you want to have your hands free.

Pink and black crazy quilted cinch sackHere's another cinch sack you have seen here before too. It's the pink and black crazy quilt bag I made using a block which another blogger sent me as the centerpiece of the bag. I just love how this bag turned out, with 3 pockets on the inside as well as a pink ribbon with a swivel hook to hold you keys!

If you might be interested in any of these items, just click the links above or pop in to my Etsy shop and take a closer look! If you have any questions, please don't be shy! I love hearing from my readers!

Happy Stitching!

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Saturday, June 26, 2010

Charity Quilt is finally complete!

Remember last fall when I showed off that bright and cheerful fabric sent to me by Cori and Myra of Blue Meadow Designs in Canada? Then remember in early spring I showed the design I made with it in my original Stripes and Blocks quilt? And then just a few weeks ago, remember that I had picked it up from the long arm quilter and I just loved what she had done with it?

So I bet you already know what I'm going to say next...and you would be right! I made the binding and put it on the quilt and now it is complete! What a wonderful sense of accomplishment finishing up a project like this. Now I just can't wait to deliver it...but first I must show it off for just a bit! After all this is my very first original design and my very first professionally quilted quilt, so naturally I am quite proud of it!

Charity Quilt Complete!I love all the happy colors!

Charity Quilt Complete!

Charity Quilt Complete!I made the binding out of the two stripe fabrics because I wasn't quite sure I'd have enough of either one to do the entire binding. So I just combined the two.

Charity Quilt Complete!

Charity Quilt Complete!

Charity Quilt Complete!I used Sharon Schamber's method of binding using spray starch and Elmer's glue. You can find the 3 part video series by clicking HERE. I have never been too good at binding a quilt, so I was game to try anything new. This method is just the ticket I needed to perfect binding! And mitering corners the way she shows really does make perfect corners!

Charity Quilt Complete!So after showing this to a few people, I'll take it along with the two pillowcases I made with the leftover fabric down to the shelter and deliver it. What a thrill that will be!

I'm already thinking of my next charity quilt project, but first I have a few other things to finish up. I've been requested to do a video on a particular crocheted slipper pattern, so I'm working up my sample now. I also received my very first custom order on my Etsy shop, for one of my Petite Point Flowers table runners only without points, so as soon as the visit from my out of town family is over next week, I'll get started on that one. I also have quite a few other things on my must-do list and I am hoping this summer will see many of those items checked off. We'll see!

Happy Stitching!

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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

New Charity Links

For those of you who love to knit and crochet, but don't have any special occasion or person to make something for, I've added a few new worthy causes to my Charity Knitting and Crocheting link on my sidebar.

The first is called Knitted Knockers. I was a bit leery to click through to it when it was recommended by a reader, but I assure you it is safe and brilliant and creative and very meaningful to anyone who has lost a breast. There is a link to a pattern towards the bottom of their page under Knit Tips.

The second link is called Binky Patrol which has been on my Charity page for a while. It was recently brought back to my attention because Patternworks is sponsoring a Binky Patrol Challenge now through November 12, 2010 which you can read about by clicking on the link at the Patternworks home page. I haven't decided if I am going to jump in on this one, but thought some of you might be interested in it. It's another very worthy cause, and you could win some great prizes from Patternworks!

You can check out my Charity links page for other worthwhile causes too, and if you know of any others, please forward the information to me (HookedOnNeedles at gmail dot com) so I can add it to my list.

Happy Stitching!

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Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Quick and Easy Fabric Flower

Fabric flowers are so fun to make and use to decorate tote bags, purses, headbands, dresses, brooches, you name it! Here's a simple one you can make with just two charm squares or 5 inch squares of fabric and a button.

But before I show it to you, I must ask that you pop over to RJR Fabric's facebook album and vote for the fabric flower you like best. I'm hoping of course that you like mine best, but if you like someone else's better, that's ok too! Really! I understand! So all you have to do to vote is click on the picture of your favorite fabric flower and then click LIKE. Feel free to leave a comment for that picture as well...everyone loves comments!

So here's the fabric flower I created for this contest...

Fabric FlowerI used two charm squares from the Outback line by Jinny Beyer for RJR Fabrics. I plan to use the remainder of the charm pack to make a purse or tote bag to which I will attach this fabric flower. I am, after all, in desperate need of yet another tote bag! Ha!

So here's how I made this flower...I set my straight stitch to the longest stitch length on my sewing machine and stitched an X on each of the charms, starting and ending each line of the X in a corner. I drew up the bobbin thread from both sides of each line as far as possible and tied a knot to secure the gathers that were made. Make sure to tie the bobbin thread and the top thread together on both ends of each stitching or your gathers will all fall off the other end! Then I primped and fluffed and fussed with the two gathered squares until I liked how they looked layered together, the green one being the leaves and the pink one being the flower. I tacked the two together in the middle and added the shiny gold button in the middle. This would also be pretty with a yo yo made of a third charm in the middle instead of, or in addition to, the button.

And that's all there is to making a quick and easy fabric flower for your next project!

Now don't forget to visit the Fabric Flowers photo album on RJR Fabric's facebook page and cast your vote by LIKE-ing your favorite fabric flower!

Happy Stitching!

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Monday, June 21, 2010

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle - More Tote Bags!

Happy first day of summer! It's 87 degrees Fahrenheit, a little humid and very sunny here today so it's feeling like summer too! My husband has been enjoying watching all the World Cup soccer games while he is recuperating from his recent ordeal, which means I've been able to escape the heat and spend time in my nice cool sewing room in the basement. I have finally completed the first project I set out to do after my recent clean out and just before he went into the hospital and everything was put on hold. Feels good to be sewing again, and to have my husband well on his way to being healthy once again!

In my cleaning out process, I discovered 10 upholstery samples remaining from a huge pile I had received many years ago from a friend who worked at a local furniture store. I used all the others to make dozens of tote bags and pillows of all sizes. THIS is the one I had made for myself which I love and use anytime I travel. But these last 10 have been sitting in the bottom of a bin just waiting to finally be made into something useful. I couldn't ignore them any longer.

I paired them up and made a large, sturdy, lined tote bag out of each pair of high end upholstery samples. The lining is made out of sturdy drapery lining fabric from an old pair of draperies I remade into valances and matching pillows for a friend. Yards and yards of such good fabric just had to be saved and put to good use! So these bags are all made from fabric that would otherwise have been thrown out. What a shame that would have been!

Blue Floral Tote Bag Side 1Here's side one of the first bag I'm calling Blue Floral. The bag measures 13 1/2 inches wide along the bottom seam and 14 inches tall along the side seams. The bottom is boxed and measures 6 inches deep.

Blue Floral Tote Bag Side 2This is the other side of Blue Floral.

Cream Stripes Tote Bag side 1Here's side one of the second bag which I'm calling Cream Stripes. This bag measures 16 inches wide along the bottom seam and 14 1/2 inches tall along the side seams. The bottom is boxed and measures 6 inches deep.

Cream Stripes Tote Bag side 2And this is the other side of Cream Stripes.

Dark Flowers Tote Bag side 1Here's side one of the third bag which I'm calling Dark Flowers. This bag measures 16 inches wide along the bottom seam and 14 1/2 inches tall along the side seams. The bottom is boxed and measures 6 inches deep.

Dark Flowers Tote Bag side 2This is the other side of Dark Flowers.

White Swirly Tote Bag side 1And this is side one of the fourth bag which I'm calling White Swirlies. This bag measures 15 1/2 inches wide along the bottom seam and 14 inches tall along the side seams. The bottom is boxed and measures 6 inches deep.

White Swirly Tote Bag side 2And this is the other side of White Swirlies.

Inside view of all tote bagsAll four bags have the same drapery lining fabric on the inside and each one has a pocket on one side just like you see here. The top edge is triple stitched for added strength and to hold the handles in place. Just imagine how much project stuff you could pack into one of these bags to take along on your next trip!

These bags will be up on my Etsy shop shortly, selling for $15 each plus shipping.

Are you wondering what happened to the other two upholstery samples I rescued from the bottom of the bin? There were 10, remember? Well, I made those into a tote bag too, just like the four you see here. Then my friend Jane, whom you have met before, came for a visit. I think she's becoming as much of a bag lady as I am! So, you guessed it, Jane has a new tote bag!

Happy Stitching!

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Saturday, June 19, 2010

M & J Trimming

Continuing with my recent trip to New York City from my previous post, we made our way to the cute little shop we had passed in the taxi ride from Penn Station to our hotel in Times Square a few hours earlier. This little shop is called M & J Trimming, and really does look like a nice little shop from the outside. Here's a picture of it from the street...

Doesn't that look like a fun little shop to spend some time in? Some buttons, some trim, a fancy selection of bridal items, a few other pretty little things to look at.

These are the displays in the front windows...this one showing some of the lace and trims and tassels...

...and this one showing a colorful array of buttons and rhinestones and other shiny things. Just enough to suck you in!

The outside of the shop was totally deceiving! This wall of buttons is what we saw as soon as we walked in, and my jaw just dropped to the floor! It was quite a while before I could pick it up again! This place just went on and on!

Displays of all sorts of fun things in so many shapes and colors and materials, it was really so overwhelming to see all of it in one place!

This is just a small part of another wall of buttons...something for every taste and style!

Need a boa? How about a pretty flower accessory for a headband or tote bag or dress? They've got it all!

This shot is looking from about waist height towards the ceiling up a very small portion of just one of the many walls of trims, in every color, design, style, width, weight you can imagine. If you're looking for trim of any kind and you don't find it here, it doesn't exist!

Need any cording? And I really mean any! They've got it all!

If you've narrowed down your choice to white, you still have a long way to go to pick the perfect lace, ruffle, beading, tassel, twill, or trim for your project. This was only part of the white wall!

Rows upon rows of every color, shape, size and style of trim...unbelievable!

How about a closure, or frog as we called them as kids? My grandmother used to use these kinds of closures on capes and coats she made for me and my 6 sisters. M&J had them in other colors too!

Need a lace insert or appliqué for a dress? Take your pick!

The wall of embroidered appliqués was enormous and so colorful! This is the one that caught my attention right off the bat though! I couldn't pass it up, so I bought one! Just one! Isn't that funny? I have no idea what I will do with it, but I just loved it, so I bought it!

Buttons? Ribbon? Twisted cord? Yep, they've got it!

More colorful trim? Yes indeed, that too!

This is just a small part of their ribbon selection...can you believe it?

So what do you think about M&J Trimming? Nice little shop, just as I thought when I drove by in the taxi? That, and so much more! I looked around the entire shop for something I could bring home for a future project or two, but they had so many different varieties of everything that I just couldn't make up my mind. It was a bit frustrating, to tell the truth!

I settled on that Animal Cracker applique, and a nice selection of big bright colorful buttons which I'll show you once I have a chance to take a picture. If you're looking for some little something to finish off a project, you might want to cruise around M&J Trimming's website where I am sure you will find exactly what you are looking for, and so much more! And if you ever find yourself wondering around New York City with some time on your hands, be sure to find that cute little store front and check them out in person. You won't be sorry, I guarantee it!

Happy Stitching!

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Armani Fabric anyone?

If you saw my previous post, you might recall that my husband was very sick and in the hospital. I am happy to report that he came home yesterday, after spending 10 days there, and is recovering slowly. He is just so glad to be home and feeling better, and we are so happy to have him home too!

So now back to business...I mean fun! Remember that trip to New York City that Elizabeth and I took a few weeks ago? I mentioned it here, here and here. Seems like such a distant memory after these past 10 days, but it really did happen and we really did have a great time.

Today I thought I'd show you one of our stops in the garment district on the first day we were there. I had never heard of the place, but as you will see, they carry some pretty high end fabric...

Hybiscus in New York CityBut first, we found pots and pots and pots of these gorgeous hibiscus flowers growing in the median strips on our walk from our hotel (Hotel Edison on 47th which I highly recommend) into the garment district just a few blocks away. They were so huge and healthy looking and such a nice surprise of greenery among so much concrete and glass and metal.

B&J FabricsWe were not looking for this place, but decided to stop in anyway to see what we might see in a fabric store in New York City. Perhaps a nice selection of Moda or Henry Glass? Or maybe some of the wonderful new designs out of Australia that I never seem to find in my more local fabric shops? Silly me! It's not called the garment district for no reason! Of course they didn't carry quilting fabric!

B&J FabricsThere were rows and rows and rows that looked just like this, with bolts upon bolts of super high end garment fabric in every color, shade and fiber that you can imagine.

B&J FabricsYep, that's Armani fabric from Italy at $82.95 per yard! This store was way out of my league! But super fun to poke around in!

B&J FabricsChain mail anyone? It's only $300 for a piece barely larger than a fat quarter! Uh, no thanks! Not for me!

We didn't spend too much time in this store since we had been up since 3:00 in the morning and this was now somewhere around noon and we had already walked almost the entire distance that we paid a taxi to drive us earlier from Penn Station to our hotel! So we giggled at a few more high priced labels and really funky looking fabrics, and then hit the streets again to find what we were really looking for...M&J Trimming on 6th Avenue between 37th and 38th Streets, just about a block away.

M&J was much more my kind of store, and next time I'll show you why it was so hard to leave it! Fun!

Happy Stitching!

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Thursday, June 17, 2010

Crocheted hats for the babies - Hubby's on the mend

What a whirlwind week and a half this has been with my husband in the hospital! I appreciate so much all the well-wishes and prayers for his speedy recovery, and all the emails and comments left in the past week which I will respond to as time permits. He is still in the hospital, but so much better than he was a week ago. He should be home sometime this weekend. Yippee!

I just wanted to pop in here quickly and let you know that my hands have been busy while waiting and watching at the hospital. I have no pictures of the actual items I made, but if you look HERE, you will see what it is. My crocheted baby hats have been a hit at the nursery where I have dropped off quite a few over the past week. I brought my little project bag with me every day with whatever leftover baby yarn I had in my cabinet. A few times that I stopped at the nursery on my way out of the hospital at night, there were fresh new babies just waiting for a little homemade coziness to keep their little heads warm. So I got to see my hats being put on the little ones. That was a thrill, and a nice little pick-me-up after a long day in critical care with a very sick husband.

Thank God he will recover and we'll all eventually get back to our usual routines. I'll be able to show you the tote bags that are almost complete and ready to list in my Etsy shop, and I'll be able to make the binding for my charity quilt that I am so thrilled with. Lots to look forward to!

Enjoy the rest of the week, and especially enjoy your good health!

Happy Stitching!

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