Hooked on Needles

Friday, April 29, 2011

School Charity Banner ~ Top with Words

This school banner is really taking shape now. I've decided that fusible webbing is my best friend! As long as I don't try to iron it with the wrong side up of course! For extensive machine appliqué like I've used in this project, there really is no substitute. Fusible webbing allows me to place each shape of fabric exactly where I want it and know that it will stay put while I sew around the edges.

The top part of the banner is what I'll be showing you today. You'll really be able to tell what the final project will look like. Here you go...

School Charity Banner ~ Top with WordsThe angled roof line with the arch in the middle is a very distinctive architectural element at the front door of our school, so I wanted to use that in this banner. The top part of the banner is the same Kona white as the blocks, pieced together in the middle to get the width needed for the banner. Then the straight blue strips are just 1 1/2 inch strips cut from the Kona blue and fused on at an angle. For the arch, I used the old metal ruler pinned at one end and a sharp pencil held at the right markings and then spun around on the paper side of the fusible webbing method of drawing the arch! Then I cut out a rectangle with the arch in it, fused it onto the blue fabric, and then cut out the arch. I found this much easier than trying to cut the arch from the fusible webbing and then from the fabric and then trying to fuse them together. It used up a little more of the blue fabric than I would have liked, but the arch came out much more even than it would have otherwise.

School Charity Banner ~ Top with WordsThen it was time for the letters. I played around on the computer with fonts and font sizes until I found just what I was looking for...letters that would look good and be easy to read and also easy to appliqué! Simple, in other words! I printed them out and traced them onto the fusible webbing, making sure I was tracing them mirror image so they would be right when put on the fabric. Then I fused this piece of webbing to a big piece of the blue fabric and let it cool.

School Charity Banner ~ Top with WordsAfter cutting out all the fused letters, I laid them out on the banner top. Just how I had pictured it in my head! Yes indeed!

School Charity Banner ~ Top with WordsThen it was time for the fun part...I peeled the paper backing off the letters and pinned them all into place for their trip over to the ironing board and their date with the hot iron.

School Charity Banner ~ Top with WordsMake sure you remove your pins before you fuse shapes to fabric or the pin marks will remain in the shapes. I learned that when making my spring table runner a while ago!

School Charity Banner ~ Top with WordsI used my clear cutting ruler as a guide for the placement of the letters so they are all 1/2 inch from the blue strip.

School Charity Banner ~ Top with WordsAfter fusing all the letters into place, I worked a blue zig zag stitch around each of them in the same manner as the black I did around the pictures in the lower part of the banner.

Next time, I'll show you the pretty fabric I bought at Appleberry Fabrics just up the highway from me for the backing of this banner, and hopefully the finished project as well!

Happy Stitching!

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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

More than a Sneak Peek ~ School Charity Banner

Lest you think all I've been doing lately is enjoying the spring weather and eating chocolate bunnies, I thought it might be a good idea to pop in here quickly and show you what I've accomplished since the last sneak peek of this quilting project almost two weeks ago.

If you recall, the last time all I had to show was a pile of fusible webbing with pencil tracings all over it and piles of fabrics with the webbing fused onto it. Take a look at what that has become...

School Charity BannerCarolers and a Christmas tree...

School Charity Banner...canned goods...

School Charity Banner...a cow (yep, it's the cow from the Heifer Project logo!)...

School Charity Banner...and many other fabric representations of the charities for which my children's school has raised money this year. You can see in the picture above that some of the blocks have already been fused and some are still awaiting their date with the hot iron. They also are not in their final order for the banner.

School Charity BannerAfter all the pieces for each picture were fused onto the white background fabric blocks, black zig zag outlining was done on every piece of fabric.

School Charity BannerThe less complicated designs also received an additional background of a light gray circle.

School Charity BannerEvery stop and start of the black thread was pulled through to the back side and tied off and then threaded under a few stitches before being clipped off. This project took more time and used more thread than I ever imagined!

School Charity BannerThis block in particular was quite labor intensive, but it is one of my favorites. It will have a few embellishments added to it before the banner is complete too. There will be a little red button sewn onto the very top of the baseball hat and a little twisted yellow ribbon stitched to the front of the hat. The bandanna fabric you see peeking out from under the hat will also be tied into a knot and stitched on just at the base of the hat so it looks like the bandanna is tied onto the head. Hats on Day is a fund raiser for children with cancer.

School Charity BannerI was amazed at how much better the black outlining made the designs look. I think it really makes them pop!

School Charity BannerAfter all the outlining was finished, I trimmed the blocks down to 8 1/2 inches and sewed on the sashing so that it looks like windows. In this picture above, the charities represented are Christmas gifts for St. Anna Parish to give to local families in need, Jump for the Heart which is a program through the American Heart Association benefiting heart patients, the Heifer Project, and the Christmas caroling the school children did at one of our local assisted living facilities.

School Charity BannerThese charities are: the Montachusett Interfaith Hospitality Network which I have mentioned here before when I made my charity quilt for them, Operation Rice Bowl for Catholic Relief Services, Pasta for Pennies which is a program of the Leukemia Lymphoma Society raising money for children and adults with cancer, and then Hats on Day which I've already mentioned.

School Charity BannerAnd these are the last four charities represented in this banner: collecting canned goods for Matthew 25 society of St. Anna Parish for needy families, Clean Water for All which is a program that builds wells in Liberia, Project R.O.S.E. which is Reach Out to Save the Elderly, and Hearts for Heat which was a bake sale fund raiser where our local oil company, Fraticelli Oil, matched the money raised to help seniors in need of heating assistance.

School Charity BannerSo there is the bottom part of the banner all finished, except for the little embellishments I still need to sew on. I have been working on the top part of the banner which will hopefully look like the roof line and arch of the school entrance. So far it's coming out pretty well. And it will also say the school name and refer to the theme of the event for which this banner is being made. It will say St. Anna School says YES! So still a little work to do, but I am pleased with the results so far.

And just so you know, we have not been enjoying beautiful spring weather here lately except for an hour or two here and there just to tease us! It's been cold and wet and dreary, which is perfect weather to keep me happy in my sewing room! As for eating the chocolate bunnies...well, I might have had a few!

Happy Stitching!

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Monday, April 25, 2011

Have you ever...

pressed fusible webbing with the wrong side up?

Well, have you?

Oh, you first want to know if *I* have?


Maybe I have, maybe I haven't.

But just in case you do it, by accident of course, I just thought you might like to know that if you let your iron cool off, then gently wash the plate with a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser and a little warm water, you can remove that nasty sticky stuff very easily.

Oh, do I sound like I'm speaking from experience?

Well, maybe I am, and maybe I'm not.

I'll never tell!

Happy Stitching!

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Friday, April 22, 2011

Easter Mug Rug Swap gifts

Mary sent me the nicest package of Easter goodies recently as part of Aunt Pitty Pat's Easter Mug Rug swap. You may remember seeing the gifts I sent to her as part of this same swap a while ago. Click HERE if you'd like to see them again.

Now check out what Mary sent me...

Easter Mug Rug Swap giftsI love a good mug and this one meets all the requirements for a good mug...it's pretty, it feels good to hold, it has a thin edge around the top, and it holds just enough to satisfy but not too much!

Easter Mug Rug Swap giftsDon't you love that fabric on the mug rug? And the cute little spoon holder is a nice touch!

Easter Mug Rug Swap giftsMy kids made short work of the Reese's Pieces that made up the 'carrot' and I have already enjoyed quite a few hot drinks in my pretty new Easter mug!

Thanks Mary for the gifts, and thanks to Aunt Pitty Pat for hosting yet another fun swap!

Happy Stitching!

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Thursday, April 14, 2011

Noah's Ark Crocheted Blanket is coming along

All the crocheting for the Noah's Ark Baby Blanket is now complete and just the sewing is left to do. Here's a little peek at this fun project as it sits on my kitchen island right this very moment...

Noah's Ark Crocheted Blanket is coming alongLooks like quite a mess, don't you think?

Noah's Ark Crocheted Blanket is coming alongBut under all those strings, can you see a happy little baby blanket?

Noah's Ark Crocheted Blanket is coming alongWhen I'm doing a project that will require finishing work at the end such as this one where I have to sew pieces together, I like to leave long tails at the beginning and the end of each piece and use that yarn to do the finishing work. It is already attached and it's the same color as the piece being attached, so in the end it saves me time and effort. Once all the pieces are attached, all that will remain to be done is the detail of eyes on all of the animals, beak on the bird and smile on the fish. Oh yes, and doorknob on the door and window lines on the window...can't forget those!

This pattern uses very basic crochet stitches and would be appropriate for anyone who has mastered basic stitches and following crochet instructions. It is available for purchase as a downloaded PDF file from Annie's Attic by clicking HERE.

Also I should tell you that I did not use the yarn recommended in the pattern. Instead, I brought the pattern with me and picked out similar colors of Red Heart Super Saver yarn for the colors I did not already have at home. For some of the pieces of this blanket, only a small amount of yarn is needed, so I used yarn from my stash when I could. As long as the yarn you use is all the same material, such as cotton or acrylic or wool, then you should be fine with mixing and matching brands.

You can also change the color scheme of this blanket and really make it your own by using completely different colors for the different parts of the picture. This would be a great stash busting project!

My video tutorial for the stitch used in the pattern for the actual blanket part of the design where the waves are in blue and white might be helpful. It's a double crochet decrease and once you see it done, you will realize it's not as difficult as the written instruction makes it seem. Click HERE to see the video.

I'll share more pictures of this fun project once it is finished, which should be soon!

Happy Stitching!

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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Sneak Peek

This winter has been a real whopper here at our house for sickness among the kids. If it's not one, it's the other, and once one gets over one thing, the other gets it and the first one gets something else! I should have gotten ibuprofen and that yummy pink stuff on tap this year. I'm sure it would have been much less expensive and would surely have saved me lots of trips to the pharmacy! Ugh is all I have to say about it. Come on spring!

But in between picking them up from school early and running them to the doctor for throat cultures and ear checks, I have kept my hands pretty busy. You already saw the pink cancer walk bags that were a custom order for one of my daughter's friends who will be walking in May. And you also saw the major clean out and move in of Grace's new bedroom which involved some serious physical labor and lots of trash bags!

The bright blocks baby blanket was another project delivered recently, and another crochet project is in the works which I'll show you very soon.

But today I have a little sneak peek of a quilting project I am working on which needs to be finished by the first week in May. You might recognize some of the symbols and graphics that will be featured in this project...

Fusible applique project in progressFabrics all chosen and laid out...nice to have a substantial fat quarter stash to pick through for a project like this!

Fusible applique project in progressDesigns traced onto fusible webbing.

Fusible applique project in progressFusible webbing ironed onto the backs of the chosen fabrics...

Fusible applique project in progress...and more of the same...

Fusible applique project in progress...and a few more.

So far, I've gotten all the pieces cut out and laid out and I'm ready to start ironing and working on the machine appliqué. When I get a little further into this project, I'll share another update! In the meantime, I'll keep working on this during the day while the kids are in school, and my crochet project in the evenings after they go to bed, for as long as I can stay awake! For right now though, I'm thinking a little nap would be just the thing on a cold rainy Wednesday.

Happy Stitching!

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Monday, April 11, 2011

Grace is moving up ~ A Bedroom Makeover of sorts

It's amazing how a family situation can change so quickly, or at least it seems to be quick, but in fact this change has been many years in the making.

When we moved to this house eleven years ago, all the walls were white and I decorated each room, one at a time, as time and money allowed. Our older daughter's bedroom was the second room I added color to and that was during the summer of 2001. We had such fun fixing it up and making it her own, a room that any young girl would love to spend time in.

Well, she is all grown and gone now, and it was time for her little sister to strike out (of her brother's room) on her own and move up in the world, to her own bedroom! So exciting for a six-year-old with lots of creativity and imagination! So this is what I've been working on for the past week or so...serious cleaning out, cleaning up, and just plain cleaning! And then moving Grace from one room to the other. A job well done, I would say. Take a look...

Bedroom Makeover for GraceStanding in the doorway.

Bedroom Makeover for GraceA little further in.

Bedroom Makeover for GraceFrom the corner opposite the doorway.

Bedroom Makeover for GraceFrom the corner by the closet.

Bedroom Makeover for GraceA bed fit for a princess.

Bedroom Makeover for GraceA dresser and bulletin board just waiting for Grace's personal touch.

Bedroom Makeover for GraceThe perfect spot for a tea party with her American Girl doll! That little white cabinet hanging on the wall held bathroom supplies when I purchased it, but I tossed all of its contents and turned it into the perfect hanging wardrobe for doll clothes and hats and shoes and other little accessories! The towel bar on the bottom is perfect for hanging all the little clothes.

Now just so you don't get the wrong idea, that I'm some kind of super woman who could paint and decorate a room like this in a week, besides all the cleaning out from one resident and moving in of another, let me just say that the painting and decorating of this room as it is now is exactly how it was done back in 2001. None of that has changed. And I hope it never does. It is my very favorite room in the house as far as wall color and decorating goes! I just love it! It was fun to do too, and I did it all myself.

The little white shelves that are around the room between the yellow and blue wall sections are made with pine 1 by 4s which I cut to fit flat on each section of the walls, then I added more 1 by 4s with mitered edges on top of the flat pieces and sticking out from the wall so that little toys and knick knacks could be displayed around the room. I know exactly when I was working on cutting all that wood too...it was September 11, 2001. I was in the house all by myself, working away on this project when my husband called from work and asked if I heard the news. He told me what was going on and I decided that I would wait until I stopped for lunch before I turned on the television. Not getting my work done was not going to change whatever was happening out there in the world. So at lunchtime, I fixed myself a sandwich and sat down in front of the television to see what was going on, something I never do on an ordinary day. But of course this was no ordinary day. It was hard to get back to my project after lunch, but I got it done, all the time wondering what had become of this world. Well, at least this little bedroom was a happy and cheerful place for now.

The curtains were made from fabric that we picked out even before choosing the wall colors and it matches perfectly. I also made a duvet cover from coordinating fabric, but Grace decided she wanted to keep using her Disney princess quilt instead, which is a good idea because I noticed the cover had faded a lot over the years when I took it down to wash it. But the pillows on the bed are the original decorative pillows I made from all the same fabrics as the curtains and the bed cover, and they still look pretty good.

I also made the white box shelves over the desk for Elizabeth to display her artwork. She decided to leave those two pieces of art for Grace to enjoy since they fit so nicely in the shelves and she doesn't have room for them anyway!

And the afghan hanging over the end of the bed is the one I crocheted for Grace a few years ago using one of my favorite crochet stitches for an afghan or baby blanket, the woven stitch. You can see my video tutorial for that stitch by clicking HERE, and make a cozy afghan like that for yourself!

So that's what I've been up to here at home lately. Next time I'll show you a project I am doing for the school that my children attend. It's a quilty kind of project that I am thoroughly enjoying, when I have the time to work on it. I hope you have been productive lately too!

Happy Stitching!

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Monday, April 4, 2011

Quilted Cancer Walk Backpack Bags

Whew! It's been a whole week since I've added anything new here at Hooked On Needles! Now please don't think I've been sitting around twiddling my thumbs. Oh no, not me! In fact my thumbs, and all my other fingers, have been quite busy in my cozy little sewing room assembly-line-sewing these bags...

Quilted Cancer Walk Backpack BagsIsn't that a lovely Pile of Pink?

Quilted Cancer Walk Backpack BagsFive quilted, lined, adjustable strapped and pocketed backpack bags...

Quilted Cancer Walk Backpack Bags...each with an appliquéd pink Breast Cancer Ribbon on the front...

Quilted Cancer Walk Backpack Bags...and a strip to hold pink ribbons bearing the names of people who have fought against this disease. I put just one on for an example.

Quilted Cancer Walk Backpack BagsYou can see here on the side that the straps are adjustable so the bags can be made comfortable for someone who is quite small or quite large. I have never met the lady who asked me to make these and who will be walking with her friends, so it was necessary to make them adjustable so anyone could use them.

Quilted Cancer Walk Backpack BagsPretty, don't you think?

Quilted Cancer Walk Backpack BagsA double drawstring closes the top of each bag.

Quilted Cancer Walk Backpack BagsInside are three pockets to help keep stuff organized, along with a swivel clip on a ribbon to help keep track of keys.

Quilted Cancer Walk Backpack BagsA close-up of the name ribbons...I suppose I could have written a name on this example. It would have been my mother-in-law's name as she died of cancer just about 8 years ago.

Quilted Cancer Walk Backpack BagsAnd here you can see the diagonal quilting I did on the back side of each bag. The fabric design made it easy to stitch straight lines either horizontal and vertical as I did on the fronts, or diagonal as you see here.

Three of these bags are available in my Etsy shop. They make wonderful backpacks for a cancer walk or you can use them for an everyday purse just to show your support for those dealing with this disease. The price for one bag is $40 plus shipping.

Happy Stitching!

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