Jul 10

Patchwork Quilts – My Passion

Patchwork QuiltPatchwork Quilts are formed the same as any quilt with three layers; the top sheet, a layer of batting and a layer of backing material and then they are hand or machine stitched together to form a quilt. The unique and beautiful thing about patchwork quilts is the top layer. Various small shapes and colors of fabric are all pieced together to make one large piece. This form of quilting has been around for many, many years and I remember reading where a quilted funeral tent canopy was found in the tomb of an early Egyptian Queen who lived about 980 BC. During the early Middle Ages two heavy outer fabrics, quilted with soft padding between them were worn as body armor by soldiers. It not only provided warmth, but also aided in protecting them. For warmth, in the 14th century people would use lamb’s wool, feathers, moss or even grass to fill the patchwork quilts. We don’t realize how lucky we are to be able to run down to a quilt or fabric shop and choose from a great assortment of material and batting.

QuiltAlthough ancient history is extremely fascinating the part I’m more interested in is the 18th and 19th centuries when the art of quilt making was brought to America by the Pilgrims. When they first arrived in America they dealt with poor land conditions, harsh weather and very little money. When material items would start to wear out, they were repaired or reused to make beautiful patchwork quilts. More than just quilts were made; they would make tents, mattresses, clothing, flooring and even coverings for protecting their crops. Living then was never easy, so they started quilting bees as a way to enjoy a social gathering while they were working on their patchwork quilts. Young girls were taught to quilt at an early age and as soon as they learned how, they start compiling a dowry and as soon as she was engaged, she would start on her Bridal Quilt.

Memory QuiltI’m so glad that a quilting history built on necessity and thrift has stood the test of time and is still enjoyed and treasured today. I have a couple patchwork quilts that my mother made for me and I treasure them dearly. She would use material from our old dresses and Dad’s shirts and lovingly hand feather stitch every piece together. Maybe that’s why I enjoy creating them. My sister does beautiful machine embroidered squares of everything from birds, all kinds of wildlife, flowers and etc and I then incorporate them into our own patchwork quilts. It’s a great way that we stay in touch and enjoy a craft together. It’s kind of interesting to think that Patchwork Quilts were originally started to make use of left-over scraps of fabric so nothing was wasted and today we take full bolts of fabric and cut them into small squares or pieces of fabric only to stitch them back together to make one.


Lanette Herrmann is co-founder of Something and More Hand Crafted Gifts, http://www.somethingandmore.com, and has enjoyed woodcrafting and other types of crafts for many years. She started out learning how to braid rugs with her grandmother. She got her love of hand stitching and weaving rugs from her mother. She also enjoys quilting, using the scroll saw and many other woodworking tools. When she isn’t working at her full time job, Lynn’s favorite pastime is spending time with her family.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com

Photos: 1: Bethany Carlson, 2: Brano Hudak, 3: Jonathan M

Jul 09

Craft Show Preparation

Lemon Verbena Soap from White Fox Bath & Body

Lemon Verbena Soap from White Fox Bath & Body

You might feel that it is up to the organizer to promote the show and guarantee a large attendance. Yes, they can let local newspapers or media know, and they can get their name out on websites with craft show listings. If you are lucky, they are an established show that has a reputation of bringing in the buying public year after year. However, there are things you can do for craft show preparation. If you are willing to make crafts and sell them without being paid for your time, aren’t you also willing to get the word out, so that you can increase the odds of someone coming to buy your creative treasures?

Use Handouts to Boost Attendance

Organizers may give you flyers with the basic information about your upcoming show. If not, create some of your own and try to get the biggest exposure for each copy. Instead of handing one to a single friend, pass it around at the next Meetup gathering you attend, so all can see and record it on their calendars. Ask them to spread the word or tell their friends. Sometimes you can get the Meetup organizer to allow you to post it on their Meetup site, for even more exposure. Remember you aren’t selling anything; you are just promoting an event. Instead of handing a flyer to a single co-worker, how about posting it on your employer’s bulletin board at work for all to see? If you or your family members belong to a school, church, business, recreation center, organization, social club, etc. have everyone pitch in and get the word out. Think of it as a more direct use of social media and ask your children, if appropriate, to help get the word out. All of this can get you excited about your craft show preparation, as if you are doing your best to make it a success.

Alert Customers and/or Followers About the Show

If you keep track of local customers, that is, those who have already purchased items from you, don’t forget to invite them to the event. Give them a reason to come with the enticement of a discount coupon or send them a photo of some of the new items you have added to your list of creative talents. That way they will know there are new things to see. Sometimes you have followers instead of customers on your website. Keep local followers, especially those from Colorado, informed of upcoming shows and send out reminders as the day of the event approaches. It’s time for that social media and/or website to earn its keep! Email nearby Etsy followers and post the craft shows you will be attending on Etsy as part of each craft show preparation.

Preview Your Display

Now that everyone you know is aware of your upcoming show, how do you go about your craft show preparation? Set up your booth in your house to see what it looks like from the customer’s point of view. Last year I hung my little stuffed animals from three tiers of rope between 2 posts as usual and noticed that I didn’t really see the animals because of all the stuff in the background. I took a pillowcase and placed it between the posts, so there was a solid white, non-distracting background and my customers could focus on my animals. Many craft show setups have you back to back with another crafter. If they have high shelves or shiny lights it could keep potential customers from focusing on you and your art. If you can afford it and have the space, creating a backdrop can keep your customers focused on your art.

Have Flyers and Business Cards On Hand

When I go to a show as a buyer, and it has over a hundred booths, I’m a little fried by the end and don’t want to go back for whatever I missed. That is why a business card stating what you do or a postcard with a photo of your craft is so important. It may not guarantee a sale, but it could get you mentioned in a blog. Likewise, an explanation of your craft and how or why you do it can be a way to engage with your customers without any hard selling. Curiosity might just get him or her talking and buying.

Display Prices

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve looked at a crafter’s artwork and turned away because the price was nowhere to be seen. If I like something, I want to know what it costs. I don’t want to think that the crafter gives me one price and then sells the same thing for a different price to someone else. Tags are cheap and labels are easy to print out. Price tags look more professional, as if you’ve spent time on your display. Be careful, however, that they don’t outshine your art. I was once at a show and looked at a jewelry display of naturally colored stones in white, beiges and grays. The only thing I saw was the name of the business on bright blue signs throughout the display. The tags had prices, but they literally outshone the jewelry.

Make your Show Prosperous

There are many ways to make your craft show experience a prosperous one. Even if organizers do their best, you can’t always be assured it will be well attended. There might be other shows or a Broncos game that same weekend. Don’t waste your time stewing. Use it to network with other crafters to find out about better shows and better experiences. Let them critique your display. Take photos of your display, so you can take a good critical look at it later or post it in a blog. Note displays that you like and try to figure out why it appeals to you. Is it the product, the color, the use of space and overall organization, the signage?

Practice Good Crafter Etiquette

It might seem obvious, but part of craft show preparation is to practice good crafter etiquette. Yes, it is tacky to eat in front of customers. They are less likely to engage with you, if they think they are interrupting your meal. There is always a lull during a show. That is when you can grab something to eat or sneak a bite. Likewise, there are crafters, who do their craft throughout the show. I go to a show to sell my work and, since I’m not selling teaching guides or classes, I like to take a more active role in engaging with my customers. Do whatever brings in the most sales for you, but don’t be afraid to try both ways. Mingle, converse, network, but never at the expense of another crafter, who just might be selling like crazy. Just listen and learn.


Copyright 2015 by Linda K Murdock. Linda Murdock owns her own business, has written 4 books and blogs about Colorado and its crafty people. To find more tips on craft show preparation, read her full article at http://lindakmurdock.com/

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com

Jul 09

How to Choose Yarn for Your Next Project

Yarn and NeedlesHow to choose yarn for your next project, whether for knitting or crocheting, can be an overwhelming task. Your local yarn shop has a vast array of colors and textures. There must be a logical way to narrow down the choices. Focus on your particular yarn project or pattern and its function. Yarn shop staff should be able to direct you to the best yarn for what you are trying to do. But you might want to figure out for yourself how to choose yarn for your next project and here are some ideas that may help.

Is safety an issue? If you’re going to do a hot pad as a beginning fiber artist, then you want to avoid acrylics, which will catch fire. If you are making a baby blanket, the roughness of hemp and itchiness of some wools is not such a great idea for either your hands or the baby. And if you are making stuffed animals or using a knobby or beaded yarn, make sure there are no choking hazards that may come off with vigorous use.

Is your item going to be used seasonally? That is, is this a summer frock or a heavy-duty winter item like a scarf, blanket or mittens? This will tell you whether or not you need a light weight or heavy weight yarn. Another factor to consider is whether the yarn wicks away moisture like wool or absorbs it like silk. Although acrylic is warm enough for winter wear, it’s not very warm when it gets wet, and it doesn’t breath or wick away moisture.

Clothes require other considerations, like those time consuming laundry concerns. Even though wool and cotton hold their shape well, they both shrink and wool can felt into a solid piece of fabric. Over time cotton has a tendency to stretch out. Acrylic is perhaps your best bet for washing and drying. Most of the other yarns will take a little more work, especially in the drying department.

Even what you would think is an easy decision – that of color – seems overwhelming with all the choices. Remember that a multi-colored variegated yarn will not show your difficult or dimensional stitches at all. If you want to do cables, then a solid, lighter color is best. Fancy yarns with lots of texture are also difficult for showing off your fancy stitches, not to mention they are challenging to work into a piece. Yarn that is not consistent in its thickness will cause fancy stitches to disappear and will be difficult to pull out if you make an error.

Many of us are impatient and want to see the end results of a project. If you are making a blanket or rug, then consider using a bulky or chunky yarn. Yes, it goes fast, but it adds the inches quite quickly and you can use more open stitches and a larger needle or hook compared to a simple stockinette or single crochet. The thickness of the yarn and the openness of your stitches help you see your amazing progress.

Don’t be surprised if your yarn shop recommends a blend of synthetic, durable, easy-care yarns like nylon or acrylic, with the breathability of natural yarns like wool or cotton. This is especially true for socks, which need nylon (20-25%) to add strength in an area of constant abrasion. Socks must also breath and wick the perspiration from your feet, so a wool and nylon combination makes for a good fit.

It is very likely that you will come up with the same yarn that was first recommended by the yarn store expert. That tells you they not only know what they are doing, but that you are now knowledgeable enough to know how they came to the same conclusion as you have. That’s a win-win situation. Next time you will know how to choose yarn for your next project, and you can shop with a lot less anxiety.

One final decision in how to choose yarn comes if you are making items to sell at craft shows. Do you ever wonder why there is such a large variance in prices? Perhaps the crafter wants to keep his or her item inexpensive and so uses the 100% acrylic or polyester yarns sold in discount stores. On the more expensive side, maybe the crafter believes in using only natural fibers and they cost more and so the crafter passes that expense on to you. Either way the crafter is often trying to please both the cost conscious, bargain hunting shopper and the handmade quality conscious buyer. It is not always an easy compromise. The good news is that either way, you’ll end up with a uniquely handmade item that was made just for you.


Copyright 2015 by Linda K Murdock. Linda Murdock owns her own business, has written 4 books and blogs about Colorado and its crafty people. To find more tips on how to choose yarn for a project, read her full article at http://lindakmurdock.com/

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com


Jul 07

Cross-Stitch – X Marks the Spot

Cross-Stitch Sailors

Cross-Stitch Sailors

I’m sure we have all heard of the saying X marks the spot. If you are wondering if that saying has anything to do with the embroidery style of cross-stitch or counted cross-stitch I’m quite sure it doesn’t. Cross-stitch is a form of counted thread embroidery in which the stitches are X-shaped to form a pattern or a picture and has maybe been used to make a map to a hidden treasure but that’s it. Cross-stitch is one of the oldest forms of embroidery and in the United States there is a sampler created by Loara Standish (daughter of Myles Standish) that is dated back to the 1600’s. Today it’s more popular for people to use cross-stitch as a way to decorate fabric for wall hangings, but traditionally it was used more to embellish items such as household linens and dishcloths.

One type of cloth that is often used for cross-stitch embroidery is Aida cloth. Aida cloth is an open weave and even-weaved cotton fabric that has a natural mesh and stiffness that works well for cross-stitch embroidery. This fabric is made with different size spaces or holes between the warp and weft that will accommodate different thicknesses of yarn or embroidery floss. The holes in Aida cloth are described by the count. For example 12-count Aida cloth would have 12 squares per linear inch. The typical sizes are 7,10,11,12,14,16,18 and 22, with 7 being the coarsest and 22 ranking as the finest. This cloth is usually made in colors of white, shades of tan and brown or ecru but brighter colors are also available. One tip about Aida cloth is to be careful with it as it has a tendency to fray easily. It should never by laundered prior to using it for cross-stitch embroidery and often needs to be hemmed. When you finish your project it’s best to hand wash it because it has a tendency to contract up to 1/2″ when washed in soap and water.

Cotton floss is the most common embroidery thread used to work a cross-stitch pattern today It is made from mercerized cotton, consisting of six strands that are loosely twisted together for ease of separating them. Mercerization is a process where the chemical structure of cotton fiber is altered to give it more strength and makes it more acceptable to absorbing dye. Although cotton floss is the most common, other materials such as silk, rayon and pearl cotton are also used.

There are two main styles of cross-stitch patterns available. One style is counted cross-stitch where a graph on a grid will correspond to the grid of fabric such as Aida cloth and symbols on the pattern will show you where to stitch each color. With this style you will usually count into middle of the fabric as your starting place. My favorite is the stamped cross-stitch pattern where X’s are stamped directly onto the fabric to show you exactly where and how large your X’s will be. With this style there is also a chart with symbols to show you what color of thread to use and stitch type. Here’s a tip for you, do not wash your stamped pattern prior to completing your project. Washing will remove the stamped pattern and I am speaking from experience. With the very first kit I bought the fabric seemed a little stiff, so I though washing it would help. Prior to reading any directions I did wash it and the material was softer, but it also removed the entire pattern.

If you are looking for a relaxing hobby to try, give cross-stitch a chance. It’s fairly inexpensive to start because there are limited supplies you need. A needle, floss, material and a hoop to help keep you material taunt to ensure even stitches. You can get Cross-stitch kits that will contain everything that you need.


Lanette Herrmann is co-founder of Something and More Hand Crafted Gifts, http://www.somethingandmore.com, and has enjoyed woodcrafting and other types of crafts for many years. She started out learning how to braid rugs with her grandmother. She got her love of hand stitching and weaving rugs from her mother. She also enjoys quilting, using the scroll saw and many other woodworking tools. When she isn’t working at her full time job, Lynn’s favorite pastime is spending time with her family.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com

Photo: Lucía Pizarro Coma

Jul 04

Quilting – A Long History

Happy 4th of July!

Quilting has played an interesting role in America’s history as well as ancient history.  Read on to find out where quilting started and how it played a major role in American history.

Quilt Flag

Quilting – A Long History

Quilting is an art that has been around for a very long time. It is reported that there was quilting on a garment shown on the carved ivory figure of an Egyptian dating about 3400 B.C. During the 14th Century quilting was used to produce Gambesons which is a padded jacket that was worn as armor. Sometimes it was worn separately or worn under plate armor to add some padding for protection and comfort for the Knight. At times Gambesons were even worn over metal armor to help protect it from the elements of the weather. Usually produced with wool or linen the stuffing that was used is not like the quilting batting that we use today. They didn’t have the privilege of running down town to pick up some cotton, corn or wool batting to use so they would use scraps of cloth or even horse hair.

Jumping ahead to the 19th century quilting and the American Colonial times, we find that a lot of women were weaving, spinning and making clothing. Some of the wealthier women were showing off their quilting skills with needle work on whole cloth quilts. The term quilting comes from the word quilt which actually means “stuffed sack” in the Latin form of the word culcita. Stuffed sack may not be the best word to describe quilting but when you think about putting batting between two layers of cloth to make a quilt so you are in a way stuffing an internal layer. Some antique quilts have been found with worn-out blankets or order quilts used between new material as the batting. Money was tight so women would do this to make use of their older materials so as not to waste them. The pioneers had recycling down long before the “going green movement” ever started. Although more common to find blankets or quilts used as batting, some quilts are found with paper stuffing inside of them. During the pioneer days paper quilting became popular. Women would save letters from home, catalogs or newspaper to use as patterns for piece quilting but they were also used as insulation in quilts. I’m sure early pioneer women were not thinking about preserving a bit of history inside their quilts, but historians have actually been able to find out about pioneer life from some of the old papers that were used in quilts.

Quilts have also been a form of capturing history in more ways than by the reading material found inside of them. If you have a chance, do a little research on an African American slave born woman named Harriet Powers. She is known for her use of applique techniques to record local legends, events and bible stories on her quilts. If memory serves me correct, I think she was even recognized by the US Postal Service along with some other quilters in a series of stamps. Only two of her quilts have survived the test of time and the first one she made is actually on display at the Smithsonian Institution after first being shown at a cotton fair in Athens, Georgia.

So you see, quilting has a very important history that we should cherish. Quilting is an art that has been handed down for many generations and hopefully it will continue to be handed down to all future generations. Whether you are into the art of quilting or not, it’s hard not to enjoy and treasure all the time and love that is put into a this art.

Underground Railroad Quilt Block Codes

Underground Railroad is an important part of history. I have always been fascinated by the story of the Underground Railroad Quilt codes but have never taken the time to find out exactly what the codes really were and how they were able to communicate with them. I know there is still some controversy among historians about this theory. Some say that it is not supported by any documentary evidence like slave memoirs or recorded history of interviews with escaped slaves but there is something so believable in this theory. It is supposedly based on only one person’s history as written in the book, Hidden in Plain View.

The theory is that in the Southern states before and during the American Civil War when the slaves were trying to escape the bonds of captivity that the Underground Railroad quilt codes were started. Few slaves were able to read or write and at the time it was illegal to teach them, so that is when the codes started to play a part in their quest for freedom. The codes were created by both Blacks who were free or former slaves and whites who didn’t believe in slavery and wanted to aid those trying to escape through the Underground Railroad. A lot of our quilt patterns have their roots in the African traditions. The slaves brought them over to our country when they were captured and forced to leave their homelands. It wouldn’t surprise me if these patterns, designs or symbols would be a way to communicate with each other that their owners could not interpret. I found it interesting that in Africa, men were the ones to make the textiles and women didn’t really start this until they came to North America. It only makes sense, because the men were put to work out in the fields and women were to take care of the households.

If you think about it, quilts being slung over a fence or hanging on a windowsill would be a perfect way to aid in the Underground Railroad cause. At the time it was a common way to air quilts out and most of the plantation owners or overseers would not pay any attention to them or think anything about seeing them there making it a perfect way to communicate.

Here are a few of the common quilt block designs used in the Underground Railroad quilts and what they were supposed to mean to the runaway slaves.

Tumbling Blocks: This symbol was used to let the slaves know that a conductor or runaway slave hunter was in the area and it was time to move again.

Bear’s Paw: This symbol let them know to follow a mountain trail and then to follow an actual bear’s trail which would lead them to water and food.

Shoofly: A symbol that would identify a person who knew the codes and would help and guide them.

Drunkard’s Path: This was a warning signal to remind slaves that slave hunters were in the area and to take a zigzag route or even travel south for a bit. Slaves heading south were not suspected of trying to escape.

Log Cabin: This is a symbol that meant it was time to seek shelter and that this person was safe to speak with. It was like a safe house along the journey.

In reading about the Underground Railroad quilt codes, I am no closer to knowing for sure if this is fact or fiction, but I do know that whenever I use one of these quilt patterns, it makes me think about this time in our history that brought sadness and heartache to so many people. It helps me to really appreciate the history of our quilt designs and gives me the desire to want to learn more.


Lanette Herrmann is co-founder of Something and More Hand Crafted Gifts, http://www.somethingandmore.com, and has enjoyed woodcrafting and other types of crafts for many years. She started out learning how to braid rugs with her grandmother. She got her love of hand stitching and weaving rugs from her mother. She also enjoys quilting, using the scroll saw and many other woodworking tools. When she isn’t working at her full time job, Lynn’s favorite pastime is spending time with her family.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com

Photo: Keira Bishop

Jul 03

What Is Macrame?



Macrame is a form of textile-making that does not involve the typical way of weaving or knitting, but rather by a series of knots. It is believed to have started as early as the 13th century in the Western Hemisphere with the Arab weavers. They would knot the excess yarn and threads on the ends of hand loomed fabrics for towels, veils and shawls into decorative fringes. What I found interesting is that Sailors were the ones to really make this popular and were credited with spreading this art form to different countries through the ports they would stop in. They would decorate the handles of knives, bottles and other items available on the ship and use them to barter for something they wanted or needed when they reached land. Around the nineteenth century sailors even made belts and hammocks with a process called “square knotting”.

Materials that are commonly used for macrame are cotton twine, hemp, leather or yarn. Although there are variations, the primary knots are the square knot, full hitch and double half hitches. Jewelry is often made by combining knots with beads, shells, rings or gemstones. If you take a look at most of the friendship bracelets worn by school children you will notice that they have been made by using macrame.

When I was reading up on the basic knots that are commonly used in creating macrame I came across the Cavandoli Macrame. This style is made of two colors’ that consists of two basic knots that are inverted creating a stiffer kind of fabric that works great for table mats, purses, book covers and etc. Cavandoli Macrame is named after Valentina Cavandoli who received a gold medal of recognition in 1961 before she passed away at the age of 97 in 1969. In Italy around the end of the First World War this special lady became the headmistress of a house for the poor and/or orphaned children in Turin. This was a facility where up to 100 children could be housed between the ages of 3 and 15. To help keep the children busy she taught them an art that she had learned from her great grandmother, macrame. The children would make items to sell in charity markets and careful records were kept of each child’s income and would be distributed to them when they would leave the home. Sadly the home where she was Casa del Sole only survived until 1936 when because of the political situation in Italy it became too difficult for the benefactors of the home to continue.

The enthusiasm for macrame seemed to fade for a while, but was made popular again in the 1970’s by the American neo-hippies and grunge crowd in making jewelry. This art was often featured in handmade necklaces, anklets and bracelets adorned with handmade glass beads and natural elements such as bone and shell.

Macrame is a fun craft to try and you can get started with a small budget. There are a lot of free or reasonable patterns available and some great how to books to help get you started. This would be a perfect craft to get your children, grandchildren or anyone involved in.


“Lanette Herrmann is co-founder of Something and More Hand Crafted Gifts, http://www.somethingandmore.com, and has enjoyed woodcrafting and other types of crafts for many years. She started out learning how to braid rugs with her grandmother. She got her love of hand stitching and weaving rugs from her mother. She also enjoys quilting, using the scroll saw and many other woodworking tools. When she isn’t working at her full time job, Lynn’s favorite pastime is spending time with her family.”

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com

Jun 18

Crafty Recipes: Super Bubbles

bubbles1rsWith summer here, kids are going to be outside a bit more than they were during the winter months and that means that parents will need to have a few more outdoor activities for their kids to enjoy.

Since everyone loves bubbles, why not have a recipe ready to create gallons upon gallons of bubbles for hours of fun.

What you need:

  • 10 cups of Water
  • 1 cup of Liquid Dish soap (Any type will work but many bubble solution makers swear by Joy or Dawn.)
  • 1/4 or .25 cups of glycerin


  1. In a large container with a lid, pour in the water.
  2. Stir in the cup of liquid dish soap
  3. Stir in the 1/4 cup of glycerin. Stir until it is well blended.
  4. Use with any type of bubble blower. For best results, let the bubble solution stand overnight.

After that, all you will need to do is make more whenever your child either uses it up or if they are anything like mine, spill it.

-Sirena Van Schaik

Copyright © Uteki

Jun 10

What Is Needlepoint?

NeedlepointNeedlepoint is one of many types of crafts that you can do revolving around some type of fabric. Typically it is done with a stiffer open weave canvas that you stitch yarn or embroidery thread through to make your design. Although needlepoint uses embroidery thread and a fabric to create designs on it differs from embroidery in one way because embroidery is usually done on a softer cloth that is held taut by a hoop and needlepoint uses a scroll frame or it can be tacked onto a wooden frame to keep it taut. I did a little research concerning needlepoint and found out that there was some samples of it found in a Cave of a Pharaoh who lived 1500 years before Christ so I guess we can say it’s been around a long time. I have seen pictures of Queen Elizabeth and Marie Antoinette sitting and working on a needlepoint project but I didn’t know that the football player “Rosey” Grier enjoyed it as well. He even published a book on needlepoint for men and also Loretta Swit has published a book on it.

The materials used in needlepoint can vary starting with the different kinds of thread that you can use. Wool, silk, cotton, thread blends and even ribbon. There are basically three types of needlepoint thread: flat, stranded or round. Flat threads are like ribbons, usually wider then they are thicker and do not consist of strands that can be divided easily. If you have need of a longer stitch in your design flat thread will work nicely for that. A good example of stranded threads would be embroidery floss. They are strands that are flexible and can easily be divided and used in either smaller or larger groups. Stranded threads work well with almost any size of canvas that you want to use. The last type of needlepoint thread is classified as a round thread. An example of round thread would be all types of pearl cotton thread, tapestry or crewel wool. This type of thread can be separated but not as easily as the stranded threads.

Another variety when it comes to needlepoint is the canvas. One type is the rug canvas which is a mesh of strong cotton threads which is a series of twisted threads that are locked by lengthwise strands connecting with crosswise threads. Plastic canvas is a stiffer canvas and is usually sold in pre-cut pieces for smaller needlepoint projects. The canvas with the most variety of colors is the Mono Canvas and mono means plain woven with only one welt thread weaving over and under one warp thread. There is also a Interlock Mono Canvas that is typically more expensive because the lengthwise thread consists of two threads twisted together and then locked into a single crosswise thread.

There are a wide variety of patterns available for needlepoint. There are commercial designs that can be purchased on hand painted canvas, printed or trammed canvas which is a canvas that has the designed stitched onto it to act as a guide for the correct color and number of stitches. Whatever style of pattern you choose you will have hours of enjoyment creating your needlepoint design.


Lanette Herrmann is co-founder of Something and More Hand Crafted Gifts, http://www.somethingandmore.com, and has enjoyed woodcrafting and other types of crafts for many years. She started out learning how to braid rugs with her grandmother. She got her love of hand stitching and weaving rugs from her mother. She also enjoys quilting, using the scroll saw and many other woodworking tools. When she isn’t working at her full time job, Lynn’s favorite pastime is spending time with her family.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com

Photo: Julia Freeman-Woolpert

Jun 10

Father’s Day Craft: Father’s Survival Kit

dadWith Father’s Day only being a few days away, I thought I should post one more craft to give you a few more to choose from. This craft is great for children of any age and you can actually tailor it to suit the Dad.

What you will need:

  • A box that can be opened and closed (A shipping box that has a flap would probably work best but you could also purchase small plastic boxes for this)
  • items to decorate the box with (things like construction paper, magazine pictures, pencil crayons, markers, etc.)
  • Mac-tac or any other type of clear contact paper
  • Photograph of your child (with Dad)
  • Items to put inside (you can put in handmade crafts or even little odds and ends that your husband may need such as things for the office: paper clips, post-its, etc.)
  • Glue
  • Scissors
  • Lots of creativity


  1. Have your child decorate the box with pictures he or she has drawn or cut out from a magazine. Try to match a theme but it is not necessary to do so.
  2. Attach the photograph to the top outside of the box. (Another alternative is to do a photo collage on the inside with a bunch of photos of the children by themselves or with Dad.)
  3. Allow the glue to dry.
  4. Mac-tac the box so the pictures will withstand use.
  5. Fill it with items for dad
  6. Wrap and give on Father’s Day.

This is actually an excellent gift that can be tailored to whatever you want.

If Dad is a golfer, make a “Father’s Golf Survival Kit” and fill it with little odds and ends that Dad may need on the golf course. You can make it sweet, practical or funny with little goggles for retrieving those balls in the water hazards, or large tees for those who can’t see. You could also include things like score cards from when the kid’s and Dad went mini golfing or other memorabilia.

This same thought could work with fishing, barbecuing, sailing, or just about anything.

Lastly, if Dad travels a lot or is overseas, you can fill it with mementos to remind Daddy just how much he is loved and how much his children miss him. Put in items like postcards so dad can write home while he is away, a special letter from your child, fingerprints and I love yous. Special things that will remind Dad just how important he is.

All the best

-Sirena Van Schaik

Copyright © Uteki

Jun 03

Father’s Day Craft: Amazing Tie Tacks

dadI know that every year, hundreds of fathers will be getting something that fathers have been receiving for decades. It’s fast, it’s simple and doesn’t every dad need a tie. I know for myself, I have always tried to avoid purchasing a tie for any occasion (I hate to run with the pack) but one time when my husband was getting dressed for an event, he murmured, “I really need some good ties.” It seemed like I had been neglecting my duties so the following Father’s Day, the kids went out and bought not one but two ties for Father’s Day, one ended up becoming a craft item but he appreciated the thought and the new tie.

This year, I may give him another tie but I am definately not going to forget the tack. These great little gifts are perfect for the artist in your home and is very simple to make.

What you need:

  • Sculpey or Fimo: This is a polymer sculpting clay that is found in many different colors. It is soft and can be baked in a regular oven to harden it. There is no need to paint the clay since the colors hold with the baking process.
  • Tie Tack backings (you can find these at most craft stores)
  • Epoxy Glue


  1. Take the polymer clay (hopefully you have many colors) and sculpt a creature or object with it. Keep it fairly small and make sure that it is flat on the back. Things like smiley faces, caterpillars, ladybugs, baseballs (with a flat back) or even fishing hooks.
  2. Bake the clay in the oven according to the baking time on the package. Keep a close eye on it because it can burn quickly and all you will have is a dark brown object left.
  3. Glue the sculpture to the tie tack and allow to dry.
  4. Once it is dry, insert it into a tie, wrap and give to Dad.

This craft is better for older children who have more fine motor skills. The recommended age for Sculpey is 8 and up but I have seen 6 and 7 year olds use it with only minor assistance.

Other than that, create away and don’t stop at just the ties, there are many things that you can do with polymer clay.

-Sirena Van Schaik

Copyright © Uteki