Make it Personal! Machine Cross Stitch Journal Cover

Make it Personal

Machine Cross Stitch Journal Cover

Finished book size: 8-3/8” x 6-5/8”

pamela Cox headshot

This series is written by guest blogger, Pamela Cox. Pamela is an expert embroiderer, designer, digitizer and all around wonderful girl! We are so happy to have her contributing to the Sulky Blog!

When my girls were little, I volunteered in their classrooms.  I remember an elementary school project, which I was so fortunate to participate in:  Helping young authors turn pages of their original stories into a book!

Together, we wrapped cardboard in gift wrap, folded the story pages in half, and hand-stitched down the center to bind these precious thoughts into history.  To this day, I have my daughter’s book and she is now 35 years old!

Preserving thoughts…documenting events…capturing expressions…are well appreciated by us in simply remembering special times.  However, it is invaluable for our future generations in understanding the lives of the loved ones who came before them.

Sulky’s new “Wordplay” designs unleash a flood of inspirations!  These whimsical word-play designs, created by Ursula Michael and digitized by Marcia Manning of Lickity Stitch, manage to capture the best expressions within each theme!  And there are usually a couple of designs to choose from within a theme.  Plus, the designs are applicable for a variety of projects besides the featured book!

Tote bags:

Throw pillows:

Or every design can stand on its own as a framed picture!

Even though I chose to do a “Christmas Book” – tis the season – many other designs offer unique book cover ideas to document a variety of notable occasions.

So let’s get started!

Gather Supplies:

17” x 13” piece of Osnaburg fabric – Osnaburg is a 100% cotton utility fabric resembling coarse linen, is a perfect canvas for cross-stitch.  Place the fabric on true grain by pulling threads, until one fiber travels the full length of the piece.  This establishes the “straight edge” to begin straight cutting.

8-1/4” x 13-1/4” of Christmas themed cotton fabric

90/14 Topstitch needle

Stabilizers:

Threads:

#1348 Christmas Tree Word Play Word-Play Design 16.4 count – Available at  www.sulkyembclub.com

Cardstock folded in half like a folder for the cover, along with paper for inside pages.  Paper can be computer paper, specialty paper, card stock, or themed scrapbook paper.

Jute thread (optional)

How to make it happen:

Fold the piece of Osnaburg in half, and hand-baste along the fold, establishing the fabric center.  From the fabric center, hand-baste a vertical line 3-1/2” to the right.  From the bottom edge, hand baste a horizontal line 6” up.  The intersection of the two lines is center design placement.  (Shown above.)

Hoop a piece of Sulky Sticky+ Stabilizer, with the gridded release sheet side facing up, and still intact.

Lightly score the paper inside the hoop and remove it, exposing its sticky surface.

Smooth the fabric, right sides together, along the vertical center, matching the intersecting basted lines with center markings on the hoop. Helpful Hint:  If the hoop is squared on a quilter’s mat, the grid lines will be visible underneath the Sticky+, making it easy to keep the fabric straight in the hoop.

Firmly press the fabric into the stabilizer, keeping it taut and wrinkle free.

Secure the hoop on the embroidery machine, matching the center needle position to design center.

Remove the stitched basting lines.

Slow the machine down by half, and stitch a “fix box” (basting box) around the design.  Although this step is optional, a basting box serves as a second method for checking that the fabric is straight in the hoop, and that the design placement is acceptable. 

Once you’re satisfied, stitch the design.  Cut the jump threads after each color change, before proceeding to the next color.

When the embroidery is finished, remove the hoop from the machine.  While the fabric is still hooped, use a pin to score through the stabilizer outside the fix box and remove the piece from the hoop.

Using the fix box as a guide, fold the embroidered fabric in half, wrong sides together, 1/4” to the left of the fix box.  From the fold, measure 8-5/8” to the right, and straight cut. From the bottom of the fix box, measure down 1-1/4” and straight cut.  From the bottom cut edge, measure up 10-3/8” and straight cut.  Press under a 1” hem on all four sides.  Miter corners. 

Cut the cardstock 6-5/8” wide x 8-3/8” high and fold it down the center. Check that the fabric cover fits the cut cardstock.

Cut a piece of Steam-a-Seam2 Fusible Web the same size. Fold the fusible web in half, leaving the protective paper covering on one side and removing it from the other to expose one sticky side.  Tuck the cardstock folder inside.  Keeping the folder folded, first fuse one side and then turn it over and fuse the other side.  This permits the fusible enough “give”, allowing the book to close.

Remove the release sheet from the folder’s front cover section. Position the folder behind the wrong side of the embroidered tree using the creased hem lines as a guide, but don’t fuse yet.

Turn it over to confirm proper placement. Helpful Hint: If you’re not pleased, gently lift the fabric from the sticky surface and re-position it. Once satisfied, smooth the front in place, keeping it taut and wrinkle free. Iron it to fuse in place.

Turn the unit over and continue to cover the back.  Once again, keep folder folded.

Turn under a 1/2” hem on all four sides of the lining fabric, mitering corners.

Cut a piece of Steam-A-Seam2. Peel the paper away from the sticky side, and cover the back of the cardstock folder.  Helpful Hint:  Expose only half of the sheet, securing it before removing the other half.  Keep Osnaburg hems free.  Secure the Osnaburg hems to the stabilizer making sure that the iron only touches the 1” fabric hem allowance.  Center the lining inside the cover and fuse. 

Using Cotton+Steel Thread by Sulky, hand stitch the edges of the lining to the Osnaburg hem with a slip stitch.

Cut the inside paper to size.  Use as many sheets as desired.  On the fold, cut 6” x 7-3/8”.

Align the folded paper inside the folded cover.  Open the book, and machine stitch with Cotton+Steel Thread, using an elongated straight stitch (about 8 stitches per inch).

Optional:

Wrap the bound edge with a piece of jute and tie into a bow.  Pages can be left blank for the receiver to fill in, titled to encourage thoughts; or, if talented with a computer (which I am not), pages can be first printed and then bound into a holiday Christmas book.

Machine Cross Stitch Journal Cover




Let’s Make It Waterproof! Plus the Giveaway winners! (We All Love Free Stuff)

When it comes to gifts, monogrammed items are always a favorite. Here in the south, we monogram everything from shirts, purses and jackets to shoes, lunchboxes and umbrellas.

The problem is, once you have embroidered anything that is supposed to be waterproof, like a rain jacket or umbrella, the holes that were made by the needle for the embroidery are no longer waterproof.

Have no fear! Sulky Stitch ‘n Seal is here!

Stitch ‘n Seal is a wonderful cover-the-back stabilizer that you apply after the stitching is finished to reseal the holes made by the embroidery.

Monogram Your Lunchbox

To show you how it works, and show you how to embroider on a waterproof item, here is a little tutorial on how to embroider on a lunchbox (BTW – it’s super easy).

  1. Grab some Sulky Sticky +, Sulky 40 wt. Rayon thread, and your machine embroidery hoop.

  1. Hoop the Sulky Sticky + with the release sheet side up (It even says ‘hoop this side up’ on the release sheet).

  1. Use a pin to score the paper release sheet and then peel it off to expose the Sticky +.

  1. Stick the lunch box (or whatever you are embroidering to the Sticky +. Be sure to measure and center the lunchbox so you get your monogram in the right place. Press it firmly to the stabilizer so it is secure and won’t come up during stitching.

  1. Secure the hoop in the embroidery machine and stitch away!

As a side note, this is the exact same process I used when I monogrammed this umbrella (above).

  1. Once the stitching is finished, remove the lunchbox from the Sticky + and peel away any excess. If you can’t get it all peeled off, it’s okay. It will be secured under the Stitch ‘n Seal anyway. Position the Stitch ‘n Seal over the embroidery, being sure to cover all the stitching holes.

  1. Because of the material the lunchbox is made of, I used a pressing cloth to fuse the Stitch ‘n Seal in place. You don’t have to use a pressing cloth usually. With the umbrella, for example, I just pressed directly onto the Stitch ‘n Seal.

And you are done!

The Contest!

12/12/17 Update: Thank you all for entering in this contest! You all have great ideas for how to use Stitch ‘n Seal. Our winners are Roxanne Sposato and Adrian Renee Brown. I can’t wait to see your finished projects!

What waterproof item would you like to embroider? Tell me in the comments and I will pick a couple random winners and send some Sulky Stitch ‘n Seal. Share this post on Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest with the hashtag #SewBetterWithSulky to increase your chance of winning!

Happy Sewing!




Machine Cross Stitch – Christmas Place Mats

pamela Cox headshot

This series is written by guest blogger, Pamela Cox. Pamela is an expert embroiderer, designer, digitizer and all around wonderful girl! We are so happy to have her contributing to the Sulky Blog!

Whether you are looking to add something beautiful to your Christmas table or looking for a great gift, these machine cross stitch Christmas place mats are perfect!  They are elegant without the elegant price because they are made with Osnaburg fabric. Osnaburg is a loosely woven utility fabric.  It resembles coarse linen, but at a much lower price point.  The thicker fibers, which are woven in a simple basket-weave pattern, make it easy to create the “run” needed for weaving ribbon into the fabric.

Osnaburg is 100% cotton and must be washed, dried, and pressed prior to using.

It must also be square-cut, on-grain, not only for the pulled runs to appear straight, but also to achieve more of an authentic, hand-done cross-stitched effect.  To place the fabric on true grain, pull threads across the width of the fabric until one fiber travels the full width of the fabric, from selvage edge to selvage edge.  This establishes the “straight edge” to begin straight cutting.

Gather Supplies:

Osnaburg fabric for each placemat:

  • 19” x 13” front
  • 16-1/4” x 10-3/4” back

Note:  1-1/2 yards of Osnaburg fabric along with 4 yards each of two ribbon colors will yield 4 placemats

1 yd each of 2 complementing colors of 1/8” wide satin ribbon

Sulky® Soft ’n Sheer™ Stabilizer

Sulky KK 2000™ Temporary Spray Adhesive (optional)

Thread:

Needles:

  • 80/12 Schmetz® Topstitch
  • 70/10 Microtex (optional)-fixing function
  • 100/16 Wing Needle (optional)-hemstitch

Rotary Cutter, Quilter’s Ruler, and Cutting Mat (optional, but very helpful)

Lickity Stitch™ Cross Stitch Embroidery Designs by Marcia Manning

There are ten designs available in this exclusive cross-stitch exhibit of Christmas trees, and each one is available in various stitch-count formats.

In other words, each individual design is available to be stitched in various sizes and density depending on the chosen stitch count.  Additional stitch-counts are available for each design other than the ones shown. To better understand the stitch-counts and sizes, check out the tutorial on the Sulky Embroidery Club site.

Osnaburg’s weave is about 25 threads per inch. Design #5, count 22-2 has been chosen for this place mat, lending the design to a petite-point, cross-stitch look.

How to make it happen:

Begin by pulling threads on the 19” x 13” piece of Osnaburg fabric.  Measure over 2” from the left side of the rectangle.  Select one vertical thread and “catch it” with a pin.

Gently pull up on this thread, noticing that the fabric begins to gather.

Pull this single thread out of the woven fabric – the entire 13″ height of the fabric piece.

The first fiber removed from any “run” is the hardest to remove.  It will break…and it will break several times.  However, the continuing thread length is easy to spot further down in the run since the initial weave of the fabric has been distorted.  Use a pin to pick up the frayed end, and continue to gently tease the gathers along this same thread line.

Remove adjacent vertical threads until an 1/8” wide run has been created in the fabric.  About four or five threads will need to be removed.  However, since the woven fibers of Osnaburg are not uniform, sometimes you may have to remove more or less threads. It is important to do a reality check on each run before moving on to create the next run.  Start to weave a strip of ribbon into the run.

The run should easily accept the ribbon, allowing the ribbon to lay flat.  Use a yarn needle or a dental floss carrier to make weaving easier. Magnifying glasses may also be helpful.

Once the width of the first run has been established, measure 1/4” from its side towards center of the place mat.

Pull a thread and begin the process of creating a second run.

After the two vertical runs have been made, repeat the process in creating two horizontal runs.  Begin by measuring up 2” from the bottom edge and selecting a horizontal thread to “catch” with a pin.

Pull the proper number of threads for the first run, measure up towards center 1/4” and pull threads for the second run.

Once the four runs have been created, press the fabric keeping all runs straight and perpendicular.  Steam may not be your friend here.

Mark the design placement on the fabric by basting lines to indicate the design center.  Please Note: Measurements for the design center will vary, dependent on the chosen design and also on the chosen stitch count.  

Check the design’s height and width, and divide that number in half.

Measure from the edge of the run closest to center.  Since the design measurements are very close to 5” x 6”, and the stitches should not contact the open fibers of the run, divide 5” x 6” in half and even add 1/8 to 1/4” to those measurements for a bit of extra space.

Printing a template true-to-size is another method of ensuring proper placement of a design.

Hoop the fabric….(technically, only the stabilizer will be hooped).

Secure a piece of Sulky® Soft ’n Sheer™ Stabilizer in the proper size hoop making it as “tight as a drum” as possible.

Fold the fabric back exposing the basting lines on the wrong side. Match the intersecting basting lines to hoop center. Viewing a grid underneath the stabilizer will help to keep fabric straight in the hoop.  (Hint:  The center marks on your hoop may not be a true-center of the hoop.  Use the marks on your hoop.)

Attach the hoop to the embroidery arm, and begin the process of matching the design center to the center needle position on the embroidery machine.

If an exact positioning function is available on your machine, check the lower left corner of the design to ensure that the stitching will clear the pulled thread runs.

Fix the fabric to the stabilizer (a basting function found on many embroidery machines).  Use a 70/10 Microtex needle for this step.  Although it will require changing to a larger needle for embroidery, this fine needle will make smaller holes when fixing.  The fixing box will also serve as another check-point, not only that the design clears the runs, but also that the fabric has been hooped straight.

Change to the Topstitch Needle; slow the machine down to half-speed and begin to embroider the design.

Monitor the stitching process, and cut the jump threads as they occur.

Once the embroidery is complete, remove from the hoop, and clean up the back by trimming long jump threads and excess stabilizer.

Press the top, keeping the runs straight and perpendicular to each other.

Begin weaving the ribbon through the runs starting with a length of ribbon several inches longer than the run. Use a simple basket weave of going over six threads and under six threads, or however many threads you choose, for the full length of the run.

The first run is the hardest to weave since the fibers need to be counted.  The second weaving goes much quicker since you just match the in and out spacing of the first run, alternating the up/under pattern of the two ribbons.

After the four runs have been filled, press the piece once again.

Re-cut the front, beginning 1-3/4” on the outside of the first run on the left.

Measure over from this edge 18”, and straight cut.

Measure 1-3/4” down from the outside of the first run on the bottom, and square cut.

Measure up 12-1/2” from this cut edge, and square cut the top.

Press under 3/4” on all 4 sides.  Open back up.  Fold and press the raw edges in to meet this 3/4″ crease.

Cover the back of the place mat with the 16-1/4” x 10” piece of Osnaburg inside the hem lines.  Lightly spraying the back side of the smaller piece with Sulky KK 2000™ Temporary Spray Adhesive will help to keep it in place, smoothly behind the front.

Fold the hem over the back piece, mitering the corners.  Pin the hem in place, and secure it with a machine stitch of your choice.  This can be a straight stitch, or any number of decorative stitches.

This method of finishing a place mat allows the back to look as precise as the front.

machine cross stitch christmas place mats





Handmade Gift Ideas from “Trash to Couture”

Hi there, Laura here from Trash to Couture!
Need some inspiration and ideas for your handmade gifting this year?  No worries, Sulky and I have got you covered. Not only are handmade gifts a sentimental gesture, they’re also fun to create.  Below we have 4 DIY gift ideas you can make for just about everyone in your life.
Get the details below :

DIY Ornament:

  • Hoop using Sulky’s Fabri Solvy – I usually do 2 layers.
  • Use a free standing ornament design. I used a star from my Brother SE machine.
  • Use Sulky’s Metallic Thread and metallic needles.
  • Embroider away!
  • Place in water and let the magic happen as the stabilizer disappears.
  • Once it has dried, tie a string to hang.
DIY Free-standing Jewelry:

DIY Monogram Beanie:

We monogram just about anything in the South and it’s the perfect way to customize a gift like this essential winter beanie. 

Other ideas to try:

Monogrammed Camera Case

Handmade Gift Ideas From Trash to Couture

DIY Hoop Art:

I love embroidered hoop art, it’s such a fun and cute way to add some artwork to your walls.  It’s also easy to customize, which makes it a great gift idea – like this cactus design here. It’s perfect for hanging right above my sewing machine!
Check out this DIY Embroidered Wall Art for more.





Free Webinar: Holiday In-the-Hoop

Free Webinar: Holiday In-the-Hoop

Embroidery Quilt Block Projects & More

with Lisa Archer

 

Join us for this FREE webinar: Holiday In-the-Hoop!  Lisa Archer, Owner & Creative Director of Pickle Pie Designs, will teach you how fast, fun and easy it is to make machine embroidery in-the-hoop projects. Lisa is the master when it comes to in-the-hoop projects, and she will share her tips and tricks for success.

She will explain the purpose of each step of an in-the-hoop project as she walks you through the process of making a whimsical Snowman Coaster entirely in the hoop. That’s right, no machine sewing required!

 

Get the details:

Title: Holiday In-the-Hoop

Date: October 10, 2017

Time: 9:00 pm EST

Duration: 1 hour

Special Guest: Lisa Archer of Pickle Pie Designs

You will learn:

  • All about in-the-hoop designs
  • The best way to trim appliqué while it’s in the hoop
  • How to hoop a baby bib
  • Tips & techniques for perfectly trimmed appliqués
  • How to turn our whimsical quilt blocks into 9 different projects

You’ll Receive:

A free Snowman Quilt Block from the Baby It’s Cold Outside CD Set by Pickle Pie Designs – AND a free Ducky Applique design from Lisa’s book: Modern Machine Embroidery.

Dont forget!

Great kits and items will we be on sale following the initial webcast, for 24 hours ONLY – so be sure to check those out at www.sulky.com!

Can’t make it? You can still sign up! After the initial webcast, it is available as a Start-Anytime course – meaning you can watch it at anytime at your own convenience!

 

free webinar: holiday in-the-hoop

Register today!

 




Machine Embroidery Series – Velvet

pamela Cox headshot

This series is written by guest blogger, Pamela Cox. Pamela is an expert embroiderer, designer, digitizer and all around wonderful girl! We are so happy to have her contributing to the Sulky Blog!

Velvet

Picture Christmas represented by a fabric…..it would be a rich, elegant fabric, yet soft to the touch, bringing joy when caressed. Only velvet can fulfill all these wishes!

Originally made from silk, velvet is now manufactured from synthetic fibers bringing price points down without sacrificing the deep nap or the soft-flowing drape of the cloth.  Check “care instructions” found at the end of the bolt as most velvets do require dry cleaning.

bolt-information

Velvet should never be directly secured in the machine embroidery hoop. Stabilizers have never played a more important role in machine embroidery than right now. Sulky® provides several products which all work equally well.

stabilizers

Within the range of stabilizers, the common denominator is to always hoop the stabilizer as “tight as a drum” and then secure the velvet directly to the stabilizer in the appropriate manner. Because of the deep nap, Velvet will require the use of a top stabilizer to tamp down the thickness, and allow the embroidered stitches to sit “on top” rather than sinking into the richness of the fabric.

toppers

Sulky® offers two choices, one washes away, Solvy™, while the other is removed by the heat of the iron, Heat-Away Clear Film™. The bad news is that most velvet is not washable nor should it come in direct contact with a hot iron.  The good news is that both these stabilizers are easily torn from embroidered edges.

solvy-releasing

When applying the top stabilizer, either place pins close to the inside of the frame keeping them out of the path of the stitching; or machine baste or “fix” the fabric to the stabilizer – a feature found on many embroidery machines.  If basting, we recommend using a small gauge Microtex needle (70/10) and a fine thread (60 wt.).

basting

This will require changing needles from the basting to the embroidery phase, but this extra step will eliminate any unnecessarily large holes from showing around the design. Sulky® Soft ’n Sheer™ is very light-weight; truly, as the name implies.

sheer

Yet it is very durable. If a bit of stabilizer is left behind, it will not affect the feel or drape of any fabric. After securing the stabilizer, lightly spray the wrong side of the velvet with Sulky KK 2000™ Temporary Spray Adhesive, pressing the fabric firmly in place to the hooped stabilizer, keeping it smooth and wrinkle free.

soft-n-sheer

The velvet was topped with Solvy™ by the basting method in final preparation.

design

Design, 915 Scroll Three with Holly, available through the Sulky Embroidery Club, was chosen and stitched in Sulky® 40 wt. Rayon Thread. Once completed, the basting was released from the wrong side to avoid possibly nipping into the velvet nap; and then jump stitches were cut.

release-basting

The top stabilizer is easily removed. You might think you should tear it “away” from the design since it is to be “removed”; however, lifting and tearing it into (towards) the embroidery produces cleaner edges.

final-scroll

When working with new materials, it is always good to do a “test stitching”.  Most of us do not want to spend the extra time or cost of materials to do so; but it often saves time and sometimes disappointment in the long run.  The entire design does not need to be stitched.  In an editing program, take a sample “cut” of the design, saving it under a new file name and preserving the original.  Don’t worry about tie offs or extra stitches, this is only a test.  (If you don’t have software, just stitch out part of the design for the test.)

test-sample

Notice the size was greatly reduced as was the stitch count, yet all the elements are represented.  This is also a good method to verify that color selections work well together.  Tear-Easy™ was selected to test the stitching in Sulky Original Metallic Thread, color #7007 for the scroll. The stabilizer is hooped, scrap fabric sprayed; then secured and topped with Sulky Heat-Away Clear Film™, which is just a bit heavier than Solvy™.  After basting with the Microtex needle, an 80/12 Topstitch Needle was inserted and the machine was slowed down to just under half-speed.

finished-metallic-thread

Basting was released from the wrong side, and the topper removed by tearing it towards the stitches.  Success!  The holidays will sparkle!!

heat-away-tears

Tear-Easy™ lives up to its name, easily but gently tearing from outer edges.

tears-easily

Sulky® Sticky+ is also a valid choice. Hoop the stabilizer with the paper intact and facing up.  Gently score the paper around the inside of the frame and lift it up exposing the tacky surface.

sticky

Firmly press the wrong side of the velvet to the sticky surface keeping it smooth and wrinkle free. This test was to experiment stitching without a top stabilizer.

sticky-holds

Sticky+ holds the fabric securely during the stitching process, yet the fabric is easily lifted from the surface when completed.

sticky-release

It, too, can be gently torn to remove from the embroidered edges.

Results:  The design shows fairly well, however, small flecks of the black nap peeked through the satin stitches even though it might be difficult to see in the bottom scroll. The comparison shows, that the top scroll,  stitched with the Solvy topper, presents cleaner, clearer edges – therefore,  it’s the better option for stabilizing.

topper-vs-none

Velvet is perfect for holiday garments especially when partnered with taffeta.  But don’t let your imagination stop there.

dress

It also makes a wonderful Christmas stocking;  Go “crazy” and make a Christmas Stocking or gift tags from scraps of velvet.

stocking-2   gift-tag

Both items feature designs from “Velvet Stocking”, a collection by Graceful Embroidery

Think about using Sulky® Original Metallic Thread (green – #7018) , Holoshimmer™ (lavender – #6043) or Sliver™ Metallic Threads  to add a bit of sparkle to the holiday projects.  Use a 14/90 Topstitch Needle, and stitch a bit slower than you might normally do.  Layer a strip of Sulky® Soft ’n Sheer™, underneath the intended stitching area.

decorative-stitching-2

Contrasting fabric textures combine to make beautiful throw pillows, quilts and fashion accessories!

fabric-2

Not that velvet needs to be limited to the holidays, but it tends to be associated with colder weather and, therefore, festive activities.  My wish for you is to continue to have fun learning about and improving your sewing/embroidering skills as you enjoy a healthy, happy 2017!!




DIY Tassel Necklace – It’s Super Easy!

In case you are like me and need a couple more gifts, here is a fun and quick gift you can make.

tassle-necklaces-done

 

These trendy necklaces can be made in any color you want, and you can get them done fairly quickly. Here is what you need:

tassle-necklace-supplies

  • Beads – I picked mostly glass beads with a few natural stone and painted beads thrown in. I got 3 necklaces out of each 112-inch string of glass beads.
  • Bead Stringing Wire, .024 in – I bought 30 ft. since I knew I had a lot of necklaces to make. You need 34″ per necklace
  • Connectors – I like the triangle ones, but the round ones would work just as well.
  • Crimp Tubes, 2mm – The bead stringing wire said which size crimp tube to use.
  • Needle-Nose Pliers – This little guy is great because it crimps the crimp tube down and cuts the beading wire.
  • Scissors – to cut the thread, and to cut the clear string the beads are sold on.
  • Wooden Skewer – You can use a pencil, chopstick, even a candy cane. You just need something to hold the tassel while you are making it.
  • Index Cards and a Rubber Band – For winding the tassel.
  • Threads – I used a variety of threads. Sulky 40 wt. Rayon, Sulky 12 wt. Cotton, Sulky 30 wt. Cotton Blendables® and Sulky 30 wt. Cotton Solids

tassle-necklace-threads

To get started grab the stack of index cards and rubber-band them together (I used about 10 cards); then choose which thread you want to use to make the tassel.tassle-necklace-1

Begin wrapping the thread around the card stack.wrap-aorund-card-beginning

Keep wrapping until you are happy with the tassel size (remember that you are only seeing half the tassel on top of the card).

tassle-necklace-4

Take a piece of thread and feed it under the threads that you wrapped; then tie it off to hold all the threads together.

tie-strings-on-index-card

Now slip the skewer under the threads and gently pull them off the stack of index cards.

srap-thread-around-the-tassle-strings

Take another piece of thread and begin wrapping it around all the threads close to the top.

tassle-on-skewer

Wrap several times and then tie it off. You can either cut the ends after you’ve tied off, or you can smooth those two strings down into the tassel.

tie-the-tassle-top

Cut the loops at the bottom and set the tassel aside. Don’t take it off the skewer until the bead part of the necklace is ready.

cut-the-tassle-strings

Now for the beads. I cut a piece of beading wire 34″ long and strung the glass beads onto the wire. Here is my time-saving tip. Leave the beads connected together on the clear line they came on and just feed the beading wire down next to the other line. You can string all three of the necklaces before cutting the clear line. This means the beads don’t roll around everywhere and you don’t have to feed them all on one at a time.

stringing-beads

string-beads-1

Once they are strung, use the crimp tube and the needle nose pliers to crimp both ends of the wire together. Be sure to cut off the excess wire. Your necklace will end up about 32″ long.

Now it’s time to add the tassel. Get your connector and open it up with the needle nose pliers.

tassle-triangles

Put the connector through the top of the tassel while it is still on the skewer. The skewer will help you maneuver the connector through the threads.

put-ring-thru-tassle

Now slide the tassel off the skewer and secure the tassel to the beads.

tassle-necklace-secure-to-beads-2

Pinch the connector closed.

tassle-necklace-pinch-metal-2

Lastly, give your tassels a haircut so they are all even across the bottom.

tassle-necklaces-haircut

Viola! Your necklaces are done.

tassle-necklace-finished-1

Make one in every color to keep for yourself or give as gifts.

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Machine Embroidery Series – Felted Wool or is it Wool Felt?

wool-feltpamela Cox headshot

This series is written by guest blogger, Pamela Cox. Pamela is an expert embroiderer, designer, digitizer and all around wonderful girl! We are so happy to have her contributing to the Sulky Blog!

 

Felted Wool? or is it Wool Felt?

Often the two terms are used interchangeably, although that would be incorrect to do, since they are two different materials.  The common factor is that both fabrics are made from wool.  The difference comes in the way the wool is processed:

  • Wool felt is produced by applying moisture, heat and pressure directly to wool roving, compressing the roving into a solid compact fabric.
  • Felted wool is a woven fabric, washed in hot water and dried at high temperatures. Basically, the woven fibers shrink into each other.

wool-vs-felt

Probably difficult to see in a photo, the red felted wool has a softer look and feel to it than the more solid yellow wool felt.  It is evident that cut edges will fray on felted wool, but not on wool felt.

Felt can be produced from synthetic materials (See the picture below. The light gray-left). Although once again, it is probably difficult to discern from a photo, wool felt (dark gray-right) is a heavier material with a rich napped surface.

synthetic-vs-wool

Wool felt is best used for projects which are not exposed to “wear and tear”.  Some projects might include table runners, wall hangings or mats for candles or coffee mugs.  Its texture is a perfect match for “primitive” designs and stitches.

When I embroidered the design below on wool felt, Sulky® Tear-Easy™ Stabilizer was secured in a 200mm hoop.

design-graphic

Design #1156-Let It Snow available to Sulky Embroidery Club members (membership is free so you should join!)

An 11” square piece of wool felt was lightly sprayed with Sulky® KK 2000™ Temporary Spray Adhesive (which is an Eco-Friendly product), and firmly pressed on top of the stabilizer, matching the fabric and hoop centers.

supplies

To complement the primitive snowman, I used Sulky® 30 wt. Cotton thread to stitch the design.  This did require slowing the embroidery machine down to its slowest speed and using a 100/16 Topstitch Needle. All cotton thread produces lint caused by the friction of the needle penetrating the fabric, especially one with the texture of wool felt. Lint will collect on the presser foot and, because of static electricity, it will also occur on surrounding areas. If left unchecked, a small “wad” of lint could drop into the embroidery area and be stitched into the design, which is unbecoming.

lint-graphic

It is necessary to clean the lint build-up from the machine’s bobbin casing after stitching a design embroidered with cotton thread.

clean-machine

Once the embroidery is completed, trim the jump-threads, keeping ending knots intact. Sulky® Tear-Easy™ stabilizer is easily torn away from the design.

tear-easy

This design can easily be turned into a wall hanging. Corner squares could feature a snowflake embroidery while the longer strips could support a family name, date or other welcoming thoughts.

wall-hanging-graphic

Butted seams, accented with decorative stitches will also add interest to the primitive theme, and are very easy to do with the aid of Sulky Sticky+™, Soft ’n Sheer Extra™ or Totally Stable®.

stitched-seam

Begin by cutting all joining sides straight.  Hold the butted strips in place, by either pressing them firmly to a piece of Sticky+ ….

butt-seams

or by fusing in position using either Soft ’n Sheer Extra (the “Extra” means it’s fusible) or Totally Stable.

other-choices

Once stitching is completed, all stabilizers are easily removed.

remove-stickyremove-extraMake sure the chosen decorative stitch “bites” into the wool felt on both sides of the join.

test-stitches

It is always a good idea to test a few on a scrap piece of the felt to ensure the desired results.  And remember, too…the Sulky 30 wt. Cotton Thread is about 1/3 heavier than the 40 wt. thread that your built-in decorative stitches are digitized for.  So testing is important, and you may need to elongate certain stitches, and some may just be too dense.

seams

Felted wool should not be directly secured in a hoop. Therefore, the hooping process for felted wool is not so different than wool felt.  All the above-mentioned stabilizers, Sulky Tear-Easy, Sticky+, Soft ’n Sheer Extra, Totally Stable as well as regular Soft ’n Sheer, all work equally well.

hoop-felted-wool

The main difference is that the felted wool was stitched with a smaller gauge needle – 90/14 Topstitch or Embroidery.  Even a smaller, 80/12, will work with a more delicate design. A piece of Soft ’n Sheer is secured in a 100mm square hoop.  The wrong side of the felted wool was sprayed with Sulky KK 2000 and pressed firmly in place.

Design #895-stocking , from the Sulky Embroidery Club, was stitched out in Sulky 40 wt. Rayon Thread. Once stitching is completed, trim the jump threads. The stabilizer does not necessarily need to be removed since the softness of Soft ’n Sheer will not compromise any of the felted wool qualities.

leave-stabilizer

If desired, Soft ’n Sheer is easily trimmed around the design.

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Depending on the final usage, seams may need to be finished to prevent fraying.

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The stocking design is part of a cute series which include whimsical Christmas mice, perfect for a felted wool holiday throw pillow!!

pillow-graphicwww.sulkyembclub.com

 




Gifts For Sewists

great-giftsFinding the perfect gift for my sewing friends should be easy. They love sewing, just like me; so if I would like it, they will like it! Well, I have found that isn’t always the case! More than once, I have given a gift to a sewing friend and been met with that fake smile and forced, “oh, thank you.” Some have even said, “Oh good! something else I won’t have time to make.” (Don’t worry, those people went on the “don’t buy a gift for them” list).

In an effort to become a better gift-giver myself, I have done some research and made a list of gifts that sewists actually want. I realize not every sewist is the same, and just because I like something doesn’t mean it will fit the style of someone else, but I hope this list will give a few ideas.

  1. Personalized Quilt Labels – modern-yardage-labels-1I bought these from Modern Yardage and I just love them! You can get a set of 13 personalized labels for only $18. modern-yardage-labels-3This is a great personal gift.
  2. Mason Jar Sewing Kit – mason-jar-2Who doesn’t need a cute mason jar sewing kit! It’s easy to make and you can personalize the items inside if you want. This is how I made mine. I bought a mason jar with a lid from the store. I took a scrap piece of fabric and some fiberfil and hot-glued the fabric to the insert of the mason jar lid (that’s right folks! I didn’t even sew it down.). mason-jar-1Here is the list of what I put inside:
    1. Pins – You just put a pin cushion for the lid. Give them pins to go in the pin cushion
    2. Squeezers – These are fantastic little scissors! They are great for cutting thread tails and jump stitches
    3. Seam Ripper – Have you ever met a sewist that didn’t need another seam ripper?
    4. Needles – Machine and Hand – We all use needles!
    5. Tweezers – Perfect for your friend who loves to use her serger
    6. A few spools of Sulky 12 wt. Cotton Petites Thread – the perfect hand embroidery thread
    7. Prewound bobbins in the size that fits the recipients machine (check the chart here) – Like needles and seam rippers, one can never have too many.
    8. A couple spools of Sulky 30 wt. Cotton Thread – Because this is my all time favorite thread for quilting.
    9. A Sulky Transfer Pen – Transferring patterns onto fabric is just one of a gazzillion uses for these pens! Check out this video for more ideas
    10. Mechanical Pencil – When you need to write something down, mark a registration mark on some fabric or use the eraser side to turn out corners.
  3. Online classes – 2d_for reason_4Give the gift of education! The cool thing about online classes is you can take them whenever you want, in your own home, in your pajamas, and work on your own sewing machine. And there is a class for everyone! Whether your friend is an acomplished sewist ready to go to the next level or a complete newbie. Another bonus is right now all of Sulky’s online classes are 30% off! Just use the coupon code: SULKY30. Check out all the classes here.
  4. Hand Embroidery Patterns and Kits – Photo May 20, 3 41 08 PMUnlike a full quilt kit, hand embroidery kits are small, less expensive and don’t take as much time to make. This means that even the sewist who isn’t looking for another project on her plate will still enjoy it. (Or you can buy the kit, stitch up the project yourself, and then give the finished project as a gift!). The other great thing about this, is there is a kit for every style. Here is my list of places for hand embroidery.
    1. Indygo Junction
    2. Kathy Schmitz
    3. A Wing and A Prayer
    4. Plays with Wool
    5. Meags & Me
    6. Shiny Happy World
    7. Penguin and Fish
  5. Monthly Stitch Club! – adorn-it-artplay-stitchTechnically, this is still Hand Embroidery, but a monthly stitch club from a company like Adorn it, is extra special because you get a new pattern every month! I love just about any kind of “of-the-month” club, but a stitching club makes my heart sing. adort-it-month-clubCombine your gift of the club membership with a package of Stick ‘n Stitch and a Sampler Pack of Sulky 12 Wt. Cotton Petites, and you have the ultimate stitcher’s gift.
  6. The Quilter’s Planner – quilter-planner-1Stephanie Palmer, the brains behind this amazing planner said it best, “I want to spend more time doing and less time planning.” That is what this planner helps the sewist do. Not only is it beautiful and thoughtfully laid out for the sewist, it also includes quilt patterns! patternjackswIf you aren’t sure if this kind of planner will work for you or your sewing friends, go over to the website and sign up for the e-newsletter. You will get a pdf of the month of December to try it out. Order by December 10 and she guarantees Christmas delivery in the continental United States. Use coupon code FreeShip to get free shipping.
  7. Curvalicious Ruler curvalicious-rulerI personally don’t usually go gaga over rulers, but this particular one really caught my eye. I love the ability to make several different types of quilts and I like that it makes a complicated looking quilt without being very complicated to actually make. curvalicious-quilt-1I figured if I wanted this ruler (and I am not usually a ruler girl), this would be a great gift for lots of sewists!
  8. Webinar Bundles – Sulky has been doing free webinars for a while now and they are all amazing, but I do have a few favorites. I love the webinar that you can also purchase a kit to make the project in the webinar! We have three webinar bundles still available: crafty-gemini_600x600The Crafty Gemini Pinnacle Table Runner Kit, db-kit1The Quilt Doodle Bundle, and cqc-kit1_600x600the Creative Quilt Challenge Bundle. Buying one of these bundles for a sewing friend not only gives them some great product (at a great price to you), but you can also give them the link to the webinar so it’s like giving them a whole class and the supplies. (Maybe this is the one you want to tell you family to buy for you!)
  9. Sulky Slimline Storage Boxes 886-07_2open_600x600These boxes are the absolute best way to store thread. It keeps them dust free, they open flat so you can even hang it up on the wall if you want; and they have a handle so you can carry all your thread with you if you go sew with a friend or go to a class. 886-_2open_600x600You can buy them empty, ready for you to fill with your thread or you can buy them already filled with thread! 3fb479ecf6f2faf843a82be13bd07f93It’s like giving someone a box of candy without the calories!
  10. Sew Steady Table – wish_flyer_holiday-660w_extended-sale-bnrThese great extension tables for a sewing machine really are the ultimate great gift for a sewist. The Wish Table, my personal favorite, has compartments for storing extra little things that you always need handy, like a seam ripper and bobbins. I called Sew Steady and asked them if they would extend the Black Friday/Cyber Monday sale just for you, my blog readers, and they said yes! So right now you can get this awesome table along with a Travel Bag for only $175! Simply call Sew Steady at 800-837-3261 or email them at info@sewsteady.com.

So that’s my list! What do you think? Do you have a good gift idea? Put it in the comments below.  I would love to see what you are wishing for this holiday season.

Happy Sewing!




Christmas in July with Amy Barickman & Crossroads Denim

indygo-croppedOur Guest blogger today is Amy Barickman. Amy Barickman, founder of Indygo Junction, is a passionate collector of vintage sewing content, which inspires much of her work. She also licenses her fabric lines: Vintage Made Modern with RJR Fabrics and Crossroads Denim, as well as her thread collections with Sulky. Amy inspires crafters to explore their own creative spirit with the newest sewing, fabric and crafting techniques at amybarickman.com and indygojunction.com.

 

A Crossroads Denim Christmas

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Color always inspires me. And our Crossroads Denim colors offer modern shades for Christmas projects! Whether it’s the traditional red and green OR a modern cream, teal and navy palette, many combinations can be created for holiday décor.

On to some holiday fun…

Indygo -HR- BS0U0795How about Santa’s Calendar and Card Holder? When creating the advent calendar version, the numbers can be machine or hand embroidered with our Crossroads Decorative Sulky 12 wt. Cotton Thread.  We have some beautiful Crossroads Thread color packs to coordinate with your fabrics or to make the clear vinyl pockets to display Christmas and photo cards each year!

IMG_5338IMG_5444Take a look at the accent grid quilting on Elf Loot Boot and Santa’s Stand-up Stocking. Again, we used our Crossroads Decorative thread collections to add the accents.

A001A8122I also love the Leg’s Celebrate. This whimsical pattern is ideal for using the Winter Crossroads Denim Bundle. Whether upside down in a pot or hanging from your fireplace, our “legs” are sure to bring a holiday smile to your friends & family.

IMG_5675Home is where the heart is during the holidays and Tiny Houses are all the rage.

IMG_5741Stitch up a pillow, doorstop or pincushion as a wonderful gift this holiday season.

IMG_5581Color coordinate to your home or a friend’s and then add accent stitching with our Crossroads Decorative Thread.

crossroads thread collectionsAny of these projects are easy to make with our seasonal pre-cut Crossroads Denim fabric packs combined with the coordinating Crossroads Denim Thread packs (Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall)!

IJ1159CR_CVR Ij1156CR_CVR IJ1158CR_CVR_TinyHouses IJ1109CR_LegsCelebrate IJ1155CR_CVR

All of the patterns featured here can be purchased at IndygoJunction.com. Use discount code XMAS16 to save 25% off all Holiday patterns.

We have some beautiful Crossroads Thread color packs to coordinate with your fabrics or make the clear vinyl pockets to display Christmas and photo cards each year!