When I was young, and even when I got older, I would spend a lot of time baking with my grandma. I called her Nanny. She passed away a few years ago, and I acquired a few of her baking pans. I treasure them, and when I used one recently to make one of her recipes for the first time, I actually got really emotional. We get quite close to people, don't we?
Anyway, I've had this cooling rack sitting here in my piles of craft supplies. Honestly, I'm not sure if it was Nanny's or another family member's, but she did have several just like this, so I choose to remember it as hers. There are a few of the cross pieces broken off, which is why it ended up looking for another use, other than cooling baked goods. I've considered lots of ways to use it, but when weaving started coming around again, I knew it was time to get making.
There's nothing difficult about making an art piece like this. Just be aware that unlike traditional weaving, you won't be removing the frame. Once it's woven, it's all staying as one piece. Which is really the point here. I want to have this wire rack hanging on my wall. And even if you don't have a cooling rack with sentimental value (I may be the only person in the world who does!), it's still a fun way to add some vintage into your new creation.
Here's what you need:
Vintage cooling rack
Cut some strips of cardboard. I made three, and each is a different width/length. The largest is good for as you're getting started and you have more space to work. As you fill in the rack, you'll need the narrower strips.
Wrap some yarn around a cardboard strip, and what? It magically turns into a shuttle!
Tie a knot onto one of the cross pieces, leaving a long tail. Actually, you can do this without the knots, you just need to hold the end in place as you get started. I found the knot to be a little easier. Weave the tail in, and make sure the very end is to the back of your work.
Start weaving the yarn through the wires. It helps to hold the rack flat, then keep the shuttle vertical as you work up and down through the gaps. After you've covered 1/3 to 1/2 of the width of the rack, pull the yarn taut.
When you reach the end, wrap it around and go back to the other side.
Switch out the yarn and keep going. Using different colors, weights, and textures is what makes it visually interesting. You might also try skipping over two wires instead of one to make a different pattern, or leaving some sections looser or even blank.
When you get close to the edge, you'll need one of the thinner cardboard shuttles. It also helps to scrunch your weaving tight, then when you can't fit the shuttle in any more, finish off your yarn and loosen up the weaving to fill in the area a bit.
To hang mine, I used a piece of yarn tied at the center support.
It's probably silly, but this makes me ridiculously happy. An added bonus is that some of this yarn was also Nanny's. Getting to making something with a few of her things means a lot. Long after weaving has gone off trend again, I'll be admiring this and thinking of her.
Today I am...
...wanting to rip into this sashiko thread that Kimberly brought me from Japan.
...finishing up a project to share with you tomorrow.
...trying to soak up and apply the wisdom from this woman.
...having a hard time thinking that September comes next week.
Jenny Doh puts amazing books together. She just does. If you're not familiar with her, Jenny is the author of We Make Dolls, Craft-a-Doodle, Hand in Hand, and more. But I say that Jenny puts these books together because most of them feature a collection of artists, each sharing what they do best. Jenny ties it all together and curates something special.
Her latest book, Stitch Along, came out not too long ago, and I've been eager to share a very biased review. Stitch Along includes 10 embroidery artists, with 3 projects and 10 motifs from each. And about this biased review? Well, I'm one of the 10 people in here, so of course I'm gonna like it!
Being a big fan of her work, I was delighted and honored when she asked me to create my own little stitch along for this book. The theme I chose was kitschy kitchen, which made for some fun stitching!
Each artist has their own themed stitch along, as well as a little Q & A page like this. The women that created these are so talented. I look up to them, and am blessed to call a few of them friends (Internet friends, anyway!). How wonderful to be in the same pages as them!
Our styles are all quite different. Charlotte Lyons, Sami Teasdale, and Rebecca Sower all stitch such beautiful things with a contemporary twist on tradition.
Liesi Cross and Megan Eckman are a little more funky and quirky like me. And of course there are other favorite stitchers in here too.
Having recently participated in an online swap, I think that this book is perfect for that sort of thing. It would also be so fun and helpful for coordinating a stitch along either online or with your local embroidery friends. Just think about how each person could take the theme and projects from one of the Stitch Along sections and interpret it with their own style! I know that I'm excited to try some of these and mix and match the projects with the embroidery styles that we all stitch.
If you are just getting started with embroidery, this is a great place to start (there's a very nice basics section!), or if you are experienced, but looking for new ideas....this is also a great place to start! Trust me. You'll like this book!
Oh, and if you're on Instagram, I'd love it if you followed me. Today I'll even be posting my very first IG giveaway...for an extra copy of Stitch Along! Find me here.
PS: Insider note...Jenny's upcoming book Sewn Together is available now for pre-order, and you'll find me in there too!
I'm a jeans and t-shirt kinda gal (though sometimes I dress them up with a skirt), so it works out really well that I get to work from home. Graphic tees are are my favorite, and it should come as no surprise that I especially love those that have cute things with faces. My go-to source for t-shirts is Threadless, and these are a few of my favorites (some I have, and some are on my wish list!). Click through to add them to your collection!
All images are copyright Threadless.
When I started working on the Bitty Beluga pattern and really, all of the beluga things so far this month, I kept thinking about making something for a baby. Once the pattern was done, I knew that it needed to go on a blankie, and somehow that ended up becoming a little quilt. The great thing about this is that as far as quilts go, this one goes pretty quickly!
There's no piecing involved with this project, so that's the biggest time-saver. You leave the fabric whole, which is why it's called a whole cloth quilt. I've been wanting to make one for a while, and have some other fabrics picked out for not one, but two (!) more similar projects. Now that this one is under my belt, I think I might need to get the others going again.
The added detail of embroidery is completely optional with a quilt like this, but I do like how it creates a focal point. Of course, you could use any embroidery you want as you make yours!
Here's what you need:
Front and backing fabric - 1 1/2 yards each
Batting - at least 45" square
Binding fabric - 1/2 yard
Walking foot (highly recommended!)
Rotary cutter, ruler and mat (optional)
Cut your front fabric into a square, using the width of the fabric as your guide. Embroider the Bitty Beluga motif onto the front square.
You can place it wherever you want. Mine is centered towards the bottom.
Make a quilt sandwich with your backing fabric, batting, and the front.
Typically, it's recommended that the backing fabric and batting be several inches larger than the front. Mine ended up being only about 1 inch larger, but I didn't notice much shift or shrinkage when I quilted.
Use safety pins to hold the layers together.
Now it's time to quilt! This was honestly the most relaxing part of this project for me, and I had the quilting done in just over 30 minutes! The thread I'm using is a deep teal that contrasts with both the front and the back. And since this is a beluga in the deep blue sea, I thought that waves would be appropriate.
With the walking foot in place on the sewing machine, quilt gently waving horizontal lines across the quilt. Start at the center and work your way to the top and bottom. You can space them very evenly, or vary them.
You may find it helpful to mark the fabric with masking tape so that you don't get too far off from horizontal (you want waves...but not on the diagonal!). I had the benefit of fabric that has lines, which kept me on track.
In the section where your embroidery is, avoid quilting too close.
Cut the batting and backing to match the front of the quilt, squaring it up if you need to. A rotary cutter makes this very easy, and the edges very neat.
Let's bind it! For this, you'll need to cut five 2 1/2-inch strips, join them and prepare the binding. I won't go into detailed instructions, because there are plenty of good tutorials you can reference if needed. I highly recommend the binding videos from Wendi Gratz and Missouri Star Quilt Co.
But, I do usually sew my binding slightly different than most folks, resulting in visible stitches that add a cute detail to the edge.
First, I attach it to the back of the quilt, instead of the front. That means that the folded edge wraps around to the front.
Instead of using thread that will blend in and stay hidden, I use perle cotton, and usually I choose a color that will have a nice contrast to it. So that I can use slightly longer cuts of the thread, I treat them with Thread Heaven.
To hold the binding in place, I use running stitch. The stitches are very close to the folded edge of the binding that wraps to the front. Because these stitches are highly visible, I do take my time with this, and work to ensure that they are even and tidy on the back.
To keep the back tidy, I pretty much flip back and forth with each stitch. The back side has the stitches on the back of the quilt part, just inside the binding. In this case, they blend with the backing, though sometimes I choose colors that stand out on both sides.
After some stitching with Netflix, you'll have a very sweet little blankie!
I don't have a baby in mind to gift this to, which is probably good because I feel like folks around here are going to fight over it. It's a great size for a baby, but it's kind of like a small lap quilt too. We've had such a cool August (up until this week anyway) that we've been pulling out the little blankets in the evening. I love it!