Thursday, July 30, 2015

It's a Super Bracelet! A Super Duper Bracelet No, It's a Superduo!

I have discovered Super Duo beads....They are a unique oval shape with two holes. They are quite small. They've been around for a bit, but after seeing a gorgeous bracelet using Super Duos on, called the Seashore-Kelp bracelet, I had to make one just like it. But instead of a five wrap, I made a double wrap so the cost would be less expensive. If you bought all your supplies from for this bracelet, it would cost about 27.00. Granted, for all those supplies, you might have enough for a second bracelet, if you cut down the number of wraps like I did. For a double wrap, I used way less super duos, which are 2.25 for a very small tube per color. I figured my costs for a double wrap were about 14.00 for the double wrap bracelet for the leather and the beads. The button was 6.50 just for one! I think this button could be found on Etsy or the internet more cheaply, but I didn't take the time to look. I will say the pattern was quite easy to follow and easy to make, if you have done laddering before.
The only problem I had was with the long lengths of Tuff cord, they sometimes would get tangled around themselves, and I had a dickens of a time straightening them out! At once point, the beading needles they suggest you use, looked like they shredded one of the thread strands passing the needles in and out of the beads. You have to be careful that the needle does not catch the first strand of thread on your second pass through the beads as you ladder them on the leather. I had to add thread WAY before I needed to because of that. Luckily, offers a really nice tutorial worksheet on how to add thread to laddering projects and I was able to continue with very little problem once I added more thread. If you look at the photo closely, you can see where I added the thread. They have some new tips out for laddering, so I am going to go take a look at them. I've got another bracelet I'm going to make with metallic pearl leather, and shades of blue superduos. I'll post it when I'm done.

I'm working on making lots of different things for a fall craft show, as Etsy seems to be hard to get views and sell on, or else I am not hitting the right things to market. SOMETHING is not quite right there after a nice little flurry of activity at Christmas! But, I LOVE making things, so I will just keep going with whatever strikes my fancy! My girls will have lots of things to give as gifts when I'm gone, that's for sure!

I've been making facecloths---LOTS of them! I'm coupling them with little handmade bars of soap from the Green Daffodil Company on Etsy and putting them in my shop. This pattern is from Simply Notable, a blog on the internet. The yarn I used is Peaches and Creme, Sugar and Creme, and Crafter's Secret Cotton from Hobby Lobby (not pictured). These are made with a size 7 needle, and measure about 9" across.
They look so cheery! You can use them as dishcloths if you'd rather. Simply Notable also has little mini makeup remover cloths, a smaller version of the facecloth petal cloth. They look like this--
photo courtesy of Simply Notable
Aren't they cute?  Simply Notable blog also has cute little heart shaped make up cloths knitted from 100% cotton, called Tawashis. Check them out! All these cloths are made from dishcloth yarn....Peaches and Creme, Sugar and Creme...etc.
Photo courtesy of Simply Notable

Now, I am making little bags from Atkinson Designs "Stowaways" pattern. The first one I made turned out great!

The second one I made was a disaster and I don't know why. Well, I think I may have an answer....I tried making a smaller bag using the same pattern. The bags are quite thick with the "In Control" body liner by the time you pinch in the corners and make the little boxy wedges on them and sew through about six thicknesses of fabric, lining, and body stabilizer. Somehow, my corners didn't line up properly, and not until I was completely done with binding the inside seams and it got time to turn the little pouch inside out, did I find out everything was off, a bit wonky as they say....Couldn't salvage any of it. I was so disgusted with myself after all that work and hand sewing the binding on the inside, I thought well, maybe I will offer it for 1.00 at the craft sale as a "second", or donate it to Goodwill. It's still usable, it just looks off kilter. It's an embarrassing end result for me, (I'm such a perfectionist!) so I think I'll just rethink what I'm going to do with it. A LOT of work went into this little bag....Sigh.....

When a mistake like that happens, I try very hard to say, "Oh, well, you haven't screwed up a project in a very long time, so move on, Jeannie! Come back to the pattern another day and try again with a different fabric and a little more care and see if you can get it right next time." What bothers me the most is, you can't buy this fabric locally from a fabric store, at least not where I am. It's a special fat quarter bundle, and I already screwed up another two fat quarters when I cut THEM the wrong way when I first started the pattern! But I really love these little bags, so I AM going to try another one. The pattern has several different sizes, but they are all small, making for some detailed work and bulky layers. 

One cute trick I learned from the pattern is for a zipper pull for these bags. Take a piece of old nylon zipper that complements your zipper or fabric and cut off the sides right up next to the coil. Cut a piece of coil about 7". Thread that skinny little piece of coil through the zipper tab hole, tie an overhand knot in  it, and you have a custom nylon little zipper pull!

Until next time......

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

What the Heck is Locker Hooking?

I saw this book in Hobby Lobby one day, and it was calling my name.....
It had a gorgeous hooked canvas journal book cover on the front...I waited and waited for awhile, then I caved in and bought it....Theresa Pulido is the rug hooking artist/ author, and she has a website devoted to locker hooking with videos, free patterns and gorgeous fabric strips.

Locker hooking is a vintage method of rug hooking, where after you pull up 4-5 loops on a special long crochet hook with the hook at one end and a large needle eye at the other, you pull yarn through your loops and the loops are "locked" down to the canvas. They can't pull out. Here's what the needle looks like...Hobby Lobby has them....

For the "yarn" for hooking loops, you use fabric--you can use cotton fabric strips, you can use wool, and/or you can use a combination of fabric strips with specialty fibers, the possibilities are many. There are two sizes of rug canvas---5 mesh, and 3.75 mesh. The larger number mesh means that the holes to pull your loops through are smaller to the inch than the 3.75 canvas which has slightly larger holes. If you are wanting detail in your project, you would choose the smaller holed mesh, but honestly, I counted the squares per inch for both, and there's only one square difference between the two sizes. Hobby Lobby carries the larger, more common 3.75 mesh.

You cut or tear fabric strips...1/2" width is the usual size used if you are using batik fabrics, and 3/4" is the size for all other fabrics. Batiks are wonderful because the print is the same on both sides. Here I've torn my fabric strips and wound them on little scraps of cardboard so I don't have to stop as much during my project, I've got lots of choices ready to use.

If you use regular fabrics, then you will need to fold your strips in half because the print is only on one side of the fabric. There are several great YouTube videos that teach you how to join strips and tie up your loose ends as you work your way through a project, so a video is a better way to learn, I found for me. Theresa Pulido's website, Color Crazy, is another great way to learn how. Here is a basic idea of how to do it with still photos. My first project was a hot pad/trivet....This is what it's going to look like when I'm all done.

You cut your size canvas to be about 3/4" bigger all the way around than what you want the finished size to be. Next, you fold each of the four sides over, about two to three squares and crease it down. You whip stitch the edges with fabric strips, not using any twine or yarn just yet, you are just binding the raw edges down so they don't unravel. They still might do a little unraveling as you start hooking.

Next, you take a strip of fabric and hold it behind the rug canvas like this, ready to pull thru a hole with your special long crochet hook/needle eye. This is the back side. At the eye end of the crochet hook needle, you thread the eye with your locking yarn/cotton/twine, like a threaded needle. It just dangles off the back end of the crochet hook till you are ready to use it.
Now, you reach through the rug canvas hole, and pull up a loop on your hook, leaving it on the needle...

Then, you pull another loop with your crochet hook and leave it on the needle....Each time you pull up a loop, give a little tug with your finger on the back side, to keep the loops consistently the same height. You want them to be about a quarter inch tall. I find a tug from the back of the canvas with my finger holding the strip of fabric, keeps the loops about as tall as the width of the crochet hook, which is just perfect. The loops need to be tall enough so your locking yarn/cotton/twine can be pulled through, which is usually no problem as it's a lot skinnier than your fabric strips! I've pulled my locking medium through the last set of loops, so it's sitting there waiting, dangling off the back end of my crochet hook till I get my next cluster of loops on the hook.
I usually pull up about 4-6 loops, then it's time to slide the crochet hook to the left, like you are "threading" the loops, leaving the loops standing up in the canvas. Your locking medium, which is threaded at the right end of the hook, now slides through those standing loops, following the crochet hook path. Here, I just need to pull a little more with my crochet hook to tighten up the black yarn so it disappears between the loops. Sometimes you can see the locking medium and that's no big deal. The loops will close up a little more once the trivet/hotpad is done and the loops get a little "squished" from pots or dishes or candles sitting on them. I picked a black yarn since there are so many colors on this trivet. White might have been better, but white would show the rug canvas threads a little more, so I picked black. You could use any color yarn, as long as it's worsted weight or thicker. Hobby Lobby sells a stringy twine for locker hooking. I have some of that but have not tried it yet. The bulkier yarn helps "fill" the little loops, I think.

I chose to go back and forth for a linear look for my first one. Then, I decided to do a "spiral" design. I started around the outside edges and went round and round. After my sister saw my first one, she said, " I want FOUR!" so I was off and running....
Here is the second one, almost done.....
And, my set of four for my sis. Thanks, sis, for your order!

And that's the very basics of locker hooking! Let me know if you decide to try this....It's fun, but I will say it's hard on the hands and fingers...