Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Tutorial - Sharpie Tie Dye Quilt

Every year when we travel home to visit my family in New Hampshire I try to think up a craft that we can all do together.  Some years it is jewelry making, one year it was doing crazy chemistry experiments and filming them, and last year was making a quilt.  I wanted everyone in the family to participate in making the quilt, including my parents who are in their eighties.  I had made t-shirts using the Sharpie tie dye technique and figured that this could translate to quilt squares. 

I used 100% cotton white cotton fabric that I had on hand and cut twelve squares, each square measuring 12-1/2 inches on each side.  Other materials needed are Sharpie markers (the more colors the better) and rubbing alcohol.  The finished quilt will require sashing and backing materials, but more on that later!

I asked everyone to take a square and draw things from around the lake.  We ended up with kayaks on the water, family dogs, Mom’s flower boxes, the American flag which is flown from the deck, blueberry bushes, fish, and other scenes.  I saved two squares specifically for signatures and to write the names of my parents’ cottages.  It isn’t necessary to add a lot of different colors to each square as when the ink runs from the application of the alcohol the colors will appear muddy if there are too many (that are close together) on the square.  Also, the drawings do not need to be too complicated for the same reason, so this is a perfect craft for young children, with adult help.  

American Flag

A drum, from my son, the drummer!

A flower box on the deck.
Other tips are : 
  • Don’t bear down too hard with the Sharpie as smaller shapes and words will be difficult to distinguish; and
  • Make sure you have paper under the fabric while drawing on it as the Sharpie ink will bleed through. 

Important!!!  The next step should be done only by an adult.  

Now that all of the drawings are completed the alcohol will be applied.  Again, this step needs to be done on a pile of rags or on a glass top table so that the ink does not stain as it bleeds from the alcohol application.  I did this on a glass top table and had no trouble removing any ink afterwards but I did not let it dry first.

  • Place the fabric square on the absorbent cloth or glass.  
  • Using an eye dropper or plastic teaspoon, carefully drip alcohol over the drawing beginning in the center.  The ink should immediately start to run.  Use the alcohol sparingly as you don’t want to muddy up the picture.  Only use enough to get the “tie dye” effect that you want.  
  • Once one square is completed hang it to dry where the drippings from it won’t stain.  If working on glass, wipe after each block up so that any ink left on the glass from  the next.  
  • Continue until all squares are completed, hanging each to dry.  
  • Once completely dry, I ironed them to further set the colors. 
I set my squares into a 3 by 4 square quilt pattern, but individual pillows could be made for each of the square painters for a keepsake from a family reunion, for instance.  As I brought the squares home with me last summer I had time to further work on them and spent time embroidering details on each square.  I outlined everyone’s signature to make these stand out and enhanced some of the drawings that had become a bit muddled.  It was a lot of work, but definitely worth it!

To finish the quilt, I used traditional 2-inch wide sashing and 2-inch square corner pieces.  I wanted this to be a quilt that would be used so, rather than back it with a cotton fabric and line it with quilt batting, I used a piece of fleece for the back.  Since the quilt is predominately blue and green, because of our outdoors drawings (and blue is my Dad's favorite color) the sashing is blue and the squares are green.  I tied bows from 1/8" satin ribbon and machine-tacked them in the center of each square to hold the quilt front and the fleece back together.  I get lazy sometimes and used purchased quilt binding to finish the quilt.  

Some more of our artwork!

I had planned on sending this to my parents for a Christmas present, but ran out of time in completing it.  And, I really wanted to be there when they opened it.  I was able to give it to them during a visit I made back to NH in March of this year.  

Mom and Dad with the finished quilt, March 2015.
It is a great memory quilt of both our family and our times at the lake.  Hope that you find inspiration in this project and create your own Sharpie tie-dye quilt or pillows!

Happy Crafting...and Quilting!


Please note:  I was not compensated by the manufacturer's of Sharpie markers for this project.  This idea, and all of the drawings used,, are solely those members of myself and my family, and may not be reproduced.  Thank you for your understanding.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Loop Scarf Collection

Have you ever used a spool knitter?  When I was a kid, the neighborhood girls all had spool knitters. We would sit in the backyard on summer days and knit our long ropes, trading colorful, short lengths of yarn.  I'm not sure whatever happened to mine; it may still be packed away at my parents' house, still in my Mary Poppins bag.  Back then, the spool knitters were literally a wooden spool (I miss those!) with 4 small nails driven into the top.  Now they can be purchased and are made from plastic and the tops rotate and all of those "new-fangled" things!  They can be used to knit wire for jewelry also.  This picture shows my current collection of spool knitters.  I purchased the two large ones in the back years ago when my daughter was small so that she could try this craft.  She made a mat from it for her grandmother, my mother.  The knitter that looks like a person is one I picked up during a thrift store adventure and the plastic one is made by Clover and readily available in craft stores.

I even found an ebook about spool knitting written in 1909.  The projects in this book inspired me to use this old-fashion craft to make something stylish!

I designed these two loop scarves after reading through the spool knitting book.  I was also inspired by the buttons that I used to decorate each of these scarves.  Who can resist chocolate and hot pink?

Rainbow of Reds Loop Scarf

Chocolate Swirls Loop Scarf

Both of these scarves are available in my Etsy Shop.  Thank you and, as always.....

Happy Crafting!


Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Spooky the Cat and Horace the Ghost

I'm excited for Halloween this year.  I'm not sure why as my kids are grown up, so I think it must be all of the beautiful crafted decorations I am seeing on other blogs and on Pinterest.  The creativity of others inspired me to design these two cuties, Spooky and Horace.  I love working with felt.  It lends itself to so many different ideas.

Spooky the Halloween Cat

Horace the Halloween Ghost

Both of these cuties can be made into either a brooch or a barrette.  They do have googly eyes on them so if you would like them for a little one I will embroider the eyes on them instead.  These are listed in my Etsy shop.

Happy Craftoween!


Friday, September 18, 2015

My Favorite Things - Flowers from Our Garden

Although the growing season here in South Carolina is long and I do get tired of gardening chores, I have to admit that I hate to see the garden dying off and having to pull plants.  We do have a number of cool weather vegetables popping up, like carrots, radishes, and cabbage, but the tomatoes and cucumbers, and peppers, and even my herbs are starting to go by.  So to keep the garden color alive, I want to share pictures that my son took of some of the flowers we had this past season.  Enjoy the color!

This little guy lived in the sunflower bed all summer!

Flowers on a cabbage plant that went to seed..

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Turkey Time!

I know it's a bit early to be thinking turkeys, but look how cute they are!  These are available as either a barrette or as a brooch.  You can comment here if you are interested in ordering or contact me on my Facebook page.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Knitted Ripple Afghan

Hi everyone!  Hope that everyone had a wonderful summer.  Time for me to get back to being organized and efficient and back into blogging.

The last two days here in SC have been cool.  Finally!  I'm sitting here this morning by an open window and have a shawl around my shoulders.  It's so nice to have the windows open and not have to listen to the air conditioner humming away.

So, the cooler weather has put me in the frame of mind of afghans, as I can only work on these during the cooler months.  I want to share with you a ripple afghan pattern that is knit.  My mother made a number of these blankets; three are pictured below.  This pattern is very easy, but just a word of warning, it is time-consuming.  It is well worth it, though.  And, I don't like saying this, but it is also an easy project to set aside for a while (or a year...LOL) and pick back up as the pattern is not complicated.  This pattern was passed onto her by one of her friends and I have her copy, written on a recipe card, my favorite!

First some pictures....

These three afghans were knit by my mom.  The blue and green one is my son's, the pink and yellow one is my daughter's, and the rose one is mine.  She knit mine while I was in college (many years ago).  These blankets are well-loved and used every winter so they hold up very well.  In addition to these three, she made two others; one for each of my sisters.

Now for the pattern:

This beautiful and simple afghan pattern allows you to showcase a combination of solid yarns or a variegated yarn with solid yarns, in bold blocks of color.  It is a simple knit pattern, requiring only basic knitting skills.  It is knit on circular needles in order to hold the number of stitches for the pattern, but is knit back and forth on the needles, not in the round.  Enjoy!

A pdf version of the pattern is available HERE.

Pattern Rating: Easy.  Basic knitting skills required.

Stitches Used:  knit (k), knit 2 together (k2tog), increase (inc)

Finished size:  Approximately 45 inches wide x 90  inches long.

Gauge:  not important


·         Size 8 circular knitting needles, at least 29 inches long

·         Stitch markers

·         13 Skeins of worsted weight (No. 4) yarn:  4 skeins Color A, 4 skeins Color B, and 5 skeins Color C.  See the color layouts below for variations using a mix of solid and variegated yarns.  I recommend Red Heart Super Saver yarn.  This is a durable, washable yarn that is available in many colors and has been used in all of the blankets that are shown in the picture above.  It is easy to find and it is very easy to work with, especially if this is you first blanket or afghan.


Cast on 266 stitches. 

Row 1:  K across. Turn.  Do not join.  Circular needles are used for this pattern only to easily hold the number of stitches cast on. 

Row 2:  K1, K2 tog.  *K8, increase in the next st, place marker, inc in the next st, K8, K2 together twice*.  Repeat from * to * across to the last 3 stitches.  K2 tog, K1.  Turn.

Row 3:  K across. Turn.

Row 4:  K1, K2 tog.  *K8, increase in the next st, slip marker, inc in the next st, K8, K2 together twice*.  Repeat from * to * across to the last 3 stitches.  K2 tog, K1.  Turn.

Repeat Rows 3 and 4 for the pattern.  This repeat will make a total of 12 points to the ripple across the afghan.

Each skein of yarn should be used completely, joining the next color in the pattern at the end of the row. 

Bind off and weave in yarn ends. 

Pattern note:  Some yarn colors do not contain the same yardage as others, even by the same manufacturer.  If you would like the color section to be the same width, you will need to count rows.  Note, however, that variegated yarns tend to have less yardage than the solid yarns and the pattern does start with a solid color.  The narrower bands of variegated yarn do add a bit of variety to the pattern and overall, do not matter in the completed project.  I have never worried about the color band widths so I just knit until the yarn runs out.  Just a thought!

Color Pattern Suggestions
There are many different color combinations that can be used to make this afghan uniquely yours.  In the picture above, two of the blankets are made using 2 solid and 1 variegated colors of yarn while the other uses all solid colors.

Call the yarn colors Solid A (A), Solid B (B), and Variegated or Solid C (C).

Color Pattern 1:  A - C - B - A - C - B - C - B - C - A - B - C - A

Color Pattern 2:  A - C - B - A - C - B - A - B - C - A - B - C - A

The letter in BOLD is the center of the pattern.  Basically, the color design steps out from the center toward each end.

These are just suggestions.  I would love to someday make this as a scrappy yarn quilt, using up random skeins and partial skeins of yarn.

I would love to see your selections for yarn and your finished projects!

Just two more pictures....this is the afghan I have been working on for, say we say, awhile.  Still love the colors, but I want you to see the needles I am using.  These are the needles my mom used to make all of the afghans I mentioned.  Worn with love!

This pattern may be used for articles to sell.  Please credit for the pattern.  Thanks!

Happy Crafting...and Knitting!


Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Orange "Orange" Coasters Crochet Pattern

The Orange "Orange" Coaster
Nope, not a typo.  It is an orange orange coaster!  As I promised a few days ago, here is the pattern for the coasters that I designed.  If you aren't up for trying them yourself, I have them  for sale in my Etsy shop.

This is the first crochet pattern I have ever written.  Please let me know if you find errors or have any questions.  I am not including instructions for the various stitches (in US terms) as I know there are many tutorials available for basic stitches.  Enjoy!

Orange "Orange" Coasters
Materials for 4 Coasters:  
  • Lily Sugar 'n Cream 100% cotton yarn.  I purchased a 14 ounce skein of white as I dyed my coasters.  If you prefer to skip the dying step, I would suggest purchasing 2 skeins of Lily Sugar 'n Cream solids in Hot Orange.
  • Size G crochet hook
  • 1 sheet (9x12) each of orange and green felt
  • matching thread
  • Rit Dye in Tangerine.  I used the powdered dye, but the liquid can also be used.
  • Equipment necessary for dying as stated on the dye package
Abbreviations used in this pattern (US terms):

ch - chain
rnd - round
sc - single crochet
ss - slip stitch
hdc - half double crochet
st - stitch

Round 1:  Make a magic circle.  Ch 1. Crochet 6 sc in the magic circle.  Pull circle together using the end of the yarn.  Not too tight though!  Wait until you have crocheted another round to close the circle.  Join with a ss to the ch 1 from the beginning of the round.  

Round 2:  Ch 1.  2 hdc in each sc from round 1. Join with a ss to the beginning ch 1. - 12 hdc  made.

Round 3:  Ch 1.  *1 hdc in first hdc from rnd 2.  2 hdc in next st.*  Repeat from * to * around.  Join with ss to the beginning ch 1, - 18 hdc made.

Round 4:  Ch 1.  *1 hdc in each of the first 2 hdc from rnd 3.  2 hdc in the next st.*  Repeat from * to  * around.  Join with ss to the beginning ch 1 - 24 hdc made.

Round 5:  Ch 1.  *1 hdc in the first hdc from rnd 4.  2 hdc in the next st.*  Repeat from * to * around.  Join with ss to the beginning ch 1 - 36 hdc made.

Round 6:  Ch 1.  *1 hdc in each of the first 2 hdc from rnd 5.  2 hdc in the next st.*  Repeat from * to * around,  Join with ss to the beginning ch 1 - 48 hdc made.  

Round 7:  Ch 1.  sc in each st from previous row.  Join with ss to beginning ch1.  Fasten off.  Weave in lose ends.

After I completed 8 coasters, I set up my dye bath following the instructions provided on the Rit Dye package.  I only used about half of the dry powder package since this was not going to be a large dye bath.  I dyed mine in a plastic bucket that I have set aside specifically for small dye batches.  Once the coasters are completely dyed and rinse following the manufacturer's instructions, I laid them flat to dry on an old towel.  I did notice some bleeding of the dye so a second rinse may be necessary.  It also prompted the next step.

Felt backing:  Cut a circle of felt for each coaster made.  The felt circle should be slightly smaller than the coaster.  I cut mine about 1/2 inch less in diameter than the coaster.  Using matching thread I slip stitched the felt backing to the back of the coaster.  This will provide extra protection against moisture on a wooden table.  Next I free hand cut 2 leaves for each coaster from the green felt. Basically I cut an oval shape that is tapered on both ends. I slip stitched these to the front of the coaster, stitching the outer edges of the leaves to the coaster where touching and the overlapping edge of the upper leaf to the bottom leaf.  

And there you have it!  These could also be dyed red for pretty fall apples or even tomatoes.  I hope that you enjoy my first crochet pattern and, again, please let me know if you like it or if there are any errors!  

This pattern is for personal use only.  I strive to make my designs simple and unique and appreciate your cooperation.  Thanks!

Happy Crafting and Crocheting!


Saturday, June 13, 2015

Crocheting Craziness!

About six months ago I was fortunate to find a group of ladies here that get together and knit and crochet two nights a week.  I usually keep a knitting or crocheting project on hand but this group made me crazy about it!  Especially crocheting!  I think I like crocheting better, even though I learned to knit as a little girl, because if you make a mistake it doesn't mean you have to go searching for a stitch or drop a stitch or lose count.  I am knitting a tank top right now (that I have had to re-start FOUR times!!!).  It has a lace pattern at the bottom of it and I kept forgetting to either yarn over or knit two together or something because the first three times I either had more stitches or less stitches than I needed.  Then I wised up and added stitch markers so that I can verify my count after each set of 50 stitches.  Made life so much easier!

I titled this post Crocheting Craziness and here I am prattling on about knitting. Watching other ladies crochet and seeing the beautiful things they were making gave me the bug.  Not to mention all of the beautiful yarn that is available in all price ranges.  So I started searching Ravelry and Pinterest and found all kinds of beautiful free patterns.  Then I started modifying the patterns as I became more confident.  Here are some of the goodies that I have made and have listed in my Etsy shop.  I will share patterns for a few of them next week if you would like to try your hand at them!

Sweet little pink clutch.  The flower and leaves are made using embroidery thread.
Another version in spring green.  Each clutch is lined in a coordinating fabric.
And finally the white clutch.
Next I  moved onto coasters....

I love this one!  This is my own design.  I crocheted it using white cotton yarn and then dyed it orange.  I decided to buy white yarn as I have plans to make a number of different fruits and veggies and didn't want a bunch of half-used hanks of yarn lying about.  I used Rit Dye and then backed the coaster with orange felt to give it a bit more substance.  I was very happy that it turned out the way that it did (and that I wrote the pattern down!)

This coaster is an adaptation of a dishcloth pattern that I had in my files.  I got it from one of the ladies in my knitting group and modified it.  I love the way that the yarn stripes!

Hope you enjoy these and stay tuned for a pattern!

Happy Crafting and Crocheting!


Monday, June 8, 2015

Our Garden

I never would have thought that I would enjoy gardening.  Or working outside in the yard.  Or any of that getting my hands dirty kind of stuff.  But while living in Virginia and only renting a house I realized how much I missed it.  So when we moved back to our home in South Carolina, getting into yard work was no longer a big deal for me.  I actually feel like I haven't accomplished anything unless I go outside at least once a day and do something.  Even when it is in the 90's.  Crazy....

We have a beautiful garden this year, thanks to the efforts of my husband George.  He is the true green thumb in the family (although our son runs a close second!)  He is constantly tending to something outside, whether it is our compost, or the yard, or especially the garden.  We planted a lot of things in containers this year.  We have new neighbors and they did a lot landscaping and had a lot of large pots that trees and such had come in.  They graciously let us have them and we have used them for most of our tomato plants, cucumbers, zucchini, spaghetti squash, watermelon, honeydew melon, and peppers.  We even have corn growing in one!  (George likes to experiment!)  

As we live in South Carolina the growing season begins a lot earlier and lasts much longer.  Although I've lived here for over 20 years, I still have a hard time adjusting to the earlier start to the season as in New Hampshire we usually couldn't start planting until Memorial Day.  Since we are able to plant earlier we also start harvesting earlier.  So far I have picked zucchini, cucumbers, carrots, and even a couple of tomatoes.  I've also picked and hung to dry quite a bit of mint as my son loves hot mint tea and I have been adding it fresh to cold green tea.  I'm looking forward to canning tomatoes this year and hope to buy a half bushel of peaches to can.  Our peach tree is still little and not bearing fruit yet. 

Here are a few pictures from the garden I wanted to share with you.  How is your garden growing?

Harvest from Sunday, June 7.  The herbs are mint and chocolate mint.

View of the backyard

Raised bed with zinnias and marigolds.  Those are strawberries in the pot in the front.

Tomato plants in the foreground and cucumber plants in the background.

Happy Crafting and Gardening!


Friday, June 5, 2015

Dreaming of Christmas...already!

This is a felt brooch that I have been working on for a while trying to perfect the design.  I think it would also look cute as a barrette for a little girl.  Who doesn't love Santa?  I had it listed in my Etsy shop last year, but was not happy with it.  So time to re-vamp and re-make!  Enjoy!

Another item I had listed in my Etsy shop was this Santa pot.  I originally found a similar design in a magazine many years ago whose name I cannot recall.  These are a lot of fun to paint and make great Secret Santa gifts.  They could also be filled with little goodies for a cute teacher's gift.  I don't have any listed back in my shop yet (it really is too early to think about Christmas shopping, isn't it?) but I'm going to start working on these soon for my shop and to put in my friend's shop on consignment.

Happy Crafting!


Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Grand Opening of Nature Wise Farmacy

This weekend marked the Grand Opening of my friend DeAnna's store, Nature Wise Farmacy.  The store is located here in Florence, SC.  DeAnna opened the store in order to promote and celebrate, as is her slogan, the local artisan.  The store features work from craftsmen and artisans that live in the Pee Dee region of South Carolina.  Now, don't go asking me to tell you what the Pee Dee region is.  I've lived here for over 23 years and still am not sure!  I've always considered it the area around Florence, in general.  I'm probably wrong, LOL, but the focus of the store is to give us an opportunity to sell our work.  

So Saturday was the Grand Opening and, being true to South Carolina, it was hot!  As you can tell by the gorgeous picture of me below.  Ignore me...I just wanted to show my display.  We had about 10 consignors from the store set up, along with a bouncy house, cotton candy, and snow cones for the kids.  As many of the consignors are also involved in the local hobby farm association we had our share of chickens too!  Turn out was okay, mainly hindered by the heat, but more than anything it drew attention to the store.  

I currently have paper bead jewelry and crocheted items for sale in the store.  In addition, I will be teaching classes in crocheting, paper bead making, and sharpie tie-dying; this one is for kids.  As the year progresses, I'll be adding Christmas items to the store.  I'll also be re-stocking my Etsy shop with Christmas items.  

If you are ever in Florence, SC travelling on Highway 52 (aka Irby Street) keep an eye out for the store and stop in and say hi!

Happy Crafting!


Friday, May 1, 2015

Where has the time gone?

It has been forever and a day since I last posted.  My apologies to anyone who has continued to check for new posts and hasn't found any.  I just became discouraged and didn't know what direction to head in regarding my blog and my craft business.  I'm still a bit up in the air, but I have found a wonderful group of women who knit and crochet and do all sorts of interesting things (like raise chickens and goats!) and they have been both inspiring and supportive.  So it is time to get moving in a positive direction!

I haven't stopped crafting.  (I can't stop crafting...LOL!)  So here a some of the things I've made over the last year.  If there is interest I will post a tutorial.  Thanks for your patience and welcome back!

Broomstick Lace

Crocheted Clutch

Crocheted Cowl Scarf

Felt Flower Brooch

Felt Owl Brooch

Crocheted Fingerless Gloves

Felt Heart Brooch

Crocheted Necklace

Decorative Pillow with Felt Flower
There will be more to come once I get myself back into a blogging routine.  Thanks

Happy Crafting!