Friday, May 16, 2008

Easy Slipper Knitting Patterns Are Great For Beginners

Choose easy slipper knitting patterns, they are great for a beginner to learn how to knit. The only stitches required are knit and purl. You can use the shorter needles and this will help you to get use to handling them. With short needles you do not have all that extra length to deal with.

Tips for knitting slippers

First: Choose a simple pattern. Slippers are small so you will finish quickly and have a real sense of accomplishment.

Second: Choose shorter needles. You do not need long needles for slippers. The shorter needles are much easier to handle. Sizes 8 through 10 all are good to learn with.

Third: Choose a yarn that is thick or bulky. I like working with thick yarn when I want a quick project.

Forth: Use the smallest size the pattern says if you are using one with size choices. This way you will not be trying to figure out where you are in the pattern. You will always know the stitches are the first set.

When we first begin to knit we all tend to pull our stitches too tight. That is why I suggest the larger short needles and thicker yarn. You do not need worry about size of slipper to begin with.

My first project was a huge beautiful shawl. I messed it up terribly and did not try to knit again for a long time. I felt like a failure. Had I chose a smaller and easier project to start with this would never have happened. Of course I did eventually get back to knitting but I choose a much smaller project this time.

Knitting pattern, slipper

Slippers are a great gift. Perfect for stoking stuffers, for the new mother or your friend at the office. With knit slippers the size dose not have to be exact for a great fit.

Free slipper knitting patterns can be found easily online. I have a few on my site that would be great for a beginner to get started, they are knit flat so this makes it very easy handling. One pattern is knit on needles and the other pattern is knit on a knitting loom. They are basic patterns and there is a chart to help the beginner to see how to knit them.

Do not forget the charities as they can use slippers also. So if your not sure what size you want to make or the color somebody likes use what you have on hand. There will always be somebody that would love to have a pair of snuggly slippers to warm their feet.

Linda Spangenburg draws on 35+ years from her knitting and crochet business experience, both as a teacher and craft business owner. She is the author behind "Looney for Looms" where you will find patterns for loom knitting. We hope you found the information here inspiring enough to try a craft homebased business? You can find more free information about knitting and crochet for profit at

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Make a Hawaiian Luau Craft Necklace for Your Party Guests

A Hawaiian luau is a fairly festive event, mostly famous for ham and pineapples. It's not hard to see why you've chosen to hold one. Now, all you need is some kind of crafting project to tide over the guests while the food finishes cooking.

One of the easiest craft projects for a festive party like this is to make a beaded necklace, so I'd recommend making Hawaiian leis. The ingredients are fairly easy to come by, virtually any crafting store that you come across is going to have more than enough beads and string for any number of guests and designs that you could come up with. Although you could always go the traditional style and use flowers to make yours.

Now the method for making these is quite simple, first you'll need to come up with the design for your lei. Such as color scheme, number of small beads to large beads, if you intend to use flowers, etc. Alternatively, it can sometimes be fun to just make it up as you go along; nothing says you have to have a plan.

You'll want to make sure that your string for the lei is long enough to go around your neck and still have plenty of leeway for tying together at the ends. Finally you simply string the beads together and tie the ends of the tread together, you may want to use some glue to either hold the last beads in place or to hold the knot on the string together. Otherwise there is a chance the beads will go flying everywhere if the knot comes undone.

If you want to use some flowers, you'll need to put a hole through them to string them together. However, you should remember that unless you use dried flowers, they will wither and die on the lei. "

Mrs. Party... Gail Leino takes a common sense approach to planning and organizing events, celebrations and holiday parties with unique ideas for luau party supplies and fun luau party games She explains proper etiquette and living a healthy life while also teaching organizational skills and fun facts. The Party Supplies Hut has lots of party ideas with hundreds of free holiday printable games and free birthday party activities. Over 100 adorable Themes including luau Party Supplies to fit your birthday celebration, holiday event, or "just because" parties. Party themes include cartoon characters, sports, movie, TV shows, luau, western, holidays, and unique crazy fun theme ideas.

How To Crochet A Simple Afghan - Patterns Of Crochet Afghan For Beginners

Tricot Crochet, Tunisian crochet, Railroad Knitting, Shepherd's Knitting and Hook Knitting are the various names for Afghan Crochet. The day you start learning this art you will be faced with different free crochet designs rather intriguing patterns for instance crochet apple afghan, simple afghan or then instructions for crafting a dual crochet ripple baby afghan. Still all this could be useless if your basic knowledge of embroidery and stitching techniques is incomplete.

Gaining knowledge of any art be it painting or crochet craft will always come in handy and this is a universally accepted that there is no substitute for knowledge. Start with basic and easy to learn stitching techniques and then gradually as you grow in confidence you can upgrade for more difficult and intricate types of embroidery.

Once you have learnt these stitching types you will see for yourself that how many different designs you would be able to create without having to consult others for your own creativity.

There are in access of a dozen different stitching methods, for instance cluster, cross over, Tunisian, cheek, crossed, knot, fence, mahogany, diagonal rib, star, stocking, rib, treble, fan, eyelet, braid and four sided stitch are the stitch you can learn, while knowledge of some of these stitch is a prerequisite before you start.

To help you begin here below are instructions for 2 stitches, this should allow you to begin a project.


1. Build a sequence that has equal quantity of stitches.

2. Base Stitch: Place a hook within a second chain, add wool next to the hook and pull one ring through the chain, wool besides hook and pull against one loop, Keep doing till finish. In the end quantity of loops should match quantity of chains we began with.

3. Second row: Twisting the wool should be prohibited round the hook and pull a ring from the 1st loop on hook, Keeping doing this till there remains a single loop remains. The motion of arm would not be left to right side of chain.

4. Third row: Take the first chain, place a hook from right side to left side from 1st standing each standing thread that is there on row to the left. In the end quantity of loops should match quantity of chains we began with

5. Forth row: In line with the second, third and forth rows process is replicated as per requirement. For a more elegant appearance you are free to make use of a dual crochet in the final row.


The backdrop of classic afghan stitch is suited here. Do the 1st row in a simple manner. On coming back, do the work where knots are necessary, do five chains, place a hook on chain number one, wool besides the hook and pull three loops on that hook.

For instance the first chain, the in use loop on the hook and the to be used stitch running with the row.

Uncover the simple tips and instructions to your how to design my own crochet pattern questions as well as getting the best beginner crochet kit at You can also get the free report on the secrets of crocheting by Jennifer Walter when you join the mailing list on the site.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Sewing Thread - Stitching It All Together

Thread is a tightly twisted strand of two or more ply of yarn used for hand and machine sewing. Some facts about sewing thread:

  • The difference between thread and yarn is that thread is used to sew together garments and other products, while yarn is a collection of fibers that is woven or knit into textiles. All threads are made from yarn, but yarn is not made of threads.
  • The first 'thread' to be used in sewing was made from animal sinew and plant fibers.
  • There are three types of thread, animal, plant and synthetic, based on the materials they are made from.
  • Silk is an example of thread made from animal products. The silk caterpillar weaves a cocoon made from silk that it produces. These cocoons are unraveled, and two or more strands are twisted together to form silk thread. Silk makes a very fine, stretchable and strong thread.
  • Cotton is an example of plant fibers used to make thread. Fibers of cotton are spun into a fine yarn; two or more strands of yarn are twisted together to make the thread. Cotton thread tends to shrink and is not as strong as silk thread. The thread is singed over an open flame and mercerized (dipped in a solution of caustic soda) to improve its strength and give it sheen.
  • Nylon and polyester thread are examples made from synthetic materials.
  • Ninety-five percent of all thread of all kinds manufactured are used in industrial and commercial sewing.
  • The development of the cotton thread industry in England was the result of a blockade during the Napoleonic Wars in the early 19th century. This prevented raw silk from entering the country, so no silk thread could be made for sewing. Patrick Clark invented a method for twisting cotton together to make sewing thread.
  • The original threads made by Clark were not string enough to use in the new fangled sewing machines of the later 19th century. George Clark, a Grandson of Patrick, developed a six-stranded thread with the qualities necessary to be used in sewing machines.

Alan Beggerow owns and operates Cathleen's Bargain Basement, an online business that offers custom made apparel and hand crafted teddy bears by Cathleen, and also offers a selection of jewelry, home decor, Asian motif items, and much more.

Alan Beggerow is also a free lance writer. Visit his writing services website, Ghostwriter, at

Tips to Embellish Quilts with Beads

If you are interested in tips to embellish quilts with beads, you have come to the right place. Quilts have moved beyond simple coverings to works of art due partly to the addition of embellishments such as beads. This article will explore how you can ensure that your beaded quilt vision comes to life by asking yourself four simple questions.

Is this a good project to embellish?

What kind of quilt are you making? If this is going to be a well-loved and well-washed quilt, I would not suggest embellishing. It will require too much care. Wall-hangings or mini quilts, however, are perfect projects for beading.

How can I improve this quilt?

There is no point in adding beads to the quilt if they will only be a distraction. Everything you do should be to make the quilt more beautiful. Although I love gaudy baubles, this is one time where too much is not a good thing.

The first step to embellishing quilts with beads is to take a good look at your quilt pattern. What can be enhanced about the pattern or the fabric that you are using? Do you want the outline of a star to stand out? Do you want to bead the center of an appliquéd flower? Take a washable making pencil (please be sure to test to make sure that the marks will come out upon washing) and outline where you think beads would look the best. Turn it over in your mind. Get down your beading vision of this quilt.

Are my embellishments in the center of the quilt?

You need to establish what Joan Hawley of Lazy Girl Designs calls an "Embellishment Zone." You do not want your embellishments getting lost in the edges of your quilt or in the seam allowance. Keep them in the center of each block and at least two inches from the perimeter of your quilt.

Do I have the tools to stitch these beads on the quilt?

Just say "no" to glue. I know it is easy. It is also messy and your beads could easily detach. Do it right the first time and stitch the beads to your quilt. This quilt will last a long time. You will feel comfortable knowing that you did your best.

So, are you ready to embellish your quilts with beads? Once you have the right project, the right game plan, place the beads in the right places and in the right way, it is sure to be a winner.

Visit How to Quilt Review for reviews of beginning quilting books, tools and resources to get you started and to keep you quilting!

Ribbon Embroidery - A Charming Addition To Any Fabric

In the early 18th century, a highly ornate style dominated the decorative arts in many parts of Europe. This style is popularly known as rococo and is characterized by very intricate embellishments. One of the most widespread kinds of this rococo style is ribbon embroidery.

In its early days, ribbon embroidery was considered to be a very elegant art exclusive to the higher classes in society. This is especially true in France where peasants and middle class citizens were not allowed to decorate their outfits with ribbon embroidery. This sort of embellishment was reserved for the use of the more elite members of society.

As time progressed though, the popularity of ribbon embroidery reached other countries in Europe and many areas in the western world. People from all walks of life could be seen wearing outfits decorated with all sorts of ribbon embroidery.

Soon, imaginative individuals began expanding the use of ribbon embroidery to items other than clothing. Practically anything that can be embroidered were decorated with ribbon embroidery - purses, bonnets, scarves and other fashion accessories.

Many people also applied ribbon embroidery to their common house decorations such as lampshades, picture frames, pillow covers and tablecloths. In fact, ribbon embroidery in this form is still very much alive today as it was when it was first introduced in the Middle Ages.

This technique is very appealing to many individuals particularly because of its dainty and delicate nature. Today, ribbons are available in any color, width and texture that you can think of. You can easily avail of ribbons in any textile or embroidery store anywhere.

Traditionally, most ribbon embroidery has been created on silk fabrics but in these modern times, you can actually do your ribbon embroidery on any kind of material you wish, as long as you are pleased with the final results of your project.

Ribbon embroidery can also be accomplished with or without needles. It all depends on what you want your finished product to look like. If you do not want to use needles, you can imitate the style just by tying the ribbon at the right places. If you want to sew the design on the fabric, make sure you choose the right kind of needle that can accommodate the thickness of your ribbon.

If you are interested in learning more about the art of ribbon embroidery, there are many website on the Internet that can teach you techniques in making your ribbon embroidery more professional looking.

You may also head to your local bookstore and select from the many published works on this topic. One of the most famous books among embroidery fanatics is Candace Kling's "The Artful Ribbon". It's a great instructional book that will certainly help you master the art of ribbon embroidery.

You can also find more info on embroidery machines and metallic thread. is a comprehensive resource to know more about Embroidery.

Knitting Equipment & Supplies

Knitting needles are an investment and should be chosen carefully. Some knitters like to use long needles regardless of how many stitches they are working while others prefer to use shorter needles. For afghans, my personal favorite is the circular needle. It accommodates a large number of stitches and I like the fact that I can push the work off the needle edge when I am not working on it - stitches rarely fall off my needle this way. As well, I like to be able to spread my work out and check my pattern for any mistakes and it is much easier to view when using these needles. It makes it easier to measure the length of afghans too.

There are many sizes and types of needles - single pointed, double pointed, circular, and cable needles. Single pointed needles are usually sold in sets of two. They are great for making smaller items such as scarves. Double pointed needles are usually sold in sets of four. They are used for knitting socks, hats, and sleeves. Circular needles are great for knitting sweaters or afghans. Crochet hooks, in addition to crocheting items can be used to pick up dropped stitches as well as tucking in the ends of the yarn when the work is finished, by threading the yarn ends through the knitted stitches. Knitting needles are made of different materials such as steel, plastic or bamboo. The darning needle is useful when tucking in those loose ends if you prefer instead of the crochet hook.

When you are ready to get started, you will need a tape measure which will help you keep track of the length of a work. You should always use the same tape measure when making a garment. Scissors obviously are necessary for cutting the yarn, large darning needle or tapestry needle which can be used for sewing seams or for finishing off ends, knitting needles because how can you possibly knit without these. A flat 6" ruler, clear plastic if possible, is easier than a soft tape measure when measuring short distances on the knitting. An aluminum counter is helpful in determining gauge, a crochet hook comes in handy for picking up dropped stitches as well as finishing off those loose ends, safety pins that can be useful to help mark rows as well as hold stitches, and of course, yarn and a pattern.

There are many other items that a person will use once they have decided that knitting is a hobby that they intend to pursue for many years to come but aren't necessary if you are just trying things out. Stitch holders, which come in various lengths and are similar to safety pins, knitting counters are small devices that are slipped over the point of the needle and are very convenient for keeping track of rows, especially for larger items like sweaters and afghans. The counter has a dial that will record a count from 1 to 99. Ring markers are just small or medium size plastic rings and come in handy when working complicated patterns as well as showing where increases and decreases will be made. A knitting bag or case will be useful for holding your supplies and your work together and keep things tidy. This bag need not be some expensive item any medium size cloth bag will suffice.

A notebook can be used to help keep track of rows, for instance when you knit socks or mittens, it is easier to remember how many rows to the thumb or heel if you have it written down. Also, even though you may knit the same pattern a number of times, you will probably make changes to the size and months down the road, it would be convenient to have those recorded. As well, as you knit, you will develop your own style and make notes to yourself for future use.

JoAnn Freeman operates a blog that is all about knitting. She will be talking about knitting and taking some of the mystery out of knitting terms and patterns. Her newsletter will include information of where to find free patterns.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Got Knitting Questions - I Have Answers

One of the things I love about knitting is that there is always something new to know about! So much information is out there, in magazines, knitting books, websites; it can become confusing very quickly if you don't know just what is basic to your knitting needs.

After all, do you really need to know what brand of lighted knitting needles to purchase or which brand of silk yarn will knit up best with that advanced pattern you found, when you still want not-so-advanced information?

In this article, I've searched my files for the best basics for knitters! When you have this knowledge, so much of the rest will begin to make better sense.

Knitting Needle basics. There are the straight needles we all know and use, but what do you do with double-pointed & circular needles? Double pointed needles come in sets of four or five and are used to make items such as mittens, socks, and other round pieces. Circular needles are used when casting on a large number of stitches, i.e. 100 or more, and then you "knit in the round". When you knit a large afghan or sweater, circular needles are wonderful. They are easy on your fingers, and can be taken anywhere.

Yarn basics. Does it matter which yarn I knit with? It sure does! With so many yarns available these days, choosing what to use can be a dilemma. So, I recommend read your instructions and read the yarn labels. There's a whole host of info on those yarn labels. When knitting baby items, use soft sport yarn or fine or fingering yarn. For sweaters use worsted yarn. For afghans, worsted, wool, DK or Aran yarn works best. For rugs or sturdy jackets, use bulky or chunky yarns. Be sure to find out how much yarn comes with each skein, as each project calls for a specific amount of yarn, and each skein/ball of yarn is different. Always buy enough yarn in the same dye lots, even if you have to buy one extra, just to be sure. In time, you'll have quite a stash of extra yarn and that's when you can use your best knitting creativity to use those all up!

Gauge basics. I see the word "gauge" in every pattern I find. Is it that important? It depends. If you are knitting a scarf or place-mats or other specialty items, then gauge is not that important. But, for items to wear or even afghans, it is very important to know how many stitches per inch and per row, you are knitting with. The required gauge is always specified in every pattern, and before you begin that project, make a gauge swatch to measure correctness. If your gauge numbers are too small, try using larger needles and vice versa. Some knitters knit more tightly than others, so never go by what someone else's knitting produces.

It is mastering the basics, whether they be for knitting, cooking, painting, mothering, or brain surgery, that will make all the rest easy to do!

Remember, when you get to know the basics, you can create a world of knitting magic for yourself, that you will find, is just what you have been looking for! Knitting........enjoy!

Want to use this article for your blog or website? You can, you know, as long as you include this disclaimer in your article: Keep YOUR knitting on the "Cutting Edge" with FREE patterns. The place where smart knitters gather resources and share stories. FR.EE Details ==>

How to Make Your Own Stencils

Stencil art is popular. It is a great way to redecorate your home or create art pieces. Moreover stencil art is fun.

Since stencils are very common there are a lot of templates available both online and at the DIY and hobby shops. However sometimes making our own stencil is what we really want. If you are eager to try creating a custom design, read on to find out how to make your own stencil.

First let's see what tools and materials are required for stencil making. A firm surface is required for cutting the stencils. A cutting board or a piece of thick carton is good enough for this purpose. The cutting is done with a craft knife. You will also need a piece of stiff plastic or another transparent material and a low-tack tape.

Obviously you will need the design of the stencil you are going to create. You can draw it on paper and get it enlarged on a photocopier. If you are not going to draw the design than use an image - just print it and get it into the size required.

Now it is time to cut the stencil. Place the print out (or your drawing) over the cutting board and place the plastic over it. Than use a sharp craft knife to cut the plastic through. If you feel your knife is not that sharp, cut the blade and than continue cutting. It is of utmost importance to use a very sharp knife otherwise the stencil quality will be poor.

Cut one line at a time. You can start with the longest lines or the straighter ones. These are the easiest and will help you get used to cutting. Rotate the cutting board to ease cutting. It is best to use tape so that the print and the plastic do not move.

Once you have cut the whole design, you are done. There is only one thing that should be done - check out the edges of the stencil. If there are some rough edges try to soften them to prevent paint gather in there.

Once your stencil is cut, you can start painting. Use a stencil brush or a sponge to apply the paint. Apply a think layer of paint at a time. It you need to apply a second and even a third layer of paint after the first one is dry. Wash the stencil if you are going to use it again in future and store it flat in a box or between the pages of a book.

Keith Londrie II is a successful Webmaster of, A website that specializes in providing tips on Stencils that you can research on the internet. Visit today!

Candy Crafts - Easter Candy Bouquet - How To Instructions From Incredible Edible Crafts

Materials used for this candy gift basket: an Easter bucket, "Dum-Dum" pops or other lollipops, decorative Easter grass, curling ribbons of different colors, floral foam for silk arranging, a stuffed bunny, chocolate bunnies, stem wire, glue dots or scotch tape, wired decorative Easter eggs (I bought them in Michaels Craft store), and Easter ribbon.

1. Take an Easter bucket and fill it 5/6 full of Easter plastic grass.

2. Cut the floral foam for silk flower arranging and put it on the top of the Easter decorative grass so it fits into the container firmly. Cut and insert filler pieces of foam as necessary. If the foam is loose in the bucket, you can secure it to the walls of the bucket with some floral sticky clay.

Or you can buy foam in the shape of a flat circle, cut it to the desired size and insert it into the bucket.

3. Cover the foam with Easter grass securing it with floral pins as necessary.

4. Set the toy Easter Bunny in the back of the bucket. If the bunny does not want to sit, you can attach a piece of a bamboo skewer to the back of the toy using a piece of clear scotch tape. The bunny is held in place with the piece of skewer inserted in the foam.

5. Make some candy flowers.

a) You will need "Dum-Dum Pops" or other lollipops and curling ribbons of different colors.

b) Take a "Dum-Dum" pop and a piece of matching curling ribbon. Tie a small bow at the base of the pop (where the stick and the pop meet).

c) Using scissors curl the loose ends of the ribbon.

d) That is it. One candy flower is ready. Make several candy flowers of each color and flavor.

6. Insert pops in light and dark green wrappers all around the edge of the bucket. Then insert the rest of the pops around the bunny.

7. The next step is to add the chocolate bunnies to the arrangement.

a) You will need chocolate bunnies, 16 or 18 ga stem wire, and packing tape or scotch tape.

b) Attach the stem wire to the back of chocolate bunnies with scotch tape or packing tape. To stabilize the chocolate bunnies on the stem wire, put a zigzag bend in the wire.

c) Insert the wired chocolate bunnies at the back of the bucket behind the toy bunny.

8. a) Take wired decorative Easter eggs and Easter narrow ribbon.

b) Tie an Easter bow around these Easter eggs and insert them in the foam so they will be in the bunny's hands as though he is holding them.

Enjoy your Easter Candy Arrangement!

If you are interested in learning how to make candy bouquets to start your own business or just to be able to make unique gifts for your friends and family, see my illustrated step-by-step guide How to Make Candy Bouquet for Fun and Profit

Lana Glass - Founder of the Site Incredible Edible Crafts - More Candy Craft Projects

You Know You Are a Craft-A-Holic - When

1) If it doesn't move, then you paint it!

2) Your kids bring flower covered scrapbooks instead of binders to school.

3) You wear a glue gun holster... you just never know when something will need hot glue.

4) You house is full of scrap fabrics, papers, threads, wool, beads, broken vases, old wooden boxes, glue gun sticks.... these are not scraps to you, these are potential craft projects.

5) Your side of the table, is piled high with craft ideas, pictures and articles, and half done crafts.

6) No one wants to get your name at Christmas, because they just know they are going to get one of your latest "crafts" for a present.

7) You have a craft supplier on speed dial.

8) You pick your kids up from school, with paint in your hair, on your face, and you wear your painting shirt like its a new fashion statement..

9) You have been called the stencil queen...

10) You will never be fingerprinted, because you have burned your finger tips too many times with the glue gun.

If this is you... then maybe it is time to get serious about your crafts and turning them into money. You probably have enough crafts around your house, that you can open a online store right away! Get some great pictures, I am sure your friends and family will be so excited that you are going to sell your crafts as a business, that they will help you get organized.

What better business to start, then one you are already passionate about?... Rather than unloading them all on your friends and family for every holiday there is on the calendar, try going worldwide, which is what will happen on the internet. You will empty your house and line your pockets!... then you can buy more craft supplies! open a online store and sell your crafts even while you sleep!.. Article and website by Diane Palmer, who has over 15 years in the crafts business.

Discover How to Turn Your Stained Glass or Craft Hobby Into a Money Making Business

Everyone would just love to find out how to turn their hobbies, passions, etc. into ways to earn a living and design their lives. Yes, we are aware that money isn't everything and that isn't the reason we personally do anything. There are bigger forces involved that cause us to want to get money out of the way. Like helping others learn, enjoy, while enjoying ourselves. So, if you're thinking this is just about money, you're mistaken.

When we're kids growing up we dream of miraculous things we want to be. Somewhere along the line our dreams don't always turn into reality and for many of us we turn to becoming realistic instead of optimistic and we settle for doing things that we don't necessarily want to do.

Come on, you mean to tell me you dreamed of being an administrative assistant, a collections agent, or an accountant? (Yes, I'm an accountant and no offense if you are the above - just trying to make a point).

Well in this information packed article, I want to share with you how you can turn your stained glass making hobby or any hobby for that matter into a money making business.

It probably won't be easy and chances are you'll have to learn some new things, but it could be completely worth it in the end. Imagine enjoying your retirement while bringing in extra income instead of working at Wal-Mart. Imagine replacing your income at the job you hate and doing something you love. Imagine dreaming again like when you were a kid. Feel how alive you'll feel instead of the drudgery you feel when you sluff off to work each day. Imagine a part-time income to supplement the job you do love that pays for things you barely are able to save for.

This can all happen, but you are going to need a plan of attack:

Here are some of the things you'll want to jot down and some of the tips that have helped other businesses become successful vs. the ones that don't.

**Why do you want to do this? Your reason(s) why are very important.

**Goals & Dreams. From how much money you want to make to how much time you're willing to put in. Write down your wishes, your dreams, and your goals. Set time-frames. It really does work!

**What types of products/services will you sell? Yes, you'll have your craft products, but what about other types of products? What about your knowledge, tools, supplies, the art itself, etc... There are many ways to bring in money while helping others enjoy your art!

**Is there a need, want, market for what you're offering? How are you going to be different than all the other folks selling their art/crafts? I can't tell you how many festivals and shows I've been to where every other tent is the same type of product. The question you must ask is, what makes me want to buy something over the hundreds of other products being offered? You can sell the same type of product as others, but your service, delivery, price, and other aspects are what makes people buy from you.

**How are you going to set up your business? This is a good time to seek the advice of an accountant or attorney. Don't go spend hundreds of dollars yet. Spend time on some of these other things first before you go setting up shop. You can also start out with just a business name and reseller's license (if your state requires one). This gives you the ability to purchase from manufacturers and wholesale companies.

**How are you going to promote, market, sell, and distribute your products? This section is crucial. If you are doing this in your spare time, you must ensure you set up a system of sorts that will do most of the work for you and enable you to work smart instead of hard.

**Speaking of marketing and selling, what will be your means of doing this? How are you going to let people know that your art is worth buying? There are many ways and many books written on these subjects whether you have zero budget or a large budget to work with. Some here include, shows, fairs, flea markets, auctions, websites, direct mail, joint ventures, home selling, open a store, advertising in publications, writing expert articles, and more. Aside from actually making your art, this is the most fun and exciting part! This part will also make or break your business!

**How about a budget or cash flow? Chances are you're spending money each month or so, on your hobby now. Just allocate that to a marketing and selling budget and work within your means. Allow for the purchase of additional tools, supplies, software, and so forth that will be necessary to make this all happen. You can do things on a shoe-string, but you must plan accordingly. Now is a good time to consult an accountant regarding business set up, taxes, and budgets.

All of this goes for anyone who wants to start a business whether you want to make $100 per month or $100,000,000 per year.

There are entire books, courses, and more designed on this subject. I have read and followed many. It's simple to follow, but not easy to do. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

However, since you're already spending time on your hobby/passion, now you just need to implement some additional steps to turn those pieces of art and your knowledge into a thriving business.

We hope this help shed some light on what you'll need to do to start a successfully, selling company around your art/craft.

We have seen too many folks spinning their wheels trying to make something work when with a little homework, they could've saved themselves a lot of headaches. Don't let that be you!!!

Art, Crafts, and hobbies are fun. That's why we do them! Come and join us to learn the art of making stained glass. Better yet, you can now share what you have made, your tips, your expertise, and art while learning by visiting Create Stained Glass - the number one site on how to learn glass art.

How to Make Money with Crafts

Opening an online store for your crafts business, can be a great way to deal with the crafts you have left over after a craft show.

If you are part of the craft show circuit, then you have probably noticed, that certain crafts seem to sell better in certain areas, and there is just no rhyme or reason to this. You think you have made the perfect crafts for this season, and you almost sell them all out at one craft show, and yet are stuck with them at another.

It can be hard to figure out just what to make and what will sell, and what to do with the crafts you have left over after the craft shows.

Instead of banishing them to the basement in bins, or pawning them off on your family and friends as gifts... why not try and get your money out of them?.. Go the next step, and put your craft business online.

A craft that may not have sold well locally, might be just what a customer in Europe thinks is the cats meow!. Your online store will compliment your craft shows, and make sure you make money from all of your products. You can also set up a newsletter with your online store, and have customers sign up for it. You can let them know when your next craft show will be, and offer specials.. The ideas are endless... and will ultimately make you money.

Why banish your hard work to the basement or garage... it just takes a little organization, and a few nice pictures and before you know it, you are advertising to the world.

Put your website on your business card, so that your customers at craft shows, can see what else you have made. It is almost like a "art gallery" online. Online stores are easy to open and get started, you are given steps and templates to use, you do not need to be a computer genius..

Think about it... this could be a second wind for your products, and will get you known world wide. open an online store to sell your crafts you could be selling 24 hours a day, even while you are sleeping... article and website by Diane Palmer, who has been in the crafts business for over 15 years.

Knitting Patterns for Beginners

How knitting began

Knitters were first believed to have begun their craft in the first few centuries AD. Egyptian artifacts and art have led many historians to credit the creation of knitting as a way to design clothing to the Egyptians. Since the craft is quite simple, it caught on and spread to other cultures rather quickly. By the middle of the 1500s, the first knitting groups had been established in France.

Patterns for knitting: garter stitch scarf

First-time knitters and those new to the craft often start with a pattern like the garter stitch scarf. This simple pattern is quite basic in that is requires only the knit stitch. The end result, however, has a more complicated looking ribbed design and is an attractive fashion accessory that makes an ideal gift for loved ones.

Patterns for knitting: stockinet stitch scarf

The stockinet stitch scarf pattern is one that is simple for even the most novice knitters to learn, and is a good transition pattern for those hoping to graduate from basic to more intermediate patterns. The finished scarves are quite attractive, but tend to curl up on the edges. This can be used as the fashion and design in which these scarves are designed, or try knitting the stockinet stitch scarf with fuzzy yarn.

Patterns for knitting: baby blankets

Many knitters first become interested in the craft so that they can create blankets for their friends and family. Baby blanket knitting patterns are available, and because of the square design, are quite simple for beginners. The baby blanket pattern is highly customizable in both size and design. A baby blanket is the perfect place to practice more complex pattern stitches. And if you decide to go larger, be sure to try to the square afghan patterns. The stitches are much the same as the baby blanket design, but the final product is nearly twice as large.

Patterns for knitting: party wrap patterns

Ready for a knitting challenge? When it's time to move on to a more difficult stitch, try out the party wrap pattern. This design is circular and requires a few more advanced stitches to make it the end product come out correctly. However, the design is especially good for beginners because it helps to hide and camouflage any minor mistakes that are made in the creation of the party wrap.

Patterns for knitting: washcloths

When you want to create some products that offer more functionality and usability, consider checking out a washcloth pattern. These usually utilize the basic stockinet stitch, which makes them ideal for beginners. And with their small size, it will take even a newcomer very little time to complete the project and enjoy that rush of accomplishment and success.

The basics of knitting

Learning the art of knitting is relatively simple, and is enjoying a surge in popularity among new generations. Although machines do much of the commercial knitting necessary in the production of clothing, knitting by hand still has a very important role in modern culture. When knitting by hand, the artist also controls the colors, needles, and overall design of the final product.

There are two kinds of knitting - weft knitting and warp knitting. With warp knitting, only one string of yarn is necessary for each stitch. This type of knitting is most often done by hand. However, weft knitting involves multiple yarn strands and is commonly done by machine as part of commercial knitting.

Why use knitting patterns

Patterns for knitting provide a strong outline and foundation for starting any new knitting project. While knitting patterns can offer suggestions for design and color ideas, it is ultimately up to the artist to decide what the final product what look like.

Most new knitters should start with some of the basic patterns listed above and work on mastering basic stitches. Once you learn the basics of knitting, you will want to continue progressing to more advanced stitches and knitting patterns. You may also want to consider finding a local knitting group or meeting online others who share your hobby. Not only will this provide a nice social outlet, but your new knitting friends may also be able to help you locate and use new knitting patterns and new ideas for knitting projects.

Be sure to try using other available resources, such as local craft and hobby stores. There are often professionals and enthusiasts who can help you find great knitting patterns to start with. You can also find great information about patterns for knitting at online message boards, chat rooms, and knitting Web sites.

Mary Amos loves arts and crafts and has been knitting for years. See her favorite knit patterns at Knits and Knitting Patterns, and be sure to visit Knitting for more knitting fun!

Saturday, March 1, 2008


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Friday, February 15, 2008

Yes We Can - Barack Obama Music Video

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

How to Read a Sewing Pattern

When it comes to sewing, reading patterns can be somewhat intimidating, the first thing we must know is that there are several pattern types and each may have its own design variations or what many people refer to as "views". Beginners may start with basic patterns which show traces which are easy to follow, these starter patterns don't often require people to get too technical as far as measurements, fabrics and designs.

When buying a pattern its is important to pay attention to the front and the back of the pattern envelope. The front may show you the end product or how the pattern would look if you followed all the instructions, there are of course some variations and customizations you can do in order to end up with an original piece, that of course depends of the project you are taking, it could be home decor or clothes.

The back of the envelope shows you important summaries and descriptions which must be read if you want to know what you are getting, sometimes people buy these projects because the picture of the finished product is quite beautiful however the traces within the pattern itself may be hard to decipher. That's why beginners may feel they are trying to understand a foreign language. Another critical part you must pay attention to is the design and the type of fabrics this project require, this will give you an idea of the amount of fabric you must buy.

When buying the fabric you must pay attention to its designs and determine if it has nap, this last concept is met if your fabric has a one way design, fuzzy texture and even or uneven plaid, for instance lets say that you get fabric which has dancing penguins printed in one direction, if you don't buy enough fabric you may end up cutting and sewing parts which don't fit with the rest of the design, for example some penguins will be facing right and others left.

If you will be working with fuzzy texture it is also important to buy more fabric, this is the type of material that when it is brushed in one direction it's smooth but when brushed in an opposite direction it feels rough. When you feel this resistance you can see that the color of the material has turned darker and the color is uneven.

When you open the envelope you will find a set of instructions which must be followed, if you don't understand a certain term you can also use the glossary which most of them have. This is always the first step, do not rush and try to take on the project if you haven't read the instructions, this never bears good results. You will also find the pattern pieces which can be kept for future projects if you buy a piece of pattern tracing material, many people find this useful since they don't want to end up buying the same pattern over and over. You will find that some patterns have been traced on soft paper and others on harder materials, the hard material usually has printed the master pattern which should be laid out on the fabrics as shown on the diagrams included.

It is important that you organize your space and keep all the instructions right in front of you, that way you will follow them without having pieces of pager lying under fabrics and other materials. Remember that you will be dealing with needles and other sharp objects so keeping everything in order will help you avoid any accidents.

Online-Sewing-Supplies offers more information and discount sewing supplies such as easy sewing patterns and sewing machines for sale, visit us today and learn more about sewing!

Christmas Robin Tea Cosy Knitting Pattern

The cheery Christmas robin is no stranger to cold bleak winters. He knows how to keep warm and he will keep the teapot warm too. The festive robin novelty Tea Cosy is quick and easy to make and adds Christmas cheer to the kitchen or breakfast table, he also makes for a very unusual gift.

To make the Christmas Robin tea cosy you will need...
5.5 mm, UK size 5 or US size 9 knitting needles,
50g Brown double knitting wool,
50g Red double knitting wool,
25g White double knitting wool
And scraps of felt for the eyes and beak.

Divide all of the balls of wool into two balls so that the yarn can be used in double thickness but knitted up as a single strand.

The Back Using double thickness brown yarn cast on 28 stitches and work 38 rows in straight garter stitch (Knit each row)

Leave the stitches on a spare needle until later.

The Front Using double thickness brown wool, cast on 28 stitches and work 4 rows in garter stitch.

Break the yarn and change to white (again double yarn) Work another 4 rows.

Row 9: Knit 6 stitches with white, Join Red (double yarn) knit in red to last 6 stitches. Knit 6 with white.

Don't carry the yarn behind the work, instead use separate balls of wool and twist the yarns together when changing colours to avoid leaving holes.

Row 10: K6 white, K16 red, K6 white.
Row 11: K4 white, K20 red, K4 white.

Repeat the last row 21 more times.

Row 33: K5 white, K8 red, K2 white, K8 red, K5 white.
Repeat this row again.

Row 35: K6 White, K6 red, K4 white, K6 red, K6 white.
Repeat this row again.

Work two rows in white.

The Tea Cosy Top Using brown double yarn proceed to knit across the tea cosy front and then tea cosy back as follows...

Shaping the top Row 1: *K5, K2 tog* repeat to end

Next and every alternate row Knit.

Row 3: *K4, K2 tog* repeat to end.
Row 5: *K3, K2 tog* repeat to end.
Row 7: *K2, K2 tog* repeat to end.
Row 9: *K1, K2 tog* repeat to end.
Row 11: *K2 tog* repeat to end.

Thread the end of the yarn through the remaining stitches and through the loop of the yarn itself and draw up the knitting tightly and Finnish off.

With the front and back right sides together, sew about 9.5cm from the finishing off point down the side seam towards the cast on edge.

At the bottom of each side seam, sew about 3cm upwards. The holes are left for the teapot handle and spout.

From felt cut out two eyes (Approximately 4cm in diameter) and sew into position.

Cut a 5cm long kite shape from black felt and fold the fabric in half along the long edge and over-sew this edge with small stitches. With the seam at the bottom, flatten out to form a slender pointed beak. Sew into place.

Now the rosy robin can keep your rosy lee piping hot all winter.

This novelty Christmas robin tea cosy fits teapots up to 47cm round and up to 17cm high, a medium sized teapot.

For tea cosy photograph visit S. Roberts writes for a popular Christmas educational resource packed with creative things to do over the festive period including traditional, religious and 21st Century activities. For information about the Christmas Robin visit

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

How To Make Paper Tissue Flowers

Learning how to make tissue paper flowers is an easy and creative way to spend your time. I was unfortunately involved in a horrific accident a while ago and bed ridden for months as a result of this accident. With all this time on my hands, I decided to read up on different ways to express myself through the art of making them. This hobby is so relaxing that I recommend it to anyone, no matter what their age or creative ability.

There are only a handful of items that are needed to create a paper tissue flower and most of them can be found right around your house. You need some tissue paper and a pipe cleaner, a pencil, a pair of scissors and a ruler. Then you will have everything needed to start and complete your project.

You can begin by folding each sheet the width of a pencil (accordion or fan style). Then lay all the sheets on top of each other making sure all the creases meet. Then fold the whole thing again, and put the pipe cleaner in the middle of the accordion. Now wrap the pipe cleaner two times around the accordion and fold down the top of the pipe cleaner and twist. Then, you will carefully cut off each of the ends of the accordion, making the corners round. Then carefully fan out all the sheets so none are stuck together until a fluffy flower appears.

Whole flower bouquets can be made in a broad range of sizes and colors. The petals can be folded or cut at any size imaginable. You can make larger or smaller flowers depending on your taste.You can use many different types of colored tissue paper when designing these flowers. This will create multi-colored blossoms that will be one of the main topics of conversation at your next house party. Tie-dye or colored splashed tissue paper flowers can be used to bring some color to a dull, dreary room or to cheer up a sickly person.

A couple of months ago, I was visiting a dear, old friend in the hospital when I realized that tissue paper flowers would lighten, and cheer up her room drastically. Because she was deafly allergic to real flowers my tissue flowers were the key. The next day I returned to the hospital and brought a vase full of my multi-colored flowers and gave it to her. She was so happy that she began to cry. Thirty plus years I have known this lady and I never saw her so happy, and it gave me this feeling of warmth all over my body that is unforgettable.

There is nothing better than the feeling you get when you look at the finished product. I cannot begin to explain the satisfaction you will get from this inexpensive old pass time. Our great grandmothers, and their grandmothers made these flowers and now we can enjoy this sensational hobby also.

As I said before, its an inexpensive hobby with numerous amounts of paper tissue flowers that can be created. It very therapeutic process that is used in most nursing homes today. It helps to loosen up the fingers of patients with joint pain problems while keeping their minds working and learning. There are no limits on what the imagination can visualize and the rewarding challenge of making these flowers is one of the ways.

I hope you will consider mastering a skill that is just simply amazing to have. You will be thankful you did.

Erich Simko is an avid and enthusiastic Paper Flower creator, Origamist and Arts and Crafts buff. Learning How To Make Paper Tissue Flowers in particular has helped him through difficult times in his life and he believes it will bring much joy to your life as well.

How to Make Amazing Crafts with Kids

Arts & crafts with kids!

There are countless reasons why it is a great idea to do arts and crafts with your kids. For one, working on arts & crafts helps to hone children's creativity. Arts and crafts can also help promote teamwork and sharing, as well as offering the perfect opportunity to bond and find new common interests. Arts and crafts also allow kids to openly express themselves, even at very young ages. Nonetheless, despite all these positives, the best reason for getting your kids involved in arts and crafts is that it is fun! If you are panicking that you will not know how to guide your child through their first craft, there is no need to worry; there are plenty of arts and crafts ideas for all ages from pre-schoolers up through teenage artists.

Best practices for doing arts & crafts with kids

1. Don't ask "What is it?" when you are befuddled as to the identity of your kid's final creation. Just ask your kid to tell you more about their art or craft, and let them explain how they see their creation.

2. There will be a mess. There is nothing you can do about it. As soon as you make that realization, the whole experience will be far more enjoyable. Indeed, sometimes it is even important to make a mess. Take that knowledge to plan ahead. Get a large clear workspace for your kids, and give them the opportunity to be creative without having to worry about getting paint on your new Persian rug

2. Making arts and crafts is supposed to be about using your imagination. For this reason, try not to show your kids a completed craft as an example. Instead, let your kids learn to interpret the instructions as they wish in order to truly be creative. This will also give your kids a good lesson on the best ways to follow and adapt instructions.

4. Making arts and crafts requires a lot of focus. For this reason, it is best to get your kids to calm down a bit before placing them in front of glue and scissors.

Basic supplies for making arts & crafts with kids

Just like your kitchen pantry, a kid's craft drawer should have a few staples. While you may need something more specific for special crafts, for the most part you will be able to get by with the following list: kid-friendly paint, scissors, crayons, etc. It's also a good idea to keep a drawer stocked with construction paper, beads, glitter, paint brushes, glue sticks, and the ever popular "wiggly eyes."

The education benefit of arts & crafts

Arts and crafts can be used to apply hands-on learning to any subject. Using crafts this way helps kids think more in-depth about the subject of their artwork or craft projects. Virtually any subject matter can be taught using arts & crafts with a little creativity. For instance, if you are learning about world geography, you could have the kids make a tissue paper globe.

Learn about holidays, history, and any other topic your kids should study. Even math can be enriched through arts and crafts. Remember that school isn't the only place kids should be learning; your kids will be much more willing and excited to learn if you make learning fun with interactive arts and crafts projects.

Some ideas for kids' arts & crafts

Kids' arts and crafts can be quick and simple to keep the attention of on-the-go toddlers. They can also be sophisticated and complex for older kids who are up to a challenge. To get an idea of the scope of arts and crafts projects out there, take a trip to your local arts and crafts store or teacher's supply shop. These stores will have pre-designed craft kits, including jewelry art, painting kits, and other craft ideas. Each kit will come with instructions and all of the materials you require.

Another good idea, once you have gained some experience, is to walk arts and craft stores to shop for kids' art ideas. Here are some ideas: try straw painting, where kids can create arts and crafts by blowing paint through a straw onto a poster board or construction paper; or let your kids dip marbles in paint and roll them across the painting surface for a messy (but fun!) painting project. If you are looking for something a bit less messy then try pipe cleaner art. This is a great craft because kids of all ages can join in. Young children can use their imaginations to create simple objects out of pipe cleaners. Older kids may enjoy incorporating other supplies such as beads into pipe cleaner art.

Mary Amos loves arts and crafts and has been creating amazing projects for kids and families for years. See her exciting new ideas at Arts and Crafts with Kids, and be sure to visit Arts and Crafts for more fun projects!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Finding Clothes For Your Barbie Doll

Barbie doll clothes are an important part of the fun of playing with the Barbie doll. When Barbie first came out, the clothes were fashion model outfits. Since then, however, outfits can be worn for almost any occasion or situation. The only limit is the imagination.

Children love to play with the exquisite little Barbie clothes and the fun accessories that came with each outfit. Close attention was paid to the design and creation of these tiny clothes. Barbie Doll clothes have hems, zippers, minute buttons and even linings. &nbspThe quality finish of these dolls clothes was achieved by hand finishing.

The fasteners used on the Barbie doll clothes were miniscule. Mattel had these custom made in Japan. A company called YKK was founded and managed by Yoshida Kogig. This was dedicated to manufacturing fasteners and other miniature accessories which accompanied each set of Barbie clothing. For example, the "Nighty- Negligee Set" #965 1959-1964 contained a baby-doll set of a night gown with a matching robe in the traditional pink. The accessories included pom-pom slippers, a toy stuffed dog, an alarm clock, diary, and an apple for a midnight snack. There are certainly plenty of Barbie clothes to choose from to dress your Barbie doll. Where can you find Barbie doll clothes? Obviously you will easily be able to find Barbie doll clothes at retail stores. These stores will certainly have the latest clothes available. However this isn't the only place to find &nbspdoll outfits for Barbie. A great source to pick up bargains of doll clothes for Barbie is on eBay. Usually the approximate age of the clothes is indicated. You can find vintage or modern Barbie clothes, and they are auctioned in different quantities as well.

Another place to look for Barbie doll clothes is in local garage and yard sales and also thrift stores. You can often find some great bargains, as people's children have out grown them, and will sell them very reasonably priced.

Barbie doll clothes are an important part of the fun of playing with the Barbie doll. When Barbie first came out, the clothes were fashion model outfits. Since then, however, outfits can be worn for almost any occasion or situation. The only limit is the imagination.

Children love to play with the exquisite little Barbie clothes and the fun accessories that came with each outfit. Close attention was paid to the design and creation of these tiny clothes. Barbie Doll clothes have hems, zippers, minute buttons and even linings. &nbspThe quality finish of these dolls clothes was achieved by hand finishing.

The fasteners used on the Barbie doll clothes were miniscule. Mattel had these custom made in Japan. A company called YKK was founded and managed by Yoshida Kogig. This was dedicated to manufacturing fasteners and other miniature accessories which accompanied each set of Barbie clothing. For example, the "Nighty-Negligee Set" #965 1959-1964 contained a baby-doll set of a night gown with a matching robe in the traditional pink. The accessories included pom-pom slippers, a toy stuffed dog, an alarm clock, diary, and an apple for a midnight snack. There are certainly plenty of Barbie clothes to choose from to dress your Barbie doll. Where can you find Barbie doll clothes? Obviously you will easily be able to find Barbie doll clothes at retail stores. These stores will certainly have the latest clothes available. However this isn't the only place to find &nbspdoll outfits for Barbie. A great source to pick up bargains of doll clothes for Barbie is on eBay. Usually the approximate age of the clothes is indicated. You can find vintage or modern Barbie clothes, and they are auctioned in different quantities as well.

Another place to look for Barbie doll clothes is in local garage and yard sales and also thrift stores. You can often find some great bargains, as people's children have out grown them, and will sell them very reasonably priced.

Barbara enjoys writing about Barbie dolls and Barbie doll clothes at Check out her Everything Barbie Blog

Fabric Paint A Baby Shirt

I was recently invited to a stork party and wanted to take a special gift for the soon-to-be-born baby boy, without breaking the bank in the process. I came across a lovely white tee shirt, and a brown pair of shorts. I decided to do some fabric painting to turn the tee shirt into something special. I chose an African design, but any other design will work just as well.

One white tee shirt for a baby ~ I bought one for a baby of 3-6 months.
A light blue water erasable pen to draw the design on the tee shirt.
Fabric paint in two colors: Brown and Orange.
One fine paintbrush.
A few sheets of white paper.
Iron and ironing board.

Instructions for making the project:
1. Before starting with the paint project, rinse the tee shirt in cold water to remove any sizing in the material. Do not add fabric softener.
2. Allow the tee shirt to dry properly and iron it lightly to remove any wrinkles from the material.
3. Draw a design onto the front of the tee shirt, using the light blue water erasable pen. I chose the footprint of a lion ~ but any other design may be used.
4. Add a few clean sheets of white paper between the front and back parts of the tee shirt, so that the paint won't smudge the back of the tee shirt.
5. Paint the lion's footprint with the Brown fabric paint. Use the paint in undiluted form.
6. Allow the paint to dry thoroughly before continuing with the next step of the project.
7. Make a watery mix of the Brown and Orange fabric paint, and use this to color the background.
8. Again, allow the paint to dry thoroughly before continuing with the next step of the project.
9. Add a caption phrase that will fit in with the design. In this case, I added the words "Born 2 B Wild." Finish it off by adding a decorative border around the design.
10. Allow the paint to dry again.
11. Set iron on tee shirt's recommended maximum heat and iron the tee shirt on the reverse side.

This article was written by Benetta Strydom, site owner of Crafter's World Online. Visit her site at This article may be freely reprinted, as long as the reference to "Crafter's World Online," including the URL to the site, is included.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Art Quilting - What Is It Exactly

Art quilting has become immensely popular in recent years as more women and men take a step beyond traditional quilting and venture into this very creative field. But what exactly is an art quilt?

An art quilt is most commonly defined as having the basic characteristics of a quilt, i.e. a layer of batting sandwiched between two layers of fabric and held together with stitching, however this is where the similarity ends.

As with traditional painted art, an art quilt comprises the same elements and principles of design and is intended to hang on a wall, but because of the nature of fabric it can be manipulated or cut to any shape or size and has a tactile quality and surface design texture not found in painted art. Further embellishment of the surface of the art quilt can provide additional interest and texture.

Special Techniques

Art quilting requires special sewing and quilting techniques that are used to create the surface structure and texture of the art quilt, some of which include:

  • Appliqué: hand, machine, raw edge, turned under, fusible, reverse
  • Color Application: hand-dyeing, tie dyeing, stamping, fabric painting
  • Embellishing: beading, hand-stitching
  • Embroidery: hand, machine, free-standing
  • Machine Stitches: decorative, faux hand-quilt, zig-zag, satin-stitch, twin needle
  • Piecing: straight, curved, strip
  • Quilting: hand, machine, free motion
  • Thread: thread painting, free motion embroidery, free motion quilting, bobbin-work, couching

These special art quilting techniques can be studied through books or in live workshops or on-line classes. They are fun to learn and provide the art quilter with their own unique art quilter's palette of skills. There are also many on-line art quilt groups offering information and resources for art quilters who want to stretch themselves further.

Additional Techniques

Additional art quilting techniques can be used to create interesting and unusual textures, shapes and design elements. Some of these techniques include:

  • Needle felting
  • Photo transfers
  • Foiling
  • Using a heat gun to distress fabric
  • Using papers and plastics as structural elements

Express Yourself

Art has always been an expression of ourselves and our environment; a reflection of our thoughts and dreams, and can be either subjective or objective, and so it is with art quilting. The only difference is the medium - fabric and thread instead of oils or watercolors; batting instead of canvas. Plus the added ability to add further surface embellishment and texture through the use of special art quilting techniques.

The journey into art quilting is addictive and seductive and can be very rewarding. Either as a recreational hobby or a serious art form, it is a great outlet for self-expression.

Linda Matthews is a textile artist, designer and teacher, and her website offers an abundance of inspiration, education and motivation in the creative aspects of textile and quilt art.

Pick up your free 20 page ebook "Quilting Machine Buyers Guide" when you sign up for her ezine "From The Sewing Room". The ebook offers helpful hints and selection criteria for choosing a quilting machine.
... It's all free !!

Crochet Flowers - A Great Way to Use Up Your Leftover Yarn!

One problem commonly faced by those who do a lot of knitting and crocheting is the question of what to do with their leftover yarn. These are the bits and pieces -- sometimes a few yards -- of yarn that are left over from the hats, scarves, mittens etc. that you have knitted or crocheted. What do you do with all of this yarn? Just throw it away? Not if you have a lot of it -- that's like throwing money away!

One possible alternative would be to try and group the leftover yarn together by color, matching similar colors together in order to have enough yarn for another complete project. The difficulty here in lies in the fact that yarns purchased at different times, from different dye lots, will not match exactly. But there is another option -- one that I thought I would share with you.

Recently, I came across some old patterns for making crochet flowers. Yarn required for making these flowers can be pulled from your leftover yarn basket, as crochet flowers are typically rather small. Making crochet flowers does not take very long, so this is the perfect project to work on when your time is limited, or when you are in between other, more involved projects.

Here's what I do: After completing a number of more extensive projects, I usually find I have a fair amount of scrap yarn left over. These I turn into a half dozen or so different crochet flowers. It doesn't matter that I may not have an immediate use for these -- I simply save them up in a small box that I keep in my sewing room just for this purpose. These little flowers are excellent projects to work on while I think about (and plan for) my next full-fledged knitting or crocheting project.

I need to emphasize that this is not busy work. The crochet flowers that I have prepared and stored can be used in a multitude of ways when I'm working on other projects . For example if I am knitting a sweater, I can attach a small crochet flower as an accent. The same is true if I am knitting a tassel cap or even a pair of mittens. Occasionally I will pop down to my handicrafts store and purchase a pin backing; I can take a crochet flower and glue it onto a pin and it makes a very nice brooch. I have given several of these away as gifts to my granddaughters and nieces.

Speaking of granddaughters and nieces, a great way to teach them the art of crocheting is to show them how to make these little crochet flowers. Again, because you can use leftover scraps of yarn they are cheap to make, and will not tax the patience of the little ones because they can be constructed pretty quickly. When they are finished, your favorite little girl will have a wonderful item that they can treasure as a keepsake, or save to use when they are tackling their first major knitting or crocheting project. Nifty, huh?

Well, these are my thoughts -- I hope I have given you some food for thought as to how you can be more prudent and economical with your sewing and knitting supplies.

Learn how to Crochet Flowers by visiting where you can also learn about Lambs Pride Yarn

Crochet Hat Instructions And Quick Gift Ideas

Have you been looking for some crochet hat instructions? Do you need it to be a basic crochet for a quick project? Is Christmas coming fast and gift ideas slow? If so the first thing that comes to mind is a granny square hat.

Just about everyone knows how to make a granny square. Granny squares have been made into everything from large afghans to tiny doll sweaters and everything in between.

These are great for quick projects, last minute gifts and using up small amounts of yarn that is leftover from previous projects.

If you can make a granny square you can put them tighter to create just about anything you want. If you do not know how to make one, you will find help on my site. There are step-by-step instructions on making one.

The varieties of colors are unlimited. Make the last round of each square the same color and you will pull them all together in a nice color coordinated project.

To make a Granny Square Hat

This is for a child size hat made using 5 granny squares. For larger hats use more rounds on the squares. Make 4 squares measuring about 5 inches each. These are for the sides of the hat. Make 1 square the same as the others minus one round.

Sew the four bigger squares together side by side to form a circle. Sew last smaller square to the top of the ring of squares. This will form the crown. Crochet around the bottom edge and you are done.

For a Basic Crochet Hat

Another quick hat in crochet can be done in double crochet stitch using a G hook. This would fit an adult, chain 78, double crochet in 4th chain from hook and than across. Chain 3 turn, double crochet in each double crochet. Continue until it is as high as desired. Break yarn with a long tail. Using a large eyed needles gather by running the needle through end just completed.

You can add a pom pom in contrasting color for decoration. Use variegated yarns; make stripes add pom poms or tassels for fun. Do not forget you can always make a matching scarf for a set. You can easily make it larger or smaller just add or subtract rows and /or stitches. That is one of the great things about crochet. It is easy to take out and start over.

A basic crochet hat and a scarf are easy, fast gifts. They do not take a lot of yarn and can be done in the their favorite colors. Do not forget the dolls, from Barbie to the Cabbage Patch. These matching sets are nice for the little mothers to the collectors.

Linda Spangenburg draws on 35+ years from her knitting and crochet business experience, both as a teacher and craft business owner. She is the author behind Looney for Looms where you will find patterns for loom knitting. We hope you found the information here inspiring enough to try a craft homebased business? You can find more free information about knitting and crochet for profit at

Beading Around the World - Africa's Bead Culture

The last week of October is Beads Weekin Ghana in West Africa. Exporting beads has become a major source of income for many in poverty stricken areas of Africa, besides being a major source of cultural exchange between Ghana and Italy and other European countries.

Ghana and Italy have long been linked in history. As early as the 15th century, makers of glass beads began shipping their products to Ghana in Western Africa. The beads were important for increasing the status of Chiefs and Queens and were used in ceremonies that marked rites of passage. Italy and Ghana were united by the common language of artistic beauty and their love of the tiny masterpieces.

Now, in a reversal, West Africa is beginning to export locally made beads to back to Italy.

In another part of Africa, Uganda has a thriving bead export business. Paper beads in all sizes and shapes are helping Ugandan women to rise out of poverty. Women in many parts of Africa have few economic opportunities and in Uganda, women are fleeing the civil war and settling near the Ugandan capital, Kampala. Instead of finding a brighter future, they found HIV, starvation and expensive housing. There is hope for these women-Bead For Life.

The organization called BeadForLife began when two American women watched a Ugandan woman making beads from rolled up magazines. The Ugandan woman explained that there was no market for her beads, so she had to work at a local quarry for less than a dollar a day. When the two American women brought some necklaces back to the US and gave them to some friends, a new market was born.

Paper beads are colorful and beautiful and come in many sizes and shapes. Because the market is strong in American, people purchasing these beads are helping women in another culture to survive and rise above the depravations of deficiency. As a result, a new cultural exchange market has been created.

The paper beads are created from recycled magazines, posters or other donated material that is cut, rolled and finished with a water-proof coating. The products made from the beads range from single strands of beads to delicate three strand necklaces.

More information about beads and beading can be found at The Bead Cottage,

Karen Vertigan Pope writes for Ciniva Systems, an award winning Virginia web design company.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

After Using Sirdar Yarn A Yarn Snob No More

I didn't really notice it at first; it just sort of crept up on me. But, I'd turned into a yarn snob. I found myself only using hand dyed yarn for all my projects and refusing to knit with anything 'down market'. Sirdar yarn showed me the error of my ways.

I've knitted ever since I can remember. When I was a child, my mother would give me odds and ends from her knitting projects, and I'd make do with these yarn remnants; just so long as I had yarn. I think back now to my early knitting days; the sweaters, scarves and mittens knitted together with a mixture of yarn types in a multitude of colors. It never bothered me that I had to use whatever I could get my hands on but as I grew up I could afford to buy my own balls and shanks of yarn, and I would finally knit something that someone else, apart from me, would wear.

A few years back I discovered hand spun and hand dyed yarns. It was love at first sight. Using these beautiful yarns brought so much enjoyment. I would scour every local yarn store and yarn festival looking for rare and unusual yarns. Without really realizing it, I was only using these exotic hand dyed yarns. I would dismiss yarns that I had used years before as being well, rather boring and 'commercial'. In all honesty I'd turned into a yarn snob.

The wake up call when I was asked to crochet slippers for a friend of a friend's wedding. The bride's dress was pure white, and none of the natural fibers I found were 'white enough'. With the sound of wedding bells rapidly approaching I sought, in desperation, a yarn to match. I scurried down to my local yarn store and it was there that it was suggested to me that I try a Sirdar yarn called 'Snuggly Bubbly'. I didn't really know very much about Sirdar yarn, but I learned that the company is English and has been producing yarn for eons.

The color of the yarn matched the wedding dress perfectly. The name of the Sirdar yarn was very apt; it's incredibly soft, easy to handle, and is perfect for making baby hats, blankets, mittens, and booties. It's also a very hypo allergenic yarn that is washable.

Just, so you know, the Sirdar Snuggly Bubbly yarn is 100% nylon and has a DK weight, though you can treat it as a sport weight for crochet work. It comes in a 50 gram ball with a length of 140 yards.

This Sirdar yarn was great fun. There's enough texture to the yarn that it is not as slippery as it could be. It's also slubbed, but unlike handspun slubs, these nubs/bumps are evenly spaced. It was easy to work with - I found it to be a very 'bouncy' yarn, so it was easy on my hands and wrists - and I finished the bridal slippers in no time.

I'll definitely be using Sirdar yarn again sometime in the future and I'll be using other yarns that aren't hand spun and hand dyed. Me, a yarn snob? Never.

Follow the links for more information about Sirdar Yarn as well as hand dyed yarn like Margaret Stove Yarn.

All About Knit Baby Blankets - What You Should Know

If you are looking for the perfect gift for that special newborn baby, why not consider a knit baby blanket? Handcrafted gifts have been looked at as a cheap way out for a long time. But in reality, a handcrafted gift, such as a knit baby blanket, costs a lot more in material and time than the mass produced blankets that you find in the store.

Making a baby blanket yourself or having someone knit one for you is the best way to show your love. When you make your own blanket you can customize it any way you want to make it truly special.

If you don't know how to knit, don't despair. There are plenty of classes available that will teach you how to knit. You can also purchase books and videos that will give you the basics of knitting. It is probably a good idea to start out with something small at first like a kitchen towel, a placemat or a hat. Once you get the basics down, you can move on to something bigger.

The great thing about making a knit baby blanket is that it can be made in any color to fit the color scheme of the baby's room. You can mix and match as many colors as you desire and you can incorporate different designs into your knit baby blanket.

If you choose to have someone else knit one for you, make sure that you ask to see examples of their work. Nothing is more disappointing than to pay for a custom handcrafted product, then receiving something that is not made well. Ask around for recommendations.

There is a large variety of yarn to choose from to make your knit baby blanket. There is all natural handspun yarn made from wool. Then there is the synthetic yarns that are machine made. The handspun yarn will probably be a little more expensive, but it will have a much softer feel and possibly be a little warmer. The synthetic yarn can be found in any craft shop for quite a reasonable price.

However you decide to make your knit baby blanket, you can be sure that it will be a unique gift that should be treasured for years to come. Nothing is better that wrapping your little one up in a knitted blanket and snuggling with him on a cold winter night.

If you are crafty at all, try your hand at knitting a baby blanket. You could find it addicting. Knitting has become very popular in recent years. Why not join the crowd and knit a baby blanket?

By the way, you can learn more about a Knit Baby Blanket as well as much more information on all types of blankets at

How To Make A Hemp Necklace The Hippie Way With Insider Tips And Tricks

Materials to make a hemp necklace.


Optional materials.

Shower ring

Step 1. Cut your hemp cord.

a) Cut two cords that are 5 feet 8 inches in length. This is going to be your knotting cord.

Tip - I don't whip out a tape measure every time I need to measure my hemp. I measure it against myself. I pull it out to the width of both my arms spread to their max and cut it their. It's much quicker than measuring it with a tape measure.

b) Cut one thread or thin cord that is 2 feet 10 inches in length. This is going to be your center string. If you are using beads the will go on this string so make sure they fit. I measure it from my finger tips to my neck.

Tip - I like to use more hemp than I need. It's always easier to cut a little bit off than to fix the necklace if their isn't enough.

Step 2. Starting out.

a) Take the two knotting cords they are the thicker and longer cords and tie them together using an over hand knot. To do an over hand knot make a loop go threw the loop and pull tight.

b) Take the shorter thinner center string and both knotting cords and tie them together using an over hand knot two inches from where you made your first over hand knot.

c) Braid all three cords together for about 2 inches. Then tie them off with an over hand knot.

Step 3. Add beads.

a) Add the beads you want to use.

Tip - If it's hard to push the center string threw the beads because they have small holes. Place a drop of general purpose glue on your index finger then position the center string on the glue 4 inches from the end and pinch in place with your thumb. Then pull the string threw your thumb and index finger distributing glue along the final four inches of length. If some areas are still dry repeat. Hang the glued end in the air to dry for thirty minutes to an hour or until hard.

Step 4. Macrame.

Tip - The knots are much quicker and easier to tie if the center string is tight. So I take the loop that I created in step two and put it on a shower ring then I attach the shower ring to a hook or wall. I then take the center string and tie it to one of the belt loops on my pants.

a) Take your two knotting cords. Pull them to opposite sides of the center string.

The basic knot is called a square knot. It can be started from the left or from the right.

Their are two designs that can be created spiral and flat.

The flat design is created when you alternate your knots. Left, right, left, right or right, left, right, left.

The spiral design is created when you tie the same knot. Left, left, left, left or right, right, right, right.

It doesn't matter which knot you start with it matters which knot you follow up with.

Tying a left knot.

a) To tie a square knot starting on the left you take the cord on the left and lay it over the center string creating a loop on the left.

b) Next take the cord on the right and go over the left cord then under the center string and up threw the loop on the left of the center string.

c) Pull tight.

Tying a square knot starting on the right involves the same process started on the right side of the necklace.

When you are ready for a bead move the bead up behind the last knot you tied then tie your next knot on the other side of the bead.

Continue tying knots and adding beads until you get to your desired length.

I usually stop a necklace when the macrame and bead portion is long enough to stretch around my neck and touch ends.

Finish the macrame portion of the necklace by tying all three cords together in an over hand knot.

Step 5 finishing the hemp necklace.

a) Braid all three cords together for about 2 inches. Then tie them off with an over hand knot.

b) Cut off the remaining length of the center string.

c) Take the two knotting cords and tie them together using an over hand knot.

d) Cut off any remaining length and you are done.

Tip - The braided portion and loop on the end is for tying it off. You give them 4 inches of braid and four inches of loop so that they can tie it off to the length they desire and dispose of the rest.

Hi I'm David Depape.

You can visit my hemp necklace website at.

hemp necklace

You can view this article on my website at.

How to make a hemp necklace

I also make hemp bracelets.

hemp bracelets

Knitting Zen

Knit One Purl Two happens to be one of the most well known knitting terms, well known by non-knitters and knitters alike. Repeating it out loud confers some of the meditative experience of knitting. For those of us who knit, there is almost nothing more relaxing than watching a row of neat, organized stitches line up on your knitting needles.

The knitting craze is cyclical. It was very popular in the 1950s and again in the early 2000s. It has slowed somewhat, but its enduring nature is a testament to both the relaxation it bestows on the practitioner, and the joy of craftsmanship. Many people consider it akin to meditation. After all, the first most basic meditation you learn is breath counting; in breath, one, out breath, two. In knitting you are often counting your stitches and focusing on nothing more than the stitches being created and the count itself. Basic meditation.

Of course, the challenge of a complicated pattern, or a technique previously untried requires a bit more focus and can result in "tinking" (also known as un-knitting) or even some serious "frogging" (ripping out more than a few stitches, so called because "rip-it, rip-it" is reminiscent of the frog's "ribbit"). But it is all part of the process, and most knitters, no matter how goal-oriented in their daily lives, face this part of the knitting experience with cool composure and aplomb. After all, it is the experience of knitting that we are seeking, more so than the finished-object.

Knitting teaches you to let go of your aspirations of perfection. There is some merit to leaving the error in place. We've all heard of Arab rug-makers who believe that only God can create something which is flawless, therefore they deliberately weave a mistake (or multiple mistakes) into their works of art in order not to offend God. It can be a humbling experience to the perfectionist. But mistakes can also be a good thing. My very first sweater was knit incorrectly. I knit everything through the back loop, the result a twisted stitch which worked wonderfully with the yarn I was using. I didn't know I had done something "wrong" at the time, but got many compliments on the distinctive nature of that sweater. Your mistake makes your project uniquely yours. It differentiates your work from anyone else's that might be knit from the same pattern.

There is also the cooperative aspect to knitting. There are many websites devoted to teaching / sharing knitting techniques on the internet. Knitting circles abound. The local yarn store will often provide assistance if you are having trouble with your pattern, regardless of whether you purchased your knitting supplies from them or a competitor. The knitting community, as a whole, is a warm, nurturing place.

The fact that knitting is such an easily portable activity also allows for us to mitigate stressful situations. Personally, I like to knit when I am a passenger in the car. Since I'm not the best passenger, this has the added merit of helping to preserve my marriage. If my husband and I are headed out for more than just a quick local errand I've got to have my knitting bag, or we'll both be unhappy. And if I've lost my focus and commented on something going on outside the car, my husband will often ask me why I'm not knitting. I have to admit, though, most of my frogging is a result of knitting while "passengering" -- my attention being diverted away from my knitting to some potential traffic mishap.

Things get better when you just breathe in and out; knit one, purl two.

Jane Wright authors knitting articles, when she can be convinced to put down her needles.


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