Art and Needlework by Rebekah

Art and Needlework by Rebekah: March 2012

Mar 31, 2012

3/31/12: How to Find Both Ends to a Skein of Yarn -- Video Tutorial

Two video tutorials in two days! My goodness!

Earlier this week I sent in a knitting tip video to and they accepted it! The tip is how to find both ends to a skein of yarn--something I struggled with when I was beginning in knitting, back in the summer of 2005. Finding that "center pull" is not an easy thing to accomplish but when I learned the tip (from what source. . . I can't remember!), I was able to start knitting that much sooner.

So here is the link:

And AllFreeKnitting was nice enough to allow me to upload the same video to my YouTube channel. So you can view the same tip here.

While you're there, you can subscribe to my channel so you can always be the first to see when a new video goes up!

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Mar 30, 2012

3/30/12: How to Make Quilted Potholders -- Video Tutorial

Last year in May I fell head over heals over this cute pair of potholders Melanie Foster, (from the MJCollection) made:

Such a simple statement can mean so much!

"Hearted" these so much that I made my own a couple weeks ago:

A little bit easier text but they still retain that bold and influential line about baking. . . Or eating. Whichever!

And just because I "hearted" this project so much, I decided to show everybody how to make these--with permission from Melanie Foster, of course. I sent a video tutorial to and they have published it today!

Click here to go and see it! The people at FaveCrafts were also nice enough to allow me to upload the same video series on my YouTube channel. You can view it here. While you're there, you can subscribe to my channel and be the first to see new videos.

And send me an email with photos of your finished potholders -- I would love to see them.

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Mar 23, 2012

3/23/12: Noisy Silence

Wanted to pop in for a little bit this evening and share what I've been up to these last couple weeks!

I'm working on some video tutorials for, one of which is a project that is bold and cute. I'm loving it!

Been dabbling in another type of hands-on work I've never done before. . . Assembling electronics. Yeah, weird, huh? I'll share more on that later.

Just starting to work on a made-to-order skirt that was bought via my Etsy shop. No actual stitching yet but I'm still loving the process of selecting the fabric and altering the pattern.

Not much headway on the quilt. The running total is 134 and I need 192. I'm glad I tucked all my blocks into that sewing caddy because I don't know if I could stand the urge to quilt if I have it out and in view. The quilt has to wait just a couple more days--priorities, priorities!

Gosh, it has been a hot week, hasn't it? It got up to 87F in my part of Michigan! Not a happy camper. Haven't started knitting or crocheting anything because of the weather. The weekend should be a lot cooler so maybe I'll look into doing the Holi Mitts soon!

That is in my world of crafting. Farm work, house work, and cooking makes up the rest!

So that is my little update. I don't know why I have such choppy sentences this evening. As I read through everything I feel as if I'm back to writing school reports in 4th grade. :)


Mar 7, 2012

3/7/12: The Prospects of Made-To-Order

I'm extremely excited about this new idea of mine: selling home sewn a-line skirts on Etsy and having the made-to-order option for the buyer. This way, the buyer is able to pick and choose her fabric, certain skirt features, and best of all, she can "plug in" her body measurements. I'm loving this concept.

And this morning I'm one step further. I made my first made-to-order skirt listing and waiting eagerly for feedback and my first customer! I've done some custom sewing before (and I'm always doing some type of custom work for my family, like this example), so this shouldn't be too outside my sewing comfort zone. And as I know with most Etsy customers, they appreciate the skill and work involved. 9 out of 10, that's the reason why they shop at Etsy!

See the listing now by clicking here.

Wish me success in this new venture of mine!

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Mar 6, 2012

3/6/12: The Quilt Project

I love quilts. Everything about them brings pleasant thoughts and memories, and for me, something that can be used everyday to keep someone cozy, is something very special. My mother spent many hours making quilts and I remember well the duck pillowcase she hand quilted while we watched tv during the evenings. I still have all her thimbles.

Another great thing about quilts is their endless design opportunities. All those different quilt squares, the fabric choices, and the machine or hand quilting designs. . . My goodness! It's almost overwhelming. That is sort of how I felt the beginning of last week when I was trying to decide on a quilt design for my own quilt. Yes! A quilt for my twin sized bed!

I've made two quilts during my on-and-off quilting career. I made a small purple baby quilt using a design from the Sweet and Simple Baby Quilts book by Mary Hickey. I think that was back in 2006? And then in 2009 I made a twin sized quilt for my sister Bernadette's bed. Since then my quilting adventures have laid in simple, quick projects like potholders and a recipe binder cover.

So after perusing some of my quilt reference books and some online sources, I found this project:
{ "Jessie's Quilt" made by porchpegasus on Craftsy }
A simple quilt, yes, but I love it! Just a culmination of half squares laid in a certain way to form a radiating diamond pattern. Now that's something I can do.

The color scheme I'm using is green and purple. I bought a large amount of green cotton fabric at a yard sale two years ago and this green stash has been my main inspiration. The idea of adding purple came a little later when I talked about quilt colors with Catherine (my sister) and Mary, who blogs at The Quilting Bibliophagist. As I make more and more squares I'm liking this color plan more and more.

{ some quilt design sketching I've been doing }
{ the fabrics I've selected }

So for this quilt I am making 192 blocks: 16 blocks by 12 blocks. The blocks will have the finished measurement of 5" so the finished quilt (without borders and binding), will be 60" x 80".

I make the blocks by cutting a 5-7/8" square and cutting it in half diagonally. I then sew a colored triangle to a white triangle.

I haven't decided on a couple features as of yet. Such as, what color for the binding, what fabric for the backing, and if I am going to go beyond just stitching in the ditch. Have to sort those out. . .


So where am I at? So far, I've made 92 blocks. Not bad for only working on it for two days! The first day (last Sunday), I felt like this quilt was one monstrous task. But as I got into it more, a lot of the steps became mechanical. It reminds me very much of knitting, especially when knitting without a pattern. I may have 100 more blocks to do, but really, I'm looking forward to it!

I won't to show you what I've been using to stay organized while this quilt comes together. You see, I have this wooden sewing caddy:

Yeah, you probably have one yourself if your grandmother sewed! Well, up to this past Sunday I haven't been using this caddy. (Namely, because it is hard to expand the enclosed shelves in my tight spaced sewing room.) But as I was looking around for a solution to storing all these quilt blocks, I thought of this caddy, which was nestled under my ironing board. I pulled it out, dusted it off and here it is with the blocks:

And I have been keeping the different blocks separate by way of a safety pin that's anchored at an edge or corner:

Keeps everything nice and tidy.

The best part about this storage solution I came up with is: I am finally using the caddy. After this quilt is done, maybe it would be a good place to store fabric scraps? Have to wait and see!

What do you do to stay organized while quilting? 

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Mar 3, 2012

3/3/12: Floral Skirt, Ready for Spring!

It has finally arrived! Brand new pics of a brand new finished project: a flowy a-line skirt done in a bright and cheerful red floral print. So here it is. . .

{ side view }

{ back view }
{ piping }
{ inseam pockets }
{ the skirt being worn with flats }

Isn't it so bright and fresh?

The Skirt's Features: This fully-lined skirt features a wide waist yoke, inseam pockets, an invisible zipper situated at center back, and piping, which runs along the waist yoke seam.

The Fabric: I made this skirt for Catherine using fabric I bought at a yard sale last year for $3--and I have leftovers. Oh, I love that! The fabric is a medium weight cotton (probably was going to be used in a quilt), and the lightweight lining is 100% polyester, which I bought from in 2010.

The Pattern: This skirt was loosely based off of Simplicity 9926.

{ View 2--farthest left--is the one I used )
I changed a lot with this 80s pattern, which belonged to my mother. I chose not to use the waistband pattern piece, I added a 2.5" wide waist yoke, lowered the waistline, added inseam pockets, and moved the side zip to the back. Really the only thing this pattern gave me to work with was a full, a-line skirt shape. I changed almost everything else about it. :)

The Construction Process: And for those who love the inner workings of garments (and I know I do), here are a few pics of the finer details.

{ interior front }
{ interior back }
{ public view of invisible zipper. I inserted the zipper the same way I demonstrated in my tutorial--without an invisible zipper foot }
{ invisible zipper on inside }
{ closeup of piping along waist yoke }
{ public view of hem }
{ interior view of hem. You can see that the lining and fashion fabric are hemmed together }
{ inseam pocket }
{ waist yoke facing that has been finished with red bias tape }
{ waist yoke facing turned up to see inside seams }
What I Did with the Waist Yoke: Typically when I sew a skirt with a waist yoke facing, I press the lower edge under 3/8" and slipstitch the facing to the seam. Such as in the case of my Green Summer Skirt. This time I decided to finish the raw edge using bias tape in a bright red. I really like this alternative! The only thing I'm questioning myself about is: should I have serged the raw edges of the bottom waist yoke seam, which is located right underneath the bias tape? (See last photo above.) I'm kind of worried that it isn't completely enclosed by the facing and will fray with a vengeance. But this seam is made up of three layers of fabric: skirt, waist yoke, and lining; would a ridge form? I probably will serge it the next time just to see what happens.

To help with any future waist stretching (which can be so annoying!), I stitched the top waist seam with a strip of seam binding. I would much rather have used 3/8" twill tape, but I used all mine up while sewing my pants. I haven't heard people using seam binding as a seam stabilizer, this idea was actually thought up by me. Have you ever used it this way before? Had good results? I don't see why it wouldn't be a good notion for the job: it does't stretch and doesn't fray much.

What I Did with the Lining: The lining was inserted differently this time. As I reflect on it, this skirt is partly lined and underlined. Yeah, I guess so. You see, the lining and the fashion fabric seams were sewn separately at the sides but together at the center back, right under the zipper.

Why on earth did I do this?

The lining I chose to use is very light weight and I was picturing in my mind the lining shifting and wrapping around the wearers legs. It just seemed to me from the get go that the lining needed to be anchored to the fashion fabric. I first thought of underlining the fashion fabric but that would make me lose the nice, tailored look of a lined garment. That's why I went with the idea of anchoring the lining only at one seam (the center back), and also hem both the fashion fabric and the lining fabric together using a narrow hem.

It worked out just the way I wanted it!


On Etsy. . .

I'm over the moon about this skirt. It came together remarkably well and I just love to see good results after heavily altering a sewing pattern. And just because I love making skirts like these, I'm thinking of selling them in my Etsy Shop in the upcoming weeks. The plan is to create "Made to Order" listings so that the buyer can choose the fabric and trimmings and give me their measurements. This way, I will be able to make them really special skirts that will have the proper fit for their individual shape. Sounds like a very exciting venture for me and I can't wait for the first order. I will post here as soon as I make my first skirt listing!

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