Author of the Month: Liz Keegan of The Sewing Machine Embroiderer’s Bible

1 Sep

This month we sit down for a Q&A with expert sewing machine embroiderer Liz Keegan, author of The Sewing Machine Embroiderer’s Bible: Get the Most from Your Machine with Embroidery Designs and Inbuilt Decorative Stitches. Liz launched, compiled, and edits Flair, the U.K.’s only machine embroidery magazine. She also teaches and lectures about machine embroidery. With expert advice about what to look for when buying a new machine and a troubleshooting section for solving common mistakes and problems, Liz’s new book will help you get the most of out of your modern sewing machine.

1. What’s your craft? Sewing machine embroidery is my first love. I embellish anything and everything. Quilts, cushions, art quilts, patchwork projects, dressmaking, home décor. If it can be stitched it is embroidered.

2. What project would you consider an all-time best? I made my daughter’s prom dress in embroidered chiffon with embroidered lace and I was delighted with it.

3. What project would you consider an all-time worst? There are plenty of these; I have had as many disasters as the next person. My worst was not realizing that machine embroidery shrinks fabric a tiny bit during the embroidery process and a client’s very expensive, heavily embroidered silk bustier was too small. Each panel had shrunk by an 1/8″ and, over eight panels, it was an inch too small. I had to improvise very quickly before the lady in question realized I had made a dreadful mistake. From then on I learned to cut pattern pieces after embroidery, not before!

4. What tool or material could you not live without? My embroidery machine. Having discovered machine embroidery and how much I enjoy it, I would find it very difficult to live without it.

5. If you could have any superpower, what would it be? That is a very difficult one. It sounds corny, but I really would like the power to wipe all the suffering in this world and let people live their lives in peaceful harmony.

The Sewing Machine Embroiderer’s Bible is all the help you need to get the most out of your sewing machine’s embroidery functions, including details about the types and formats of available designs, how to get these designs off the Internet and onto your machine, how to stabilize your fabric, which threads and needles to use to get the best results, and of course how to use the patterns creatively for stunning results. It also provides guidance for making use of the built-in embroidery stitches that modern sewing machines offer, but which are mostly forgotten about and underused. The focus is non-brand specific, so you can follow along no matter what model you have. A comprehensive section covers the details of editing, organizing, and saving your designs to transferring designs between your computer and sewing machine, downloading from the Internet, and much more.

The Sewing Machine Embroiderer’s Bible is on sale 9/9/14. Pre-order now!

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Check out our September and October titles:

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Goodreads Giveaway: Monster Knits!

31 Aug

Time for another Goodreads giveaway, Crafters! On Friday we shared with you an adorable Owl Knit from Monsters Knits for Little Monsters. We know there are so many other cute animal knits waiting to be made so we’re going to give away some copies this week.

Monster Knits for Little Monsters is an adorable collection of animal-themed hat and mitten sets for babies and toddlers from ages six months to three years, that kids will love and adults can’t help but fawn over. These cute coverall hats kMonster Knits for Little Monsterseep your child’s head, ears, and neck warm and toasty, and have a practical pullover design so that they can’t tug it off easily. Also included are knitting patterns for matching mitten “paws,” socks, and scarves. Featuring bears, owls, frogs, foxes, sharks, robots, dinosaurs, bunnies, and even Shrek-like ears, there are loads of delightful ways to dress up your child in charming creations that are quick and easy to knit. Each project contains step-by-step instructions, plus information for finishing touches to make your projects stand out. A knitting refresher course is given in the back of the book for complete beginners, covering tools, yarns, and all the techniques and stitches you’ll need to create the projects. And a Create Your Own Design section will inspire knitters to let their imagination run wild to create personalized accessories that their little monsters are sure to love and cherish.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Monster Knits for Little Monsters by Nuriya Khegay

Monster Knits for Little Monsters

by Nuriya Khegay

Giveaway ends September 04, 2014.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

 

You can enter to win through Wednesday. Of course if you’re not the type to take risks you can buy your own copy today!

Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Books-a-Million
Indiebound
Walmart

Check out our August and September titles:

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Freebie Friday: Wise Owl Knit

29 Aug

Happy Labor Day weekend, Crafters!

Monday is the start of September which means Halloween decorations will already be moving into stores (if they haven’t already). That means it’s time to start thinking about our Halloween costumes. Luckily we have got you and your little one covered! Today’s Knit Owl CostumeFREE PATTERN is the wise owl knit from Monster Knits for Little Monsters. In Monster Knits for Little Monsters, Nuriya Khega provides step-by-step instructions for knitting adorable costumes ranging from a fluffy bunny to an alien elf (yup, you read that correctly).  So don’t delay and get started on your first today. This pattern consists of a knit owl hat and a tree scarf to keep your little monster warm on those cool nights.

Monster Knits for Little Monsters is an adorable collection of animal-themed hat and mitten sets for babies and toddlers from ages six months to three years, that kids will love and adults can’t help but fawn over. These cute coverall hats kMonster Knits for Little Monsterseep your child’s head, ears, and neck warm and toasty, and have a practical pullover design so that they can’t tug it off easily. Also included are knitting patterns for matching mitten “paws,” socks, and scarves. Featuring bears, owls, frogs, foxes, sharks, robots, dinosaurs, bunnies, and even Shrek-like ears, there are loads of delightful ways to dress up your child in charming creations that are quick and easy to knit. The book is organized by the different kinds of creatures like Cuddly Critters, Feathered Friends, Huggable Horrors, Adorable Aliens, and Festive Friends, inspiring you to make hats for your children to dress up in all-year round.   Each project contains step-by-step instructions, plus information for finishing touches to make your projects stand out. A knitting refresher course is given in the back of the book for complete beginners, covering tools, yarns, and all the techniques and stitches you’ll need to create the projects. And a Create Your Own Design section will inspire knitters to let their imagination run wild to create personalized accessories that their little monsters are sure to love and cherish.

Can’t wait to get started? Buy your copy today!
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Books-a-Million
Indiebound
Walmart

Check out our August and September titles:

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How-To Tuesday: Cardboard Mailbox

26 Aug

Y O U ‘ V  E   G O T   M A I L  ! ! !

Finished-with-letterLast year, a pal confided that she thought texting and email was unattractive and tiresome. She also expressed concern that her seven-year-old daughter might never know the true beauty of the handwritten word if she didn’t start teaching her now. She decided shortly thereafter to unplug (as realistically as she could) and declared that she would help restore the dying art of carefully crafted handwritten letters.

I’ve since received several letters in the mail from her. She handwrites that she’s still going strong, using her cellphone strictly in its traditional form and has greatly reduced the frequency of emailing with her clients. And in recent letters, I’ve noticed her daughter has become a more prominent participant in the process–her notes and doodles accessorizing every envelope.

Which got me to thinking about other means of making letter-writing appealing to kids. The “mailbox” came to mind and how great it would be for kids to have their own physical personal mailbox. Just a small mailbox, I mumbled to myself. For little notes. For sharing… Teachers could use it in their classrooms. My niece and nephew could use it with their neighborhood friends. They could leave each other surprises.

TheCardboardBoxBookSo this week’s how-to post is a mini version of the mailbox from The Cardboard Box Book by Sarah Powell and Roger Priddy with illustrations by Barbi Sidobox. The Cardboard Box Book is family friendly, eco-conscious, and uses the cardboard box as the foundation for learning and creating. It shows kids that by using easy-to-find art and craft materials, the ideas, templates, and stickers included in the book, PLUS a ton of imagination, simple cardboard boxes can be transformed into a robot costume, a princess castle, a circus, and, of course, a mailbox!

I didn’t actually use a cardboard box or the stickers in the book to make my version of the mailbox. Mine measures about seven inches long and three inches high and I used instead the leftover cardboard packing material I had laying around–two pieces, sturdy, and used the terrifically illustrated and simple instructions from the book as a guide.

To make my version, I also used masking tape, scissors, white paint, stickers, glue, and designed/pseudo washi tape to decorate and personalize. Here’s how I did it:RoofInstructions

First, I CUT one of the cardboard pieces into a 12″ x 3.5″ strip. Next, I DREW the base as shown. cardboard-formThen, I CUT away the base, front and back, and door, SCORED and FOLDED the two center lines. Because of the size of my mailbox and thickness of the cardboard I used, I skipped the reinforcing brackets that you’ll notice in the instructions. Completely unnecessary. Cardboard-scoredNext, for the roof, I WRAPPED a long piece of cardboard around the mailbox base. I first used masking tape to stick the cardboard to one side of the base and then ROLLED the cardboard around the mailbox.Tape

I TAPED the connecting parts and cut the remaining excess cardboard. FormedMy last steps involved slapping on a coat of latex house paint. While waiting for the paint to dry, I CUT out the flag, “latch” to keep the door closed, and the letters M A I L from the cardboard scraps. For the last steps, I glued the cardboard letters on and used the designed tape as borders and accents.

Ta Da! Our How-To Tuesday Takeaway?  Try to find balance between the realm of the inbox and the mailbox. mailboxinbox

You’ll find the original big version of this mailbox and a slew of other fabulous cardboard box projects in The Cardboard Box Book, on the shelves and at your favorite online retailer:

TheCardboardBoxBook

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Check out our August and September titles:

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Goodreads Giveaway: Stencil It!

24 Aug

How can it be Sunday already? It feels like just yesterday I was looking through Stencil It for some tips for Freebie Friday. If you enjoyed the tips on how to stencil with paints then you will be very pleased that this week you can win your own copy of Stencil It!

stencil it

Not only does this book come with 15 stencils that were specifically designed for the book, but Stencil It is filled with 101 ideas of how to stencil nearly everything in your home. In addition to these one-of-a-kind stencils are tips to achieve that breathtaking effect you’re looking for. These tips come from the author, Helen Morris. Helen is the founder of The Stencil Library which boasts a catalog of more than 4,000 stencils. Helen and her husband, designer Michael Chippendale, have developed a wide range of designs, techniques, and media, successfully stenciling materials such as glass, mirror, concrete, fabric, wood, plaster, paint, and paper.

Helen demonstrates some of these techniques and illustrates the stunning effects that can be achieved. Using a range of different paints, as well as crayon, metallic leaf, varnish, and plasterwork to create a textured finish, she presents a collection of diverse projects for every surface in your home. In themed chapters—”Flowers & Foliage,” “Figurative,” “Birds & Beasts,” and “Architectural & Decorative Details”—there are trailing leaves and falling blossoms, letters to spell out words and stars that can be applied in endless patterns, pretty butterflies and cute dogs, as well as signature decorative details from different periods and countries.

With Stencil It you learn how each stencil can be used in different configurations, sizes, or colorways to create dramatically different looks. The stencil templates included with the projects and all the other designs featured are available from The Stencil Library. So act fast! You have through Wednesday to enter to win your own copy.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Stencil It by Helen Morris

Stencil It

by Helen Morris

Giveaway ends August 28, 2014.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

 Can’t wait for fate? Take matters into your own hands and buy it today!

Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Books-a-Million
Indiebound
Walmart

 

Check out our August and September titles:

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