Return to Crafting Basics

BlogHer Original Post

I'm spending my free time going through all my crafting supplies recently. While doing so, I found an instruction booklet and kit for bookmaking, some kits for jewelry making and several knitting patterns that I'd set aside for some reason several years ago. In looking at my supplies, however, it struck me that really before I took up any of these activities, I needed to brush up on some basic techniques.

It seems that others have also felt the need to return to crafting basics. From sewing to embroidery, fulling to quilting, I found resources to help you get started or get started again -- refresher courses, reminders of the small things we tend to forget over time.

Vintage Fairytale

Image by Vintage Fairytale, Creative Commons license via Flickr

If you've always wanted to learn to sew, Threads magazine has just released a series of Teach-Yourself-To-Sew videos that can help you. This series -- to be released over the rest of the year -- will get you started:

In our new Teach Yourself to Sew video series, Threads Senior Technical Editor, Judith Neukam demonstrates basic sewing techniques, shares tips, and gives step-by-step instruction for beginner sewing projects. Throughout the year we will cover how a sewing machine works, how to choose fabric and tools, and everything needed to create clothes in no time.

This series is for beginning sewers or anyone who wants to brush up on their skills.

Craftzine's month of March is dedicated to UpCraft -- the art and craft of upcycling, or making something new and different from something old. To kick off their UpCrafting, Brooklyne Morris demonstrates How-To: "Full" a Sweater into Felt. She provides close-up photographs of fulling, and directions for accomplishing the task either by machine or hand. If you have ever witnessed a mistakenly shrunken wool sweater, then you have seen unintentional fulling. Morris adds:

*Notes on why this works: Wool is a natural fiber with some amazing properties. It turns into matted felt not only because it is curly and kinky and you are tangling it up. The fiber itself is coated with the keratin protein, which forms a scaly surface. These scales are in a way, "opened up" by the hot water. The soap acts as a surficant, helping the fibers and their scales to more easily rub together. Then their scales grab onto each other during the agitation process and lock into felt.

If you find yourself falling for the charm, texture, and simplicity of embroidery (and after last month's wonderful examples from National Embroidery Month, who isn't?), Kootoyoo offers a video on one of the most useful stitches: How to Embroider a French Knot.

But I remember they were mystifying for such a long time. Maybe it was the quick movement of Vicky's hands...they always seemed beyond my reach. I always ended up in a French mess!

I've had a few people ask about French Knots so I've prepared a little video of how I French Knot. For me the key/secret is the "correction" which you'll here about & see if you watch the video. I hope you find it useful. It's a great stitch to have in your "kit".

If you are taking up quilting -- or returning to some simple squares -- Rachel Griffith at P.S. I Quilt offered a Pinwheel Sampler Quilt Along. As part of block two, Griffith offered useful instruction on dealing with the bulky seam.

Debra A Stitch In Time Weight for Deb

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