Thursday, May 3, 2018

Saturday, April 28, 2018

VIDEO TUTORIAL: A Simple Flatfold

Learn to Finish:
Your cross stitched piece into a simple flatfold.


SS_WTNT Tulip Festival


Thursday, February 1, 2018

WRITTEN and VIDEO TUTORIALS: Farmhouse Christmas Pillow Ornaments Tutorial

This tutorial features the "how to" and shows exactly how I finished 
The Farmhouse Christmas Ornament Cover Models 
by Little House Needleworks


It may be viewed in VIDEO FORMAT HERE

if you prefer written pictorial tutorials, it follows, however being a one person show, it was hard to remember to take still shots of the entire process...more detailed information and of course visual detail is contained within the video. 

Things you will need: 
1. Completed Stitched Piece
2. Red Homespun, mine is small check, I got it at Hobby Lobby however it is available at Joann's as well. 
3. Twine (jute) I got mine at Michael's and it is by Celebrate It! 
4. Jute Ribbon, I got mine at Michael's and it is by Celebrate It!
*both the twine and jute ribbon may be sourced at other craft stores (Joann's/Hobby Lobby) under different company names, but same product
5. Rusty Jingle bells - those used in the ornament finish are 1/4 inches in diameter. I purchased at them Factory Craft Direct they come in mm sizes...choose 6 mm, 10 mm or 13 mm sizes whichever you prefer. Mine are 6 mm.
6. Interfacing P44F by Pellon is what I use - it is a very light interfacing available anywhere you purchase fabrics. I get mine at Joann's by the yard or Joann's online by the bolt
7. White Quilting Cotton
8. Mountain Mist fiberfill
9. Chop Stick
10. Sewing Thread (ecru/ivory color)
11. Needle
12. Rotary Cutter and Self-Healing Mat
13. Quilting Square
14. Sewing Machine
15. Scissors
16. Bamboo Points Turner (corner poker outer)

Photo Shot of the brands/color/size of bells for comparison:

Trim your piece on all 4 sides down to 3/4 inch from edge of stitching:


Cut a piece of your homespun to size of trimmed ornament and also a piece of white quilting cotton to size of trimmed ornament.


When I am finishing a "set" or "series" of items and I cannot finish them all at the same time (as it always is for model finishing I finish in groups of 3 - these ornaments WERE NOT finished at the same time for Little House) This is what I do every time so that I may get consistency and exactness across a series or set...I create "finish" kits. Consistency and sameness across a set of finished items makes those items even more beautiful when they each are finished in an exact manner/ exact sameness this is what I do:

When I get the size of backing material needed, I cut how ever many squares I need to complete the set and set them aside (In this case you will need 8 in your finish kit):


For this series I didn't know how many I needed but after finishing the first set of 3 I knew that every 3 ornaments took 1 spool of the twine, so you will need 3 spools of twine in your kit:


I wanted a 3 inch bow (from curve of bow to curve of bow) for this series, I generally held that "bow" shape and figured out the length needed and then cut 9 strands - reserving 1 for this finish and putting the 8 other lengths in my finishing kit:



I used four 6 mm rusty jingle bells on the corners of the ornament, so I put 32 rusty bells in my finish kit (8 ornaments x 4 rusty bells = 32 rusty bells)

On a slip of paper put what the "Finish Kit" is for and any notes you have:
I put what my margin was and also that my bow is 3 inches, slipped it inside the bag, zipped it up and pinned it on my design wall. :)


iron interfacing (P44F Pellon) to the back of the homespun and stitched pieces


Make your sewing "sandwich" by putting homespun pretty side up on the table, then your stitched piece pretty side down on top of the homespun, put your white quilting cotton on top, pin and sew with 1/4 inch seam allowances. At each corner, run off corner then reverse to lock and reinforce corners, pull off machine, clip thread and turn 90 degrees to go down alternative side. At bottom don't forget to leave a turning space that is also reinforced with reverse stitches to lock seams. Your piece should look like this when sewing is completed:

Clip corners diagonally where seams meet:

Turn out and poke corners out to SQUARE using your points turner.
HINT: run the points turner along seam edge to flatten and push out

Stuff with fiber fill, I use Mountain Mist brand.

Pin opening closed and using a blind stitch (or ladder stitch) sew closed, using ecru thread and a little wax on the sewing thread to strengthen it, before you begin sewing closed.



Getting a tan color thread, load your sewing needle and begin to hand sew the twine cording on along the edge of the ornament... Start at the top middle where your ornament "hanger" will be leaving about 4-5 inch length hanging off top (so start 4-5 inches down the twine, and then sink first stitch on ornament at the place)


I use a whip stitch, paying close attention to lay my thread into the "twist" of the twine, as I stitch and pull the thread it will virtually disappear into the twine.


When your twine meets at the top, loop our thread around both legs of the twine a couple of times and end off. Then measure out 4 inches with BOTH legs of the cording, CUT off spool. Then at the 4 inch mark, take sewing thread and sew the ends together (creating the hanger) by looping around and around the twine and ending off.

Make a 3 inch bow...find out how I do it HERE


Take the bow on at the joined legs of the twine at the top center of the ornament.

Take the 4 rusty jingle bells, dampen a towel and rub them to clean off excess "rusty" so that it won't "rusty" your linen. HEAVILY WAX your thread the shank of the rusty bell will easily cut the thread, waxing heavily will help avoid this. Double your thread using a LOOP METHOD and just sew the bells on all four corners.

**HINT** coming through the shank from behind allows the jingle bell to stay to the front of the face of the ornament. This is what you want.

DONE ~ Admire your beautiful ornament!

LHN_Farmhouse Christmas_Little Red Barn

Saturday, January 13, 2018

WRITTEN TUTORIAL: Stand-Up Ornaments

Things you will need: 
Stitched piece
Mat Board (you can buy it from a frame shop or Hobby Lobby also stocks sheets)
Cotton Batting - I use Warm and White brand cotton batting
Utility Knife and Cutting Mat
Rotary Blade and Quilting Ruler
White/Clear drying Craft Glue - I use Aleene's
Upholstery Thread
Sewing Needle
DMC to make into complimentary cording (or some other embellishment for framing piece)
Kreinik Cording Drill (if you are making cording)
Place Card Holders - I buy mine at Hobby Lobby

Step One:
Measure your piece to determine the size you need to cut your mat board pieces
I like my margins tight - 1/4 - 3/4 inch. For this series I chose 1/4 margin on all 4 sides.
Meaning that my cutting size was going to be 4 1/4 inches x 4 1/4 inches.

HINT: write the size down...its easier to write it down rather than cutting over when you don't get dimensions correct!


Cut your mat board squares - using the ruler and a utility knife.
Take square and smear a little bit of glue on one side - press into cotton batting, then cut out. 
The square that will have the STITCHING I use TWO layers of batting.
The square that will have the complementary cotton fabric will have ONE layer of batting.



Trim your stitched piece down, 1 1/2 inches from edge of stitching on all 4 sides 


Take trimmed stitched piece and lay on top of the mat board square that has TWO layers of batting.
Center it.



Load up a sewing needle with your upholster thread and begin to lace scooping stitches from side to side, as shown:


Pull tight the stitches by pulling with your fingers from first side to the last stitch and end off with a knot. Do not pull stitches so tight that it puckers on the sides and front.


Fold in the corners (I do not miter the corners) and lace from side to side as shown, pulling tight, but not so tight that it puckers on the side.


Take complimentary fabric and center on mat board square with ONE piece of cotton batting.

De-bulk the corners by mitering the corners by cutting at a 45 degree angle about 1/4 inch away from the corner.
Glue sides with craft glue.

Your backing square will look like this:


layer your stitched piece on top of your backing piece


Starting in the lower right hand corner, load up your sewing needle with upholstery thread and start whip stitching the two pieces together.




Continue sewing around right side, top side and left side until you come to lower corner.

take a place card holder:

Slip the place card holder inside - between the two sides of the sandwiched ornament 


continue whip stitching together:


This is how it will look when completed:


Embellish sides with cording - (pom poms, rick rack, whatever you desire)
I attach my cording on HARD FINISHES (as this one is) using white, clear drying, acid free, craft glue in a thin line along the edges, using straight pins to hold in place at corners and then hidden inside the cording.  This will HIDE the whip stitches and beautify your piece. 

NOTE: if you need to know how to make cording please see either the WRITTEN TUTORIAL HERE: CORDING


Now these sweet finishes can stand up firm and tall inside cubbies, on mantles, shelves, tables...just anywhere. Aren't they sweet?!

Don't forget...if using my tutorials - please GIVE CREDIT, where credit is due!

RH_CCN_Main Street

Sunday, December 10, 2017


Things you will need to frame as shown:
1.) Finished Stitched Piece
2.) Grid Ruler
3.) Ball Head Straight Pins
4.) Upholstery Thread and Sharp Needle
5.) Acid Free Foam Core
4.) Frame; I also use conservation UV protected or Museum glass - this is optional
6.) Logan Points Driver Gun with points
7.) Backing Board
8.) Utility Knife
9.) Stainless Steel Flat Head Straight Pins
10.) Frame Spacers
11.) Hanging accessories (saw tooth hanger or wire hanger hardware)
12.) Rubber Bumper Pads
13.) Information Card 

You want to use all archival/acid free products when you frame your pieces. This will ensure that your pieces remain perfectly preserved through the years. Most reputable framing shops/sites that sell framing supplies will only sell acid free, archival framing products. If it isn't printed on the that it is an archival product ask the sales clerk and they should be able to tell you/point you in the right direction. If they don't know - don't use it. Ask lots of questions, research yourself if you have to do that to get answers. That is what I do.
Do NOT use that nasty Sticky Board. That is NOT archival and will ruin your projects turning them yellow, eating holes into the fabric after a few years. Not to mention if you EVER want to un-frame it to redo or finish in a different way, it is impossible to get all that sticky, coating mess of an adhesive off the back of your stitching. 

Step 1:
Iron face side down your stitched piece. Ensure that the piece is clean, if you see visible dirt, if you need to wash...then do whatever tried and true practice you use. I do not wash by full immersion so cannot direct you in that technicality. 

Once ironed and clean, then place stitched piece flat onto clean surface. Measure your piece very well to determine frame size needed. Take into account:
1.) margin you want from stitched edge to frame edge
2.) Write down measurements in inches height and width
Consideration* when looking for frames take into account rabbet width - the overhang of the frame (or lip of the frame) that your piece will sit in. Also consider if you will be using a mat. I typically frame without matting and this tutorial will show framing without a mat, however if you want to use a mat you need to take that into consideration when choosing the size of your frame.

1 frame

STEP 2: Choose your frame. You can get custom sized frames at Hobby Lobby, Joann's, Michael's, as well as many, many online frame stores. I have used Saline Frame Company a couple of times. They offer ready made custom sizes with simple frame style in a variety of colors. The frame shown was from their company. Any reputable framing department will have archival products and when purchasing the frame will offer that the foam core, bumper pads, hanging hardware will be thrown into the price or at least the hanging hardware and bumpers will be given complimentary while the custom cut foam core will have a nominal fee. I highly recommend getting the foam core cut custom from the frame shop.

2 frame

My piece is 5 1/2 H x 5 7/8 wide
My frame is 7 x 7 (I wanted a small margin between stitching and frame edge)
The rabbet width is 1/4 inch

that translates to: top and bottom needs 3/4 inch from edge of stitching to edge of foam core
right and left sides need 5/8 inch margin from edge of stitching to edge of foam core
Measure carefully these measurements top/bottom and sides

3 frame

STEP 3: place ball headed pins along the sides of the measured piece to maintain proper spacing on foam core. 

4 frame

STEP 4: Flip piece and lay face down. Get your Upholstery Thread (this is very durable strong thread for lacing, this is what I use exclusively for lacing on framing and when I lace for my other finishing)

5 frame

STEP 5: Lace the top and the bottom by beginning on the edge at point A (see below) secure with knot, then travel up to B - scoop a stitch to point C, then travel down to D - scoop a stitch to Point E and repeat all along the length of the foam core.
HINT: do not pull tightly as you don't want puckers on the linen. Check frequently the front side to ensure you are maintaining proper spacing and that the linen threads are square and not wavy or slanting on the front. 

6 Frame

STEP 6: Check you spacing measurements - if you need to tweak a bit, just gently slide the linen around - you do not have to undo the lacing just slide it to fix measurements.

7 Frame

STEP 7: Now place face down on flat surface again and fold corner in just a bit before whip stitching corner into place as shown below:

8 frame 9 frame 10 frame

STEP 8: do the same thing as above to opposite corner

STEP 9: Begin lacing side to side

12 frame

STEP 10: when you reach the other corner(s) fold and whip stitch into place. 
HINT*again do not pull forcibly, just enough to hold the piece in place squarely.

13 frame

This is what it should look like when completely laced:   

14 Frame

STEP 11: again check your margins and when perfect, add some stainless steel flat head pins spaced about an inch apart on all four sides, as shown below, this is to ensure that the piece stays in one place securely without shifting. (this is probably overkill on my part, but I like to do this)

15 Frame 15a frame

STEP 12: Since I do not use mats, I don't want my stitching smashed against the glass. Therefore, I use frame spacers. These are wonderful archival, plastic spacers that I purchase online from FRAMETEK I get mine in 1/8" clear. WHY do I use them? because they allow for an air space between the glass and whatever you are framing. This allows my stitches to be viewed perfectly, cleanly without distortion. It also allows for air to freely move through my framed pieces and helps in their preservation (so that humidity does not affect them by being trapped on glass and affecting linen. 

16a frame

You simply cut the frame spacers to size:

16b frame

Pull off adhesive tape: 

16c frame

And stick on glass in rabbet space:

16d frame

I do it on all four sides

16f frame

Step 13: Place your laced stitched piece inside frame (after ensuring glass is completely clean and smudge free - I use vinegar water spritz and clean with newspaper for smudge free glass)

17 frame

STEP 14: Cut a piece of backing board (I use mat board) and take your Logan Points Gun Driver and drive points evenly space around framed piece. The points hold everything inside the frame, you want to use firm pressure when driving the points.

18 frame

When done it should look like this:

19 frame

STEP 15: Add your hanging hardware - I use saw tooth hangers for frames less than 10 inches

20 frame

STEP 16: I have stickers that I put on the back of each framed piece that gives general information about what I stitched, since this is a gift I just put to whom I gifted, dates and my name. On my personal pieces I also put all piece information (Designer/Design/Fabric count and color/my name and date)
21 frame

Stand back and admire your work.
M Designs _ Letter E

NOTE: (not pictured) but I also place plastic bumpers framing bumpers on the bottom two corners. WHY? because again we are talking air space...plastic bumpers allow for air to travel freely behind your work so that moisture/humidity is not trapped between the frame and the wall and possibly harming your work.