SMP Craft
21 Dec

Goodreads Giveaway: The Magic of Shetland Lace Knitting

On Friday we gave you an early Christmas present with a free pattern download for a Shetland lace knitted cobweb shawl. Now, here’s another gift: the chance to win the entire book on Goodreads! (Is this the season of giving or what?) Click below to enter (but hurry–the giveaway ends Christmas Day).

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Magic of Shetland Lace Knitting by Elizabeth Lovick

The Magic of Shetland Lace Knitting

by Elizabeth Lovick

Giveaway ends December 25, 2014.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

The ethereal beauty and intricacy of Shetland lace knitting might seem beyond the powers of the everyday knitter, but the skills needed are within the reach of everyone who can knit, purl, cast on, and bind off. The Magic of Shetland Lace Knitting is designed to take the novice knitter from their first “yarn over” through the steps needed to master more complex patterns. The techniques are introduced with clear step-by-step instructions, charts, and detailed photographs of knitted samples. shetland 3 shetland 1 shetland 2

Don’t wanna press your luck? Order a copy now!

shetland lace knitting

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19 Dec

Freebie Friday: Cobweb Shawl Knitted with Shetland Lace

Greetings from sunny Arizona! I’ve returned to my home state for the holidays, where it’s a couple dozen degrees warmer than NYC (not that I’m trying to rub it in!). Needless to say, my puffy winter coat and I are taking a much-needed “break.” But what am I to wear to protect myself from this chilly air-conditioning? (Okay, maybe now I’m rubbing it in, a little.)

The answer, of course, is something lovely, delicate, and handmade–like this gorgeous cobweb shawl knitted with Shetland Lace. shawl 2 shawl 1It’s our FREE PROJECT this week from Elizabeth Lovick’s The Magic of Shetland Lace Knitting: Stitches, Techniques, and Projects for Lighter-than-Air Shawls & More. This book is a useful guide aimed at helping all you knitters take your first steps in making a Shetland lace project. Included are all the traditional Shetland motifs, patterns, and insertions including Cat’s Paw, Candlelight, Horse Shoe, and many more, plus suggestions for how to work the different stitches into elegant and traditional Shetland lace accessories such as scarves, hats, and shawls. Atmospheric photographs taken in the wild Scottish landscape and historical information about the development of Shetland lace are an added bonus!

If you attempt this shawl, we’d love to see it. Share your work in the comments, or pin in to your Pinterest board and tag us @SMPCraft.

Order your own copy of The Magic of Shetland Lace Knitting today!

shetland lace knitting

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New in December & January!

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14 Oct

How-to Tuesday: Fabric Pumpkins!

I’m not a fan of Halloween but I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart (and stomach) for pumpkins. Maybe it comes from watching Cinderella so many times as a little girl, or the numerous field trips to the pumpkin patch followed by roasting seeds, but the reappearance of pumpkins is a bright spot in October for me. So when I came across how to make fabric pumpkins on Me and My Shadow, I couldn’t resist the urge to make my very own pumpkin patch. Special thanks goes to Michelle Cashman, one of our guest posters who is a crafting guru.

materialsSupplies
– Orange material
– Green material
– Yellow/light orange embroidery floss
– Green embroidery floss
– Sewing needle (preferably a long one, size 16 or bigger)
– Polyester filling
– Scissors

 

step 2      step3     step 4

step 5     step 6     step 7

step 8     step 9      step 10

            finished one

Step 1. Cut your orange fabric into a rectangle. The size doesn’t matter as long as it is twice as long as it is wide. The pumpkins above were 8″x16″, 6″x12″,     and 4″x8″. We also tried out different material for each pumpkin. The biggest was made with orange felt, the polka dotted with cotton fabric, and the smallest came from t-shirt scraps. Once your material is cut, fold it in half making a square. The inside of your pumpkin is now showing.

Step 2. Using only three strands of the floss, take your yellow-orange floss and stitch the right sides of the square together.  This works best if you use a very long piece to keep using for the whole pumpkin

Step 3. After stitching the right sides together, move to the bottom of the square and sew a running stitch going all the way around the bottom. Once you go all the way around, pull the thread taut creating a pouch. Sew some back stitches to keep in place and turn the material right side out.

Step 4. Stuff the pouch with the polyester filling. This craft works best with stretchy material so don’t be afraid to really stuff those pumpkins!

Step 5. Just as before, sew a running stitch along the top of the pouch. Pull taut and sew a few stitches to keep in place. If you have a little  extra fabric and don’t want to stuff your pumpkin anymore, just tuck in the edges into the pouch and sew shut.

Step 6. Take the needle through the center and come out through the bottom. Repeat this step a few times to have the pumpkin take shape.

Step 7. This step requires a lot of thread or floss so I would check to to make sure you have enough to circle the pumpkin five or so times. Take the needle around the outside of the pumpkin and come back through the bottom giving the pumpkin one of its signature ridges. Repeat as many times as you’d like to finish the pumpkin shape. Knot and cut your floss.

Step 8. To make the stem: cut your green material into a small rectangle and roll it into a sausage shape. We used felt for our stems. Thread your needle with green floss (using 1 or 2 strands) and wrap it around the stem sporadically from top to bottom.

Step 9. Sew the stem to the top of the pumpkin. Make sure it’s secure before knotting and cutting.

This craft is doable despite your sewing experience. I have never sewed anything besides the occasional cross-stitch and with Michelle’s guidance was able to make my own pumpkin. When making your own pumpkin patch, experiment with different material and don’t be afraid to mix up the colors and patterns. The orange polka dotted pumpkin was our favorite!

all pumpkins

 

Check out our October and November titles!

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1 Sep

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

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 new September and October titles!

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8 Jul

Guest Post: Cross-Stitch Wedding Gift

*Today we have a guest post from one of our colleagues here at St. Martin’s Press. Welcome Lizzie and thank you for sharing your project!*

The internet is chock full of great DIY tricks and adventures to make your wedding a one-of-a-kind-dream-come-true occasion on any budget. Whether you want literary themed place cards, Mason jar tablescapes, or the perfect homemade favor for your guests, there’s a tutorial for you. And while all of that is fine and dandy, as the perpetual bridesmaid on a budget, what about me? See, I am the Maid of Honor in my dearest friend’s wedding. And while I love being part of this special day, like many of you out there, I am on a budget. So what do you do? What can you make that is personal, sweet, and doesn’t scream “too cheap to use the registry”? In my case, I turned to cross stitch.

Over the past few months, I have been teaching myself to cross stitch using a mixture of websites, fellow SMP crafters, and trial and error. But for this bridal shower gift, I turned to an expert and consulted 100 Cross Stitch Patterns: To Mix and Match. I decided to make the happy couple a sampler for their wedding. It’d be a cute throwback keepsake that would suit the couple’s sweetly modern style.

First, I tweaked the colors to better represent the youthful energy the bride and groom exude. Hot pink replaced mauve and red and for the groom, I added a nice cool blue for the lettering. He’s a cool dude after all. Then, since this was for a bridal shower, I decided to use cursive lettering instead of the traditional block print from the pattern. I wanted their initials to be the focus of the picture and not an afterthought, which meant tweaking the design to eliminate two of the trees to make room for the larger stitches.

Capture

Original pattern from the book

photo 3

My take on the colors and pattern

Helpful hint: invest in some graph paper and draw out the pattern yourself so you can center the lettering. The “M” stitch was much larger than the “E”, so I was eternally grateful I had the foresight to mark out the stitch on paper before jumping right in.

After a week of stitching on the subway, pricking my fingers, and having to go back and rip out misplaced threads, I finally had something I was proud of: my first pictorial cross stitch! And amid all the Vitamix blenders and silver platters, I never felt for one moment that my gift was less important or meant less.

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Happy bride with her handmade gift!

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An ideal introduction to the art and craft of cross stitch, this great collection contains over 100 mix-and-match patterns, organized by type: borders, flowers, alphabets and other simple motifs. These can be endlessly combined to create exactly the effect you want, simply by flipping through the pages. Whether you want to create homewares, embellish clothes, or produce works of art, all the patterns easily mix and match.

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Check out our July and August titles:

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CAUGHT CRAFTING: SMPCraft’s Spotlight on NYC Crafting

SMPCRAFT #CAUGHTCRAFTING Thursday morning, Astoria, Queens. Accessorizing with a lovely temporary floral tattoo she learned to make from DIY Temporary Tattoos: Draw It, Print It, Ink It by Pepper Baldwin!

PROJECT OF THE MONTH: JUNE DIY Father’s Day Gifts to MAKE NOW

PROJECT OF THE MONTH: JUNE DIY Father’s Day Gifts to MAKE NOW

Father's Day is less than three weeks away -- Sunday, June 19th in the U.S. -- just enough time to start prepping for what would make dear old pops feel loved....What dad, what MAN, wouldn't want to get a bright red tool box full of homemade BBQ, bacon, and chili flavored chocolate? Or a handmade Paracord hammock? Does he play golf?--hand dipped tees? Does he like to hike? Enjoy nature and the great outdoors? How about homemade beef jerky? Or does he enjoy watching sports--Remote Control Cookie? What about beer? One of the coolest new items coming out of Japan is a Frozen Beer Slushy Maker by Kirin Ichiban that perfectly pairs with the DIY black and tan soap! Scroll and click for more homemade DIY Father's Day gift ideas sure to make pappy happy! Hashtag #SMPCRAFT #DIYFATHERSDAY!

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