Monday, September 24, 2012

Paint Your Own Needlepoint Canvas

Needlepoint is a beautiful art form that I think is due for a comeback; after all why should knitting have all the fun?  I really wanted to create my own design for an ottoman I am reupholstering, unfortunately my painting skills are limited to baseboards and living room walls.  But I wasn’t about to let that stop me!  If you too find that the creativity that flows from your brain stops short of your hands read on…. 

Here’s what you will need to start:
Needlepoint canvas (find at your local needlepoint shop or
Acrylic paint that matches your needlepoint fibers you will use for stitching
Variety of artist paint brushes
Basic design printed on paper

Needlepoint canvas is sold by the “count” which just means how many stitches are in an inch.  Think about what your finished project will be when choosing your “count”.  In this tutorial I am making an ottoman with a top that is 15x18” using a thicker wool fiber; so I chose a 13 count.   Need additional guidance on what size or fibers to choose?  Click here.

 Because I have less than zero talent when it comes to drawing I went out on the internet to find my design:  check it out.  Make sure you read the usage laws before selecting your design…we don’t want the copyright police knocking on your door!  Enlarge/shrink your design to the size you need and print it.

Tape the printed paper to the back of your canvas and pencil in the design on the canvas.  Don’t go too heavy on the pencil, it does smudge and you wouldn’t want that coming off on your fiber (My design is marked heavier so you can see it in the photos).

Thin your paint with water a little before painting on the canvas.  Your goal is to cover the canvas, but not cover the holes.  Using a fine tip brush start painting along your pencil lines and move to a larger brush to fill in the larger areas.  Make sure you are using a fairly light touch with the brush.  Every few minutes hold your canvas up to the light to see if your holes are filling in.  

This photo shows where some paint has covered a few of the holes.  If this happens you can blow on it through a straw, go back over the spot with a dry brush or poke through with a toothpick.  You will find that the paint won’t make it into every nook and cranny on your first time through with the paintbrush.  While it doesn’t have to be perfect, you do want the design area to be covered, so allow the paint to dry and then do a second coat in the spots you missed. 

Now get stitching!!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Cozy Toes Tutorial

One of my first Pinterest pins was for these adorable slippers; I thought they were great and loved that there was a free pattern.  Much to my chagrin (and apparently that of many others) the pattern did not include instructions.  Rats!  Unable to locate the issue the instructions were published, or find a tutorial online, I decided to try replicating them myself.  Fair warning: this is a total experiment.

 Print the pattern Cozy Toes Slippers Adjust the pattern to your size.  I saw comments that the pattern was too small, so decided to cut larger (I’m a size 10, but size 11 is what worked for me).  Not knowing if the pattern included a seam allowance or not I added 1/2” for the sole and bottom portion of the sides.  I also added some length to the top piece based on comments from others who had tried making the slippers.
  1. Choose your fabric.  The photo looks like they used faux fur for both the exterior and lining, so that’s what I went with.  From the photo posted you can’t see the bottom of the slipper, but I decided to use a non slip fabric for mine.  1/3 yard of each will give you enough length.  This amount of fabric will give you enough to make at least two pair of slippers.
  2. Lay out your pattern.  Here's a trick for working with super thick fabric.  Pinning the fabric will result in a warped pattern piece - instead turn the fabric so the wrong side faces up and trace around the pattern piece (using a fabric pen).  Cut out our pieces.  you will need:
    1. 8 sides (4 of the exterior fur and 4 of the lining)
    2. 4 soles (2 of the no slip fabric and 2 of the lining)
    3. 4 tops (2 of the exterior fur and 2 of the lining)
Make sure you reverse the pieces for right and left sides!!

  1. With right sides together pin the sides together (exterior to exterior, lining to lining) and sew.  Place the sole lining and no slip sole WRONG sides together with the no slip facing you.  Next, place the exterior side and lining side WRONG sides together with the exterior FACING IN.  Pin the side to the sole and sew together.  At this point try the slipper for size and make adjustments if needed.  Trim the seam and turn so that the seam faces in.
  2. Place your top exterior to your top lining WRONG sides together and pin it to the slipper side (make sure you match the center of the slipper top to the front seam of the side).  Whip stitch the top to the side as well as around the rest of the slipper (the raw edges).

Not too bad!  I think next time I will short the top again so it looks more feminine.

Comparing my photos to theirs it appears their slippers are more robust.  I don’t know if this is because they used stabilizer, added batting, or just had better staging in the photo.  It also looks like they whip stitched the sole to the sides as well.  I chose to hide the sole/side seam.  I would LOVE to hear from someone who made these slippers using the actual instructions to find out if my instructions are remotely close, or if I am missing some supplies.