Art and Needlework home

January 26, 2016
by Rebekah Fox
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Art and Needlework Podcast Episode 2: Amazon Ave.

Another podcast for you today. I had a lot of fun putting this together! My poor laptop had quite a workout this time editing the many video clips, images, and audio that were used but it once again came through. Not bad for a five year old laptop!

Art and Needlework Podcast Episode 2Click here for Episode 2 – Amazon Ave.

Show Highlights:

In this podcast I discuss some exciting news. . . I am now an Amazon Artisan! Which translates to: I have a store in the Handmade Department on Amazon.com. See it here. Pretty awesome!

The current projects mentioned this week are the Birthday Afghan and Aislinn Cardigan (from the Pilot episode) and a FO is presented as well.

Wanted to include life on the farm in the podcast so we have A January Walk on the Farm.

 

Show Notes:

 

Handmade at Amazon:

The Department.

My store.

Yarns Mentioned:

Blue/White Chevron Infinity Scarf used 1 ball of KnitPicks Dishie in White and Berroco Modern Cotton in Color 1621.

My Family Farm:

Magicland Farms

 

January 19, 2016
by Rebekah Fox
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Presenting the Art and Needlework Podcast!

Ever since I started crafting I’ve been reading crafting blogs. They are a great source of inspiration, community, and knowledge. Another great source I’ve found are podcasts. One of the great advantages of listening to a podcast is that you can sew, knit, etc. while listening. A great way to past the time!

I’ve noticed a small but steady climb in the amount of crafty podcasters on Youtube and the great sense of community they are forming. I’ve been tempted to start my own for a long time now and I finally took the big step–I just uploaded my first podcast episode to YouTube. I am now the host of The Art and Needlework Podcast!

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See the first episode here.

With every episode I make I will be adding the show notes to a blog post. If you have any comments or suggestions about the new show please leave them in the comments section below!

 

Show Notes for Episode 1 – Pilot:

Knit/Crochet Patterns Mentioned:

  1. Fisherman’s Afghan. Crochet. A Simplicity (yes the sewing pattern company) pattern from 1974; #6647. Using worsted weight yarn and size J hook.
  2. Aislinn Cardigan. Knit. Designed by Amy Herzog. Using Willow Yarn Everest in Steel Gray. US 5/3.75mm circular needle.

Pencil Skirt Design:

  1. Faux Suede fabric was bought from Fabric.com.
  2. Leather bought from TheLeatherGuyMN on Etsy.
  3. Where my skirt sloper came from: Stringcodes

Family Farm:

  1. Magicland Farms.

My YouTube channel:

  1. Art and Needlework YouTube Channel.

Ravelry ID:

  1. Needlestohook

 

December 4, 2015
by Rebekah Fox
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My KnitPicks Yarn Haul

I was going to post about my craft room makeover but I just couldn’t resist showing you the big box of yarn I just received.  It’s from KnitPicks, have you heard of them? They are located in Vancouver, Washington and the company was started by a husband and wife team awhile back. I am not even sure when they started–way before I knew how to knit! They have semi-retired from KnitPicks but their son, Matt, has taken over and has done a great job so far. I occasionally listen to the KnitPicks podcast so I like to keep up to date on what they are doing behind the scenes.

OK, onto the discussion of yarn. I took advantage of the KnitPicks’ annual BIG SALE (this isn’t my first time) they ran the week leading up to Cyber Monday. If I am remembering right, I think they used to do the week after. They probably wanted to switch it to the week prior to profit from Black Friday sales.

The BIG SALE is huge in my opinion. A lot of their prices are drastically reduced and it is my one time out of the year to stock up on the more luxurious fibers, such as silk, kid mohair, and alpaca. I threw in some acrylic and wool for good measure, though!

All of these yarns I purchased will be used in the creation of products for my new online store, Art and Needlework, and my Etsy shop. So I will give you a sneak peek at what are my plans for future store items.

First up is their Brava in bulky weight. It is an 100% acrylic yarn.

BravaBulky1 BravaBulky2 BravaBulky3

Continue Reading →

November 29, 2015
by Rebekah Fox
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The Art and Needlework Store!

Hi everyone! This post had a long time coming, hasn’t it? Let me fill you in on what’s been going on with me since my last post (May 9, 2014).

If you are a reader of my cooking blog, Sabbath Supper, you would have known that last winter and spring I was a student of the Culinary Institute of Michigan in Muskegon, Michigan. I did one quarter and did very well, both in my studies, grades, and the path I was choosing. Then my dad’s health started on a downward spiral so there was a need for me to withdraw from school and concentrate more on helping him here at home.

It was not an easy thing for me to switch gears at that time, especially since I was looking forward to going back to school for a year prior to that. But I knew it was the best choice and I know I just pressed the pause button. There will be time for me to go back to it.

Being more home-based these days led me to search out a way to do something I’ve been doing off and on for years: sell my handmade items.

Ever since I started crafting I’ve been selling. At my family’s farm market there is a small room attached, which we call The Craftroom. My sisters and I have been selling out of that room since the early 2000’s and my mom sold her crafts there back in the 1990s. I also have been a vendor at several local craftshows and have sold items on Ebay and Etsy.

So new for Winter 2015/2016: The Art and Needlework Store!

I’ve made an online store from the ground up and it has just gone live about a week ago. You can always visit the store from here by clicking on Store up on top. I’m adding new products to it everyday. Right now I am concentrating on great gifts for Christmas so I have appliqued throw pillows with fun, woodland creatures on the front such as my Fox Pillow and Loon Pillow. I got really into appliqueing so I came up with the idea of making pillows that have silhouettes of famous book characters such as my Nancy Drew Pillow and Sherlock Holmes Pillow.

I’ve been getting back into my watercolor painting so I am also selling my Watercolor Journals such as my Birch Grove and Horse books.

I thought it would be a good idea to incorporate quick and inexpensive Christmas gifts into the mix so I also put up my Cabled Handwarmers that I crocheted and “I Heart” Quilted Potholders.

Store

Because I am turning my crafting into a full-fledged home business, some major changes had to be done to my crafting space. I will give you the tour next time!

May 9, 2014
by Rebekah Fox
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Sewing a Slipcover from Start to Finish — Part 1

I am doing it! I’ve daydreamed of covering our three seat sofa for years and years and am finally pulling back my sleeves and diving into the world of slipcovering. Firstly, let me give you a little history about me and slipcovers. I haven’t made one–ever. Yep, that pretty much sums it up. In all actuality, I don’t often do home decor, I mostly stay within my garment making boundaries. Much rather make a dress than a pillow! I will stray from my ordinary sewing niche every once in awhile just because I would much rather make x, y or z myself than buy it at a big box store like Walmart. A house full of homemade decor is very, very tempting to me!

So this is the sofa in question:

slipcover

The Sofa: This sofa is about 30 years old and is in fair shape considering the number of kids that jumped, rolled, and climbed on it over the years. It is actually a sleeper sofa so a fully functional bed is hidden within. The tweed-like upholstery is tattered on the arms but thankfully the cushions are not saggy or lumpy. So in conclusion: this sofa has many more years left and deserves a much needed slipcover to brighten it up. Continue Reading →

May 2, 2014
by Rebekah Fox
1 Comment

Sewing Basics Series

Sewing Basics

When one is away from crafting for a long time she usually finds herself at a lost to what to pick up again. Should she tackle the mending pile? Alter that jacket? Fix that zipper? All of those suggestions sound, well, too practical. Too mundane and yawning material, especially for a person who is getting back into the crafty swing of things.

That was my state of mind when I finished straightening my crafting room and was pondering on what to start on first. I had just received my 13 plastic containers (from ebay) to house all my little bits and notions for sewing. So I now had all my bias, twill, and rick rack tape, all my buttons and needles, and even the fabric pens and dyes a place to call home. After going on this little organizing adventure, I was reminded of how important the little things in sewing are for a beginner. Knowing how to use all these tools and notions properly, how to master simple sewing techniques like threading a needle or machine, and discovering those useful tips like using distilled water in your iron to maintain clean steam vents, are so important but aren’t always mentioned or explained in sewing books. So I thought of a new series for my YouTube channel, The Sewing Basics Series.

My goal with this new series is to cover the simple aspects of sewing with simplicity. I hope to avoid throwing out techno sewing lingo and over explain everything. That last part might be the hardest part about it! The first one up in this series is How to Sew, Iron, and Transfer Darts. Darts, for me, took awhile to get right.  There always seemed to be issues with getting the darts legs to meet perfectly. After combining a few different dart techniques into one, I’ve made it pass my dart obstacle and now I can make darts that are straight, on point with the dart point, and pucker and bubble free.

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Just last week I finished Part 2 of the series. Since I was working on a dress with a back zipper, I decided to film: How to Sew the Top of a Zipper. There is always something to learn about how to sew in a zipper. I’m finding out insider tips all the time, especially on Sunni’s Craftsy class. One of the things that can really puzzle a beginner is, how do you finish off the top of the zipper? A lot of zipper demonstrations completely skip over this step (even me with my invisible zipper tutorial), so I thought it was high time to let those beginner sewers in on this final step.

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Still thinking about what Part 3 should be about. So many topics to discuss! Sewing is one of those things that seems endless when it comes to the imagination, both in creation and sharing sewing knowledge. Hope this post finds you well. Have fun crafting!

 

 

December 28, 2013
by Rebekah Fox
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12/28/13: Breaking the Silence and Sewing a Lace Belt

When a person comes back to blogging after 6 months of non-blogging, she has, obviously, a lot to talk about. That is where I am at today and I don’t have a clue of where to begin! Maybe I should start things off with a short recap. . .

The last 6 months or so were full of many long days at the farm working the fields and market. Last year our orchards didn’t produce any fruit (apples, peaches, etc.), because of a frost we had in the Spring. This year turned out to be plentiful. We had a beautiful crop of apples and peaches and they haven’t looked so blemish-free in a very long time. A good portion of our field crops were also successful, such as our tomatoes, sweet corn, and pumpkins. As always, there were certain set backs and trials during the year that involved a wide array of causes. Those that stand out in my mind are the late crops of potatoes. We planted potatoes in three different locations and only the first patch produced potatoes with high quality; the other two were combated by disease and scab. If you ever planted a garden–especially one with vegetables–you would know that it is a very good idea to plant a variety. Don’t just plant one thing, plant an assortment so if some disease, bug, flood, or drought comes along and makes your tomato plants wither, you’ll still have those carrots that you planted next to them. :)
My time wasn’t solely spent at the farm this year. I also was working part time in the kitchen at the Summer camp that is right down my street.

As the farming season was slowly fading away in October, I went in high gear for an upcoming December craft bazaar happening at a local church. What was I selling? I will tell you all about it in the next post!

In all the Summer/Fall craziness, I managed to do a little crafting. I made curtains for my bedroom and I finally put together a belt using one of A Fashionable Stitch’s belt kits, which she no longer has in stock. I was really disappointed about this when I heard the bad news, because her kits make it so incredibly easy to execute! Maybe she’ll get kits later on when her new brick and mortar fabric shop is running smoothly; congrats Sunni!So here’s the belt being worn with a ready-made, loose fitting linen dress of mine:

Continue Reading →

May 31, 2013
by Rebekah Fox
5 Comments

5/30/13: Checking In

With the month drawing to a close (can you believe it?!), I thought it was high time I stopped by and shared my “goings on.” If you measure your crafting time in terms of finished objects, mine has been meager. On the other hand, if you measure using the Universal Enjoyment Meter, May has been good to me.

In case you’re not in the know, my days are mainly made up of working on my family’s fruit and vegetable farm here in western Michigan. I never got a chance to tell you that back in March this year I got a part-time job working in the Food Service Department at a nearby camp and so between those two jobs, crafting time has been cut back. So I leave you with that reason for lack of finished objects. But I tell you, whenever I find time to sew or knit or crochet or whatever, it feels SO GOOD. Distance makes the heart grow fonder as they say. :) And crafting may just move down a block or two soon, as summer camp is beginning in a few days and total mayhem will follow! 400 hungry kids. . . That should keep me preoccupied. Goodbye crochet hook; you won’t be forgotten.

The latest about the farm. . . It has been raining so frequently here that we are struggling with getting certain crops planted. Because c’mon, how can you plant anything when you’re sinking six inches down into mud? Ugh. And said mud causes farm equipment to come to a stand still. So no discing, no planting, no nothing. Latest forecast for tonight? Rain. Please pray that the rain will keeps its distance for the time being!

In the little spurts of free time I have had, I made my way to the sewing room for one goal: to sew up another pair of jeans for myself. I’ve been wearing my first pair to death and they are already showing signs of stress. I never did bother using flat felled seams (the traditional seam for jeans), on my first pair and this is probably the main cause of the jeans’ current state. My mindset when sewing up the first pair was to make it easy to alter the fit so I made plain seams with large seam allowance just so I had wiggle room later on. Now that I know the fit is good I am confident enough to use the more durable flat felled seams. I’m also going to break out the recognizable, gold thread used on jeans and really make it look like ready-to-wear.

I came down with a cold this month so when I was stuck in bed with my box of Kleenex I watched the last two episodes of the Great British Sewing Bee. Awesome, awesome, awesome. If you are a reader of sewing blogs you already know about this show and probably watched all four episodes months ago, but hey. The one thing I always take a way from watching this program is the feeling of pride of what I do. A lot of the time I think of myself as just a home sewer that knows a lot of the basic sewing skills and who is still working her way up; gradually learning more complicated sewing skills with each project. Trepidation is normal for me and on the occasion I find myself not starting certain projects just because I never tried it before or have tried it once and didn’t like how it turned out. So whenever I watched the show and saw the contestants try making something they’ve never done before and struggle along, I was reminded of myself. Especially when Lauren teared up in the last episode. Yeah, I do that. Sometimes I do pour my blood, sweat, and tears into a project. (When I prick my finger when hand sewing in 90 degree heat while I am mentally drained, and find tear drops rather than iron leaks on my ironing board. Been there?)

So thank you Great British Sewing Bee for making me feel better about me and my sewing.

Another thing that brought a smile to my face this month was when two nice ladies left comments on
the blog.

Geraldine has just picked up sewing again because of what she’s seen on my blog. So happy that I helped rekindled a love for sewing.

and Shona told me that my invisible zipper tutorial helped her install a zip in her friends, get this, wedding dress! Wow!

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Don’t know when I’ll be able to stop by this blog but I will definitely be reading crafting blogs throughout the summer months. Hey, if you can’t craft yourself, why not read about it? So if you have a crafting blog, please share it in the comments below and I will be sure to check it out.

April 28, 2013
by Rebekah Fox
2 Comments

4/28/13: Daffodil Time

Finally back and writing up a blog post. If you’ve been keeping tabs on me you would know that it’s been nearly a month since I’ve posted. April is just whizzing by and I didn’t even realize how long my absence has been!

In essence, I’ve been pottering along in various projects. A little crochet here, a little sewing there, no full-blown projects like the dresses you would find here and here. My sights have been moved towards other aspects of life since then and so I’ve been gravitating towards crafting that doesn’t involve too much thought.

Crochet came to the forefront this month because a crochet-along was in the works. Back in February I started a crochet-along on a ravelry group (found here), and the chosen pattern was the Daffodil Bag designed by Marty Miller. It was featured in the March/April 2013 of Crochet Today magazine and is a great portable design because the bag is comprised of motifs that are later seamed by hand.

[ the original bag featured in the magazine ]

The object for me was to make this bag for Catherine so she could use it as her crochet project bag. This is how it turned out:

March 31, 2013
by Rebekah Fox
4 Comments

3/30/13: Finished – Vogue 9668 Dress

I casually mentioned this dress in a couple posts ago, (this one precisely). This dress has a very long history and took me forever to sew up, but it was a labor of love for sure. So here is Vogue 9668:

As you can tell from the long, wavy locks, this isn’t me modeling. 😉 I sewed this dress up for my sister Catherine. She’s been waiting a very long time to see this dress made, three years in all! Let me explain.

Do you remember this?

You don’t? I wouldn’t blame you. Haven’t mentioned this pattern (Vogue 9668) since March of 2010. My original post talked about how I would take Vogue 9668 and make the dress on the far right for my sister using a beautiful jacquard cotton in a dark blue. The fabric has an all-over, subtle flower design. I don’t know if the photos really capture it because you can only catch glimpses of the flowers depending upon the light.

So back in the spring of that year I took on this dress project. At the time I knew this was a big undertaking for me (especially when I didn’t have much knowledge of pattern alteration then), but I dove right in. I altered the pattern to my best ability, sewed up a muslin, and had sis try it on. Oh boy. That’s when the trouble began. There was some big problems, things like the armscye not positioned correctly, excess material under the arm, wrinkles radiating from the neckline, and on and on. I tried assessing the trouble areas for days and asked people on forums and such, but it amounted to nothing. I just didn’t know where to begin. So the muslin was put away and sadly, the dress, too.

Then after finishing up my pair of jeans this past February, I got into the mindset of completing something I put down long ago. Of course my sister was the first to point out the Vogue dress, so I got to work.

OK, you got the background story, now for some details.

The Dress’s Features: Vogue 9668 is a fully lined dress that has a separate midriff piece, waist and side bust darts, a uniquely shaped neckline, and a bias cut skirt.

The Fabric: The fashion fabric–which I bought from denverfabrics.com in 2009–is a medium weight, 100% cotton jacquard that has an all-over flower design that resembles hibiscus blooms. I used a black, polyester lining from fabric.com for the skirt and lightweight, black cotton for the bodice’s lining.

The Pattern: Vogue 9668, a very popular pattern according to a lot of sewing blogs, was given to me by a kind member on a Ravelry.com group. The pattern I was given was one size too small for my sister so there was need for some changes. I followed Casey’s tutorial on how to grade up one size (I added 2″), and it was a lot easier than I thought it would be. Never ever graded before, been scared of doing it to be frank, so you can well imagine the one happy camper that resulted from this smooth grading venture! I then added 2″ to the length of the bodice, 3 inches or so to the length of the skirt, and minuscule amounts to the waist area, i.e. midriff, bodice, etc. I also added inseam pockets to the side seams of the skirt.

Construction Process: After making changes to the tissue pattern, I made up a bodice muslin. Sis tried it on and there was only small problems to solve–nothing catastrophic like before. I guess the tissue alterations paid off. I only had to lower the side dart, take it in a little bit at the side seams, and re-sew the shape of the neckline because the original was too low. I noted that the bust darts that start from the midriff looked fine. I found out later that they were to reek havoc!

After cutting and sewing the bodice together I had Catherine try it on. It was then when we noticed that the bust darts–the ones that I just mentioned–looked wrong. They were positioned correctly but their points were not smooth in the least. I tried a number of recommendations I gathered from the net and sewing books; things like shortening the dart, narrowing the dart, etc., but nothing made a smooth point. Actually, these endeavors made things worse. In the end, Catherine pushed me into trying a technique she found on BurdaStyle.com. It is redrawing the straight-legged dart into a dart with curved legs. See the tutorial here. I gave it a go and it worked! Was elated. I’m so glad she made me try it out, it saved the day.

So let’s take a looksy at the dress’s interior.

[ bodice front ]
[ bodice back. I used an invisible zipper instead of the centered zipper ]
[ dress front ]
[ dress back ]
[ the top of the invisible zipper ]
[ the inside of the inseam pocket. I used the same lining that I used for the skirt’s ]

What was my hem of choice this time? This dress’s skirt is cut on the bias so I had to give the hem some extra attention. I first made sure that it had time to drape and relax. I then had Catherine put the dress on and I asked her to point to the place where she wanted the hem to fall. I took a yardstick and found that her chosen hem level was 16-1/2″ from the floor. Using pins, I pinned every couple inches to mark this 16-1/2″ level all the way around the dress.

I had her take off the dress carefully, (didn’t want to lose a single pin!). I turned up the hem following the pins and basted the hem in place using long hand stitching. I wanted a 2″ wide hem so I measured 2″ from the hem’s fold and chalk marked all the way around. I cut along the marks I left. After searching out for three yards of some navy, stretch lace hemming tape, I sewed that to the raw edge of the hem I had just cut. 1/4″ seam was used. Then, using a long basting stitch on my sewing machine, I basted along the edge of the entire length of stretch lace. I did this to allow me to pull up the bobbin thread and ease the hem into place. After easing and steam pressing the hem in place, I hand stitched the hem down using a loose catchstitch.

[ the skirt’s hem. I used stretch lace hemming tape ]

For the lining I did something simpler. A half inch narrow hem this time around. I cut the lining on the bias as well so a narrow hem such as this is really the best option. 

[ I used a narrow hem for the lining ]

I trimmed the lining so it would be 2″ above the hem of the dress.

Whew! Lots to talk about this dress. I do hope I covered everything! It has been a lot of fun sewing up dresses these last two months. Not many chances arrive to do this sort of thing so I fully enjoyed the opportunity I had. Next up on my list of things to craft would be more along the lines of farm clothes. Like jeans and t-shirts. It’s getting to be that time of year again so a little more practical sewing needs to happen, and happen soon. Thankfully, I have a tried and true jeans pattern and a t-shirt rub off. Everything should come together smoothly–I hope!