Thursday, August 24, 2017

Crochet frame tutorial

I’ve been working on a small cross stitch project and wanted to frame it a little differently so out to Pinterest I went and found some great tutorials for crochet frames. Don’t worry if you have never done crochet - anyone can make these. Here's the final result: a cross-stitch birth announcement for our new grand-baby.

I used this tutorial by Girlybunches on YouTube but there are many other options if you do a little “G-Search.”

Materials you need:
  • Metal ring to fit whatever you are framing - mine is 5” in diameter
  • A smaller ring to serve as the hanger. You can find these in the crochet and knitting aisle
  • Yarn to match your design - any kind will do except for bulky yarn
  • 3.5 mm crochet hook
  • Stiffy fabric stiffener
  • Tapestry needle that is thin enough to fit through your beads
  • Fireline thread - either crystal or smoke depending on your frame color
  • 6/0 and 11/0 beads in the colors you prefer
  • Non-fray backing: ultra suede or felt. I prefer ultra suede since it doesn’t add much thickness and has such as nice appearance
  • Fabric glue
Joann's has many different sizes of these metal rings but I'm sure you can find them in most craft stores. I chose one 5 inches in diameter but they have other sizes too. You can also use embroidery hoops but I prefer the smaller base of the ring.

I picked a pretty pink pastel yarn and followed the instructions on the Girlybunches tutorial. Then I did added a step by stiffening the yarn frame. Most yarns are soft and will curl a bit and I wanted something more sturdy and frame-like. There are various stiffening options but I used Stiffy fabric stiffener. Follow the instructions on the bottle and apply to the crochet frame with a paint brush.

Let the frame dry while you make the hanger and finish whatever you are framing. It doesn’t have to be cross-stitch. You can print a pretty picture on fabric and frame that. Here’s another wall art piece I made using this technique and a larger ring. Instead of needlework, I did a collage of images on Photoshop, printed on Leslie Riley’s Artist Transfer Paper, transferred to muslin and backed with Pellon double side fusible to adhere it to the background fabric.

Larger ring base about 10 inches
Back to our smaller frame project: Using the second small ring, follow the instructions in the first step of the video just to cover the ring - you don’t need the extra embellishment on the small ring since you will attach that to the frame as a hanger. Once the frame is dry, attach the hanger to the frame using the yarn threads from the small ring. Weave the thread ends through the frame taking care they are not visible from the front and snip.

Now you are ready to apply the frame to the object you are framing. I took an extra 5-inch ring and traced around it with pencil on the reverse side of my cross-stitch to get the approximate size. You want to go larger than the ring so the edges of the design fall under the crochet embellishment. I recommend doing a round of zig zag stitch outside the tracing line making sure it will be under the frame and not visible. I used white thread so it’s really hard to see on this photo but it will prevent fraying. Cut around your design just outside the zig zag stitch. Before you stitch to the frame, lay your design on whatever you will use to for backing and trace around the design on the backing material so you know the size you will need. It’s easier to trace it before you secure the piece to the frame than after doing so.

Now comes the fun part: attaching the frame. Turn the frame so the right side is facing down and lay your artwork with the right side facing through the frame opening. Turn it over and check that it is centered just so. Once you have it positioned, use some painters tape to temporarily secure the artwork to the reverse side of the frame, holding it in place while you stitch.

The great thing about crochet is that the stitches around the frame create little dimples, giving you almost perfect spacing for beaded embellishments around the frame. I used one 6/0, 11/0 bead combo in each dimple. Thread the tapestry needle with Fireline and secure it to the reverse side. Come up through one of the dimples to the right side of the frame, pick up a 6/0 then an 11/0 and sew down into the 6/0 tightening the bead into place. On the back side, move to the next dimple and repeat all around the frame. 

This serves two purposes. First it provides a pretty embellishment but most importantly, it secures your artwork to the frame close enough to the inside edge to prevent any gaps. I used a tapestry needle since it is thicker and was able to more easily pierce through the stiffened yarn. I tried a beading needle but it was just too thin and I had to fight to get it through the yarn.

Once you have stitched your design to the frame, apply the backing to the reverse side. You may want to personalize your backing especially if you made the item as a gift. Place a thin layer of fabric glue on the edges of your artwork, taking care not to get glue on the crochet. Then lay your backing on the artwork and allow it to try. The glue is one more insurance against fraying and also attaches the backing to the art.

Make sure you take a photo before you gift the item so you have a record of your pretty work!

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

130 days until Christmas!

130 days seems a long way away but the holiday season will be here in the wink of an eye. About this time each year, I try to decide on the ornament design I will make for friends and family. This year, I have it narrowed down to five possibilities.

First up are these darling super duo Christmas trees designed by the mother and daughter team at tutorial
It may look like a simple thread path but it is pretty tricky. The tutorial is a bit on the pricey side but I thought well worth it since it breaks it down to basic steps. I made three of these so far and think they would be pretty in a metallic green with red and gold decorations.

This next option is not an ornament design but instead is an earring design featured in Bead&Button June 2017. I am always looking for something with a southwest-y feel and thought it would be beautiful as an ornament. This seems pretty involved so I don't know they lend to multiple production but one or two would be doable.

Francesca Walton design in Bead&Button June 2017

Next up is a basic icicle design that I thought would be pretty in turquoise nuggets for a southwest theme. As of this writing, the Etsy shop owner is taking a break so check back if you are interested in this item.

Etsy ornament by Snowflakestudio59

Mark and Marcia DeCoster recently posted about this Peace tutorial with the proceeds going toward Alzheimers research. Not only is the cause a good one but the theme of peace seems to be especially needed this year.

Peace tutorial by Mark and Marcia DeCoster

My last option is an old-but-goodie saved from an Art Jewelry Elements blog post two years ago. I made this sample using some pave beads in my stash with a crystal Swarovski snowflake. I just love the added sparkle of the pave and crystal.

Art Jewelry Elements Christmas Wreath
Decisions... decisions. Maybe I will need to make a few of each!


Friday, August 11, 2017

Sweet baby is here

After many posts about baby showers and other random baby items, our granddaughter has arrived. Just check out the smile on this sweet face.

I went on a major bootie binge and made these cute moccasin style booties. I bought the pattern from matildasmeadow on Etsy.

Then, just in time for winter, we have some fur-topped booties. The purple ones are so small, all you see is fur! This was another Etsy pattern from OnePaisleyPig. This was the first time I used fur yarn and it is pretty darn tricky to crochet through all that fur.

And then we just have some basic booties. Because a girl can never have too many booties!

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Finishing projects and kitty crochet

Does anyone else just about finish a project except for the last step or two? I have several items in my to-do pile that just need closures. Well, I finally finished a project from last year at this time when I used a cross-country driving trip to work on a bead crochet necklace. I love doing bead crochet in the car (as long as I am not driving) since you pre-string the beads and they stay nice and secure while you crochet.

I finished the rope last August but just couldn't decide on the pendant and closure style. So I went shopping in my stash and found this glass pendant that worked perfectly and, once I had chosen the pendant, the closures were easy. Yay!

And now for a bit of crochet. You might recall some prior posts where I raved about IraOtt's tutorials. Being a push-over for all things feline, I had to try the below design. It was the perfect housewarming gift for my two nieces who are also kitty lovers.

IraOtt Design, Crochet by Paula

I did the kitty in gray to match my niece's kitty, Gus. And they are both just adorable:

And a couple photos of just Gus since you can never have too much kitty:

© Cave Creek Beads