I hereby declare today to be Stitch Love day!
This is the official publication date for my book, even though it has already started showing up in mailboxes. One of the benefits of pre-ordering! And because of all those orders, Stitch Love: Sweet Creatures Big & Small even made it to the #1 spot in the embroidery category on Amazon. HUGE thanks to everyone who has been supporting the book.
I've managed to get myself swamped with things to work on, including book-related plans. So everything is taking longer. Including taking pictures of some of the pages. Silly me. But in the middle of it, I'm stitching love.
The title for this book was suggested by my editor, Amanda. When I heard it, I knew it was right. I like that it describes a love of stitching, but it's also kind of a directive. Stitch love. Don't just stitch animals or objects, or anything else. But when you stitch, stitch love.
In the rush to get things done, I might forget this, but I hope not. I hope that I remember to stitch love. And I hope I can help spread that idea. Will you try it with me? No matter the pattern or the process, or the recipient, would you make sure that you stitch some love into it?
I'm going to check in and see how that goes for us all, okay?
My most recent stitching was this Darling Dachshund. It's sort of a pattern from the book, in that, it was supposed to be in the book, and I left it out in error. If you're on Instagram, follow my feed to learn more about this little guy!
I best get busy now, because I've got celebrations to plan! (I might even bake myself a cake...)
I make a lot of things, and happily, most of them turn out pretty well on the first try. In fact, I usually take step-by-step photos along the way, expecting that first try to be the only try. Some projects require more prototyping, but those are rare.
Pick up your copy right now, before it’s too late. Or, learn more here.
Disclosure: I'm a contributing author, and this post contains affiliate links. Read the fine print about this bundle and read the answers to frequently asked questions about the bundle.
This week I received an email from Jackie asking if I had ever heard of yoyo clown dolls. (Jackie, I tried to email you back, but my message bounced.) And the answer to Jackie's question is, yes! I have heard of them, because I have one!
This fella was my mom's but may be older than she is. We're estimating that's it's around 60 years old, but it's hard to say. It was probably made by a relative. The arms, legs, and torso are make out of fabric yoyos. There are two sizes in there, and they're definitely rather flat, but that's what they are. Jackie tells me that sometimes you insert batting into the yoyos, but I'm pretty sure that these never had that.
The face isn't quite as friendly as I would like, but not as scary as some that you see when you do a search for "yoyo clown". The saddest thing for me is that you can see through the fabric enough to see the back of the embroidery. I don't think that's just because of age, though I could be wrong.
If you do a search for this type of doll, and I highly recommend that you do, you'll find plenty of instructional blog posts so you can make your own. And I'm betting that you'll make it really cute. Even if yours doesn't have the awesome vintage fabrics in this guy!
And for those who aren't so big on the clown, Simplicity once made a pattern for these, but it also made a dog, a caterpillar, and an owl!
I know that you guys love crafting and making and being creative. That's one of the reasons you visit Wild Olive, right? What do you love about DIY? One of the things that I enjoy is that that there’s so much to get involved in! You may have started with embroidery, or creating gifts, or sewing, but there’s this huge world of crafting opportunities out there...so let's explore and expand our craft!
But where to start? Goodness knows there are plenty of resources available, but it's easy to get overwhelmed with the choices, be worried that you'll be disappointed, or that you'll have to spend a lot for patterns, eBooks, and inspiration. I can't tell you how many times I've looked at these things and then decided to wait.
Which is why I'm really excited to be part of a group of contributing authors for The Ultimate DIY Bundle! This is an instant go-to library for a whole range of carefully curated DIY and crafting eBooks and eCourses. There are projects that the whole family can get involved in – from photography and home decor to chalk pastels and sewing, and even some incredible blogging resources.
Some of those things that I've looked at in the past, and thought, "hmmm...maybe I'll wait." THEY ARE IN THIS BUNDLE! There's a lot to love in here, but I'm especially excited about the sewing and quilting eBooks & patterns, plus some some truly valuable social media helps. Now get ready for this...
For the crazy low price of just $34.95, you get access to a carefully curated library of over 76 eBooks and eCourses from the world’s leading DIY and crafting bloggers – enabling you to pick a project and jump straight into it. In the bundle, you'll find my complete Seasonal Stitching Club (value: $32), and even if you already have that, the contributions from other DIY creators whom I respect are worth FAR more than the cost.
I have to add, I've heard a few folks talking about how 76 eBooks is actually too many...too overwhelming. And yeah, it kinda is. But you don't have to download them all at one time. You can even skip as many as you want! You have a full year to download. But even if you only use a few of these, I think you'll find that it's still a bargain, and it might just connect you with bloggers you've never encountered before. When you click through to learn more, you'll see a complete list of the contents.
Hurry though! The Ultimate DIY Bundle will only be on sale for 6 days – from 8am EST on Wednesday, January 21 until 11.59pm EST on Monday, January 26.
You don't need to worry about whether this will be worth it, because they offer an Ultimate Bundles 30-day money-back guarantee. That means you have a full 30 days to enjoy all the eBooks and eCourses in the bundle, and if you don’t think they provided enough value, you’ll get a full refund.
It gets better though (guys, I'm seriously excited about all of this!), because The Ultimate DIY Bundle comes with 4 awesome bonuses, worth over $118. That’s 3x the price of the bundle alone! These include…
A free $15 Store Credit PLUS 8×10 Art Print from Hope Ink ($43 Value), a free online class from Craftsy (up to $60 Value), free $15 store credit to Fawnsberg.com, and a free sewing pattern PLUS a Premium Video Class from UpCraft Club ($19.99 Value).
Don’t miss your chance to grab The Ultimate DIY Bundle, and get 76 incredible eBooks and eCourses for just $34.95. All you need to do is jump in by midnight on Monday, January 26!
This amazing deal ends in just…
Oh hey! It's me and my tired face! And I'm wearing circles in my hair for circle month!
This headband is really easy to make and only takes about an hour. It's the kind of thing that I want to make in 37 colorways so that I have one for every possible outfit and then some. The best part is that thanks to Benzie, you don't need to worry about cutting perfect circles.
All you need is some Felt-Fetti! You might need some Felt-Fetti, even if you aren't making a headband. This stuff is just wonderful. But then, everything from Benzie is. They're my favorite felt supplier.
Now, I think you should use circles, because I'm all about circles for January. But Renae also has hearts, leaves, butterflies, and hexagons. Any of them should work fine for this...or consider a mix!
A very special thanks to Renae for sending me a pack to make this headband project!
Here's what you need:
Benzie Felt-Fetti (I used the 1-1/4-inch size in Linen, Icicle, and Swan) - Or, cut your own circles!
1/2-inch wide ribbon
Cut a piece of ribbon that is 36-48" long. I went for longer so it has ties that hang down when I pull my hair up.
Lay some felt circles out in an overlapping row that is 12-13" long, then place the center of the ribbon at the center of the circle row. You might find it helpful to mark on the ribbon where the ends should be. I used painters' tape.
Thread a needle with three strands of embroidery floss and knot the end. Stitch through the ribbon and half of the first circle with running stitch. I found that three stitches was good.
Add the next circle, then stitch through the two layers plus the ribbon. Again, you'll only be stitching through half of this new circle. Three stitches again.
Keep adding circles and stitching until you reach the end. Tie off the thread, and you're done! Notice that with nice, even, centered stitches, the backside looks as pretty as the front. In fact, you can wear it either way! I love reversible.
My pack came with four colors, so I think a Sugar Plum headband will be next for me. Oh, and there was still plenty of of the other colors left too. One pack goes a long way!
To wear it, just tie it in a bow at the base of your head. I wore this all day on Sunday and it didn't slide off at all! I'm not sure if the felt has magic grippy qualities, or what, but I love this headband! (I also love my new necklace that Becca made for me!)
While perusing the internet and looking at Christmas ideas, I came across some photos of garlands made with fabric yoyos. I was smitten and knew that I needed some of this in my life. Several weeks later, I started looking into the idea again, and found a JUMBO garland, and was really smitten. Go check it out. I'll wait.
But I don't really have space for such a thing, so I thought, why not combine the things I like about these two ideas?
A couple weeks ago I showed you how I make fabric yoyos, and if you've never made them before, that's a great place to start. You'll need a LOT of yoyos, and the amount will depend on how long you want your garland to be, and what arrangement you go for. Also, I recommend that you make them in a few sizes for visual variety.
The original garland I saw had all of the yoyos lined up, and they formed a pattern: large, small, large, small. While I like this look, and you can can definitely go with this, I wanted to mix it up. So, no pattern! Mix up the placement of the sizes and fabrics.
Next, using the jumbo garland as inspiration, I arranged the yoyos in a way that was a little more jaunty.
Because these will be joined one at a time, it's difficult to keep this arrangement exactly, but seeing the look first will help as you form your garland.
Grab two yoyos, and thread a needle with doubled thread. Knot the end, then go in through the hole in one of the yoyos, coming out on the side. Hold the yoyos face to face, then stitch them together with whip stitch. The small yoyos here are about 1 inch in diameter, and about 1/2 inch of stitching is good. Any longer and you'll start to see straight edges. Not what you want here!
I tried this with ladder stitch too, because that way the stitches would be invisible. The thing is, it just didn't feel as secure, and these whip stitches will be on the back. Go with what feels best to you, but remember that a long garland will have some stress on it as it hangs.
Now, start adding more of these fun little circles onto the garland! After each one is joined, tie a doubled knot, then pop it through to the inside of the yoyo. You can travel through the yoyo to the next side and keep going! When you're out of thread, pop the knot through, then trim the thread and start again.
Knowing that I would be hanging this as swags, I joined them so that shape would be already be sewn into the garland. The photo above is laying flat, and shows the shape I stitched with my line of yoyos.
Hanging vertically, see how it leans to the left? That's from that curve that I built in. Was this necessary? Maybe not. But it didn't hurt.
Working in smaller pieces and then joining them together will help keep this project more portable, and who can resist keeping a little pouch of yoyos with them at all times?
To hang your garland, you can stitch some loops at the ends and where you want to swag it. Or, if you aren't afraid of holes in your walls, use a thumbtack or pin to go right through the fabric.
Yay for happy garlands on winter days!
As I begin this year of playing with shapes, starting with circles, I thought it would be nice to show you how some other folks are using circles creatively. I asked these lovely ladies if I could show off a bit of their work, and they graciously said yes. If you haven't checked out their blogs before, be sure to spend some time at their blogs!
When I think of Wendi of Shiny Happy World I think "stuffed animals" and "the woman who got me quilting." She also designs embroidery patterns, and in the case of the hoop above, encourages you to design your own. Her mandala project uses felt circles and circles of stitches, resulting in a relaxing design that lets you explore the process. And it comes out looking amazing!
Rachel blogs at Stitched in Color, and her quilts are always stunning. She recently shared a way to make a clamshell design using circles with raw edges (I LOVE raw edges!). This really appeals to me because it looks so much easier than true clamshell cutting and applique. I'm still not sure about machine sewing those little curves as perfectly as she does, but fortunately, Rachel has a class for that! (I took her Handstitched class and it was fantastic.) You might also like her Wheel and Love in Bubbles quilts.
Diane, or CraftyPod as she's sometimes known, has managed to make plastic canvas look better than it ever has. Seriously, she is doing super creative things with this material that I thought would never be cool again. And I love her for it. Similar to Wendi's zen stitching, Diane's Choose Your Own Design Adventure Ornaments are perfect for stitching and seeing what happens. Be sure to see her black and white ornaments in the post. And while you're visiting Diane's blog, don't miss her metal dot ornament (also circles!) and all of her wonderful English paper piecing work!
Do you have any favorite circle-themed tutorials? Share them in the comments! And before you go, here are a few more to visit:
Do you consider yourself a creative person? If you are a regular Wild Olive reader, you probably do some creating, or at least you want to. Of course, not everyone who makes things by hand thinks of themselves as creative. Perhaps it's because they follow a pattern or have a hard time coming up with ideas. But I think everyone is creative or has creativity in them in one way or another.
Many people who work in a creative field are familiar with a book called The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron. It's a book I've looked at and flipped through, but never committed to. If you've never heard of it, The Artist's Way takes you on a journey of creativity, and it follows a regimen of exercises. Honestly, I've been afraid to do it, but I've known folks who have done it and it's been incredible.
Why should we exercise our creativity? Read these words from author Julia Cameron (from another of her works):
This is the God-force extending itself through us. Creativity is God's gift to us.
Using creativity is our gift back to God.
-JULIA CAMERON, Heart Steps (via)
We all have times when we feel less creative, but when I read things like this, I almost feel a responsibility to create. A responsibility to use this gift and offer it back to my Creator.
But remember how I said that I was afraid to do The Artist's Way? I still am. But I'm doing another series of exercises, working through some thought-provoking questions, from another source, and it only takes 4 days. Plus, it's free!
Four Steps to Reawaken Your Creative Genius is an email-based mini-course that includes worksheets to get your creativity jump-started or back on track. It's funny, because even as I go through the questions, I realize how easy it is for me to fall into a trap of making without truly working with the creative part of my brain.
I want to fix that. I want to offer this back to God. Join me!
PS: I'm sharing this course because it's part of something exciting that I'll be telling you more about next week. You'll start to see things popping up about it, even as you check out this course!
Back in December I decided that I needed to make another mug rug for myself, so I started. It took me a little longer than I had planned to finish, but that happens, doesn't it? I still managed to get it done in less than a month, which isn't too bad. And since it has a circular quality to it, and this January I'm working on circle sorts of things, I thought it worked out well.
I'm calling it a Winter Wreath Mug Rug. The shape that I used for the EPP portion is a pentagon, but what's great about it is that it leaves a circle-ish shape in the center. I plan on playing with pentagons more later in the year, but I like how one shape leads to another.
Also in the circular category, we have pompoms. And these tiny little guys are making me extremely happy. Just sayin'. I found these on Etsy, and if you search for tiny pompoms, you'll find plenty of options.
The overall construction of this is similar to the pot holders I shared in the summer, so for more detailed quilting and binding instructions, check out that post.
Let's get started!
You will need:
9-inch squares of the front and back fabric
2 9-inch squares of cotton batting
40 inches of binding
fabric scraps for the wreath
1 yard of tiny pompom trim
sewing machine (a walking foot is helpful!)
rotary cutter, ruler, cutting mat
needle and thread
Pentagon Templates PDF
First, make a mini quilt sandwich. Layer the front and back fabrics with the two layers of batting in the middle. Pin or spray baste, then quilt the layers. You could do this by hand (I adore hand quilting!), or by machine (I wanted to actually finish this). Space the lines of quilting as close or as far as you'd like. I used my sewing machine foot as my guide.
Even with spray basting, the linen wanted to shift a little, so the lines of quilting aren't perfect. But it's not incredibly noticeable, so don't worry too much. However, with quilting like this, when you go to put the binding on, you will notice if the lines are off by a lot. Go for as straight as possible, or wobbly on purpose.
Square up the quilted mat. My finished mat is eight inches square, which is a nice size. Starting larger and trimming it down gives you some room for adjustment in trimming.
Cut and press your binding fabric, then sew it onto the back of the mug rug with the sewing machine. Wrap the folded edge to the front to hand stitch it in place with the tiny pompoms underneath.
Use perle cotton for the stitching, because it's cute that way. And here are the two really important things:
1) On the front the stitches should be right at the edge of the binding, while on the back they are on the quilted area very close to the binding.
2) MAKE SURE that you are stitching through the pompom trim with every stitch. This means keeping it nice and snug along the binding.
Baste 10 pentagons, then stitch them together using basic English paper piecing. (CraftyPod has some great video tutorials)
Iron the wreath, remove the papers, then place it on your mug rug to see where you want it. I went with the corner, but the center would look great too!
Use fabric glue to hold the wreath in place. You don't need much, as this is part basting and part extra security. I put a little line on each seam of the wreath. Stick it down on the mat and let it dry.
Stitch the wreath down with perle cotton and running stitch. The navy I used matches the backing fabric, so you hardly see these stitches on the back, but they have a nice contrast on the front.
You can add more stitching or other embellishment if you want, but this was just right for me. Only one thing was missing...
Even though I've titled this my Winter Wreath Mug Rug, it's so happy and bright that I might just use it all year round. Or at least until I get the urge to make another!
And can we all agree that tiny pompoms are just a delight? I'm trying my best to resist buying them in a dozen colors. I've had this particular trim for years and never used it. But now I know that I was saving it for this very good reason. They're my favorite part of about this project!
Because they're so happy, I highly encourage you to make your own mug rug. Or at least to get some pompoms in your life.
Want to make something with a Valentine flair? Check out my EPP Heart Mat!