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yes, I make things, but no, I'm not a knitter


I'm home again from my trip to Seattle! I'll share a full trip recap next week, but this is just a quick check-in, as I'm still dragging a bit. I had a list of crafty places I hoped to visit, but when you're the only stitcher/sewist/maker/crafter in a group of four people, you might only get to stop at the yarn shop that you happened to walk by.

So Much Yarn in the Pike Place Market area of Seattle is a great little shop with lots of beautiful yarns, and I enjoyed my visit very much. But just because I craft, does not make me a knitter. This seems to surprise folks, one of whom is my brother.

As we walked through the store, he commented on the things I knit, and how much I must love the place. Although I've explained that I CAN knit (though I rarely do), he somehow sees knitting as the universal craft. Does he notice that I hold fabric and thread in my hands, rather than yarn and needles? I'm not sure what he thinks I've been knitting!

He's not the only one to make this mistake, however. When I try to explain what it is I do, many people use knitting as the go-to craft. I suppose it's one that people are more familiar with.

While we're on the topic of knitting and Seattle, I did get to see these knitted props from the Walkie Talkie Man music video whilst visiting the EMP (the exhibit closes next week). A crew of knitters made everything (including some instruments which weren't on display), then animators used them for some live-action and stop-motion animation. Awesome, right?

But with its embroidery and coconuts with faces, this Architecture in Helsinki music video is more my style. Crafts plus music are a good thing however they are made!

So here's my question: Do people ever expect that you do a particular craft when they hear that you make things?

preparing for travel crafting

travel project prep

Tomorrow morning I'm leaving for a short trip to Seattle. I'm leaving at a time of the morning when I'm not sure if there's even oxygen. And I'm far from ready. I haven't packed, I haven't finished all of the freelance work I wanted done before I go, I haven't run errands, and I haven't scheduled a single blog post.

But I have cut hexagons so that I can craft while I'm traveling. Priorities, right?

So this is just to say that I'll be away for about a week, and while I might post something while I'm gone, don't be surprised if this space stays a little quiet. When I'm back, we'll make something Eastery...I promise!

new pattern // teeny tiny tropics

Teeny Tiny Tropics Embroidery Pattern

The snow is finally almost gone in my yard. We've been able to leave the front door open some days. There's barely any green showing, but compared to a month ago, it feels like we've had a heat wave. Like these March days are a teeny tiny taste of the tropics.

Whether it's freezing or sweltering where you're stitching, my new pattern set is designed to help you feel like you're on vacation!

You can find it now in my shop, but I'd like to tell you a little more about this first. The patterns and colors were designed to complement the Aloha Girl fabric line from Moda. A customer asked if I could design some patterns that could be used in 1-inch hexagons along with these fabrics. What a great request!

The Teeny Tiny Tropics have a Hawaiian vibe to them, but they are generally tropical island in theme. There are some foods, creatures, and a few natural beauties too.

I asked for some help in getting these stitched, and my sample stitchers knocked my socks off! I can't thank them enough. Check out their amazing work:


A quilted sunglasses case? Perfect. Thanks, Kristan!


The words on this aren't part of the pattern set, but they are a brilliant addition from Nichole.


Stitched cards are a quick and easy way to send some embroidery and encouragement! Thank you, Bree!


How about a pastel tropical mug rug? This one from Cassidy just makes me smile.


And another mug rug that is a great example of how these fit within 1-inch hexagons. And Noemi added pompoms to the binding!

Many thanks too all my stitching friends.

Just as a reminder, now through Easter, all of the profits from my pattern sales are going towards building World Vision Caregiver Kits that will serve those suffering from Ebola. You can read more here.

And a quick update on the project! Right now your purchases have raised just about $800. Wow! And those gifts are being doubled by a very generous reader and her family. My goal is $1500, so with the matching gifts, we're there! But what if...what if we made it to $1500, and that amount gets matched? It could happen, and next week I'll have another way to make that happen.

Right now, I'm just so happy to be adding a new pattern to the Wild Olive Teeny Tinies collection!

guest post // a triangle dino from wendi gratz

roar finished 640 px

When she heard that I was planning a year of shapes, my friend Wendi told me about an idea she had for a stuffed toy that used triangles. I was very excited and I'm soooo happy to have Wendi of Shiny Happy World here with us today. Thank you, dear! Please welcome her!

Hi there! I'm Wendi from Shiny Happy World. As soon as Mollie announced that her shape this month was triangles, I knew I had just the right project to share with her.

I don't know if this little toy is a dinosaur or a dragon – I think it depends on the fabric. :-)

triangle penguin and chick 640 px

Several years ago I was playing around with simple shapes and I started to experiment with seeing how much I could simplify a design, and still have people see it as a specific animal. I turned a simple block made with four triangles into a penguin, a chick and a dinosaur/dragon. Over at Shiny Happy World today I'm showing people how to adapt the pattern a teeny bit to make a kangaroo.

with ribbon
in pocket

How many animals can you make out of this basic shape?

Step 1

Print the pattern page. Cut 5 squares for the ridges down his back, 3 triangles from the main body fabric, and one triangle from contrasting belly fabric.

Step 2

The ridges down his back are simple prairie points. There's no sewing involved – just folding.

01 prairie points 640 px

Fold a square in half from corner to corner to make a triangle.

Fold that triangle in half again to make a smaller triangle with all the raw edges on one side, and clean folded edges on the other two sides.

Repeat with the other squares to make five prairie points.

Step 3

02 stack points 640 px

Lay out one body-colored triangle and stack the prairie points along one edge. I like to nestle the folds together so they look like overlapping plates from both sides. The raw edges should be lined up with the raw edge of the triangle, and leave a little room at each end of the stack for your seam allowance.

Step 4

Lay another body-colored triangle over the first, right sides together, with the prairies points sandwiched between them. Sew them together from dot A to dot B.

03 sew first seam 640 px

Notice that you aren't sewing from edge to edge. You're actually sewing along the dotted line marked on the pattern piece. You can transfer marks to your fabric to indicate the corners of the inner, dotted triangle, but it's ok to just eyeball it as you sew.

When you open up the seam it already looks like a dinosaur!

04 looks like dino 640 px

Step 5

Sew the third body-colored triangle to the pair as shown. On this one you're going to leave an opening for turning and stuffing. Leave about 3 inches.

05 sew triangle 3 640 px

Remember not to sew all the way from edge to edge. Stop when you get to the previous line of stitching.

06 corner detail 640 px

Step 6

Press that seam open. This will give you nice clean edges to sew when you stitch that stuffing opening closed later.

07 press seam open 640 px

Step 7

Sew the belly-colored triangle to the set as shown in the photo.

08 add belly panel 640 px

Step 8

Lay the piece out as shown in the previous photo. Fold the right corner over so that you're sewing the flat top edge of the belly panel to the flat top edge of the middle body panel.

09 sew body 640 px

You just created a 3D dinosaur body out of a flat shape! If you hold up the corner you can peek inside and admire his nice back ridges.

10 peek inside 640 px

Step 9

Fold up that last flap and sew the last two edges.

Don't try to sew both edges with one continuous line of stitching. Sew one edge, backstitch and remove it from the machine. Line up your last edges and sew the last edge.

11 finish sewing 640 px

Step 10

Turn him right side out through the stuffing hole. Poke out the corners as nice as you can get them and add stuffing. Stuff all the corners first and then fill in the middle so you don't get floppy points.

Sew up the opening with ladder stitch.


Now try one with different fabrics. :-)

I made this fancy magenta dragon (she even talks fancy!) out of velvet and tissue lame. I do not recommend this for sane people (you have to use a press cloth to make the prairie points out of tissue lame and sewing velvet requires you to pin approximately every 1/8th inch) but the results are fun!

two dragons 640 px

beyond embroidery basics // sprats head shamrock

Sprats Head Stitch

I love that embroidery is something you can pick up and learn in a very short amount of time, and also something you will never master. There are so many stitches, and just when you think you've seen it all, you find a new stitch or a new way to use what you've already learned.

Yesterday I stitched my first "Sprat's Head" (sometimes also called Arrowhead Tack) stitch.

It's right up there for you to see, and it's not perfect. It was my first try after all! I also stitched it on felt, which might not have helped, but I had a plan. It involves triangles and green, and you'll see it start to take shape.

I've just learned this, but jump in with me and try Sprat's Head stitch for yourself! (If you're left handed, you'll want to reverse the direction of these.)

Sprats Head Stitch

The stitch makes a little triangle, so you need to sort of envision the triangle you want, or mark it on your fabric. Come up at the left base of what will be the triangle, and take a tiny horizontal stitch at the apex.

Sprats Head Stitch

Go down at the right of the base, and come back up on the left side, just to the right of that first stitch.

Sprats Head Stitch

Take another horizontal stitch just below the apex. Go down on the right side and back up on the left.

It's really easy to have these points be too close together, which will draw in the sides of your triangle. My first one had a lot of this. Be sure that you're staying right on the triangle "lines" and not going under the lines created by the floss.

Sprats Head Stitch

Again, go down at the right of the base, just to the left of the previous stitch down there, and come up on the left, to the right of the previous stitch.

Keep these points close together to have a more solid triangle. I haven't played with spacing out the stitches more. Hmm...that could be interesting.

Sprats Head Stitch

Keep going until the base is solid with stitches.

Sprats Head Stitch

You've got a nice little triangle now! Mine is more acute (skinny!) than most of the examples I found for this stitch. Do a search for Sprat's Head stitch and you'll see what I mean. But again, I had a plan. And it was a perfect way to practice this new stitch:

Sprats Head Stitch

Because by the time I reached my third Sprat's Head, I was really happy with the shape. All I had to do was add a mini stitch to be the stem of my shamrock!

You could make this a four-leaf clover, but I like the shamrock and its connection to the Holy Trinity. It might only be folklore that St. Patrick used the symbol, but it's still a beautiful way to look at it. Now I'm going to make something with my newly stitched shamrock! I'm thinking headband or maybe a necklace!

Oh, and something fun for today, Friday the 13th! All orders from my Etsy shop will receive a FREE DIY lucky charm, my Lucky Me embroidery pattern!

project // gold at the end of the rainbow pin

Gold at the End of the Rainbow Pin

May I start this little project with a confession? I planned this pin entirely because I wanted to use sequins again. In fact, last month when I was making a sequiny (sequinie?) garland, I knew that I needed to make a gold coin sequin something.

And who can resist putting felt strips into rainbow order? Thus, the "Gold at the End of the Rainbow Pin" was born.

This little pin (or brooch if you want to be fancy) is perfect for St. Patrick's Day, or really, any day. Because rainbows and sequins. So grab your supplies and let's make something kawaii-cute!

rainbow pin supplies

You will need:

A rainbow of felt (scraps are fine)
White felt (or another color for backing)
Gold sequins
Bar-style pinback
Fabric or craft glue
Black embroidery floss

The colors of felt I used for my rainbow are: Swan, Fern, Ochre, Orange, Strawberry, Lavender, and Purple, all from Benzie.

rainbow pieces

Cut a 1/4'' x 1-1/8'' strip of felt from each rainbow color. Cut a 1-1/2'' x 2'' piece of white felt.

These measurements don't need to be exact. Just be sure that each rainbow strip is the same, and that they fit on your white backing piece. You can adjust the size/shape as much as you like.

glue down the strips

Glue the strips to the backing in rainbow order, leaving a larger white area at the bottom. This is where the sequins go.

attach the sequins

Glue the sequins on so they overlap with the rainbow and each other. Watch out for glue that will try to come through the holes...you don't want that to goop up the front of the sequins!

stitch the face (you always need a face!)

After the glue has had a chance to dry, thread the needle with three strands of black embroidery floss. Stitch the face with knot stitches for eyes and a scallop stitch for the mouth. It's pretty easy to get it in the right place, because the bands of color divide the space for you!

glue the pin to the back

Glue the pin to the back. You should be able to cover up the stitches at the same time. Handy, right?

finished rainbow pin

After the glue is dry, your pin is ready to wear! There's a bit of green in there too, so no pinching on March 17th!

By the way, I considered skipping the face, and stitching the colors down with running stitch. I think that would look pretty awesome too, but the face was too important, right? Right.

kawaii rainbow pin for st. patrick's day

Bottom line: Rainbow Felt + Gold Sequins = Yes.

lovely triangles to pin

One time I told my mom that I was worried that I had an addictive personality, because when I get excited about something, I devote nearly all my time to that. She told me I was obsessive, which is different and not to worry about it. I obsessed about it for a while, but then the next thing came along and I obsessed about that.

The current obsession is triangles.

I decided that a Pinterest board was in order, so that you can enjoy my obsession too. Find all my triangle pins right over here. I've pinned quilts, bags, Becca's new phone case (above), and more. And of course, the board will only continue to grow!

Are you obsessed with any particular shapes right now? I can almost promise you that next month I'll have a new shape to be excited about!

guest post // abc book page & giveaway from do small things with love

O is for Owl felt book page pattern

A note from Mollie: I'm incredibly happy and blessed to have Nancy guest posting here today. Please welcome her and enjoy all she has to share!

Hello there Wild Olive Readers! I'm Nancy from www.dosmallthingswithlove.com and, like you, I am a proud, devoted and loyal reader here (isn't Mollie the best?). But, today Mollie has been gracious enough to hand the blog over to me so that I can share a little project that I have been working very very hard on: My Pretty ABC's Felt Alphabet Book.

You see, I have a pretty little 2 year old girl, and, well, she needed a pretty little alphabet book (of course). Like Mollie I love felt, little stitches and general cuteness, so I dove head-first into this project, deciding to draw up the patterns as I made the book. The project got a little bigger than I expected, but I loved making it, and my little 2 year old is in love with her new Pretty ABC book. Here are all the pages in the book.

My pretty ABC's-26 patterns for a girly felt alphabet book

After all that work I am thrilled that TODAY I am launching this pattern as an eBook (yes today)! And, because I am so excited about it, I'm offering it for only $5 this week (50%)! That's right, this week only. Go get it now!

But, more info on that later.

For now, I thought I'd share one of my favorite pages from the book--Letter O. Around here I know that O is for Olive, but in My Pretty ABC's, O is for Owl.

Here is the pattern for this page. Click the link below the image for a full version PDF of the pattern, ready to print.

Girl Alphabet Book O

PDF--O is for Owl Pattern

Once you have the template printed out on regular computer paper, you will need:
  • Wool Blend Felt--I get my felt HERE. You can choose any color combination!
  • 6x6 piece of felt for the base of the page.
  • Matching Embroidery Thread
  • Clear Tape
  • Sharp Scissors
First, cut out your felt pieces.

The easiest way I know to get a perfect cut when working with felt is to tape your template directly to the felt you are cutting. Simply cut out the shape on your paper template, then cut a piece of felt slightly larger than the shape you are cutting. Next, using clear tape, tape the paper directly to the felt. Finally, grab some sharp scissors and cut through the tape. This method is much easier and more accurate than using straight pins.

Once you have all of your pieces cut out, lay them out. Pay attention to where the pieces overlap. You will begin stitching from the bottom up, so remove the top pieces and begin by stitching the body down to the 6x6 page base.

O is for Owl--lay out the pieces

The only stitch I used while creating this page is a simple running stitch. I'm not going to go into the how-to of the running stitch because it is so simple...and I would feel silly giving a stitching tutorial on Mollie's blog ;).

I should add, if you'd like you can, of course, just glue down the pieces instead of stitching them. If you decide to do this I would recommend using Fabri-Tac, or another permanent fabric glue.

However, (and maybe I'm biased) I think stitching is a better option. Yes, it will take longer, but the whole point of this book is to create something beautiful that your little one will cherish for a long long time. Slow down, make it awesome and stitch.

O is for owl running stitch

This, of course, is just one page in the alphabet book. There are a couple different ways to bind a felt book and I go into how I bound this book here.

o is for owl in book

Like I said at the top of the post, I am launching the entire "My Pretty ABC's" Pattern today--and selling it for only $5 this week and this week only.

book cover 3d

For more details on the pattern My Pretty ABC's and a little bit about my sweet little 2 year old that inspired the project, make sure to head over to my blog and check it out.

And, last but not least, I am thrilled to be offering one reader a FREE PATTERN FOR THE ENTIRE BOOK AND THE FELT TO MAKE IT!

All felt is not equal. I like to use wool blend felt and feel that no one offers better colors and quality that Renae at BenzieDesign. I used her felt while creating my own book and plan to give one lucky reader the pattern for this felt alphabet book as well as $25 credit to BenzieDesign for the creation of your own book!

Enter below! To enter all you have to do is sign up for my newsletter. That's it! And, once you are signed up for my newsletter you will be the first to know about new patterns. My next project will be a BOY ALPHABET BOOK (my 3 year old boy has made me promise!)

Good Luck! Giveaway runs now through Wednesday at midnight--so enter now.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks again to Mollie and happy stitching!

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