Project Idea: Stitched Button Needleminders

I love the little laser-cut buttons from Katrinkles in our Water Lilies box, don't you? I'm planning to use them to finish off a biscornu or two in the future, but I couldn't wait to do something with them, so I decided to make up a few little needleminders with them for this week's project. 

These buttons can be decorated in all sorts of ways - for mine, I picked out a few of my favorite stitches and some threads in our Water Lilies box and started stitching.

For minder 1, I used the two Valdani cotton threads (Sweet Violets and Nantucket Rose) and satin stitched around the edge of the button (2 strands of Nantucket Rose) and radiating out from the center of the botton (2 strands of Sweet Violets). 

For minder 2, I used 4 strands of Forget-Me-Nots (Thread Gatherer) to stitch a spider web around the top of the button. I love how this stitch allows the ombre variegation of the thread to shine!

Turning these stitched buttons into needleminders is super-simple - you just need the right glue and some tiny rare earth magnets. I like to use E6000 glue - it sticks to just about everything, and since it is a thick gel, I didn't have any trouble with it leeching through to the front of the buttons. You could certainly cover the back with felt before you glue on your magnet if you'd like, but I just glued mine on directly to the back of the buttons, right to the wood and thread. Let the glue set for at least a few hours (or, even better, overnight), and your needleminder is all ready to use!

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Finish It Friday: Needleroll

Finish It Friday is a new series here on the StitchyBox blog - every month we will be taking a look at a different finishing technique, recommending what types of charts will work best for it, and passing on any tips or hints we have to help you put the finishing touches on your projects.

Snowflake Needleroll

Original Snowflake Hornbook design

Original Snowflake Hornbook design

For our first Finish It Friday post, I thought I'd try out a finishing style I've never used before - a needleroll. A needleroll is basically a small pin cushion, and is a great finishing option for a small band-type sampler or other rectangular project, like the Snowflake Hornbook chart I used for our sample. 

Stitching all finished, and threads pulled out in preparation for hemstitching and tying together.

Stitching all finished, and threads pulled out in preparation for hemstitching and tying together.

Project Materials:

Chart: Snowflake Hornbook by Mani di Donna (from Just CrossStitch February 2016, page 37) (shown above)

Fabric: 40 count Helix linen (Picture This Plus)

Threads: OOAK purple silk (Gloriana's), Sullivan's 6-strand cotton floss #45483 (corresponds to DMC #168) - both found in our Winter Queen box.

Finishing Notes:

To construct my needleroll, I followed a tutorial on the Stitchin' & Life in a Small Town blog, and used Mary Corbet's Hem Stitching instructions, since that was not included in the main needleroll tutorial. While the photos in the tutorial did not load for me, I found the instructions clear enough that I could follow along without the photos. While researching this post, I also found a fabulous tutorial (complete with photos!) on the Focus on Finishing blog, available here. I don't see any differences in technique between the two tutorials, and the FoF is full of photos, so while it was not what I used, I'd recommend you use it to make your first needleroll.

Working the hemstitch - I found it easier to change over to a sharp needle for this, since I needed to catch the bit of the folded-over fabric in my stitches.

Working the hemstitch - I found it easier to change over to a sharp needle for this, since I needed to catch the bit of the folded-over fabric in my stitches.

I wanted to stick with items found in our Winter Queen box for this project, so rather than using ribbon to tie the ends of my needleroll shut, I made a twisted cord out of 2 strands of the each of the threads I used to stitch the design (so, 4 strands total). Adding that touch of purple to the ends of the roll helps prevent it from looking washed out, as the Sullivans and my fabric are both very light in color.

If you are using stuffing for fill your needleroll, I recommend stuffing it as full as possbile, so you have the nice tube shape when you are finished. Use a chopstick or something similar to really jam it in there! If you prefer, you could certainly use crushed walnut shells instead and give your needleroll a bit more heft.

Finishing Method Rating:

Versatility - 4/5: While band-type samplers are the most obvious choice for needleroll finishing, you really could finish just about any small, rectangular chart using this method. You could easily add a hanger to the top before tying it closed to turn this into an ornament.

Given that you need to pull out threads from your fabric above and below your stitched project, I'm not sure how well this would work on Aida. (If you've finished a needleroll using Aida, tell us about it in the comment section below!)

Ease-of-Construction - 4/5: I'm giving this one a 4/5 because I was able to put together a decent-looking needleroll on my first attempt without having to do any ripping out of stitches or sitting in front of my project in a panic because I didn't understand what to do next. Pulling out the linen threads was a bit fiddly, however, so I can't give it a perfect 5 out of 5.

Appearance - 5/5: What can I say, I think this thing is adorable!

Would I do this again? Yes! This method is relatively easy and quick to execute, and I love the result. 

Now it's your turn - have you tried your hand at a needleroll? Tell us about your experience, and any tips or hints you may have! I'd also love to know what finishing methods you'd like to see in future Finish It Friday posts, so leave a comment below and let us know. Happy Stitching!

Project Idea: Motif Bags

I've recently been sucked into the world of craft swaps, and I'm always looking for a little extra something to send along with whatever project is specified in the swap. Buying extras is an option, but being able to whip up a quick little something by hand is always better in my mind. When we decided in include the little burlap sweet bags in our Camping at Midnight box, I knew they'd be a great base for such a little gift.

Small projects like this are also a great way to use up left-over bits of thread and those little pieces of fabric that, if you are like me, you have a hard time throwing away.

To start, you'll need:

  • A small burlap or plain fabric bag - I like ones with drawstrings
  • A scrap of stitching fabric - our model uses the 32 count Midnight Tryst Opal linen from Handdyed Fabrics by Stephanie from the Camping at Midnight box
  • Floss - our model used less than a yard of Classic Colorworks' Toasted Marshmellow from the Camping at Midnight box
  • Iron-on interfacing - I used mid-weight, since it is what I already have on hand, but I think just about any weight would work.
  • (Optional) sewing thread that matches your fabric, if you'd like the stitches sewing the motif onto the bag to be invisible. Since the burlap has a rustic quality to it, I wanted my stitches to show so I used more Toasted Marshmellow.
  • A motif chart - our model uses one of the charts in Summer House Stitche Workes' Postcards From the Heart Series. You could also use a piece of a larger chart, or design a little something yourself!

After you stitch your design, cut a piece of the iron-on interfacing that is one inch wider and one inch longer than your stitched design. (For example, if your stitched piece is 1.5 inches by 2 inches, cut a piece of interfacing 2.5 by 3 inches big.) Center the interfacing onto the back of your stitching and iron down. 

Next you are going to trim your motif into it's final shape. For my bag, I wanted something on the rustic side, so after I trimmed the outer sections to 4 threads from the stitching, I made is roughly oval-shaped. If you'd like something a little more "finished"-looking, move out 4 fabric threads from your stitching and use nun stitch to outline it before you start trimming. 

To stitch your motif to the bag, use a simple running stitch. The interfacing will give you something to stitch into to even if you are very near the edge of your stitching fabric and it starts to fray.

Now fill your bag with little goodies and send it on it's way!

We'd love to see what you are stitching up with your StitchyBox goodies! If you are posting them to social media, please include the hashtag #stitchybox, or even better, leave us a comment with a link to your project below. Happy Stitching!