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Heart Map for Crafters

One of the activities I use with my writing students is the heart map activity. You draw a heart on a sheet of paper and section it off as you write or draw in things that interest you and this "list" gives them ideas of things to write about.

This could also be a great idea for crafters. Think of it as a way to visualize things to include in embroidery or on a quilt. It could be used as a starting point for things to sketch or paint. You could use it to make a collage or to make different pieces of jewelry.

A heart map could even be used on its own as a piece of art. Sketch it out on a piece of muslin, then embroider it and frame it or make it into a small art quilt.

Use individual simple sketches to create your own rubber stamps or stencils.

Add things you like such as coffee or tea. Add tools of your crafty trade.


A Lovely Little Needlekeep

I'm putting together a little travel kit in a small plastic box for some traveling we are doing later this month and I wanted a simple little needle keep rather than a needle book to keep a few extra needles in that would also keep them corralled so they weren't just loose in the box where I would stab myself on them.
After stitching "NEEDLES", I was able to see how much space I wanted and stitched a border of 21 x 32 squares (1 square = over 2). I added a small piece of wool felt which I realize I didn't center, but that's okay. I normally would have chosen a natural colored linen, but I wanted to use something from my little scrap bag and this light blue was the size I needed. I believe it's 28ct, but I'm not sure since it was in the scrap bag.

For the back, I decided to stitch my design, blog, and Instagram name of Kind-n-Lovely Stitches so I could also use it as an identifier in my photos.

I sewed through the border stitches to stitch the front and back together and started with the top and the two top corners so that I could slide this tiny bit of Timtex in to add a bit of stiffness.

It should be the perfect size to hold 5 or 6 different needles which should be more than enough to suit my needs for a little bit of cross-stitch, some embroidery, and a bit of English paper piecing.

I'm really excited about how it turns out. If you make one, please post a picture on Instagram with the hashtag #kindnlovelystitches

Happy Stitching!

Define Your Color Palette

If you don't have a good selection of DMC or other floss at home, go to a craft store where there are plenty of colors. Choose 12 colors that are your colors. You might choose a rainbow of colors (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, pink), a selection of neutrals (black, white, gray, brown), a monochrome palette (baby blue to deep navy), or just an assortment of colors.

Keep these colors together and work with them. Is there a color you always avoid? (This yellow doesn't go with my other colors!) Switch it out. Maybe a color that you simply must include got left out.

Embroider a project using only these colors. Does one stick out and drive you crazy? Are there any you didn't use? Did you need a color you didn't choose in the beginning? (I love to stitch flowers and I have 6 greens, but no flower colors!) Adapt and change.

Go a step further and narrow these colors to 5. Work from only these colors for a few days. What works? What doesn't? What changes need to be made?

What other crafts you do? Can you find these 12 colors in yarn? In paint? In markers or colored pencils?

Knowing your favorite or most used colors can save you money since you can buy only those colors and know you will use them. Ever bought fabric that you got home with and the color just wouldn't work for anything? Wouldn't it be great to buy a supply and know that color will be used?

You might want to expand the colors to 20 if you need more colors to work with or, perhaps, you decide your just right grouping of colors is 8. Adjust and refine to make it work for you.

Spring Cross Stitch Bowlfillers

What is a bowlfiller? It is a cute little pillow or pincushion that you put in a dough bowl or basket. Usually you put several together. You might even add a doily and a floral pick or two to the basket to make a whole arrangement. You can change these by the month, the holiday, or the season.

There are so many small cross-stitch patterns that are perfect for these kinds of arrangements. And, you can even start with free patterns so all you need is some fabric to stitch on and some floss and you are good to go. Best of all, in order to finish them, you can simply add a backing fabric, sew the two pieces together with right sides facing and leave an opening before turning it right side out, stuffing, and sewing closed. It's so basic that even if you can only sew a straight line, you're good to go.

If you are just getting started, choose a short, round basket that's not too big. Add a doily or two. Do you have a couple of wooden spools you could wrap lace around and add? For a spring basket, maybe a few paper mache eggs either plain or painted robin's egg blue would be a nice touch. Add a couple of spring floral picks on either side to make a nice background. And, stitch a quick pattern so you have one finish right away. Add another or two during the season. Don't worry, you can add more next year.

Also, by starting with seasonal pieces before starting with monthly designs, there is less pressure to finish something every month and your basket will already have a piece or two in it for each month since you started with seasonal pieces that can be used for several months.

A few very quick to stitch freebies (Simply click on the name of each piece to go to the link.)

Row of Tulips by Tiny Modernist

Spring Bird by Tattered Stitches

Quaker Spring by The Stitcherhood

Pink Bunny by Le Comtesse & Le Point de Croix

Tulips with Bunny by The Snowflower Diaries

Spring Bird by Phebe and Jane

Welcome Spring Bunnies by SubRosa

Spring Rabbit from The Little Stitcher

There are also some free spring patterns that might take a little longer to stitch, but they are so cute they would be worth it. Why not plan to stitch one of these this year and two of the faster patterns for three adorable spring bowlfillers to start your collection.

Welcome Spring by Beth Twist of Heartstring Samplery

Spring Bunny Sewing Pocket by Terry Loewen

May Day Sampler by Brenda Gervais of With Thy Needle and Thread

Welcome Spring by Angela of Make Stuff--Be Happy

Spring Garden by Delphine Rouard of Jardin de Printemps

Rejoice by Paulette Stewart of Plum Street Samplers

Happy Easter by Liberty Needlework

Happy Easter Penny Rug by SubRosa

Petit Lapin by Ayako of Windy Willows

Alphabet with Hare by La-D-Da

Bloom by Lizzie Kate

As you can see, there are a lot of different free spring patterns. If you add in paid patterns, there are even more choices, but you could easily stitch only free designs and have more than enough to stitch for many years. Enjoy stitching!

Sweet Flower Bowlfillers

Bowlfillers are little pillows to put in a basket to look pretty. They also make great gifts for friends and these flower cross-stitch patterns can be left out year round making them the perfect way to get started with bowlfillers.

Blue Carnation by Sub Rosa

Basket of Flowers by Sub Rosa

Tiny Sampler by La-D-Da

Quaker Spot Sampler by Mary Corbet

Flower Vase by Hands Across the Sea

Valentine Flowers from Notforgotten Farm

Eliza's Pyn Pillow by With My Needle

Friendly Little Stitches

Do you enjoy making things for other people? Might I suggest some friendly little pillows or pincushions to keep on hand for gifts or make a list of ones you'd like to stitch for different people. Most of them take very little stitching time and it's easy to turn them into cute little pillows.

Make a matching pincushion, scissor fob, and needle book for a stitchy friend. For non-stitchy friends, a little pillow with a mug and some tea bags makes a simple little gift. (I'm partial to thrift store mugs myself. No need to spend a lot of money to encourage someone.) Or you might put two or three seasonal cushions together in a basket with a doily to give as a housewarming gift. There are so many possibilities!

Here are links to a few free cross-stitch patterns to stitch for friends. Simply click on the pattern name to be directed to the link.

A Token of Friendship by Notforgotten Farm

Keys to the Past by SubRosa

Locks and Keys by SubRosa

Sampler Bag by Samplers and Santas

Treasured Friend by Plain and Fancy Merchant

My Friend by Primitive Bettys

Flower Basket by Sampler Girl

Sampler Quote from Hands Across the Sea

Good Friends Nametag from Victoria Sampler

A Friend to Me by Gettysburg Homestead

Sister Stitcher by the Primitive Hare

Tomato Pincushions

 I love pincushions of all kinds, but tomatoes are just so classic. So, I was thrilled when Theresa Venette of Shakespeare's Peddler and Kittenstitcher on Flosstube accepted an article and project for tomato pincushions to go in the second edition of her Samplers Yesterday &Today Zine. If you haven't seen the Zine, check it out. I love the articles and history she gives on samplers and designers.
 Both issues have sampler patterns in them and a selection of other lovely patterns. She also includes a recipe and craft project in each one. If you love cross-stitch and samplers, you really should check it out.
The tutorial for making the tomato pincushions includes the pattern for stitching the "Pins" tag as well. To go directly to issue 2 of the Zine, click here. And no, I don't get paid for directing traffic her way, but I'd really like to see more people buying the Zine so she keeps producing more!

Heart Map for Crafters

One of the activities I use with my writing students is the heart map activity. You draw a heart on a sheet of paper and section it off a...