Updating the Tutorial Links page

Apologies for leaving the blog unattended for so long … aside from a sudden burst of eventually writing and adding more tutorials to the blog, I’ve also been checking the various links on the Tutorial Links page and removing those that are no longer active links.  And in case you’re wondering, yes there are still more tutorials to come in the future, I’m just staggering them at the moment while I juggle general day living duties and also trying not to run out of tutorials too soon so there is nothing left to contribute! :)

I have to say it feels really disheartening that so many links are no longer active, and blogs themselves that have closed down.  I’m sorry to see some of my favourite tutorials now removed from public viewing, and am now kicking myself that I didn’t take more notice and take my own notes for future use.  All that expertise gone forever from the public domain.  And it makes me wonder what has happened in the past to make our fellow stitchers not want to participate in the online community anymore and remove the information.  Is it due to lack of comments and feedback?  Were they business blogs where the business has now been sold or folded along with the pages?  Have personal circumstances changed and they no longer have a stitching interest?

Just a little ponderance for myself for the evening while I’m culling the tutorial links list to what appears to be at least half the size it once was!  Very very sad, I think, when I realise the sheer volume of information that is no longer available … perhaps we all need to ensure we show our support of our fellow stitchers to help keep them motivated and keep the information alive?  It’s an interesting question, I think, and I truthfully don’t know the right answer!

 

Scissor Fob #3 (with whip-stitch edging)

This tutorial is the next in my list of the many ways you can finish a scissor fob. The whip-stitched edge is one of the most versatile ways to attach two stitched pieces of fabric together, and is the perfect stitch for finishing scissor fobs. The next tutorial will include a beaded edge and tassel … so watch this space for that one … and in the meantime I hope you find the below tutorial of use. As always if there is something that is unclear or you have any questions don’t hesitate to scream out!

Scissor Fob with whip-stitch edging

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You will need:

  • Stitching (identical size front and back)
  • Cording or ribbon for the hanger
  • Matching cotton floss for the whip-stitching
  • Your choice of filling (eg polyfil, teddy bear pellets, etc)

1. Firstly you need a back-stitched line of stitching outside your stitched pieces, both front and back. The stitching must be identical in size on both the pieces, so make sure you count very very carefully, or your sides won’t match when you whip-stitch the sides together. In most cases I stitch approx 2 stitches away from my main stitching (ie 4 threads away on linen and 2 squares away on aida fabric).

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2. Cut away the excess fabric from each piece, leaving approx 3/4 to 1cm seam allowance.

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3. At this point I realised I hadn’t yet made myself a piece of cord, so I nipped off to quickly put a piece of cord together … see the previous tutorial for making your own cord. Alternatively you can use a piece of ribbon with the ends knotted together in the same way as the cord below.

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4. Now we need to turn over the seam allowance of your stitched pieces. First of all I fold over the corners right at the hole of the corner stitches of the back-stitched line.

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Then fold over the seam itself along the back-stitched line of stitches.

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Continue all the way around until all the edges are folded over. You may prefer to hold down the seams with a pin – if you do this, though, don’t forget to pin it from the right side so you don’t accidentally stitch your pins on the inside of the fob!

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5. Now we start to back-stitch around the fob and stitch the front and back pieces together. I usually use 2 strands of cotton floss for my edges. Note that I have used a contrasting thread here so that the stitches show up more clearly – you can choose to do this if you want to have a contrast of the threads, but normally I prefer to use a complimentary thread colour to the fob, and usually use the same colour for the back-stitched seam lines and for the whip-stitching.

Start by coming up with your needle in the corner hole of one of the back-stitched lines.  I usually cheat and use a small knot to anchor my thread in the seam allowance.

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Then take your needle under one of the back-stitches – start with the first stitch on each side.

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And continue to take it under the stitch that is directly opposite on the other piece of fabric (once again the first stitch on that side of the fabric).

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Then come back to the first piece of fabric, and take your needle under the next stitch and once again underneath the stitch directly opposite.

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You continue this way until you come to a point where you want to attach your fob hanger. In this case I could have made my fob to hang in a diamond shape, or in a square shape … I ended up deciding on the square shape this time round.

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To do this I continued whip-stitching the seam until I almost came to the half-way point across one of the sides – then I inserted the knot of the cord into the seam.

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Continue to whip-stitch through each side of stitches, but for the next two stitches you’ll need to pass your needle through the centre of the cord as you stitch – this will ensure that your cord doesn’t come free and helps to cement it neatly in place.

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6. Continue to whip-stitch all the way around 3 of the sides, then leave a small opening on the 4th side so you can insert the filling of your choice. In my case I’ve used my favourite choice, teddy bear pellets.  (You will see that I’ve now started using the ‘proper’ coloured thread now to complete the finishing.)

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Once you have filled to your desired level, continue to finish off the remaining stitches.

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Finish off your thread at the end, and voila, your fob is all finished!!

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I hope you enjoyed the latest tutorial – thanks again for your previous comments on the other tutorials, it helps the motivation to keep doing more! :)

Scissor Fob #2 (with corded edging)

This time round the scissor fob I’ve chosen is a simple pillow with a corded edging.  I think it is better to use a home-made cord for this, as it is softer to manipulate, but you can always try to use purchased cord if the home-made cord intimidates you too much!

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Materials needed:

  • Your chosen stitched piece, including a front and back
  • Polyfil stuffing or other stuffing of your choice (eg teddy bear pellets or crushed walnut shells)
  • DMC pearl cotton or cotton floss for cording
  • DMC cotton floss for attaching the cord
  • Sewing needle (either a sharp or tapestry needle)
  • Pins and scissors

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1.  First of you you need to cut the front piece of your stitching into the desired size.  I find the easiest way is to count the number of threads when using linen or the number of holes when using aida.  In this case I followed the design’s suggestion and counted out 25 threads from the stitching, then I pulled out the next thread – this makes a clean line for you to cut the excess fabric away.  Then once all 4 sides of the front piece have been cut, place it face down onto the back piece, with right sides of the stitching facing each other, and cut out the back to be the same size (don’t forget to make sure the back piece is centred correctly before starting to cut – I usually do this by holding the two pieces up together in front of a light source such as a bright window).  Pin the two pieces together.

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2.  Sew a seam around the edges, but leave an open gap at the bottom seam to allow you to turn it inside out and add the stuffing.  I usually leave one long tail of the sewing thread that I use for sewing up the opening at the end.

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3.  Cut away the corners, but don’t cut too close to the stitching, otherwise it may unravel when you turn the piece inside out.  Then trim back the side seams a little so they aren’t as bulky when turned inside out.

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4.  Turn your stitching inside out.  You may want to ease the corners with a chopstick or something similar for a crisper ‘point’ at the corners – be careful, though, so you don’t make holes in the corners (yes, that’s the voice of experience talking from my first attempt years ago!).

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5.  Now it’s time to stuff with your choice of stuffing material.  In this case I’ve chosen Polyfil, and once again I use a chopstick to ease some of the stuffing gently into the corners.  The amount of filling you use is down to personal preference – I prefer mine not to be over-stuffed, but firm enough to feel ‘full’.

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6.  Next you close up the opening in the bottom seam.  My preference is to use a ladder stitch, however you can use a whip-stitch if that is easier for you.  To do a ladder stitch you just work your way alternatively up each side of the seam, taking a few threads in your needle for each stitch – this looks like the rungs of a ladder when the stitches are loose, and when you pull them tight they close up the seam very cleanly.

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7.  Now it’s time to make your cording.  To do this you’ll need to have quite long pieces of thread, and I used 3 strands of pearl cotton that was supplied with my scissor fob kit.  Details of how to make cording yourself can be found in Scissor Fob #1 Tutorial.

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8.  Firstly you need to fold your cording in half and place a knot at approx 3 1/2″ to 4″ from the end.  Of course you may prefer a longer hanger, so feel free to make it as long as you want, just as long as you have enough cord to go around the edges :)

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9.  When we start to attach the cording around the edge of the scissor fob ‘pillow’, I find it easiest to place a pin through the centre of the cord knot and take it down into the pillow at the centre of the top seam.  From there I take the cord along the top seam and add two more pins to hold the cord in place temporarily.  I start off my thread by poking my needle through the top of the pillow, through the stuffing; pull the needle so the thread just disappears from view under the fabric, then add a few little catch stitches at the back of the knot (because I’m using black thread you can’t see these stitches, if you’re using another colour where the stitching thread shows up, you may want to do your catch stitches underneath the knot out of sight).

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Bring your needle to one side of the cord and take a small stitch under the seam – I try to put my needle in about 1 thread away from the seam, and come up approx 1 thread away from the seam on the other side, so it’s less likely to be seen.  (I pulled my knot up out of the way to show you the stitches, which pulled my loose tail out, so you need to be careful if you do this yourself!)

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Now you take your needle and thread over the top of the cording to the right-hand side once again, and this time put your needle through the fabric just in front of the next twist in the cord.  You should use the cord as your guideline here for the length of your stitches – your top thread should follow the ‘furrows’ in the cording and sit neatly in the shape of the cord.

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Unfortunately it’s quite difficult to see this with the black thread, so I have use another piece of cord with a contrasting thread as an example so you can see more clearly what I mean …

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My cord is a dark colour, so I prefer to use the above method to attach my cording – sometimes, though, if you’ve used a variegated thread, or if your cording is a lighter colour, you may prefer to attach the cord with a small stitch underneath the cord attaching it to the fabric.  To do it this way you just need to take your needle through the cord at the bottom the cord:

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Then take your needle through the fabric seam underneath the cord, bringing the needle through on a diagonal … then continue the same way until the cord is attached.

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Now after that little cording detour, it’s back to finishing off the scissor fob …

At this point you can remove the pins once your stitching is well underway.  Continue stitching the cord around the edge, stopping at the centre of the bottom seam.

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Now go back up to the top of the cord and do the remaining side the exact same way, and finish off your thread by taking a couple of small stitches into the cord.  Once again I ‘bury my thread’ by taking my needle into the pillow and coming up a wee way away and cutting off the thread flush with the pillow fabric … then you just give your pillow a quick squeeze and the end of the tail disappears.

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Lucky last, I pop a quick knot at the base of the pillow, and the scissor fob is finished :)  If you find your cording is too long, just make another knot at your desired length of each piece of cord, and cut off any extra length not required.

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10.  All that is left is to attach your fob to your chosen pair of scissors!

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I hope you have found the tutorial useful – if you happen to use any of the information I’d love to see your projects where you have used them :)

Kindest regards,

Scissor Fob Tutorial #1

Note, this post is the property of myself – please DO NOT re-blog any of the content without express written permission by this blog owner (Anne), thanks.

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This is the first of a number of upcoming Scissor Fob tutorials … and is the type of finishing used by The Drawn Thread freebie designs and similar to Mill Hill treasure ornament series.  The finish is a diamond shape, which I think is really attractive for a scissor fob.  This one in my tutorial is a bit large for a scissor fob, in my opinion, but the finishing is the same irrespective of the design size you choose :)  If you are interested, this is Pumpkin Keeper freebie by The Drawn Thread.

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Materials needed:

  • Stitched project – this needs to be a square design, preferably stitched in a diamond shape
  • DMC thread or sewing machine thread to match the stitching fabric (and contrasting sewing machine thread for basting, if desired)
  • Stuffing (your preferred choice, can be Polyfil, crushed walnut shells, or teddy bear pellets, for example)
  • DMC for cording, or ready-made cord
  • Pencil or cording drill

1.  Ensure you have equal sides on your stitching – the easiest way to do this is to count the number of squares away from each of your piece if stitched on aida, or count a specified number of threads away from each side when stitching on linen.  In this case I followed the Drawn Thread instructions, which was to count out 24 threads away from the stitched area and cut off the fabric edges.  I find the easiest way to do this is to count out your designated number of threads then remove the next thread, ie pull it all the way out – this leaves a clean channel for cutting a straight line following the weave of the linen, as you can see in the photo below.

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2.  Once you have cut away your edges and have a nice square piece of fabric, fold your stitching in half across the centre of the design, with the right side of the stitching facing each other.  Pin the edges together, and stitch a seam allowance at each of the short edges.  As it is hard to see my thread on the fabric, I have highlighted with red stitching where the seam line is below.

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I usually prefer top snip the corners slightly to make them easier to make ‘points’ once they’re turned the right-side-out.  If you do this, make sure you don’t snip them too close to the seam line, or it will unravel, and you don’t want that!

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3.  Now turn your stitched piece inside out, and put out the corners – sometimes I use a pointed chopstick to help get a nice point in the corner, but this needs to be done gently so you don’t poke a hole in the fabric!

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4.  Next we turn over the seam allowance on the top raw edges.  I prefer to give the seam a quick iron to make it sit flat.  You can just pin the seam allowance down around the top, or do as I do which is to baste it down using a contrasting sewing machine thread.

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5.  Next bring the two seams together to meet in the centre, and your stitching is in a diamond shape.  I usually pop a couple of pins in temporarily to hold the seams in place.  Turn your piece over to work out which is the top of your stitching, and where the cord will eventually be attached.  In this tutorial, because the fob is so big I’ve decided to just have a cord hanger at the top without any tassel or embellishments at the bottom – another tutorial will cover the option of adding tassels to your fob later.

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6.  Next it’s time to make your cord – obviously if you have purchased ready-made cord you can omit this step, but ensure your purchased cord is quite narrow so you can knot the ends easily.  I made my cord out of DMC cotton floss, and because of the size of the fob I opted to use 4 strands of DMC for my cord as I wanted it to be a bit thicker (my preference is usually 3 strands of either DMC or pearl cotton).  Sometimes it’s trial and error as to how thick the cord will turn out.  It is generally much easier to have another person assist you in making cord, but as I’m on my own I have to improvise with whatever is handy!  I apologise in advance for the poor photos in this section, I will do another tutorial soon to show the steps more clearly …

The first thing to do is to knot each end of the group of threads together.

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Next you need to rope in an assistance to help out by holding one end of the threads tightly, or do what I do by finding something you can attach the other end to … in my case I have a portable clothes rack that I used, by snapping a metal ring over the rail and hooking the ring through the middle of the threads at the knot end.  Alternatively you could tie the end around a door handle or something similar.

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If you have a cord drill, that’s perfect, otherwise you can make do by using a simple pencil to wind the thread.  Take your pencil and insert it through the middle of the remaining end of the thread (at the knotted end), and walk back until your thread is nice and straight.  Then start turning your pencil – it doesn’t matter in which direction you turn your pencil, as long as you continue to turn it the same way ;)  I prefer to use a cord drill as it’s so much quicker, so that’s how I finished my cord off this time round.

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You need to keep turning your pencil/cord drill until your threads are very taut.  If you slacken off your tension a little bit and your thread starts to ‘kink’ and turn on itself it’s generally twisted enough.  I let go of the tension a little bit here so I can hopefully show you what I mean about the ‘kinking’ of the thread.

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This next part is very tricky to photograph as I needed both hands …  Once your thread is twisted enough, carefully hold the middle of your twisted thread with one hand, then using your other hand bring the two knotted ends together.

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I usually use a self-made weight that I hang in the middle, but forgot to use it this time!  I’ll show that method another time, as it’s a really quick way to get the threads twisting onto themselves!  In this case, however, I just used my left hand (my right hand was still holding the two ends together) to slide up the thread about an inch, and using my thumb and forefinger gave the threads a gentle twist.  You continue to do that by working up the thread and helping the threads twice nicely onto themselves.  Eventually you end up with a beautifully twisted cord.  Then you finish off by knotting the two loose ends together so it doesn’t unravel.  And voilà your cord is finished!! :D

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7.  Decide how long you want your cord to be – generally 3 1/2 to 4 inches is about the right length, but you may prefer to have your hanger longer than that – it’s all personal preference!  In this case I’d made my cord quite short so I could do the tutorial easier for you.  Knot the two loose ends together at your desired length.

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8.  Now it’s time to pick up your stitching once again, and we need to start stitching up the remaining seam.  My preference is to close it up using a ladder stitch, however you can use a whip-stitch if that is easier for you.  Start at the bottom of the fob, away from where the cord will be inserted.  To do a ladder stitch you just work your way alternatively up each side of the seam, taking a few threads in your needle for each stitch – this looks like the rungs of a ladder when the stitches are loose, and when you pull them tight they close up the seam very cleanly.  Keep stitching up the seam until approx 1″ away from the end.

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9.  At this point you insert your chosen stuffing.  I have opted to use teddy bear pellets for mine, as I really like the extra weight it gives the fob, especially for smaller fobs (in hindsight I probably should have used Polyfil for one this big!!).  When I stuff with pellets I use a little Tupperware funnel that I find really useful for this job – alternatively you can roll a piece of stiff paper into a funnel instead!

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10.  Now we’re on the homeward stretch, and it’s time to add the cord and close up the seam!  Take your cord, and place the knot inside the seam opening, then continue stitching up the opening to the top.  Sometimes I will take my thread through the cord at the top to stop it from moving around, but it wasn’t needed for my fob this time.  You can now remove all your basting stitches.

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And that’s it, your fob is all finished and ready to adorn your chosen pair of scissors!!

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As always, please feel free to leave comments and let me know if you have any questions.  It’s always good to know if you find the tutorials useful, or if there is something you would like to see more of, so the comments are always appreciated!

Kindest regards,

Scissor Fobs Galore!

There are numerous ways to make up a stitched scissor fob, so over the next while I’m going to show a few different techniques to put fobs together.  Some will use cording for the ‘hanger’ while others will use ribbon, some will use stuffing while others will be flat, and some will be large while others will be tiny, some have side seams while others have seams down the back … hopefully you will enjoy the next few months while I try out some new finishing methods and share the results with you.

I also attempted to make a cord tutorial yesterday, which wasn’t greatly successful as I was trying to do it on my own … you know how difficult it can be to make cording itself with just one pair of hands, well adding the juggling of a camera at the same time gave it an entirely new challenge!  I’ll be visiting my parents over the next couple of weeks for a home visit, so I’ll try to rope my Mum into assisting me getting a clearer tutorial put together.

In the meantime I will shortly upload the first fob tutorial of the series – please feel free to ask questions if my instructions don’t make sense, or leave feedback if there is a particular type of finish you would like to see published.

Kindest wishes,

Back to the blog’s grass roots

I decided that Blogger was bad for my blood pressure when trying to upload photos, so back home I’ve returned to WordPress which I find cleaner and easier for posting … and the cuss words are a lot less than when trying to post in Blogger!

As part of the move back ‘home’ again, I have given the blog an updated facelift with a new header and background.  While it doesn’t have the diversity of choices that Blogger has (the main thing it has going for it), I think the new look will satisfy for the interim.

I’ve also been through and tidied up the Inspirations page – unfortunately many of our most inspiring stitchers have closed their stitching albums down or were hosted on Webshots which closed itself down … which means most of the links no longer worked.  I’ve deleted all the old links, and added a couple more that I thought would be of interest.  Those links are:

I’ve had a few tutorials in semi-complete form for almost a year now, but life got in the way over the last 12 months, what with some crazy working hours and some serious health issues with my Dad (and myself).  In November my office will be moving back closer to home again which will give me much more free time back once again, and hopefully that also means time for blogging once again, something I’ve missed doing.

In the meantime, if there are any tutorials you’d like to see prepared and published on the blog, please leave a comment and I’ll see what I can do to arrange one for you.

Kind regards,