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project // rainbow-stitched cuff bracelet

Rainbow-Stitched DMC Cuff Bracelet

When DMC released their stitchable cuff bracelets not too long ago, I was excited to try them. I don't wear cuffs very often, but you know...this is just too fun, right? I mean, who can resist embroidered jewelry?

These faux-leather cuffs come pre-punched and ready to stitch. They come in four colors (black, white, pink, and blue) and they have two snaps. Technically, those snaps make the size adjustable, though I think it's really intended to be one-size using both snaps.

Rainbow-Stitched DMC Cuff Bracelet

The sample photos and other patterns I've seen for these cuffs show them with cross stitch. But I wanted to see how I might use the bracelets with simple embroidery. And what could be simpler than stripes of back stitch? But not just any stripes...rainbow stripes!

DMC sent me one of each color to try, and I went with black to show off my nearly neon rainbow palette. It feels a bit like a video game to me, and definitely like my childhood.

Rainbow-Stitched DMC Cuff Bracelet

To make a rainbow cuff bracelet, you will need a DMC Stitchable Cuff and 10 embroidery floss colors (There are ten long rows of holes). I used DMC 350, 3340, 741, 743, 3819, 993, 806, 156, 3607, and 3832.

For some rainbow inspiration, check out my collection of rainbow floss palettes. You'll need to add a few extra colors in there, but they'll get you started!

Rainbow-Stitched DMC Cuff Bracelet

For each color, stitch a line of back stitch, working through the pre-punched holes.

One of the things I love about this is that it doesn't require much thought as you work. It's just straight lines! Mind you, I did stitch half a row before realizing that it was the wrong color. Oops! Just pay attention that you have the colors in rainbow order.

Rainbow-Stitched DMC Cuff Bracelet

I'm not opposed to knots on the back of embroidery, but in this case, I didn't trust them to not pop through the holes in the bracelet. To start each line I held a tail on the back and stitched over the tail to secure it and to end each line, I wove the thread through the back of the stitches.

Rainbow-Stitched DMC Cuff Bracelet
Rainbow-Stitched DMC Cuff Bracelet

You can stitch this entire bracelet in an afternoon or evening (maybe two), and I'm quite sure you'll find it to be super relaxing. I already have plans for my next cuff!

Many thanks to DMC for sending me these to try, and for making such fun products and great floss!

how to frame embroidery with lacing

Framing Embroidery in an IKEA Frame

A few years ago I showed how you can easily frame embroidery in an IKEA picture frame. Today I'm going to show you almost the exact same thing, but using a different technique for getting the embroidery stretched and held taut. In fact, this lacing method is more traditional, but I'm often slow to conform.

That might be a little sad and silly, because in this case, after just one go at it I'm extremely pleased and most likely hooked. I'll explain why later.

I decided to try this method out on a whim, hoping that it would hold my stitching nicely. Plus I like to learn different ways of doing the same thing. When I started trying it out, I didn't immediately take any photos, and then when I was nearly halfway through, I realized I should share this process.

Bear in mind that this is my first time doing this. If you want more information or other tutorials for comparison, you'll find them with a quick online search.

So let's dive in and we'll walk through the steps that aren't in the photos. I'm using an inexpensive IKEA frame. This one is 8.5 x 11 inches. But this will work with most frames.

Step 1

Remove the back of the frame as well as the clear plastic. Lay the clear plastic on the back of your embroidery (it should be in a state that's ready to frame...no big wrinkles!).

It's best to have at least an inch of extra fabric that will wrap around to the back of the plastic, so plan accordingly when you're starting your embroidery and cutting your fabric. The extra fabric doesn't have to be trimmed to perfection, but semi-even is helpful.

If your frame has glass instead of plastic (because you have a nicer frame than I do!), you should probably cut a piece of strong cardboard or mat board to replace it. You can try using the glass, but do be careful!

Framing Embroidery in an IKEA Frame

Step 2

Thread a needle with a long piece of perle cotton. Mine was about a yard and a half long and I used size 12, but size 8 or even size 5 should work (maybe even better). Tie a large knot in the other end.

Starting on one of the long sides, wrap the fabric around the plastic and bring the needle up through the fabric. Be sure to come through at least 1/2in from the edge at around the center. This will hold the embroidery evenly and prevent the lacing stitches from pulling the fabric apart.

Cross over to the opposite side and bring the needle through the fabric from bottom to top. Work this way from side to side, pulling the fabric tight as you go.

Once you've worked from the center to one end, start at the center again and work toward the other end. Secure the end of each lacing thread with a large knot, keeping the lacing taut.

I found that it was best to have each lacing stitch be about 1/2in to 3/4in apart. Any wider than that and it starts to pull funny. Also, take a peek at the front every so often to make sure things are staying straight.

Framing Embroidery in an IKEA Frame

Step 3

Fold the two ends in and repeat the same lacing process. Start at the center and work toward the edges.

Stitch through both layers where those extra folds are, and try to keep them as tidy as possible.

Also, when you're working with plastic or cardboard that has some flex to it, it's easy to end up pulling the lacing a little tighter than you need to. This will cause the board to curve and pull toward the back. If it's only a little, it will work out and just stretch your embroidery to a good tightness. If there's a huge flex, you should redo the lacing.

Framing Embroidery in an IKEA Frame

Step 4

Place the laced embroidery in the back of the frame. There won't be any glass covering the embroidery, but that's okay.

Most frames don't have enough thickness to accommodate the glass or plastic, the embroidery, and the backing. Or if they do, the embroidery ends up pressed up tight against the glass, which doesn't look great and isn't good for your embroidery. If you want your embroidery to be covered with glass, check with a professional framer.

In this case, we're framing it, not preserving it.

Framing Embroidery in an IKEA Frame

Step 5

Set the frame backing in place (make sure it's going in the right direction!) and tuck in any fabric bits that might be showing. Secure it with the little tabs, and admire your freshly framed embroidery!

Framing Embroidery in an IKEA Frame

Doesn't it look so nice in a frame like this? I love framing my stitching in an embroidery hoop, but it's good to have options, especially for square or rectangular embroideries.

My original post showing how to frame embroidery in an IKEA frame used tape to hold the fabric. It was fast and easy, and once it's all in the frame, it doesn't go anywhere. But it doesn't pull the embroidery as taut as this does. And really, lacing doesn't take all that long.

I love that frames like this come in different colors/styles and are inexpensive, often no different than the price of a cheap hoop. But they give the embroidery a finished look that is often nicer than a hoop finish. Plus, the back is totally covered so you save time on that part!

At Home in This Life

Now, about this embroidery you see! You get an early peek at a pattern that I designed for Jerusalem Greer. Her new book, At Home in This Life, is coming out this spring and my pattern is a free gift for anyone who pre-orders! Check out her site for more info on that and then watch for another pattern I'm collaborating on with Jerusalem.

project // pi day felt pie pin

3.14 Pi Day Felt Pin DIY

I love pie. I have a so-so relationship with pi, because math. But if pi day is March 14 (3.14) and that means pie, then I'm all for it. So I made a kawaii pi pie pin. And you can too!

3.14 Pi Day Felt Pin DIY
3.14 Pi Day Felt Pin DIY

I'm a little late in posting a Pi Day project, but I don't want to skip sharing this one year and risk forgetting it next year. Right? Plus, you don't have to make this with the symbol for pi on the top. Change that to a heart or some little vents in the crust, or any other design you like. It's fast and easy and a great way to show your love of pie, pi, or both!

You will need:
Tan felt (for crust)
Colored felt (for filling...choose your favorite flavor!)
Freezer paper
Pinking or scallop shears (optional)
Embroidery floss
Craft or fabric glue
Sew-on pin back

Pi Day Pin Pattern PDF

3.14 Pi Day Felt Pin DIY

Trace the pattern pieces onto the freezer paper. Iron the crust pieces onto the tan felt and the filling piece onto the colored felt.

Note that on the pattern page there are two versions of the bottom crust, depending on what kind of scissors you're using. If you're using pinking or scallop shears it's helpful to cut the crust piece right on the line before ironing it to the felt.

3.14 Pi Day Felt Pin DIY
3.14 Pi Day Felt Pin DIY
3.14 Pi Day Felt Pin DIY

Cut out the three pieces. Cut around the filling and top crust with regular scissors. If you're using pinking or scallop shears, cut around the outside of the pattern piece. Carefully cut out the pi symbol from the top crust.

If the idea of cutting out that pi symbol terrifies you, first, don't worry. It's not so difficult. If you still don't believe me, consider embroidering the symbol instead!

3.14 Pi Day Felt Pin DIY

Embroider the face on the top crust with three strands of black embroidery floss.

3.14 Pi Day Felt Pin DIY
3.14 Pi Day Felt Pin DIY

Run a small line of glue around the cut out edge of the pi symbol. Attach it to the filling circle.

3.14 Pi Day Felt Pin DIY

While the glue is drying, sew the pin back onto the back of the bottom pie crust. For this, I used thread that matches the pie filling. Just because it's cute. But you can use floss that matches the crust if you want.

3.14 Pi Day Felt Pin DIY

Now, stitch the top crust to the bottom crust with running stitch. Because the filling circle is a little smaller than the top crust, it gives the top just a bit of puff. Again, I went with filling-colored embroidery floss here.

3.14 Pi Day Felt Pin DIY

Your happy pi pin is ready to wear...on Pi Day or every day!

(by the way, the pattern for that sleepy kitty is free right here...)

3.14 Pi Day Felt Pin DIY

calendar // guinea pigs at the end of the rainbow

The thing I like least about February is that it's a short month and it definitely went too fast! That said, it's always good to have the fresh start of a new month, right?

As I write this, I'm staring at a few deadlines that are coming up, so I'm keeping this short. But I couldn't pass by the chance to share a new guinea pig wallpaper with you.

This time Captain Cuddles and Lieutenant Nibbles are the treasure you might find at the end of the rainbow! Way better than a pot of gold, in my opinion. Mind you, some gold could be helpful when it comes to feeding these piggies, because they sure do eat a lot!

Now for some calendar wallpapers. Download them and add them to your device. There's just one size for computers, because it should be large enough to accommodate most screens.

Wishing you a March that's filled with lots of luck and plenty of rainbows!

project // felt rogue one stormtrooper doll

Felt Stormtrooper Doll

For a few years now, I've been making Star Wars gifts for my brother's birthday or Christmas. So far I've made Chewbacca (from Draw! Pilgrim's pattern), a Wampa (with removable arm!), Maz Kanata, and a Death Star mini quilt. Sometimes I save sharing them until Star Wars Day on May the 4th, but I just couldn't wait to show the latest: A Stormtrooper Doll.

When I went to see Rogue One back in December, I hoped I would see something that would make a good handmade gift for him. So imagine my delight when I caught a glimpse of the Stormtrooper doll that young Jyn had, which was soon picked up by a Death Trooper.

It would be safe to assume that Jyn's doll was made from wood or perhaps even stone. And in fact, someone has created a tutorial on Instructables for making one out of clay. I wanted to do something a little more in my style, so I went with felt.

Felt Stormtrooper Doll

The idea behind this was obviously to make a version of the Rogue One doll. But it also works as a way to make just a Stormtrooper. Of course there are several variations, each with different specific names, but you could adapt the pattern for a better match on those.

This particular pose reminded me of when Finn has his first moment of questioning his role within the First Order in The Force Awakens. It would actually be really fun to make a version with a Finn head and then a separate helmet!

I'm playing with other ways to use this pattern idea to make more characters, but those will have to wait. For now, let's make a Stormtrooper doll!

You will need:

White and dark gray or black felt
Black embroidery floss
Tracing paper


Felt Stormtrooper Doll

Cut 2 heads and 2 bodies from white felt. Cut 4 of each of the arm and leg pieces from white felt. Cut 4 hand and foot pieces from dark gray or black felt. Those all use the pattern pieces.

You will also need to cut dark gray or black rectangles to hold everything together. Cut 2 of each of the following: .75in x 6.5in for the arms, .75in x 7.5in for the legs, and 1.5in x 2in for the neck.

Felt Stormtrooper Doll

Trace the details from the head and body onto tracing paper and embroider them with back stitch and satin stitch. For the mouth area, I used a more open satin stitch. You can fill in the other elements on the helmet too, if you want. I talked about doing that, but ended up leaving them open.

Carefully tear away the paper when you're finished.

Felt Stormtrooper Doll

For the arms and legs, sandwich the dark gray or black strip between the different elements. It works best to start at the hand or foot end. Make sure that the end of the strip is down about .5in in the hand or foot. Stitch around the shape with running stitch and 3 strands of black embroidery floss.

Add the rectangles next, leaving a small gap between the sections, and finally add the top piece with the angled end. This is the same basic process for all four limbs. With all of the stitching, try to hide your knots between the layers of felt.

Felt Stormtrooper Doll

Pin the arms and legs in place between the layers of the body. The gap between the body and the top section of the limbs should be the same as the gap in the other sections.

Start stitching at one of the arms, then go down and around until you reach the top. Leave the neck open.

Felt Stormtrooper Doll

Stuff the body so it is full, but not too firm. You may want to work the stuffing in toward the front, so it ends up between the dark tabs from the limbs and the white of the body. The dark felt won't show as much this way.

Place the two neck rectangles in the neck opening and stitch across to close the opening and hold the neck in place. This double layer of felt will help your Stormtrooper's neck stand up as much as possible.

Felt Stormtrooper Doll

Stitch the layers of the head together, leaving an opening at the bottom that is wide enough for the neck to fit. Stuff the head about the same density as the body.

Felt Stormtrooper Doll

Slide the head over the neck tabs and stitch across the opening and through the neck.

Felt Stormtrooper Doll

Now your Stormtrooper is ready to play! Or maybe sit on a shelf if you're like my 23-year-old brother. And the good news is that even though this is a pretty floppy doll, it's able to pose quite well, and that includes sitting up on its own.

Felt Stormtrooper Doll
Felt Stormtrooper Doll

Happy Star Wars Crafting!

Quick note: Normally, I'm happy to share my patterns for both personal and cottage-industry/small business use. However, since this is a fan-art pattern based on characters I don't own the license to, I don't recommend selling anything you make with this pattern. We don't want anyone running into legal trouble!

printable // you are loved stitchable valentine

You Are Loved - Printable Stitchable Valentine

Want to make a quick and easy handmade Valentine? I designed this printable so you can use it as a stitching card or leave it just as it is for an even faster last-minute card.

Stitched or not, it doubles as a Valentine or as a simple bit of art. Because we all need a reminder that we're loved, right?

You Are Loved - Printable Stitchable Valentine

To make the stitched version, you will need:

Card stock
Embroidery floss or size 8 perle cotton


You Are Loved - Printable Stitchable Valentine
You Are Loved - Printable Stitchable Valentine

Print the PDF on card stock and cut out the rectangles.

Use a needle to poke a hole at each end of the dashed line on the heart. For the flowers, poke a hole in the center of each flower and at the curve of each petal.

You Are Loved - Printable Stitchable Valentine

Embroider over the flowers with lazy daisy stitches and matching thread. As you tack each petal down, come up and go back down through the same pre-punched hole. Stitch around the heart with running stitch.

I used size 8 perle cotton for mine. I also usually just make a large knot on the back (big enough that it doesn't accidentally pull through the hole), but you can hold the ends in place with tape if you'd rather.

You Are Loved - Printable Stitchable Valentine

Now you have a handmade Valentine that's also some fun art to hang on the fridge or tack up on the wall!

You Are Loved - Printable Stitchable Valentine

Happy Hearts Day!

guinea pig stitching memes (and a new embroidery pattern)

you should be stitching

Wheek! I'm seriously becoming a full-on crazy guinea pig lady. But I can't help it. Any time I share a photo of my sweet piggy pets online people have the sweetest things to say, so really it's their fault for encouraging me.

Speaking of encouraging, not long after the photos of Captain Cuddles and Lieutenant Nibbles made their way into my Instagram and Twitter feeds, my friend Heather borrowed one to make a meme. A meme of Nibbles reminding me to get back to my stitching.

Whenever I get distracted from my stitching work, I now think of my furry friend and her stern, but helpful words. You should be stitching. (My furry friend being Lieutenant Nibbles, not Heather...)

you can do it! pick up that project and start stitching!

More memes followed, and now it's becoming a thing where I start to picture my piggies saying cheeky things about sewing and embroidery. In the event that you need some guinea pig stitch coaching, I thought I'd share these images here. Feel free to share them online if you'd like!

finish one project before you start another
did you seriously just buy more floss?
do we smell stitching progress? wheeek!
feed me now. stitch later.
you do not want to start a new project

Cuddles is using the Force on that last one. Do guinea pig Jedi mind tricks work on you?

If you have any suggestions for guinea pig captions (perhaps we need some sewing/fabric ones?), please post them in the comments!

Wheek Embroidery Pattern

Just after my guinea pigs came to live at my house, I started sketching up an embroidery pattern of them. It took me a while to finally finish it, but it's in my shop now! For just $2.00 you get two variations on the pattern so you can stitch a smooth or curly piggy, wheeking out for a yummy snack!