In Printing on Fabric, Jen Swearington covers everything fabric lovers need to know about printing fabric by hand. She starts by translating design ideas to into print ideas, moves on to simple transfers with various stenciling methods, and addresses all the options beyond ink when it comes to printing on fabric (including dye baths, bleach resists, and more).

Oh, and there are all sorts of projects to accompany the lessons, from trendy tote bags and baby rompers to classy cardigans and home decor.

But what about all those scraps you end up with after making a project? She’s got that covered as well, thanks to a couple scrap-friendly ideas. One is the quilt you can see on the cover, and the other is a fun, mailable mini mobile.

Here’s what Jen has to say about it: This anti e-mail surprise is a fun way to harvest bits of imagery from your scrap fabrics, drop cloths, and masking papers. I wanted to make sure it could be mailed, so I started with the envelope and designed the mobile to fit inside it. Be sure to write the words “Hand Cancel” on the envelope so it doesn’t get mangled in a mail-processing machine. Better yet, take it to the post office counter since it might take an extra stamp or two in postage.

Download the project, complete with templates, right here: Mail a Mini Mobile


Printing on Fabric: Inside Peek

April 30, 2013, 11:54 am  Posted by needlearts

In Printing on Fabric, experienced instructor Jen Swearington covers everything fabric lovers need to know about printing fabric by hand. She starts by translating design ideas to into print ideas and mapping prints (whether you want a simple loose repeat or precisely measured patterns for yardage). She moves on to simple transfers with various stenciling methods as well as photo emulsion (which is what most people know as classic screen printing). But she doesn’t stop there. Another chapter addresses all the options beyond ink when it comes to printing on fabric; dye baths, bleach resists, and more are all thoroughly discussed and accompanied by plenty of tried and true recipes. A dozen teaching projects complete the package: just take a look at the colors and textures below!

If Jen’s name sounds familiar, that may be because she has exhibited in Quilt National three times (winning the Award of Excellence in 2009) and taught at many fine craft schools, including the Savannah College of Art and Design, Penland School of Crafts, Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts, and the University of North Carolina Asheville. She also travels to many craft shows and fairs, selling her work under the Jennythreads Studio label. You can see what she’s up to at www.jennythreads.net.


Fleece Hat Friends giveaway (and fleece, too!)

December 05, 2012, 16:22 pm  Posted by needlearts

We already saw that Fleece Hat Friends is the go-to book for adorable fleece projects for Halloween (check out the Feeling Batty hat and this adorable Dinosaur Bag). But the fleece fun goes far beyond one holiday. There’s all sorts of hats perfect from the gift-giving season  straight through to spring (spoiler alert: there’s a cute bunny!).

Since it’s the season of giving, we’re doing a giveaway of this warm fuzzy book–whether you want to sew the owl on the cover or the puppy hat at right. But that’s not all–we’re also including a bundle of fleece (yards of it!) to get you started.

To enter for a chance to win a bundle of fleece and a copy of Fleece Hat Friends, simply leave a comment (any comment is fine) on this post by 9 p.m. EDT on Wednesday, December 12th. One winner will be selected at random from among all eligible entries and announced by Friday, December 14th. Click here for the official rules. The winner is Sarah!


Fleece Hat Friends


What could be better than a stupid sock creature? Two stupid sock creatures! Or is it 1.5 stupid sock creatures?

We’re not sure. All we know is Morv and Goper are two (one?) of our favorites in Return of the Stupid Sock Creatures.

Designed and sewn by the author himself, they could be causing trouble in your home as soon as next week. That’s right, we’re giving away Morv and Goper!

And because John is all about making your own creatures, the lucky winner also gets a copy of the book.

To enter for a chance to win the Morv and Goper stuffed sock creature and a copy of Return of the Stupid Sock Creatures, simply leave a comment (any comment is fine) on this post by 9 p.m. EDT on Friday, November 9th. One winner will be selected at random from among all eligible entries and announced by Monday, November 12th. Click here for the official rules.

Good luck and happy sock creature making! Leah is the winner!



Free Project: Dinosaur Bag from Fleece Hat Friends

October 24, 2012, 16:00 pm  Posted by needlearts

Dinosaur BagFleece Hat Friends is chock-full of adorable felt hats that are perfect for Halloween (check out the Feeling Batty hat we’re giving away!), but did you know that the book also offers some super-cute extras? There’s a monkey sweatshirt, a giraffe scarf, and this adorable Dinosaur Bag!

Dinosaur Hat

Perfect to take along on your night of trick-or-treating, the Dinosaur Bag will hold gobs of candy and can be put to all sorts of other good uses year ‘round. Stash library books inside, fill it with toys and puzzles for long car rides, or pair it with the Friendly Dinosaur hat for a terrific little ensemble your kid will love! Download the free PDF pattern right now to get started.

And while you’re downloading the Dinosaur Bag PDF, don’t forget to throw your name in the hat for a chance to win Feeling Batty and a copy of Fleece Hat Friends!

Fleece Hat Friends

Have fun, and Happy Halloween!


Giveaway: Batty Fleece Hat for Halloween

October 19, 2012, 15:24 pm  Posted by needlearts

Have you taken a peak inside Fleece Hat Friends? It’s one of our most beginner-friendly sewing books and it’s perfect for Halloween and beyond. In addition to the bat above, there’s also a Spinning Spider (look to the right!). Wouldn’t that go nicely with fake cobwebs?

Or, if you don’t have time to sew something up for Halloween, think further ahead. Is your family adopting a new pet this holiday season? Why not make a hat to go with the occasion (a cat, dog, bunny, and fish are all patterns in this book).

And since the projects can be made to fit almost any size head, even the adults can get in on the fun! Ok, back to the prize at hand…

We’re giving away the original Feeling Batty hat from the book made by the author herself! The lucky winner also gets a copy of the book.

To enter for a chance to win the Bat fleece hat and a copy of Fleece Hat Friends, simply leave a comment (any comment is fine, but we’d love to hear the best idea for a Halloween costume you’ve seen this year) on this post by 9 p.m. EDT on Friday, October 26th. One winner will be selected at random from among all eligible entries and announced by Monday, October 29th. Click here for the official rules. Julia is the winner…congratulations!

Good luck and happy sewing!


Quilt It with Love cover 50% off

Five years ago, I was sitting by my premature baby’s isolette in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), scared and anxious. Hospitals can be lonely places—unfamiliar surroundings, confusing medical jargon, and uncomfortable beds can quickly make you wish for the comfort of your home. But one day, soon after we arrived, I walked into the NICU to find a bright, colorful quilt covering my daughter’s incubator. Donated by a volunteer with Project Linus, the quilt was stitched with cute little animals and hearts and made the room feel a little more like home.

Project Linus is an amazing organization that provides handmade quilts and blankets to children who are sick, traumatized, or otherwise in need. And after my experience with them, you can imagine how thrilled I’ve been to be able to work with Carol Babbit and Mary Balagna, President and Vice President of Project Linus and authors of Quilt it with Love: The Project Linus Story.

Quilt it with Love is filled with beautiful and creative quilts—interactive quilts that double as game boards, quilts that have special pockets that hold tissues or toys, and quilts perfect for group crafting projects. Interspersed throughout the projects are stories of people like me who have been touched and strengthened by the work of Project Linus.

coupon codeAnd now, exclusively at www.bn.com, you can purchase your own copy of Quilt it with Love for 50% off, now through November 15th! Simply enter coupon code Y9V9D7A to receive your discount. 100% of royalties go directly to Project Linus, so you’ll be making a difference in the lives of children simply by purchasing the book. You can also learn how to make a difference in your own community through Project Linus by visiting www.projectlinus.org.

quilt heartsMy daughter left the hospital after a month, and today she’s a thriving, active five year old who is learning to read! Although I’ll never meet him or her in person, I’m so grateful to the Project Linus volunteer who made our stay in the NICU a little more pleasant and hopeful, simply by making a quilt.

from Shannon Quinn-Tucker, guest Needlearts blogger


Crochet Boutique coverWith Shannon Quinn-Tucker, guest Needlearts blogger

Recently released, Crochet Boutique is filled with fun, trendy wearables and accessories that will take you through this fall and beyond! Here, author Rachael Oglesby shares her thoughts on modern crochet. Don’t forget to download a FREE PDF of Rachael’s Granny Square Cushion at the end of the interview.

Who would you say has been most influential in your life when it comes to crafting, and why? That would certainly be my mom. She’s the one who taught me to crochet to begin with! And it was my grandmother who taught her. I appreciate that I have this link to the women in my family that has made its way down to me.

How would you describe your aesthetic? What inspires you in creating your designs? I would describe my aesthetic as classic with a twist. I love simple, basic items you can wear repeatedly yet are updated in a way that gives them just a little something extra to make them special. It can be something as simple as a color that pops or a beautiful unique yarn.

Rachael OglesbyWhat was your favorite part of authoring Crochet Boutique? My favorite part was selecting the projects for the book and also working with my photographer and friend, Emily Ogden, to bring it all to life. I knew when I was first approached for the book that I wanted Emily on board, and I was ecstatic when she agreed. I also enjoyed fleshing out the initial direction for the book—thinking of my audience and deciding what it was exactly I wanted to accomplish and present.

Crochet Boutique contains a variety of items, some of which people might find more typical of crochet projects (scarves and hats) and some they might find unusual (laptop sleeve). What was your favorite project in this book? The rainbow throw holds a special place in my heart since it’s inspired by a clouds and rainbow motif afghan my mother made in the early 80s. Her blanket is one of my earliest memories of crochet and I remember really loving that piece when she finished it. It’s one of the first pieces that left me wishing I could crochet my own, so my rainbow throw pattern is an homage to hers.

Who are some crochet artists whom you admire, and what is it about each that you find inspirational/exceptional? I am more inspired by the everyday at home crafter than I am by any of the big name artists I can think of. The DIY movement that has rapidly gained strength over the past few years has been empowering and therapeutic for many, myself included, and I believe the online community and the sharing of ideas has fostered that. It’s amazing to be able to share and talk about your craft with so many other crafters at any given moment, and I’ve made some wonderful friends over the past few years through such interactions.

granny square cushionGet inspired to create by downloading a free PDF of Rachael’s Granny Square Cushion! And don’t forget to check out Rachael’s Etsy shop at http://www.etsy.com/shop/softspoken or her blog, http://softspoken.blogspot.com/, for even more of her fabulous style!



Crochet Boutique coverMy great aunt Constance is fully responsible for tarnishing my view of crochet—think ill-fitting Christmas sweaters that smelled faintly of cats. Over the years, if anyone mentioned the word “crochet,” I’d flash back to a Polaroid of me standing next to a Christmas tree as a kid, scratching and sneezing. (Shudder.)

But one look at the projects in Rachael Oglesby’s Crochet Boutique forever demolished my unfortunate association with the craft. Crochet is tacky? Wham! Check out the on-trend Chain Scarf on page 54. Too bulky and stiff? Bam! That sleek little Striped Tank on page 74 is something I can wear out to lunch with friends and look totally cool. Old school? Shazam! The Lovely Little Lampshade on page 113 boasts a design that will single-handedly elevate my living room to new fashion heights. Rachael’s pieces are at once current and timeless, and like me, you’ll look forward to creating bags, hats and scarves that will be a part of your life for years to come (and don’t have to smell like cats at all!).

Crochet Boutique projects

Projects from left to right: Chain Scarf, Striped Tank, Lovely Little Lampshade.

You can crochet any of the projects in Crochet Boutique no matter what your skill level. And to help you get started, we’re offering a free book, plus a hook and yarn, to a random winner! Simply leave a comment on this post by 9 pm EST on Tuesday, September 25th. Any comment is fine, but we’d love to hear what you’re crocheting for the coming winter months! One winner will be selected at random from among all eligible entries and notified by Friday, September 28th. Click here for the official rules. This giveaway is now closed and the winner will be contacted soon. Thanks so much to everyone who left a comment. Happy crocheting!


Fleece Hat Friends

September 13, 2012, 11:40 am  Posted by needlearts

We were planning to offer a preview of Fleece Hat Friends last week, but we were in the middle of a heat-wave! Luckily, the temperature around these parts has dropped again and it feels like fall. What better time is there to look ahead to Halloween and beyond?

Fleece Hat Friends is a beginner-friendly book perfect for the coming months. Its projects are made for kids of all ages (in other words, there’s instructions for making them in many sizes!).

For those of you that already sew with fleece, you know its charms! If you don’t, all you need to know is that fleece is soft, warm, easy to wash, comfortable to wear, and it doesn’t ravel–so there’s no need to spend time sewing the edges. What’s not to love?

And the hats inside this book are full of personality. There’s playful furry friends like the puppy and panda. Underwater favorites like the fish and lobster. And creative creatures like the monster and dinosaur. Oh, and of course there’s a couple Halloween classics, like a spider and bat. There’s even a few non-hat add-ons, from a monkey-themed sweatshirt to the tails you see here.

If the author, Mary Rasch, sounds familiar, that’s probably because she’s been featured in magazines and books before, including our very own Stash Happy: Felt! She also blogs over at Mary’s Makings (ilovemarysmakings.blogspot.com).

If you want to flip through the book, you can look inside or check out the video posted over here (thanks to Beach Brights for the video review!). If you like these hats, stay tuned. Sometime soon we’re going to give away one of the original hats made by the author. What one will it be? Well, let’s just say it would go well with Trick or Treating…