The Beauty of Yarn Crafts

Yarn Skeins
Yarn has come a long way over the years, from single color wool skeins to multicolored, textured fibers, made from manmade and natural sources, suitable for clothing, home décor and accessories. Let’s look at a few of the types of crafts made with yarn.

Knitting:
Knitting
Very little is required for any knitting project. All you need is some yarn, two knitting needles, and a pair of scissors, which easily fits into a small tote bag, making this one of the most portable crafts. Knitted clothing and accessories are the most popular items.

Knitted Wool Scarf
Knitted scarves provide a cheerful pop of color to help dispel the dismal winter grays.  They’re easy to make and are great gifts too.

Needlepoint:
Needlepoint Gazebo
If you are unfamiliar with needlepoint, it consists of a variety of stitches applied by hand using a needle and yarn through a canvas, which is preprinted with an attractive design. The kit instructions include the color and stitch type to be used for each part of the pattern, and a full color photo of the finished project. Every style of needlepoint stitch is represented in the gazebo shown above.

Needlepoint Leopard
This leopard needlepoint presents the challenge to create a three-dimensional figure and a complex pattern in the animal’s fur. Gaze upon his face and you’ll realize his eyes are looking right back at you.

Needlepoint Rabbit Pillow
Needlepoint is not limited to square and rectilinear shapes. This adorable rabbit pillow has coordinating blue piping along the edges and light blue velvet fabric on the back.

Crocheting:
Crocheted Afghan
Having an extra blanket around is always handy, especially for an afternoon nap. An afghan is easy to make, and gives you a great sense of accomplishment every time you or a family member uses it.

Crocheted Jacket
Recently, crocheted jackets, sweaters, and dresses have become very fashionable, made with lightweight yarns perfect for summer.

Crocheted Lamb
Stuffed Animals & Home Décor can also be crocheted. The little lamb shown above was made in individual pieces (hexagons and pentagons) and then sewn together using matching white yarn.

Cross Stitch:
Cross Stitch
Cross Stitch is similar to needlepoint, except that there is only one type of stitch in the shape of an “X,” and an open weave cotton fabric is used instead of canvas. Many different shades of yarn create light and shadow. The photo above is a project in progress, with the yarn being matched to a detailed color chart.

Cross Stitch Design
With needlepoint, the entire background canvas is covered. In cross stitch, the base, such as this bold red fabric, becomes part of the finished design.

Embroidery:
Floral Embroider
Embroidery uses a special type of yarn called floss, which consists of fine, lustrous fibers. A washable transfer pen can be utilized to trace or draw a pattern upon the fabric of your choice. Embroidery can be done by hand, but today’s technology has developed machines to do the work for you in less time.

Floral Embroidery on Denim
Denim jackets & jeans are commonly embellished with floral embroidery, and may include additional beads and studded details.

Floral Embroidery on Velvet
Luxurious fabrics, such as velvet and lace, create the perfect background for showcasing these intricately stitched designs.

Embroidered Japanese Kimono
The embroidery on silk kimonos is not only beautiful, but also illustrates scenes from daily life, as well as mystical legends and historical events.

Latch Hooked versus Hand Hooked:
Latch Hook Balloon
To make this latch hook hot air balloon (AC Moore), yarn is pulled through an open weave canvas using a specialty tool. Latch hooked items have a tufted surface just like plush cut-pile carpeting. It’s hard to resist the urge to run your hands through the soft yarn as you admire your handiwork.

Hand Hooked Fish Pillow
For hand hooked items, such as this pillow, the yarn is pulled through to the back. The front has thick textured stitches, while the loose ends are concealed on the back with fabric. Because the yarns are more bulky, pillows are usually large-scale. No two are exactly alike.

Hand Hooked Rug
Hand hooked rugs are beautifully patterned and collectible due to their intricate handwork and lengthy time for completion. This loon is actually swimming underwater in search of a fish for breakfast.

Hand Hooked Rug 2
The imaginative designs in hand hooked rugs are truly works of art for your floors.

There are so many opportunities to use yarn for your next project. The yarn departments in many stores are brimming over with the latest colors as well as new fibers, such as bamboo, and interesting finishes such as ombré and iridescent. Do you enjoy working with yarn? What types of items have you created? Please let me know in the comments. Thanks for reading!

Happy Crafting!

The Great Frame Up

The Pink Panther
If you’re the Pink Panther, you’ll want to show off your sparkling personality and luxurious fur coat. An electric blue frame is a bold choice. Frames not only complete a piece of art, but also make an attention getting statement.

Choosing the Right Frame:
Coordinated Frame
Many elements come into play when deciding the best way to display your artwork. The subject matter, colors, style, medium, patterns, and textures should be taken into consideration. This painting is perfectly complemented by an ornate wood frame in a coordinating color. The textured bands along the frame’s perimeter are reminiscent of wild vines, which ties in nicely with the landscape scene.

Architectural Frame
This beautiful painting is a feast for the eyes. The artist’s use of bold colors, and textures calls our attention to the figures in the foreground. The softer palette in the background features delicate architectural details, such as sculpted wall ornamentation, columns, and archways. The strong geometric lines of the frame mimic those found within the painting.

Coral Frame
This unusual piece consists of sea life themed ceramic tiles and a frame that resembles coral. It’s the perfect marriage of art and frame. Two thoughts come to mind: First, you could create your own tile mural using the incredible decorative tiles on the market, which look hand painted. Secondly, you could add texture to a frame to extend the artwork beyond its borders in perfect harmony.

Framing Options:
Wood & Metal Frames
Wood or metal frames accommodate a large range of image sizes, and make great gifts.   Many include both tabletop and wall hanging hardware for more flexibility in displaying your photos.

Oval & Round Frames
Everyone knows about square and rectangular frames, but did you know there are also circular and oval frames? For every piece of artwork there’s a perfect frame.

Gold Wood Frame
Painted wood frames come in a large variety of sizes to fit most canvases with ease.

Floral Frame
You don’t have to settle for a solid color frame. Call attention to your favorite photos with colorful, patterned frames. Can’t find what you want? Do it yourself. A few leaves and flowers will go a long way to personalizing any frame in your unique style.

Distressed Wood Frame
This distressed wood frame, with glass insert, creates an instantly aged look with rich complementary colors, and visually interesting patterns and textures. .

Ornately Carved Wood Frame
Antique wood frames and replicas have lavishly hand-carved details, which lend an air of grandeur to any mirror or painting. The top layer of leaves has been rubbed with gold paint to enhance the details and showcase the depth and complexity of the carving.

Specialty Frames:
Collage Frame
This collage frame can be set up in a matter of minutes and is ready to hang.

Shadow Box
Shadow Box frames, such as this one from AC Moore, are available in varying depths to accommodate trinkets, small objects, and even memorabilia, such as a sports team jersey. Choose from open front or glass enclosed options.

Sculpted Metal Frame
Ornate metal frames include hand painted details, rhinestones, and some have sculpted figures around the perimeter. The frame becomes a sculptural piece of art in itself.

Pet Photo Frame
Whether your pet has fur, feathers, or scales, you’ll have photos in need of an appropriate frame. The frame shown above, from AC Moore, is a great solution.   There are themed frames for every occasion, including engagements, new babies, and holidays, just to name a few.

Decorative Mats:
Double Matted Wood Frame
Mats provide a more polished appearance to artwork, come in many colors, and are available in pre-cut or cut your own options. A specialty tool for mat cutting makes the process fairly easy, although you will need a cutting surface. Double mats (shown above) provide color coordination and contrast.

Specialty Mat
This double mat detail looks adorable and was fairly easy to do. Trace your pet’s foot onto paper. Draw the toe and heel pads and cut them out. This becomes your footprint template. Trace the footprints onto the tan mat board and use an X-Acto knife to carefully cut them out.   The brown mat board will show through, creating the look of footprints around the perimeter of the frame.

Needlepoint Framing
Needlepoint requires special framing. During the stitching process, the canvas becomes misshapen. The blocking process ensures the design will appear correctly. Instead of using mat board, fabric wrapped mats are often added to the frame, as shown above.

Unique Photo Op:
Photo Clip
A photo clip is a unique way to display a favorite photo, postcard, or love note from that special someone. The peacock and floral design on the base is attractive with or without a photo, and can be changed at a moment’s notice with no effort at all.

Choosing a frame is a very personal decision. Take your time deciding how to best frame your treasured artwork. You’ll be glad you did.

Happy Crafting!

Eye Candy & Memories – Creating Collages

Camera Collage
A collage is a themed grouping of images artfully arranged on poster board or mat board. This clever piece has a camera “lens” in the center of photographs placed in concentric circles. Although it’s a visually interesting composition, the individual photos would be difficult to view, especially since the majority are sideways or upside down.

Butterfly Collage
Themes can include anything from vacations, family photos, nature’s beauty, or anything else that inspires or brings you joy.

Water Lilies Collage
The first rule of collage making is…there are no rules! Anything goes! The background can be white or any color you prefer. You may want to overlap the images in a freeform design, or divide the board into a grid, showcasing each individual photo.

Postcard Collage
When you travel, you often collect magazines and postcards as souvenirs, which typically end up stuffed in a drawer. Why not create a collage? Every time you walk by you’ll relive your vacations.

Fabric Elephant Collage
Collages don’t have to be limited to photographs. Here’s an example of a fabric collage in the shape of an adorable elephant. The blue mat board complements the fabrics and brings a cheerful element to this playful character.

Seashell & Feather Collage
You could also use silk flowers, leaves, feathers, or seashells. When using heavier materials like seashells, be sure to use a strong backer board for support.

Duck Collage
If you prefer more organization, the geometric precision of a grid can be created using a T-square or a ruler and triangles. In the above example, white space around each photo defines the composition.

Travel Collage
For a freeform collage, lay the photos out upon the board, make adjustments until you’re satisfied with the arrangement, and then glue the photos down one at a time with Elmer’s Glue Stick.

French Sightseeing Collage
Usually poster board, mat board, or collage board serve as backing, but you could also use a wood plaque, a shadow box frame, or a framed slate board. Whatever you choose will personalize your creation. If you plan to frame the finished collage, be sure to select a board size that will fit into a standard frame.

Seasonal Fall Collage
Scrapbooking paper can be used to add colors, patterns and textures (e.g. faux wood grain), to an otherwise plain background. You could also hand paint details.

Collage Frame
If cutting out pictures and gluing them down seems like too much work, the simplest and quickest way to create a collage is by using a collage frame. Place a few photos in the frame and your done. No muss or fuss!

Scrapbook Vision Board
If wall space is limited or you prefer a more portable option, a scrapbook collage (vision board) can be developed over time. As your dreams and goals come true, there are plenty of additional pages for future inspirations.

How to Make a Collage / Vision Board

A vision board is a collage with goals and dreams to be manifested into your life. It gives you a daily reminder to focus your thoughts upon making your dreams come true.

Supplies:
Photos, postcards, color copies
Scissors
Elmer’s Glue Stick (All Purpose is permanent, or the Washable formula is adjustable)
Poster Board or Mat Board
Poster Frame (optional)

Magazines
Collect brochures, magazines, photos, and color copies of your wishes and dreams. Carefully cut out the pictures. It’s fine to have an assortment of various sizes, because these will fit together like puzzle pieces with overlapping edges. Lay the images upon your board. Move them around until you feel the composition is coming together. Think about the colors, contrasting textures, and patterns. It’s okay to have empty spaces.

Preliminary Vision Board
This photo is a progress shot showing the initial photo layout. Glue each image in place. Now fill in the gaps with smaller photos or inspirational words.

Completed Vision Board
Layers were added to enrich the composition, which completely covered the background. After leaning this vision board against a wall for a few weeks, it was inspirational, but the poster board was starting to bow. I had a new 24” x 36” gold metal poster frame, and decided to use it for the vision board to protect the images behind glass and to give it a more finished look, ready to hang upon the wall. I had to add approximately 8” to the length of the poster board on the right side to fit the oversized frame. Additional images were then added to blend with the existing. Now that it is framed, this simple project has become an attractive piece of art.

What kind of collage are you thinking about making? Do you have a theme in mind? Please share your ideas in the comments section.

Happy Crafting!