Knitting

 

Knitting is an ancient needlework, created by interlacing yarns in a series of connected loops, using straight eyeless needles or machines. This article serves as a beginner’s guide to knitting. In other words, we attempt to bring you the complex art of knitting in simple steps.

Tools Required for Knitting.

– Knitting Needles. Knitting needles are made from a variety of materials such as bamboo, plastic, and glass. They are either circular or double pointed in shapes. Available in different dimensions from size 0 to size 50, size 8 (US) is the ideal size for beginners. Please note that the size of the knitting needle is measured in two different styles, the US and the metric style.

– Knitting Yarns. Knitting yarns are marketed in different colours, materials, sizes, textures, weights, and plies ( a ply is a sum total of the strands of yarns twisted together to form the knitting yarn). Multiple plies increase the strength and the durability of the yarn and therefore the knitted fabric.

Types of Knit Stitches. The Knit Stitch and the Purl Stitch are the two fundamental knitting stitches. A combination of the two stitches is administered to create the desired fabric.

Beginners Guide to Knitting. Starting knitting (cast on) and ending it (cast off) are quite crucial lessons to be mastered, apart from the stitches. On mastering these techniques, everything else falls as a variation on these stitches.

– Slipknot. Slipknot is tied to secure the knitting. As the stitch proceeds further, slipknot prevents the stitches from opening up.

– Cast On. To start knitting, one has to cast on stitches. This is done by making slip loop over the left needle. The right needle then passes through the loop from the left to the right of the yarn, under and over the right needle. Next, draw the yarn through the slip loop and transfer the loop to the left needle. Continue this process until you get the required number of stitches in the left needle. Now start knitting, keeping your knitting pattern in the mind. Though it seems complicated, however, you can easily master it with practice.

– The Knit Stitch. Knit stitch is considered one of the building blocks of knitting. This basic knitting technique involves inserting the right needle through the first stitch on the left-hand needle. Then wind the yarn over the cross of the two needles, over to the right-hand needle and pulling through the loop. Next, just slip over the first original stitch from the left needle to the right needle. Repeat the process until you transfer all the knit stitches from the left needle to the right side. This completes a row of knit stitch.

– The Purl Stitch. This knitting stitch is the reverse of the knit stitch.

– Cast Off. Imparting a neat finish to your fabric is vital in any kind of handwork. This applies as a cast off to knitting as well.

Although cost should not arrest your budding interest in sewing, some units can really be pocket-exhausting. In this case, you should be thrilled to welcome the challenge of finding the operational perfectionist yet budget-friendly machine. You should not be rattled though for there are various manufacturer collections offering sewing machines for beginners so all you have to do is pick your best choice based on the above mentioned considerations.

 

So You Want to Scrapbook?

Scrapbooking is a rewarding, relaxing hobby. Walking into a scrapbooking store, looking at magazines or browsing on-line sites can be very confusing to the beginner, so let me just take you through some of the basics. Layouts can be single or double pages, and range from very simple to very elaborate. You can spend a lot of time on each layout and make all your own letters and embellishments; or you can take shortcuts and use ready-made stickers, embellishments and letters. I would suggest that the beginner take advantage of what is already available; and once you have mastered the basics, then move on to making your own embellishments.

Rules

There is only one rule in scrapbooking – all papers, adhesives, stickers and albums must be acid-free. Acid-free will help preserve your photos. Good scrapbooking products will also be lignin-free. When lignin in paper breaks down, it causes brown spots and yellowing.

Supplies

Basic supplies include: an album and refill pages, a small paper trimmer (guillotine), a pair of craft scissors, a ruler, a craft mat, some coloured plain and patterned paper, and adhesive. There are numerous cutters, punches and various tools available if you want to make shapes – the most useful shape to begin with is an oval. There are a number of albums on the market, the standard size is 30cm x 30cm, and most scrapbooking papers will fit this size, although may need to be trimmed slightly. You can either cover the whole white album page with plain or patterned paper, (or a combination of both) or you can work on the white page and just highlight your photos with coloured mats and decorate the page with stickers.

Cropping

Cropping photos – refers to cutting off excess background so that the subject is central. You will fit more photos on a page, and won’t be distracted by background that doesn’t tell a story. Sometimes you will decide to leave the background in to give a sense of scale to the subject, particularly in a scenic shot, and this is fine.

Matting

Once you have decided on the photos you are going to use on the page, have a really good look at them, noting the colours. If any one colour pops out, this is a good one to use for a mat for your photo. A mat is a piece of paper or card cut slightly larger than the photo. It is not essential to mat photos, but is a good way to link the photos on your page. If you have several colours in the photos and can’t decide which colour to use as the mat, hold the photo in front of it. One particular colour will usually stand out. A good choice of colour will make the photo appear brighter and cleaner, and a poor choice will fade the photos or overwhelm them. When you are satisfied with the mat colour, stick your photo to it. If you have several photos to go on a page, mat them all before you start arranging them on the page.

Heading

Use lettering stickers or print a heading on the computer – if you draw a heading, make sure the pens are acid free.

Completing Your Page

Arrange the photos on the page, leaving room for a heading and journalling. When you are happy with the arrangement, then stick your photos down. Next, add the heading, and then the journalling.

Journalling

Journalling is where you tell the story of the page. Journalling can be written directly on the page, or written or printed on small mats. Journalling should include who, what, where and when, and any comments about the day or event that stand out. If you are handwriting, use an acid-free pen.

Embellishments

Embellishments refer to any extras on the page – these can be stickers, lace, buttons, paper flowers, ribbons, tickets, programs – almost anything goes – but they should not be too bulky, and if not acid-free, should not come into contact with the actual photos. Embellishments should also complement the layout, e.g. toys would be perfect on a child’s page, but not on a heritage page.

I hope this beginner’s guide has been helpful. The great thing about scrapbooking is that the finished product is entirely your own, unique, production. Getting a group of friends together to scrapbook is also a good way to start. You can bounce ideas off one another, and on a practical level, share equipment and papers. I always thought I wasn’t clever or crafty enough to scrapbook, or didn’t have the time, but now realise that I am clever and crafty enough, because the only person I have to please is myself; and as far as having enough time – I usually scrapbook now instead of watching television. We all need some “me” time; and this is a perfect way to get that in.

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How to choose a sewing machine

 

The world is getting smaller, and thus, becoming more accessible to us all. Just as the internet and blogs have given access to millions to publish, whereas before the publishing world was only available to those lucky enough to be discovered. The same medium, the internet, has made it possible for millions of talented seamstresses, tailors and designers to ply their trade to an open and untapped market. There are five critical factors that will help you choose the best machine for your needs.

Determine your budget before comparing models

Sewing machines range in price from under a hundred dollars to almost ten thousand dollars. So before you select your machine, you need to make a list of tasks that you know you will be undertaking. Consider purchasing a sewing machine to be every bit similar to buying a car. The more options that come with your machine, the more it will cost. It is too easy to simply imagine yourself doing everything, so take an objective; hard look at your endeavor, over assessing your needs can cost you unnecessary expense. On the other hand, a machine that is not capable of meeting your needs can also cost you money and hours of aggravation.

Look for the best price

Look for online coupons and ask about future specials. Study your machines well. Knowing the best price is also the same as knowing where your machine came from. For example, Bernina and Pfaff make high-end models in Germany and Switzerland respectively. Alternatively, they also have model made in Taiwan and Japan. The models that are made outside of Germany and Switzerland are not necessarily bad machines, but they will come with lower warranties and reliability ratings. These machines were built to compete with lower-end products from a company like Singer who makes entry-level machines for the home market.

Talk with Sewing Machine Owners

Someone who has been there will have lots of valuable information as well. They will have firsthand experience as to what a machine does and cannot do. They can also share valuable information about the specific machine’s dependability and repair issues if there are any. A good place to start is at the fabric store. In addition, a valuable source of information can be found online and in community forums.

Which brand
This is a delicate subject. Most machines in a certain price range, whatever the brand, offer a similar quality. However, I would go for a traditional brand, one that has a history in the world of couture, such as Singer, Bernina , Alfa , Brother… This issue is important when you need replacement parts or repairs.

Compare warranties

The warranty is every bit a part of the overall price of your machine. Check the warranty for hidden costs. Obviously, the longer the warranty the better it is for you. In this regard, it is better to stay with a larger manufacturer who is more likely to have a service center close to you. Remember, your machine is the heartbeat of your business. You need a machine that is reliable and readily repaired in the event that something breaks down.

Whether you are a professional, or someone who simply loves to sew, purchasing a sewing machine is the most significant investment you will make. Choosing a machine is a decision that is vital to your success. It means making an informed decision that will help you select the sewing machine that is a balance between meeting your needs and staying within your budget. Sewing, like any other art, is fun when your machine gives you the freedom to create anything you desire.

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5 Things Every Crafter Should Have

Crafting is easy and fun but only with the right tools. There are tons of crafting supplies out there on the market, and although they are all crucial, only a few are indispensable. Thus making it difficult for any newbie venturing in the crafting Industry, to decide on what to pick or leave from the list. So, to get you out of this dilemma, we made a list of 5 things all crafters should have to get started. Check them out

1. Glue Gun

A glue gun is one of the frequently used tools in crafting. Regardless of the kind of crafts you make, you can’t do without this gadget. It will help you fix broken drawers, decorative lights, hem your clothes and other gluing gobs. Usually, they are relatively priced so, you won’t have to dig much into your pockets to own one. Depending on your preference, you can choose a cordless glue gun, with a cord, mini or full-sized gun from a whole lot of brands. When using a glue gun, make sure to have enough glue sticks to avoid running out of your supply in the middle of crafting.

2. Rotary cutter and an X-Acto Knife

A rotary cutter has a sharp blade for cutting fabrics easily. This handy gadget will also cut ribbon and paper, but to do so, you would have to change its blade. Due to their sharp blades, they are dangerous and so they should be stored properly. To prevent accidents from happing, during storage, it’s always good to make it a habit of covering them with a blade guard. And when you want to cut through thicker items like cardboard, that’s when an X Acto Knife comes in handy.

3. Scissors

You will use scissors to cut duct tape, fabric, paper, trim threads among others. The different types of scissors include:

Fabric scissors- You should dedicate this type to cutting fabrics only. Avoid by all means cutting thick items such as cords and wires with it.

Embroidery scissors- They are small and delicate with pointy blades that are capable of getting in between threads to let you cut the one that you want.

Standard scissors – Have straight blades and large handles and can be used to cut a lot of items

General craft scissors – They look more like the standard scissors and can cut thin jewelry wires open food bags etc.

4. Wire cutters and pliers

Although you can use scissors to cut wires, they get ruined over time. Most modern pliers integrate a wire cutter for cutting jewelry wires, chenille cords, dowel pins, etc.

5. Cutting mat

Any crafter will need to have a cutting mat to make perfect cuts and accurate measures. A cutting mat is a-must-have tool on any crafting project for cutting paper, stencils, cardboard, etc. There are dozens of budget-friendly cutting mat models that you can choose from.

The above mentioned, 5 things that all crafters should have, is a guide that will help you make an informed buy decision. Therefore, you are able to give priority to the basics before spending all your money on other expensive supplies.

 

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What is crafting?

 

 

Crafting is not just a fun hobby. It is also a great way to make money. Popular decorative items, such as wreaths and throw blankets, are inexpensive to make and can net a great deal of money. There are several ways to network in order to spread the word about the products and gain a customer following. As with any other product based business, building a customer base is essential.

How to Make Money with Crafts by Networking

Online- Selling homemade crafts online is an easy way to earn cash. Take pictures of the finished products and upload them to social networking sites for the best results in getting the word out about the business. Describe the product and give the price of the item. It is also important to let everyone know about whether shipping is available and how much shipping will cost.

Family/Friends/Co-Workers- Spread the word through family, friends and co-workers about the products for sale. This is a great way to drum up business and spread it by word-of-mouth. The first person to purchase a product is often the catapult for a much larger business that could become a main source of income 2.

Yard Sales- Join in on community yard sales or have a more personal yard sale. Offer normal yard sale items but include the craft products as well. Even though no sales may occur during these periods, it is a great way to let people know the business exists. Offer business cards to those who appear interested in the products for possible future to purchase.

Flea Markets- Flea markets attract a vast number of people who are looking for great bargains. That is why crafters often use this venue to sell their products. There are flea markets that occur once a week, once a month and sometimes once a year. Each of these types of markets attracts different customer bases. Network through all of these venues to spread the word about the products offered. Places that have flea markets once a year might include volunteer fire companies or other non-profit organizations. Check with these types of businesses to determine if they host flea markets during the year.

Advertising- Depending on the size of the crafting business that is intended in advertising may not be out of line. Small classified ads work to draw in customers. Advertising is often thought of as a large campaign that costs millions of dollars. That is a misconception. There are many forms of advertising that are relatively low cost, yet draw in a large crowd.

Use the fun of crafting to earn a little extra money or build it into a full-time business. Not everyone has the ability to make beautiful crafts, but those who do can make a small fortune doing so. Consider all the possibilities of earning money while doing something fun. It could lead to things unimaginable for some. Remember to never put limits on the self because that is what will determine success or failure when making crafts to sell.

 

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The First Stitch

We are working as quickly as we can to get a lot of great content posted for you.  While you are waiting for us to put the finishing touches on our projects, take a look at this video!