Friday, September 19, 2014

Braided Cross Stitch Variation for Plastic Canvas Tutorial

I never thought that I would ever make a tutorial on a crafting technique. Usually I'm the person scouring the blogs and other craft websites looking for others' tutorials to learn some new (to me) way of doing things. There are so many tutorials on how to do anything that you can think of, that I thought that everything is out there, and who am I to tell people what to do? There are so many, better, tutorials on thing I know how to do, that I just never considered it.
However, when I was looking for the steps on the braided cross stitch variation for joining plastic canvas pieces, I was shocked to find, well, nothing. This is an awesome technique! I can't believe that there aren't more people using this, especially on things like tissue box covers. This is not something new, either. If you remember my posts about the plastic canvas pocket folders that I made, I actually used this technique on the spine of the folders (though not pictured in the blog post), but here it is now:

So, I have decided to make up my own tutorial for this technique, and I hope it helps lots of people learn a new way of joining plastic canvas pieces.

First, I am using two pieces of scrap plastic I had hanging around, and some scrap yarn.

I pulled the needle first through the "top" piece of plastic only to begin with.

Then I put the two pieces together and pulled it through that same hole again.

So far, up to here, the steps aren't specifically part of the technique, it's just how I start off the row so I can secure the tail of yarn as I go along. Everyone has their own way of doing this, I'm sure, so you don't have to follow this way if you don't want to.
Next, we want to skip a hole and go to the third one.

Keep in mind during this whole process, that we are pulling the needle one way through the plastic: from underneath to the top!
Once we pull that through, then we want to go BACK to the first hole again.

It doesn't look like much yet, but we are getting there. From here on it, it is simple: We go forward 3 squares, then back 2. Here is forward 3:

Then back 2.

There is just the barest hint of a braid showing up, so lets keep going. Forward 3 more.

Then back 2 again.

Now you can really see the beginning of the braid.
I trust that you can keep going yourself from here, so I'm going to fast forward. Here we are further down, continuing the forward 3, back 2 routine.

And there you have it! It isn't difficult at all, and it looks amazing. This does use up more yarn than the normal whipstitch, and it is a bit bulkier because of it, but in my opinion it is worth it.
What do you think?
Give it a try and let me know how it goes! If you need bigger pictures, you can click on any of these images to enlarge them.

New (Old) Techniques

I love to do many types of crafts. One of the things I enjoy making are items with plastic canvas, and  I have made many different things. One thing that I don't much care for, though, is just using a whipstitch to join 2 pieces together, such as the edges of a tissue box cover, for example. The simply whipstitch seemed too sparse of a coverage for the 2 pieces of plastic, and you can see through to the plastic. It also doesn't seem like a very strong connection, either, as I usually can feel the 2 plastic edges moving/grinding against each other.

To try to strengthen the two sides, I tried doing a second pass of whipstitch the other direction, but the results was rather crude looking and kinda bulky.

So, since there didn't really seem to be another viable alternative, I followed all the directions and tutorials I had always read before and just used the plain old whipstitch.

Fast forward now, to a couple years ago. I was going through some of my old booklets, and I have an old tissue box pattern booklet with several designs. As I was putting it aside to pick up the next booklet, something caught my eye. I picked it up again and this time studied the pictures.
All of the tissue box covers in this booklet had the sides joined together with what looked like braiding! I immediately opened and scoured the booklet and learned the secrets of this technique. I have since used it on several items I have made. I vastly prefer it to a simple whipstitch and use it whenever I can in place of it!

Fast forward again to today! As I was talking with a crafting buddy of mine, TinkerCrafter, we got onto the subject of plastic canvas. I got to thinking about this braided technique, and I suggested it to her. She was interested, so I started looking for a tutorial or instructions on how to do this. To my surprise, I couldn't find anything! This is by no means an new technique! The booklet I learned it from was published in 1981!
Then I got to thinking. This is something that I could make up a tutorial for, myself! I had never really thought of doing a tutorial for anything in the past, as there are so many out there for anything I could think of. Finally, I have one for me to do myself!

When I got home from work tonight, I grabbed a couple scraps of plastic and some yarn and my camera (phone), and I got to work. My next post will be the tutorial (I don't want to drag this post out any longer than necessary)!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Two weeks!

I have officially scheduled a date and time for my day job certification exam. Just 2 weeks away! Provided that I actually pass this test, I will start stitching after that.
I'm kindof nervous, though. If I don't pass, then I will have to actually pay nearly $300 to take it again. That's a lot of money that could otherwise go to more crafty things!

On a brighter note, rather than just have this post be about my nervousness over the exam, I wanted to share some pictures of a couple doily patterns that I came up with this week.

Both of these patterns are available in my Etsy store. The stormtrooper goes nicely with my Darth Vader and Boba Fett doilies.
Have a great weekend, all!