Sunday, October 15, 2023

Simple techniques yield big impact with texture and color

Don’t ya love projects that make a statement but are easy to make? These small projects use basic techniques, require minimal tools and supplies, and still make an impact because of their colors and textures.

Woven coaster and hand knit cotton dishcloths are easy projects.

Loopy Loom woven coasters

Tools and Materials: Loopy Loom, worn out socks, scissors, crochet hook

On occasion, I love to pull out my red Loopy Loom and weave a coaster or a pot holder from worn out or orphan socks. My metal Loopy Loom came with a long metal hook for weaving, but I use my fingers for the tabby (plain weave: over 1, under 1) weaving technique. Stripes and other patterns on socks add color and interest to the woven texture. 

Use the Zoom Loom and a pair of worn out socks.

I use a crochet hook to finish the looped edges after the weaving is complete. We use these small weavings for coasters (hot and cold beverages), hot pads/trivets, and pot holders. This is a wonderful re-purposing project and great way to upcycle unrepairable socks.

Hand knit dish cloths

Tools and Materials: cotton yarn (variegated, solid, or both), knitting needles, crochet hook, yarn needle for weaving in the yarn tails.

Hand knit cotton dishcloths.

Using a linen stitch pattern, the slip stitch knitting technique creates a firm fabric and an interesting texture on these hand knit dish cloths. With a variegated yarn, there is an additional lovely color interchange created by the slipped stitches from the row below. This is the perfect stash-buster yarn project! Use up those extra little balls of yarn for a fun and useful project. 

A crocheted edge in single crochet or a slip stitch unifies the piece and finishes the edges. A yarn needle is helpful to weave in the yarn tails. 

Hand embroidery on printed fabric

Tools and Materials: embroidery floss, embroidery needle, embroidery hoop (optional), scissors, a fabric print

Basic embroidery stitches: back stitch, stem stitch, French knots, pistil stitch (long French knot), running stitch, straight stitch, blanket stitch.

Hand embroidery on a printed fabric panel.

Using fabric prints and fabric panels is NOT cheating. Capitalize on and enhance the printed motifs on fabrics. 

This is a cotton fabric panel from an upcoming holiday collection from FIGO Fabrics. Using 2 or 3 strands of embroidery floss, I’m embroidering around motifs and on the outlines. Any basic embroidery stitches will create beautiful textures. An embroidery stitch dictionary also has loads of inspiration for experimenting with new stitches. 

Hand embroidery on a printed fabric panel.

Choose floss in holiday colors, neutrals, brights, or colors from nature. Embroidery floss is inexpensive and readily available in a multitude of glorious colors. Or experiment with other beautiful threads such as perle cotton (various weights), cotton sashiko thread, and novelty yarns and threads. Got a thread stash? This is the perfect small canvas to use savored lengths and leftovers from other projects.

Hand embroidery on printed fabric panel.

These embroidered pieces can be backed and stuffed with a polyfill. A ribbon or yarn loop can be added to create holiday ornaments or gift decorations. Or they can be displayed as home decor in a festive bowl or basket.

Make small projects with big impact and happy stitching!

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