Crafty Football Blog Hop: Broncos Apron

2015 Crafty Football Blog HopIt's my turn in the 2015 Crafty Football Blog Hop. We've already had a week of cool football-related projects, so check out the linky at the bottom of this post to see them. We'll continue through Friday.

So, I won't lie: my original football project idea was one of those projects that looked awesome in my head, but then flatly refused to translate itself to reality. (I won't tell you what it was, just in case I manage to crack the code one day and make it happen.)


After my abject failure there, I was left scrambling about for inspiration for a replacement project. And that's when I stumbled onto this NFL-licensed ribbon from Offray. The Broncos designs are super cool! So I decided to use them to embellish something.

Now that I have a day-job, football Sundays are also big cooking days for me. During the games I'm usually prep-cooking for the coming week, assembling a nice Sunday dinner, and occasionally churning out football snacks. So I decided to make a game-day apron to show my team spirit in the kitchen.


Broncos Apron

This set of polyester ribbons contains two very different types: the wider ribbon is quite stiff and papery in texture. I wouldn't recommend putting a hot iron directly on this stuff - it's likely to melt. So always use a pressing cloth.

(The narrow ribbons are more satiny, and will iron normally.)

Broncos Ribbon Apron

If you want to replicate my design, here are the measurements. (Nope, this diagram is not even a little bit to scale.) Or, just applique a few pieces of ribbon along the hem, along the bib. You don't have to be a crazy person like me.

Broncos Apron

When I applique ribbon to things, I prefer using fusible webbing instead of pins. It's so much easier to keep the ribbon in place that way. Whatever brand of webbing you use, be sure to read the instructions on the package so you know the proper iron temperature and handling procedures.

First, I cut a strip of webbing that's a bit narrower than my ribbon, and then chop it into lengths like this - roughly a few inches. Don't get too precise about it - all we need are some tacking-down pieces here.

Place these pieces glue side down along the back of a piece of ribbon, keeping them a couple inches apart. Keep the webbing away from the ends, because you'll need some room to turn those ends under. Then place your pressing cloth over the whole thing and press, That fuses the webbing to the ribbon. Peel away the paper backing pieces, leaving just the glue.

Broncos Apron

...And then you can bust out that pressing cloth again and fuse the ribbon to the apron. That will tack it down beautifully, so it stays in place while you sew it.

Broncos Apron

A note on turning those ribbon ends under - I like to turn one end under first, and then place and fuse the ribbon, and then turn under the remaining end. That way, I can make adjustments to keep everything lined up. My measurements above allow for about a 1/4" hem at both ends, except for those horizontal pieces. Those, you'll just fold around the edge of your apron and sew in place.

Broncos Apron

With the wider ribbon, incidentally, you can easily finger-press a crease before adding your pressing cloth and ironing it into place. The narrower stuff needs to be pressed to hold the fold.

Broncos Apron

Again, because I like my crafts complicated, I went with a design that's dependent on lining up lots of strands of ribbon together. The best way to approach this is to be careful about placing the center-most piece, and then use that to line all the others up.

Broncos Apron

...So I started by finding the center front of my apron. I drew a line with a FriXion pen (which erases with iron heat), and then measured a second line a little less than 1 1/4" away. (That measurement is because the wider ribbon is just shy of 2 1/2" wide.)

Broncos Apron

That second line is where I lined up the right edge of my central piece of ribbon. And I placed the turned-under end at the top, along the edge of the apron. I also measured the center point of the apron near the bottom and used that to make sure the ribbon stayed straight all the way down.

When you have that ribbon where you want it, place the pressing cloth again and press it to tack the ribbon to the apron. Turn under the other end where you want it to end, and press that fold in place as well.

Now, that ribbon is tacked down and won't go anywhere while you're adding other pieces.

Broncos Apron

Broncos Apron

I placed my ribbons 1/4" apart. You can eyeball that, or use your trusty quilting ruler. Line the edge of the central ribbon up with the 1/4" line, and then align the next ribbon with the edge of the ruler.

Just keep building the design, repeating the fusing process until all the ribbon is tacked in place.

Broncos Apron

For the horizontal pieces, just cut them a little longer than the edge of the apron so you can fold them over the edge.

Broncos Apron

...And then put it on your sewing machine and stitched close to all four edges of each piece of ribbon.

(Yup, it was during this step that I asked myself, "Why the heck to I have to make things so complex, anyway?") :-)

Crafty Football Blog Hop: Broncos Apron

Apron Care:

Another warning about the papery wide ribbon: I don't think it would like a hot dryer any more than it would like a hot iron. So either line-dry your apron or use a low-heat setting. And remember, any time you press your finished apron, bust out that pressing cloth!

Incidentally, the ribbon set I bought contained 9 yards - if you make your design less complicated than mine, you can get two or even three aprons out of a set. Good quick gifts!

Here's what the other Football Blog Hoppers made:


Football Fringe Scarf Tutorial

2015 Crafty Football Blog HopIt's that time of year, my friends - time for crafts that celebrate football in all its glories. We did this hop in 2013 and 2014 as well, so feel free to click the links and see the fun diversity of projects.)

This year's lineup of bloggers includes some returning faces and some new ones:


The Cannonball Collective Revival Kit

Revived Potholders, made with The Cannonball Collective

A couple months back, the folks at The Cannonball Collective contacted me about checking out their new subscription box service. I was very intrigued by what they were doing and said "Heck yes!"

The Cannonball Collective aims to explore themes, using a combination of online content, print content, and tools and materials delivered to your door in a good-looking kit - as they put it: "Like a magazine come to life." The idea is to give you everything you need to have a fun new creative learning experience.

The Cannonball Collective Revival Kit

The Cannonball Collective Revival Kit

The theme of this box (their first) is "Revival," and it contains tools and materials for giving new life to an old garment or household item. You don't need any sewing experience, and there's no pattern to follow. Instead, you're encouraged to approach the process freely and playfully, and see what kinds of interesting things emerge.

Above, you can see what comes in that intriguing tin: a beautiful pair of scissors, a box of straight pins, a thimble, and a wooden tube of darning needles from Merchant & Mills, plus an assortment of Japanese cotton fabrics and floss from Superbuzzy. Really high-quality stuff, all of it - and a pleasure to use.

(Yes, those scissors immediately went into my EPP box for future thread-snipping.)

The Cannonball Collective Revival Kit

...Tucked below all that: Japanese candy. :-)

The Cannonball Collective Revival Kit

The Cannonball Collective Revival Kit

The zine that comes with the kit is beautiful and inspiring. It contains a profile of this issue's Cannonball ACE (or featured artisan), Luke Deverell of Darn and Dusted, a UK company specializing in artisanal clothing repair. There are some beautiful images of the kinds of work he does, plus some stitch diagrams to try, a cocktail recipe, and some pointers to interesting books and websites on the subject of reuse and revival.

...And speaking of websites, you can read even more on each theme at The Cannonball Collective website. Here's the Revival page - lots of intriguing links to revival projects there!


Image by The Cannonball Collective

It's worth mentioning that The Cannonball Collective isn't strictly a crafty thing; it's more broadly creative. Take a look at the second issue, which has a theme of "Wonderland." With it, you can harken back to the joys of childhood with all the tools and supplies to make your own ice pops, flavored with your own custom mix of specialty syrups.

...So this is really isn't something you can compare to other craft-supply subscription boxes on the market. This isn't a collection of samples to put in your stash and probably never use. Instead, it's a complete new experience in a box, with extra resources on the web and in your zine. It's an invitation to make some tea and spend an afternoon exploring..

The Cannonball Collective Revival Kit

I was so inspired by the whole thing, that's exactly what I did - I blocked off a Saturday afternoon on my calendar so I could spend some time with the concept of revival. I made a nice pourover coffee, put my feet up, and enjoyed my zine. And then I went in search of something in my house that needed a bit of reviving.

Revived Potholders, made with The Cannonball Collective

I've been purging stuff lately, so I didn't have any garments around that were in need of mending. But I did find these terribly ratty 15 year-old potholders in my kitchen. (I know, I know, I could have made my own easily many times. But I'm terrible about making things for myself. And, ugly as these things are, they still protect my hands, you know?)

Anyway. In the spirit of just playing, I took my Japanese fabrics and cut them into smaller pieces. And then I just randomly started blanket-stitching them all over the surface of the potholders. I didn't worry too much about making them straight, or keeping my stitching particularly perfect. I just enjoyed the colors and the process.

Revived Potholders, made with The Cannonball Collective

...And along the way, I thought about how long I've had these potholders, how many apartments they've lived in and how many times they've moved with me. Funny how the serviceable things become so invisible. It was a nice feeling to take these long-suffering workhorses and give them a facelift (while simultaneously covering up multiple stains and scorch marks).

Revived Potholders, made with The Cannonball Collective

So now, they're still old and somewhat lumpy and funky, but they're also colorful and happy and they bring a smile to my face every time I open the kitchen drawer. So, Revival indeed! Thank you, Cannonball Collective, for a great creative challenge.

The Cannonball Collective subscription is a quarterly one, and you can opt out of any quarter ahead of time. You can get all the details over here. I'm interested to see what kinds of explorations these folks do in the future!


EPP MugRug Blog Hop

It's time for a new EPP blog hop, and this time, we're designing our own!

The Design-Your-Own Mug Rug Blog HopGenerally speaking, I'm not a big follower of patterns and instructions - I like to come up with my own designs. This is one of the reasons I love English paper piecing so much. There are so many analog and digital ways you can create own patterns and templates. In fact, there's a whole chapter on this subject in All Points Patchwork, and so I thought it would also be a fun blog-hop challenge.

So, this week five talented bloggers will each design an original EPP mug rug. I love the venerable mug rug as an EPP project - it's just substantial enough in size to really play with fitting shapes together, and yet small enough that you can enjoy your finished creation in the space of a weekend.

Here's our lineup of participants:

...And you can see what they've made by clicking the thumbnail images below. A new blog-hopper will appear there every day this week, so check back through Friday. Enjoy!

Using my Protect & Grip Thimble

Just a quick post to share some more nice stitchy things that have been going on lately…

American Patchwork & Quilting Podcast

I was thrilled to be a guest on Pat Sloan's American Patchwork & Quilting Podcast recently. We talked about EPP and APP, if you know what I mean. You can listen to the show right over here.

What Quilts Mean: a Series on Button Button

What Quilts Mean: A Series on Button Button

It was also an honor to be part of Julie Ryan's series on What Quilts Mean. She's collecting posts from quilt-makers of all stripes, sharing what the process of bringing a quilt to life brings in turn to our lives.

I wrote about this grey quilt I originally started making for Pushkin, about all the ways he helped and hindered my progress, and what the quilt means to me now that he's gone. It was a healing post to write. You can read it over here. Maybe you should bring some tissues.

Quilt!Knit!Stitch! 2015

Demo-ing EPP at Fabric DepotLast but not least, if you're in PDX, I hope you can visit the Quilt! Knit! Stitch! show next weekend. I'll be in the Fabric Depot booth, demo-ing some EPP goodness.

Got questions? Bring 'em. I love EPP questions! Want to learn how to baste any particular shape? I'll bring the templates and teach ya. Wanna share something you're making? I'd love to see!

Get details over here. The Depot has an amazing weekend of boot events lined up.

Tumbler Fish: a Free EPP Pattern

The EPP Borders Blog HopI couldn't resist adding my two cents to the EPP Borders Blog Hop, even though I wasn't an official participant.

Several weeks ago, I had one of those flashes of inspiration and came up with the idea of turning tumbler patches into little fishies. They work perfectly! And so I contacted the lovely folks at Paper Pieces, where I get my tumbler templates, and offered them a free Tumbler Fish pattern to share on their website.

Tumbler Fish, a Free English Paper Piecing PatternThey said yes, and so I came up with five cool designs for these fishies, some fabric suggestions, and a sheet of tumbler graph paper for designing on, and set up a free PDF - which you can grab right over here.

I think these little guys work a lot like hexie flowers - they're easy to assemble, and then you can make all kinds of designs with them depending on how you arrange your fabrics. And there are good opportunities to use fussy cuts on the body and tail sections!

Tumbler Fish, a Free EPP Pattern

Tumbler Fish: a Free EPP Pattern

For this baby blanket, I used a few rows from "School of Fish," one of the five designs in the free pattern, and then added an extra row of background fabrics along the top and bottom edges. I made my fish out of random scraps, and used five blue background fabrics (some subtle prints and some solids), mixing them up randomly.

(This is a good moment to mention that these fish work great with any size tumbler template - 1/2" long, 1", 1 1/2", or 2". It all depends on how big your project is and how big you want your fish. I'm using 1 1/2" tumblers here.)

Tumbler Fish Baby Blanket

I made a 33" long strip, which was a little longer than the width of my readymade baby blanket. My original plan was to have the patchwork go all the way to the bottom and both side edges of the blanket. But then the blanket I'd ordered arrived, and lo and behold, it had a blanket-stitched edge and rounded corners. Oops!

Tumbler Fish Baby Blanket

So I decided to simply have the patchwork strip fit within the end of the blanket. I whipped out my seam ripper and shortened it a bit. In craft and in life, curveballs show up and we improvise. :-)

Tumbler Fish Baby Blanket

I pressed my finished EPP border carefully, making sure I pressed all the sticky-out bits along the edges to the back (as you can see on the right side, above). Then I peeled out the templates, and pressed the whole thing once again.

Tumbler Fish Baby Blanket

I decided to embroider my fish eyes, so I used a circle template and a heat-soluble Frixion pen to draw a circle on each fish. Then I outlined each circle with a tiny back stitch and filled in with satin stitch.

Tumbler Fish Baby Blanket

I didn't want to use an embroidery hoop for fear of stretching my patchwork out of shape. So instead I simply stitched on the unstretched fabric. This is a technique I figured out from pure laziness, and I use it whenever I have just a tiny bit of stitching to do and a hoop is impractical. You can see in the photo how I'm holding the fabric; and I'm very gently pulling it taut with my fingers. Then when I stitch, I'm careful not to pull those stitches too tight.

Tumbler Fish Baby Blanket

From there, it was super straightforward - EPP borders are like that. First I placed the border on my blanket, measuring the distance from the bottom to make sure it was straight. Then I pinned the layers together all over. And then I machine stitched 1/8" from the outside edges.

Since this is such a large applique, I also wanted to anchor it at a bunch of internal points, so it would be more bonded to the blanket. I just "stitched in the ditch" along each line where fish heads met fish tails, as shown above.

Tumbler Fish: a Free EPP Pattern

...And that's that! If you make yourself some Tumbler Fish, I'd love to see what form they take. You can tag me on Instagram or shoot me an email.

Tumbler Fish: a Free EPP Pattern

The EPP Borders Blog HopIt's time for another fun English paper piecing blog hop to celebrate that book I may have mentioned writing. :-)

This month, six bloggers will be exploring interesting ways you can use EPP to make borders to dress up readymade things, like garments, totes, curtains, blankets, etc. This is an excellent way to get involved with EPP without having to sew thousands of patches together into a big quilt.

Here's our lineup:

Kelly Martinez, Craftypodes
Sara, Made By Sara
Tisha Nagal, Quilty Therapy
Stephanie Woodson, Swoodson Says
Virginia Crawford, Harriet's Hidden Blog

...And I'll be in there at the end, sharing more of those fishies you see above.

The linky below will update each day as each participant posts, so keep checking back for more excellent EPP ideas!


...And as with the other blog hops in this series, our friends at Clover have a nice giveaway prize. Just leave a comment on any participating blog, and you're entered to win a pack of their Applique Pins, which are super useful for making EPP borders. Be sure to click the Rafflecopter below to register your entry! International entries are welcome, and you have until August 9th to enter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway