If you're anything like me and you sew frequently, eventually you accumulate quite a few empty plastic thread spools. I have a hard time throwing something like that into the trash, preferring to find a way to reuse or recycle it. Today I'll share how you can turn your empty thread spool into an adorable wool roving-covered sheep!
Trace the outline of your thread spool onto the white felt. Cut out two white circles to cover the ends of your spool. Cut a rounded-edge triangle out of the black felt (you can eyeball this based on the size of your thread spool.) Also cut two ear shapes from the black felt. Hot glue the white circles onto the ends of the spool. It helps to remove the labels from the manufacturer first, as some labels are plastic and will melt and curl with the hot glue.
Using white embroidery floss, embroider a mouth and two eyes (I used French knots for the eyes). Hot glue this onto one of the white circles at the end of your thread spool.
With a sharpie pen, mark four spots for positioning legs. This will be different depending on the size of your spool, but you can space the front legs 1/2" apart, and the front from the back legs 1".
Using your drill, make four holes where you marked. This is easier than you think! Don't fear the power tools, but wear safety glasses, please, just in case.
Select 4 eye pins to use for legs.
Place the eye pins into the holes as far as they will go and hot glue in place. Don't worry about being messy with this part as it will be covered up by the roving in the next step.
Take some roving (how much is entirely up to you), and wrap around the thread spool, gluing in spots to hold it all in place. Bend the "legs" to make "feet" so that your sheep can stand up on its own. You can do this with just your fingers, or needle nose pliers.
Separate a small slot in the roving for ears, and hot glue them into place.
Congratulations! You've re-purposed an empty thread spool into an adorable sheep! Do you have ways to reuse thread spools? I would love to hear from you in the comments!
This is a project whose direction I didn't know when I started, but it ended up being a bag just for me.
I've been fascinated by this feather print fabric from Hawthorne Threads for months. As you've read in recent posts, my interest in embroidery has taken off recently, and this feather bag is an intersection of the two. Here are some close up pics of the clutch-sized outcome.
This lovely little bag has found a permanent home corralling receipts and cards in my larger everyday handbag. I smile every time I reach for it!
Whenever I have a new idea for a product, there is a long road that takes the idea from my head to a sellable product. Today I'm going to share the many "rejects" that lead up to a new embroidery design I've developed. These steps don't include whatever final product into which the embroidery is incorporated, but I thought you might like to see the many versions (and many hours of sewing) that went into my design process.
TOO BIG. This is not a realistic scale for me to put on a zippered pouch or knitting needle case. Plus, I need to be working with a linen fabric. This substrate was really difficult to pierce with the embroidery needle (making for ouchy fingers).
The needle is still far too large.
The scale is better, but I think I need to go more 1-dimension with the knitting needle, not 2-D.
I like the needles! But now I don't like the unevenness of the stitch gauge. The stitches need to be evenly spaced from top to bottom. Though, I do think this one is adorable in its wonkiness.
The stitch gauge works! The needles work! I even like the juxtaposition of the needles to one another. But the needles need to be the same size (doh!). And, I'm not keen on the stitches "wrapped" around the needle.
Ahhhhhh, this looks just about right. But, those stitches at the bottom aren't accurate. They bug me and look unfinished. One more adjustment...
Finally! I'm satisfied with this version. Now, quick--write down exactly how I did it do I don't forget a month from now. And, hurry up and make a bunch of them whenever I'm waiting for kid activities to see how long one takes (to try to attach a fair wage labor price to the handwork. Emphasis on try).
Now I'm ready to turn these into actual products. What to make?? I have some ideas, but would love to hear from you in the comments!
Things have got to change around here, my friends. I love sewing, I love working for myself, and I love the flexibility of running a handmade business from my home. The key word in all of the above is business. Dancing Threads RI is most definitely a business venture for me, and as such, it needs to be profitable.
2015 was not a successful year for my business. The end of the year provides the perfect opportunity to analyze numbers and see what works, what doesn't. A whole lot of last year didn't work out the way I had hoped. I took some risks (The Makers Studio in Portsmouth) and did a lot of things the same way I had the prior two (successful) years. The end of year numbers are rather bleak. Lets just say they are not what I had in mind for working 30-40 hours a week.
I don't tell you all of this to air my dirty laundry or garner sympathy. This is business, and I need to follow the sales or else close shop. End of story.
From now on, my Etsy shop and booth at artisan fairs will be chock-full of knitting and crochet accessories: project bags and totes, knitting needle cases, crochet hook rolls, notions zippered pouches and a few new ideas debuting soon. I've been making them for the past 2 years, but will now focus solely on those products.
As far as you will see in my online storefront, there will no longer be snack and produce bags. No wet bags or shopping totes. However, I will never turn away a request to make these items! You also will find some of them categorized differently. Here are some examples:
Former: Beach Tote
New: Knitting Project Bag
Same design, same dimensions, but different fabric choices. If you would like a beach tote, just ask for me to line it in PUL. No problem!
Former: Cosmetic Bag
New: Project Bag or Sock Sack
Again, same dimensions and design, but the fabric choices will be geared towards yarn lovers.
Former: Shopping Tote
New: Project Bag
Same description as above. The keywords will be very similar if you do an Etsy search.
If there's something you *really* want to purchase, and don't see, but you've bought it from me in the past, please just ask.
Each and every customer, whether I've had the pleasure of meeting you in person or not, is truly valuable to me. I appreciate your support the past 4 years! BUT, in order for me to stay in business, my shop needs products that sell, a laser focus, a new approach to marketing, and a fresh start.
I wanted to be honest with you so that no one is caught by surprise or feels like I've lost my marbles. It's become very clear over the past 6 months that this is a necessary change.
Right now, as I transition my product inventory, I'm having a clearance sale in my Etsy shop. Huge discounts on snack and produce bags, as well as clutch handbags. Take advantage while it lasts!
I hope you will continue to think of Dancing Threads RI if you or someone you love knits and/or crochets. I appreciate your continued support, and hope that these changes lead to a successful 2016!
As co-owner of Stitchery in Portsmouth, RI, I teach sewing classes to children and adults. Welcome to my blog Dancing Threads RI.