Paper Crafts for Children
“Mum, we’re bored.” Have you heard this already these school holidays? Don’t panic here are a few more inexpensive craft activities that should keep the kids occupied for a little while. You might even make some and use in your own craft projects.
Double Dip Delight
You will need:
Variety of Different Paper. Images are paper towel; use normal photocopy paper, watercolour. Even newspaper works.
Acrylic Paints or Food
Containers for colours
Method: Squeeze paint into containers. Add water to the acrylic paint until its very runny. Fold paper into
small shapes; squares, diagonals, etc. Dip 1 corner into a colour very briefly, in and out quickly. Dip another corner into another colour. Refold the paper and continue dipping until the paper is completely coloured. Leave to dry. Do not try and unfold while wet. The paper is very fragile and will tear. As an
alternative to folding you can crumple the paper before dipping. Paper can framed, used in gift cards or scrapbook projects.
You will need: Corrugated cardboard, can be
purchased from a bargain shop or recycle an old cardboard box.
Water Spray bottle
Method: Draw the outline of a shape onto the corrugated cardboard. The kids colouring books are great for inspiration. Cut out this shape. Using the spray bottle mist water over the white paper. Don’t make it too wet or it will tear. Lay the cardboard shape flat and then place the wet paper on top. Using your finger, gently push the paper into the edge of the cardboard. Now place layers of paper towel on top. This
will absorb excess water. Weight with a heavy object until dry. Once dry the finished embossed artwork can be painted.
This post was first published here on 30th September, 2007.
Chicken Scratch Embroidery is a type of embroidery worked on gingham fabric. It is also known as Snowflake Embroidery, Depression Lace or Gingham Lace. The exact origins of this craft are unclear as is the origins of the name ‘Chicken Scratch’. Chicken Scratch embroidery is worked on gingham
fabric and uses 3 embroidery stitches. Couldn’t be simpler. In fact many of us can probably recall being given a piece of gingham, needle and thread as children to sew with.
The needle should have a long eye and a sharp point, a number 20 Chenille or number 5 embroidery needle are perfect. The thread is embroidery floss or stranded cotton. White is the colour of choice but
you can certainly experiment for different effects. The number of strands you choose to use will alter the finished look again experiment.
Chicken Scratch is worked from a chart; anyone familiar with Cross Stitch charts will be able to follow one. Before beginning to stitch it is important to measure you fabric. Do not guess this. While gingham checks come in a variety of sizes most are not square. Measure the number of gingham squares in 1 inch of fabric, top to bottom and side-to-side. This will determine the stitch count necessary for your project. If you do not do this accurately you may find that you don’t have enough fabric to finish the work.
Work Chicken Scratch in a hoop. Remove the fabric from the hoop when not working. Some of the
gingham fabrics are very fine and they will mark if left in the hoop for long periods. The stitches used for Chicken Scratch are already familiar to most Stitchers. The Double Cross Stitch, the Straight Running Stitch and the Woven Circle Stitch are worked in various combinations to produce a multitude of patterns. The Double Cross Stitch may be more familiar to some Stitchers as Smyrna Stitch. Chicken Scratch is worked in order. The outline is completed first. The Double Cross Stitch is worked next followed by the Running Stitch. The Woven Circle Stitches are worked last.
If you are unfamiliar with any of the stitches used in Chicken Scratch a quick ‘google’ will reap you many
This post was first published here on 28th August 2008.
A Cultural Journey Through Blackwork.
Blackwork is one of the most popular forms of embroidery. Worked with black thread on white evenweave fabric it also one of the most striking. The popularity of Blackwork can be traced back to the reign of Henry VIII. Henry’s wife, Catherine of Aragon (the first wife) was an accomplished embroiderer and
is believed to have embellished her clothes with this work.
Blackwork is a counted method of embroidery using geometric alignment of stitches to create the pattern. It is considered a forerunner to cross-stitch. The use of Aida cloth is an ideal evenweave fabric for a beginner. Traditionally Holbein Stitch was used to create straight lines. Holbein stitch is a double running
stitch similar to back stitch. In this case the needle is brought up between the previously stitched thread to ensure that finished stitch lies flat. Today most Blackwork stitches use backstitch. Other stitches were used to create shading. They include Split Stitch, Stem Stitch, Chain Stitch and Coral Stitch.
Three styles of Blackwork developed. Linear, Reversible Blackwork, this is the style most of us associate with Blackwork. Traditionally worked on collars and cuffs this style was worked in bands to looks the same from the front and back. The Holbein Stitch was used to create this style due to its flatness and ability to hide the starting and finishing thread.
This image is of one of Trishalan Designs Blackwork Designs on Aida Cloth.
The second style was Free Form with Geometric Fill patterns. This style developed a little later and incorporated shapes resembling leaves, flowers, etc. The fill patterns were stitched with chain stitch, coral stitch and stem stitch. During the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1st this style of Blackwork was found on household items and the large billowy sleeves favoured at this time. The last style was the use of Outlined Motifs. The outlined motifs were found stitched in a random manner and also within a lattice pattern.
In my opinion, Blackwork is a little more challenging than cross stitch and a little less time consuming than fancywork. Start with a simple pattern and have a go, you will be very happy with the result.
This post was first published here on 28th April, 2008.
Recycling Old Denim
Crazy! I have certainly been feeling a little bit this way.
From having my computer skills tested to the limit while trying to sort out codes etc for this blog and finishing a beaded tassel for a kumihimo braid its been one of those weeks.
I've decided that is I'm going to feel crazy I may as well act out - in the craft sense.
Its been ages since I've indulged in some crazy patchwork. The photo is part of a denim bag I made using my hand dyed threads. The motif isn't one of my designs. It featured in a Handmade Magazine a
couple of years ago. I shrunk the original design before stitching. The denim pieces were collected from the end of season sell off at a second hand clothing shop. Fill a bag for $2. This meant that I got lots of different colours without having to buy minimum quantities. The bag is huge. I use it to cart my craft
stuff from home to the shop.
I love crazy patchwork. Okay, I'm not keen on the patchwork part but I do love the hand embroidery. I'm now inspired to use some of my hand dyed fabric to make a smaller bag. Keep checking back for
updates. I'll post a photo of the fabric when I finally decide which bits I'm going to use.
This post was first published here on 13th April, 2007.
This is the second braid I have attempted from Makiko Tada's book the Comprehensive Treatise of Braids III - Takadai Braids 1. I have used the mercerised cotton (un-stranded) I bought in the US this year
Mixed results from this attempt. The black has formed into 'ripples' yet the purples/cream aren't quite doing the same yet they are the same thread. You shouldn't see them showing under the 1:1 braiding either. I'll try this again with some warped threads and experiment with the tama weights to see if I can get it t look like the picture in the book. Back to the takadia.
Experiments With New Yarns
When we were in the US this year I purchased some Bamboo yarn with the intention of dyeing it before braiding. I wanted to see how it took dye. I never got around to dyeing it but I have braided it.
Next time I have the dye gloves on I will pop this braid in. I still want to see how it dyes. I'll be buying more bamboo when we are travelling this year.
This silver yarn is easy to braid with either blended with another yarn or on its own. These braids both started with the set up on page 10 of Jennie Parry's Texture & Edges for Takadai Braids.
The top braid was created using the following steps; Move 1 & 2 were repeated 6 times. Moves 3 & 4 were repeated 2 times however 5 tama were moved through instead of the 3 stated in the instructions.
The bottom braid was created using the following steps; Moves 1 & 2 were repeated 6 times. Moves 3 & 4 were repeated 6 times however 5 tama were moved through instead of the 3 stated in the instructions.
More Braids from Jennie Parry's Book
These 2 braids were finished a couple of weeks ago but as the battery was flat on the camera I wasn't able to share. Finally plugged in the charger and took a couple of quick snaps.
The braid on the left is from page 42 of Jennie's book, Textures & Edges for Takadai Braids. Moves 1 & 2 were worked 6 times each. Moves 3 & 4 were worked twice.
The braid on the right is from page 17. The primary thread was the silver with the thicker grey thread as the accent. The braid structure resulted in a wider braid than the left hand braid. Below is the colour placement. The coloured dot represents the grey thread.
Whoever would have thought that the simple notion of crossing two threads to create a picture would create one of the world’s most popular crafts? Well apparently the Ancient Egyptians! The earliest piece of cloth found to include cross-stitch has been dated to the 6th century. It wasn’t until the early 1800’s that Cross Stitch started to become recognised as a craft in itself. A German printer named Phillipson started to create blocked and coloured patterns for mass production. By 1840, over 14,000 designs were printed yearly! The intervening years have seen cross stitching’s popularity seesaw. Today, as with many other embroidery techniques, Cross Stitch is again enjoying resurgence.
Cross-stitch is a form of counted thread embroidery that can be quite inexpensive to start. I can recall my Grandmother giving us napkin sized pieces of checked gingham to Cross Stitch. My mother still uses these today. To easily count the threads most stitches choose to use evenweave fabrics such as Linen,
Cotton or Aida. Aida Cloth is available in 11, 14, 16, 18, and 22 count sizes and many different colours. The sizes of Aida and Evenweave types denote the approximate number of threads woven per inch. The count of the fabric will affect the finished size of the picture.
Stitchers work from charts with colours and symbols identifying the correct colour placement. The chart will also identify the preferred fabric. This form of cross-stitch is called Counted Cross-Stitch. Cross Stitch can also be completed on aida or canvas where the design has been pre-printed. This is referred to as
Stamped Cross Stitch. This is very popular with Children’s starter kits.
Today’s Cross Stitchers have lots of new development to enjoy within their chosen craft. Stitchers are exploring the uses of creative stitchers in order to create new visual effects and are often choosing to embellish their finished work with beads, buttons and charms. Cross Stitch design computer software is
readily available and simple to use, even for the most computer challenged amongst us. These software programs have allowed the stitcher to create their own charts rather than simply recreating a commercial pattern.
Cross stitching is simple and relaxing. You won’t complete a piece in one sitting so don’t try. Just start counting!
This post was first published here on 21st August, 2007.
The images are of Trishalan Designs Cross Stitch Charts.
A Little Cheer for Me
The poor Postie must be sick of knocking on my door at the moment. Everyday there is another parcel arriving.
Her latest delivery has seen my Kumihimo books arrive from Braidershand. Super quick delivery from the US especially at this time of year. These should keep me very busy.