About Jennifer Crutchfield

Jennifer is a crafter and freelance writer living in Northern Indiana.

Locker Hooking 101

Locker HookingThe most fun and relaxing craft that you might not be doing is called Locker Hooking. It’s a personal favorite of mine since I love to create larger scale projects with minimal cost and enjoy the process along the way. Locker hooking is one of the most relaxing creative processes I have tried.

The basic tools are pretty straightforward.  You need mesh canvas for your base, fabric strips to create the design, locker hooking twine (86992) (or yarn), and your locker hook (86993). A locker hook looks just like a crochet hook, except that it has an additional eye on the opposite end of the hook, which is how you pull the yarn through your fabric loops.

Locker Hook rug in progress

As you can see above, your fabric strips sit below the mesh, so you can pull loops up, and then “lock” them with your twine/yarn. When you come to the end of your yarn, you just tie a knot and go on. The knot will be hidden inside your loops.

While I tend to focus primarily on making rugs, you can make just about anything using locker hooking. We have several great books full of ideas how to embellish your life with locker hooking. Kathleen’s Fabric Locker Hooking (18004) is great for a beginner with all of the basics covered well. Once you’ve mastered the process you might want to move on to home decor and fashion accessories with Hook, Loop & Lock (44063).  Take a look at all our Locker Hooking books and supplies..

booksAs always, please let us know what you decide to make, and send pictures! Until then, happy hooking!

(To find an item on our web page after clicking on the highlighted words, hold down the “Ctrl” key and touch F.  Enter the item number in the box, press enter, and you’ll be taken to that item.)

Remember, you can see What’s New at Erica’s almost every day! Any page of our website has a column on the left that tells you where to find things, and all you have to do is look for “New Items” in purple, and click to find out.

Who’s Your Valentine?

No matter who’s on your list for Valentine’s Day, you’ll want to take a look at the fun projects we’ve collected just for this special holiday. On our Valentine’s Day page you’ll find projects from cross stitch to quilting for gift giving or home decor.

Vintage Love Model and Fabric Pack

Cathy Mark just recently finished the adorable model for Vintage Love (A20410), at right, that works up quickly so you still have time to finish it before the holiday. We’ve even made up the fabric pack (A24403) so you can get right to work.

Tea Towels Apron SetOne of my favorites on the Valentine’s page has been the Just Two Tea Towels Love Set (A15555) by the Wooden Bear. I love appliqué and the flowers remind me of spring. What could be better than cooking Valentine’s dinner in the apron you just made?

We also have a new pattern from Kimberbell Designs, the Be Mine Table Runner and Tea Towel Set (A25639). I have used their Personalized Name Pillows pattern (A18937) and this new pattern looks to be just as much fun to make!A19332

Maybe you’ve already got a project started and you just need to add that finishing touch. Be sure to take a look at our Valentine’s buttons and embellishments. You might find just what you need to make your project perfect!

Of course, sometimes you just need a ready-made gift to share with someone special. You’ll find love themed coasters (A20043 and A20044), note cards any quilter would love, and even an e-reader stand for the tech lover in your life.

You might even have Valentine’s Day all wrapped up for this year and find yourself looking ahead for next year. (You’re so clever that way.) In that case be sure to take a look at our Valentine’s fabrics. They’re listed at the top of the Valentine’s Day seasonal page, but my favorite line seems to be Surrounded by Love from Moda. You can even get some English paper piecing practice in with our Surrounded by Love Paper Piecing Kit (A23274).Surrounded by Love Paper Piecing Kit

Whether you’re making for yourself or for someone else on your list this holiday, we hope you’ll enjoy the process, and share your pictures with us!

(To find an item on our web page after clicking on the highlighted words, hold down the “Ctrl” key and touch F.  Enter the item number in the box, press enter, and you’ll be taken to that item.)

Remember, you can see What’s New at Erica’s almost every day! Any page of our website has a column on the left that tells you where to find things, and all you have to do is look for “New Items” in purple, and click to find out.

Pineapple Quilt Blocks

Aside

Do you know what I am super thankful for? The fact that I am a quilter in the year 2013. I can’t even imagine trying to do this in the year 1913, or even 1953. Did you know that the rotary cutter was not even introduced until 1979? That just blows my mind.

With half a glance around our quilt department, you can find so many useful tools for making complex quilts more easily. Creative Grids is just one company supplying amazing tools for making our quilting lives easier, and for some of us, even possible.

I’ve never even considered attempting to make a pineapple block before today. But with the help of the Creative Grids Pineapple Trim Tool (A12669), I made some today and I must say, it’s amazing how simple it really can be.

Great Grid Pineapple Trim Tool

The basic concept with the “trim tools” is that you trim each round after it’s added, basically ensuring that your blocks end up the appropriate size. Trust me, I’m never going to win an award for accurate piecing. These tools are helping me make great looking quilts anyway.

Creative Grids Pineapple Trim Tool

After sewing only four rounds and the “dog ear” corners, you end up with a six inch block. Using the same tool, you can add more rounds to make either eight or ten inch blocks.

I used to prefer what I called “real rulers” with clearly marked inches, etc, to “templates” such as these.  At this point though, I’m totally convinced and thrilled to be able to have the choice of using these tools to make quilting so much easier and so much more accessible. I hope you’ll check out when we talked about using the Log Cabin Trim Tool (A16764), also from Creative Grids.

This model of the Tropical Fruit quilt (A23004) is currently hanging in the store, just daring me to try and make it.

Image

In this close up block you can see that this is the ten inch block, with eight rounds. I will admit, it does take some time to make each of these blocks, especially in the beginning when you’re learning to use the tool. Of course, everybody gets quicker with practice. You’ll also be sewing over lots of seams so you’ll want to make sure they end up the right direction on the back side of your blocks. I had several trying to flip themselves over in the beginning. Image

So I’m thinking my six-year-old, Sarah, would love this quilt in her favorite color, rainbow. Of course, you can see that I made my blocks today using some of my favorite French General fabrics, of which I have way too much. I would also love to give it a try in some non-traditional Christmas colors, maybe silver and blue, or some darker reds and greens with creamy whites. What do you think? As always, please let us know what you think and we love to see pictures of your finished pieces!

Until next time,

Jennifer

Side note from Erica:  I was around when the rotary tool was introduced, and there was only one manufacturer and one size.  I remember thinking, “That’ll never last!”  LOL!

(To find an item on our web page after clicking on the highlighted words, hold down the “Ctrl” key and touch F.  Enter the item number in the box, press enter, and you’ll be taken to that item.)

Remember, you can see What’s New at Erica’s almost every day! Any page of our website has a column on the left that tells you where to find things, and all you have to do is look for “New Items” in purple, and click to find out.

Attention Scrapbookers!

Yep, that’s right. Scrapbookers. We have one of your favorites, Tim Holtz, in the store. Well, not really actually Tim. But, you know, his fabrics from Coats.

Eclectic Elements from Tim Holtz

At Quilt Market this past fall he debuted his very first fabric line to coordinate with his Idea-ology products. You’ll love the vintage feel of the Eclectic Elements line. From the ticking stripes, to the butterflies, to the over-sized lettering and numbers, you’ll get the sense that it’s so familiar and comfortable, even though it’s never been offered before.

Eclectic Elements charm pack

Tim uses the phrase “art of the everyday” when describing how important it is that our art reflects out own personal tastes and personality. This fabric line so wonderfully reflects the warmth and imagination that I think so many of us want to convey in our projects. As always, we hope you’ll let us know what you think and when you’ve finished your projects with this wonderfully creative fabric line.

Tim Holtz Eclectic Elements

(To find an item on our web page after clicking on the highlighted words, hold down the “Ctrl” key and touch F.  Enter the item number in the box, press enter, and you’ll be taken to that item.)

Remember, you can see What’s New at Erica’s almost every day! Any page of our website has a column on the left that tells you where to find things, and all you have to do is look for “New Items” in purple, and click to find out.

English Paper Piecing

Tree Skirt Display

We started bringing our Christmas ornaments out of storage at home this past week and there were a few things I just couldn’t find. I haven’t figured out yet if they’re packed away someplace odd or if I gave away some things without remembering. One thing we actually haven’t used in a couple of years is a tree skirt because I just haven’t really found one that I liked. It may be time to make one for myself.

The skirt in the display above is made using English Paper Piecing. We’ve talked before about my love for hexagons, so this just seems like a great idea to me. You can use any size hexagons you’d like, but the skirt above is made using the 3/4″ pieces (A21116). These are the perfect size for use with 2-1/2″ pre-cut fabric squares. As you can see in the picture below, they fit perfectly and you only have to remove a very small amount of fabric from the corners.Trim & Baste

If you’re new to English Paper Piecing, you can give it a try by using our Beginner Paper Piecing Kits (A21178 and A21179), which include everything you need to get started; a charm pack, thread, a needle, paper pieces, and instructions!Starter Kit A21179

One reason I really love paper piecing is that it’s so simple to work on a little bit at a time. It’s super simple to do your basting while watching television with your family. Then you can work on sewing together your pieces while you’re sitting in the car pool lane. I also really love that they can be used as a quilt top or applied as applique to your quilt top, either by hand or by machine. The possibilities are endless!

Even if you’re not interested in working on a tree skirt, there are so many projects you can get started on making with English Paper Piecing. And there are so many pre-cut shapes, not just hexagons. I’m only slightly less obsessed with dresden plates than I am hexagons. Maybe I’ll go on about those another time.

Well, I think we all know what I’ll be working on this weekend. How about you?

Jennifer

(To find an item on our web page after clicking on the highlighted words, hold down the “Ctrl” key and touch F.  Enter the item number in the box, press enter, and you’ll be taken to that item.)

Remember, you can see What’s New at Erica’s almost every day! Any page of our website has a column on the left that tells you where to find things, and all you have to do is look for “New Items” in purple, and click to find out.

Make your list and check it twice

I don’t know about you, but I’m getting pretty excited already. That spot on top of the hutch where I “hide” gifts I bought early over the summer? It’s pretty full. I’m going to have to find a new hiding place.

The good news is that Erica’s can make gift giving for sew-ers and quilters on your list super easy! I’ve decided that my favorite idea for this year is using the new Viewtainer containers to put together a great little kit or package all in itself! These shorter ones are perfect for buttons, a few spools of embroidery thread, or some marking and measuring tools.

Viewtainer Short

These taller ones though, just might be my favorites. On the right we have some Valdani Threads along with a ruler (45153), some needles (A10653), and a pretty pair of scissors (52850). On the left there are three fat quarters, a pin tin (A18505), a Quilt & Print Viewer (29894), a pair of tweezers (A22241), and a gift card (which could, of course, fit in any of them)!

Viewtainer Tall

Seriously, if you’re on my list, you’re likely to get one of these. They’re just too much fun to put together.

You can also do some one-stop shopping here at Erica’s because we have fun things for almost everyone on your list. From coasters, to calendars, to puzzles, you can get a big chunk of your shopping done in one stop!

Remember to pick up a little something for yourself, such as some cozy socks to warm up your toes and a hot chocolate mug (A19108) to help warm your insides!

Gotta go make my list! See you next time!

Jennifer

(To find an item on our web page after clicking on the highlighted words, hold down the “Ctrl” key and touch F.  Enter the item number in the box, press enter, and you’ll be taken to that item.)

Remember, you can see What’s New at Erica’s almost every day! Any page of our website has a column on the left that tells you where to find things, and all you have to do is look for “New Items” in purple, and click to find out.

Trees for Sale!

The pattern of the day around here today is Trees for Sale (43242) by Pieces from My Heart. It’s a freezer paper piecing pattern that is so simple to use with a pre-cut layer cake fabric set. If you’re really adventurous you could use scraps, just making sure that your pieces are at least 10″ x 10″ each.

It’s difficult to show you exactly how easy this pattern is without giving away all of it’s secrets, but, here’s just a little hint.

pieces

The pattern really simplifies the cutting and piecing process, making the whole project quick and relatively simple. And since all of the seams within the block are floating, there’s no matching seams! Each block is pieced and then cut to size. Easy peasy!

We have three projects in the store right now. One still being pieced, made with Nature’s Christmas Fabric Pack  (A23215):

version 1

One finished quilt top, made with Christmas Countdown Fabrics:

version 2 quilt top

And one completed quilt, made using the Holiday in the Pines Fabric Pack (A21176).

version 3 quilted

I also love the backing on that last one

backing

We have so many layer cakes to choose from, you can easily make your quilt reflect your own or a loved one’s tastes.

I hope you’ll try it and send us a picture when you’ve finished! If you’d like to work with a group and you’re local you can join our class at the store starting December 3rd, running for two weeks, 6:30-9pm. Maybe I’ll see you there!

Jennifer

(To find an item on our web page after clicking on the highlighted words, hold down the “Ctrl” key and touch F.  Enter the item number in the box, press enter, and you’ll be taken to that item.)

Remember, you can see What’s New at Erica’s almost every day! Any page of our website has a column on the left that tells you where to find things, and all you have to do is look for “New Items” in purple, and click to find out.