You can WEAVE these??

Do you remember friendship bracelets? They were usually done with any color embroidery floss in a variety of designs, braids, and patterns. When I was younger, these were very popular. Some kids would make enough to cover nearly their entire forearms!
Well, friendship bracelets are still around, but here at Erica’s, we have something to spice up the idea of the classic friendship bracelet. It’s called a Rainbow Loom, and it’s become somewhat of a healthy obsession for a few of my younger cousins.

logoRainbow Loom projects consist of several little latex-free rubber bands that you can link together for endless possibilities in quick and simple-to-follow steps.
Newcomers  can start with a simple bracelet, and then work themselves up to more complex designs fitted for all skill levels. logoThe creator of Rainbow Loom has a youtube channel that takes you step-by-step through a large batch of projects, which makes the instructions much easier if you get stuck. There are even instructions on how to make a functional mini handbag! some people, once they get the hang of how to link the bands together, create their own designs.

logoSince they are composed of rubber bands, there is a stretch to the links so any jewelry piece you make will easily slip on and off, which sure beats the days of having to cut off a friendship bracelet to remove it. Specially made and latex-free, they are also safe for sensitive skin!

Everything you need to get started is included in the very affordable initial kit (pictured below). You’ll get a Rainbow Loom®, Mini Rainbow Loom®, hook, a bag of c-clips, instruction manual and 600+ mix rubber bands (colors may vary). With all of this, you can make up to 24 bracelets! We also have bags of 600+ rainbow bands with c-clips where you can pick your own favorite colors to craft with.

This new and creative craft is so much fun, and is already becoming very popular. It is bound to grow even more, especially through the holiday season, as word gets out.   Surely the Rainbow Loom is a perfect match for someone on your list this season!

(Image credit: Rainbow Loom)

(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. Some of the images on this post are also links!)

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.

That Perfect Fit

ImageAn interest in costuming brought me into the world of sewing, and so the majority of my own projects include original and replica designs for renaissance faires, theatrical productions, comic conventions, and of course, Halloween. (Example on the right is me and some of my male friends as Nintendo Characters.)

Sometimes, I work from a sketch as a reference, and the artist is forming the garments in a way that are pretty on paper, but a bit of a challenge to fabricate. Especially since some of the shapes need to be made from altering existing patterns. There are times when the alterations to the in the finished products end up working well and looking good, but I don’t actually alter the size.

I alter the form, which gives me the shape that I need for what the garment needs to look like..but it’s still not 100% custom fitted to the person wearing it. Rather, it still falls into a fit that is made for a range of sizes.

The numbers we see for measurement ranges on a pattern may not be a perfect match for everyone, because we are all different sizes. It is part of being beautifully diverse as humans. Just going by bust, waist, and hip measurements might not always work the best for what we’re trying to accomplish.

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Enter Fitting for Every Figure (A20783) from the editors of Threads magazine. This book passed my desk, as most of our new items do, and it had me as soon as I read the back description. I knew in an instant that this book was the cure to my pattern-drafting dilemma.

ImagePaying close attention to all skill levels, this book takes you through the many different ways to make your stitched garments fit like a glove. True to its title, it also covers several different body types in a detailed way, showing how to custom fit nearly any shape. It moves from altering manufactured patterns to drafting your own patterns. Image

One of my absolute favorite tutorials in this book was where it shows you step-by-step how to make a custom dress form out of duct tape!

The fact that they also explain a few different ways of how to make patterns from Imageexisting garments without ruining them was the selling point for me. I didn’t know that you could make a pattern out of painter’s tape, either! I now know that I don’t have to take apart clothing that I still love and wear with a seam ripper because I want to make something similar.

This book is an amazing reference for any sew-er at any skill level. Hundreds of detailed, color photos and easy-to-read instructions really help avoid any misunderstanding.

With Halloween coming up fast, maybe this might help you make some custom-fit costumes!

ImagePhotos are from Fitting for Every Figure.

 (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. Some of the images on this post are also links!)

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.

Such a cute craft!

Say, have you heard about Amigurumi? It is probably one of my favorite craft forms, and it’s becoming more popular by the day! Amigurumi is the Japanese art of knitting or crocheting stuffed animals and characters, and it literally translates from “Ami,” the Japanese word for knitted or crocheted, and “nuigurumi,” the Japanese word for stuffed doll. Most amigurumi are creations from yarn, and they can be knitted or crocheted, depending on your preference, though most people tend to crochet them. Gauges need to be tight since the amigurumi are stuffed.  From having a dog that used to chew holes in my own stuffed animals, I can say that if you can see the stuffing, it’ll probably find a way out!

To prevent this, most people use smaller Imageneedles or hooks than they would use on a typical knit or crochet project. Some amigurimi have limbs, which are actually crocheted or knitted separately, and attached closer to the end of the project. Those that do not have limbs fall into a common “Kokeshi” style of Japanese doll, shown at right.

This style of nuigurumi Imageis intended to be cute, and many of the features tend to be exaggerated to an almost animated extent. For example, there may be no nose or even mouth, and the eyes are enlarged, or the head is quite usually at least about 1/3 the size of the body. That said, it’s all a mater of personal preference. There are many ways to make yours come out looking adorable!

Image - Pattern FrontFor anyone interested in amigurumi, Erica’s happens to be a haven for the supplies needed! We have books with instructions and tons of pictures to get you started. No matter if you prefer knitting or crochet, you will find both available to you. Most of them even have patterns! A great place to start might be Mini Christmas Crochet (A19803)
by Val Pierce, which has Christmas-themed patterns for these cute little creatures in a very easy-to-follow layout.


A Zoo for You (26869) by Cindy Harris is another that walks you through making a whole zoo of little amigurumi animals for really cute decorations, fun toys, or even stocking stuffers that’ll light up your favorite animal lover! Some of the 11 animals this book offers are pictured here on the left!

Image - Pattern Front

Knitted Meerkats (A17951) by Sue Stratford shows you how to make a cute family of meerkats, with 20 different looks! Once you pick up more skill, it’s not difficult to draft your own designs, since there are so many poses and shapes to choose from!

As for your materials, we have felt and buttons that you may need for detailing, and our enormous yarn department has you covered with everything else! The possibilities with colors and textures are absolutely endless! Depending on what you decide to use from baby soft to sport, or fine and silky to bulky and plush, no two amigurimi will be the same!

(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. Some of the images on this post are also links!)

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.).

Magical Knitting

I was adding to our site some of the recent books and magazines we’ve received, when I stumbled across one that really caught my eye, especially since yesterday marked the birthday of the original mind behind the book series itself. It’s a Harry Potter Imageinspired knitting magazine: The Unofficial Harry Potter Knits. Flipping through the pages, some of these sweaters and accessories are just too cute to pass up! I have to admit, like several people, I am a fan of the books by J.K Rowling as well as the films from Universal. And my creative drive is heightened by themed projects, so you can imagine I was thumbing through this magazine for quite a time. ImageI absolutely love the fact that the designers went through and told why they created the designs that they did and what aspect of the series inspired each design.

These projects (There are over 30 of them!) have step-by-step instructions, and would be great trendy gifts, even for people who aren’t Harry Potter fans! ImageSince so many crafty people have Christmas on the mind, you should know that there is gift potential in this magazine and its projects. I know plenty of people I can start making some of these for, and with the Harry Potter movies in the top 40 highest grossing films of all time, I’m sure you’ve got a fan somewhere in your life, too.Image

(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. Some of the images on this post are also links!)

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.)

Steam-A-Seam, Take Two!

ImageAs Crafters from all different reaches of the creative world, most of us have heard of and used Steam-A-Seam. For those of you who haven’t, it’s an iron-on adhesive for applique and all kinds of other things, even hemming!.

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Personally, I’ve used it on many of my costume projects, (one is shown at the right) and have found it very useful. It’s really a go-to product line for any applique needs. Though I remember having to be really careful when ironing, since it separated a bit easily, sometimes before I’m finished ironing..which did not turn me away from the product by any means, but I did have to take extra care while working with it.

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The Warm Company now has a totally new and improved line of Steam-A-Seam products, some in stock and some coming soon.  The problem before, as I said, was keeping the paper liner firmly attached to the fusible web.

New and Improved, these great products became even more convenient. They’ve replaced the paper backing with a much friendlier material. It’s thicker, for easier, more accurate cutting, and you can clearly mark on it with a pencil without smudges, so you can see what you’re doing! Also, if there’s a bit left over, you can put it back on  the paper liner to use later on.

I got my hands on some of this last night, since we sell it for a very affordable price here at Erica’s. You can get it in packs or by the yard, and both come with detailed instructions. It’s a hundred times easier to work with, and I am so excited to use more of this in my future projects! Believe me when I say I will have some pretty neat pictures for you next time!

Image(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. Some of the images on this post are also links!)

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.)

Christmas in (Almost) July

Have you ever seen a design in a book and decided you would really like to try your hand at recreating it? Of course you have; we all have! I find myself often getting inspired when I thumb through a magazine or a book full of colorful ideas, as I work here at the store! Image

Well, I wrote a few weeks back about how Summer is the best time to start your winter projects, and so when I ran across this book by Nancy Halvorsen of Art to Heart, for Benartex’s “Ho Ho Ho Let it Snow!” fabric line, I just had to squeeze in another bit of Christmas in (almost) July.

The Ho Ho Ho Let it Snow line has been up for a little while now, as has this book, but what we have done is create project packs for the fun things that you see in the book! You can also purchase the buttons and fabric separate, so if you want to use them for other projects, or try something different with the book’s ideas, you can do just that!

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Why not make some of these projects? Pillows, Quilts, Mini Quilts, Mug Rugs, and Ornaments can make wonderful gifts. As always, we would love to see what you come up with!

(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. Some of the images on this post are also links!)

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.)

Turn up the Shine

Remember when I was talking about those gloomy, cold days a few weeks ago? As we all had been crossing our fingers for, Summer is finally starting to show its colors! It has been wonderful!
So, imagine my surprise when a shipment full of Christmas fabric came in! Santas and Snowmen in red and green were lounging next to my desk, and I actually had to ask someone if we had meant to get these fabrics at a different time. May seems a tad soon for Christmas, right? Well, not in the world of sewing and crafting.
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Planning in advance is the best way to stay on top of your projects. That’s  why here at Erica’s, we have started getting more and more holiday and winter fabrics. 

One is festive Stonehenge Starry Night from Northcott.
This fabric is absolutely lovely, with the perfect amount of holiday glimmer. But what really caught my attention with this line is the free pattern idea that came from Northcott using this fabric.

ImageCheck it out! Adding real sparkle to the printed sparkle is sure to create a lasting glow. Northcott’s easy instructions: create  holes with grommets, a button hole stitch or use a fabric adhesive to stop fraying. Pop the lights through the holes and create a small pocket on the back to hold the battery pack. You could probably put it in a frame if you want to use it as a wall hanging.  And for those that don’t want to think about winter yet, what about making a patriotic wall hanging where the stars actually shine? Or giving a glow to a world of Fairies for a little girl’s room?

I’d love to hear what other ideas you can come up with! Feel free to share them and maybe by the end of this summer, we will have completed projects that really light up!

(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. Some of the images on this post are also links!)

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.