Monday, March 11, 2013

New Design "Krazy Kats" and Part 2 Tutorial on How to Make It!

Many of you heard about my latest design, "Krazy Kats," a great little 15" candle mat.  The pattern and kit are ready!  This 15" candle mat is fun to make and works up quickly because there aren't a lot of little pieces you need to stitch around (the smallest pieces are bonded on with fusible webbing). The pattern is $9.99 or the kit/pattern combo is $27.99, you can get them both here with a special 10% off this week.  Just enter the code "10 PERCENT" when you check out through the shopping cart.

Depending on your pocketbook, you can make the candle mat in 100% wool or in Woolfelt (a wool/rayon blend), and either way it turns out great.  If you're no good at choosing colors or simply don't have the time, remember I'm offering a Krazy Kats Kit containing the pattern and all the National Nonwovens Woolfelt you need to make your own Krazy Kats.  I've simplified this candle mat pattern with a new and improved template for the scalloped background, and I created the other templates in a computer graphics program so they are accurate and easy to cut out.  Also, as you see in Part 2 of my tutorial below, the smallest pieces are bonded on with fusible webbing and the stitches are simplified so you don't get mired down with tiny details.

So are you ready for the final Part 2 of my tutorial on how to make "Krazy Kats"?  In Part 1, I showed you how I use freezer paper to stabilize the wool, make the scalloped background piece and temporarily attach the template pieces with washable fabric glue.  Now I'm going to show you how to embellish it and complete your candle mat.  Here we go!

Tutorial Part 2 - Finishing Your Candle Mat!
Stop Those Mice!

Some of the pattern pieces, like the mice the cat eyes, can't get lost easily and are too small to stitch around.  I solve that with the use of fusible webbing, such as Heat-n-Bond that you can find in your local fabric store.  Simply trace the smallest template pieces on the paper side of fusible webbing and then gently iron them into place.  That keeps the those small pieces from fraying and moving and also alleviates the need to stitch those tiny parts down!  I follow that with a little trick I've developed using scotch tape.  I've found that the edges of some of the smaller pieces tend to fray as I repeatedly handle the candle mat while applying my embellishing stitches that I'll discuss later.  I solve that by applying a couple pieces of scotch tape over the top of the mice, small flowers, the bird and other small pieces that tend to fray.  I leave the scotch tape in place until I'm done stitching everything else and then remove it and embellish those pieces:

Let's Get Stitchin'!

I never make any secret of the fact that my favorite part of working with wool is the hand-stitching and embellishing.  I love to sit in front of a warm fire in the evenings and do some stitching while the hubby dials through the television schedule, and even I've been known to take my stitching along for when the fishing is bad!  Some gals tell me the embellishing part is a little fearful for them because they are not sure how to do the stitches or it feels tedious.  My pattern gives very good detail on how to do the three simple stitches used in this project, (1) the blanket stitch, (2) the french knot, and (3) the simple cross stitch.  Not only are there diagrams so you can see how the stitches should look, but I've included good detail on how to complete them.  You're going to whip through this in no time!

The stitch used the most in Krazy Kats is the blanket stitch.  It's also sometimes called the buttonhole stitch (depending upon your, uh, age, and what part of the country you come from).  The blanket stitch is very easy to master and you can get a good rhythm in a short time, and I love the way it nicely finishes the edges of the template pieces.  I used two strands of brown embroidery floss and the blanket stitch around the edge of each cat and around their noses, tongues, hair bows, etc.  I also used it around the birds and all around the outside edge of the mat, which we'll go into later.  You can see how I worked my way around some of these pieces:

Details, Details . . .

In my opinion, it's the little details that make your candle mat a stunning success and the envy of your friends and in-laws.  Once the basic pieces are stitched into place, anchor the eyes, the centers of the flowers and the mouse noses with a simple "x" in the center.  They were already fused into place using the fusible webbing in one of the previous steps, so a tiny cross stitch in the center is all that is needed to secure them and make them decorative.   

At first I was going to use a detailed stem stitch to make the lines underneath the cats' noses, and then realized a single, simple stitch was all that was needed to divide the cheeks, so to speak.  Just bring your needle loaded with black embroidery floss up directly under the nose and then back down again at chin level.  Take out the slack and secure your stitch on the back side with a knot and you are done!

And what about them kitty whiskers?  Simple french knots done with three strands of black embroidery floss.  Easy-peasy and fun to do!

Does Your Candle Mat Look Lumpy and Bumpy?

Mine did too!  You'll notice your wool pieces look lumpy and my stitches appear uneven and distorted.  Don't get discouraged, because it's easy to make your candle mat look smooth and your stitches appear perfect!  The solution is to cover your candle mat with a thin protective cloth, like an old dish towel or pillow case, and then use a hot steam iron to press out all the lumps and bumps.  Instantly, your mat will smooth out and your stitches will look professional!

The Finishing Touches
(or How to Make Your Sister-in-Law Jealous)!

One of my little joys in life is to make my in-laws jealous and wish they had a cute Krazy Kats candle mat in their houses too!  The finishing touches on your candle mat are easy and fast to complete.  My pattern instructs you to make two scalloped background pieces, one for the front of the mat and one for the back.  If you refer to Part 1 of my Krazy Kats Tutorial, you'll see how we used freezer paper you can find in your grocery store to easily transfer the scalloped background template onto your wool or Woolfelt.

Place the front and back scalloped pieces with wrong sides together and pin them together with straight pins. Since you handled the front a lot during the stitching and embellishing process, it might not exactly match the scalloped backing piece, but don't worry.  Simply adjust the edges as you pin them together, and make a slight snip here and there with your scissors where necessary.

We'll finish the scalloped edge with the blanket stitch, which will make your candle mat look finished and wonderful.  I used four strands of light brown embroidery floss, but you can use whatever color you like.  It might even be nice to pick up the light blue of the bird around the outside edge of your mat.  The choice is yours!

Play it Again, Sam!

That's right, repeat giving your candle mat another good pressing with a hot steam iron and a protective cloth and you are ready to put it with the other things you love on your kitchen table or china hutch!

Get 10% Off Krazy Kats!

Remember that during this introductory week, you can order the pattern or kit here with 10% OFF!  Just enter the code "10 PERCENT" when you check out through the shopping cart! If you are already a wool-lover and have your own stash of lovely hand-dyed wools, then ordering just the Krazy Kats Pattern ($9.99) is right for you.  If you don't have a large stash of wool or want to keep things simple, I'm also offering my Krazy Kats Kit for $27.95 which contains the pattern and all the National Nonwovens Woolfelt you need to complete your own candle mat. (National Nonwovens Woolfelt is a blend of rayon and pure wool that does a very nice, inexpensive job on your candle mat).

Don't Forget to Join the American Pie Birthday Club!

I've yacked before about the Birthday Club and the great benefits you'll get when you join, and the response has been overwhelming!  I've added a new 10% off coupon when you join, and here's the new details:
  • It's free to join (always and forever).
  • You get an INSTANT COUPON FOR 10% OFF everything on my website.
  • When your birthday time comes around, you'll receive a SPECIAL COUPON GOOD FOR 15% OFF all during your birthday month.
  • You are automatically entered in current and future contest to WIN FREE PATTERNS AND OTHER PRIZES!
  • You are always FIRST TO KNOW when new patterns are available so you can take advantage of special sales and discounts.
Just click here, enter your name and email address (yes, it's confidential) and in a few seconds you'll be a member.  I hope you'll join!

That's it for today.  I hope you enjoy these tutorials and they make creating your own "Krazy Kats" candle mat a fun project.  Please don't hesitate to leave me a comment or email me if you have any questions.  In the meantime, Happy Stitchin'!  xoxo--Melanie

1 comment:

  1. Hey, I'm french and I don't need the pattern of each cat
    I love your candle mat and can you give me these patterns ?
    excuse my very bad english