Monday, November 23, 2009

Make it yourself

With the holiday season upon us, lots of us want to express our love and gratitude with hand made gifts. Whether it's an edible treat, like a make it yourself mix recipe presented in a festive container, or a sock monkey ...just remember to think about the recipient of the gift. Will they really appreciate the time and talent, as well as the thought, that the gift represents? Sometimes when you think you know someone quite well, they still may recoil slightly from a homemade gift.

My own mom comes to mind here. One year a good friend of my sister worked all year long on a crocheted shawl with collar for my mom. The workmanship was marvelous and she even had it professionally blocked at the dry cleaner. My mom was gracious when she received the gift, but years later, after her death, when cleaning her house to be sold, I found this once beautiful shawl, still on the hanger, but never worn. Alas, it was now obvious that it had been used as building material for various yarn loving mice that had unknowingly taken up residence in Mom's back bedroom..

With all this being said, I did want to let you know that you can make a beautiful gift for someone that probably wont be relegated to the mouse condo...

That brings us to Part One of a tutorial that I hope you will enjoy.

Making a Scarf

I know this seems like a overly simple accessory for a "how two", but I really love neck scarves and if you're like me, you hate to pay $10, $20 or even $50 for one in the store. When you take your time and choose some lovely fabric from your local yard goods store, you can get a nice scarf in a color that you or your best friend will really love and wear.

These three pieces of fabric cost $3.00 each. I got 3/8 of a yard of the fuchsia colored and 1/2 a yard each of the purple and green. So even if a fabric is expensive, it's affordable when you only need a small amount.

What I did was take my favorite neck scarf to the store with me and walked around and compared it to various bolts of fabric. If you aren't going to have something with you to use as a "go by", keep the following things in mind...

* What type of scarf do you want to make? You have to keep in mind whether it will be used for inside wear (almost like fabric jewelry or wearable art) or if you want to choose a warm fabric for looking cute when you're out walking with your honey on the nature trail.

* Comfort and drape are another area of concern. You can pick the most gorgeous fabric there is in the entire store, but if it is itchy or too stiff to whip sexily around your neck, you have wasted your greenbacks.

When choosing your fabric you also have to remember how much or how little sewing you want to do.

Ok, now you have decided that you can sew a bit and you want to pick your fabric based on have to remember to check to see how much the fabric ravels, as that is a concern if you want to fringe the edges. I say this because, the green and purple faux crushed velvet fabric that I love, love, love...does not ravel, so I will have fringe it in a different way.

After you have found the type of fabric you want, the fabric that you have held in your hands and scrunched up and made sure it's not stiff and scratchy, or made sure it is warm and cozy...then you can think about color.

Since the fabrics I chose are for me, I was looking for bright colors that will be close to my face. I wear a lot of black and lately, as the hair becomes more silver and the green eyes get lighter and lighter, the black seems to wash me out (either that or I am slowly becoming a zombie). Anyway, I read somewhere that wearing colors close to the face combat this wash out.

So that is the first installment of the scarf tutorial. This week I will be working on actually making the scarves and taking pictures as I go (boo boos will be documented if and when they occur) so hopefully there will be plenty of time to get to the fabric store before the gift giving season is over.

Since this is a fabric related post, I'll show you the cross stitch I have been working on. I got a kit many years back and finally started on it. For some reason there wasn't enough floss to complete the lettering and I had to fill in with some I had on hand. Of course, it didn't match completely, but it's close enough. Some folks insist that you must do your lettering after the rest of the design has been done, but as you all know...I am a rebel. Plus I find it comforting to read the message while I stitch.

As with most cross stitch instructions, it suggest using masking tape to keep the edges from raveling, but I actually think that it makes the fabric too stiff to work with. I'll probably take the rest of it off.

Any way that's it for today. I did want to let everyone know that DH is doing quite well after his dental surgery. Still on mashed potatoes and oatmeal, but he's been a good patient and hasn't complained too much about not being able to eat. Thanks for all the well wishes.

Take care and stay tuned for the progress on the scarves.


Countryfolk Keepsakes said...

What a great post. There is nothing better than a handmade gift!! Nothing! I do think some don't appreciate the thought and love that goes into a handmade.
I can't wait to read more of your scarf tutorial. I LOVE scarves! (I'm the one out walking with my honey on the nature trail.)
I also want to wish you and your hubs a wonderful and blessed Thanksgiving!!
God bless you both...

Tina said...

Hope your hubby is in full swing very soon. Dental surgery ugh!

This is great! Scarves, I love em. I was looking for one today to go with a cute top I bought for Thanksgiving. I just couldnt fork out the bucks. So this will come in handy.
I'll be ready for the next installment of your tutorial.
so I can make a scarf that I can sexily whip around my neck as you said. teeheehee.

God bless and I hpe you have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Crafty Gal Linda said...

Thanks for sharing your thoughts on homemade gifties! I love scarves. I hope your hubby is feeling better. Dental surgery is not fun. I'm sure you are taking good care of him Susan!

Nezzy said...

I love to get handmade gifts, I always know their from the heart. I too love scarfs, just something ooo~lala about wearing one.

Have a great Thanksgiving, girl!!!

Sea Gypsy said...

I am glad the DH is on his way to feeling better!
I agree with you, there is nothing better to add that pop of color.