Make Believe Week – Superhero Accessories!

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Make Believe Week - Superhero Accessories! from Hugs are Fun

A few years ago I got Evie a superhero cape from a seller on Etsy and Mira got her own for Christmas. I had been wanting to make them accessories for awhile but it always managed to get put aside because of another project I wanted to do. So when Chelsea from GYCT Designs said she was organizing a Make Believe Week, I knew I was on board! Sometimes the only way for me to get ideas for projects done is to sign up for swaps or blog hops so I have more of an “assignment” mindset.

Make Believe Week - Superhero Accessories! from Hugs are Fun

Since I already had the capes I made matching wristguards, belts, and masks. I didn’t think I could easily match the colors of the cape itself, especially since it’s a different material, so I decided to use the color of the design on the back. As always, I ordered my felt from Benzie on Etsy and I got 12×18 sheets of red and pink which was more than enough to make the belt, mask, and both wristguards and then 6×9 sheets for the accent colors. I used this listing here, just indicate that you want 4 of whatever base color you are going to use and they will send it as a 12×18 sheet!

Make Believe Week - Superhero Accessories! from Hugs are Fun

These are great because you can make them as simple or as complicated as you want with any embroidery or embellishments. I mimicked the designs from their capes, but you could really do anything!

Make Believe Week - Superhero Accessories! from Hugs are Fun

I made the wristguards bigger and sewed Velcro so they have a bit of room to grow. The belt has a wide strip of elastic and the mask has a small elastic cord.

Make Believe Week - Superhero Accessories! from Hugs are Fun

I have put all the templates together into a PDF for you. These sizes worked for both Mira and Evie’s, but you could make them bigger or smaller if necessary. For the belt I added a couple extra inches of felt to each side after I measured their waists.

Make Believe Week - Superhero Accessories! from Hugs are Fun

Download the PDF template here – Superhero Accessory Templates
And if you want to make a cape to go with it, GYCT has a great free pattern just for Make Believe Week!

My Favorite Embroidery and Cross Stitch Tools

My Favorite Embroidery and Cross Stitch Tools from Hugs are Fun
One of the things I really love about cross stitching (and embroidery too) is how little you need to get started. Some fabric, embroidery floss, a needle, and a hoop is really all you need to get started. However, once you’ve been stitching for awhile you might want to start treating yourself to some nice little extras that help make things a little easier. Here are a few of my favorites.

My Favorite Embroidery and Cross Stitch Tools from Hugs are Fun
Threads
99% of the time I use DMC floss, mainly because I have all 454 colors. It’s just so convenient to use because it’s inexpensive, extremely easy to find, and there are so many colors. But the small percentage of time I am not using DMC thread, these are a few that I really like.

Kreinik
While I think regular DMC floss is great, I cannot stand their metallic threads. Kreinik has an incredible selection of metallic and glow in the dark braid that is so much easier to work with. Most of the time I really like using the fine #8 braid, but the blending filament is really fun too, it’s like Christmas tinsel. Since it’s a braid and not a 6 strand floss, it doesn’t fray and snag the same way that the DMC metallic does. Kreinik also has a nice selection of glow in the dark colors which I like a lot too.

Aurifloss
Awhile back I was sent some Aurifloss and I really love it. It comes on these incredible wooden spools and it’s amazing to stitch with. It’s a divisible 6 stranded floss and I have found it so incredible smooth and wonderful to work with, I haven’t had any snagging problems at all. The only downfall is that my color collection is limited, so it doesn’t get used as much as I would like! I need to work on building up a bigger collection so I can use it more.

Sulky 12wt Cotton Petites*
When I was following Wendi from Shiny Happy World’s tutorial to make a mandala I noticed the thread she was using seemed to be one thin strand of floss. I asked her about it and she pointed me to Sulky 12wt cotton petites thread. It also comes on a spool and it is the thickness of two strands of floss. I’ve bought a few packs and I really like working with it a lot. I’ve only done embroidery with it, not any cross stitching yet.

My Favorite Embroidery and Cross Stitch Tools from Hugs are Fun
Other Great Tools
Gingher 3.5 Inch Stork Embroidery Scissors*
I resisted embroidery scissors for a really long time even though I thought they were extremely pretty. I always just used whatever scissors I had laying around and that seemed fine. But when I finally took the plunge and splurged on a pair of Gingher scissors, my life was changed. The tiny tip makes it so much easier to cut the thread close to the fabric. I have since developed a bit of an addiction and have a ton of different pairs of scissors. When I go out I keep each project I’m working on in it’s own pouch with all the supplies and each pouch has a pair of scissors.

DMC Water Soluble Cross Stitch Canvas*
I get a lot of questions about water soluble canvas, especially where to get it. Last year Joann’s had it on clearance for $3 and I went to 4 different stores and bought all of them that they had. Ever since then I haven’t seen it sold in their stores. Michael’s used to sell it but I’m not sure if they do anymore either. Amazon has it for a pretty decent price, but keep in mind it is a pretty small sheet. I like using it for smaller projects so I can get quite a lot of use out of one of the sheets. I actually feel that it’s really hard to work with a big sheet, I just had to scrap and entire project because the canvas was bubbling up.
Water soluble canvas lets you cross stitch on any fabric which I absolutely love. I’ve used it for quite a few projects and I wrote a tutorial over at &stitches on how to actually use it.

Sulky Printable Sticky Fabri-Solvy Stabilizer*
I only recently tried Sulky Fabri-Solvy and I immediately loved it, I used it for stitching on felt. I really like embroidery but hate the process of tracing patterns and this eliminates that step completely. You can print the pattern directly onto the paper and it just sticks to the fabric. An added bonus is that it gives you a stabilizer, I’m always torn on if I should use interfacing of some sort for embroidery. You stitch over the pattern and then when you are done it dissolves away.

Thread Heaven – Protectant and Conditioner*
Thread Heaven is amazing, I absolutely love it. This is another product I used to easily be able to find at Joann’s but they don’t seem to carry it anymore. I’m not sure if it’s just me, but I find that certain colors of DMC thread snag and break more than others. Specifically red and black, they always give me problems. But running my thread along the Thread Heaven before I start stitching really minimizes any issues.

Needleminder
I would always see adorable needle minders in people’s Instagram photos and as cute as they were, I did not understand them at all. I was placing an order with Dragonfly Lotus to get some pretty thread and decided to give in and I ordered one of her needle minders and I fell in love. It’s such a simple concept but so revolutionary! You sandwich your fabric between two magnets (one of which happens to have an incredibly adorable design) and then you can set your needle on the magnet. Amazing idea right?
There are tons of super cute ones out there but my favorites are from Dragonfly Lotus and Beadeux.

Dandelyne Mini Hoops
I feel like a broken record always bringing this up, but I am seriously in love with these mini hoops from Dandelyne. I have made a bunch of necklaces with them and I love them all. I got some of her new oval hoops that I still need to try out, I just can’t decide on a design!

Clip On Booklight*

This is a recent discovery for me and a total game changer! I do a lot of stitching in the passenger seat but I always have to stop when it gets dark. I had the realization that I could clip a book light to the hoop and keep stitching in the dark. I’ve had a few people on Instagram tell me they use a headlamp for the same purpose.

I would love to hear if you have favorite tools that I haven’t included. Especially anything for transferring patterns. I usually use a water soluble pen but I still haven’t found one I absolutely love.

Please Note: This post contains affiliate links that are indicated by an asterisk*.

Studio Qhibli Swap – What I Got

Studio Qhibli Swap - What I Got
I was so excited yesterday to come home to find my Studio Ghibli swap package! It was a bit late and I was starting to get pretty antsy seeing all the amazing packages people were getting. Thankfully the package was seriously worth the wait! I got this incredible quilted Toroto bag.

Studio Qhibli Swap - What I Got

The bag is a really nice size and is really well constructed, and I didn’t notice this until later but there’s a little clip in the inside for keys. Which is amazing because just last week I had my keys disappear at the bottom of my bag and I had a moment of panic thinking I lost them at the library.

Studio Qhibli Swap - What I Got

She also sent a TON of amazing extra stuff. There were a couple adorable items from Daiso Japan, and some other great little sewing items. She also sent notebooks and stickers for both girls which aren’t in the picture because they were already off drawing in them.

Studio Qhibli Swap - What I Got

And she even sewed me a second (non Ghibli themed) bag with this super cute dog fabric.

I had so much fun with this swap, both putting together the package that I sent and receiving this one. I have a couple other swaps I’m doing and it makes me even more excited!

Have you ever done a swap? Are you as obsessed as me?

Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan Cross Stitches

Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan Cross Stitches from Hugs are Fun

A few months ago Josh sent me this amazing Kickstarter for a campaign to start a Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan museum in a Brooklyn apartment. We backed the campaign for $5 because we desperately wanted to see the video with curators Matt and Viviana showing off the museum. I jokingly Tweeted to them asking if they were accepting artwork for the exhibit and was met with an enthusiastic yes.

Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan Cross Stitches from Hugs are Fun

I had kind of forgotten about it and got a message on Twitter a few weeks ago asking if I was still interested. Not wanting to miss out on the opportunity to create these cross stitches, I set to work. Josh made the patterns and they turned out absolutely amazing.

Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan Cross Stitches from Hugs are Fun

They started out as such a jokey project and I ended up with two cross stitches that I am unbelievably proud of.

Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan Cross Stitches from Hugs are Fun

I can’t decide what’s a better display option, facing each other or back to back.

Read more about the exhibit at www.thnk1994.com

April TSNEM – Foundation Paper Piecing

April TSNEM - Foundation Paper Piecing from Hugs are Fun

Foundation paper piecing has been on my to do list for months and months but I have been really nervous to try it. I’ve looked at guides and I just could not wrap my head around how it worked. I also kept dragging my feet on choosing a pattern, there are so many options out there. Carina has recently been making these awesome, brightly colored paper pieced geese so I decided that would be a good place to start.

April TSNEM - Foundation Paper Piecing from Hugs are Fun
I bought the Goosed Up pattern from Jeliquilts and immediately started panicking. The pattern looks so unbelievably complicated and I still couldn’t make sense of how to even begin the process.

I watched this YouTube video and while I still didn’t completely get it, I figured I would learn better by trying it out.
April TSNEM - Foundation Paper Piecing from Hugs are Fun
I got pretty far into the process and then realized I forgot to sew a seam really early on. I went back and forth on if I should backtrack but instead I just ripped the entire thing out and started completely over. I am so glad I did because the second time around things just clicked and I finally felt like I got it. I was able to get back to where I had been before a lot quicker the second time around.
April TSNEM - Foundation Paper Piecing from Hugs are Fun
Once I really started to understand foundation paper piecing, I enjoyed it a lot. I am not great at math or precision, both of which are required for traditional quilting. So I really like foundation paper piecing and english paper piecing which removes a lot of the precision work. It’s also a great way to use up oddly shaped scrap pieces of fabric since you just need pieces that are bigger than the area you are trying to cover, but the shape of them doesn’t matter.

April TSNEM - Foundation Paper Piecing from Hugs are Fun
But I did feel like in the end when I trimmed away all the excess fabric, it felt like a lot of it was wasted in the paper piecing process. This might be because I am a beginning though and it’s possible that as I get better I won’t need to use such big pieces and there will be less waste.

So far I think sashiko embroidery and foundation paper piecing are tied for my favorite things I’ve tried this year. There are a lot of really fun foundation paper piecing patterns and I really want to play around more. I absolutely love the Geometric Bear and Geometric Sewing Machine from Quiet Play.

Have you tried foundation paper piecing? I would love to know your favorite pattern!

Check out my past TSNEM posts –
JanuaryWoodburning
FebruarySashiko Embroidery
MarchMacarons

See what other bloggers tried this month!

Free Pattern Friday – Dresden Plate

Free Pattern Friday - Dresden Plate Cross Stitch Pattern from Hugs are Fun class=
I’ve always loved Dresden plate quilt blocks, and I loved how last month’s quilt block cross stitch pattern showed up so I decided to make another.

When stitched on 14ct Aida the block will be 5″ square.

Download the PDF here – Free Pattern Friday – April 2015

There are more free patterns to download here, and patterns to purchase here at my Etsy.

Do you have a favorite quilt block you think I should turn into a cross stitch pattern? Or just any ideas for Free Pattern Friday? I’d love to hear them!