Christmas Ornament Kits Are Back In Stock!

I’ve received several requests to bring the felt ornament kits back in stock.

Your wish is my command!

You’ll find a very limited quantity of each kit in the shop – and I can pack up more if needed.

Get the 2014 collection here.

Christmas Club 2015 - a dozen fun felt ornament patterns from Shiny Happy World

Get the 2015 collection here.

Each kit contains all the felt and thread you’ll need for all 12 ornaments, plus all the pattern pieces already printed out on freezer paper or Sulky Sticky Fabri-solvy – whichever is called for for each piece. The step by step instructions are delivered by email.

Happy stitching!

Best,
Wendi

Cutting Felt with My Cricut Maker

Well – I finally opened the box of my new Cricut Maker.

So exciting!

But I’ll be honest – we got off to a bit of a rocky start.

The Design Space app didn’t install automatically and the link to click to continue the installation was a dead end to a nonexistent page. Not a huge deal – I know how to find my files and install them myself, but it’s the kind of thing that really frustrates a person who’s not super comfortable with technology so I thought it was worth mentioning.

They include some materials for your first project (a card) which is great. It let me walk through all the steps of making (not designing) and actual thing.

Designing was TRICKY. That’s going to take some practice – but I managed to get my first project (those bears in the hills) all set up and ready to go.

Time to cut some felt!

Uh oh. That does NOT look good.

I cut it on the felt setting and this was actually the second try with increased pressure. The first try just roughed up the surface of the felt without actually cutting anything.

I decided to lie to the machine and tell it I was cutting heavy fabric like denim. That prompted me to change it to the teeny tiny rotary blade instead of the knife blade.

Much better!

Look how clean the cuts are! And see the eye markings? The machine did that too with the pen attachment. So handy!

After I got the settings figured out I was on a roll. 🙂

I cut all the pieces for my new Bears in the Hills in about an hour – while I was cleaning my studio. 🙂

Next week I’ll have a video showing you how to layer all these guys up and prep for stitching.

I can’t wait to try the Cricut on regular fabric for applique quilt blocks – that’ll be my next project with the machine.

Happy stitching!

Best,
Wendi

New in the Shop! Klip It Sewing Clips

Klip It sewing clips - so much better than pins!

Ever since I discovered sewing clips, I rarely use pins anymore.

(I wrote a review about my discovery of Wonder Clips here.)

Don’t like the way pins distort thick fabrics like fleece and felt?

Use clips instead!

Sewing laminated fabrics and don’t want to leave holes?

Use clips instead!

Sewing on a quilt binding and having a hard time with pins?

Use clips instead!

Tired of pins sticking you while sewing or appliqueing by hand?

Use clips instead!

Sewing with kids and they have a hard time managing pins?

Use clips instead!

I love sewing clips and use them all the time!

This pack holds 25 large clips. They’re bigger than basic Wonder Clips – 1 3/8″ long and 1/2″ wide. Here’s a photo of one side by side with a standard Wonder Clip for comparison.

Klip It sewing clips - so much better than pins! Here's one next to a standard Wonder Clip for size comparison.

I have yet to find anything they can’t handle, and 25 is just the right number for most people.

Give them a try – you’ll never turn back. 🙂

You can get them here – choose your favorite pretty color!

Happy sewing!

Best,
Wendi
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Wool Felt and Thread Color Bundles Are Here

wool felt and embroidery thread in lovely color palettes from Shiny Happy World

New in the shop! Bundles of wool felt and/or embroidery thread in three pretty palettes all ready for you to grab and start stitching.

wool felt and embroidery thread bundle from Shiny Happy World - in a pretty palette inspired by sunny flower gardens and the magical creatures who live there

The Fairy Garden bundles are inspired by sunny gardens full of flowers and magic. They’re 10 sheets of felt and/or 10 skeins of matching thread.

wool felt and embroidery thread bundle from Shiny Happy World - in a pretty palette inspired by shady forests and the critters who live there

The Enchanted Forest bundles are inspired by shady woods and all the critters who live there. They’re also 10 sheets of felt and/or 10 skeins of matching thread.

wool felt and embroidery thread bundle from Shiny Happy World - in a pretty palette inspired by Fruit Stripe gum and rainbows

The Tutti Frutti bundles are a bit bigger – 12 sheets of felt and/or 12 skeins of matching thread. We needed all twelve to get two shades of every color of the rainbow. 🙂 This palette is definitely inspired by Fruit Stripe gum.

Felt and thread bundles are sold separately. Get just what you need – or get them both for a perfectly matched crafting collection.

You get a discount too! By buying the bundles instead of individual items, you get one sheet of felt or one skein of thread free in each bundle. 🙂

You can use them for lots of patterns already available! Here are a bunch of free felt patterns.

The Enchanted Forest bundle has all the colors you need to stitch up every animal in the Woodland Critters quilt. You can see the raccoon I shrank down and stitched up here.

Raccoon wool felt applique - from the Woodland Critters quilt pattern from Shiny Happy World

Happy stitching!

Best,
Wendi
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Using a Glue Stick to Hold Appliqué Pieces

Fabric glue sticks are handy!

Using a fabric glue stick to hold appliqué pieces in place while I sew has been one of my best discoveries ever.

Maybe a bunch of you do this already?

I have a very fraught relationship with glue. There are the glues that make your paper bubble and warp. The glues that seep beyond where you put them on fabric. The glues that stick your fingers together. The glues that don’t really stick like they should.

I have glue issues.

Usually my strategy is to come up with a solution that doesn’t involve glue – like this method for hooping finished embroidery pieces.

But last year I started using glue to hold my appliqué bits in place and I fell in love!

Let me count the ways. . .

  1. Fabric glue sticks are designed for use with fabric. They don’t seep through, and they’ll soften up after washing. They’re perfect for a temporary hold.
  2. They work really well on slightly napped fabrics like velvet and cuddle fleece. The beaver bits on that face you see above didn’t shift a smidge while I sewed them on with the machine.
  3. I especially love using fabric glue for hand appliqué. Pins distort the fabric and – even worse – my thread was constantly getting hung up on them. With the fabric glue stick I can position all the pieces right where I want them, stick them in place, and then whipstitch away. Everything stays perfectly flat and I never catch my thread on a pin. Joy!

I tried a few brands and they all worked well, but I’m carrying Collins in my shop because it works well and is a great price. 🙂

If you have ways that you use fabric glue sticks, I’d love to hear them!

Happy stitching!

Best,
Wendi
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Freezer Paper, Sulky Sticky Fabri-solvy or Fusible Adhesive? Which to use when?

Freezer paper, Sulky Sticky Fabri-solvy or Fusible Adhesive? Which product do I use when?

Want to learn the basics of hand embroidery with an easy online workshop – totally free?

Sign up for Embroidery 101 here. You’ll learn how to get started, the tools and supplies you’ll need, the four most basic stitches, how to transfer your pattern and how to display your work.

If you already know the basics – sign up for Embroidery 201. It’s also free! You’ll learn how to stitch on specialty fabrics like felt and stretchy T-shirts. Plus you’ll learn lots and lots and LOTS more stitches – all my favorites!

I rely heavily on three products for the work I do.

Freezer paper

Sulky Sticky Fabri-solvy

Fusible Adhesive

I recently had someone ask when I use each one – and that’s a great question.

Here’s the rundown. . .

Freezer Paper

Freezer paper is an excellent stabilizer.

I use it most often to cut out felt pieces. I print the pattern pieces directly onto the freezer paper. (You can trace if you’re not as lazy as I am.) I iron the paper to the felt and then I cut the pieces out – cutting through the felt and the freezer paper at the same time. Since I label all my pieces it means I have a nice pile of labeled felt pieces, cut perfectly accurately, waiting for me to stitch them together. Awesome!

Freezer paper also works this way when cutting out regular fabric, but I only use it on fairly small pieces – so small that I can’t use pattern weights. I use it for ALL my felt cutting.

Freezer paper is also excellent for fusing to the back of any fabric that you’re going to draw or paint on. If you’ve ever tried to do that without a stabilizer, you know that the pen or marker will tend to drag the fabric along with it. It can be really hard to keep it flat and smooth. Freezer paper makes the fabric act like paper. Handy!

Finally, people use freezer paper for this appliqué method. That used to be my favorite method – until I tested some of the new fusible adhesives out on the market and found a new favorite. 🙂

In all cases – the freezer paper will peel right off when you’re done. It doesn’t leave any residue behind, and you can reuse it a LOT of times before it loses its ability to fuse.

Fusible Adhesive

Fusible adhesive is what I use in all my appliqué projects. That’s mostly quilts, but also T-shirts, tote bags, pillows and more. Unlike the freezer paper – which sticks temporarily to the fabric – the fusible adhesive is a permanent glue.

So the only time I use this product is when I want to permanently stick one piece of fabric to another.

I LOVE LOVE LOVE using this printable fusible adhesive, as opposed to the stuff you can buy by the bolt. It’s more expensive – yes – but it lets me skip over the tedious tracing step and jump right to the fun part of my appliqué project. That’s worth money to me. 🙂

Sulky Sticky Fabri-solvy

The Magical Embroidery Stuff! This amazing invention has made every part of my crafting life easier and more fun. (I wrote a whole post about its awesomeness here.)

I use it to transfer embroidery patterns to EVERYTHING. There are other products you could use to transfer a pattern to light-colored, smooth, woven fabric – but Sulky Sticky Fabri-solvy makes embroidery on every surface possible. And it makes stitching on smooth woven cotton easier and better.

With this stuff you can embroider stretchy fabrics like T-shirts and baby onesies (no extra stabilizer needed). You can embroider dark fabrics. You can embroider nappy fabrics like velvet and terrycloth and fleece. You can embroider felt. Oh! How I love embroidering on felt!

I use it to stabilize stretchy fabrics when I appliqué on them. It just washes away – leaving no itchy stabilizer behind.

I freehand all my quilting designs – but if I did anything fancy I would print or draw it on this and stitch through it, then soak it away later.

Freezer paper vs. Sulky Sticky Fabri-solvy

I think this is where most people get confused, because I use both of them extensively when I work with felt.

If I’m just cutting the shape out – I use freezer paper. It’s cheaper and doesn’t require soaking to remove.

If I’m embroidering something on the shape and then cutting it out – I use the Sulky Sticky Fabri-solvy. Sometimes you’ll see me recommend both things in one project – like this snowman ornament.

Happy Snowman Felt Ornament Pattern

The hat, hat band, and carrot nose have no embroidery on them. Neither does the back of the ornament. I cut all of those pieces out with freezer paper.

The snowman front and the scarf both have embroidery on them, so for those I printed the pattern on Sulky Sticky Fabri-solvy, stuck it to the felt, embroidered the details, cut it out on the lines, and soaked off the stabilizer. (You can see how this works in this post.)

If you order a kit from me, the pieces come pre-printed on whichever product is most appropriate for the piece.

I hope that answers your questions about which product I use in which situation! Let me know if you have any other questions about any of them. I love them all and I’m always happy to share info about products that make your crafting easier and more fun. 🙂

Here are links to buy all three. . .

Printable freezer paper sheets

Printable fusible adhesive

Sulky Sticky Fabri-solvy

Happy stitching!

Best,
Wendi

Why I Use Wool Felt

Why I Use Wool Felt

This is why I use wool felt.

I designed the pattern for this little gizmo cozy (it’s free here) in February 2011. I’ve been using it to protect my MP3 player in my purse ever since.

That’s 3 1/2 years this little thing has been tumbling around in my purse and look at it! It still looks great!

Why I use wool felt - a side by side comparison

The photo on the left is from the day I finished it in 2011. The photo on the right is from today.

The corners have gotten a little smooshy and rounded. The threads of the embroidery are a bit more embedded in the felt. The edges of the applique aren’t as crisp. The big lazy daisy flower in her hair is definitely looking a little flattened.

But there’s no pilling! If this were made of cheap acrylic felt I would have thrown it away long ago because it would have looked so grubby and terrible.

How do I know this? Because when Jo was little I made her a felt board. Not knowing any better, I used cheap acrylic felt from the craft store. Honestly, I didn’t know there was anything else!

Jo wasn’t any especially grubby or rough kid, but within DAYS those felt pieces started to look terrible. They pilled awfully. They seemed to pick up and grab onto every speck of dirt or dust. And in no time at all they had lost almost all their cling. The feltboard quietly disappeared and I didn’t work with felt again for a long time. Why put a lot of work into a material that’s going to look awful almost right away?

And then I discovered wool felt. Online – of course – because there’s not a single brick and mortar store in my area that carries it. People wrote about how durable it was compared to the acrylic stuff. How it doesn’t pill. They didn’t mention how nice it feels in your hands, and how pretty embroidery looks on it, but I discovered that on my own pretty quickly. 🙂 I fell in love with felt! I couldn’t buy it locally, so I started carrying it in my shop.

I’ve made a lot more felt projects since then – so many things that I had to create a whole section in my shop for felt patterns! But it all started with this little gizmo cozy. 🙂

If you’ve never used wool felt before, give it a try! There are a bunch of free felt patterns here. Enjoy!

Happy stitching!

Best,
Wendi
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How to Care for your Craft Scissors

I have three pairs of scissors: a pair for cutting fabric, a pair for cutting tape and an all-purpose pair (that happen to be child-safe so I can use them for travel).

scissors

Having different pairs for different craft purposes allows you to keep them in tip-top-shape, and makes your crafting easier! Here are some tips I have for keeping your scissors healthy.

Mark your Scissors

Do you have a family member who might be tempted to use your fabric-only scissors for cutting construction paper? Add a label to them! And consider keeping your special scissors away with your fabric stash.

Clean Scissors with Rubbing Alcohol

I have a pair of scissors just for cutting packing tape. Because tape leaves a residue that makes scissors icky!

When mine get too icky, I use rubbing alcohol and a cotton ball to clean the blades. The sticky comes right off!

Get them Sharpened

Many craft stores have an occasional sharpening service. Just like nice knives, it pays to get your scissors sharpened!

Any tips to share?

How many scissors do you have? And what types are they?

Do you have any care tips you’d like to share?

Read about Wendi’s “Great Scissor Rotation” here.

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about Sulky Sticky Fabri-Solvy

Everything You Need to Know about Sulky Sticky Fabri-solvy - one of my very favorite supplies

I call this The Magical Embroidery Stuff.

Why?

Well, partly because Sulky Sticky Fabri-Solvy is quite a mouthful. 🙂 But mostly because I use it for absolutely everything I stitch and it’s absolutely magical. It really is one of my favorite products ever.

I’ve written a lot about it in a lot of different posts, so today I’m bringing all that info together in one handy-dandy place.

What is it?

It’s a printable wash-away embroidery pattern transfer and stabilizer. Yes – it does all of that in one easy product! In a nutshell. . .

  1. You print your pattern right on the sheets. You can print them with an inkjet or laser printer, or photocopy onto it. You can also trace onto it – but I hate tracing.
  2. Peel off the paper back and stick the stuff right to the surface of what you’re embroidering.
  3. Hoop it up and start stitching. You stitch right through the stuff.
  4. Soak it in water and the stuff dissolves away like magic.

Want to see all of that in action? Watch this video.

Problem fabrics

I use this on everything I embroider. EVERYTHING. But it’s especially useful on problem fabrics. You know what I’m talking about – the ones that are really hard to transfer an image to.

  • dark fabrics
  • napped fabrics like velvet, terry cloth and cuddle fleece
  • plasticy fuzzy fabrics like polar fleece
  • thick fabrics that you can’t see through to trace – like felt
  • stretchy fabrics like T-shirts

It’s awesome on everything!

Sulky Sticky Fabri-Solvy is great for transferring a face to cuddle fleece.

Look! You can stitch right through the stuff onto fluffy cuddle fleece.

Even felt?

YES! Felt gets its own category here because Sulky Sticky Fabri-Solvy is just so perfect for it. In fact – I wrote a whole post about using it with felt here.

I love it so much with felt that I include pattern pieces already printed on it in all my felt kits. It’s that awesome!

Using Sulky Sticky Fabri-Solvy - stitching and cutting

See? Beautiful stitching and nice, accurate cutting.

I’ve never run into shrinkage problems with it – but I know a couple of people have with projects that really needed to be very precisely cut. Larissa Holland came up with a great solution to that problem here.

What about stickiness?

I never ran into problems with stickiness until I left a project sitting in a hot car one summer afternoon. The next time I picked that project up (even though it wasn’t hot anymore) I found that I was getting a sticky residue on my needle. Not fun!

And then I discovered Thread Heaven. I was using it to solve another problem and discovered by accident that it totally eliminated any sticky needle problems. Fantastic! Especially since I love to carry my embroidery around with me and there was an excellent chance it would get left in a hot car again. Now I don’t need to worry about that!

Does the ink bleed?

It depends on the ink. I usually photocopy my projects or print them on my laser printer and those have never been an issue for me. But a couple of people reported the ink from their inkjet printers bleeding a bit when they rinsed off the stabilizer. Every brand is different so test the ink from your printer if you want to be sure! If you run into bleeding, try printing it out in draft mode – that uses a lot less ink.

The good people at Sulky let me know that one person had a issue with her laser printer. She said it didn’t actually bleed when she rinsed it, but it left little black specks all over her work. Yikes! The good news is that she sprayed it with Shout, washed it on the gentle cycle of her washing machine, and it came out as good as new. So if you run into laser printer problems, there’s an easy fix. 🙂

This isn’t a bleeding-ink issue – but it’s related. One customer reported that the ink wasn’t coming out of the centers of flowers where the stitching was the most dense. It wasn’t bleeding, but it’s like it was stuck there. She has very hard water and reported that a second long soak in distilled water took it out.

T-shirts

I want to add a special note here about T-shirts. I love embroidering on T-shirts, but it can be kind of fussy. You have to stabilize the fabric so it doesn’t stretch while you’re stitching. With traditional stabilizers you have to remove it after stitching. And stretch knits aren’t a treat to transfer the pattern to. All of these issues magically go away with Sulky Sticky Fabri-Solvy. Since it’s a pattern transfer and stabilizer all in one, you take care of both of those steps. And since it rinses out after stitching, there’s no fussy (and potentially destructive) removal of the stabilizer afterwards. It’s perfect!

embroidered dog T-shirt

That’s embroidered! 🙂

Now you know why I call Sulky Sticky Fabri-Solvy The Magical Embroidery Stuff. I love it!

Get it here!

I’ve heard that people use it for all kinds of other things too – like transferring complex patterns to a pumpkin for carving! If you’ve come up with an unusual use for it – let me know. I’d love to hear!

Happy stitching!

Best,
Wendi

Printable List of Felt and Embroidery Thread Colors

Just popping in for a quick update. When I posted about the new option to buy embroidery thread already matched the the felt colors in my shop, a few people asked if I would provide a printable version of the list for folks who already have a TON of embroidery thread, or who prefer to shop locally.

Of course! Sharing information is good. 🙂

You can download a printable version of the list here.

I hope it’s useful to you!

Best,
Wendi
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