This and That

Random bits of my life

Posts Tagged ‘tutorial’

Tutorial: Diamond Chip Bag Decoration

Posted by Avital Pinnick on September 24, 2013

IMG_8983

This decoration is an oldie but goodie. You can find tutorials for it all over the Web. It’s an adaptation of the well-known 3D paper snowflake. After this I’ll probably give the recycling crafts a rest because I’m too old to be a Mommy Blogger….

Diamond Chip Bag Decoration

Materials:

  • Clean chip bag
  • Scissors
  • Adhesive tape

1. Cut the coloured area of the bag into a square. My packet of chips yielded a 7″ square.

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2. Fold the square diagonally in half  and then in quarters. You have a little isosceles triangle.

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3. Cut from one folded edge of your triangle to the other folded edge, stopping 1/4″ from the edge. This is easier to do with scissors than a rotary cutter. (I turned the folded square inside out so that you could see the cuts more easily.)

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4. Gently unfold the square. You should see pairs of angled cuts.

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5. Bend the two central points into a cylinder and tape.

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6. Flip the piece over and tape the next set of points.

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7. Flip the piece over and tape the next set of points, repeating until you’re finished.

8. Tape a piece of string to the top and you’re done!

Posted in Crafts, Israel, photography, tutorial | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Tutorial: Cascading Chip Bag Decoration

Posted by Avital Pinnick on September 23, 2013

IMG_8903

This decoration was inspired by a cheap Chinese-made ornament hanging in our sukkah. No, we don’t eat this much junk food–I had to dip into my stash of chip bags left over from a brief fling with gum-wrapper folding (don’t ask). If you live outside Israel, I don’t know whether this will work with your local chip bags. Our chip bags are made of plastic with silver on the inside and printing on the outside.

This project works best with bags that haven’t been creased or folded for a long time. If you only have bags that have been folded (for example, your family never ever consumes junk food, so you had to beg for bags from your unenlightened neighbours and they sat on them first), you can get the worst creases out by dipping them into a bowl of very hot water.

Cascading Chip Bag Decoration

Materials:

  • 3 or more clean chip bags (wash them with soapy water to get rid of crumbs and oil)
  • Cellotape
  • Sheet of paper (for core)
  • Sharp scissors (and a lot of patience) or rotary cutter, ruler, and cutting mat

Instructions:

1. Cut chip bags into strips at least 5″ high and as long as the bag allows. This is important because if the fringes are less than 4 1/2 inches long, they won’t hang nicely. They’ll stick straight up like a turkey leg decoration.

2. Using scissors or a rotary cutter, cut strips starting about 1/4 inch from the top and extending to the bottom of the strip. If you’re using a rotary cutter, it’s a good idea to move each strip out of the way after you’ve cut it. This enables you to see your next cutting line clearly and to ensure that the strips are cut cleanly. If they’re stuck together, they won’t hang properly.

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3. Tape a piece of paper into a tube about 1″ in diameter. I used printer paper because that’s what I had but construction paper would look nicer than white.

4. Tape a strip of fringed chip bag so that it extends over the top of the tube. In the photo below, I taped the fringe with the silver side out, so that the coloured side would be on top when the decoration was hanging.

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5. Tape a few more layers of fringe, spacing each layer just below the one above it. I decided that I wanted the bottom layer to be silver, so I taped it to the paper core with the coloured side outwards. (If your secret ambition is to be a cheerleader, you can stop here and shake your brand new pom pom.)

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6. When you’ve run out of bags or patience, cut the remainder of core off, just below the last chip bag.

7. Tape or glue a loop to the top of the core and hang in your sukkah.

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Tutorial: Chip Bag Folding Garland

Posted by Avital Pinnick on September 20, 2013

IMG_8698

This is so obvious that I can’t believe I’m the first to have thought of it. If your family is like mine, you go through a lot of food over the holidays, including munchies like potato chips and corn chips. I was looking at the tinsel sukkah decorations and thinking, “There’s got to be a way to keep all those wrappings out of the landfill.” I dreamed this up a couple minutes ago and did it on my kitchen table, so this tutorial isn’t very polished.

First you need to clean the bags. I cut off the tops and bottoms and cut along the side seam. Then I lay the bag flat on the counter, wash with a soapy dish sponge, rinse, and let dry.

You’ll need at least two bags , opened and cleaned. You’ll also need a pair of sharp scissors and a stapler or tape. (Stapler works best but my staples are missing…..)

1. Fold a potato chip bag (30 gram size) in half and cut off the white section with the (non)nutritional info.

2. Fold the bag again to get a square shape (approximately) and staple the two open edges. Staples are easier and more secure than tape for this stage.

3. Cut alternating circular cuts, almost to the fold. (This will be a bit fiddly, so I don’t recommend this project for very young children because it’s difficult to repair accidental cuts and tears in a chip bag.)

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4. Carefully unfold the bag so that it is flat and looks like the one below. Note: I put the tabs on because commercial tinsel garlands have them but later I cut them off because they were unnecessary.

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5. Carefully staple or tape the largest rings together and open out the cut bags. You now have a tinsel garland every bit as splendid as the Christmas decorations mass-produced in China. 🙂

Posted in Crafts, Israel, Judaism, tutorial | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Puncetto Valsesiano: Part 9 – Diamond

Posted by Avital Pinnick on February 17, 2011

For some reason, people seem find the diamond a tricky design. I think it’s because if you don’t realise that the rows are worked diagonally, you might be tempted to work back and forth horizontally, increasing at each side, then decreasing on each side. That would give anyone hives. Fortunately, the diamond is not all that difficult, especially when you see the thread path in the animation that follows.

Puncetto Valsesiano: Part 9 - Diamond

Diamond

The sample is worked on 10 loops (= 11 knots). The actual number is irrelevant because the diamond itself occupies a space that is 2 squares wide and 2 squares high. I am using a 3-knot square as my base, so this diamond covers 6 loops (= 7 knots).

Abbreviations: L to R: Left to Right. R to L: Right to Left

  1. L to R: Make 2 knots in 2 loops. R to L: Make 2 knots in 2 loops. Repeat. L to R: Make 2 knots in 2 loops. This forms the lower left block of the sample.
  2. Skip 2 loops of the base row of loops and make a knot in the the 3rd loop, leaving enough thread to form the diagonal side of the triangular space on the lower left side of the diamond.
  3. Skip 2 loops of the base row and make a knot in the 3rd loop, leaving enough thread to form the diagonal side and the right vertical side of the triangular space on the lower right side of the diamond. You are read to start the lower right block of the sample.
  4. L to R: Make 2 knots in 2 loops. R to L: Make 2 knots in 2 loops and 1 knot on the vertical thread. Repeat. L to R: Make 2 knots in 2 loops. This forms the lower right block of the sample.
  5. R to L: Make 2 knots in 2 loops.
  6. Start working the diamond. R to L: Make 5 knots on the right diagonal thread and 1 knot on the left diagonal thread. L to R: Make 4 knots in 4 loops. R to L: Make 4 knots in 4 loops and 1 knot on the left diagonal thread. Repeat the last two rows 3 times. You have finished the diamond. Continuing R to L: Make 2 knots on 2 loops (over top of the lower left block).
  7. Start the upper left block.  L to R: Make 2 knots in 2 loops. R to L: Make 2 knots in 2 loops. Repeat. L to R: Make 2 knots in 2 loops. This forms the upper left block of the sample.
  8. Make a knot in the top loop of the diamond, leaving enough thread to form the top edge of the triangular space on the upper left side of the diamond. Make a knot on the first loop of the lower right block, leaving enough thread to form the top edge and right side of the triangular space on the upper right side of the diamond. Work the upper right block: L to R: Make 2 knots in 2 loops. R to L: Make 2 knots in 2 loops and 1 knot on the vertical thread. Repeat. L to R: Make 2 knots in 2 loops.
  9. R to L: Make 2 knots in 2 loops. Make 3 knots on the thread over the right triangular space. Make 3 knots on the thread over the left triangular space. Make 2 knots in 2 loops (over top of  upper right block).

Posted in Crafts, Puncetto Valsesiano, tutorial | Tagged: , , , | 10 Comments »

Puncetto Valsesiano: Part 8 – Web

Posted by Avital Pinnick on February 3, 2011

The Web pattern is a fairly common filling stitch with many variations.

I’m getting faster at working with Flash but this animation took longer than I expected. It had so many frames (over 800 hand-drawn keyframes!) that my computer began to slow down.

Puncetto Valsesiano: Web

Puncetto Valsesiano: Part 8 - Web

Web

This sample is worked on a base of 11 knots (10 loops) but the base doesn’t matter because the web itself is two squares high and two squares wide. You can work a web between vertical bars, solid squares, and as a filling, as shown in the drawing above.

Abbreviations: L to R (Working from left to right); R to L (working from right to left). Remember that the work is not turned.

  1. L to R: Make 2 knots on 2 loops.
  2. L to R: Skip 2 loops and make a knot in the third loop, leaving enough thread to form a diagonal side and an upright side of the left triangular space.
  3. Working upwards, make 3 knots on the loop you just formed.
  4. L to R: Skip 2 loops and make a knot in the third loop, leaving enough thread to form a diagonal side of the second triangular space.
  5. L to R: Make 2 knots in the last 2 loops of the row. R to L: Make 2 knots in the two loops you just formed.
  6. R to L: Make 4 knots on the first diagonal thread. Make 4 knots on the second diagonal thread and 2 knots in the loops. L to R: Make 2 knots in 2 loops. R toL: Make 2 knots in two loops.
  7. L to R: Make 2 knots in 2 loops, leave a space of thread to form the horizontal bar of a triangular space and make a knot in the top loop of the left diagonal thread. Make a knot in the loop between the diagonal threads. Make a knot in the top loop of the right diagonal thread. Leave a space of thread and make a knot in the loop just beside the number “6”. L to R: Make 2 knots in the next 2 loops. R to L: Make 2 knots in 2 loops. L to R: Make 2 knots in 2 loops.
  8. R to L: Make 2 knots in 2 loops, 2 knots on the horizontal thread over the right triangular space, 2 knots in 2 loops, 2 knots on the horizontal thread over the left triangular space, and 2 knots in two loops.
  9. L to R: Make 2 knots in two loops. R to L: Make 2 knots in 2 loops. Repeat these 2 rows.
  10. Leave enough thread to form the diagonal of a triangular space, skip 2 loops and make a knot in the center loop.
  11. Leave enough thread to form the diagonal and the upright bar of a triangular space, skip 2 loops and make a knot in the third loop.
  12. L to R: Make 2 knots in 2 loops. R to L: Make 2 knots in 2 loops. Repeat these 2 rows. L to R: Make 2 knots in 2 loops.
  13. R to L: Make 2 knots in 2 loops, 4 knots on the diagonal thread of the right triangular space, 4 knots on the diagonal thread of the left triangular space, and 2 knots in 2 loops.
  14. L to R: Make 2 knots on two loops, leave enough thread to form the horizontal bar and upright bar of a triangular space, and make a knot in the central loop of the row below.
  15. Working upwards, make 3 knots on the upright bar between the triangular spaces. Leave enough thread to form the upright of a triangular space and make a knot in the top loop of the right diagonal thread. Make 2 knots in 2 loops.
  16. R to L: Make knots in all the loops.

Posted in Crafts, Puncetto Valsesiano, tutorial | Tagged: , , , | 6 Comments »

Puncetto Valsesiano: Part 7 – Open Squares

Posted by Avital Pinnick on January 31, 2011

I’m trying something a bit different. I’ve been so busy with work and other projects that I’ve been neglecting the Puncetto tutorials. Since I’m taking a course in Flash, I decided to try using its vector drawing tools and animation to replace the multiple photographs/drawings that have accompanied the earlier tutorials. Since this is a Flash .fla converted to .mov and uploaded to YouTube, I can’t add controls so that you stop/start the video, other than the ones that YouTube uses, so I recommend that you get used to pausing/playing the video. Otherwise it runs through very quickly. If you find it too fast, I can try to slow down the frame rate in the future.

At this point I won’t be making cosmetic changes. It’s done with frame-by-frame animation, by drawing the figure, erasing a bit at a time, and then reversing the frames (a mere 450 frames!). The tail-knot animation was also done frame by frame because shape tweening doesn’t do knots very well.

I will, of course, continue to include written instructions so that these can be saved and printed out. Since this is an experiment, I would appreciate feedback!

Open Squares

This is not an easy motif but it’s a natural progression from the earlier Squares and Bars tutorial. These little squares are usually worked in groups of four or nine squares. The basic principle is the same. You create the open squares and then finish with the knots  around the outside edge. In older patterns you often find these made by the dozen and inserted into a design, tipped on one corner like a diamond. I should tell you that making even squares is tricky because the first knots slide around on the thread. That’s why I included step 4, where you anchor the tail of the thread by tying it down, to keep the knot (#3) from sliding all over the place.

Here’s a drawing of what a finished 4-square unit looks like:

Puncetto Valsesiano: Open Squares

Instructions:

Note: The working order of squares is bottom left, bottom right, top left, and top right.

  1. Make the first knot on the thread tail so that it forms a square. (If you are a beginner, you might find it easier to form the square by shaping it around a narrow pencil.)
  2. Make 3 knots on the loop you just formed, so that you are working up the right side of the bottom left square.
  3. Make another knot on the thread tail to form the bottom right square.
  4. At this point you will find that the 2 knots on the tail slide around a lot. You will find it much easier to work the rest of the motif if you anchor the thread tail by threading it into a needle and working a knot in the corner. That’s the squiggly tail animation you see at this point.
  5. Make 3 knots on the loop you just formed, so that you are working up the right side of the bottom right square.
  6. Working from right to left, make 3 knots on the top of the bottom right square, then 3 knots on the top of the bottom left square.
  7. Make a knot on the third (middle) loop of the previous row, so that it forms the top left square.
  8. Make 3 knots on the loop you just formed, so that you are working up the right side of the top left square.
  9. Make another knot on the last loop of the row below, so that it forms the top right square.
  10. Make 3 knots on the loop you just formed, so that you are working up the right side of the top right square.
  11. Working from right to left, make 3 knots on the top of the top right square, then 3 knots on the top of the top left square.
  12. Working from top to bottom, make 3 knots in each square.
  13. Working from right to left (you will be holding the motif upside-down), make three knots in each square.

Posted in Crafts, Puncetto Valsesiano, tutorial, videos | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »

Puncetto Valsesiano: Part 6 – Squares and Bars

Posted by Avital Pinnick on December 9, 2010

It’s taken an unconscionable length of time to write this post. I had to figure out how to do squares and bars again. I also decided that it would be useful to devise a way to diagram the stitches because it’s very hard to see stitches in a photograph.

This tutorial is about the squares and bars (both vertical and horizontal) that form the foundation of Puncetto lace. I will cover diamonds and webs (spiders) in a later tutorial! The diagram below is a fairly typical simple Puncetto design. I used it as the basis of my tiny motif a couple years ago.

Puncetto Pattern

Puncetto needle lace

Puncetto Valsesiano designs are based on a grid of squares that can vary in size from 2 knots to 4 knots (for the sake of clarity, I am going to use the word “knots” instead of “stitches”). A grid of 3 knots is the most common variation and that is the size that I am using throughout these tutorials.

My sample is based on a ladder foundation of 12 knots. Count very carefully! If you make a mistake in the number of knots, you will have to start over.

Squares and Bars

The photos of this tutorial are followed by drawings. Please excuse the messiness. My main computer is getting repaired and upgraded, so I don’t have access to fancy drawing tools on this loaner laptop.

1. Starting from the left end of your ladder foundation, work 3 knots in the first three loops. You will be working from left to right. Without turning your work, work 3 knots in the 3 spaces you have just made, working from right to left. Repeat these two rows. Work another left-to-right row, so that your thread is at the right side of the block you have just made.

Puncetto 5.1

2. To form an empty space, skip 3 knots (= 2 loops) and work a knot in the third loop, leaving enough thread for the top and side of the empty space.

Puncetto 5.2

3. To make a vertical bar, work 3 knots on the thread loop you have just made. Remember: If you are working on a 3×3 knot grid, vertical and horizontal bars will have 3 knots on them.

Puncetto 5.3

4. Skip 3 knots (= 2 loops) and work a knot in the third loop, again leaving enough thread for the top and side of the empty square. This photo also shows how to join a new thread, which is described below. Work 2 knots in the next two loops.

Puncetto 5.4

5. This part is a little tricky because it seems counter-intuitive, but this is how you make a square after an empty space. Working from right to left, make a knot in each of the 2 loops and a knot on the thread forming the left side of the square (= 3 knots, working right to left).

Puncetto 5.4a

6. Working from left to right, make 2 knots in the 2 loops. This seems odd to be working 3 knots/2 knots/3 knots/2 knots, but trust me. Squares surrounded by empty spaces are worked this way.

7. Now you’re ready to work the final right-to-left row over the entire sample. Make a knot in the 2 loops of the square, make 3 knots in the first horizontal bar, make 3 knots in the second horizontal bar, and make 3 knots in the last 3 loops. Including the starting point of your thread (= knot) and the 11 knots you just worked, you will have 12 knots total in this row.

Puncetto 5.5

Drawings

The drawings below show the working of the same sample. There is one mistake: I actually drew 11 knots and didn’t realise it until I had to draw the final square. That shows you how important it is to count your knots!

1. Start with a ladder foundation of 12 knots.

Puncetto 6.1

2. The arrow indicates where you start the first square. Work 3 knots in 3 spaces. Repeat 5 times. Skip 3 knots (2 loops) and work a knot.

Puncetto 6.2

3. The vertical bar has 3 knots. Skip another 3 knots and work a knot.

Puncetto 6.3

4. Work 2 knots in the next 2 loops to form the first row of the square. Working from right to left, work 2 knots in 2 loops and the third knot on the vertical thread that forms the left side of the square. Working from left to right, work 2 knots in the 2 loops (remember — only 2 knots!).

Puncetto 6.4

5. When the square is complete, work the final right-to-left row (“2” in the drawing): 2 knots in 2 spaces, 3 knots on horizontal bar, 3 knots on horizontal bar, and 3 knots on 3 loops.

Puncetto 6.5

This diagram shows that upright bars have 3 knots on them, whether they are vertical bars or sides of squares. Horizontal bars also have 3 knots.

Puncetto 6.6

Square over Empty Space

This diagram shows how to place a square over an empty space. Your instincts will tell you to start in the loop spanning the square and space in the row below, but if you do that, the square will not be aligned properly over the space! The arrow marked “HERE” points to the correct loop for beginning a square over a space.

Puncetto 6.7

Square over Square

A square over a square is more straightforward. There should be 3 loops over the square. Work 3 knots in the 3 loops.

Puncetto 6.8

Joining a New Thread

1. When joining a new thread, work a couple knots over the new thread with the old thread.

2. Drop the old thread.

3. Work a couple knots over the old thread with the new thread. You will have some doubled thread loops. Treat these as ordinary loops, working knots in the loops.

4. Cut the thread ends close to the loop.

Posted in Crafts, needlework, Puncetto Valsesiano | Tagged: , , , | 18 Comments »

Paper-Cutting Tutorial: Hanukkah Lamp

Posted by Avital Pinnick on December 1, 2010

Paper Cutting: Hanukkah Lamp

My only qualification for writing a tutorial on the art of paper-cutting is that I consider myself a beginner and the learning process is fairly fresh in my mind! Since Hanukkah starts tonight, I thought a Hanukkah lamp would be an appropriate subject.

One of the biggest hurdles, I find, is drafting the actual design for cutting. If you’re a natural artist and can sketch anything you like, then skip the main part of the tutorial and go straight to the cutting tips. If you’re not sure of your drawing abilities, this tutorial will show you how to turn a photograph into a paper-cutting.

The image I used is an 1873 silver Hanukkah lamp from the collection of the Jewish Museum in Prague. It was lent to the White House for Hanukkah, 2009. I chose this design because the photo was clear and the design seemed suitable. You’ll have to judge your own tolerance for fiddly details!

Materials

  • Photograph (digital image)
  • Xacto knife With No. 11 blades
  • Self-healing cutting mat, 18 x 24 inches (this is a good size because the corners of a small mat can snag the edges of the cuts when you are turning the paper)
  • Paper for cutting (I used ordinary printer paper. You can use something else as long as it’s not too thick or delicate)
  • Stapler
  • Staple remover
  • Pencil with hard lead (e.g., 2H or 3H, so that the lines don’t smear)
  • Tracing paper (tracing paper comes in different weights. A thin weight is easier to see through)
  • Paper for backing
  • Glue stick
  • MagEyes with #7 (2.75X) lens (optional, but they make a big difference)

Steps

1. Insert the photo file into an MS Word document. (I chose Word because it’s readily available and allows you to resize the photo. Also, Word compresses graphics, which will make it easier to print than if you were using a graphics program like Photoshop or a photo-editing program like Picasa.)

Paper-Cutting Tutorial 1

2. Print the page (yes, I know I need to replace my toner cartridge).

Paper-Cutting Tutorial 2

3. Staple thin tracing paper to one half of the design.

Paper-Cutting Tutorial 3

4. With a sharp, hard-lead pencil, trace the outlines of the design. Remember that you don’t have to reproduce the design slavishly. If some parts are too fiddly to cut, feel free to simplify. Where there are areas of overlap, for example, between the oil cups and the back plate, you’ll have to figure out how to interpret the design. The design must remain interconnected so that pieces don’t fall apart, unless you plan to glue them in later.

Paper-Cutting Tutorial 4

5. Carefully remove the tracing from the printed sheet with the staple remover.

6. Fold your paper-cutting paper in half.

Paper-Cutting Tutorial 5

7. Staple the tracing to the folded white paper, aligning the fold line and the edge of the tracing.

Paper-Cutting Tutorial 6

8. Cut the small bits first. On the right side of the photo you see my MagEyes. I strongly recommend getting a pair because they really reduce the eye strain and make it much easier to see fine details.

Paper-Cutting Tutorial 7

9. Lattice-work is easier to cut if you draw the criss-crossing lines as bars and then cut out the spaces between the bars. You get a more accurate representation that way. The blobby finials at the top were turned into fleur-de-lis because it was easier for me to cut them.

Paper-Cutting Tutorial 8

10. Carefully cut out the design, working from small pieces to larger areas. Occasionally turn your work over to check the accuracy of your cuts.

Paper-Cutting Tutorial 9

11. If parts of your design are asymmetrical (e.g., the shamash or lamp on the left side), leave that area uncut. You will work it after the symmetrical part has been unfolded.

12. When you are finished cutting the symmetrical parts of the design, carefully unfold and flatten the piece.

13. Cut asymmetrical design elements.

14. You’re not finished yet! Go over the design carefully and neaten the edges, cutting wispy bits away, straightening corners, and refining curves.

15. Use glue stick to glue the cutting to a background paper or card stock. Don’t try to apply glue to the entire cutting. A dab in each corner will be sufficient. Note: I recommend that you wait a few hours or a day before mounting your paper-cutting. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve mounted a piece and then noticed something that I wanted to fix, after it was already glued to the backing.

16. Last but not least: Sign and date your work.

Cutting Tips

  • Before you dive in, make some practice cuts on a folded piece of paper. Curves will be harder than straight lines but eventually you’ll get the hang of it.
  • Cutting a double thickness of paper requires a bit more force than a single layer, but avoid pressing too hard with the knife. Beginners tend to use too much pressure, causing the blade to sink into the cutting mat. This creates drag on the blade and makes cutting curves a lot harder. Try to use just enough pressure to cut through all the layers of paper without sinking the tip of the blade into the mat. Remember that you’re not carving a linoleum block!
  • Each time you cut out a small piece, gently poke it out of the folded paper. I use the knife tip to pin the cut-out bit to the mat, while gently lifting the folded paper. It should make a satisfying little popping sound if your cuts are clean and meet at the corners. If you encounter any resistance at all, stop. This usually means that some of the cuts don’t meet at the corners. Turn over the folded paper and cut from the other side. Do not use force to separate the cut-out because you may tear the paper or leave feathery little fibers at the corners.
  • After you have poked the cut-out piece, sweep it out of the way. You must poke these bits out so that they don’t get caught between the paper layers and interfere with the cutting. If a piece does slip between the layers, gently open the layers and shake it out. Every now and then, stop to brush the cut bits into a wastepaper basket. This is a very messy craft!
  • If you are cutting lots of similar motifs like the candle flames, do each part assembly-line style. I cut the central flame for each candle, followed by the left part and the right part. This makes repeated motifs more consistent.
  • If you mess up a part of the design, considering cutting it out or changing your design on the fly. I frequently change my mind about a design while I’m cutting it.
  • Repeated rectangles: Cut all the straight parallel lines in one direction first. Turn the cutting 90 degrees and cut the straight parallel lines perpendicular to the first set of lines. If you’re not sure whether your cuts are meeting at the corners, turn the design over and go over the corners from the back side.
  • Curves: Work slowly with the knife (don’t press too hard!) and anchor the paper close to the curve with the fingernail of your left index finger. This will reduce the chances of the paper tearing or stretching (paper is surprisingly stretchy).
  • Long, skinny shapes: Cut the long sides first, without cutting the ends. Then cut the ends.
  • Corners: Generally, it’s easier to start at the corner and work outwards.
  • Intricate edges: For designs like the fleur-de-lis finials, cut them at an early stage without cutting away the entire background. Leaving the background attached gives you a more stable piece to work with. When it’s time to cut away the background, you’ll only have to cut the simpler curves and edges.

Good luck! If I’ve forgotten anything, please tell me.

Posted in Crafts, paper cutting, tutorial | Tagged: , , , , | 3 Comments »

Puncetto Valsesiano: Part 3 – Foundation Thread

Posted by Avital Pinnick on October 4, 2010

Sorry for the long hiatus between tutorials. I cut my left index finger while making a salad. It was not very photogenic, so I put off taking the photos. Then the Jewish High Holidays intervened. But I’m back with the next step, starting a Puncetto motif on a foundation thread. This starting technique is suitable for square and rectangular motifs.

Important note (thanks, Marina, for pointing this out): I have made the stitches large and loopy so that they are easier to see. When you work the foundation you should make the stitches much smaller and closer together.

1. Measure enough thread for the width of the foundation plus a couple inches (for securing the tail later).

2. Hold the thread between your left thumb and index finger, with the tail hanging down and the needle in your right hand.

Puncetto Valsesiano 2.1

3. Anchor the tail firmly between the second and third fingers of your left hand (see the photo for step 7 below).

4. Place the tip of the needle under the foundation thread as in the photo below. The loop above my thumb is the “wrap” of the stitch around the needle.

Puncetto Valsesiano 2.2

5. Wrap the thread around the needle, counter-clockwise (see the lesson on making the stitch if you need a refresher course in forming the stitch).

Puncetto Valsesiano 2.3

6. Pull the needle upwards through the loop and gently tighten the stitch. Do not worry if the first loop, held between the thumb and first finger, isa little large. You can tighten the loop later by pulling on the tail when  you have a few more rows done.

Puncetto Valsesiano 2.4

7. Make another stitch (knot) on the foundation thread. The photo below shows how I’m grasping the foundation thread between a couple fingers to keep it taut.

Puncetto Valsesiano 2.5

8. Make enough stitches for the width of your motif. The exact number will depend on the size of your squares.

Puncetto Valsesiano 2.6

9. When you are finished working the left-to-right row, start working the right-to-left row, without turning the work.

Puncetto Valsesiano 2.7

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1-2-3 Yoga Mat Bag Tutorial (Sewing)

Posted by Avital Pinnick on June 3, 2010

Finished Yoga Mat Bag

I call this the 1-2-3 Yoga Mat Bag tutorial because it has three steps:

  1. Cut
  2. Press
  3. Sew

I don’t have enough space to keep an ironing board and sewing machine set up. I also don’t have a lot of time, so fast craft projects are perfect for me. This bag took me less than 2 hours from start to finish, once I’d figured out the method and measurements. I made a bag for myself out of scrap fabric. When Edna, my yoga teacher, admired it I offered to make her a bag if she provided the fabric. She was delighted and the fact that it gave me an opportunity to photograph and write up this tutorial was an added bonus!

Requirements

  • Fabric – firm woven cotton or cotton/polyester, 26″ wide x 43″ long
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Sewing machine

1. Cut

Cut out the pieces according to the diagram below  (click here for enlargement):
Yoga Mat Bag Pattern

The pattern includes 1/2″ seam allowances. If you only have a yard of fabric, you can eliminate the pocket and shorten the drawstring. Edna gave me two pieces of coordinating fabric (they seem to have been curtain panels), so I used the smaller piece for the pocket.

2. Press

1. Fold drawstring piece in half, lengthwise, right side out. Press.
2. Fold raw edges of drawstring inwards, to center fold line. Press.
Drawstring_Press
3. Turn under 1/2 inch of raw edges of strap. Press.
4. Fold strap in half, lengthwise, right side out. Press.
Strap_Press
5. Turn under 1/2 inch of top raw edge of body piece. Press.
6. Turn under 1″ hem of top edge of body piece to form drawstring casing. Press.
Body_Press
7. Turn under 1/2 inch of top raw edge of pocket. Press.
8. Turn under 1″ hem of top edge of pocket. Press.
9. Turn under 1/2 inch of bottom raw edge of pocket. Press.
Pocket_Press

You’re more than halfway there! With all the pieces pressed, the actual sewing process is lightning fast.

3. Sew

1. Top-stitch drawstring, 1/8″ from edge.
Drawstring
2. Top-stitch strap, 1/8″ from edge.
Strap
3. Top-stitch pocket edge, 1/4″ from folded edge.
Pocket edge
4. Pin pocket piece on body, about halfway between the top and bottom.
5. Top-stitch bottom edge of pocket.
6. Stitch two lines to form pocket dividers, back-stitching at top edge for reinforcement.
Pocket
7. Fold the body piece in half, lengthwise, right sides together.
8. Pin one end of the strap in the seam near the bottom corner. Make sure that the other end is pinned out of the way so that it doesn’t get stitched accidentally in the body piece seam.
Pin Strap
9. Sew the main seam of the body piece, starting from the narrow end at the bottom, turn corner, stitch up towards the top. Stop 3″ before edge of top hem. This forms the slit opening at the top.
Main Seam
10. Zigzag over the seam allowance to reinforce and finish the seam. Stop 2″ before end of seam at top so that you can spread the seam allowances of the slit.
Seam Finish
11. Open the seam allowances and top-stitch the edges of the slit, backstitching at the bottom for reinforcement.
Placket
12. Stitch the hem of the top edge to form the drawstring casing.
Top Edge
13. Turn under the raw edge of the strap and top-stitch the strap end to the body, just below the slit, zigzagging for reinforcement.
Strap
14. Thread the drawstring through the casing and tie a knot in each end.

Hurrah! You’re done!

This pattern is for personal use only. All rights reserved.

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