Sunday, 29 January 2012

I spy with my little i... this week's i-pad cover tutorial

I would really like an ipad, but unfortunately due to the redundancy last year, it is not going to happen for a while yet, but it does not stop me from being ready with a cover for it when I get it.  So this week we are going to make an ipad cover, a Kindle cover or even work in miniature for an i-phone (measurements for these are at the end of the tutorial) and we are going to use fabric from Moda's 30s playtime collection which is just yummy.
Model i-pad is lent by Miss Weston 's technical consultancy :)
So let's get cracking, irons and ironing boards at the ready and off we go, you will need:
An outer fabric, an inner fabric and wadding measuring 24" (L) x 13" (W)
Sewing machine
Scissors and tape measure or rotary cutting wheel, mat and ruler
Iron and Ironing board
Button (decorative or self covering)
Snap Fasteners (Big ones!) or Velcro
Water Soluble Pen
Decorative buttons or fabric scraps

First iron your fabrics and cut out identical pieces from the inner and outer fabric and from the wadding.
We are going to quilt the wadding (you will probably have some left over from the tea cosy or needle roll), if you are lucky enough to have a machine like mine you may have some quilting stitches on your machine... I used a Serpentine stitch which gave me the curvy stitch.  Another option is straight lines, using a water soluble pen place a dot every two inches around the edge draw a diamond pattern linking these dots and sew along the lines.

Do this with just the outer fabric and the wadding, the polka dot fabric really helped me as I used the dots as a guide for my Serpentine stitch.
Now once you have quilted your fabric, it will shrink, the more you quilt, the more it shrinks in size, so check that you still have enough fabric to play with, in case you need to adjust your seam allowance.  

As usual we are using 5/8" seam allowance, pin the outer fabric to the inner fabric and sew them together. Then trim down your inner fabric to match the outer fabric, it will be about a 1/4".
Fold the quilted section over and measure 9" from this seam and lightly press it.  At this point you might decide to applique a design onto the cover, or sew a pattern in buttons, if you choose to do this do it on the front fabric between the fold you have just pressed and the seam.  I suggest that it looks better on right hand side facing you, in fact I am sure that I read it in a survey in a magazine at the hairdressers, so it must be true!

Now you are going to read this through thoroughly and then do it... cos if you are like me, you will run off on your own and get it wrong.  As my mother would say, "I had a little girl/boy like you before, so I know that I am right!"  

Sew up both sides of the quilted section up to the seam between the inner and outer fabrics, ignore the flap.

Measure 9" from seam on the inner fabric, sew up just one side to the seam.  Then on the other side, sew up two inches, leave an opening of four inches and then sew up to the seam.
You should now have two pieces of fabric flapping in the breeze, this is good, pin them together, find the centre point and mark it 5/8" in.  Mark a spot an inch above the seam (marked as A and B on the pic) on each side, draw a line from seam on the left hand side to the first point then a diagonal across to the centre point, another diagonal to the point on the right hand side and then onto the seam.
Sew along the line, the trim the excess fabric and cut the corners to remove the bulk of the fabric for when we turn this.  Your cover will now look like a Y shape.
Using the four inch hole, start pulling the fabric through the hole.  On the seam of the inner fabric, where the hole is, fold it through and iron it into place, sew a seam as close to the edge of the fabric as you can.  Tuck the inner into the outer sleeve and iron into place
Slip your ipad into place and let it drop to the bottom of your cover, this push the lining into place.

It is now decision time, how do you want to fasten your cover... this cover is a girly cover but you have a couple of other options, eg a buttonhole in the triangular flap and a large attractive button.  Or maybe you and your machine do not do buttonholes, you can cheat use another method, sew the button onto the top of the flap and put velcro on the inside of the flap and on the front of your cover.  I went with using the Days of Wine and Roses flower and sewing that onto the front flap and then sewed a large snap fastener onto the case to close it.
Now if you want to make it for a Kindle you will need a piece of fabric 19" (L) x 7.5" (W)
when you fold it will be 7.75".  The formula I am using is 2.5 x L +1.5 (seam allowance) x W +1.5 (seam allowance) +.5 (quilting shrinkage).

And for a phone 14" (L) x 5" (W), when you fold it you will need it to be 4.75" from the seam
Finally, this is my notebook and my sketches so that you can see how my addled brain works out how to make these patterns up... usually I do this at my local coffee shop or at three in the  morning in my bed but I reckon I forget to update the book at that time!

Right, you know what comes next, hop on over to Wendy's fabulous Handmade Monday to see what the gang have been up to this week.

PS - The good news is that this cover has already been snaffled up by a chum who fell in love with it when she saw it :)

Friday, 27 January 2012

The 1930s are just bang up to date!

I did something bad today... you know how it is... I wanted to walk past, but I just couldn't help it... I went into Belle Fabrics (aka to us oldies as Richardsons) in Leigh-on-sea, just to see if they had something that I might be able to use for this weekend's tutorial.  What a mistake, they had just had a delivery of Moda Fabrics... I mean, how was I to know but by then I was in and there was no escape.

Moda have just released a new range called 30s Playtime which is based on the floral and chintzy ranges of the 1930s and have been designed by Chloe's Closet for Moda.
Now this is just a taster of a Jelly Roll pack, usually a selection of fabrics 2 1/2" x 44/45" and taken from the same range.

I was really taken by:
But then I spotted: 
And then:
And one of these literally made it to the cut for the Sunday's tutorial... we will be making a cover for your ipad... or Kindle... or you can scale it down for your phone.

Now oddly enough I also got an email from MoDA (the Museum of Domestic Design and Architecture) and they have published a fabulous book to coincide with their travelling exhibition on the work of the Silver Studios and even better it is reduced in their January sale.
 The book was written when Keren Protheroe was researching the work of the women designers who worked at the Silver Studios... elements of their art remains and sometimes, you  do not even know who they were but what they have created is still used by people like M&S designers to influence their fabrics today.
Imagine being told that you can only use so many colours to create a design and yet create the illusion that you have used a full palette.   They even have letters between the studios and the designers discussing their work and pay!
So, if you see that the travelling exhibition is coming to a spot near you, gussie up your skirts and get there as fast you can, it is small but I promise you that it is really worthwhile.

PS I have no links to Moda or MoDA, I just like em and know you will, too!

Monday, 23 January 2012

Weston Woollies - A cabled hat and scarf pattern

This is a hat and scarf created as a Christmas gift for my friend Miss Weston, hence the name, Weston Woollies, she is very much a hat, scarf and mittens girl in the Winter. 
You will need six balls to make the scarf (4 and three quarters) and hat (1 and a quarter) of Debbie Bliss Cashmerino or equivalent, a pair of 3.25 needles for the scarf, a set of 3.25 DPNs and a medium size cable needle

Terms and abbreviations can be found at the bottom of the post and although this not a difficult set to knit, you will need to be able to read a pattern and be more than a beginning knitter.  When knitting the scarf and coming to the end of your ball of yarn, always start a new ball at the beginning of the row so that you can sew the ends in neatly... although this is obviously going to be impossible with our hat in the round!

Let's get started...

The Hat
Cast on  129 stitches, with 32 stitches on each needle and 33 on the final needle, remember to make sure when you join your work together that the stitches are not twisted.  If you leave a long tail as you cast on, it serves as a marker for where you have started your work.
Row 1 - Bring the final stitch on needle 4 over to needle 1 and knit them together as this gives you a lovely neat edge, now K1, then [P2, K2] until the final two stitches and P2. 

Row 2 - K2, P2 until the end of the row.

Continue to work in Double Rib until you have worked 10 rows in total
Row 11 - K2, [P12, K4,] seven times, P12, K2
Row 12 - T3L, P10, T3R, eight times
Row 13 - P1, [K2, P10, K2, P2] seven times P10, K2, P1
Row 14 - P1, [T3L P8, T3R, P2] seven times T3L, P8, T3R P1
Row 15 - P2 [K2, P8, K2, P4] seven times, K2, P8, K2, P2
Row 16 - P2 [T3L, P6, T3R, P4] seven times T3L, P6, T3R, P2
Row 17 - P3 [K2, P6, K2, P6] seven times K2, P6, K2, P3
Row 18 - P3 [T3L, P4, T3R, P6] seven times T3L, P4, T3R, P3
Row 19 - P4 [K2 P4, K2, P8] seven times K2, P4, K2, P4
Row 20 - P4 [ T3L, P2, T3R, P8] seven times T3L, P2,  T3R, P4
Row 21 - P5 [K2, P2, K2, P10] seven times K2, P2, K2, P5
Row 22 - P5 [T3L, T3R, P10] seven times T3L, T3R, P5
Row 23 - MB, P5 [K4, P6 MB, P5] seven times, K4, P6

Row 24 - P5, [T3R, T3L, P10 ] even times T3R, T3L P5
Row 25 - P5, [K2, P2, K2, P10] seven times, K2, P2, K2, P5
Row 26 - P4, [T3R, P2, T3L, P8] Seven times, T3R, P4, T3L P4
Row 27 - P4 [K2, P4, K2, P8] seven times, K2, P4, K2, P4
Row 28 - P3, [T3R, P4, T3L P6] seven times T3R, P6, T3L P3
Row 29 - P3, [K2, P6, K2, P6] seven times K2, P6, K2, P3
Row 30 - P2, [T3R, P6, T3L P4] seven times T3R, P6, T3L P2
Row 31 - P2, [K2, P8, K2, P2] seven times K2, P8, K2, P2
Row 32 - P1, [T3R, P8, T3L P2] seven times T3L P8, T3L P1
Row 33 - P1 [K2 P10, K2, P2] seven times K2, P10, K2, P1
Row 34 - [T3R, P10,T3L] eight times
Row 35 - [K2, P6, MB, P5, K2] eight times

Row 36 - T3L, P10, T3R, eight times
Row 37 - P1, [K2, P10, K2, P2] seven times P10, K2, P1
Row 38 - P1, [T3L P8, T3R, P2] seven times T3L, P8, T3R P1
Row 39 - P2 [K2, P8, K2, P4] seven times, K2, P8, K2, P2
Row 40 - P2 [T3L, P6, T3R, P4] seven times T3L, P6, T3R, P2
Row 41 - P3 [K2, P6, K2, P6] seven times K2, P6, K2, P3
Row 42 - P3 [T3L, P4, T3R, P6] seven times T3L, P4, T3R, P3
Row 43 - P4 [K2 P4, K2, P8] seven times K2, P4, K2, P4
Row 44 - P4 [ T3L, P2, T3R, P8] seven times T3L, P2,  T3R, P4
Row 45 - P5 [K2, P2, K2, P10] seven times K2, P2, K2, P5
Row 46 - P5 [T3L, T3R, P10] seven times T3L, T3R, P5
Row 47 - MB, P5 [K4, P6 MB, P5] seven times, K4, P6

Shape crown

Row 48 - K14, K2 tog, to the end of the row (120 stitches)
Row 49/50 - K 2 rows
Row 51 - K10, K2 tog to the end of the row (110 stitches)
K1 row
K9, K2 tog to the end of the row (100 stitches)
K1 row
K8, K2 tog to the end of the row (90 stitches)
K1 row
K7, K2 tog to the end of the row (80 stitches)
K1 row
K6, K2 tog to the end of the row (70 stitches)
K1 row
K5, K2 tog to the end of the row (60 stitches)
K1 row
K4, K2 tog to the end of the row (50 stitches)
K1 row
K3, K2 tog to the end of the row (40 stitches)
K1 row
K2,  K2 tog to the end of the row (30 stitches)
K1 row
K1, K2 tog to the end of the row (20 stitches)
K1 row
K2 tog to the end of the row (10 stitches)

K2 tog to the end of the row (5 stitches)

Cut your wool and thread it through the remaining five stitches to gather them up, sew the loose tail securely inside your hat and sew in the other tail into the rib.

If you want to make a longer hat repeat rows 24 to 35.

The Scarf
The scarf is worked in Irish moss/seed stitch, cable and diamond cable with bobbles worked over a 12 row repeat.  The first four stitches form the Irish moss, the next eight are the cable worked over eight stitches with a one stitch trench on each side and for the centre panel it is two diamond cables using two stitches worked over 28 stitches (utilising the purl trench from the cable) and the bobbles, which you will be so miffed with by the time you have finished!

Cast on 52 stitches
Row 1 - K2, P2 repeat to the end of the row
Row 2 - K2, P2 repeat to the end of the row
Work in this double rib for another 8 rows - 10 rows in total.

Row 11 - K1, P1, K1, P1, P1, C3F, P6, K4, P10, K4, P6, C3B, P1, K1. P1, K1, P1
Row 12 - K1, P1, K1, P1, K1, P6, K6, P4, K10, P4, K6, P6, K1, K1, P1, K1, P1
These two rows will set the pattern for you

Row 13 - P1, K1, P1, K1, P1, K6, P5, T3R and T3L, P8, T3R and T3L, P5, K6, P1, P1, K1, P1, K1
Row 14 - P1, K1, P1, K1, K1, P6, K5, P2, K2, P2, K8, P2, K2, P2, K5, P6, K1, P1, K1, P1, K1

Row 15 - K1, P1, K1, P1, P1, K6, P4,T3R, P2, T3L, P6, T3R, P2, T3L, P4, K6, P1, K1, P1, K1, P1
Row 16 - K1, P1, K1, P1, K1,  P6, K4, P2, K4, P2, K6, P2, K4, P2, K4, P6,  K1, K1, P1, K1, P1

Row 17 - P1, K1, P1, K1, P1, K6, P3, T3R, P4, T3L, P4, T3R, P4, T3L, P3, K6, P1, P1, K1, P1, K1
Row 18 - P1, K1, P1, K1, K1, P6, K3, P2, K6, P2, K4, P2, K6, P2, K3, P6, K1, P1, K1, P1, K1

Row 19 -  K1, P1, K1, P1, P1, K6, P2, T3R, P6, T3L, P2, T3R, P6, T3L, P2, K6,  P1, K1, P1, K1, P1
Row 20 -  K1, P1, K1, P1, K1, P6, K2, P2, K8, P2, K2, P2, K8, P2, K2, P6, K1, K1, P1, K1, P1

Row 21 -  P1, K1, P1, K1, P1, C3F, P1, T3R, P4, MB, P3 T3L, T3R, P4, MB, P3 T3L,P1, C3B, P1, P1, K1, P1, K1
Row 22 - P1, K1, P1, K1, K1, P6, K1, P2, K10, P4, K10, P2, K1, P6, K1, P1, K1, P1, K1

Row 23 - K1, P1, K1, P1, P1, K6, P1, T3L, P8, T3R, T3L, P8, T3R, P1, K6,  P1, K1. P1, K1, P1
Row 24 - K1, P1, K1, P1, K1, P6, K2, P2, K8, P2, K2, P2, K8, P2, K2, P6, K1, K1, P1, K1, P1

Row 25 - P1, K1, P1, K1, P1, K6, P2, T3L, P6, T3R, P2, T3L, P6, T3R, P2, K6, P1, P1, K1, P1, K1
Row 26 - P1, K1, P1, K1, K1,  P6, K3, P2, K6, P2, K4, P2, K6, P2, K3, P6, K1, P1, K1, P1, K1

Row 27 - K1, P1, K1, P1, P1, K6, P3, T3L, P4, T3R, P4, T3L, P4, T3R, P3, K6, P1, K1, P1, K1, P1
Row 28 - K1, P1, K1, P1, K1, P6, K4, P2, K4, P2, K6, P2, K4, P2, K4, P6  K1, K1, P1, K1, P1

Row 29 - P1, K1, P1, K1, P1, K6, P4, T3L, P2, T3R, P6, T3L, P2, T3R, P4, k6, P1, P1, K1, P1, K1
Row 30 - P1, K1, P1, K1, K1, P6, K5, P2, K2, P2, K8, P2, K2, P2, K5, P6, K1, P1, K1, P1, K1

Row 31 - K1, P1, K1, P1, P1, C3F, P5, T3L,T3R, P4, MB, P3, T3L, T3R, P5, C3B, P1, K1, P1, K1, P1
Row 32 -  K1, P1, K1, P1, K1, P6, K6, P4, K10, P4, K6, P6, K1, K1, P1, K1, P1

Rows to 13 to 32 form your pattern, repeat until the scarf is the length you require.

Knit until your work measures approx 70" End on either Row 22 or Row 32 - do not make a bobble on Row 21 or 31 - then work 10 rows of double rib with which you started the scarf.

Cast off and sew in your loose ends.


K = Knit
P = Purl
C3F - Slip next three stitches onto the cable needle and place at the front of work, knit three stitches, then knit the three stitches from your cable needle
C3B -  Slip next three stitches onto the cable needle and place at the back of work, knit three stitches, then knit the three stitches from your cable needle
T3L - Slip next two stitches onto your cable needle and place at front of work, purl 1 then knit two stitches from your cable needle
T3R - Slip one stitch onto cable needle, place at back of your work, knit next two stitches then purl the stitch from your cable needle
MB - Make bobble - Make five stitches in one stitch as follows (knit the stitch in the front loop and knit in the back of the loop without slipping it from the left needle, repeat this and the knit in the front loop again.  Turn the work and purl across the five stitches, turn again, knit the five stitches, turn again, purl across the five stitches. With right side facing, pull second, third, fourth and fifth stitch over the first stitch. Slip bobble stitch onto right hand needle.

 And finally, it is week 50 for Handmade Monday, so take a look at what everyone has been doing this week.

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Entre Chien et Loop... a Woolshop at Dusk

OK, I know that it should read entre chien et loup* but yesterday at dusk I went to visit The Loop Woolshop in Camden Passage.  If you have ever read any knitting magazines, you may recognise their very distinctive branding: 
I had read a few reviews about the shop but frankly I thought that it would not live up to the publicity... how wrong could I be.

So, the shop is over two floors in a small establishment in buzzy Camden Passage (actually all the shops are small along there as they are turn of the 18th century buildings).  You push open a small door an enter a strip wood floor emporium.  I resisted the temptation to run headlong towards the first wall of wool that I saw and plunge my hands into it, it was full of fantastically dyed sock yarns which each seemed to have my name on it.  Then on the opposite wall, something that I have not seen since childhood, row upon row of darning yarn in all the colours of the rainbow and many in between.
It was so nice that the girls behind the desk immediately greeted me and asked if I had been there before and if they could help me.  On learning it was my first visit, they explained were things were in the shop and encouraged me to have a good look round.  Well, I did not need the encouragement and dashed up upstairs... it was even better than downstairs. 

In the corner was a fantastic collection of knitting, crochet, felt and other woolly books... I tried not to dribble but it was difficult.  There were the usual suspects but some great imports from the US which proved to be very tempting, even better was the comfy sofa next to the bookcase to browse through the patterns.  What particularly impressed me was one lady could not find the exact pattern that she wanted, they suggested looking on Ravelry!
On a large table in the centre were more yarns and books. Then scattered about the room were some fabulous chunky yarns over-flowing from old crates.  The variety of yarns was phenomonal, yes there were some really expensive yarns, handspuns, cashmeres, alpacas, from it seemed each and every continent (longingly remembers the South American yarns) but they were very special.  To be honest they were appropriately priced and frankly this is not an ordinary yarn shop but an extraordinary one!

Now, it seems that I may be working just round the corner so I checked out their knit and natter sessions and it seems that I could go to the sessions on Thursday evenings, which would replace my Thursday mornings at my beloved Roses and Rue.  

I would most definitely recommend a visit, with a full purse because you really will want to buy and what is more it will be a fantastic experience from walking in until the girls wish you a fond farewell.  Like Arnie... I'll be back :)

*entre chien et loup is a french term for the dusk and roughly translated means between the dog and the wolf.

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Thou Art Everyday My Valentine - A Valentine Gift Tutorial

I thought that this week we could make a rather lovely Valentine's gift that would not break the bank (it cost me less than £7 or just over $10!) but would show that you cared... so here is a simple but effective picture based on the perennial theme of St Valentine's Day.
You will need:
A decoupage box (you can get these in IKEA or Wilkinsons)
A sheet of background paper
Contrasting paper(s)
Heart shaped stamp
Glue gun or PVA glue or Double sided sticky foam
Scalpel or pair of sharp paper scissors (Do not let me catch you using your fabric scissors for this as you will blunt them quicker than you can say Jack Robinson...)
A cable needle or metal knitting needle or something else pointy but not sharp
Craft mat
Take the back off your decoupage box and trace around it to form your background.  Cut out the square and glue it lightly to the background square.
Now decide on your design, I am going to try two, one in the shape of a heart and the other as a simple square pattern.  Use the cover sheet that is in your frame box to create a frame for you to work within.
Using your punch cut out your hearts and place them on the backing paper to see if it works.

Turn on your glue gun.  Take each heart, place the ruler down the centre of the heart and run the cable needle along the edge as we want the heart to fold up.  You may find it a good idea to put a small pencil dot on the backing paper so that you can see exactly where you will finally place your heart.  Now run a small amount of glue along the fold and press firmly in place, continue doing this until you build up your design.
As the hearts that I was using are quite petite, I whipped out my eyebrow tweezers to help place them at the appropriate point.
And for the harmonious square of hearts, use a small square of double sided sticky back foam to stick them to your backing paper.
Let your work dry and then place it back in the decoupage frame.
I also thought of doing a heart made from the pages of the map book we used to create the bows at Christmas which we found in the Charity shop... and I thought you could call it, "A map of my heart", or you could use pages from an old book and say "You read my heart like a book..."

My friend Sally made a beautiful picture for her daughter using butterflies for Christmas... I really think that this is a very versatile and flexible technique, in fact my mind is spinning and I can see that we could even use the folded hearts as petals in a bunch of flowers...

Finally, you can also paint the decoupage box frames to fit in with your room colour scheme.

Now go take a look at 1st Unique's Handmade Monday, can you believe that Wendy has been doing this for almost a year?  This is week 49, where has the time gone?
Now, I going to give you a quick preview of next week's tutorial... it is a pattern for a hat and matching scarf, as you can see I have almost finished the scarf but I need to crack on with it, so I thought if I told you that I was posting it, I would have to finish it!

BTW... there might be mittens a little later, once I have worked out the pattern... it may be some little time...

Sunday, 8 January 2012

I ♥ embroidery - Back to Basics

For this week's tutorial we are going to make a heart... which I am using as a pin cushion but you can use it as a Valentine's gift, you can add lavender to its stuffing and pop it into a drawer or even add a loop and hang it up as a decoration.  We are also going to do some basic embroidery stitches which we will be using on other items throughout the year.  We are not going to end up stitching a cope for the Archbishop of Canterbury but we are going to learn some useful stitches that will see you through some of the things we will be making this year.

If this is the first time you have ever embroidered, have a practice of the stitches on leftover felt scraps before you do it on the actual heart.  Remember nobody dies because you do not get it right first time but your friends will be impressed because embroidery is not passed on like it used to be.  I learnt at home and at my primary school, I still remember a little blue book from Anchor... The Little Book of Anchor Embroidery Stitches... I could not wait to try out and master new stitches.  In fact when my mother died I found some of my original binca mats which I embroidered for my my mum when I was six, how I wish I still had that book.
You will need:
9x9" square of felt
A skein of embroidery thread
An embroidery needle with a nice big eye and a very sharp point
A small amount of wadding
A water soluble pen
A glass, ruler, paper and pencil
Pins and scissors
The robin tin was my mum's silks tin and I can remember when it actually contained Peek Frean biscuits over 45 years ago!
First create your heart shape, if you have a collection of sewing books, check the back and see it you have a motif for a heart and use that... otherwise we will create our own.  If like me, you hand/eye coordination goes to pot when it encounters pen and paper and you cannot draw it free hand try this method
Take a piece of paper, draw a line down the middle and another across the middle, pop your glass so that the you draw a semi circle, with one side touching the line down the middle and repeat on the other side.  I used a glass with a 3" diameter, I then marked 3.5" below the centre line and drew a line from the semi circles to create the heart design, you can make it longer or shorter to vary the look of your heart.

Cut out your pattern and pin it to the felt, cut around two hearts - remember felt does not have a warp or weft (the grain and direction of fabric) so it does not matter where you place the heart on your felt - set them aside.

Now think about the pattern you want to create... we will be using six stitches, not as scary as it sounds as two are variations on a theme.
  • Running stitch - this is where all sewing begins
  • Pekinese stitch - a woven stitch, worked through running stitches for decorative purposes
  • Chain stitch - super for writing words
  • Lazy Daisy or Detached chain - used for working flower petals and leaves
  • French knots - a raised stitch often used to create the centre of flowers and to give depth to your work
  • Blanket stitch - to join the pieces together
Mark up your design onto your heart with the water soluble pen.

Now, take your skein of embroidery thread and cut off about 18" which is about the same as you pinching the thread between you thumb and fore finger and letting it drop to your elbow and cutting it there.  Longer thread will create a problem as it will knot and tangle as you are working and I will not be responsible for you swearing when you are meant to be having fun!  You will see that embroidery thread has six strands, you only want to use three, so take three in one hand and three in the other and pull them apart, like the tractors on Levi jeans. Thread up your needle and you are ready to start.

Try to work in natural light, best of all is to be in front of a window so you can get a good look at what you are doing.

Don't put a knot in your thread, whenever you are embroidering you do not sew in or sew off unless you can tuc the thread behind other stitches and we will start with a simple running stitch.  Leave a tail of about 1/2" on the back of your work then look at the diagrams below:
Come up to the front from A and then back through the felt at B, if you are happy with the size of your stitch come back up the same length away to the front at C.  Continue like this all the way around the heart to make a border.
Using our chain stitch we are going to write a message, as this is a pin cushion and I am going to pop it onto my Pinterest boards, I am writing Pin It!

Come up from the back of your work at point A, form a little loop, then go from the front of your work through to the back as close to point A as you can so that A and B are next to each other.  Without letting the loop tighten, come back to the front at point C, this will catch the loop to form your first chain, now go back through to the  back as close to point C as you can and come up at point C, repeat this for your chain.  Then the next spot to come back up at is Point D.Chain stitch is very versatile and will accommodate curves which is why it is so good for embroidering letters.

As you have mastered Chain stitch, Lazy Daisy or Detached Chain will be a doddle.  Come up from the back of your work at point A, form a little loop, then go from the front of your work through to the back at point B as close to point A as you can.  Without letting the loop tighten, come back to the front at point C, catching the loop, take your thread over the loop and sew through to the back as close to Point C as you can.  

From Point C, go back to Point A at the centre and move your work around a little to create your next petal in the same way.  Remember most flowers have an odd number of petals.

Next is the French knot, which is what is know as a raised stitch as it sits well above the fabric to give it texture.  You will probably notice that the centre of your flower looks a little bit messy so we will use the knot to hide this.
Come up at Point A, holding your silk firmly, wind it twice around your needle and push your needle back through the fabric at Point A as you can.  Pull the silk through the twists which will form your knot, you may need to manipulate them into place as you do this, they will then create a knot in the centre of your flower.  French knots are also great at creating eyes on faces.
I thought that the running stitch looked a little plain, so we are going to do a simple weaving stitch, akin to Pekinese stitch.  Bring your silk up from the back of the work, under a stitch, now weave the stitch under each bar and when you run out of thread make sure you take it back to the reverse side under a stitch on the surface and bring your next piece of silk up from under the same stitch.
If you want to hang it up, place a length of ribbon folded in half and pin in between the curve of the heart, sew it in place with a couple of stitches.  

We are now going to work Blanket stitch, which is used to hem fabrics or applique and even button hole fabrics as it is applied directly to raw edges.  Starting inside your heart front and about 3/8" from the raw edge, bring your silk through to the front, holding the two pieces of felt together and place your needle at the back of your front embroidered piece come up at point A and bring the thread over to the back of your plain backing fabric and bring it through both pieces to join them together, do this twice for the start of your work, now slip your needle under the stitch so it is on the right of your work.
Continue in this to create your blanket stitch seam.
Work around the heart with blanket stitch leaving a gap of 3", use this gap to stuff your heart, pin the gap together and finish off with blanket stitch.  If you are hanging your heart, then sew a little bow to hide the stitches you used to hold the ribbon in place.
Now go hang it up. or start using your pin cushion and go take a look at the very first Handmade Monday of 2012
Finally, if you wash any piece of work with embroidery, always wash it by hand and when you iron it do so from the back of your work so that your embroidery stands proud of your fabric.

Health Warning - Just to let you know, if you click through to Pinterest, I am not responsible for the way that time seems to disappear as you look at everyone's pin boards!