What’s A Dart?

The folks over at MCG Textiles have an awesome line of latch hook stuffed animals they call Huggables.   To make these cuties  (only some of which are pictured here) you latch hook all the pieces then follow the instructions to hand sew them together with yarn and stuff them.

The step-by-step instructions are very thorough, or so they thought.  A couple of the animals have darts in them, and it seems not everyone is familiar with what a dart is.

Oops!

MCG’s instruction writer feels terrible about the oversight and has asked me to write a post about making the dart so they can use the link for a reference for anyone who needs help.

Of course I am happy to do that, so here we go!

A dart is a way to make some extra canvas disappear, without cutting it away, and give a flat piece a natural curve.  The dart can be long or short, wide or narrow.  I made a long and wide one so that it will be easy for you to see.

This is what my piece looks like from the right side…

and from the wrong side…

I told you I made a big dart!  😉

What I am going to do now is get rid of the extra blank canvas in the middle (the dart) by first folding the canvas in half with the right sides facing each other, making sure to match up the sides of the dart.

Next I am going to sew along the edges of the dart using the Back Stitch method in the instructions.  To make it easier for you to see the stitching, I used light blue yarn, but you will use the same color yarn as the hooked piece.

That’s it!  We’re done!  The piece now has that natural curve and won’t lay flat on a surface anymore.

The triangle-shaped extra canvas is on the back of the piece.

When you stuff your animal the stuffing will either push the extra canvas against the piece or it will surround it – either is fine.  There is no need to cut off the canvas, and doing so may actually make the dart a weak spot.

Hopefully this helps everyone who has any questions, but if not, please be sure to let me or the folks at MCG know!  You can add a comment here or on their Facebook page, or you can e-mail them at customersupport@mcgtextiles.com.

Until next time…keep being crafty

~~ Emmie~~

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Reaching Your Crafting Deadlines

Last week the good folks at MCG posted on their Facebook page that I’m very busy with a knitting project…and they’re right!  I’m working on 2 projects for the Ravelry Ravellenics Games (the knitting world’s Olympics) – the scarf is easy and relaxing and the cardigan?  It’s definitely challenging!

I’ll fill you in on the projects in a week or two, including pictures, but now I need your suggestions!

I’m a bit behind on the sweater and have until Sunday night to finish knitting 2 sleeves, assemble the cardigan, add finishing touches and upload the picture to Ravelry.  Normally sleeves are a breeze, but this entire cardigan is cable-crazy, at times along the back I did 21 cable twists in one row!  If you knit you understand but if you cross stitch, it’s like a row full of 1/4 or 3/4 cross stitches.  Slow going…

Are you wondering what this has to do with the good folks at MCG since knitting isn’t their area?  I’m a firm believer that ALL crafters, no matter whether they’re knitting, sewing, latch hooking, locker hooking, crocheting, cross stitching or whatever, all of us share a common problem more often than we’re willing to admit.

And that problem is a deadline that somehow sneaks up on us.  You know, just like Christmas, that same-date-every-year deadline that most people scramble to meet.

For my current dilemma I’ve pretty much used up my bag of tricks….

1.  Set and meet mini goals along the way.  Mini goals set but um…not quite met.

2.  Get up an hour earlier in the morning and stay up an hour later at night and knit.  Two hours each weekday means 10 hours in a week!  Done, but I’m not super-smart during these bonus times and have been doing some frogging.  The magnet on my Mom’s fridge, “The Hurrier I Go The Behinder I Get” springs to mind.

3.  Have ingredients on hand for quick and easy meals so no precious time is wasted on cooking.  Quick and easy meals have now turned into take-out

4.  Let friends know so they can be supportive (and understand your social absence).  The supportive friends have dragged me out a couple extra times in the past week.  Where is my will-power when I need it?

5.  Pare down social commitments to a minimum.  Ummm…refer to #4  😦  and add a Friday night concert.

Okay fellow crafters, what ideas are in your bags of tricks?  I only have four more days to get everything done so suggestions are welcome!  If we all share ideas, just think of the Meeting Deadline Reference Library we’ll have when the holidays roll around!!

Until next time…keep being crafty

~~ Emmie ~~

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Crafting Assistants

When you are busy crafting do you have helpers…of the non-human kind?  I do!

A couple of years ago when I was making a huge locker hooking rug for my dining room my cat Scotch, as in Butterscotch not the adult beverage, liked to keep my fabric strips warm for me.  She didn’t want my progress to be slowed because cold fabric strips bothered my hands.  At least that’s what she told me  😉

Scotch is now enjoying her time in Kitty Heaven, but carrying on her tradition are my kitties Scarpetto (left) and Skittles (right)!

Don’t be fooled by how cute and peaceful they look in this picture — they can be a challenge!  Not only do they think that my supplies are THEIR toys, but when I’m in my recliner they think it’s lap time!

Sometimes when I’m knitting I have to lean over the edge of the recliner because there’s no room for my needles and project in my lap!

But they’re still cute  🙂

When I travel I always bring a project (or 2 or 3) with me.  Last summer when I spent some time at a lake cottage with friends, I had brought a locker hooking project.  Their cat Nero thought the Graph ‘N Latch canvas was the tastiest toy ever!

I know he looks like Skittles but he’s not.  He is just as helpful though.  😉

A few weeks ago when I was visiting MCG to see what was new, we had a visitor peering in the window who was also curious!

Now that you’ve seen some of my helpers, who helps you, human or non-human?

Until next time…keep being crafty

~~ Emmie ~~

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Uneven Yarn Ends

I don’t know about you, but when I latch hook, no matter how hard I try, my yarn ends do not always end up the same length.  I match them up when I put them around the hook, but somehow in the hooking process, one end often dominates and ends up taller than the others around it.

My rugs would often end up with high ends like the brown here…

…or the tall white end here.

Am I alone in this or do you have the same problem?  Please tell me I’m not alone  😦

It’s often said that creative people are “different” and that they’re not overly concerned with exactness – that whole “left brain right brain” debate.  Well, I am creative to the extreme and I DO worry about exactness.  It took me many, many, many latch hook projects before I stopped worrying about the ends as they appeared and instead took my scissors to them after they were done and trimmed away all evidence of my inability to be exact.

The good folks at MCG suggested that I use their curved handle scissors for my trimming purposes.  To be honest, I tried them just to say I did, I really didn’t think they’d make a big difference.

Boy was I wrong…on many points!

First, it was so much more comfortable to trim with these scissors than regular scissors.  I didn’t have to lay the rug on a table then crouch next to it in order to make sure I was keeping the regular scissors flat and not over-trimming.  I did have a couple of rugs that ended up with super short ends, kind of like asking to get waist-length hair trimmed and walking out of the salon with shoulder-length hair  😦

Second, my hand was so much happier with the curved handle scissors as it did not have work at a bizarre angle!

Flat Scissors

Curved Handle Scissors

Lastly, the cutting process itself was so easy that I came close to calling it fun!  I love the process of crafting, but I hate the finishing of projects.  In counted cross stitch, one the X’s are all crossed I don’t want to have to back-stitch everything; once I knit a sweater I don’t want to have to put it together, and once I finish latch hooking I don’t want to have to trim the ends.

But I do in all cases because the project really isn’t done until those last steps are complete.  At least with latch hook, using the curved handle scissors has made the last step less painful!

Oh…and my final tool for making the front of the rug look awesome?

Yep, a good old-fashioned lint brush!  I use this to entice all the ends to stand up straight before I trim, and I use it during the trim process just to make sure there aren’t any renegade ends.  The lint brush also works fabulous for picking up all the cut ends that didn’t fall off when I shook the rug.  Be prepared to use several sheets depending on the size of your rug.

What do you use to make the front of your rugs look awesome?  If you don’t have to trim, how do you hook so all the ends are even?  Your crafting buddies want to know!

Until next time…keep being crafty

~~ Emmie ~~

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Why A Closet Blog?

Hey Everyone!

Well, it’s been a bit of a bumpy road getting this blog revved up, but things should be much smoother now.

You might be wondering why we’re doing a blog and how we ended up with the name.  I’m here to shed some light on this…

When the good folks at MCG reignited their Facebook page they quickly discovered a downside, and that was that there really wasn’t a way to archive posts so they could be used as references months after they’re written.  After a few posts, the older ones get hidden as new posts appear, and unless someone has a lot of time to scroll through all the posts, they won’t be able to easily find the answers they’re seeking.

Facebook is GREAT for commentaries, questions and sharing pictures and information, but as a resource for our customers, it has some limitations.

Hence the blog…

As I write posts they will be put in categories…and the categories are visible on the right side of the blog.  Right now there aren’t many showing but that’s only because the posts aren’t published yet.  If you have a question on Locker Hooking, you might find the answer in the FAQ’s category or two upcoming categories – Locker Hooking and Tips & Tricks.  As an avid crafter myself, I can attest that there is nothing more aggravating than having a question or problem arise on a Friday night that derails your weekend crafting plans because no one is available to answer your question until Monday morning!  This blog will hopefully become a great resource for everyone so that doesn’t happen…often.  🙂

In addition to this being a resource for you, we hope that posts will spark conversations between everyone who stops by.  If a post inspires you to comment or ask a question, just click the “Leave a Comment” link at the bottom of the post.  After writing your comment, if you want to keep up with what others are saying, check the box that says “Notify me of follow-up comments via e-mail” and you’ll receive an e-mail whenever a new comment is added.  This will be especially helpful for you if you’ve posed a question.

Now, why is this blog called Emmie’s Craft Closet?  Well, as all crafters know, a craft closet is filled with all kinds of goodies and surprises – and that’s exactly what we are planning to do with this blog!  You’ll never know what you’ll find here, but it will definitely be crafty, fun and hopefully, informative!  And if you can’t find what you want, then please leave a message on MCG’s Facebook page and let us know!

One last thing for today.  The pictures in the photo at the top of the blog are sections from my personal craft closet…one of them  😉  The two baskets of goodies are not in the closet itself but are accents in my family room.

Now that I’ve played show-and-tell with my closet, it’s your turn! Do you have a craft closet or cabinet or storage system?  Upload your pictures on MCG’s Facebook page so we can see yours – and no cleaning or organizing first!

Until next time…keep being crafty

~~Emmie~~

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Hi! I’m Emmie!

Well hello everyone – welcome to my very first blog post!  I’m excited to be here and share with you my love of crafting!  Be sure to check back often as I’ll be chatting 1-2 times a week, maybe even more!

Before we get rolling on all the fun stuff, I thought I’d give you some background on me, a resume of sorts, since the good folks over at MCG Textiles have dubbed me a celebrity and “The Craftanista Queen”.

Though I’ve done guest spots on QVC and “America Quilts Creatively with Sue Hausmann” and I’ve often demonstrated crafts at trade shows, I’m not anywhere near as famous as some of the crafters, artists and designers with whom I spend time.  That’s fine by me, especially when I’m making a quick dash to a craft store looking like I just rolled out of bed!  As for being “The Craftanista Queen”, well that title I embrace and celebrate whole-heartedly!!

I’m often asked when I started crafting, and the honest answer is that I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t crafting.  As luck would have it, I grew up in a very creative family where singing, instrument playing, wood-working, cross stitching, crocheting, sewing and more were always in abundance.  As my circle widened, many of the friends I surrounded myself with were also creative, and they mentored me in new ways to express my creativity – knitting, latch hook, punch needle, photography, gardening, cooking, drawing, painting, and more.

My very first full-time job was a bank teller, and when I commented on a customer’s purse that had a needlepoint insert, the conversation that followed led to my first part-time job in the craft industry.  It didn’t take long for that part-time job to become a full-time one, and the rest, as they say, is history.

The greatest perk to working in this industry, besides the phenomenal people I’ve met and the opportunity to share my love of crafting, is being introduced to all the new techniques, and to understand them so thoroughly that I can develop projects from scratch.  It is wonderful creating special one-of-a-kind items, even when there are some false starts or major re-works involved.

Nothing illustrates creativity better than pictures, so here are a few examples of what I’ve done…

A yarn project from 6th grade just to show that I started young…this 35+ year old picture hangs in the hallway right outside my bedroom!

Counted cross stitch is my preference when it comes to needlecraft, but I do dabble with embroidery, crewel, needlepoint and stamped cross stitch.  Here are 5 projects that hang in one of my hallways…the 1st, 3rd and 5th are counted cross stitch, the other 2 are crewel. I’m sorry that it’s a funky picture, but it’s the only place where I have more than one project hanging together so I thought it was better to be funky and show off many projects rather than be non-funky with just one.

I love to garden and take pictures of the flowers that grow in them.  One day when I was aching for a new locker hooking project to tackle, I went through my pictures and stumbled across one I had taken of a cosmos.  Within a couple of days I had a chart and fabric supply list…a month later I had a wall hanging!

I’ve always been fascinated by quilts but have never really “gotten into” quilting.  One day my sister and I took a Quilt Top In A Day class and this is the result.  It’s only lap size, and I didn’t quite get it all done in one day, but I love the finished project and have it hanging in my family room.

I decided to “decorate” the one window in my craft room as if it was on the outside, kind of making the window inside-out, or outside-in if you prefer.  I hung shutters then created an awning valance.  I really want to put a window box underneath the window, but I’m confident my feline craft assistants would have way too much fun with it…

And an example of me going a bit overboard.  In 1989 I designed & knitted this sweater when I had front row center seats to one of Neil Diamond’s concerts.  The front and back look the same, but the back has completely different song titles than the front.  I’m not sure how many songs are included, but at least 50 would be as safe bet.  I’ve only been to two of his concerts since 1989, so the sweater has only been worn 3 times.  It now lives on a wicker dress form in my family room…

So that’s a little about me and my crafting background!  What about you?  How did you start crafting and what do you do?

Until next time…keep being crafty

~~ Emmie ~~

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FAQs

My latch hook project didn’t come with the color chart.  How can I get one?

Remove the face sheet from the front of the box and turn it over – the chart should be there.  If it’s not, please e-mail customersupport@mcgtextiles.com and request a chart.  Be sure to include the kit number and name as well as your shipping address.

I am missing components in my kit, how do I get them?

MCG Textiles stands behind it’s products 100% and will correct any errors that occurred in the manufacturing of your kit.  If you encounter any shortages please e-mail customersupport@mcgtextiles.com and request the missing supplies.  Be sure to include the floss or yarn numbers and names as well as an estimate of how much more you need.  Don’t forget your shipping address!

What brand of floss do you use in your kits?

The floss included in our kits is available to manufacturers only.  If you have run short of a color you can either contact us for more (customersupport@mcgtextiles.com) or match as best as possible at your local craft store.

What is the difference between 3.3, 3.75 and 5-mesh canvases?

The number indicates how many holes there are per inch.  3.3 canvas will have the largest holes as there are only 3.3 per inch.  5-mesh canvas will have the smallest holes as there are 5 per inch.  If you hooked the same design on all 3 canvases, the design on 3.3-mesh would be the largest and the one on 5-mesh would be the smallest.  All three canvases can be used for latch hook and locker hooking.

I’ve designed my own latch hook project, how do I determine how many packs of yarn I need?

If your project is all one color, multiply the number of squares wide x the number of squares high then divide by 320 (the number of pieces of yarn in each pack).  If your design has multiple colors you will need to count how many squares of each color there are and divide each total by 320.

I don’t have a credit card. Can I send a check or money order?

Yes you can!  Just complete your order on-line and when you get to the final page where you are asked for your credit card information stop.  Print that page and mail it to us along with a check in US Funds.  This page gives  us your shipping address and product ordered information. Mail to: MCG Textiles, Attn: Orders, 596 Crane Street, Lake Elsinore, CA 92530

What is your return policy?

If for any reason you choose to return a product you purchased directly from us, we will refund the purchase price to your credit card account. You may return your product in the original unopened package within 45 days for a full refund or exchange. We will need your order # or date that you placed the order. Shipping charges are not refundable and you are responsible for the return shipping charges.  We do not charge a restocking fee for our customers.

If you purchased the item from a store, you will have to return it to the store where it was purchased.  

Will you service an MCG Textiles item that I bought second hand?

Unfortunately we are not able to guarantee any second-hand purchases, only those bought on our website or at a retailer.

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