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CHA Summer 2011: Trend Spotting Embroidery and Needlework

We spotted lots of stitching at CHA!

Dimensions by EK Success has cool new embroidery kits designed by Claudine Hellmuth:

These are transfer pattern packs that include 19 charming themed designs. A selection of embroidery floss is included.

Each design can be transferred multiple times.

I was pretty excited to see crewelwork kits by Dimensions at EK Success.

Crewel is a tapestry embroidery worked in wool yarn on a sturdy fabric. These kits include needles, wool, and background fabric. These patterns are modern and fun.

Dimensions also has fun projects for the holidays using felt applique and embroidery stitches.




And for traditional stitchers, Dimensions has detailed cross stitch and needlepoint kits:

Such detailed stitching!

Look at the embroidery on the very appealing felt supplies from Handbehg Felts:

Handbehg has kits for fiber enthusiasts too:

They have lovely hand felted balls in a variety of sizes.

They even sell little natural acorn tops in case you forgot to collect them yourself last fall and can’t wait to have your own pot of colorful acorns:

Panchakanya Nepal Enterprises also has thick natural felted wool in appealing colors for your projects.

I like these beaded applique squares:

and these embroidered felt beads:

Bucilla Craft, by Plaid Enterprises, has offered seasonal needlecraft kits and patterns for more than a century.



Traditional cross stitch is very meditative!

We R Memory Keepers offers innovative tools to make it easy to embroider on your paper and card projects.

They have the Sew Easy in this nice kit with a colorful variety of threads:

Now they have the new Sew Stamper. You can get the look of stitching with a simple rolling stamp.


We R Memory Keepers Sew Ribbon tool really makes an impression:

With this tool, magnets allow for placement anywhere on the page. Use the piercing tool and the guides to punch through even extra thick cardstock.

They have a nifty plastic sticky needle that makes sewing paper with ribbon or twine super easy:


Ready to get stitching? I am!

Vendor Spotlight and GIVEAWAY: Artterro Art Kits (1 of 2)

Reported by Susan Reidy

I love to craft with my older daughters, who are 8 and 5. To simplify things (I also have an almost 1-year-old daughter), I often turn to kid craft kits. While they’re easy and my girls have fun, the end results aren’t what I would call heirloom quality. After all, how long can foam, glitter glue, sticky back gems and adhesive magnets last?

So when I read a little about Artterro (art of the Earth), I jumped at the change to try out some of their open-ended art kits designed for children. They include artist-quality materials, which are also eco-friendly.

Artterro has 12 kits ranging from Collage Decoration and Collage Jewelry to Paint with Wool, Art Dolls and Bubble Wands. No two kits are exactly alike with different colors and patterns.

These are definitely not your typical kid craft kits — no foam or glitter glue in sight. Just opening the kits and touching all the goodies got my creative juices flowing. The handmade papers are gorgeous and substantial, the beads are colorful and include a great mix of glass and wood in a variety of shapes/colors, and I love the felted shapes. How many craft kits geared to children include that? Check them out.


The quality was obvious to me, even before I read more about the products on the Artterro web site. The handmade paper is from 100% post-consumer waste and is from India and Thailand. The 100% wool felt comes from Nepal and the decoupage tissue is from Decopatch in France. The fabrics are hand-dyed artisan Batiks, while the paints are Solucryl acrylics (more on those later).
The kits are open-ended, so there are no how-to instructions. As the company says, it’s a true art experience for your children. But if you need a little guidance, there are great ideas included with each kit and also in the gallery on the company’s web site.

Aside from the yummy kits themselves, you’ve got to appreciate Artterro’s sustainability efforts.

Artterro minimizes packaging and prints on 100% post-consumer waste recycled paper using vegetable-based inks and renewable energy. The inserts are recyclable and the plastic bags the kits are packaged in and can be reused.

The kits are assembled and shipped from Goodwill Industries in Milwaukee, WI. Artterro also has donated to Project Kids in Cambodia, an art program that serves orphanages in that nation.

After reading about Artterro, I was really psyched to out two of the kits — the Creativity Kit and the Storybook Kit. I set aside the Creativity Kit for me; these kits are definitely not just for children.

Check out all the goodies in the Storybook Kit — it has everything you need to make a canvas book, including the book, several linen and Batik fabrics, floss, needles, ribbon, beads, paint and paintbrush. All we needed to add were the scissors and adhesive.


Here are all the yummy fabrics. So many colors to choose from, and plenty to finish the book.


And here’s the book itself. It has three double-thick pages, which can be cut apart to give you a total of six pages. The book had good heft to it, and was a nice size at roughly 6.5 inches wide by 8 inches high.

I have to admit the open-ended aspect scared me at first. I wasn’t sure if my girls (or me) were up for it. I should have more faith in my children’s creativity.

We’re REALLY into mermaids (and fairies and princesses) in this house, so naturally, the girls wanted to make a mermaid storybook. My older daughter decided it would be about a mermaid who sees a rainbow, and goes on an adventure with her friend to find treasure.


I cut apart the first page so we had a total of four pages. We started off with a cover page, and a color wash with the included Solucryl acrylics. Now, my girls paint, a lot. We’ve never had such a good experience with paint.


Before we got started, I was doubtful that this humble looking paint palette could handle canvas fabric.

It did great! According to the Solucryl website, the paints behave like a poster paint but the color of an acrylic. It dries to a matte finish, and is flexible without dusting or flaking.

The paint went on smoothly, and had great color. I love how it looks like real water with different concentrations of blue. And after it dried, the page was still soft and pliable. Plus, it cleaned up easily from our hands and the table.

While our page dried, my daughter traced out a mermaid on the Batik fabric. I helped with some of the scissor work on the more detailed pieces, like the tail fin.

And here’s our finished cover. My younger daughter drew up some fish, also on the Batik fabric.

Next up, there had to be a rainbow page. I also helped with the cutting here, but they did great with the gluing and they told me which colors to use, and in what order. I love the vibrancy of the Batik fabric and how easy it was to cut and adhere. We used Martha Stewart craft glue.

My older daughter created the sun all by herself, and decided the rick rack was perfect for the water. After all, the mermaid had to come out of the water to see the rainbow.


Here we meet the mermaid’s friend, who will come along on the adventure to find the treasure. We made some ribbon corral, a few sequin bubbles and bead corral bits.


We spent about an hour on these pages (we have one more to complete), and it held my older daughter’s attention the entire time. My younger daughter was interested, but she would wander off every so often.

I would say the suggested age range on this kit (8 and older) holds true. There’s lots of cutting, gluing and sewing involved, which is probably better for older kids. Also, they have a longer attention span required for all this creativity.

My older daughter loves to flip through the pages and tell everyone the story. She’s anxious to finish it up, and maybe add some words.

I also got a chance to play with the kits for some of my own projects. I did borrow a few pieces of fabric from the Storybook Kit. Even though no two kits are exactly alike, all the products match because they have the same quality, texture and style.

Here are all the goodies from the Creativity Kit — several patterned and solid handmade papers, felted shapes, bead assortment, wire, floss, and needles.


Here’s a close-up of the yummy papers–lots of variety in color and texture, and lots of sparkle and shine.


For my first project, I decided to cover a plain pencil holder I bought from Target with some of the pretty paper. I had to add one of the felted shapes because I just absolutely love them. I added some stitching with the included floss, and sewed on some beads. I also added some beads one of the included wires, and adhered it behind the felted shape.


Here’s a close-up of the decked out felted shape.

I used some more of the paper to make an oversized tag, which I will probably use on an Easter scrapbook page. I used some of the borrowed fabric to make the yo-yo topper and the grass. Again, I couldn’t resist the felted shapes.

I had some product left after my projects, but I’m not sure I could make another full six projects (the kits says you can complete eight projects). We have lots of material left from the Storybook Kit, so I could definitely “borrow” from that again to make some more art.

My girls and I had lots of fun with these kits. They’re so proud of their storybook, and it’s definitely one I plan to hold onto.

Artterro kits range in price from $16.95 to $24.95. They are available online through Artterro and Amazon, and at select toy and art stores including Dick Blick.

Pros:
  • Quality materials from a sustainability minded company.
  • Open-ended kits allowing for lots of creativity and the true “artistic experience.”
  • Ideas are included with the kit and online if you need a jumpstart.
  • Finished art projects are worth keeping for the long haul.
  • Not just for kids — the quality, beautiful products are suitable for adult art projects as well.

Cons:

  • More expensive than your typical kid craft kit, but the quality is worth it.
  • Not sure you could create a full 8 projects with the Creativity Kit, as the package suggests.

GIVEAWAY!
Our friends at Artterro are giving away a kit of the winner’s choice to two of our lucky readers! Answer the following question in the comments section to be entered:

Artterro already has all of these kits to choose from… what ideas do you have for new kits?

Comment by Saturday, February 26, 2011 at 9 pm CST to be entered. One comment per article, please.

Disclosure

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