Tag Archives | Bucilla

Snowman Boards Santa Train

Christmas Santa train felt kit, number 86365 by Bucilla

Last time I reported on my Christmas in July project, the Santa Train was being chased by a headless snowman. Poor guy! At least he got a head (ahead?) in Week 9, but it would be two more weeks before the snowman was finally able to climb aboard.

Six eyes Suzann

Because the snowman’s face had a lot of embroidery, I had to add Charles’s old reading glasses to my nose. They help me see the lines on the felt for embroidery, and thread the beading needle for sewing on sequins. With my bifocals and his reading glasses, I can see really well at a very specific distance from my eyeballs. Just an inch further or closer, and everything goes out of focus. Charles fondly calls me “six eyes” during these times.

Anything with stripes quickly runs through my quota of ten pieces per week. For instance, on the snowman’s scarf, each red stripe is one piece, plus two red fringe pieces. It doesn’t seem like I made much progress in Week 10, but ten pieces were definitely used.

Christmas Santa train felt kit, number 86365 by Bucilla

In Week 11, the snowman got his arms, and I could finally sew him onto the train. He still needed a candy cane to help stabilize his grip on the engine. Yep, the candy cane is another stripey piece that stretched out over two weeks.

Christmas Santa train felt kit, number 86365 by Bucilla

I finished the snowman’s candy cane in Week 12, and started a second cane.

Christmas Santa train felt kit, number 86365 by Bucilla

Four weeks to go! I’ll be sewing little gifts and ornaments to decorate the train. Yay!

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Almost Christmas

In August 2016, I heard the first rumblings of “It’ll be Christmas before you know it.” I was feeling pretty happy (or even smug) at the time, because my Christmas in July project was well underway. This year, SAME!

Bucilla kit “Train—Wall Hanging” is coming along fine. The difference between last year and this, is that we now have satellite TV. So we watch the news and I sew sequins and felt. Just a little every week gets the job done!

Week 5. Christmas crafts, one week at a time

Week 6. Christmas crafts, one week at a time

Week 7. Christmas crafts, one week at a time

Week 8. Christmas crafts, one week at a time

I’m done with Christmas in July for the week, so today I’m off to the studio to quilt a wall hanging.

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The Week Ends on Wednesday

The week ends on Wednesday for my 16-week Christmas in July project. I admit it’s a head game. The lazy part of me doesn’t like having the week end on a Sunday, because if for some reason I’m waiting until the last minute to finish, then I would have to work on the weekend. It’s silly, but it seems to make me more relaxed about the week’s work.

July will be underway for another 10 days, so there’s still time to start a Christmas in July project. Here is an outline for creating a Christmas in July project plan:

  1. Decide on a project.
  2. When does it have to be finished? By December 24th, just in time to give it as a gift? Or around Thanksgiving, so you can use it for holiday decorating?
  3. From now, count how many weeks you have until your deadline. Alternatively, simply decide how many weeks you want to work on it. I chose 16 weeks for my project, because it will be done in plenty of time for decorating, with leeway in case another urgent project comes up, like it did last year.
  4. Divide the work of the project into the number of weeks you have. Remember to leave time for finishing, like sewing blocks together, weaving in ends, blocking, starching, and so on. Be reasonable as to how you divide the work, because the idea is to finish without feeling burned out or overly stressed.
  5. Make a list with each week number, the date the week ends (like my weeks end on Wednesdays), and the portion of the project to be finished by the end of the week.
  6. Get started and enjoy yourself throughout the process.
  7. Remember this is a tool to help you. Don’t use it as a tool to beat yourself up.

I finished my work for Week 2 at the last minute, on Wednesday the 19th:

Christmas train felt kit, number 86365 by Bucilla, one week at a time

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Christmas in July 2017

Christmas Santa train felt kit, number 86365 by Bucilla

Pacing myself to finish a Christmas project worked so well last year, I’m doing it again this year with this cute felt kit by Bucilla.

Boringly named “Train—Wall Hanging,” Bucilla kit number 86365 features Santa driving a steam train engine decorated with toys, gifts and ornaments, with a snowman catching a ride.

The kit, which I bought at Herrschner’s, my favorite mail-order needlework company, has 147 pieces printed on felt. When you see a piece marked with a solid line, you consult the instructions to find out which stitch and floss color to embroider the line with. Dots show where to attach sequins and beads. Dotted lines show where other pieces are to be sewn.

Christmas Santa train felt kit, number 86365 by Bucilla

It’s such an indulgence to have everything marked and thought out ahead of time by someone else! Kits like this include the felt, floss, sequins, beads, and needles. You provide a small amount of stuffing and other bits. “Train” requires chenille stems and cardboard for stiffening certain pieces.

For the next sixteen weeks, I’ll be working on nine or 10 pieces a week. And I’ll report to you here and on Instagram, which help motivate me to keep up with the plan.

And here’s the first week’s work finished:

Week one. Christmas train felt kit, number 86365 by Bucilla, one week at a time

For more frequent updates, follow me on Instagram @suzannthompson (see sidebar for link).

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Christmas-in-July Project Done!

The beauty of starting this 16-week Christmas felt kit project in July was the flexibility in the schedule. When I decided to enter a juried show with a new quilt, I was able to take a few weeks off of making the wreath to make the quilt.

When the quilt was finished, I still had plenty of leeway to finish the wreath in time to decorate for the Christmas season. Hmmm. Will I make a habit of starting projects early?

This is how the last four weeks went:

Week thirteen. Christmas wreath felt kit by Bucilla, one week at a time

Week fourteen. Christmas wreath felt kit by Bucilla, one week at a time

Week fifteen. Christmas wreath felt kit by Bucilla, one week at a time

These are the fourteen pieces that made up the Santa ornament. It seems like a lot, but you just work on one or two at a time and soon you have the piece done. The Santa took me about four and a half hours to complete.

Christmas wreath felt kit by Bucilla, one week at a time

Week sixteen. I sewed each ornament and toy onto the wreath base and added a hanging loop. Now the wreath is hanging up, and every time anyone opens and closes the door, the sequins sparkle beautifully!

Christmas wreath felt kit by Bucilla, one week at a time

When it was all done, I recycled the felt trimmings. I put them in a bag marked “SCRAPS” and dropped them into an American Textile Recycling Corporation collection bin. They take all kinds of used clothing and household textiles and of course, fabric scraps. To find a bin near you, please visit their website: www.atrscorp.com

Christmas wreath felt kit by Bucilla, recycling the scraps

This was so fun, I’m going to do it again next year! I hope you’ll join me to make your choice of Christmas in July project in 2017. Maybe you’ll choose a gift or a decoration to make—maybe something to sew or knit or crochet. We’ll have project planning sheets and lots of support.

If you’d like me to email you about it next summer, please send an email to knitandcrochetwithsuzann@outlook.com and type “Christmas in July 2017” on the subject line.

Christmas in July project 2017

Suzann’s Christmas in July project, 2017
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Felt Christmas Wreath Almost Finished

The third four weeks of my twelve week Christmas in July project are done, and now I’m in the home stretch. Making the ornaments and toys to decorate the wreath is so fun. They turn out very cute and they always make me smile.

Week nine. Christmas wreath felt kit by Bucilla, one week at a time

Week ten. Christmas wreath felt kit by Bucilla, one week at a time

Week eleven. Christmas wreath felt kit by Bucilla, one week at a time

Week twelve. Christmas wreath felt kit by Bucilla, one week at a time

I have a few more ornaments to go, and then I’ll spend week sixteen putting it all together.

For more frequent updates, please follow me on Instagram @suzannthompson.

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Here Before You Know It!

Lately several people I know have said, “I can’t believe we’re already at the end of August,” shaking their heads in disbelief. Today, for the first time this year, I heard someone say: “The holidays will be here before we know it.”

Hearing that made me feel pretty happy with the progress I’ve made on the felt Christmas wreath kit by Bucilla. It’s my Christmas in July project.

The second four weeks are going according to schedule:

Week five. Christmas wreath felt kit by Bucilla, one week at a time

Week six. Christmas wreath felt kit by Bucilla, one week at a time

In Week seven, all the holly leaves for the wreath are finished, and I got to make a candy cane. Christmas wreath felt kit by Bucilla, one week at a time

Now I’m getting into the really fun stuff, with this toy train engine and a peppermint candy. At around 20 pieces, the train took a long time to put together. Totally worth it, though. It is very, very cute—so cute it tugs at my heartstrings.

Christmas wreath felt kit by Bucilla, one week at a time

And my sixteen week project is at the halfway point. Looking good so far! At this rate, it will definitely be finished in time to decorate for the Christmas holidays.

For more frequent updates, please follow me on Instagram @suzannthompson.

9/6/2016–Hi y’all. This poor post got tons of spam comments, so I’m closing comments. Email your comments to me at knitandcrochetwithsuzann at outlook dot com and I’ll post them here.

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Pacing Myself for Christmas

Christmas wreath felt kit by Bucilla

I just love sparkly felt Christmas decorations!

They are fun to make, too. Herrschner’s, my favorite mail-order needlework company, has an annual sale on Christmas kits. In a fit of optimism, I ordered two kits back in 2014, thinking I could just make them in my spare time. Ha ha ha hahahahahahaaaaa!

It’s been proven that by pacing myself, I can actually get a kit finished. Blogging and Instagramming about my plan keeps me accountable. So here goes.

The goal is to finish this cute felt wreath an ornaments in time to decorate for Christmas. The kit is by Bucilla. Each week for sixteen weeks, I’ll embroider, embellish, and sew a manageable portion of the project. I started in July, and it should be done in November.

Christmas wreath felt kit by Bucilla, one week at a time

The wreath project fits nicely in a small totebag, along with scissors and a plastic container for the sequins and beads. Contrary to the instructions, which advise keeping the different colors of sequins separate, I put them all together into the container. The day I can’t pick out a green sequin from the container is the day I need to quit sewing felt kits.

I like being able to carry the project along, like I did a couple of Sundays ago. While waiting for my daughter, I lunched at Subway, ate a delicious sandwich, eavesdropped on conversations, and embroidered holly leaves. It’s amazing what you can get done between bites. A very pleasant time was had by me.

Here are the first four weeks’ work:

Week one.Christmas wreath felt kit by Bucilla, one week at a time

Week two.Christmas wreath felt kit by Bucilla, one week at a time

Week three.Christmas wreath felt kit by Bucilla, one week at a time

Week four.Christmas wreath felt kit by Bucilla, one week at a time

For more frequent updates, follow me on Instagram @suzannthompson (see sidebar for link).

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Throwback Thursday–Vintage Crochet Cotton

vintage Bucilla crochet cotton

On the first day of the Campbell-Neumann sale in Austin, we would already be in line with dozens of like-minded shoppers, waiting for the doors to open. Misters Campbell and Neumann liquidated estates about four times a year, and any sale included items from three or more families.

Campbell-Neumann was where I found Barbara Walker’s A Treasury of Knitting Patterns for the first time. And it was where I bought a bag of cream-colored vintage Bucilla crochet thread and an old receipt.

1941 receipt from Mayer & Smith, Tyler, Texas
vintage Bucilla crochet cotton label

Mrs. W. H. Yarbrough bought two “cro cot” from Mayer & Schmidt (Tyler, Texas) for 70 cents on April 2, 1941. I can’t tell from the receipt if the cotton she bought was the cotton in the bag, because there were at least ten 800 yard hanks. Maybe she bought two more, because she was following instructions to “Purchase sufficient of this color at one time to complete your article, making sure that it is all of one dye lot number as the next dye lot of this color may differ slightly in shade.”

Some things don’t change.

Lampshade knitted with vintage crochet cotton

Nearly 45 years after Mrs. Yarbrough bought the cotton, I used a double strand to knit a lampshade (pattern from Barbara Walker). Now, another 30 years later, we still use this lamp and lampshade in our house.

I also knitted a 3/4 sleeve, v-shaped-neckline-in-the-back top, using the “Oriel” pattern. My dad took a picture of me wearing it in 1985.

I’ve changed since then, but the sweater is as cute as ever, so my daughter Eva wears it.

Oriel pattern knitted vintage cotton sweater

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Angels Done!

the last of the felt angels

I finished the last of the felt angel ornaments! Yay! I expected heavenly music or a beautiful fanfare when I snipped the last thread, but all was quiet as I hung Angel Number 7 on our ficus tree.

Before the job could really, really be finished, I had to clean out the project bag. I sorted embroidery floss, threw away the dog-eared instructions, and stored the extra sequins. Then I shook the lint out of the bag, folded it neatly, and put it in my bag-o’-bags to await another project.

I have two unopened Christmas felt kits. One has four ornaments, covered with sequins–oooo, spaaaarkly. The other is a tree skirt with sequin poinsettias. They are lurking among our stuff that is in storage, waiting for us to build a house. I can’t find them, and it’s probably for the best.

Now I can concentrate on finishing Ella’s pink cardigan, which is coming along nicely. The measured approach worked so well with the angels, I plan to set goals for the cardigan, too.

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