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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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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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A Brain Vacation

 After finishing my book back in May, my brain needed a break. Luckily, about that time, the Herrschners catalog arrived. It’s one of my favorite things to find in the mailbox. Even more luckily, an embroidery kit I had admired was on sale!

The kit was the Garden Beauty Table Runner by Village Linens. It has shaded lavender roses and other flowers and leaves. All the correct colors of embroidery floss and even a needle were included in the kit. Ahhh. So easy on the brain.

I embroider while my girls are in their piano lessons. Some evenings I do a few lengths of floss for relaxation.

Eight-year-old Ella noticed how the same color floss looks like it has different shades when you see the work in a certain light. It’s the satin stitch that does that. I spend a lot of time admiring the effect. 

The table runner may be done by the end of the year, but there’s no real deadline. Yay!

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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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Snowman Latched!

snowman latch hook kit latched!

Thanks to Bob Dollar, Nero Wolfe, the Dallas Cowboys and the Texas Longhorns, the latch hook snowman rug/wall hanging is completely latched. I listened to tapes of Annie Proulx’s That Old Ace in the Hole (Bob Dollar is the main character), and a couple of Rex Stout novels, featuring the fat and sedentary detective, Nero Wolfe. I took the rug to my parents’ house the last few weekends. We watched Longhorn and Cowboy football, while I latched. What a great way to escape from real life!

Now I need to get back to work. I have my articles to write for INKnitters, and I want to finish a book proposal I started about a year ago. And there are teaching proposals to prepare! Also, I need to do quite a bit of administrative work: filing, bookkeeping (Sallee, I can imagine you smirking), cleaning up the debris from several months of projects.

Quick, I need some sand to bury my head in! Or better yet–don’t I have a couple of felt Christmas ornament kits, which I must, must, MUST finish this year?

snowman chart vs printed canvasNow, a few comments about this rug kit. I enjoyed it, as you know. However, I am disappointed (not surprised) at the quality of the yarn. It is acrylic and sheds a lot. For all the work involved, I would have preferred wool yarn. That would more-than-double the price of the kit, though. It will be okay as a once-a-year display.

And another thing: In this close up, you can see how the printed canvas doesn’t line up with the colors as latched according to the chart. The colors on the canvas were very helpful for about five rows, and then, because the print was slightly skewed, I couldn’t quite figure out the correct colors for latching the right side of the canvas.

the most important sentence in the instructions

I followed the chart, and quickly saw that the print on the canvas was compressed. By the time I reached the halfway point, the white dots in the background were two rows higher (according to the chart) than shown on the print. Well, it was a good thing I read this one sentence in the four-page instructional brochure. (If you can’t read it, it says ‘For best results follow chart.’)

All that considered, the snowman wall hanging is a hit with my girls. They love the colors and the shading. My two-year-old asked me to put in on the floor so she could sleep on it. It’s snuggly.

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New Book Tape, therefore Snowman Rug Progressing

snowman latchhook in progress

The busy-ness of this week left me pretty tired in the evenings, so I relaxed by listening to my new book tape from the library, Miss Julia Meets Her Match, by Ann B. Ross, read by Claudia Hughes. It’s good, and while listening, I have made lots of progress on the snowman rug. If you missed my original post about this rug, it is a JPCoats kit from Herrschner’s. I bought it a couple of years ago, so I don’t know if it is still available.

We had a belated birthday party for my 10-year-old daughter yesterday. Our party project was to decorate a frame with polymer clay. The only tools they had were small cookie cutters and the pasta machine, which is always popular among kids. The girls had a wonderful time. We took a photo of the party-goers and put one in each frame for the girls to take home. The frames were absolutely charming!

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