Tuesday, April 28, 2015

A Captured Ozark Hill Fairy

 In the early mornin' hours, armed with a Mason
 jar, fairy net & plenty of patience, I headed out in
 search of the elusive Ozark hill fairy.
 Out amongst the Spirea I spotted a small
  female.  She was captivated with the
 lovely blooms & not on her guard. 
Her color is a strikingly vivid blue & she's 
about 5 inches in height.  Just the right size
for the vacant dollhouse.
 Bare feet, pigtails & freckles.
 She seems a happy little creature.
 Her wings are very sparkly.  A bit more bling
 than I expected to find in a simple county
 fairy.  Life is certainly full of surprises!
I've spotted some others............

Saturday, April 18, 2015

How to Make A Dollhouse or Doll's Braided Rug

I've finished the rugs for the fairy dollhouse &
thought a tutorial was in order.  It was difficult
 to hold onto the tiny braids and take photos at
 the same time, so there are a couple of links
listed at the bottom of this post.
The front porch rug is 2 1/8 inches wide.

The kitchen rug is 8 1/8 inches wide.
 The bedroom rug is 6 3/4.

This is an older Braid Craft rug making kit
used to make a "people" sized rug. 
(Braid Craft still makes these inexpensive kits,
 check your local hobby or fabric store.) 
It comes with good directions & 
3 metal tools used to fold the fabric
strips when making the rug braid.
 When a strip of fabric is inserted in the large 
end of the metal fabric folding tool,
it comes out the small end with the raw edges
rolled toward the center.  Strips cut to fit this
tool are way too big for a dollhouse rug.
I just happened to have this little tool.
It's a Clover brand 1/4 inch bias tape maker.
You can buy these on the internet, sold in
several sizes or check your local fabric store.
A 1/2 inch strip of fabric makes a

 1/4 in. wide strip of folded fabric.

It does virtually the same thing as the big braided rug tool
 & it's just the right size for a dollhouse or dolls rug.
(It's great for making trim for a dolls dress too.)

 These are the 3 fat quarter reproduction 1930's
fabrics I chose.  I cut 18, 1/2 in wide strips
of each color, each strip about 23 inches long. 
  (fat quarters can be purchased at any quilting
store, if you use regular cut fabric the strips
would be much longer)
*I cut my strips on the straight of grain, but
on the bias would be fine too.
*This amount of fabric made the 2 blue
rugs with a small amount left over.
My 1/2 inch wide cut strips ready
to be sewn together.
To sew the strips together, pin
 together and mark as shown below.
Stitch securely on the line.  I stitched by
hand, but they can be sewn on the machine.
Trim them up.  The less fabric, the easier it
is to pull the fabric through the tool.
Each strip sewn together was about
34 1/2 feet long.
(Repeating-This amount of fabric made the 2 blue
rugs with a small amount left over.)

Since I only have one tool, I prepared
my braiding strips ahead of time.
I took the strips to the ironing board
and pressed the strip as it came out of
the bias tape making tool.
I wrapped the ironed strips around a piece
of cardboard for easy handling.
Rolling them in a ball works too.
All three colors ready to braid.

To start the braid, attach 2 colors together,
just like you attached the strips together,
then iron under the edges.
Sew the 3rd color to the other strip like this.
Forming a T.

Then start your braid.
(Link below)

 I used a clamp attached to my lamp
for ease in braiding.  While braiding
I kept the folded edges toward the
back of the braid & kept the tension
the same while I braided.
For the large rug I braided several
feet ahead.  Rubber bands around the
ironed strips helped to reduce tangling
during the braiding process.
I used button hole thread to
stitch the rugs together & worked
on a flat surface.  Don't stitch too 
tightly or you'll end up with a bowl
shaped rug.

To make an oval rug.
Refer to The Turning Braid link below.

Insert your knotted thread at the
tip end of the braid.

Go about 1/2 in. up the braid and
insert the needle through a loop.  This
makes a small straight section that forms
 the beginning section of an oval rug.

 Proper braided rug making is done by
Lacing the 2 sides together by inserting
 the needle between the loops going from
side to side.
HOWEVER,  I found it very difficult 
to do proper lacing in such tiny tight 
braids, SO most of the time I was actually
 stitching through fabric instead
of lacing back and forth.

Knot the thread.

Bury the thread end within the braids.

Re insert your knotted thread and begin
lacing the braids together.

 It automatically takes on
an oval shape.

Do the lacing along the center edge of the braids
& it can't be seen on the top or bottom of the rug.

The starting process for a circle
rug is a bit different.

A regular sized braided circle rug is
started by doing 3 or 4 turning braids.
(link below)
See how it forms a candy cane shape.

HOWEVER, I didn't have any trouble
stitching a beginning circle with the
tiny braids on the blue rug that did NOT
start with turning braids. 

When the rug is the size you want,
open up the last few inches of fabric.
Trim the raw edges to a taper.
Iron the edges under.
Braid them together.
Lace together till about an inch is left.
Use a crochet hook to pull the ends through
a loop.
Trim and stitch down.
Even though I worked on a flat surface,
my larger rugs had a sombrero shape to
them & needed to be blocked.  To re-shape
them, I lightly sprayed them with water.
(dampen don't soak)
 I flattened the rug out &
placed it on a towel.
and put a couple heavy
books on top until the rug dried.
Get creative!  Use scraps, soft flannel fabrics or change
up the colors within the rug.
I have added this tutorial to the Tutorials
List located on the top right sidebar,
under Misc. Crafts at the bottom of the list.
How To Braid Three Strands
Happy Rug Making!