Monday, January 10, 2011

project 1: plastic canvas- checkerboard

I decided to make a box. That gives me 6 patterns in one use.

The first thing I did was draw out on patterns on graph paper. As you can see, our next plastic canvas pattern will be log cabin. Yes, I know that's a quilt block. It works here. Please note that graph paper usually has 8 small squares in one inch. The plastic canvas I am using has a raised grid of ten by ten squares. You will need to be careful in drawing if you want one square on the paper to equal one square on the canvas.  It is all to easy to follow the darker lines on the paper and end up with a wonky project.

Here is my plastic canvas. It's cheap and readily available. I buy mine at Hobby Lobby, but Wal-Mart sells it too.

This is not the greatest pic, but here I am cutting the canvas with a cheap pair of scissors because cutting paper, plastic, and like dulls blades. I cut a row of squares and after I have my desired size I will trim the 'sticks' My finished piece is 40 x 40 squares. Meaning I made my cut on the 41st row.

While I'm at it, I cut a second square for the log cabin pattern. I got both squares out of the sheet in the second picture.

Now I am ready to begin stitching. There are two ways to go about it and neither matter much as far as the end result. The difference is how you like to work. The first way is to work the entire row, one row at a time. This means you start at your first row and go all the way across, counting stitches and changing thread colors as you go. This is great if you like for things to follow in an orderly fashion. The second way is to work in sections. I chose sections for this projects because it makes more sense to me. Sections are great if you like for things to progress in stages.

I'm starting by making a grid for my checkerboard. I'm using black yarn like you would use for knitting or crochet. I don't know the brand name because I tore the label off a long time ago. There are no knots in plastic canvas. Thread ends stay in place because they are under the stitches. You will need to hold the end for the first five stitches are so. If it is too tedious to hold, leave a really long end, make a few stitches and trim the excess. I am working diagonally, starting on the left, and moving one row over and one square up to the right. Make sure all your stitches go in on direction for an even look. Please be aware that I flip my canvas around a good bit and you may not be able to tell one side from the other just looking at the pictures. I try to keep the end I'm working on closest to me.

First completed row. I followed the raised grid on my canvas. You can't see the grid here, but the stitches start 10 squares from the left side.
To end, flip over to the back side, slide the needle under five or so stitches, pull the yarn tight and snip. Be careful not to mix up your front and back. It may be helpful to mark the back with a piece of masking tape. (This is one of those pics were it appears I am working on the same end I started on. I'm not. It's flipped over and upside down)

After I got the grid done (an even 10 x 10, making 16 squares, 8 gold and 8 purple) things progressed quickly. So quick in fact, I forgot to take pictures until I was almost done! Oops. I'm sure there's a blogger learning curve. Good thing I'm not giving cooking lessons. As for color choices- I'm trying my best to use up this gold. And I just like purple. On the stitches- the black is in single stitches- one stitch from square to the next. Both the gold and purple are covering several squares in a stitch. I'm moving diagonally from end to end. I did this so it would work up quick. The projects need to be quick so I can post one every week. Single stitches would take a while. I have to be a week ahead, meaning I've already started on next week. The black grid allows me to sew without having to count holes.

Finished! I left the edges unstitched because that is where I will be sewing the box sides together. I decided this is the bottom of our box. To add stability and to keep the stitches from pulling out during use, I will glue a piece of fabric to the back. I didn't do it today because the glue I use has a strong smell and it is too freakin' cold and windy to go outside. Just an interesting side note- I was born during an ice storm with some of the coldest temps on record. We may get close to those record lows with the coming sleet/snow/freezing rain.

Remember- next week will be a quilting project. I will be making a tote bag with the Spool quilt block. Our next plastic canvas project will be on January 23rd.

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