Microwaveable Heat Wrap Tutorial

Need a practical, last minute gift for someone?  Why not make them something useful, a gift basket with some favorite teas, soothing lotion, perhaps a candle or homemade soap, and of course, a special flannel microwaveable heat pack to relax those achy muscles:


This project is rated Easy for beginner sewers and takes only 10 minutes once you have the following supplies:


Important Tip! Be sure to buy 100% cotton fabric for this project.  Cotton flannel from your local quilt store would be an excellent choice.  100% cotton fabric is safe to use in the microwave.

Let’s Begin!

Step 1: Fold over the ends about 1/2″ and stitch:


Step 2:  Right sides together, stitch down both sides.  The fold in the middle will become one closed end of the pack.  After this step is completed, you will have a tube with one end of the tube open and one closed :


Step 3: Turn right side out, and use a chopstick or similar object to push out the corners:


Step 4:  Fill with rice and  then stitch the pack closed.  It is important to only fill the pack about 60-70% full of rice for flexibility:


Once you have stitched the end closed using your sewing machine, your project will now look like this and be ready to use:


***Optional Step***   Blog visitor Sandy recommends that you fill the bag up a quarter, then stitch across, add another 1/4 of  rice, then stitch again.  Continue until you get to the top.  This will keep the rice from shifting too much.

Your finished project would then look like this:


Microwave Instructions:

To heat your wrap/pack, just put it in the microwave for 1-2 minutes.  Adjust the time based on your make/model of microwave and pack size:


You are now finished with your first heat pack!  It stays warm for a very long time and easily wraps or molds to your body.

Make them in various sizes: I made my sock monkey heat wrap to fit my elbow or knee.  This one, sock money wrap #2, was made to soothe my abdomen or lower back.  Notice that I was experimenting with sewing channels and grids to see which I like best.  I ended up liking the long channels best:


As with all my tutorials, please let me know if you make one and how you like it.  Fell free to link to this page and also check out my free tutorial page here.

Regards, Carla

PS:  Randi made 8 of these heat packs today and also made terrific covers so they are washable.  Check out her photos here.  Great job, Randi!     And here is my heat pack with pillowcase:


Copper Bookmark Tutorial


I’ve decided to do a series of easy to make presents to give away this holiday season.


First up is a copper bookmark and this is a beginner project.  No metalsmithing or metal arts experience needed.  Best of all is that most of the supplies are available at your local chain Home Center or hardware store- or in your husband’s tool chest:



Hammer- any inexpensive household hammer will do

8 gauge solid copper wire- I found mine on large spools in the electrical section of Home Depot. They sell it by the feet.  For a more expensive gift, you can purchase 8 gauge sterling silver  wire from Thunderbird Supply.

Hard surface such as an steel bench block, anvil, or, in a pinch- concrete.  If you want to buy yourself a bench block, I bought mine from Contenti Jewelry Supplies here.

Bastard File- 6 inch  Hmmm… don’t ask me why it is called this, it is basically a flat file. I found mine in the tool section of Home Depot.

Sandpaper- I use a variety of sandpaper grits, pick one that is fine and very fine.

Wire cutter- to cut the wire into 8 inch pieces.  You can also have the hardware store employee cut it as well.  I borrow my husband’s 🙂

Hole punch- I picked mine up online from Contenti.  I also have a set of inexpensive metal hole punches from Harbor Frieght.

Beading pliers, jump ring, beads, fiber, or other embellishment for decoration.  You can get these from any craft or bead store.

Safety googles


Let’s Begin!! This project only took me about 10 minutes to make.

Step one:  Using the wire cutter, cut the copper wire into approximately 8 inch pieces.

cut-the-wire1 (click to see larger image)

Step two:  Take the hammer and pound the top 1/2 inch of the wire to a flatter shape that looks like this:

flatten-end1 (click for larger image)

To get a flat even surface on both sides, you strike the first side with a few blows from the flat side of the hammer, then turn it over and strike the metal a few times, then repeat this process.

file1 (click for larger image)

sand2 (click for larger image)

Step three:  File both ends  of the copper smooth, then create a hole for the jump ring in the top flattened section.  The easiest way is to use an inexpensive metal hole punch tool like this and then sand/file any sharp edges smooth:

hole-punch1 (click for larger image)

Step four:  Now to bend the wire into the desired shape.  I bent mine around a small diameter round shape that was around my house.  I hold on with one hand, keeping the flat section parallel to the floor, and form the wire around like this:




Step 5: I do the same thing to create the wavy shape of the long wire side:


Step 6: Time to pound the metal wire flat on the long side using your hammer and hard surface to flatten the bookmark.  Be sure to leave the candy cane top round, so follow the diagram to know where to begin striking with your hammer.


As before, you pound one side to flatten down the length, and then turn it over after a few blows in each area and strike along the back side of the bookmark you are flattening.  I keep turning it over, back and forth, so that I flatten both sides evenly.

Step 7: Double check you do not have any rough places on your bookmark.  if you do, then use the  file and sandpaper to smooth.

Step 8: Almost finished, all you have to do is add your jump ring and beads or fiber like this:


And the finished project after adding your favorite bead, charms, recycled jewelry (old earrings, small pendants, etc) to complete this project:


I do hope you will take the time to try this project.  You could easily make gifts for teachers, friends, neighbors for a very small price.  Besides bookmarks, you can also make Christmas Tree ornaments.

If you enjoyed this tutorial, then be sure to check out my free tutorial page here. Happy Holidays to you!

Regards, Carla

Inchies Mailed!

I coordinated the Inchie Swap on a machine quilting site called MQ Resource.  It is all ready to go, but I was waiting on one person to send theirs before I could mail them.  They arrived yesterday, so this morning I will visit my post office and mail them out.

Of course, I couldn’t just send them back unadorned…  They needed to have a special inchie holder!!  I decided to use my Carla Bird Tutorial pattern to make lots of birdies (trust me, the number grew as I made them all!).

After making them, I left an opening and then stuffed all the birdies!!  It was kinda like stuffing a turkey, you know?  Then, just to have a little fun, I closed just a few of them by sewing up the gap.  Actually, I had intended to sew in snaps or velcro, but since I was making so many, I simplified it all.

Anyhow, I had fun doing this, but I am tired of birds right about now. LOL!

Happy Friday!  Carla

Mokuba Free Lace Tutorial

Mokuba Free Lace Tutorial by Carla Barrett

The picture on the top reflects a finished scarf, however, this product can be used to create a variety of fiber projects including a purse, wearable art, embellishments for a quilt (like the leaves above), textured fabrics, etc. You can purchase Mokuba Free Lace in sheet size (large enough to make a shawl or 2 scarfs) or it is also available by the yard on a bolt.

Pictures used to illustrate each step are from the scarf and leaf projects I have created in the past.

What is Mokuba Free Lace?

Mokuba Free Lace is the Gold Standard of the water soluble products currently on the market.It comes with a base and a water soluble overlay.The base is unique in that it has 2 layers- the sturdy base with a peel away adhesive.

What is the difference between Mokuba Free Lace and other water soluble products?Typical water soluble products have 1-2 layers of plastic, slippery layers.They are thinner than Mokuba Free Lace, so are more likely to tear and fold on you as you work with it- particularly at the stitching phase.The surface of most water soluble products are extremely slippery, however, this problem has been solved by the manufacturer of Mokuba Free Lace.It is the highest quality of water soluble being sold, plus is very easy to work with.

Where would I use Mokuba Freelace?

Mokuba Free Lace is used to give your quilt and fiber project texture, dimension, and interest.You can use it on quilts, scarfs, purses, wearable arts and any other fiber applications.

Where to purchase Mokuba Free Lace?

I asked High Sierra Quilt store,  (Phone # (530) 677-9990) in Cameron Park, CA, near where I live, to carry the shawl or scarf sheet package- which is a perfect size for experimentation. It retails for $14.50 per package. I would suggest you call them up (see the link) and order it if you don’t have a local source.

Let’s Start!

How do I use Mokuba Free Lace?

Step 1: Cut the Mokuba free Lace base to fit your project need.Next, you peel off the backing layer, which leaves behind a sturdy base with a tacky adhesive layer to prevent your fabric or fibers from shifting.Add fabric strips or bits, fibers, yarn, ribbon, angelina fibers, wool or silk roving bits or other materials to your base.

Carla hint: I lay down a sprinkle layer of the smaller thread bits (I use my scissors and just snip yarn, thread, fibers), then add some larger pieces of batik, silk, hand-dyed fabric or ribbon for the middle layer, finishing up with another sprinkling of the smaller yarn and fiber bits. This ensures that the finished project will look similar on both sides.

Step 2: Once you are satisfied that you have the desired texture and density, you lay over the base a water soluble sheet and tack or pin in place to prepare for the stitching:

Carla hint: Add the top water soluble layer to this base and pin.(I also will tack it in place using slight moisture such as rubbing my finger over a sponge, then between the layers.Be careful with how much moisture you add because this is a water soluble product, after all)

Step 3: Next is the fun part.Use decorative or other threads to match your project for the stitching.

I start the project by outline stitching 3 or 4 times around the area to stabilize the edges.Next, I stitch from side to side or free motion across the surface willy nilly.If you prefer a controlled look, you may also stitch a grid for a more structured look.The goal is to encapsulate the piece and hold it all together with the stitching.

Step 4: Last step is to wash the water soluble layers out of the piece.I start by rinsing or soaking it in warm water.Then I wash it by hand, using a mild soap or synthrapol, until the water soluble is no longer in the piece.(if this is a scarf project, then I will add some fabric softener, too, for added softness to the project. Plus it smells nice, too.)

For the leaves, and in projects you wish dimension and stiffness, leave some of the water soluble in the fibers. As you wash it, there will be a “gummy” phase. Stop and shape your project to dry. If you later find it is too stiff, then simple wash it further in warm water to the desired stiffness.

Let your finished piece dry, then it will be ready to embellish or incorporate into your project!

More Helpful Carla Hints:

*Try cutting batik into small pieces and dropping them on the Mokuba free lace.Cover, then stitch.Add as a textural appliqué to your project.

*Use strips of fabric or fiber bits layed out onto the base. Cover, stitch and wash out for textural sheet of fabric.

*If you have difficulty getting the soluble material out of your finished project, just soak overnight in warm water.

How to quilt Various Feathers, etc.

Want to make lovely feather motifs like this one?

I decided to write  a simple “how-to” for quilting basic feather types.  This post is also for the students in my class yesterday who had questions about simple feathers, “continuous curve” quilting, and how I would quilt a wedding ring quilt.  If you scroll down to the bottom of the post, you will see the difference between a feathered “flurry” quilt and a “feathered meander.”

Here is my simple tutorial for drawing and quilting freehand feathers:

Ever struggle with your feather shape?  Here is a helpful page to print out and practice. HInt- if you print it out and laminate the page, you can practice with dry erase pens over and over:

Here’s my how-to for Heirloom Feathers:

Here is the order for the Continuous Curve quilting in a 9-patch:

I also mentioned the Wedding ring quilt on my table at the moment- and how I take photos of the quilt and send suggestions to the friend who owns it. Suzie, this is relevant for you since you will be teaching a Wedding Ring class. Here are the 4 suggestions I drew for this friend:

jane-option1.jpg jane-option-2.jpg jane-option-3.jpg jane-option-4.jpg

The first two examples are stencil inspiration, the last two are my own drawings and ideas. My friend, the quilt’s owner picked #2, by the way, so I am busy implementing it. See the finished quilt here:

(Click on for larger view)

I also mentioned a technique called, “The Flurry,” a design created by my good pal, Jamie Wallen (thanks Jamie!). Flurrying a quilt is fast when you have the design down pat. Here is what is looks like quilted on a quilt:



If I were to draw it out, it would look like this:

Here is what Megan Best spine method looks like used on a quilt:

and the back:

I do hope this is helpful for all you beginning quilting students our there! Happy Quilting!

Regards, Carla

PS: Here is the link for the finished wedding ring quilt shown above. Some other great posts about quilting are shown here and here.

Featured Blog: Creative Kismet

Artist/Crafter Regina Lord initially started her blog, “Creative Kismet,” just over two years ago as a way to connect with long-distance family members. It quickly evolved into a craft blog for this Southern Arizona mother of two and part time Registered Nurse, and as a way for her to share her own creative process with others.

I contacted Regina and received permission to share some photos of her craft tutorials with you. (In other words, all photos are credited to Regina and her site. Please do not use without her permission) Recently, Regina posted a Jewelry Pendant Tutorial, which I can’t wait to try:

kismetpendant.jpg pendant2.jpg

Another tutorial project which I love is her button bracelet. Regina told me that “making beaded jewelry was one of my very first crafting interests. My grandmother gave me her old collection of buttons, so it seemed natural that I combine the two.”


Even higher on the “cool craft” scale is her tutorial on how to make your own buttons for the button bracelet project shown above:


In addition to her craft tutorials, Regina is also a participant in Illustration Friday, an online weekly illustration challenge based on themes, Inspire Me Thursday, and has taken the Handmade Pledge. Here is an example of Regina’s creative illustration and watercolor talents:


Like many artist/crafters I know, Regina has an online etsy shop called “Good Kismet.” Here is one example of her rotating offerings, an original illustration collage, which reflects her happy marriage to “the love of her life.”


Actually, I stumbled across Regina’s blog by accident. After seeing her art, and reading that she was also happily married to the love of her life, too, I decided to showcase her blog on my site. This is a new feature I’ve added to my Feathered Fibers blog site…. every so often I will showcase a new artist.

Regards, Carla

Stencil Tutorial

I mentioned last week that I was thinking of rug hooking one of my fish drawings.  I needed some way to transfer this to the cloth, so I decided to make my own stencil.  The added benefit is that I can also use it in my quilting, too.

For this project, you need a line art drawing of some sort, stencil plastic or mylar, an exacto knife or special stencil cutting knife with 2 blades, a permanent marker, and a cutting mat.  I just used a exacto knife since that is what I happened to have on hand.

Step 1: Decide on your art, then enlarge or reduce to the size you want:

stencil1.jpg and print out:  stencil2.jpg

Step 2: Trace the drawing onto the stencil plastic (or mylar) using the permanent marker.  Use your exacto blade to carefully cut out the black lines.  (Hint: I plan my connecting lines ahead of time so the stencil will stay together)


Last step: Use the stencil to mark where you wish.  You could use this to mark a quilt with chalk or- as in my example- I’ve marked a piece of burlap for a rug hooking project:


Easy Project!  I suggest this tutorial for all levels of experience.  Just be careful of that sharp exacto blade or stencil knife.  As with all my previous tutorials, please share what you create if you use this.

Regards, Carla