They asked me to contribute an idea that uses yarn and I narrowed it down to needlepoint (because, really, yarn is such a fun material to work with, there are so many ideas!). The plan is that I'll be contributing more original how-to's on CRAFT in the future and I'm really excited about that. They have been fabulous to work with so far.
If you haven't tried needlepoint, this is a great get-your-feet-wet project. In fact the needlepoint was the easiest part. I finished this purse from start to finish in about a week or so. The two stitches I used in the design are very easy for beginners.
The color palette I used for this bag is very springy, but you could choose a palette that's appropriate for all the seasons. The sky's the limit on color. This project is also a great yarn stash buster.
This purse turned into quite the complex project! But no fear, I put together a very thorough step-by-step on how to construct the bag from beginning to end. This was one of the most fun projects I've worked on in a while. I can't wait to come up with some more ways to use needlepoint.
I put together some tips on starting and ending your yarn when you're stitching your needlepoint panel. (these are not included in the CRAFT post)
Here's an example of what to do when you need to start a new color in the middle of your design:
I'm pretty wary of carelessly starting or ending threads. I'm so paranoid that threads are going to come loose, so that is why I make sure to pull the thread through those previous stitches 3 or 4 times before I start stitching. This will ensure that your project will last many, many years (decades!) without having stitches come loose.
Here's an example of ending a length of yarn. When you're doing those large "Crossed Corners Cushion Stitches" it can be tricky when you have to end a thread with no previously created stitches nearby. The long diagonal stitches of these Cushion Stitches are a bit loose since they're traveling over many "threads" of your plastic canvas. Here's what I do when I only have those diagonal stitches to anchor my yarn (and this will happen often, because these Cushion Stitches use LOTS of yarn... your length of yarn will end in the middle of this motif often, no matter how long it is):
Again, I would go back through 3 or 4 times to make sure it's secure.
A book I used as a resource (no I was not paid to say this!) is Stitch Step by Step. I highly recommend this book if you'd like to try needlepoint. Half the book is also about surface embroidery, so if you've been wanting to try that, too, this is a double whammy. ; )
Remember, you can find the free needlepoint pattern and purse construction how-to here on CRAFT!