Monday, November 13, 2017

"Give Thanks" Ribbon Banner

When it comes to gift boxes, wrapping paper, and ribbon, I have to admit I'm a bit of a hoarder. When I received a gift last year tied with this burlap wire-edged ribbon, I knew I had to cross-stitch something on it. I stashed it away and waited for inspiration, which came to me this year as autumn approached. The result is this simple "Give Thanks" design, which can be used as a mini banner on a Thanksgiving table. 

The ribbon I used is 22 inches long, 1 1/2 inches wide, and has about 14 strands to the inch. I used all six strands of embroidery floss and worked over two burlap strands, which suited the size and weave of my ribbon perfectly. The finished size of your cross-stitching will depend on the ribbon you use. Experiment with a small swatch until you get the look you want. If you want to create a more refined design, use fewer strands of floss or try working over a single fabric strand. If you're working with a wide ribbon, and you want your individual cross-stitches to be more prominent, try cross-stitching over four fabric strands.

Of course, you don't have to use a ribbon at all. You can use the chart below to stitch a simple Thanksgiving sentiment on any type of even-weave fabric, Aida, or linen. I used DMC embroidery floss in the following colors: #900 Dark Burnt Orange for the lettering, #3852 Very Dark Straw for the acorn bases, #780 Ultra Very Dark Topaz for the acorn caps, and #520 Dark Fern Green for the leaves. 

By the way--I'll be much too busy cooking, eating, and visiting to blog next week. I hope you will all be doing the same! I'd like to wish everyone a very happy Thanksgiving--and to offer my sincere gratitude for your kind support of my little corner of the crafting world.

Please stop back on November 27th to check out my annual Holiday Gift Guide.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Embroidered Felt Pumpkin Leaves

Halloween may be over, but pumpkin season is still in full swing. Pumpkins make perfect Thanksgiving decor, but I wanted a way to dress mine up to make it centerpiece-worthy. Since the pumpkins I found at the store were stripped of their vines and leaves when they were harvested, I decided to make some leaves to give my pumpkin a fresh-from-the-field look. The front of the leaves are embroidered with veins stitched with DMC floss; the backs hide the ugly side of the embroidery and make the leaves extra sturdy. I used a length of chain-stitched green yarn to make the vine that connects the leaves, but you could also use ribbon or twine.

To make a pair of pumpkin leaves, you'll need felt (I used WoolFelt from National Nonwovens in Blue Spruce and Sandstone), gold embroidery floss, green yarn, a sewing needle, a crochet hook, and scissors of course. Print the pattern below to the size you like. The leaves shown in the photos are 4 1/2 inches high and 5 inches wide. Cut two from green felt for the leaf fronts, and two from beige for the leaf backs. 

Use the vein lines on the pattern as a guide for your embroidery. Here's the method I use: trace the lines onto tissue paper, pin the tissue paper pattern onto your leaf, and then embroider on the lines, sewing through the tissue paper and the felt. When your embroidery is finished, pull the paper away gently to reveal the stitches. You may need to use tweezers to remove any stray pieces of paper. I embroidered my leaves in two different ways. On one, I embroidered a single line of split stitch, which creates a delicate look. On the other, I began with a single line of split stitch, and then added lines of chain stitch around it for a more textured look. If you want to keep things simple, you could use backstitch or running stitch.

To assemble the leaves, pin the leaf fronts to the leaf backs. Tuck each end of your "vine" between the felt layers at the base of each leaf and pin them in place. Next, sew the pairs of leaves together with running stitch, sewing about 1/8 inch from the edge. Be sure to stitch the vine ends in place securely.

When it's time to dress your pumpkin up for Thanksgiving, wrap the vine around the stem like a scarf and let the leaves hang naturally to the sides.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Halloween Pompom Garland

If you haven't decked your halls for Halloween yet, you're running out of time! Don't worry--I have a last-minute project for you that's super cute and super simple. All you need is a small amount of orange, gold, black, and white yarn. If you have purple, green, or gray yarn on hand, you can throw them into the mix too. You'll also need a pompom maker--one of my all-time favorite craft gadgets. (Mine is from Clover.)

Just use the pompom manufacturer's directions to whip up as many pompoms as you like. Beware--as I've said before, pompom making is addictive. When you finish your pompoms, give them a trim to even the edges, and then fluff them up. (Don't trim the two ends of the tying strand; you'll use those to assemble your garland.)

For the base of my garland I just crocheted a length of white chain stitch, and then tied my pompoms along it, evenly spaced. If you'd like to make this project even easier, tie your pompoms to a length of Halloween ribbon or colored craft twine. When your garland is finished, hang it around a window, wrap it around a chandelier, or wind it around a centerpiece for an extra splash of Halloween color.

If you still have a few minutes to spare, here are two more quick crafts from Halloweens past:

Candy Corn Hair Clips

Scrap Basket Halloween Pumpkins

Monday, October 23, 2017

See My Felt Arctic Animals in "Quilts and More" Magazine

Used with permission from Quilts and More™ magazine. ©2018 Meredith Corporation. All rights reserved.

When I first saw these shades of blue, white, and gray WoolFelt from National Nonwovens, they  made me think about ice and snow and Arctic animals. After a bit of sketching and stitching, I came up with this blue whale, orca, seal, and narwhal. I'm happy to report that they found a home on the pages of the Winter 2018 issue of Quilts and More magazine. (How awesome is the background that the Q&M people came up with?!) The issue will be on newsstands on October 24. Click here for a sneak peek inside--it's filled with gorgeous quilts and smaller sewing projects. 

Used with permission from Quilts and More™ magazine. ©2018 Meredith Corporation. All rights reserved.