Monday, November 10, 2014

Holiday stitching with little people….

With eminent approach of the holiday season, every minute counts! If you are looking for an easy craft to keep young hands busy over the Thanksgiving holiday (or any time between now and the holidays) here are a couple of projects that might fill the bill. Any time we can spend together with young hands teaching them the art of needle work fills our hearts with joy and furthers their interest in the art as well.

These ‘cookie cutter’ ornaments can be the stepping off point for many others.  I’ve given you the outline for a mitten. Other shapes you might consider are a tree, gingerbread ‘person’, a bell, a wreath and so on.  If you already have cookie cutters trace them onto paper and use them as a pattern or look in a colouring book or storybook for inspiration. These patterns can be copied and enlarged to the size suggested or to whatever size you wish.

My felt decorations measure about 11 cm (4” – 4.25”) in height. You can make yours any size you want but keep it simple and large enough for little hands to cope.
Each shape is reversible so you will need enough felt to cut two of each shape.
Supplies: paper to trace off the shape(s),
scissors for cutting,
thread to match the felt,
a fading marker to draw the embroidery design,
embroidery cotton for the embroidery,
hand sewing needles,
and a bit of stuffing to puff each decoration.
The designs photographed feature little seed beads for accents but you need to judge if your artist is old enough to handle beads. For beading you will need on or two colours of seed beads and a needle that will pass through the holes easily.
I added a strand of a metallic sewing thread to the embroidery thread (such as “Sulky”) to add a bit of bling.

For the embroidery, I used the Fern Stitch and the Reverse Chain. You could use a French knot or Colonial knot if you don’t want to deal with beads. All these stitches can be found in a good embroidery book if you cannot follow my instructions.
Fern Stitch

Reverse Chain Stitch

Begin by making a pattern of your chosen shape. Stack two pieces of felt and cut two of each shape so they are exactly the same size. “Open” the shapes like a book, draw your embroidery lines on the felt and embroider in the colour(s) of your choice. Add beads now as indicated in the photograph or make knots in a contrasting colour.
Stack the shapes together again. Place a small amount of stuffing between the layers and then stitch around the edges about 0.6 cm (¼”) in from the cut edge.  Add a hanging loop and you are done! Set the ornaments aside to let the marker fade (24 – 48 hours)


Design ideas/suggestions:
Reverse colours from side to side (one side green, the other red);
Cut out the shapes with pinking shears;
Join the two pieces with a simple “Blanket Stitch”! 
Have fun and see where your creativity leads you.
Meanwhile keep stitching…..

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