Local Heart, Global Soul

December 2, 2011

Felt Christmas Ornament, the Kiwidutch Version…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

It’s the beginning of December and for many western countries the shops have the  Christmas decorations out,  the background Carol music on and are cranking up their offerings of merchandise  to reap  the commercial benefits of the Christmas festive season.

I love the Christmas festivities too, but prefer to try and keep things  low key and true to the origonal spirit of  Christmas as much as possible by emphasising the value of gifts that are handmade with love, time and patience.

Tasks 11 and 12 on my “101 Tasks in 1001 Days”  project  https://kiwidutch.wordpress.com/about/101-things-in-1001-days/   are to make a handmade Christmas tree decoration for each of my two children, each year.

Many of my decorations in the past have been cross-stitched: https://kiwidutch.wordpress.com/2010/01/08/stitching-ornament-heirlooms-for-kids/ but I’ve been branching out into felt ornaments in the last year and fancied making something a bit different  than cross-stitch  ones for a change.

Then I stumbled on a craft post on the internet that got me thinking… Jessica Okui  at  http://zakkalife.blogspot.com/2009/11/craft-project-felt-christmas-ornament.html  made a beautiful Christmas decoration from felt, ones that echoes a design of  paper or card decoration designs I have seen around  for years.

I liked the idea of working it in felt, but there were a few points about Jessica’s version that I still felt I wanted to tweek for my version.

First I knew I wanted all the edges of my ornament  to be stitched. Secondly, I knew I  wanted to stitch the two pieces of felt next to each other that radiate directly from the top and bottom of the ornament instead of leaving them oen as they are in Jessica’s version.

Lastly, I wanted not just to stitch the  sections together with thread but also to add beads. Shiny, sparkly beads, to twinkle in the light of tree lights.

So… here is a Step-by-Step tutorial of  the Kiwidutch Modified Version of a Felt Christmas Ornament.

Materials:
– 6 circles cut from felt  (mine each measure 6-7 cm / 2 inches across).
– Beads of your choice
– Needle that will fit through your beads. (a sharp needle goes though the felt easier than a blunt one)
– Embroidery thread of the colour of your choice ( mine match either the bead or the felt or both)
– Thread in contrasting colour  (for basting)
–  Decorative cord or ribbon for hanging up your ornament (20-24 cm / 6-7 inches)

Method:
1) Cut six circles of  felt fabric in the colour of your choice. I die-cut mine but tracing around a small jar lid would work just as well.

2) Place two of the circles over each other and with a contrasting basting thread, make a loose line across it vertically and horizontally, effectively making your circle into quarters. Then, still with your basting thread, divide each quarter in half again so that you finish with two circles of felt sewn together, and marked out in eighths.( This sounds more complicated when it is, the photograph below with the white circles and blue thread should make it clear).

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

3) At the top of one of the basting lines, and stitching through both layers of felt,  attach a bead then blanket stitch the two edges together until you reach the next basting line,  add another bead, blanket stitch to the next basting line and add the last bead.  You will now have three beads attached with blanket stitch joining the sections between them.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

4) Repeat step (3)  only  at the ends of a basting line with a bead on it.This will give you a circle with: bead-blanket stitch, bead-blanket stitch-bead, then a basting line with no stitching  or bead at either end, and then bead-blanket stitch, bead-blanket stitch-bead again. (Again, it sounds complicated when I describe it, but the photo will show  you how simple it is)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

5) Repeat this process with the other two felt circle pairs. Once they are all completed, fold your decorative ribbon (for hanging it up)  in half and secure it to one side of the middle layer, then line up the other two sets of  felt  on the outsides so that the beads match.

Hand-stitch from centre bead (top) to centre bead (bottom, through all six layers of felt. (Opps, I know the felt has changed colour, I forgot to photograph this step on the white one).

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

6) Starting at one of the beads that is not on the centre line, blanket stitch only one layer of the two  along  the unstitched edge until you reach half-way along the circle,  take  the closest piece of  felt from the next felt circle pair and join them together with a bead. (look at the stitched and unstitched sections of  the centre of the ornament in the next photograph to make this clear).

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The easiest way to stitch this is to make a zig-zag pattern all around one side of the ornament, joining all the centres in the middle until you get back to your starting point and then to turn the ornament around and blanket stitch the remaining unstitched edges in the same manner.

Voila! a beautiful hand-stitched Felt Christmas Tree Ornament, made with love and that will make your tree sparkle for years (and even generations)  to come.

The eagle eyed amongst you will have noticed that in the red ornament photo above, there are eight circles of felt (4 doubles together) and not three, as in the white.   The  red and yellow ornaments were experients where I used eight circles of felt  (4 doubles together).  Whilst I first thought that eight would be better than six, the finished  product is I think actually too “squished” in appearance. If you pull one side to make it look right it immediately squishes up on the other side.

To the other extreme the even bigger white ornament was made with 24 circles:  twelve “doubles”and I quickly saw that it looks very cramped indeed. I also used white beads on that one and they hardly show up or sparkle at all (at least in comparison to the dark glossy beads I used for the others).

This means that six circles of felt (3 doubles) appears in my opinion to work best and these are my new Christmas favourites!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

October 10, 2009

Crafting with kids, Felt Christmas ornaments

(this is the photo from the website that I saved)

(this is the photo from the website that I saved)

We are on holiday in Maine and my daughter and my friends two daughter’s (aged 8,9 and 12 respectively) are keen to take on learning something new in the Craft department. I’ve bought a pattern with me that was a freebie on the internet and bought felt and buttons as well since we will not be near large craft shops at Camp.

I will be introducing the girls to Blanket Stitch , which is an excellent basic stitch that can be used in many different ways with felt. Whilst this patten calls for fusible web to attach various pieces we will be forgoing that and just using Blanket stitch to secure and edge everything. This will hopefully teach the girls that fastening felt with thread is easier than it looks and that they need not resort to non-stitching methods to fasten the pieces together.

I can’t for the life of me find the website where the pattern was offered because the instructions printed out to several pages, and wanting to take them to stitch when I traveled I printed them out , reduced them in size and pasted the instructions onto one sheet and then into a bag with the felt pieces needed for the project.

I will keep looking for the website, if I find it in the future I will post a link here to give due credit for the pattern.

The girls have the full sized version of the pattern so that they can get the hang of the basics… This is my eight year old daughter’s first real craft item, and she’s not far from finishing it off. I’m very proud of her !

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

I’m into miniaturizing everything in sight when I stitch so I reduce the pattern and make my version of the pattern into ornaments for our Christmas Tree. I’ve placed my little mitten on top of my daughters so that you can compare the sizes.

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

I like to use the patterns as inspiration and add my own ideas to it so I draw a free-hand waist coat piece and scarf and add them to the existing pattern pieces. I want to individualise these more, so I shift the noses to face the opposite direction on one of the snowmen.

I’m using 4mm tiny buttons for the eyes, and using a super thin beading needle to attach them. Since these are a bit too small to keep open, I’m also not keeping mine as mittens, but padding them with a little fiber-fill and stitching them up as completed ornaments.

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

Here are some that are works in progress…

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

And here are some of the finished ornaments… the little Christmas puddings were inspired by some felt craft photographs on the internet. ( I think their leaves were placed differently but as usual I made mine up as I went along)

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

July 6, 2009

Quick and Easy felt Wreath Ornaments… Step-by-Step

I usually avoid craft kits kits like the plague, preferring to take an idea, and build more or less the same item out of my own materials… but this time I happened to see a kit whilst browsing a craft website looking for something else, my daughter took a shine to it and on a whim I bought it. As usual with 8 year old kids, by the time it actually arrived in the post, daughter had lost interest and found yet another thing to fancy and beg for… (which for me wallet burned and lesson learned, No, I didn’t buy)

Since I didn’t want it to let it sit in the cupboard forever looking forlorn and surprising myself that I actually liked it a lot more once it arrived than when I had seen it in the photo… I picked it up to make one of the ornaments for a friend who I know appreciates hand crafted gifts.

So I sat down one evening and got going with the pattern… first cut out the pieces you need (there were several patterns of various shapes in the kit)… I did also photocopy the felt pattern itself because then if I wanted to make more of them later, I could get them all the same size. (personal use only, we are not talking mass production here LOL)

Wreath Christmas Ornament (photo © Kiwidutch)

Wreath Christmas Ornament (photo © Kiwidutch)

Using a metallic thread, lazy daisy stitch an inner circle as marked…

Wreath Christmas Ornament (photo © Kiwidutch)

Wreath Christmas Ornament (photo © Kiwidutch)

Then using tiny cur out circles in cream felt, sew them on.. you can use a simple running stitch to secure it but I prefer Blanket stitch because I like the neater outer edge…

Wreath Christmas Ornament (photo © Kiwidutch)

Wreath Christmas Ornament (photo © Kiwidutch)

Then in the center of the wreath, sew a ring of sequins using seed beeds in the middle to keep them in place. ( a beading needle makes this quick work…)

Wreath Christmas Ornament (photo © Kiwidutch)

Wreath Christmas Ornament (photo © Kiwidutch)

Then add sequins in the center of the cream circles, secured with larger circular beads…

Wreath Christmas Ornament (photo © Kiwidutch)

Wreath Christmas Ornament (photo © Kiwidutch)

Then, after cutting out the center hole, I sewed the backing layer to the front side using Blanket Stitch.

Wreath Christmas Ornament (photo © Kiwidutch)

Wreath Christmas Ornament (photo © Kiwidutch)

I then Blanket Stitched the outer edges together and once several scalloped edges had been completed, I stuffed it with small bits of filling as I went. I carefully added an organza decoration to the top and inserted a thin piece of ribbon into the top ( the ends tucked in between the two layers of felt) so that it can be hung easily onto the tree.

Wreath Christmas Ornament (photo © Kiwidutch)

Wreath Christmas Ornament (photo © Kiwidutch)

I cut out the pieces and sewed the metallic thread and the circles on one evening…

Wreath Christmas Ornament (photo © Kiwidutch)

Wreath Christmas Ornament (photo © Kiwidutch)

… and after the kids were in bed, finished the rest off the next evening. So, a quick and easy ornament in two nights. Note to self: next time shift the organza flower down a bit to match the position of the rest of the small cream circles, yep , sigh, I’m a perfectionist.

Wreath Christmas Ornament (photo © Kiwidutch)

Wreath Christmas Ornament (photo © Kiwidutch)

I’m planning to re use the basic shape and general idea to make more of them, each with free hand embroidery and a slightly different look, but with the same beads and colour scheme. That way they will all look like a matching set when hung up together on a Christmas tree.

I was pleasantly surprised at how good the finished result tuned out.. moral of the story, never judge a kit by it’s cover.

Have a go and surprise yourself!

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