Sunday, October 28, 2012

More Stitching... Appliqued and Embroidered Hoop Art

I've started on Christmas crafting early this year.  Miss M (7 months) doesn't need much in the way of presents - being the third child she has more toys than she can play with.  So I decided to start filling a blank wall in her nursery with some artwork that she will (hopefully) enjoy way past her babyhood.

As you may remember I have a secret history as an avid cross stitcher, but this time I wanted to design something and free-stitch it myself, so that it was really personal.  I took inspiration from two places - the beautiful Autumn trees on fire with colour just outside my window, and a winter coat belonging to Miss S, that has a beautiful tree motif I have admired for two winters now.

In addition to that I was quite pleased that I was able to make it completely (apart from the hoop) from my stash.  Even the linen came from scraps I had when I recently hemmed our master bedroom curtains.

So here are a few photos that demonstrate how I made the picture, for any readers who would like to try and make their own hoop art.

You will need:

* A piece of linen or other fabric in the size needed to fit comfortably in your hoop
* An embroidery hoop (mine was 21.5cm wide)
* Paint (if you want to paint your hoop like I did)
* Piece of printer paper
* Pencil
* Vliesofix
* Scraps of coloured/ printed cotton fabric
* An embroidery needle
* DMC or Anchor stranded cotton in colours to match your fabrics, plus white
* Scissors
* PVA glue and a paintbrush

I started by drawing around the hoop onto a piece of printer paper to get the right size.  I sketched a few compositions before settling on the one above.

Ignore the "1" on the right top corner... that was me just experimenting with
cross stitch numbers for an advent calendar I'm working on...

I used the pattern I had drawn to cut out pieces of fabric and attached them to the linen with Vliesofix.  Vliesofix is a iron-on adhesive you can buy in strips or sheets at your local haberdashery shop.

Draw the inside details, that you will stitch, with pencil.  Begin stitching.  I used two strands of Anchor/ DMC stranded embroidery floss. 

I used split stitch for the majority of the design.  Here is a close up of how to do it.  Create a stitch around 6mm long, pull through at the back....

...then when you come back through bring the needle through the last stitch between the two strands.  Repeat.

The inside details were long stitch.  I tried to get the lines parallel by pulling them over as shown, then sinking the needle down inside the split stitch border.

Some of the other details were french knots, like the fallen leaves under the pear tree and the bird's eye.  Click here to go to a youtube tutorial on how to make a french knot.

When you're finished with your stitching you can spray your design with a little laundry starch and give it a good iron so you can begin framing it.  If you have any visible pencil lines you can erase them with an ordinary eraser before ironing.

Lay your larger hoop over the picture and position so that it is centred.  I painted my larger hoop white but not the smaller one that goes at the back as it wouldn't be seen.

Put the smaller hoop at the back and slide the fabric in, pulling gently at the edges, and tightening it slowly to make the fabric taut.

...'scuse my messy backwork!

Cut all the way around leaving about 1.5 cms (or enough fabric to cover the two edges of the inner hoop) as shown.

Snip all the way around at intervals of 1cm as shown.

Carefully paint the frame with PVA glue and secure the tabs of fabric onto it.  

Work your way around the whole frame until it looks tidy and is all stuck down.

All done!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Halloween: Pretty Paper Pumpkin Party Favours

Autumn is in full-swing here in Switzerland and it's time to think about some of those lovely Autumn traditions that my kids and I love.  It's also school holidays as well, so a bit of crafting is always in order!

These super-sweet little pumpkins are easy to make out of very basic materials and are perfect for handing out at your Halloween party - or, unfilled - perfect little decorations for your Autumn table.

I have to admit that I pilfered my daughter's idea for this craft.  This morning Miss S (6) met me out of the shower with a tray of pumpkins that she had made (pictured above). She loves to grab paper and just cut and fold and stick until it looks like something (wonder where she gets that from!).  I was so proud and my first thought was, let's make these into favours (I had to veto her "putting a candle in it" idea for obvious reasons!)

So, to make a pretty paper pumpkin you will need:

* 1 A4 sheet of light card in orange
* A scrap of green light card
* Sticky tape
* A pen or pencil (to wrap the pumpkin "vine" around)
* A guillotine (or a pencil, ruler and scissors/ craft knife)

Cut your piece of orange card lengthwise into 8 one-inch (2.5cm) strips.

Fold each strip in half so you know where the halfway mark is.  

Using sticky tape, tape one strip to the other to make a cross.  Repeat this with the other strips until you have four crosses.

Lay one cross across the other and tape. 

Lay the next and tape as shown.

Lay the next and tape as shown.

Put a small bag of sweets/candy or other treats inside.  Now bring up the two sides of each strip and tape together at the top.  

Repeat this until all the strips are taped to their other side and you have a pumpkin shape.

To make the vine:  Cut a small stip of green card about 6 inches (15cm) long, and about 1/4 inch (7mm)  wide.  Twist it around a pencil or pen as shown.

Snip a bit off at an angle on each end.  Tape down.

Cut out two leaf shapes - one big, one small.  Make a couple of sticky tape loops and fasten the leaves to the top of the pumpkin as shown.


Now all there is to do is make a bunch of these for some very special little kids for the 31st.  Happy Halloween, everyone!

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