Monday, December 21, 2015

Last minute makes: felted wool pins or ornaments

When there's just three or four making days left to Christmas, people who make presents are either flat out frantic or finished and suddenly wondering what other unrealistic goals we can set for ourselves.  So today: instructions for the felted wool pins I made this year.

It's a bit late at this point to offer somebody a Christmas pin unless you are seeing them, like, today - they only take a couple of hours to make once you have your gear together - but you can replace the pin with a string at the top and make it an ornament, or you can do something other than holly with berries and make it a pin for winter, like Jan's snowman:

If you start today there would still be time for you to gather materials, but if you're like me, you probably have them around the house already from previous projects (or laundry disasters).

Basically you are looking at felt, either from ruined wool sweaters - your own or from a thrift shop - or from a craft aisle in a bigger store, where you can buy it in colourful sheets.  Wool sweaters produce a thicker fabric but otherwise the process is the same.  It's just nice if one of the pieces isn't too floppy, so that the pin or ornament has some heft, so if you're using something really flimsy, you can add another circle to toughen it all up.

You will need:

Sharp-point scissors for detailed cutting
2 green holly leaves cut from felt, in 1" to 1-1/4" lengths
2 circles, at least one of which must contrast with both green and red, cut to about 2" diameter
(if you cut the back circle a shade bigger, you get a scalloped edged pin; otherwise it's flat)
3 tiny holly berries or 3/8" red bells - or you can make french knots with red thread
1 1" bar pin
1 needle and sewing thread
1 comfy chair and a good light

First off, you want to sew the pretty front of the pin.  Position the holly leaves as you wish (and I recommend having one of them overlap the border a bit at the tip), then attach them with a simple running stitch, with the first stitch coming up from the back so the knot doesn't show on the front.  Eventually I discovered that it's fastest if you start at the bottom of one leaf, then come to the top, stitch on the berries, then run down to the bottom of the second leaf.

If you use the very tiny felt berries - I got mine at Michael's - run your needle right through the middle so they don't tear off later.

Now it's time to sew your bar pin onto the back piece.  My stitches are always very sloppy and it doesn't matter with this design because you will be hiding it later.  See?  Messy:

And hidden.

And now it's time for blanket stitch, my favourite!!  This is where you sew the two sides together - pin side out on the back, holly side out on the front - and the key is to start your stitch just under a protruding holly leaf so that if you mess up with the ending knot it won't show.

Now you will begin to work your way around...

... tugging out any excess felt from the back piece with the tip of your needle to get the nice scalloped pie crust edge effect.  Or not, if you chose to make your two circles the same size.

When you're finished, all that's left is the wrapping!

Or you can tie your finished gift onto a wrapped present in place of a bow.

Tomorrow, with luck, I will have another Last Minute Make to show you - also with felted wool but you'll need bigger circles for this one - about 8" diameter.  No bar pins though!  Meanwhile: best of luck with your projects in hand. 

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