June Ornament Update

Goodness, where did the time go! Somehow the entire month of June got away from me, and I didn’t manage to post even once. I have been stitching though. My Mermaid is making progress, and I’m starting something new(ish) that I’ll post about when I get a chance. But first, I need to post my June ornament!

OrnamentJuneFinished

Dasher, by Hinzeit

This ornament came into being because the guys at the local Gleaners organization that I am a member of are endlessly amused by my stitching. I often have time to kill while I am waiting after picking up my bag of groceries as one of the other volunteers gives me a ride home. So rather than sit idle, I usually take something with me to work on. Ornaments are a good take along project, so the guys there have watched my progress on several over the last year. A few weeks ago, one of the guys I volunteer with offhandedly said that his grandmother would love an ornament, and do I ever sell the ornaments I make? Next thing I knew, we’d agreed on a pattern and a price, and off I went!

This ornament was a lot of fun to stitch – it is tweaked slightly from the original pattern – I lopped off the topmost part of the antler because it was already so big, and changed the colors from purple to blue because the guy’s grandmother’s favorite color is blue. I finished it using my usual pillow ornament method. When he was done, I didn’t want to part with him, he was so cute! I told myself I can always stitch another for myself, but with as many ornament patterns as there are out there to stitch, that’s highly unlikely that I’ll repeat this one!

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May ornament done!

Yes, yes, I know it’s the first of June. But it’s close enough to count! Besides, the airconditioning at my house was dead for the better part of the last week and I had no desire to do anything except sit in front of a fan and sip lemonade. Even the thought of stitching snowflakes didn’t tempt me.  Now that the AC is working again, everything is back to normal – or as normal as they ever get around here. But nevermind all that – you’re here to see the stitching!

Ornament - MayStitchingFinished

Here it is!  This was a lovely little pattern by Beehive Needleworks that was an absolute pleasure to stitch. I stitched it over 1 on some 32 count linen that I tea dyed. I really enjoy how tiny and delicate things look stitched up at such a small scale, but it does mean that the piece itself ends up pretty small. I haven’t decided for sure yet, but I think my plan is to sew a strip of red fabric that matches the thread I used for it across the bottom to make the piece a bit more square, and then turn it into a pillow ornament. The final decision is yet to be made though. I’ll work on it when inspiration hits.

And now I must return to my mermaid. She’s been calling me rather insistently over the last few days while I worked on this ornament so I plan on spending some good quality time with her. Though that time will have to be split between her and the kitchen – I’ve got a fridge full of ingredients that need my attention too. I’ll have to share some of the nummies I make here too I think. Tonight I’ve got a batch of Chocolate Chai Plum Fruit Rollups in progress in the oven, and oh my, the entire house smells amazing. I’ll try to remember to take pictures of them so I can share the recipe here before I scarf them all down.

Kimono Lantern Mermaid Update

Isn’t she pretty? Once I got started on her eye, there was no turning back, before I knew her entire face was stitched up!  I considered working on her neck and shoulders next but realized that the whole stick and carrot motivation system works well for me. So rather than working on more solid areas I decided to work on her kimono some more. I’ll be working on the bottom half of the peice for a while, starting at the right. Once the confetti starts getting to me again, I’ll return to her neck and put in some time working on easy solid stitching.

Kimono Lantern Mermaid - 052814

 

Before that can happen though, it’s nearly the end of May and I’ve not even started an ornament yet, never mind finish it! I’ve decided to work on Ephinea’s Snowflakes by Beehive Needleworks. It’s a simple single color piece that I should be able to stitch up quickly. I’m working on it in DMC cotton floss in 816, stitching 1 over 1 on some tea dyed 32 count linen I have. This should make for a lovely delicate little piece that will look nice finished into a pillow style ornament, maybe with a bit of matching fabric sewn to the bottom to make it slightly larger. I’ll decide on that once the cross stitch is done. Keep an eye on this spot for an update in a couple of days!

Ornament update – one finish and one nearly!

We’re into the second week of March here – this would be the perfect time to do an update on my February Christmas ornament that still isn’t complete wouldn’t it? I’ve been on the road a bit over the last few days, so there wasn’t too much stitchy time. That said, I did manage to get all the cross stitching done on my ornament.

ChristmasVillage - 03814

 

I seriously underestimated the amount of time it would take me to stitch this – it looks fairly simple compared to the HAED that I am working on, but there are 30+ colors and several blends in this small piece. That said, I finally got a system figured out to organize my floss and stay on top of it so that should help speed things along from now on.  I’ll share photos of what I’ve figured out later this week.

All that remains on this piece is the backstitching. I say ‘all’ and I have to laugh at myself. There is an insane amount of backstitching on each of these little ornaments. But once it is done, the details really do pop! Hopefully I’ll have a completely stitched ornament photo to share soon!

Speaking of completely stitched, I realized I forgot to share the image of my Lovely Creatures Lovebirds quickie that I stitched last month.

LovelyCreaturesLovebirds - Completed

 

I still haven’t figured out what I am going to make with it, so for now it is sitting in a drawer waiting for inspiration to hit. I’ve briefly toyed with the idea of adding lettering to it that says ‘Merry Tweet-mas’ and calling it a Christmas ornament, but I think it looks a bit too lovey and hearty to work for a Christmas ornament.

Stitch From Stash – February Report

Wow, has it been a month already?  I know February is a short month, but that went by fast! I’m here just by the skin of my teeth to get my report for Stitching from Stash in for this month.  Up first is what I spent – a whopping 80 cents! What does one buy when spending 80 cents on stash? You would think floss, right? Not in my case. Here’s my purchase. Stitch From Stash - Feb Purchase

That’s four 1/2 inch 90 degree PVC pipe connectors that I picked up at Home Depot. A bit of an odd purchase I agree, but I had an idea that I want to try out, and this was the only missing item. I’ll post more about that a little later after I’ve played with it.

I did acquire a bit of stash this month however – three new patterns. However they don’t count towards my spending budget because they were a prize. Yes, I won last months giveaway!

Stitch From Stash - January Prize

Thank you Mel from Epic Stitching! This is the year of the ornament for me, as I am hosting the Ornament a Month Stitch-a-long over at CrossStitchForum.com, so that Santa ornament will get stitched as soon as the set I am working on right now is complete. I especially like needlework pieces that are about needlework themselves, and to think that Santa is a stitcher makes me all kinds of happy!

Speaking of the Ornament a Month Stitch-a-long, here’s mine for February. I am working on a set of 6 ornaments put out by Dimensions called Christmas Village

ChristmasVillage - 022814

It doesn’t look very ornament like does it? I seriously under estimated how long it would take me to stitch this and started too late in the month to get it done. No matter, I’ll finish it soon and then start a bit earlier on March’s ornament which will be the second in this series of 6. As it is I finished two ornaments in January, so I’m still on schedule for twelve for the year. The ornament uses all kinds of variations on number of strands of floss as well as full and half cross stitches to give the pattern lovely depth and three dimensionality within a smaller palette of colors. Overall a very enjoyable stitch, if a bit fiddly from time to time!

Finishing a Pillow Ornament

Lets start things off with a bang shall we? My current obsession is making Christmas ornaments, and I’ve spent a good amount of time scouring the web for ideas on how to finish them. My favorite method right now is a simple pillow ornament with a ribbon hanger.

Winter Garden Ornaments

Lets get started shall we?

Pillow Ornament Tutorial - Outline

Decide how much of a border you want around your  ornament, and baste a border around it that is just a little bit smaller than the finished ornament size. Here I decided to leave a border of 10 threads, so my basted outline was 8 threads away from the edge. This border serves as a guide for the actual stitching – it is much easier to get all your counting done ahead of time rather than fiddling with counting threads while your ornament is under the foot on your sewing machine.

Pillow Ornament Tutorial - Attach Ribbon

After basting, cut the ornament out, leaving approximately 3/4 of an inch of fabric beyond the basting line.  Cut a length of ribbon for the hanger, and folding it in half, tack the cut edges into place on the right side of the ornament with a few stitches, sewing it outside of the basted outline. These stitches will end up inside the seam later, so don’t worry about being neat. The goal here is to tack  down the ribbon so that you’re not fiddling with it later during assembly when you’ve got other things going on.

Pillow Ornament Tutorial - Baste to Backing

Lay the ornament and backing fabrics right sides together now so that the ribbon is sandwiched between them. Making sure that the ribbon is clear of the edges, make several large basting stitches all around the ornament. You could choose to pin the layers together, but every time I do that I end up stabbing myself. I prefer to baste all around the edges to make sure that the fabric doesn’t shift as I sew. I also don’t cut my backing fabric down to size until later, so that there’s no risk of a measurement gone wrong.

Pillow Ornament Tutorial - Sewing Machine

Now we get to sew! I sewed these ornaments on the machine, going very slowly to make sure that I was always stitching 2 threads away from my basted guide. You could also sew by hand, using a backstitch. Start your stitching just before the corner on the bottom edge of the ornament, then sewing to the edge, around the three other sides, and back down to the bottom again, ending with sewing just a little bit past the corner. This will leave a gap along the bottom that is used to turn the ornament right side out and stuff it. Don’t forget to reinforce the starting and ending point with a couple of back stitches or locking stitches if your machine has them.

Pillow Ornament Tutorial - Backing Trimmed

Once the sewing is done, trim the excess backing fabric off all 4 sides, and cut the corners at an angle to reduce the bulk in the seams. Just don’t get too close to the stitching line or things may start to unravel! In the image above you can see  that about 1/3 of the bottom seam isn’t stitched.

Pillow Ornament Tutorial - Iron Seams Open

Next, snip the basting stitches carefully and remove them. A pair of tweezers comes in handy at this point! Lay some scrap fabric over the ornament and iron it  to smooth out any wrinkles. Then fold the bottom seam (the one with the gap in it) open and iron. This puts a crease in the fabric along the seam, making it easier to see where you need to place your stitches later when you are sewing the gap closed.

 Pillow Ornament Tutorial - Turn Rightside Out

Now for the tricky bit! Reach into the opening and find that ribbon that is attached to the seam. Pull it out carefully so that it brings the fabric it is attached to with it, then start working the fabric through the gap bit by bit. until the entire ornament is right side out At first it may seem like it’s impossible, but rest assured it will. Just be careful not to put too much stress on the edges of the opening or the stitches may pull at the fabric.

Pillow Ornament Tutorial - Ready to Fill

Use a small slightly pointed implement – a small crochet hook is my tool of choice here – to push out the corners  and get them as pointy as possible. At this point I like to iron the ornament once again (covered with a piece of scrap fabric of course!) to make sure everything is smooth and flat.

Pillow Ornament Tutorial - Time to Sew

Fill the ornament with a stuffing of your choice. I like to use fiberfill.  Once again, I use my crochet hook to push small bits of stuffing into each of the corners to make sure they keep their shape before stuffing the rest of the ornament. Attach your sewing thread by putting a knot in one end and coming up from inside the ornament into the seam so that the knot is hidden in the fold of the seam.

Pillow Ornament Tutorial - Ladder Stitch

Sew the opening closed using a ladder stitch, catching just a few threads on each side in turn. This is where that seam you pressed open earlier comes in really handy as there is a sharp crease to follow as a guide for stitch placement.  Tug the thread gently to close up the stitches and..

Pillow Ornament Tutorial - Invisible Seam

Tadaa! They disappear! Once you reach the end of the gap, finish by taking several small stitches in one spot, then pushing the needle into the ornament and coming out about an inch away from the seam. Tug the thread tight and cut close to the ornament so that the tail vanishes back inside.

Congratulations, you’ve just finished an ornament! I hope that you found this tutorial useful, and would love to see pictures of ornaments you finished using this method. If you have any further questions or need me to clarify any part of my instructions, please leave me a comment below.