Monday, 27 October 2014

Making a Wreath- Part 2 Going Autumnal

This post follows on from Part 1 which included the instructions to make the basic wreath, I used a length of thick ribbon to create a nice and strong way of hanging the wreath by threading it through the wire loop and tying a big bow.

I decided to go with traditional autumnal embellishments- a pumpkin and falling leaves.

To make the pumpkin, I cut a rough oval shape out of thick felt (I used the felted jumper I also used to cut some of the wreath circles), then sew around the edge using embroidery cotton, as it's nice and strong, and a wide running stitch.
I made sure the knot at the beginning was big and strong, when I got back to the first stitch I pull the thread to gather the top together and stuffed the inside- I used the off-cuts from all the felt cutting (afterwards I thought it would have been better to use something lighter in weight but it didn't worry me enough to change it). I sewed the hole together securely, this will be covered so didn't need to be very neat.
By using an oval and thick felt, a gnarly pumpkin shape is automatically created. I used further lengths of cotton to give definition by using a long needle and sewing from the top to the bottom and round the outside. 
I used a dark, green DK yarn to make the stalk.  I made it up as I went and didn't worry too much as it's meant to be shivelled and twisted. I started by knitting an icord and increased the number of stitches every couple of rows, I then cast off and switched to crochet.
Sew the woolly top onto the top of the pumpkin body with matching thread.
Using the knitted maple leaf pattern from 75 Birds & Butterflies to Knit and Crochet (see a previous blog here), I made two leaves, one in a burnt orange wool and one is a muted, yellowy beige. I also crocheted a khaki-green leaf with pinky, brown edging trying to mimic natural, autumnal, leaf discolouration, making it up as I went....
I attached each leaf to the wreath with a few stitches of matching thread.
Lastly I sewed the bottom of the pumpkin to the inside of the wreath. There you have it, ready to hang!
Sorry they're not great pictures as it was dark outside but my Mum was delighted with it, I'm pleased to say.
I'd love to hear any comments you have. Thanks so much for taking the time to read my post!
Until next time, craft in earnest! Craftin' Ernest x

Friday, 17 October 2014

Making A Wreath- Part 1

My Mum loves a wreath for the front door and she has this one, I made for her up, hanging during the Summer months.
She loves Hallowe'en so I thought I would make her an autumnal wreath which can also double up for Hallowe'en with a couple of easy to add/remove additions.

I used the same technique on both for the basic wreath.
For this you will need:
Thick florist wire (I used approx 50cm/20'')
Felt of various colours- I used shrunken jumpers for both
Wire cutters (not in the photograph)
Cut out a large number of circles of about 6cm diameter from each colour felt, you'll need quite a lot- I used about 200 circles of quite thick felt. They really don't need to be perfect and a little irregularity actually adds to the appeal.
WARNING- cutting out thick felt can be difficult and a strain for your hand, I know this from experience and a week later my right thumb is still experiencing a tingling, numb sensation. I know it's really tempting to get it all done but please don't risk injury, take regular breaks if necessary.

Now shape a loop at one end of the wire, florist wire is quite malleable so is easy to shape, it also doesn't need to be super neat as it won't be seen.
Next thread the felt circles randomly onto the wire by poking the wire through the centre- you may have to cut a little nick in the felt if it's too thick to slide on.
Pack them all tightly, pushing them down as you go. Once all the circles have been thread on, wrap the straight end of the wire around the looped end and cut off the excess.
This provides a nice sturdy wreath to embellish....
There you have it, a basic wreath!
You can add all sorts of embellishments to suit you taste and the season. 
For the Summer one, I made a couple of crochet daisies with needle felted centres and felt leaves. I hung a mini birdhouse in the centre with a bee charm attached with glue (after removing the loop for hanging it).
As this is for the Autumn, I decided to go traditional and will give details together with the pictures of it all finished in the next post.
Hopefully my Mum will be as pleased with this one as she was with the Summer one?
Until next time, craft in earnest! Craftin' Ernest x

Monday, 13 October 2014

Wrapping Paper

I love wrapping presents, so much so I'd do it as a job if I could.
Having said that I can feel rather guilty about the frivolous nature of wrapping gifts with paper and the cost to the planet. I always try to unwrap things carefully so I can reuse the paper for something, be it to wrap something else or to make a card or line something, whatever it is it's good to reuse and is cost-effective too- a nice bonus! There are some really gorgeous papers out there that are such good quality they can be used over and over, especially if tied with ribbon instead of using sticky tape.

I'm always on the look out for for things to use as wrapping paper or to make gifts bags etc.
With this philosophy in mind I rescued some paper from work recently after the photocopier had a "software malfunction" and printed out a document as a series of lines similar to a barcode. Most had an overall green appearance due to the stripes being blue, yellow and black and some were just black and white.

I immediately thought the green tone paper would make great Christmas wrapping and the black and white could be easily jazzed up.

I made a gift bag using one sheet of the green, just the right size to pop a few small Christmas presents before finishing it off with a festive bow. I used a box of tea as the base structure (see below) and began wrapping as per normal at one end but without sticking anything down. I then drew a flap template at the other end which I cut out with scissors. I stuck the edge and the folded end together with double sided sticky tape and attached a strip along the edge of the flap, ready for sealing.

Using this wonderful origami tutorial from the delightful Gathering Beauty, I used two, green sheets to make a box. I finished it off with red and white striped washi tape along with a gift bow made with the same tape and plain paper off-cuts. It's just right for a Christmas present of jewellery. 

I used a pink and a yellow highlighter to spruce up a sheet of black and white, I thought this was "bang on trend" ;-) as neon is everywhere at the moment and would be good for my friend's birthday as she likes bright colours. It looks great with black ribbon
Making your own stamps as in this post is a great way to personalise plain paper into something a little more special and could even make newspaper a possible source?!
The other black and white sheet was calling out for haphazardly stamped, hot pink bumblebees and to be made into a gift bag.
I covered it with transparent, sticky vinyl then I used the same technique as the Christmas bag, although, this time, I stuck the edge and flaps down as I went.
I then folded the top 2cm down all the way around and cut 2 holes in both of the wide sides approximately 1cm down. I threaded a piece of ribbon (liberated from inside a cardigan) through each side to create handles and used a bead on each end before knotting for extra security. I also popped a rectangle of card in the bottom for a bit of extra strength.
When that's all done you're left with with a lovely little gift which is durable enough to be used over and over!

I hope you like the results? Thanks so much for visiting my blog.
Until next time- craft in earnest, Craftin' Ernest x