Each kit contains all the felt and thread you’ll need for all 12 ornaments, plus all the pattern pieces already printed out on freezer paper or Sulky Sticky Fabri-solvy – whichever is called for for each piece. The step by step instructions are delivered by email.
I had so much fun with the Bears in the Hills project that I immediately needed another way to play with felt applique and embroidery. I had been having glimmers of an idea about using traditional quilt patterns as felt applique and I thought it would be fun to do that as a frame around one of my applique patterns.
It was so much fun to make that I decided to put together a tutorial showing how to make the frame. I want you to be able to use it in combination with any of my applique patterns you already have. I’m always looking for ways you can get more use out of your library of patterns. 😄
So here we go!
This layout works for two different possibilities. If you want the full rectangle, use a double-sized sheet of felt (I carry them now in the shop in some colors) and a 12″ x 18″ frame. That’s a standard size I know for sure you can get at Michaels because I checked over the weekend. 😄
If you want just a square frame around your square image, ignore the blue striped parts of the image and use a 12″ x 12″ frame – also a standard size.
What You’ll Need
One 12″ x 18″ sheet of felt for the background. I highly recommend wool-rayon blend or bamboo felt. Don’t use acrylic felt – it will pill and look grubby before you even finish making it. This is the felt I use in all my projects.
Assorted felt colors for the other parts. I used the following colors. . .
Optional – I like to use a Q-snap frame for this kind of handwork, so I bought a couple of extenders for my 17-inch frame so it could go all the way to 20 inches. I also used some cheap muslin as a base for my felt so I didn’t need to catch the felt in the clamps.
Prep the Pieces
You’ll need to cut some strips, triangles and circles from your felt.
For the triangles, cut four strips of felt 1″ wide and 12″ long. From each strip, cut 1″ squares. You need a total of 40. Cut each square in half on the diagonal to get 80 triangles.
For the blue stripes, cut 8 strips 1/4″ wide and 12″ long.
For the pink polkadots, cut nineteen 1/2″ circles. (I buy mine pre-cut from Woolhearts on Etsy.)
Choose your pattern for inside the frame and print it at 80% size. I used one of the cats from the Cuddly Cats quilt pattern, but changed his eyes to happy sleeping eyes. There are also a bunch of free patterns available here. Cut out all the pieces. (I like to print mine on freezer paper to make it easier to cut out the pieces accurately.)
Put It All Together
I started by gluing my large background sheet of felt to some cheap muslin so I could easily hoop it without covering up any of the stitch area. Here you can see my piece in its hoop.
I used a couple of batting scraps under the clamps to give them more to grab onto, since the muslin was pretty thin.
Next I started to arrange the cut pieces onto the background felt. Here’s the plan. . .
Each square in the grid is 1/4 inch. I don’t like to mark on felt, so I used a ruler as a guide to position my pieces.
Here you can see that I’ve laid the ruler across the bottom of the background piece so that the top edge of the ruler is exactly 3 inches up from the bottom edge of the felt. That’s where I lay down the purple triangles in a pinwheel arrangement. I originally positioned one triangle in each inch of the background felt, but I photographed this after I finished all the stitching – which draws up the width a little bit. (You can see that the finished width is now a smidge less than 12 inches, which throws off the alignment of the triangles a bit – but you get the idea.)
Once you get the bottom row of triangles in place, it’s easy to build out the rest of the pinwheel frame. When you’re happy with how it’s all laid out, glue each piece in place with a swipe of glue stick.
Use the ruler as a guide to position all the skinny blue stripes as shown in the diagram and glue in place.
Position your face. I shifted mine a bit to the right, just to make things more interesting.
Sprinkle some polkadots in the background and glue them down too.
Seriously! I can’t wait to get these guys in a frame to start stitching. You’re going to have to pry me out of my couch for the next few weeks. 🙂
And that’s not all!
I want you guys to stitch with me!
I decided the best way to make this a pattern is to actually make it a video workshop. I’ve shot video already showing how to position all the pieces and my little tricks for securing them in place while I stitch.
This was my studio today, with those fancy new lights in action.
Look at that awesome even lighting! 🙂
The next step is going to be whipstitching the edges down with matching thread (not embroidery thread – I want these stitches to disappear) and then I’ll jump into fancy stitching!
My plan is to get all the kind-of-boring-to-most-people-but-I-really-love-it whipstitching done, and then start recording videos showing how I freehand stitch the hills. Maybe one new video a week?
But I’ll make the class available before I get all those videos recorded.
You’ll be able to download the pattern and cut out your bears. (The class will include patterns you can print on freezer paper for hand-cutting, and also a link to the files on Cricut’s Design Space for those who have Cricut machines.)
You’ll be able to watch the videos showing how to lay out your hills and bears and whipstitch all the edges down.
And then we’ll be able to fancy stitch together! I’ll add new technique videos showing the fancy stitching as I make them. Since it will be an online class you’ll just find the new videos in the “classroom” when I load them up – without having to constantly download new files or anything like that.
I hope that sounds like fun to you! It sure does to me. I’ve got new episodes of Call the Midwife and Poldark waiting for some couch time. 🙂
I love getting all the mileage I can out of my quilt patterns – using them for lots of other projects besides quilts.
I’ve got a whole page here where I’m collecting all kinds of different ideas for things you can make – with links to more info and tutorials. 🙂
One of my favorite things to make is felt coasters. I’ve got them scattered all over my house, in lots of different designs. The cats you see above are some of my favorites!
It’s super easy.
Choose the design you want to use and print that pattern page out at 40% size. Any square block from any of my patterns.
Your print window may look slightly different than this (it’s different for every computer, printer, and operating system) but it should be similar.
Look for something like that “scale” entry. It will probably default to 100%, but you can change it to anything you like. Change it to 40%.
From this point on, follow the instructions you’ll find at this post showing how to make some cute bear coasters. (And if you want to try out the technique – those bear patterns are free.) You can use those instructions to make cute coasters from any of my square quilt block patterns. Just reduce the pattern size to 40%. 🙂
My daughter got in on the rainbow action too! Look – she made a whole rainbow of Pippi Bunnies!
She made a couple of tiny changes to the pattern. She crocheted the ears in place instead of sewing them on, and she used plastic craft noses instead of crocheting them. Each bunny fits in the palm of your hand and you’d be able to squish them into the larger plastic eggs if you’re looking for candy substitutes for egg hunts. 🙂
My husband and I got married on New Year’s Day in 2000.
I started Shiny Happy World on New Year’s Day in 2011.
Shiny Happy World is merging with FreshStitches today – New Year’s Day in 2018.
New Year’s Day may be my favorite holiday of all. That sounds silly because it’s not what most people think of as a major holiday – but I love that sense of possibility.
The idea that anything can happen.
Every year I think to myself. . .
This is the year!
And it always is. It’s always the year for something.
This is the year I learn to quilt.
This is the year we move to the mountains.
This is the year I learn to cook without following a recipe.
This is the year I start my own business.
That statement is going to be different every year, and for every person – but I think many of us feel that sense of anticipation and the magic of possibility on January 1.
What are you excited about doing in 2018?
For many of us in this group – it’s something related to craft. 🙂
This is the year I learn to crochet.
This is the year I make a quilt for my bed.
This is the year I learn to embroider.
This is the year I make my first softie – for my first grandchild.
So I have a New Year’s Day assignment for you. Think about your end of this sentence.
This is the year. . .
Pick a thing. One thing that you really want to do this year. One thing you want to learn, one thing you want to make, one thing you want to teach. It can be anything! And that’s why this is a pretty hard assignment. Grab a cup of tea and some quiet time and really think about it.
This is the year. . .
I’ll go first.
This is the year I actually make a quilt using improvisational piecing. I already love improvisational stitching – especially Big Stitch quilting – but it’s the piecing I want to jump into. I’ve got a book I’ve been reading. I’ve been collecting inspiration. I’ve even make a few blocks. But I want to make a whole quilt. And I’m going to use it to upholster a barn door hanging between my studio and my husband’s office.
This was a really popular tutorial and people loved the bags – but I had a lot of people ask how we stuck tags to them.
I’m finally getting around to that post!
For a while we just used paper tags tucked into the ribbon – but that didn’t always stay in place, so a couple of years ago I made a bunch of felt tags and they’ve been AWESOME.
First – a note. Mine is a small family – just three of us – and we all have different initials. So for us it worked really well to just have tags with a first initial. You may need to adapt the idea a bit to work for YOUR family, but the basic technique can be used a lot of ways. 🙂
First cut a 3 inch square of felt.
Why 3 inches? It’s a number that allows me to get 12 squares out of a single sheet of felt with no waste. 🙂
It’s easy to cut shapes like those letters if you use freezer paper.
Trace the letter onto the paper side of the freezer paper
Fuse the shiny side of the paper to the felt.
Cut out the letter – cutting through the felt and the paper at the same time for super accuracy
Peel off the paper and use it again.
Stick the letter to the felt square with a dab of glue stick. Sew around the letter using a simple straight stitch on your sewing machine. You could also hand sew the letter in place using fancier stitches, but I wanted to make a big stack of these in an afternoon. (Keep reading for a no-sew option.)
Cut a slit in the felt on each side of the letter.
I don’t measure these or worry too much about precision – most of the slits are about an inch tall, and roughly half an inch from the edge of the felt.
Now – here’s how I use them.
I make two kinds of bags. The main kind – the ones I use most often – have the ribbon sewn to the top edge of the bag. They’re designed for the ribbon to wrap all the way around the gift, like this. . .
For those I just slide the tag onto the ribbon anywhere on the front of the package. It looks like this. . .
This is a gift for Jo. 🙂
The other kind of bag I make has the ribbon sewn into a side seam near the top of the bag. Those bags are meant to gather up at the top like a classic Santa sack, with the ribbon tied around the neck of the bag – not the gift itself.
For those I thread the tag onto one of the loops before I finish tying the bow. Here’s what it looks like.
Another gift for Jo! 🙂
Both ways are super easy, and post-gift-opening cleanup is a breeze. The ribbons are attached to the bags, so I just fold up the bags, and make a little stack of the tags. The bags and the tags all fit in one small plastic tub – maybe the size of two shoe-boxes. 🙂
I like the way the stitching looks, but you could make a completely no-sew version using Heat & Bond Ultrahold fusible adhesive. Remember – this is the heaviest weight they make and you should NOT sew through it. (It will gunk up your needle.) If you use this option, you’ll need to fuse a little hotter/longer than the package directions say in order for the heat to fully penetrate the thick felt and melt the adhesive. Everyone’s iron is a little different, so just experiment with temperature and time until you get a solid fuse.
You get patterns for 25 mini stockings – just the right size to hold candy, small toys, gift cards and more. Open a stocking every night to count down the days until Christmas!
One of my favorite things about this pattern is that you’re getting 25 different repeat patterns that are very easy to stitch. (I only used the four most basic stitches – all of which are covered in my free Embroidery 101 class. The pattern also has links to the how-to videos for all of them.)
You can use these designs on so many other projects! I’ll be showing some samples of other things you can make in the weeks to come. 🙂
My other favorite thing is that you stitch the designs on a grid – which makes it so easy to get your stitches perfect! Here’s an example of what one stocking looks like all stitched up, before I soak away the Sulky Sticky Fabri-solvy.
See how easy it is to get the stitch length perfect and the spacing perfect?
And here’s that same stocking after soaking.
I just love how those thread colors glow against the dark purple felt!