For this month’s wallpaper I decided to revisit one of my favorite projects – these little beanbag mice. They were so much fun to make in a rainbow of colors! Did you know that a group of mice is called a mischief? Get the pattern here.
Download your wallpaper below – there are options both with and without the January calendar.
Want to learn how to make a quilt with an easy online workshop – totally free?
Sign up for Let’s Make a Quilt here. You’ll learn how to get started, the tools and supplies you’ll need, and how to make a quilt from start to finish using Quilt As You Go and applique with fusible adhesive.
It’s the easiest, most fun way to make an applique quilt. You can do it!
There’s a new free applique pattern for you! Merry Christmas!
This adorable elf pattern is the same size and style as the other free Christmas applique patterns (10 inch finished blocks). There are five now! (You’ll find links to all of them at the bottom of this post.)
The image has already been reversed, so just trace or print. If you’re tracing, be sure to trace the facial features too. You’ll need those for Step 4.
Rough cut around each shape and fuse it to the back of your fabric.
Leave a little bit extra all the way around - a little extra extra (at least 1/4 inch) where there’s a dotted line, like the top of the shoulders and the base of the ears.
Cut around each piece neatly. Cut directly on the solid lines.
Leave a little seam allowance on the dotted lines - those are the seam allowances that will tuck behind other pieces.
Remember when I told you to make sure you traced the facial features in Step 1? Now you’re going to use that. Hold the face up to a window so the light shines through it. You’ll be able to see the eyes, nose and mouth, and the adhesive will stabilize the fabric so you can trace on it without it crinkling up.
I traced just inside the eyes, and directly on the nose and mouth.
Here you can see all the tracing I did – without the light shining through.
If you’re doing Quilt As You Go (I did) then you can quilt your block before adding the applique. So easy!
Cut your background fabric and a piece of 100% cotton batting 11 inches square.
Layer the block with a piece of 100% cotton batting. Quilt any pattern you like!
If you’re making a one-block project, go ahead and finish it up!
If you’re making a bunch of elf blocks to join into a quilt - have fun!
What can you do with just one block pattern? Tons of things!
Check out this page I’ve been slowly building – 100 Things to Do with an Applique Pattern. There are links to a bunch of free patterns you can use with your applique pattern to make bibs, pillow covers, tote bags, and more! 🙂
Here are all the free Christmas applique patterns so far.
If you’re looking for a different fun Christmas quilt pattern check out this post. It has a bunch of free patterns for little signs that you can add to a Shiny Happy Houses quilt to turn it into a North Pole quilt. 🙂
Have fun! And share a photo of what you make! You can share it in the Shiny Happy People group or tag it with #shinyhappyworld on Instagram.
If you like this free pattern, sign up for the Shiny Happy News! Subscribers get a weekly newsletter full of sewing tips and tricks, free patterns, special discounts, and other things to make you smile. 🙂
If you’re making a hat for a larger softie, just follow this pattern of increasing one stitch per round until the hat is big enough to fit, then stitch at least four rounds of straight single crochet for the contrasting band. You may need to add more rounds of contrast to feel like it’s in the right proportion with the hat, depending on how much bigger you make it. Trust your judgement. 🙂
For the tree. . .
Picking up after round 16 above.
Round 17 sc twice in next st, sc in next 18 sts (20)
Round 18 sc twice in next st, sc in next 19 sts (21)
Round 19 sc twice in next st, sc in next 20 sts (22)
Round 20 sc twice in next st, sc in next 21 sts (23)
Round 21 sc twice in next st, sc in next 22 sts (24)
Stuff the tree and slip a large washer across the stuffing at the base of the tree. This will give your tree a nice flat base and the washer adds a nice weight.
Round 22 [sc2tog, sc in next 2 sts] 6 times (18)
Here’s what it looks like after that first decrease round wraps around the edge of the washer.
If you don’t have a metal washer, you can cut a circle of cardboard. It will give you the flatness without the weight.
If you want to make your tree bigger, keep following the same increase pattern after round 21. To make your decrease rounds easier to calculate, make sure to make your last increase round one whose stitch count is evenly divided into 6.
I dressed up my tree with some simple white-headed pins – but there are tons of possibilities to dress up both the tree and the hat!
If your hat is kind of stiff and you want it to flop down like the one in the photo, you can drop a metal nut into the tip of the hat. The weight will keep it dipping down. I use a surprising amount of hardware store items in my softies. 🙂
If you decide to give a holiday Milo Mouse as a gift, I suggest pairing it with these books.
The Night Before Christmas – I had the line “Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse” in my head as I designed Milo. There are so many beautiful editions of this story available – the link goes to one with very traditional illustrations.
This project uses just one fancy skill – stitching one row below to get that mouth. Don’t worry – there’s a link in the pattern to a video showing how, right at the spot where you’ll need it.
You can go through all those posts now, or just hop to them as you get to those points in the pattern – whatever works best for you!
This pattern can be used with any weight yarn. The samples are crocheted with Big Stitch worsted weight yarn, and all yardage/hook recommendations are calculated based on the sample. If you use a different weight yarn you may need to adjust how many plastic pellets you use to fill it.
This pattern doesn’t specify a gauge. It’s a stuffed toy, and you don’t need to be too picky about exact sizing. The most important thing is that you use a hook size that creates a nice looking fabric for your yarn. If you use the recommended hook size, and your fabric looks very loose (so that stuffing would show through), then you will want to use a smaller hook. Other than that, no measuring required!
Stitch into the Back
All stitches in this pattern (that are worked in the round) are worked through the back loop only, unless otherwise directed. Look at this picture.
See how one loop is highlighted in black? This is the back loop, and it’s what you’ll stitch into. Stitching into the back loop creates ridges on the right side of the piece.
Want to see crocheting through the back loop in action? Check out this blog post. It talks all about why Stacey crochets through the back loop and even has a handy dandy video showing how to find that loop. 🙂
Several years ago my mother-in-law made us a fantastic flannel rag quilt. We use it all the time, and every time I look at it I think that it would be super easy to add applique to that style of quilt.
I finally did it!
And it was just as fun and easy as I thought. 🙂
I made mine using the Bunches of Bears quilt pattern, but you could use any quilt pattern you like. All the square quilt blocks in my own patterns are already sized for 10 inch blocks. If you’re using someone else’s pattern you may need to enlarge or reduce the images.
So let’s go!
My quilt is nap sized – 50 x 60 inches – perfect for using on the couch. It’s 5 blocks wide and 6 blocks tall and the blocks all finish at 10 inches.
You can resize the pattern by changing the size of the blocks or by changing the number of blocks. 🙂
I prewashed my flannel. I think people don’t usually do that for rag quilts, but flannel is notorious for shrinking a lot and I didn’t want the shrinking to distort the applique. Don’t use fabric softener in the wash – it can resist the fusible adhesive. Dryer sheets are fine.
Each block is three layers of flannel, so you’ll need to cut 90 blocks, each 11 inches square. You can get nine from one yard of fabric.
Sneaky tip – if you have some ugly flannel that you can’t figure out how it got into your stash, cut 30 of the squares out of that and hide it in the middle of your layers. 🙂
When you position your faces, line up the bottom edge 3/8 inch up from the bottom edge of the block. That way, when you sew the blocks together using 1/2 inch seam allowance, you’ll catch the bottom edge of the applique in the stitching and it will be nice and secure.
Fuse the face into place.
Layer a second square of flannel behind the one with the applique (both facing right side up).
Stitch down all the edges on your applique. Outlining through both layers of flannel adds just a little bit of poof and dimension to your block – not as much as quilting with batting, but similar.
I used the “scribbly” method of going around each bit three times with regular weight black thread and a simple straight stitch. There’s a post here with more detail about that, and one here with more info about using a heavier weight thread if you prefer that.
After you get all 30 blocks appliqued, it’s time to sew them together. This was actually the hardest part, because it’s backwards from any other kind of sewing you’ll do normally.
Add a third layer of flannel to each block, this time with the right side facing the back of the quilt. (It’s going to become your quilt back.)
Using 1/2″ seam allowance, sew two blocks wrong sides together so that the seam allowance is on the right side of the quilt.
Here’s what it looks like from the back.
See? That last layer of flannel makes a nice quilt back, and you have a nice clean seam.
I joined all of my blocks into rows of five, then sewed those rows together for the finished quilt.
The intersections can get very bulky, so I snipped into the seam allowance 1/2″ from each edge and sewed my crossing seam through that slit so I wasn’t stitching the seam allowance down.
And look – my seam secures the bottom edge of each bear, just like I planned. 🙂
I found it helpful to use my quarter inch foot, but adjust it out to 1/2 inch for sewing all those layers together.
I also lengthened my stitch to 3.0 and reduced the pressure on my presser foot to keep the layers from creeping. If you can’t make that adjustment on your machine, just use a lot of pins or clips, as if you were sewing napped fabrics together.
Once all the blocks are sewn together, sew all the way around the outside edge of the quilt, one half inch in from the raw edge.
Now it’s time to snip all those seams.
Snip 1/2 inch apart all along all the seam allowances, almost up to the stitching line. Be very careful not to cut into your stitching. If you slip and snip it, repair it now by sewing over the snipped seam.
If you’re trying to snip with regular scissors, you’ll need to take a LOT of breaks. They’re really not designed for this kind of work.
If you can afford to buy a special set of snips just for this kind of work, it is absolutely worth it. I tried several brands and these Fiskars Easy Action Tabletop Rag Quilt Snips were by far my favorite. They have a spring action, so their default setting is open, which saves a surprising amount of strain on your wrist. They’re super sharp, and the blades are slightly serrated, so they really grip the fabric well, helping them cut right up to the tips of the blades without “pushing” the fabric out at all.
Even with the fancy snips I took a break between snipping the horizontal and vertical seams. It took about two hours total.
Don’t forget to snip around the outside edges too.
When you’re done snipping, throw it in the wash and tumble dry.
All those snipped edges fray in the wash and you get a really soft, fluffy ridge between each block. This blanket is just begging for someone to snuggle under it.
If you make an applique flannel rag quilt, we’d love to see it! Post a photo in the Shiny Happy People group so we can all oooh and aaah. 🙂