Little Fir Tree. ( Tutorial)

small hand made felt tree decorated with stars and sequins
A little tree shining

A little tree was needed for a small felt scene. It came to mind that a pine or spruce would be ideal, so I played a little as I pondered on what I could share as a free pattern. The two tasks merged .

The base shape,a cone filled with fleece.

My initial idea was to make the tree as simple as possible.  These trees  can be any size, so there is no standard pattern, my first attempt  was a simple cone made from two triangles cut free hand,then blanket stitched along the two long sides and filled with fleece. The base was a circle cut to fit. If you feel your tree needs to be stabilized you can insert a cardboard circle into the base.

Adding a base
Adding a base

This alone makes a simple tree that can be used as is, however noticing a scrap of green felt that had a pinked edge led to   one of those  aha! moments .

My aha was to cut different sized circles with pinked outer edges and slip these onto the cone. This was done by cutting a hole in the centre of varying widths to fit the cone. You could leave it unstitched as it was quite secure but if it is to be played with then I would recommend stitching around inner circle of  the layers to attach them to  the cone base.

Foliage Circles- as many as you will.
Foliage Circles- as many as you will.

The very top was a rather tiny circle with a segment cut out ,stitched together and to the tree.

The Final piece.
The Final piece.

Simple, easy and also a child friendly project that is now very seasonal as these little trees could  be decorated with tiny bells, beads and sequins as above to make a table centrepiece or left plain for play or nature table.

Finished Fir Tree
Finished Fir Tree

If you wanted to you could create an “arty” tree  using different colours for the layers, or perhaps a white sparkling tree with  glitter glue frost or……All you need is your own imagination and whatever is at hand.

Experiment and enjoy.

Putting it altogether in Sequence.left to right.
Putting it altogether in Sequence.left to right.
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Bunny love- and a free pattern

hand embroidered felt eggs that contain a miniature dressed rabbit
Autumn Eggs

 

The focus on rabbits has stayed with me. More bunny characters have appeared, as suspected, such as these little rabbits who were placed in Autumn themed eggs in an attempt to connect the season here to the celebration.

This is not really a new fascination. I really do, and have since childhood, like  rabbits. These much adored and much maligned creatures  have an endearing character, an intrinsic gentleness, as well as  lovely soft, rounded shapes and such beautiful, “melt your heart”  eyes.

Apart from an early introduction to  chocolate bunnies, it had to be  a story book from childhood about a little white rabbit called Pookie, who set the world right again after he had sent winter away, that most likely triggered this affection for rabbits. An affection that  further deepened when I was seven or eight and  given a white rabbit as a pet. That was quite a while ago.

In this current state of rabbity adoration I made another from a re-discovered sketch stashed away in the “one of these days ” folder.

A small handmade wool felt cream coloured rabbit
Bunny Love

 

This bunny needed a friends- and yes, a mouse thing might be happening in the near future.

 

The rabbit has a new friend,a mouse,also handmade form wool felt
Friends

 

Cute took on a more realistic rendition in needle felt over the weekend in the form of  a snow hare made as a companion for a requested Eostre.

 

Needlefelted figures of Eostre who is holding a tiny bird and also has a white hare, an ancient symbol
Eostre and companions

 

This  hare was also a return to dry felting after too long a break.

 

Small needlefelted white hare
White hare

 

To share is a little egg cosy or puppet which  is very child friendly; a project we made recently in a children’s craft class.

This rabbit could also be stuffed to become a small toy or ornament, or you could add lavender or pot potpourri  to repel moths, or perhaps turn it into a pin cushion. Indeed, a  versatile little rabbit to play with your imagination.  bunnypattern

Hand stitched little rabbit with pompom tale designed to fit over Easter egg or eggcup.
Egg Cosy rabbit

 

  • To make  first embroider the features.
  • Outline the inner ear with  running stitch and tint with crayon or coloured pencil.
  • Next blanket stitch all around to join the back and front.
  • Shape the head with a little stuffing and gather around the neck or tie to hold the stuffing in place.
  • On the back add a tiny pompom tail.
  • You can tie a narrow ribbon around the neck if desired.

That is it. Done!

Enjoy!

 

 

 

Baa but not Humbug, and a free pattern too!

Butcher bird and bush turkey on our front verandah
At Home.

Wildlife is a joyful part of life here. Their presence  makes me feel continually humbled and grateful to have the opportunity to be able to observe so closely, to be able to win their trust and friendship and to learn so much. No wonder, then, that one of the desires of travel was to be able to see wildlife in other places.

Travel however presented mainly urban and city experiences, and “travel”. The Wildlife we met were largely domesticated species but even so there were animal highlights, as for instance coming across Herdwick sheep in the Lakes District. This breed has been largely saved by the efforts of Beatrix Potter.

Herdwick sheep and her black lamb grazing  at Honister pass,U.Ker
Spring lamb,Honister Pass.U.K

When I lived in rural N.S.W I had a pet lamb who was much adored  and also have included the black faced sheep in many painted pieces over the years.

Impressive Ram,U.K
Impressive Ram,U.K

Sheepy encounters were enjoyed to the full, especially the variations of black and white.

White faced sheep with black fleece,Pennines,U.K
Black and White

Another  fascinating experience was watching this farmer train his sheepdogs, a chance encounter as we walked in Ambleside, returning from the trip to Sawrey, when we had visited Hilltop, Beatrix Potter’s first  farm.

Sheepdog Training.Ambleside.U.K
Sheepdog Training.Ambleside.U.K

This really was such a fitting conclusion to the day as Beatrix Potter was not only an author and accomplished artist but also a very skillful farm manager  who  did much to preserve  the sheep breeds, traditional life, farms and fells of the Lake district. Her work is being still being carried out to this day under the auspices of the National trust. The more I learnt about, and encountered the legacy of this amazing woman, the greater my admiration for her.

A scene we owe to Beatrix Potter
A scene we owe to Beatrix Potter

Free Pattern .

As a consequence of making this post a tiny project to share also came into being.

Small black faced sheep on green heart as background,Hand stitched,and made from wool felt. Inspired by visit to Lakes district,U.K
Sheep Love

My sample uses wool felt, but you can experiment with different materials and different colourways. Perhaps the sheep pictured in the post above can help make some interesting combinations.likewise you can change the placement of the sheep’s head to give character .

This project is easy and quickly finished so quite suitable for children to attempt . This link takes you to the sheeppattern

Making up the pattern as a brooch
Making up the pattern as a brooch

If you only sew along the sides of the heart,leaving the curved top area open,  it makes a bookmark to go on the corner of a page.

Adding a ribbon loop it becomes and ornament or bag tag,

or you could fill with  lavender and put in your felt or wool stash to keep moths at bay.

This design would work as an applique for a wool holdall, knitting needle roll, on a pocket or enlarged as a cushion or pincushion.

I just love it when after making something it reveals that there are so many other ways to be used.

 The pattern made up with   hanging loop
Add a Loop-

Magic Mushroom- tutorial

Finished in two sizes
Magic mushrooms

There are many versions of making a toadstool, especially the lucky or magic variety such as the one that is depicted above and  also in my banner. Amanita muscaria, or the fly agaric mushroom, is  often used in images  illustrating fairytales. For some they are regarded as a goodluck charm. They are easy and fun to make using a variety of techniques and materials.  For instance, they can be needle felted,  knitted or crocheted, or stitched from any type of fabric, as well as carved or turned  from wood, or sculpted from clay or the new synthetic modelling products.

Not only are they useful for adding to scenes but they can be also be turned into pincushions,  if enlarged, or in a small size make decorative scissor fobs, as shown in the picture below. They could also decorate a key chain, become a Christmas ornament or serve as a bag charm. Perhaps you can think up some other uses .

This version resulted from a workshop given several years ago and is made from wool felt.

what is needed to make your magic mushroom
Lets begin!

You will need some scraps of red and white felt, some filling material (I used wool roving) , a small piece of cardboard and the usual sewing supplies of needles, thread and scissors. For the circles I use whatever  on hand seems the right size such as the base of a cotton reel, a lid,  or a coin, or perhaps a small jar or glass etc. If one wanted to be ultra precise you can always use compasses to draw the circles. They can be made up in different sizes and colours for the different varieties .To get you started I have included a pattern which makes a small mushroom suitable to be used as an ornament or included in a nature project.img003

To begin you need to cut out your pieces,a larger red circle,a smaller white circle and a white rectangle.  The stem is made from the rectangle which is folded in half, then rolled into a cylinder and stitched ,with an overcast or whip stitch. along the side.  As you roll you may need to trim off a section at the end. If you would like your toadstool to stand alone I suggest that you  place a small disc of cardboard, covered by a felt one on the base and stitch it around. However your toadstool is to be stitched onto a base, such as a naturescape, this is unnecessary.

At the centre of this circle make a tiny nick, then several little slits . Push this circle over the base of the stalk with the pointy bits facing down and a little section of the stem protruding at the top. Stitch it to the stem, just above the slits. You now have the frill and the white base or gills ready waiting for its red cap.

Next step is to make the red dome. First applique or needle felt some white spots scattered over the red circle of felt. To attach the appliqued spots you can use either buttonhole, or running or overcast stitches. Beads or french knots also work well . (You can do this after the cap is attached, either way works).

Then gather close to the outside edge of the red circle and start to pull up. Push in a little stuffing and pull in enough so that it fits onto the white circle.  When the shape and size work for you secure the gathering stitches . Now stitch all around the two circles so that the top is  attached onto the white base. (You can use buttonhole stitch or overcast(whip) stitch for this step).

To make it even more effective using grey, fawn or white thread make long straight stitches from the stem to the outer edge to represent the gills.

making sequence
Making a Mushroom

Happy creating.

Grass Child- a nature doll pattern

Spring is such a buzzy time . All that fresh, new growth and renewed vigour that greets the return of warmth and colour.

Recently a little shoot grew from a squiggle becoming a little nature doll that became a Spring project for the Silkwood Craft group.  Making this little grass child was fun, easily achievable and enjoyed. I felt it would be a good pattern to share  to celebrate new growth, new ideas and new life.newshootpattern

nature table doll made from felt to represent a new blade of grass

A New Shoot

Construction is simple; the pattern has some instructions included to help you .


REQUIREMENTS

You will need, two body shapes, an arm piece, a base and a small grass shoot from a green felt,

a small trapezoid shape of face colour,

plus another rectangular scrap of a different green for the grass growing around the base.

You will also need stuffing,

some embroidery threads for the mouth and eyes as well as a colour to match the body.

Scissors, needle and pins and a little scrap of cardboard to insert in the base, if you wish .

TO BEGIN

Embroider the face details using french knots for the eyes and a straight stitch for the mouth.

Cheeks can be indicated by rubbing on a little blusher or non toxic pencil or crayon.

Using the pattern as a guide cut out an oval from one of the body sections. Make sure that the face will fit and can be stitched all around and held in place. You can use a small running stitch or blanket stitch  to secure. ( I cut the face piece larger and then trim back after insertion).

Now embroider some hair .This can be a lazy daisy or straight stitch or…….Be creative.

THE BODY

Place the two body sections together and blanket stitch up along one side to  the top of the head, then back  stitch across the top of the head rounding the edges a little but  leaving the shoot section free. Using  blanket stitch again go down along the other side.

You can add another leaf  or two inside the open shoots at the top if you like to give a more leafy appearance.

Now fill firmly.

Trace around the base of the figure to make your own pattern piece to give a correct fit.

Cut one base from cardboard and another from matching felt.  (I like to cut the felt base larger than the cardboard one. Then  place the cardboard insert onto the felt,gather close to the edge of the felt,going around twice, draw up the stitches and secure.)

You can also just cut out the two base parts  the same size slipping the cardboard one in between the doll and the felt base; either method works to help balance the doll.

Attach the base.

ARMS

The arm is just a strip of felt- you may want to adjust it slightly.

Fold the strip in half  to find the centre and at this point stitch in the little blade/s of grass; a couple of tiny stitches will secure.

Pin the arm strip onto the doll at shoulder level. If happy with the placement then attach to the body( I used a cross stitch).  

TO FINISH

Make your “grass ” to go around the base of the doll , attach this to the base with an overcast of blanket stitch.

All done.

This pattern is free to be used as you will. It would be nice to be credited and you may sell items but not the pattern .

A Gnome Accessory (how to make a miniature felt lantern).

Following on from the last post I have been asked how to make the gnome’s lantern. It is a very simple, fun project, using very little in the way of materials. Here is my version which I am delighted to share.

Miniature lantern created from felt hanging from a toothpick pole

The lantern came about through sheer accident, as often is the way. Scraps lying on the table led to an “aha! “moment when contemplating that a gnome I had made needed something other.

To Make This Lantern:

I am not giving exact sizes but rather a method to create small, felt lanterns to your own specification. The layout picture shows you all the pieces and how they fit together. As the pieces in this instance were very tiny the picture above  should be self explanatory but I shall also “talk through” the process .

Picture of the pieces required for this miniature felt lantern and sequence of assembly
Putting it together

1. The first part is the lantern case holding the light. For this a tiny rectangular piece of yellow felt was used, rolled up along the longest edge and then stitched together down the short side. I used a whip or overcast stitch, but you could also use  blanket stitch .My rectangle measured 2” (5cm) by 3/4in (2cm).

2. Next find some tiny scraps of dark brown or charcoal coloured felt. From this cut two narrow strips to fit around  the top and bottom of the lantern and two more thin strips that fit the length of the lantern. I stitched these onto to the cylinder. You can omit the two felt bar strips and just use thread such as crochet or perle cotton or several strands of embroidery floss  to make the bars.

3. Using the cylinder make a base template by tracing around it. You will have a little circle that is the base. Cut this out as a template and place on the dark felt. Cut out and then stitch the circle onto the bottom of your lantern . I used blanket stitch around the base – it gives an nice finish .

4. Now make a slightly larger circle than the one you used for the base; think gnomes cap. Cut this out of the dark felt. Take a little pie slice out of the felt circle and stitch the opening of the dart closed. It will make a tiny domed lid. Another way to make the top is to use a semi circular shaped piece, Pop this onto the top of the lantern and secure.

I attached my lantern to a toothpick after cutting off the sharp tips. You can attach it to a hand as is , or sew on a tiny jewelry ring.

To make a larger version instead of rolling the yellow felt into a solid cylinder joint the  sides and stuff . You can scale up or down, try a square lantern , cross hatch the glass, and………Allow you imagination to play.

Just Because : Free pattern – Leaf Needle book

leaf with ladybug needlebook made from felt
Leaf needle book

Here in Queensland we are soon  to start a school term break. This is a very simple project that could be made with and by children as well as a useful gift.  Another use for this pattern would  to turn it into  a little leaf bed for a pocket toy by cutting out one shape whole and a second leaf shape with the top part removed.  Blanket stitch along the sides after embroidering the leaf veins  .

The back section of the leaf pocket bed was made by cutting out two leaf shapes and machining the veins. The front and back were machine stitched together and then blanket stitched along the edges.

You can find other leaf shapes to make up like this. The one on offer here is simply from a freehand sketch inspired by autumn and some large leaves I saw floating in the wind when on Mount Tamborine. For the bed version I added a smaller leaf  pillow and a little loop stalk. Let your imagination and nature inspire.

Here is the link to the pattern-  it is very easy, quick to make and fun. img002

The leaf converted to a pocket bed with a smaller leaf appliqued as a pillow
A leafy pocket

Free Pattern and Tutorial; Which Came First? Hen and Chick

For some time I have been intending to put up a tutorial. It all seemed too complicated and unattainable as I thought it all a great mystery needing skills that seemed lacking. This week  Mery, from Indonesia, asked if there was a pattern available for this project.

Felthen with chicken and egg
Which came first?

Ironically this was the project I have been thinking of sharing when it was created last year as a swap. So the time to tackle my timidity re the computer arrived. How embarrassing!  Once I found a tutorial, asked some basic questions and followed the prompts  it was possible but incredibly time consuming. Isn’t that always the case with unfounded fears and over thinking?  Sometimes we just need a prod; so many heartfelt thanks to Mery for prodding.

MATERIALS:

This project only uses small amounts of felt and basic sewing skills.  

For the hen and egg

you will need a square of white felt around 8” or 20cm ,

Scraps of red felt  for the tongue, comb and wattle,

plus a very tiny scrap of  orange or yellow for the beak.

The chicken

needs 3in square or 8cm of yellow,

also teeny piece of orange felt for the beak and feet.

Eyes. 

I used black beads smaller for the chicken but if you are making for a very young child you may prefer to embroider or stitch on felt eyes.

Other bits :

Embroidery threads to match in white, red,orange  and yellow . I used two strands of embroidery thread and mainly blanket stitch. The  detail on the wing is a long straight stitch through both layers. The bead eyes I attach with a strong thread such as quilting thread or bead thread and make sure that they are well secured.

You will also need scissors, needles and pins plus a small amount of filling for the chick.

The egg sections were machine stitched, turned out and finished with a button and loop made by over sewing several strands of thread with buttonhole stitch pushed close together.You may want to use a novelty or plain button or even a hook and eye .

cut out pieces for the hen,chick and egg
The Bits

TO BEGIN:

Cut out your shapes- this is what you will have.

HEN

1. Cut a small slit in one of the hen pieces, a little below halfway and centered. Make it just big enough to fit the tail through ( you can see this on the above photo as a purple line on one of the hen body shapes). Stitch on the tail ( I did this on the back), then on the right side fold the tail to cover the slash and catch it at the sides with a couple of tiny stitches ,or if you prefer whip stitch it to the body section.

Inserting the tail
Inserting tail piece for the hen
sewing the tail
tail stitching detail

2. Place your beak and wattle on the hen. Pin the wattle onto the body piece so that it looks like an upside down heart and remove the beak for now. Stitch on the wattle, all around, with a small blanket stitch in matching thread.

Front and back of hen
Hen in Progress
Hen holding her egg inside her body
Secret within

4.  Place the front and back of the hen together with the red comb placed at the top between the two pieces and blanket stitch together all around the sides. Leave the bottom open.

Joining body sections
Joining body sections

5. I blanket stitched along the bottom edge to neaten, but this is up to personal preference.

Wings:

The wings are made from paired felt shapes. This makes them firm and allows a slight curve. Pin the wing to the body referring to the photo . Stitch the two shapes together till you reach the point where it joins the body and then only stitch though a single layer at a time. When the wing is attached make a long straight stitch through both layers from each small curve on the underside of the wing.This helps to give the wing a small curve to the front.

adding wings
A wing thing
Attaching the wing
Attaching the wing

Your  hen egg- cosy or small puppet is finished and that was the “hard ” bit .

CHICKEN:

1. Onto one body piece place eyes and beak. It is easier to attach the beak first and then place the eyes. The beak is tiny and you may prefer to glue it on. I like to stitch, but again choose what best suits your style.

2. Sew the body together around the sides. There will be an opening at the base, cut a shape to fit after stuffing as the size of the opening changes . Stuff the body so that it becomes firm and egg-shaped, then tuck in the feet and  close.

chicken detail of base and feet
from below

EGG

Pair the oval sections . Sew the two pairs together leaving a big enough opening to allow the chicken to be inserted. At one of side of the opening you may want to make a buttonloop and on the other sew on a button.

paired egg shapes and finished chick
egg construction
Hen and egg
Completion

You may choose to make the egg first so the chick fits in better – so which comes first is entirely up to you. ENJOY

Hen holding her egg inside her body
All together

.henpattern  

Copyright.

The pattern  is given freely for personal use to make items to, donate, sell and gift; however  not to commercially mass produce . I would be pleased to be credited as the designer and thrilled to hear from you and see your results.Please do not  alter or sell the pattern.