‘lil monsters treat bags

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Fall is in the air and Halloween is right around the corner! I usually don’t have any ‘lil monsters in my life, but since one of my besties happened to be in town for an extended visit, I couldn’t resist whipping up some new treat bags for her littles.

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I used the midnight bite treat bag tutorial that I shared last year (find the free pattern here) and some ‘lil monsters fabric from cotton + steel, which was absolutely perfect. This line has a little more of a playful feel to it and I was able to pull prints and colors to make both an older boy and a little girl equally happy! Also, our Aurifil Sariella Thread Collection had just the right colors I needed for yet another project! #win

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I used solid pieces for the top panel, instead of the pieced bat as in the original, making this project really quick. I used a spider pom pom trim on one and metallic skulls on the other, both of which I found at Joann’s.

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I hope this inspires you to whip up some treat bags for the ‘lil monsters in your life! I’d love to see what you make. Tag your pics on social media with #midnightbitetreatbag or email me! Happy Haunting!

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Blithe Fabrics Blog Tour

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I first got to play with Katarina Roccella’s newest line, Blithe,  when I made my Bias Weave pillow for the Lookbook last fall. It was love at first sight before I even had the fabric, but you just cannot help but fall head over heels in love once you start piecing it together. Something about the palette and the way it plays with the Art Gallery Fabrics denims just melts your soul. I had a few bits and pieces left from my first project and knew exactly what to make for my stop on the Blog Tour.

I see cathedral windows as a quilty bucket list item, you know? I’ve always loved them (even before I was quilting), and recently watched a friend make a Christmas pillow and it really sparked my fire. It was time. I spent hours looking at and trying various methods and tutorials and decided that the Faux Cathedral Window tutorial by Diary of a Quilt Maven was the way to go for me. The method is pretty much the same as the Missouri Star easy cathedral windows tutorial as well, in case you prefer it in video form.

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What I liked most about this method was two things – first, it used small pieces of fabric, and that was all I had, and second, it felt very precise to me. Being a perfectionist, this is key. It’s also super easy to adjust the size of your windows to anything you wish and to create any shape piece you wish. I won’t walk you through the steps, because that is what the tutorial is for, but below are a few progress photos that may help demonstrate how I translated the tutorial into my finished pillow. Please excuse the bad lighting, it’s been a “work all night” kind of month! If you have any questions, please feel free to leave them in the comments below or send me an email anytime.

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The solid fabric I used along with Blithe on my pillow is solid smooth Art Gallery Fabrics denim in Cool Foliage. It is absolutely perfect with this line and always a dream to work with. I made my window foundation pieces 3″ to start, versus 2.5″ as in the original tutorial, and I pieced 8 units across and four units down to create the window panel. I chose to use the text print inside the petals and the denim for the petal edges, but I also really love the look when these two elements are the same fabric.

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After the full window panel was complete, I pieced on the top and bottom strips that included a 1″ strip of the text print to help carry the design over, and then a 3″ strip of denim. I kept the back simple to showcase the beautiful owl print, but I think it would be really lovely to make a second window panel so the effect wraps all the way around the pillow. The finished pillow measures 20″ wide by about 18″ tall.

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The end result was exactly as I envisioned and there was nothing I did not like about the method I used to make it. l definitely be using it again and may actually have a cathedral window obsession after this experience. I already have two more projects planned!

Now that I have these two gorgeous pillows, I guess it’s time to make a bed quilt! It won’t be cathedral windows. I love them, but not that much 🙂

Be sure to check out all the other *amazing* projects in the blog tour by visiting Katarina’s Instagram feed and through the hashtag #blithefabricsblogtour!

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Oh, What Fun Blog Hop: Gift Giving Vessels

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Howdy, friends, I’m back! And I hope you’re ready to get crafty…

As I mentioned in my previous post, my (belated) stop on the Hawthorne Threads Oh, What Fun Blog Hop is all about easy-to-sew (and easy to customize!) projects that are perfect for holding holiday gifts. Ditch that wrapping paper! I’ll be talking about how modify my free Sturdy Fabric Basket pattern to create ANY SIZE finished piece and sharing an adorable fabric sack pattern that I think you’ll love.

This new in-house fabric line by Hawthorne Threads could not possibly be any cuter. I’m pretty sure I squealed a little when I first saw it. Some of the prints are perfectly holiday, but what I really love is that some of them are more neutral – winter themed, or just geometric – and can be used for a a variety of occasions, which I’ll talk about more later. So, let’s get to it!

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These Sturdy Fabric Baskets are one of my favorite things to make. They’re quick and easy, and useful for so many things (plus, totally adorable!). I initially created the pattern a couple years ago to make baskets for holding fat quarters, scraps, trims, and notions in my sewing room, and then made one for holding remotes in the living room, another for hair accessories in the bathroom, and one for next to the door to catch my husbands wallet, sunglasses and all the miscellaneous junk that lives in his pockets!

You can showcase a fun focal print or create any patchwork design you like (there are patchwork directions in the pattern). The original pattern size (shown above and below) finishes at 8″ wide by 5″ high and 5″ deep, and is perfect for mixed gift baskets of items such as bath & body products or edible treats, just to name a couple ideas. I love these baskets so much, I want to gift them to myself! I can do that, right? I mean, I DID make them.

Another great feature of this basket size is that it’s perfect for holding Christmas cards, so your recipient can repurpose it after it’s emptied. You can also give a bag of potpourri along with it and it can be used a cute holiday decoration!

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I used my favorite prints from Oh, What Fun on these two. The row of faces is cut from the border panel print and was the perfect size, and then I used the center of that panel (the cute confetti) to make the lining of the other basket. The ornament print is called Baubles and I also used it to make some cute gift tags which you’ll see later in the post. I added tiny pom pom trim to the basket shown above and I love the look! I tucked it under the lining foldover and glued it in place – super easy!

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In the pattern file, I talk about using old belts or scraps of leather for the basket handles (which are optional.) I used scraps on both of these baskets. The gold was cut from a pouch I found at the thrift shop and the black is from a leather scrap pack I found at Hobby Lobby. I used embroidery floss to stitch them in place.

Thinner, lighter weight materials work best for the handles so they can bend easily. If your leather is too thick or sturdy, it can bow the sides of the basket out. You can also use ribbon, bias tape, or fabric in place of the leather.

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CUSTOMIZING YOUR BASKET

I receive emails quite often asking if I can resize the basket pattern cutting directions to create a specific sized piece that someone wants to make, so updating the pattern on how you can do this yourself has been on my to-do list for awhile, and this seemed like the perfect time! With a little math (don’t worry, it wont hurt too bad!), you can create any size basket you wish.

I’ve updated the original Study Fabric Basket PDF pattern file to include these directions and you can download it here.

Now I’ll show you a couple different sized baskets I created to get your creative juices flowing!

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I wanted to make a piece that was sized for kitchen utensils and accessories, because that is another favorite set of mine to gift (perfect for housewarmings and showers, too!). This basket measures 4″ wide by 4″ deep and 6″ tall and I filled it with a dish towel, pot holder, whisk, spoon, spatula, measuring spoons and cookie cutters.

I used my favorite Baubles print in the Glacier Blue colorway and the lining is from Hawthorne’s Stardust basics line, which comes in 54 colors and coordinates so nicely with Oh, What Fun because it looks like snow!

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And let’s not forget the guys or hard-to-shop-for friends and family on our lists! This basket measures 4″ wide by 4″ deep and 3″ high and holds four shot glasses with stir sticks and two mini bottles of liquor. It would also make a fun and inexpensive secret santa gift. Plus, this small basket is a nice size for later holding keys, jewelry, sewing notions or many other things. It also fits a pillar candle or mug.

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The handles on both of these baskets were also cut from old thrift shop pouches. Both are vinyl, so they had white backings. I left the white showing on the yellow handles and for the blue handles on the short basket, I glued a piece of the dark blue stardust to the backside before trimming them down. It worked out so well! I also did this to the gold handles on the treats basket shown at the beginning of the post.

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BUTTON LUNCH BAGS & GIFT TAGS

I have one more fun pattern to share, because it’s just perfect for gifting homemade treats (or a million other things) and then your recipient also has an adorable and useful little sack! I’ve had this Button Lunch Bag pattern from Purl Soho bookmarked forever and made a few modifications to dress them up and make them quilting cotton friendly.

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The pattern calls for a sturdy cotton (such as a canvas), uses one solid fabric, and has a rolled hem, so I made a few easy changes to make them work with my materials and the look I was going for.

I wanted my bags to have a bottom accent fabric, so I pieced together the full panel before assembling the bag and then added some cute trim along the seam line. Also, since a rolled top hem wouldn’t look as nice with a printed quilting cotton, I instead used binding around the top of the bag. I added it last after assembling the bags. I used Pellon Shapeflex (SF101) to give the bags some extra bulk and I love the feel of them. I added the interfacing after piecing my full panel, before assembling the bag.

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The original pattern uses binding to hide the inner seams, but I just used a wide, tight zig zag stitch which was quick and easy, but gives the seams a clean look and prevents fraying. Alternatively, if using binding around the top, you could make a full lining for the bag. Simply make a second bag, but with right sides in instead of out, slide it inside your assembled outer bag, and then stitch the top binding down through both, holding them together.

For these bags, I used two of the prints from Oh, What Fun that are not holiday specific. They are definitely festive enough for holiday gifting (especially with some metallic trim!), but keep the bags neutral enough to be reused all year long.

I used the Baubles print that I love so much to make the little tag on the cookies. I fussy cut the ornament circles from the print and used embroidery floss to hand stitch them onto felt cut with pinking shears. I then stitched down a small, folded piece of felt onto the top to make the hanger. You can use a light print or solid cotton on the reverse side to write or stamp a name.

I had so much fun with these, I couldn’t stop! They’re going on all my gifts this year, and I think I’ll hang a few from my tree, too!

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I truly hope you have found this post useful and inspiring! All of these projects are easy and satisfying because they sew up quick and look totally adorable when done. This year I challenge you to ditch the wrapping paper and make some “gift wrap” instead!

As always, if you have any questions about the pattern along the way, you can contact me here anytime. Please be specific, so I can best assist you.

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TIME FOR GIVEAWAY! (GIVEAWAY CLOSED – THANKS TO ALL WHO ENTERED!)

Who loves this Oh, What Fun fabric as much as I do? Would you like to win THREE YARDS for yourself?! To enter, please leave a comment on this post telling me what you would make with it and I will pick a winner at random on Friday! (Giveaway closed – congrats to @kgmcfall and thank you to all who entered!)

Now before you go, be sure to check out the other stops on the Blog Hop and see all the fabulous makes!

Monday 11/14 – Sew Sophie Lynn
Tuesday 11/15 – Hawthorne Threads
Wednesday 11/16 – Olivia Jane Handcrafted
Thursday 11/17 – Holly Gets Quilty
Monday 11/21 – Violette Field Threads

Happy Stitching!
~ nicole

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Rip Strip Weaving: Using your Loom

rip strip weaving | lillyella stitchery

Now that you’ve built your loom (you can find that post here), it’s time to use it! I touched on options and materials a bit in the first post, but will cover all of that again. I will start here with stringing, then move on to weaving, and will do a third and final post about finishing options.

I will also write additional posts in the future on different things you can do with your loom and make with your woven panels as I make them myself, so be sure to check back for those!

I started this project with the intention of using ripped strips of cotton fabric for the weaving, and that is how I created my rainbow runner below, but the possibilities of what you can weave into your piece really are endless. Consider various fabric substrates, yarns, ribbons, etc.

rip strip weaving | lillyella stitchery

I need to begin by saying that not every aspect of weaving is science. There are some things that can’t be definitively explained. Some things come with a “feel” or by simply doing it once and figuring it out from there. So, please excuse some of the looseness of this post. I will provide all the information I can about this project and will post updates as I use my own loom more.

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STRINGING YOUR LOOM

The first step in using your loom is to run the warp threads. These will run with the length of the rails between the cross members and wrap around the nail posts. As with every aspect of this project, you have many options for stringing the warp threads of your loom, from the material you use to the way you run the threads. I will show you two options in this tutorial.

On my rainbow sample runner, I used one yarn in a continuous string. It was slightly off white with tiny metallic flecks in it. I wanted a strong contrast against the rainbow fabrics and love the way it looks. You can use any sort of yarn, thread, floss, cord, twine, or even fabric strips for your warp threads, and I will show you a few different options later in the post.

To string your loom with one continuous thread as I did in my rainbow runner, you will first begin by making a large loop with a secure knot on one end of your thread (I’m using yarn in this instance). You want to make sure you have enough to string the entire loom, so do not precut any lengths, just work from the skein or whatever amount your string comes as. If it is not long enough to make one continuous piece, you can simply knot an additional piece on and continue.

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Hook your loop over one nail post at either end of either cross member, it does not matter where you begin. You will now run your thread down to the other cross member, around the first nail post and back up to where you began. Loop around the next nail post and continue this until you’ve wrapped around all the nail posts. You will now end at the last nail post on the opposite cross member from where you began. Secure your thread by making another knotted loop and hooking it over the nail post.

If you’d like your warp threads to be farther apart, giving a “looser” look to your finished weave, you can loop your threads around two nail posts, vs. just one, as shown in the bottom right photo above. Just remember that you will only see half the warp threads on each side of your woven piece. So, when you are looping on each nail post, the fabric will be on top of one thread and underneath the other. You can compare how the threads look strung on each nail post in the diagram above to how my finished rainbow runner looks. I strung my threads around each nail post on that piece.

Now here’s the important (and slightly loosey goosey) part, you DO NOT want your strings to be tight. When I started this project and just blindly jumped in, I strung my threads as tight as I could pull them. About five rows into my weaving, I realized the error of my ways. You will be amazed at how much slack is taken up by weaving the fabric strips through the threads, so you need them to be LOOSE when you begin. I’m sure you are asking, “how loose?”. Well, that’s the part I can’t really answer. You do not want them sagging to the table through your center loom opening or falling off the nail posts, but you otherwise want as much slack as you can have without those two things happening. Once I finish stringing my loom again for my next project, I’ll see if I can take a video that may help a bit.

STRINGING VARIATIONS

If you would like to use a variety of different materials or colors for your warp threads, you can do this a couple different ways. First, you can use the same continuous string method that was described above and knot your various threads together at any point you would like to change. Alternatively, you can create separate thread loops, rather than one continuous thread.

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In the diagram above I have one green thread loop and one white thread loop. Each spans between one nail post on the cross members. You can also double the spacing on these as I described above, and even skip a nail post between loops for a more symmetric spacing.

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RIPPING STRIPS

Before I started this project, I had never torn fabric. I had received fabric with torn vs. cut edges, but had never done it myself. I wanted my woven piece to have a bit of a raw feel to it, so the frayed edges of ripped strips were the perfect option. Below I will show you how to tear fabric strips to achieve the look of my rainbow runner, but you can also use cut strips of fabric for your weaving.

I used 2″ strips throughout my piece for a consistent look, but plan to use a variety of different widths on my next project to achieve a scrappier look. The length of my most of my strips was the width of the fabric, but I also used some fat quarters and smaller pieces. You can use ANY size scraps you like for this project. Later in the post I will show you how to knot your strips together as you weave, but you can also seam your strips together with your sewing machine or hand stitches as you go.

The beauty of ripping fabric, and why some shops choose to do it, is that you will always have a perfectly straight and square edge. If you are beginning with a cut of fabric that already has a torn edge, you can skip the first step, but if you are beginning with a cut of fabric with a cut edge, you will first need to create a torn square edge.

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Depending on how straight or crooked your fabric is cut (you may be amazed at how off some cuts are!), the placement of your first snip will vary. You will start by snipping a small slit on a slevedge edge of your fabric about 1/2″ to 1″ in from the cut edge of your fabric and then simply hold the fabric on both sides of you cut and tear the strip off. If your tear does not run all the way to the other end of your fabric, you are still not square and need to move in farther with your initial snip.

Once you have your first fully torn edge, you can now measure to the width you’d like your strips, snip and tear. The result will be perfectly equal torn strips. It’s like magic! Ok, not really, but it sort of feels like it.

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WEAVING

Now it’s time to weave – hooray! Though it’s not necessary, I found using a Dritz Elastic threader as a “needle” made the weaving process much easier. They come in a three pack for about $2 – $4 online. I ordered mine from Amazon, but you can also find them on Craftsy and a variety of other websites. The Wefty needle also serves the same purpose.

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When weaving your panel, you will begin at one cross member and weave to the middle of the loom along your rail length. You will then stop and start again at the other cross member and work to where you left off previously in the middle. You do this because it is much easier to squeeze the last rows into the middle of the loom than it would be to fight with the last rows along your cross member.

You will want to begin your weaving a few inches in from one of your rails. It doesn’t matter which side you start on or which direction you weave. Weave your fabric strip above every other warp thread and be sure to watch this carefully, as it’s easy to miss one or make a mistake and not notice it until later. Pull your fabric strip through the warp threads until the end of your strip is where you began weaving and work toward the anchor rod. When you get to your anchor rod, you will treat it just as another warp thread, going the opposite of your last thread. You will see below that my fabric was on top of my last warp thread, so I wove it under the anchor bar.

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Wrap your fabric around the anchor bar and continue weaving to create the first full row. Once you cross over where you began, you can pull a bit from the end of your strip and tuck it under your first full row. Alternatively, you can just leave it as it, it will hold tight once your weave is complete and I will also talk about stitching the ends in place once you are done weaving.

You will now continue in the same manner of weaving, making sure to check your work as you go. Your fabric should always wrap around the anchor rod in the same way as your previous row, so that is one way to double check that you are still on track. When you get to a screw eye, be sure to not wrap your fabric around the post of the screw eye or you will not be able to remove the piece from the loom. Just weave the fabric on either side of the screw eye. It’s alright if you have to squish or stretch a bit to make it work, it will all even out when you remove the piece from the loom.

rip strip weaving | lillyella stitchery

As you’re weaving your strips, you will find they twist and fold and bunch in different ways as they’re pulled through the warp threads. You can try to control this as you feed the strips, such folding the fabric on itself a certain way, or you can simply let it do its own thing!

You will also need to push your rows together toward the cross bar as you work. You can do this every row or every few rows, it’s just something you’ll get a feel for as you go. You can push your rows together as tight or as loose as you wish, depending on the look you are going for.

Also, you do want to pull your strips too tight as you weave. The anchor rod will keep your piece stable and square, but if you pull too tight, you can start to bow the anchor rod. This will make it hard to remove your piece from the loom and possibly cause irregular edges.

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ATTACHING STRIPS

When you are ready to attach your next strip of fabric (or other material), there are a couple ways you can do it. I used a knotting method, which I will show you below, or, as I mentioned above, you can machine or hand stitch materials together. You do not want to weave with too long of a strip at once, because it is just more to pull through the warp threads as you weave. It is best to attach the strips as you work.

When you are close to the end of the strip you are weaving with, leave about 5″ – 7″ loose. Lay a new strip on top of the end of this strip, lining up the ends as shown below. Fold both ends over about an inch and cut a small slit through both pieces.

rip strip weaving | lillyella stitchery

You now want to place your new strip, right sides together, on top of the strip in the loom, lining up the cut slits as shown in the photo below. The scissors are just to show the slit in both pieces. Next, take the loose end of the new strip and run it through the cut slits from the bottom. This new strip should be going first through the slit in the strip that is woven into the loom. Pull the piece through until it tightens into a knot. You can now continue weaving.

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FINISHING THE WEAVE

As mentioned previously, you will start weaving from one cross member of your loom into the middle. You will then start again at the other cross member and work to the middle where you left off.

The photo below shows what your panel will look like when you meet in the middle. Continue weaving until you close the gap and overlap your ends a few inches as shown on the right.

rip strip weaving | lillyella stitchery

Once you are finished weaving, you can hand stitch these loose ends to surrounding fabric or you can do this after you remove the piece from the loom.

You’re now ready to remove your panel from the loom! You will first remove two screws at the end of the anchor rods on one cross member using a screwdriver and then slide the anchor rods out. They may feel tight and you can use pliers or vice grips to start pulling the anchor rods loose. Twisting them a bit can also help. Once the rods begin to move, they will slide out easier. Next, you will lift the woven panel carefully off one set of nail posts, and then the other. Be gentle as you do this to not tear your warp threads.

Now that your panel is off the loom, admire your work and give yourself a hand!A couple more little things and you’re done.

If you wove your warp threads as one continuous piece, your initial looped ends at the beginning and end of your thread will need to be secured. When you first remove the piece from the loom, use a safety pin to hold the ends in place, otherwise the warp thread end can get sucked down into your weave. To secure them permanently, use a needle and thread to secure the loop onto a lower portion of the thread. Start by knotting your thread onto the loop then run your needle through the warp thread one row below and knot to secure.

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Also, If you did not stitch your final loose fabric tails down before removing the panel, you can do so now. You can also do this with the fabric ends where you began weaving at either cross member, if you wish.

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Now that your piece is woven and off the loom, you can call it complete as is or you can add various finishing touches, such as cuffs or tassles, or use the woven panel on something else, such as a bag or pillow. Since this post is already quite lengthy, I will address that in a separate one.

If you have any questions about this tutorial, please contact me anytime, just be as specific as possible so I can best assist you.

I so hope you enjoy this process as much as I have! Please use the hashtag #ripstripweaving so I can see what you are making!

Here’s a shot of the materials I’ll be using for my next project. I plan to use a variety of threads for the warp threads and add a mix of yarns and other materials into the weave along with the fabric strips. I’m pretty excited about it and I’ll share more soon here and on Instagram!

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Rip Strip Weaving: Building Your Loom

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I’ve had a deep love and sense of nostalgia for rag rugs for as long as I can remember. My grandmother had them all over her little house, and when I think of my childhood, the scrappy multicolored stripes are always right there. And I’m sure I am not alone in this feeling!

I don’t know why it took me so long to make this, but I guess it was just time! Let me preface this post by saying there is nothing new or innovative about what I am making here or how I am doing it. Weaving, in an endless number of forms, has been around forever. This tutorial is simply one way that made sense to me and is perfect for using fabric scraps, which I clearly have plenty of!

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I’m calling it Rip Strip Weaving because I used torn strips of cotton fabric, but the possibilities of what you can create with this loom are endless. I used 2″ strips, but plan to make my next one using a variety of widths and materials to get a very scrappy look. You can use strips of any lighter weight material for this project – cotton, knit, denim, rayon, sheer fabrics, you name it. You can also weave with yarn, twine or ribbon and in beads or any other decorations you like. I will be using a mix of all those things on my next runner. I finished the above runner with denim cuffs, but will be adding fringe tassels on the next.

I used yarn for warp threads, but you can also use any type of cord, twine, ribbon, even thin strips of fabric. I kept my warp threads pretty close together for this project, but will talk about adjusting that later in the post.

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The following tutorial will show you how to make a loom in any size, and then I will do another post later this week on how to use it. I will try to be as thorough as possible, but as always, if you have any questions, feel free to leave them in the comments or email me anytime.

I will be showing the construction of the loom using basic hand tools (plus an electric drill) for those who have little or no woodworking experience. If you have experience or other power tools, you will easily see where you can take short cuts and make the construction process a little easier and faster.

Don’t be intimated by this project! This post will be long and include a lot of photos simply to make sure I make it as easy as possible, but the construction really is quite simple. Though some of the information may not make sense until you are in the process of creating the loom, please read through the entire tutorial before beginning. This is necessary to help understand all the materials and tools needed and some things to consider when determining the size of your loom. And as I mentioned, please do not hesitate to contact me anytime if you have questions before you begin or as you are working.

Now, let’s get started!

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MATERIALS & TOOLS

I will first cover the tools and materials I used and then talk more about amounts/sizes needed during the construction steps, as this will differ depending on the size you are making your loom.

The frame of the loom is made with 1″x3″ Poplar and you should be able to find this at most any home improvement store. I chose Poplar because it is popular in construction due to its low price, ease of use, and resistance to warping. This means your loom will keep it’s shape. Though it is called 1×3, note that the actual measurement of the wood piece is smaller. It’s just one of those weird construction things!

rip strip weaving | lillyella stitchery

You will also need 1.25″ screws, wood glue (helpful, but not required), 3/16″ steel round bar rods, #212 eye screws, 1.5″ smooth finish nails and 7/8″ rubber bumpers for feet (also optional).

You will also need the following tools: Hammer, electric drill and drill bits, hand saw, metal saw, tape measure and a square (I used a small speed square). Clamps are helpful, but not necessary.

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PREP & PLANNING

The first step is to determine what size you would like your finished woven piece to be. I designed mine to be a table runner measuring 12″ wide by 36″ long. The loom I created can also make shorter pieces by adding a cross bar, so I could make 18″ x 12″ placemats, or any size in between. I can also use the woven panels to create things like pillows, bag panels etc, so keep this in mind when deciding what you would like to make or what size you would like your loom. One thing I want to note about size is that when I made my first runner, the 12″ width stayed true to size when I took it off the loom, but the 36″ length shrunk up about 2″. This will be affected by how you wrap your warp threads and possibly how large your piece is. Since I’ve only used this one size loom one time, I can’t really speak more on the shrink factor. Just keep this in mind when determining the size of your loom. It may be hard to end with an exact size.

You can create any size piece, large or small, using this method. You would have a pretty clunky loom if you just wanted to make coasters or something tiny, but it would still work. You could also create a good size floor rug with this method, as long as you have the open space to use the loom. The finished loom will measure about 5″ wider and higher than the size of your woven piece.

rip strip weaving diagram | lillyella stitchery

The above diagram shows the different parts of the loom and how I will be referring to them throughout the tutorial. If the woven piece you would like to make is not symmetric, your larger dimension will be used for the rails and the smaller will be the cross members. The rails will hold the anchor rods and the cross members will hold the nail posts. Your warp threads will run between the two cross members on the nail posts and you will be weaving back and forth between the rails.

The anchor rods and nail posts will be placed 1/2″ in from the center opening on the rails and cross members, so the center opening of your loom will measure 1″ smaller in width and length than the finished size of your woven piece. For example, my woven runner measures 12″ x 36 and the center opening of my loom measures 11″ x 35″.

The amount of all the materials you need will be determined by the size of the woven piece you are making. There will be a little math involved, so I recommend drawing out a little diagram of your loom as you to go to help figure out sizes and to use for reference when building.

For the wood frame, you will need two lengths of 1″x3″ Poplar that are the same as the smaller dimension of your finished woven piece (for the spacers), two lengths that are  6-8″ longer than this same dimension (for the cross members), and two lengths that are 6-8″ longer than your larger measurement (for the rails). For example, for my 12″x36″ runner, I started with two lengths of wood that measured approximately 12″, two that measured 20″, and two that measured 44″. This was a total of about 13′ of wood. You do not need to worry about having perfectly square ends on your wood lengths. The tutorial will show you how to build the frame with slight overlaps and use the edges of cross pieces to trim flush. This is the easiest method for those with no woodworking experience or fancy tools. If you have power tools or a guide available to cut square edges, you will be able to skip that step and cut your pieces to the exact size.

For the anchor rods, you will need two lengths of 3/16″ steel round bar measuring approximately 3″ longer than the larger dimension of your woven piece.

The number of screws, screw eyes, nails and bumpers needed will vary. I used 16 screws on my loom. You will need two for each corner, four total to hold the anchor rods and additional screws to attach the spacers. I used two on each 12″ length of my spacers. If your piece is larger, you will want to use a few more. You will need to place screw eyes on either end of both anchor rods and then approximately every 8″ – 9″ along the length of the rods. I used ten total on my loom. The number of nails needed will be determined by the smaller dimension of your woven piece and how far apart you want your warp threads (I will talk about this a bit more later). I placed my nails 3/8″ apart and used 31 nails on each cross member of my loom to create my 12″ runner, just for reference.

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FRAME CONSTRUCTION

As I mentioned above, these steps are shown using basic hand tools and not having the ability to cut your pieces with square ends. We are allowing for overhang on each piece so that you can use the cross piece to cut the edges flush. If you have square ends on your wood cuts, you can line them up flush and skip the step of trimming.

You will begin by laying one cross member piece lengthwise. This piece should measure at least 5″ longer than your shorter woven piece dimension. This allows for the width of the rail pieces plus at least 1/2″ overhang on either edge. I exaggerated the overhang in my photos so you could see it easily. I have about a 2″ overhang on all my pieces.

rip strip weaving loom tutorial | lillyella stitchery

Next you will lay one rail length perpendicular on top using your square to make sure it is squared up. Draw a pencil line along both the left and right edges of the rail piece onto the cross member below. You can now use a clamp, if you have them, to keep this piece in place.

Next you will place the second rail piece on top of the cross member at the appropriate distance. As I mentioned before, this opening should measure 1″ smaller than the dimension of your finished woven piece. My runner was 12″ and the space between my rail pieces is 11″. Once again use your square and draw lines to mark the placement. Once in place, hold with another clamp.

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The next step is to secure the rails to the cross member with screws. Using an electric drill, predrill two holes through the rail into the cross member in the orientation show above. Predrilling holes is beneficial for two reasons. First, it helps prevent possible splits in the wood, but more importantly, it helps prevent your pieces from shifting their position when the screw catches. If you have never predrilled holes before, you want to use a bit that is slighty smaller in diameter than your screw, so that your screw will still hold tight and not be loose in the hole. If you are purchasing drill bits specifically for this project, any associate at the store would be happy to help you. You will be predrilling for the 1.25″ screws and then also later for the finish nails. With that information, they can give you the bits you need.

If using wood glue, you can unclamp your pieces and spread it on the cross member between your drawn lines. Dap a few dots around and spread it evenly with your finger or a paper towel.

Lay your rails back in place on the cross member, once again using your square and double checking your opening measurement, then screw the pieces together using the 1.25″ screws through the predrilled holes.

You will now repeat these steps to add the second cross member on the opposite end of your rails. Placement will be determined by once again measuring the center opening. It should measure 1″ shorter than the larger dimension of your finished woven piece. For example, I wanted my runner to measure 36″, so the opening between my cross members was 35″.

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Once both cross members are secure, you can now trim your overhanging edges flush using your hand saw. If your cuts are a little rough or your wood splinters at all, you can just smooth it with some sandpaper.

The next step is to add the spacers. These are additional cuts of poplar that will sit on top of the cross members between the rails.

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The spacers will first need to be cut to size. You will use the same 1″x3″ poplar for the spacers. Begin by drawing a straight line near one end of a cut of poplar using your square to ensure it will be straight. If you already have a cut a poplar with a square cut end, you can skip this step.

Next, you will measure the space between your rails and cut your spacer piece to the same size. Repeat this for the second cross member. Be sure to measure each opening. Though they should be the same, it is best to double check!

Once your spacers are cut, you will lay them in place and once again predrill holes. I used two screws on my 11″ width. If your piece is significantly longer, you will want to use more. Be sure to keep your holes close to the outer edge of your frame so that they will not be in the way when adding your nail posts.

After predrilling, you can apply wood more glue and then screw in place, or just screw in place if not using glue. Once both spacers are in place, your frame is complete! Give yourself a hand!

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NAIL POSTS & ANCHOR RODS

Now that your frame is complete, it is time to add your anchor rods and nail posts. The first step is to draw guidelines to help with placement. Using a long straight edge, draw a light, thin line 1/2″ from your opening on all four sides of the frame. You will then place your nail posts.

You may some old finish nails laying around, like I did, but if you are purchasing ones to use for this project, you will want 1.5″ length. I placed my nail posts 3/8″ apart, and honestly, I don’t really know how I decided this. I just thought about how tight I would like my weave based on the size of my finished piece. There’s no good way for me to explain how to figure this out, but you can look at my runner to help you decide. The nail posts determine the space between your warp threads, which is the white yarn that runs the length of my runner. You can see my weave is fairly tight, and I love the look of it. I believe it creates a piece that isn’t too hard to create, but is solid enough to be used for a variety of things, such as using the woven panel on a pillow or bag. I would NOT recommend going smaller, or you will really fight with it when weaving. If you are making something large, such as a rug, you could easily space your nail posts at 1/2″ or wider.

With the nail post placement on my loom, I can also create a wider, more open looking weave, by not wrapping my warp threads on each post, but on every other, so you do have some flexibility with any measurement you choose.

You will begin by marking the placement of each nail post on one cross member. You will want to start in the middle of your cross member and work out to the line you drew 1/2″ into each rail. When you get to this line, it is ok if your last nail post is a little closer or farther away from your line than your measurement. You want to be at least 1/4″ away from this line or it will be too hard to weave.

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The above photos show a couple things. It is important that you predrill each nail hole. Be sure to not make them too large, you want the nails very tight. But, if you do not predrill, your wood will split. I set my first few this way so that you could see the importance of predrilling.

Once your holes are drilled, you will set your nails using a hammer. You will want about 3/4″ to 1″ of nail above the wood. This measurement isn’t too important, you just want to make sure your nails are secure into the cross member spacer and will not pull out. There will be a lot of tension on them from your warp threads.

Repeat these steps to place your nail posts on the other cross member. The next step is to place your anchor rods. These keep your woven piece square and prevent it from pulling in on the sides as you get to the middle of the piece.

Your anchor rods will run along the line you drew 1/2″ in from the center opening on each rail. They will be held in place by the screw eyes. You will place one screw eye about 1″ past your nail posts toward the outer edge of your frame on each corner. You will then place another screw eye approximately every 8″ to 10″ along the length of your rails. Based on this length, figure out the measurement needed to place them evenly. For example, the space between nail posts along my rail was about 36″ so I placed one screw eye every 9″. You can see this in the full loom diagram at the beginning of the post.

You will place these by first predrilling holes, and then screwing them into the rail. A pair of pliers is helpful to screw them tightly into place.

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Your 3/16″ steel round bar will slide through these screw eyes to create your anchor rod. To hold it in place, you will place a screw just past each outermost screw eye on the four corners. You will need to remove the anchor rods when you are finished weaving your piece and are ready to take it off the loom, so the screw allows you to do this.

Your round bar will need to be cut to size. First place your end screws on one cross member (predrill then screw into place, leaving enough screw exposed so the head sits just above the screw eye), then slide your steel round bar through the eye holes and mark the length you need to cut your round bar where you will place the holding screws on the other cross member. A sharpie works good for this. Slide your round bar out and cut it to size using a metal hack saw.

Slide your round bar back through the eye holes and place the second set of holding screws at the other end. Your loom is now complete! The final optional step is to install the rubber bumper feet onto the bottom at each corner of the frame to help prevent scratching on any surface you use your loom on, such as if you lay it on a floor or table.

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Now that your loom is ready, it’s time to use it! I’ll be posting later this week all about that, but if you have any questions about this before building your loom, please feel free to contact me here or on Instagram. Be sure to use the hashtag #ripstripweaving so I can see what you’re making! I am so excited to watch you all do this!

~ nicole

RIP STRIP WEAVING, PART TWO: USING YOUR LOOM

Flex Frame Pouch & Write On Patterns

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A couple weeks ago I shared my Flex Frame Pouch pattern on fabric.com during their Passport to Summer series for a back to school project. Some of you may recognize this from Make Modern Magazine and the Swapaholics Retreat, and now you can download the free pattern, too. Flex frames are an awesome alternative to zippers and are super easy to use! You can find the 3.5″ frames used in my pattern on fabric.com, and you can also order bulk frames (10 or 50) in 3.5″ and 4.5″ (which I love) from ahkwokbuckles.com.

>> Click here to download the Flex Frame Pouch & Write On PDF Patterns <<

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The pattern includes directions for making the tall pouch, which is perfect for glasses, pencils, or a rotary cutter, as well as the small coin pouch, both shown above.

Also included is the Write On pencils paper piecing pattern to create the options shown below. It can be used with the bottom accent or made into the full pouch. The pencils can also be used for a variety of other projects, too. It’s easy to resize the pattern or add more pencils or other elements to the pattern.

Pencils Hero 2

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In the pattern I talk a bit about how to customize the pouch to any size you wish, and wanted to share a few more variations here today, including how to make a perfect gift set for anyone of any age!

The set below shows the two sizes included in the pattern, plus a third size which is perfect for carrying cards and cash. To create this third size, cut the pieces for the top of the tall pouch as indicated in the pattern (6.5″), but do not include the bottom. Then just cut the lining pieces to the same height and assemble.

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Consider personalizing the pouches with fun notions, such as stamped leather tags or decorative accents. Hmmm, I wonder who these are for?! I found the metal plate accent in the paper crafting section of Hobby Lobby. It is Tim Holtz brand.

Also, adding a short chain and key ring makes any pouch the perfect grab and go wallet.

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I tried a few options and positions and decided that I preferred sewing the chain to the inside of the pouch right below the frame sleeves, as shown below. This way the chain and ring can be kept inside or pulled out through the top and the frame closing gives it some added security.

You can find a variety of chains and rings in the jewelry section of any craft store.

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This is a fun pattern that can be customized in so many ways, with any of your favorite materials or patterns. Try a quilt block design you like, another paper piecing pattern, or even some selvedges. If you would like to use the 4.5″ frames (or any other size you may find), simply add the additional width to the cut sizes of your pieces. For example, if using a 4.5″ frame, vs the 3.5″ used in my pattern, simple add 1″ width to all your pieces.

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I’ll be sharing more sizes, shapes, and ways to play with this pattern over the next months, too, so stay tuned! Please tag your pictures with #FlexFramePouch and #WriteOnPattern so I can see all your awesome creations!

Enjoy! ~ nicole

Reusable Bowl Cap Tutorial

Reusable Bowl Cap Tutorial | lillyella stitchery

Help save the environment and look cute doing it! 😉

These reusable bowl caps are easy to make and customizable to fit any dish. You can use cotton alone for a washable cap, or add iron on vinyl for a more waterproof cap that can be wiped clean.

Reusable Bowl Cap Tutorial | lillyella stitchery

This tutorial includes directions for determining what size to cut your pieces, how to make bias binding, and how to construct the bowl caps.

Click here to download the free pattern.

The fabrics I used here are from the Little House on the Prairie line by Kathy Hall for Andover Fabrics and they couldn’t be more perfect! Those little florals mixed with the scenic prints are absolutely adorable.

Reusable Bowl Cap Tutorial | lillyella stitchery

I just love making these covers and find them handy for some many things. I always use old Pyrex and Fire King bowls that did not have lids, so using these makes me much happier than using plastic wrap! They also make great gifts. Pick up a cute bowl (or set) at a thrift shop, make a matching cover and give it as a housewarming or shower gift.

I hope you enjoy this tutorial! Share your project photos on Instagram & Facebook with #reusablebowlcap!

Reusable Bowl Cap Tutorial | lillyella stitchery

Paperie Blog Tour + New Love Story Pattern

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It’s funny how things work out. The way life’s puzzle pieces always end up fitting together. I first designed the Love Story Pattern for my class at the Swapaholics Retreat last September. Amy Sinibaldi was also teaching and her debut fabric line, Paperie, had not yet been announced when I was prepping for the retreat.

Flash forward a few months to 2016. I’m amping up my pattern in preparation for release and Amy invites me to join her Paperie Blog Tour. I think you’ll see that her fabric and this pattern go together like sprinkles and donuts. And not that pink hearts are ONLY for Valentine’s day, but what perfect timing, wouldn’t you say?

Undercover Maker Mat featuring Paperie Fabrics | lillyella stitchery

As usual, I had trouble wrangling in all my ideas. I did know for certain that first I wanted to make my Undercover Maker Mat (download the free pattern here) using the 5″ Love Story block in place of the butterfly charm block used on the original. This mat is such a fun and useful project that sews up quick and lets you showcase your favorite fabrics.

I decided to make the secondary pockets on this one in solid prints, rather than the selvedges, so I could really show off the line.

Undercover Maker Mat featuring Paperie Fabrics | lillyella stitchery

I was torn between using the texty print or the hearts for the main body of the mat, but now that it’s all finished, I don’t know how it was even a question. The text is just perfect and the strip of hearts pieced in just plain makes me happy!

Undercover Maker Mat featuring Paperie Fabrics | lillyella stitchery

I then carried the heart print over to the removable thread catcher by piecing a strip into the front and using it on the lining. I think it really just balances it all out perfectly.

I used a delicate pink chevron trim on the pocket panel and added a bit of crochet lace on the secondary pocket – in true Amy style!

Undercover Maker Mat featuring Paperie Fabrics | lillyella stitchery

Thanks to the expert advice my official quilter, Sari, I went with a large chevron pattern for the quilting on the mat body. It echos the seams of the heart block perfectly (thank you very much) and also ties in the trim. I used a pale pink Aurifil thread that gives it just the tiniest hint of color and I couldn’t love it more!

Undercover Maker Mat featuring Paperie Fabrics | lillyella stitchery

I kept trying to find a way to use this pretty aqua trim on the pocket panel, but it just felt overpowering. It did, however, work out perfectly for the side ties!

So, what do you think? Is this mat your style? I’ll be giving it away on Instagram next week (and a bundle of fabric!), so stay tuned for that!

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Love Story + Cross my Heart Pattern | lillyella stitchery

Another idea that I just knew I had to run with was designing an X block that coordinated with Love Story. Like Xs and Os, but with a cute heart instead! I’m calling it Cross my Heart and you can download it for free here.

I thought it would be an adorable mini quilt with 4 blocks in a large square, or as a set of pillows (or a two sided pillow!) or a table runner, which is what I decided to make for my sample project.

Love Story Pattern | lillyella stitchery

My Love Story pattern includes two block designs – Poetry (the pink block) and Prose (the navy and white block). I wanted to showcase them both, along with the X, so I thought a little asymmetry would be fun! I used the 10″ blocks here, and the X pattern also includes a 5″ block (how about a set of heart and X coasters?!).

Love Story Pattern | lillyella stitchery

I love how striking the bold pops of pink and navy in this line are mixed with all the beautiful, soft low volumes. By random chance, I had a piece of my favorite chambray denim on my cutting table when I was feverishly trying to decide what to bind my runner with. It was a match made in heaven! The denim pairs so amazingly with this line, it started my mind racing with quilt ideas using Paperie and the new Art Gallery denim line that is coming out soon. SO EXCITED!

Love Story Pattern | lillyella stitchery

Love Story Pattern | lillyella stitchery

I’ll be sharing some design ideas and other fun Love Story projects (including a lap quilt pattern) here and on my Instagram feed over the next couple weeks. You can also check the hashtags #lovestorypattern and #crossmyheartpattern for more inspiration. As always, I can’t wait to see what you all create!

Love Story + Cross My Heart Patterns | lillyella stitchery

Be sure to check out all the other stops on the Paperie Blog Tour for all sorts of swoon worthy projects! You can find links and photos in Amy’s instagram feed and on her blog.

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Love Story Pattern | lillyella stitchery

Now I am in desperate need of a nap! So I will leave you with some more eye candy inspiration! Above is the original Love Story block as it was designed to fit my flex frame pouch project for the retreat.

For the pattern release, I squared off the block and made a coordinating reverse design where the heart is solid and the background is faceted instead. I love the possibilities this opens up for color play and layout ideas!

Love Story Pattern | lillyella stitchery

Here are just a few blocks that my amazing testers sewed up. I’ll be sharing their finished projects soon! You can pick up a copy of the pattern on sale for $6.50 now thru Valentine’s Day in my Payhip, Etsy or Craftsy shops.

happy stitching! ~nicole

Yarn Wrapped Wreaths

yarn wrapped wreath | lillyella stitchery

These wreaths are one of my favorite things to make! They are quick, easy and inexpensive, and can be customized in an endless numbers of ways to create a perfect gift for any age and any occasion.

This is technically a Christmas wreath for my mom (her tree is decorated in the same style with all nature themed ornaments and natural elements), but I love that it’s more of a winter wreath that can be displayed and enjoyed for longer.

yarn wrapped wreath | lillyella stitchery

The primary materials that I use are yarn and felt, but you can also use ribbon or fabric for wrapping or for the decorations. Get creative when it comes to the extras – check out the floral section of your craft store for little berries, twigs and greenery. Look in the wood aisle for things like the snowflakes shown above and the miniatures aisle is also great for finding little critters or themed extras. Also hunt outside for moss, pinecones, acorns, twigs and bark.

This is one of the simpler wreaths I have made. You can really go crazy with flowers and they look amazing, but I wanted the deer to take center stage on this one!

I typically use hard foam wreath shapes (found in the floral section of your craft store), but for this wreath I wanted something larger to balance the stag, so I used a straw wreath. I also found this is the floral section and it was wrapped in plastic, which I left on.

yarn wrapped wreath | lillyella stitchery

The first step is to simply start wrapping your yarn around the wreath. You can glue the end to begin or just wrap over it to secure. I typically smooth a good amount of glue over the area where my ends meet after I’m done wrapping. Since it’s on the back, it’s ok if you can tell where the glue is.

There are tons of excellent tutorials out there for making felt flowers. I’ve tried many different styles and typically stick with about four or five designs that I love most and are easy to make. The coiled roses are my favorite because they are really simple, don’t require any sewing, and look adorable.

Here are just a few links to get your started:
http://www.thecraftedsparrow.com/2012/04/felt-flowers-tutorials-5-to-choose-from.html
http://www.howjoyful.com/2011/06/felt-rose-tutorial-and-pattern/
http://www.intimateweddings.com/blog/diy-favor-bags-peony-pockets-part-two/
http://www.notmartha.org/tomake/to-make-diy-mothers-day-corsage-felt-dahlia-flower-brooch/

yarn wrapped wreath | lillyella stitchery

When it comes to attaching all my doodads, I use Elmer’s Glue and occasionally some E6000, but most craft and fabric glues will work fine for the bulk of materials used.

I like to use a piece of ribbon or lace for hanging, which I usually just tie on and make a bow. For this one, I cut some wide burlap that was covered with lace and sewed the bow together because it was too stiff to tie. I looped a clear plastic ring underneath for hanging.

Trust me when I say that once you start making these, you might not be able to stop!

yarn wrapped wreaths | lillyella stitchery

Here are some supplies I’ve gathered to make a couple retro-inspired Christmas wreaths for myself. These are the foam wreaths I usually use. Both of the ‘yarns’ I’m using to wrap them were found in the yarn section of JoAnns, but are not your typical yarn. I actually have no idea what the green one would be used for. I found it on an endcap in this bulk bag and it’s the strangest stuff, but I think it’s going to be adorable!

Some other embellishments to think about include ornaments, beads, buttons, millnery birds and flowers, feathers, assorted trims & ribbons for accents, wood letter shapes to personalize with an initial or word or a small garland of bunting.

I hope I’ve added another project to your list! And wish me luck on finishing mine before next Christmas…

Undercover Maker Mat Pattern

Undercover Maker Mat free pattern | lillyella stitchery

This dual purpose sewing space organizer has double pockets and a removable thread catcher to keep all your notions at hand and your workspace tidy. It goes from under to {machine} cover when not in use with side ties to keep it in place.

Click here  to download the PDF pattern.

If you have any questions about the pattern, feel free to contact me anytime. Tag your photos with #undercovermakermat so everyone can be inspired!

Undercover Maker Mat free pattern | lillyella stitchery