Around Christmas, I started thinking of a few gifts I wanted to sew. I knew I wanted to make something for my dear friend Ashley who moved away last year, because I miss hanging out with her so much! She loves nautical things (she's got great taste). My mind went back to a picture I saw a picture on Pinterest a while ago; ornaments similar to these. They weren't for sale or anywhere to be obtained, so I made my own. I added a few of my own designs to create 5 nautical ornaments.
These ornaments are made from felt. Felt has become one of my FAVORITE textiles to work with. I love cutting small shapes out of the felt and outlining them in my favorite Valdani thread. Felt is so nice because it doesn't fray and you don't need to worry about finishing off the raw edges. I also love felt projects because they are small, and I can take them with me while I travel or run errands. My daughters love stitching along side me, making little doll pillows and such.
Felt comes in many varieties... the cheap craft felt, a nicer rayon/wool blend, or my favorite which is 100% wool. This wool is sturdy, and has a soft, creamy hand to it. My good friend Mary Dugan just opened up an online fabric shop called Sunny Day Supply (stay tuned for more details and her grand opening), and she carries loads of exciting colors in 100% wool felt. I'm convinced she carries these just for me! Haha, just kidding. But you might want to order some before I clear out her entire inventory. I have several projects in mind... save some for me Mary! :)
If you want to make these Nautical Decorations similar to these, here's what you'll need:
-Felt (I prefer 100% wool)
-Small trimming scissors
-Thread (I prefer Valdani size 8, sometimes size 12)
-Hand sewing needle
-Trims (for hanging the ornament)
1. Mostly, I just started snipping away at my felt. I made a starfish, a whale, an anchor, a shell, and a sailboat. I practiced a few templates on a napkin. The starfish was tricky. Just have confidence; it's okay to get a little scissor happy!!!
2. Next, I used a cup to trace and cut circles. I made 2 circlers per ornament. It was fun deciding which colors to coordinate with the background circles. Pictured here are the trims that I used to hang the ornaments- a bit of rope and some burlap ric rac.
3. Time to start stitching! I just took very small stitches around the perimeter of each shape. I like to pull my thread all the way up and all the way down. I don't use a piece much longer than the length of my forearm. It tends to get fuzzy the more it is pulled. That means you'll be getting a new piece of thread more often, and tying more knots, but I like my thread to be in good shape.
4. I decorated a few of my felt shapes with contrasting thread (added eyes and a spout to the whale, and some monochromatic stitching to the shell to give it texture). Then I used a simple running stitch to sew the back circle to the ornament. I left a small opening, stuffed it with a bit of batting, then finished stitching it shut.
5. Last, I sewed the trimming on the back with just a few stitches, to create a way to hang the ornaments.
6. These can be used on the Christmas tree, but really they can be used year round to add a little pop of nautical decor!
Everything arrived safe and sound to Ashley's house. I included this great book, 318 Patchwork Patterns. It was released a few years ago in Japanese, but has just been rereleased in English in limited editions. It was a super popular book, so I was excited to get my hands on a couple of copies (that I can understand, haha)!
I made the ornaments to go along with the Anchor that I gave to her for her birthday.
Just a few days ago, this amazing pickeldish mini quilt showed up in my mailbox, made by Ashley. I was just in awe!!! She chose the perfect colors, including some special prints from her Liberty stash. I just love the pickledish block. I honestly can't believe this belongs to me now, and that she could ever part with it. It will be front and center in my sewing room as soon as I move. I love it and her! Read more about this amazing mini quilt on her blog here.
What crafty projects are you working on lately?