Increase your hand-embroidery know-how as you embellish holiday motifs on a set of stuffed wool ornaments.
Designer: Sue Spargo of Sue Spargo Folk-Art Quilts
4" square red silk velvet (bird appliqué)
8-4-1⁄2" squares assorted green felted wool (appliqué foundations, ornament backs)
Scraps of red and dark orange felted wools (wing and flower center appliqués)
4" square each of yellow-green, light blue, dark coral, and orange felted wools (beak, circle, pomegranate, and flower appliqués)
5" square cream felted wool (snowflake and circle appliqués)
Scrap of cream silk velvet (snowflake center appliqué)
1⁄3 yard 3⁄16"-wide velvet ribbon: green
Wool and cotton threads in colors that match appliqués
Perle cotton No. 8: red/rust variegated, yellow-green, cream/gray variegated, and orange variegated
Small heishi bead (flat, sequinlike bead): black
Fusible lightweight sheer interfacing, such as Presto Sheer
Needles: chenille, No. 24; straw, No. 11; milliner's, No. 1
1⁄4" hole punch (optional)
Finished ornaments: approximately 2-1⁄2×3"
Quantities are for 100% felted wool and 100% silk velvet fabrics.
Cut pieces in the following order. Click on "Download this Project" above for pattern pieces.
To felt your own wool, machine-wash it in a hot-water-wash, cool-rinse cycle with a small amount of detergent. Machine-dry it on high heat and steam-press.
To use freezer paper or interfacing to prepare appliqué pieces, complete following steps.
1. Lay freezer paper, shiny side down, over patterns. Use a pencil to trace each pattern (except Pattern A) the number of times indicated in cutting instructions. Trace Pattern A onto fusible lightweight sheer interfacing (the bird is already reversed for this appliqué method). Cut out each freezer-paper and interfacing shape on drawn lines.
2. For wool appliqués: Using a hot dry iron, press each freezer-paper shape, shiny side down, onto right side of designated wool; let cool. Cut out wool shapes on drawn lines. Peel off freezer paper.
3. For velvet appliqués: Using a hot dry iron, press interfacing A bird shape onto wrong side of red velvet. Press freezer-paper F circle onto wrong side of cream velvet. (If desired, place velvet facedown on a towel to prevent the nap from getting crushed.) Cut out velvet shapes, adding a 1⁄4" seam allowance beyond drawn lines. Do not remove freezer paper from cream velvet circle yet.
From red velvet, cut:
1 of Pattern A
From assorted green wools, cut:
8 of Oval Pattern
From red wool, cut:
1 of Pattern B
From yellow-green wool, cut:
1 each of patterns C and M
From cream wool, cut:
1 of Pattern E
17 of Pattern D
From cream velvet, cut:
1 of Pattern F
From light blue wool, cut:
6 of Pattern P
27 of Pattern G (or use 1⁄4" hole punch to punch twenty-seven 1⁄4" wool circles)
From dark coral wool, cut:
1 of Pattern H
From orange wool, cut:
1 each of patterns I, J, K, L, and N
From dark orange wool, cut:
1 of Pattern O
Appliqué Bird Ornament
1. Referring to Bird Appliqué Placement Diagram, position red velvet A bird on a green wool oval. Pin in place in the seam allowances only. Using red thread, hand-appliqué bird in place, turning under 1⁄4" seam allowance with your needle as you stitch. (Designer Sue Spargo used 60-weight, 100% cotton Tre Stelle thread from Tristan and a No. 11 straw needle.)
2. Referring to Bird Appliqué Placement Diagram, position red wool B wing, yellow-green wool C beak, and 11 cream wool D circles on green wool oval. Pin or use a fabric glue-stick to baste pieces in place.
3. Using threads that match appliqués, whipstitch wool appliqué shapes in place. (Sue used 12-weight, 50% wool/50% acrylic Genziana thread from Tristan and a No. 24 chenille needle for the wool appliqué.) To whipstitch, bring needle up at A and down at B (Whipstitch Diagram). Continue in same manner around entire shape.
4. Backstitch around edges of bird with red/rust variegated perle cotton. To backstitch, pull needle up at A (Backstitch Diagram). Insert it back into fabric at B and bring it up at C. Push needle down at D and bring it up at E. Continue in the same manner around entire shape.
5. Backstitch around edges of beak with yellow-green perle cotton.
6. Referring to photo on page 1, and French Knot Diagram, use cream/gray variegated perle cotton to make six or seven straight stitches over each cream wool D circle. Then make a French knot at end of each straight stitch. To make a French knot, pull perle cotton through at point where knot is desired (A on French Knot Diagram). Wrap perle cotton around needle two or three times. Insert tip of needle into fabric at B, 1⁄16" away from A. Gently push wraps down needle to meet fabric. Pull needle and trailing floss through fabric slowly and smoothly.
7. Thread an 18" length of red/rust variegated perle cotton on a No. 1 milliner's needle and make bullion knots around edge of wing. To make a bullion knot, bring needle up at A, next to edge of wing. Insert needle back into fabric at B and bring it up at C but do not pull needle out of fabric yet (Bullion Knot Diagram). Wrap perle cotton around needle nine times with end of thread nearest needle tip. Now pull needle out of fabric, holding wraps in place with your thumbnail, to make a backstitch. Bring wraps toward you so they lay neatly on backstitch. Insert needle back down at D (right by B) and bring it up at E, about 1⁄4" in front of far end of knot. Continue in same manner to make next bullion knot.
8. Position black heishi bead on bird for eye. Using black thread, bring needle up through center of bead and back into fabric at edge of bead. Continue in same manner, sewing over bead four to eight times (Heishi Bead Stitching Diagram) to make bird ornament top.
Appliqué Snowflake Ornament
1. Referring to Snowflake Appliqué Placement Diagram, position cream wool E snowflake and 13 light blue wool G circles on a green wool oval. Baste, then whipstitch all pieces in place with matching wool thread.
2. Hand-sew a running stitch about 1⁄8" from edge of cream velvet F circle. Pull thread ends to gather velvet circle around freezer-paper circle. Using cream thread, hand-appliqué velvet circle in center of snowflake, removing freezer paper when you've stitched about three-fourths of the way around circle.
3. Backstitch around edges of snowflake with cream/gray variegated perle cotton. Backstitch around edge of center circle with yellow-green perle cotton.
4. Referring to photo on page 1, use cream/gray variegated perle cotton to make French knots along edges of snowflake and one in center of each blue circle to make snowflake ornament top.
Appliqué Pomegranate Ornament
1. Referring to Pomegranate Appliqué Placement Diagram, position dark coral wool H pomegranate; orange wool I, J, K, and L shapes; and 14 light blue wool G circles on a green wool oval. Baste, then whipstitch all pieces in place with matching wool thread.
2. Backstitch around edges of pomegranate and orange wool pieces with orange variegated perle cotton.
3. Referring to photo on page 1, use red/rust variegated perle cotton to make French knots around edge of pomegranate and straight stitches at top. Use cream/gray variegated perle cotton to make a French knot in center of each blue circle.
4. Using red/rust variegated perle cotton, make horizontal bullion knots in center of pomegranate to make pomegranate ornament top.
Appliqué Flower Ornament
1. Referring to Flower Appliqué Placement Diagram, position yellow-green wool M flower, orange wool N circle, dark orange wool O circle, light blue wool P circles, and remaining cream wool D circles on a green wool oval. Baste, then whipstitch all pieces in place with matching wool thread.
2. Backstitch around edges of blue circles with cream/gray variegated perle cotton. Backstitch around orange and dark orange circles with red/rust variegated perle cotton.
3. Referring to photo on page 1, use red/rust variegated perle cotton to make French knots and straight stitches in center of dark orange circle. Use cream/gray variegated perle cotton to make French knots in center and around edges of each cream circle.
4. Using yellow-green perle cotton, make bullion knots on flower to make flower ornament top.
1. Cut green velvet ribbon into four 3" lengths.
2. Fold one velvet ribbon length in half. Position raw ends of ribbon at top center of bird ornament top with loop toward center of ornament. Baste in place.
3. With right sides together, layer bird ornament top with a green wool oval. Sew together, leaving a 3" opening. Turn right side out through opening. Stuff firmly with polyfill. Hand-stitch opening closed to complete ornament.
4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 to complete remaining three ornaments.