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Thursday
Dec112008

Whit's Knits: Festive Felted Garland

The soothing pleasure of handling merino fleece, the rhythmic motion of needle felting, and the magical transformation from fleece to ball combine to make this a really satisfying (and relaxing) project. A great reminder to slow down and have some fun, whether you're decorating for Christmas, a birthday celebration, or any old time of the year.

This is a wonderful communal project, easy enough for kids and for not-so-crafty friends. So get the whole family involved or invite some friends over for a felting party. The beautiful hand made garland you end up with is just an added bonus!

 

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Wednesday
Dec102008

Joelle's Puzzle Ball Ornaments

This project is based on a vintage piece that I picked up in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, several years ago. With a little research, I found out that it is called a puzzle ball. I smiled when I heard the name because my first attempt at copying the original turned out square! Eventually it dawned on me that the shape could be created entirely out of circles and the pattern was born. Although it might look a bit complicated, creating the shapes and putting it together is actually very straightforward.

 

You can find the pattern for the puzzle ball ornaments in my book, Last-Minute Patchwork + Quilted Gifts. The pattern in the book will give you a 5-inch diameter puzzle ball, but for these Christmas tree ornaments I thought it would be nice to make a smaller version. Instead of using a 5.5-inch diameter circular template as recommended in the pattern, I used a teacup with a diameter of 2.5-inches, which gave me finished ornaments that measure 2-inches across. I also added a loop of embroidery thread to hang them from the tree.

For our week of pink and white Christmas projects I used solid pink fabrics from the P+B Color Spectrum, Kona Cotton and Essex Linen and Cotton Blend collections and prints from Cake Rock Beach and Windham 19th Century Reproductions but this shape lends itself to playing with just about any combination of colors and prints!

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Tuesday
Dec092008

Whit's Knits: Holiday Bird Ornaments

The song and flight of birds are miracles of nature perfectly compatible with the miraculous spirit of the holiday season, a spirit of industry, generosity and joy. Everything we make this time of year seems to be imbued with cheer, like the excited chirp of one bird to another.

I had a lot of fun experimenting with different fibers to bring these five unique birds to life, each with its own personality. Some have the happy chubbiness of city sparrows, while others appear to be on more intense missions, streamlined for efficiency. They're so quick and easy to knit that you'll have your own ornothological family before you know it!

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Monday
Dec082008

Molly's Sketchbook: Simple Sewn Bird Ornaments

I used a bunch of special fabrics to make these little birds, mixing the delicate Meadow line with bolder favorites like Kona Cotton and Cake Rock Beach to create a vibrant patchwork flock. They are easy and quick to sew. You could make one to bring as a gift to your next holiday party or make a bunch to hang on your own tree. Either way these little guys will spread holiday cheer wherever they fly! --Molly

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Saturday
Dec062008

Molly's Sketchbook: Hanukkah Coasters!

I was always jealous of the kids that celebrated Hanukkah... eight days of presents! (That's not even to mention those truly lucky ones that got to do both Hanukkah AND Christmas.) Of course, besides the gifts there are many very special things that happen at Hanukkah, from the lighting of the menorah, to the tradition of eating delicious latkes, to the really fun dreidel game.

In case you aren't familiar with it the dreidel is a small spinning top with 4 sides and each side has a hebrew letter on it.  You spin the top and whatever letter it falls on determines how many pieces of delicious chocolate coins (called "gelt") you win or loose. 

When I set out to make a Hanukkah project I wanted to incorporate this whimsical game somehow and I came up with these clean modern coasters, representing every side of the dreidel. The wool felt they are made out  is thick enough to also be used as a trivet and they are backed in rich shades of blue. In addition to protecting your table they will be a pretty accent to your Hanukkah party!

Happy Hanukkah!

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