It is a tradition in our family that every Easter I make my daughter, Coco, a special holiday gift. From the stuffed bunny of her infancy to the still beloved Bag of Beans from a few years ago, the challenge for me lies not only in coming up with something different year after year, but also in making her something fun and cheerful without stepping over the line into saccharin.
While I admittedly have a reputation for getting more excited than the average person about things made entirely in shades of ecru, I do get equally excited about bright pops of color accenting these neutral fields. And so it's no surprise, to me at least, that I decided to make this super simple Easter Basket out of creamy white 100% Wool Felt with a burst of lively stitching around its rim.
I was amazed at how beautifully the thick 5mm Felt stitched together. So soft and pliable, I felt like I was shaping a clay vessel. And even the finished basket looks like a ceramic sculpture... until you touch it and feel just how soft it is!
The grass inside is also wool felt and makes the perfect bed for painted eggs. For these photos, I couldn't resist filling the baskets with subtle Araucana eggs, but I can also happily picture the wee hours of Easter morning when Coco first spots her Felt Easter Basket spilling over with the colorful treats of the day!
For the basket:
- Two pieces 5mm precut natural wool felt (for basket)
- Londonderry linen thread in Ivory 5095 size 50/3
- Koigu Premium Merino needlepoint yarn in Pink 1155
- Embroidery needles
- Rotary cutter
- X-acto knife- for cutting out circle (available at your local hardware or grocery store)
- Cutting mat
- Non-slip ruler
For the grass:
- One piece 1mm precut wool felt 18-inches x 18-inches in Ecru (for grass)
From one piece of 5mm felt cut two long rectangles each measuring 3.5-inches wide x 11-inches long. These two pieces will form the wall of the basket. From this same piece of felt cut a strip that is 1-inch wide x 12- inches. This will be the handle of the basket. From the second piece of 5mm felt cut a circle that is 7-inches in diameter using an X-acto knife. Hint: We used a bowl, but anything round that is the right dimension will work. Note: If you aren't using the exact dimensions suggested, make the long rectangles longer so that you have room for adjustments later.
Place two of the 3.5-inch x 1-inch long pieces together along the short sides.
Double the linen thread and sew the two ends of felt together using a simple whip stitch and making sure the edges of the felt line up on the left and right. Since you will see these stitches on the inside of the basket, be sure to pay attention to your stitches on both sides. Before stitching the other ends together to form the wall of the basket, form a circle with it and place it over the cut felt circle to confirm it matches up. If you've left it a bit long, now is the time to trim the ends a bit. Stitch the remaining two short ends of the felt together so that you end up with a round felt cuff.
Place the felt cuff on top of the circle of felt. Don't worry if the cuff and circle don't match up exactly. The felt is so pliable and will all come together once stitched. Stitch the wall to the bottom using an invisible whip stitch. Start the needle on the inside of the basket and push the needle through the side wall at an extreme angle so that you are not going out the other side of the felt, rather the needle is traveling parallel to the felt through the middle of it.
Continue to push the needle through to the bottom circle of felt but do not go all the way out the bottom of the felt. Instead bring the needle out when you are only half way through the circle as shown above.
Continue stitching in this way from the outside of the basket until you have gone all the way around the circle.
It should look like this when you are finished.
Attach the handle by whip stitching it to the side wall just as you stitched the two sides of felt together. Since you will see these stitches on the inside of the basket, be sure to pay attention to your stitches on both sides.
Here is what the basket will look like before you embellish it with colorful stitches.
Using the pink needlepoint yarn, start the needle on the inside of the basket and stitch a simple whip stitch around the entire top edge of the basket. To start and end the yarn there is no need to tie a knot. Stick the needle through the middle of the felt about an inch and a half away from where you are starting or ending your stitch and just cut yarn. The felt is thick enough to hold the yarn without having to tie a knot.
Voila! It's beautiful before you've even filled it.
Cut the 18-inch x 18- inch piece of 1mm felt in half so you have two pieces of felt that measure 9-inches x 18- inches. Place one piece on top of the other piece and cut strips of felt from the 9-inch sides of the felt. Each strip can be approximately 1/8-inch wide, but it is fine if they vary in size a bit.