Oh my goodness - twitter and instagram is simply AWASH with gorgeous lovely festive photos of people putting up their xmas tree (see here and here for example). I have to wait till the step sons arrive to put up ours because xmas isn't really xmas without the kids, right?
However, the nice thing this year is that I've bascially had a two month lead up to xmas where I've been at home! No planes, no suitcases, no trips - just hanging out in Seoul with the husband and the hounds! This is pretty unusual and also pretty awesome. It means I've actually sent my xmas cards before xmas this year, I'm almost ready to put all the presents in the post and I've had time for a spot of festive crafting.
The embroidery hoop ornaments above are going to my parents-in-law. I'm rather pleased with how they've turned out. I especially like the cardboard backing with stamp and message. These ones are in little 5" hoops. I've also made one in a 6" hoop, which you can get a sneak peak of if you scroll all the way down (I can't show you the whole thing because it's for someone who reads this blog!). Next I want to make one in a blue/turquoise theme for us (we're having a white, silver and blue xmas), and after that I think I might make some non-festive ones for the shop (I'm thinking rainbow and monochrome).
Here's a little bit about how I put them together.
I used a stamp as my pattern, and just stamped directly on the fabric. If you've got a decent stamp collection like me, you'll be getting excited about all the stamping/embroidering possibilities. I've found a soft grey ink strikes the right balance between providing enough of an outline and not showing through in the finish (or you can match your ink to the thread like I've done for the blue one). The key is not to have too much ink on your stamp, otherwise the lines will bleed a little and you won't get a nice neat end product. Next - stitch away! I used a simple back stitch. Just make sure you keep your stitches nice and even and your lines fairly straight. I used a small length stitch for these.
Get some sturdy card stock and trace around the inside of your hoop. Cut it out so you have a circle that will fit neatly in the back. Next, centre your embroidery in the hoop and make sure the fabric is stretched nice and tight. This takes much longer than you think it will. Trust me. I used a ruler to double check the star was actually centred.
Cut off the excess fabric, leaving a 1" to 2" overhang. Then start stitching around the edge to gather up the excess and pull it tightly together. You are kind of 'pleating' the fabric. It's at this stage that you should put your circle of card stock in the back of the hoop. It's tricky to slot it in after you've stitched up the back. I know because I've tried. I tried because I'm an idiot.
Once you've stitched around the whole circle, gently pull the thread so that the fabric gathers together in a nice tight circle. Tie a knot. I also like to dribble a tiny little drop of glue on the edge of the cardboard so that it sticks to the wooden hoop at a point of two, to hold the card stock in place. Lastly, add your message to the back and voila! You're done!