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One of the best things about holidays—besides all the fab food and catching up with your nearest and dearest—is that they provide an opportunity to create more crafts! And what makes these thread-wrapped DIY eggs extra-special is that they’re so easy to do, you can share them with the little ones in your life as a family project. Just gather together some balloons, DMC embroidery floss, and other easy-to-find crafting supplies…you’ll have chic and fun holiday decorations that you might want to keep year-round!
What You’ll Need:
- 6 skeins of DMC embroidery floss (use colors of your choice/décor)
- 6 small party balloons (do not use water balloons—they do not hold their shape during the drying process)
- Fabric Stiffener (such as Mod Podge Stiffy)
- Bowl—slightly larger than the size of the inflated balloon
- 6 chopsticks or pencils
- 6 plastic cups (larger than the size of the inflated balloon)
- Embroidery scissors
- Ribbons, ornament hangers, or a bowl
How You Make It:
1. Blow up and knot 6 balloons to the size and shape desired. Be sure that they are smaller than the size of the 6 plastic cups.
2. Select your first color of floss. Create a slip knot loop and place around the balloon knot.
3. Begin wrapping tightly around the balloon—change angles of your wrapping to get better coverage. (Hint: Do not remove the wrapper from the skein of floss—pull from the skein as you wrap. This will eliminate tangles.)
4. When you reach the end of the skein, use a dab of the fabric stiffener to secure the end to the balloon. (Hint: Use 2 skeins of floss for a more solid coverage.)
5. Add 1” of the fabric stiffener to your bowl, and then gently roll the wrapped balloon in it until thoroughly coated.
6. Hold wrapped balloon above the bowl for 15 seconds to allow excess stiffener to drip back into the bowl.
7. Poke a chopstick or pencil through the loose end of the balloon knot, being careful not to puncture the balloon and hang the balloon in the plastic cup to dry.
8. Repeat steps 2-7 for all balloons.
9. Allow to dry undisturbed for 24-48 hours or until thoroughly dry. (Hint: Repeat Steps 5-7 for a more sturdy egg.)
10. When completely dry, slip the chopstick out of the balloon.
11. Pull the knot of the balloon up from the threads and cut off. You will hear a crackling noise as the balloon separates from the threads. Use the end of the chopstick to assist with the separation.
12. Pull the deflated balloon out through the openings of the thread egg (use tweezers if necessary).
13. Add ribbons or ornament hangers to display…or simply place them in a bowl for an instant decorative accent for your home!
This week I came across an extraordinary site, created by multimedia needle artist Janet Browne of the UK.
She has developed an unusual style of mapping the places she visits, working from a diary filled with observations and sketches, which she transforms into places, towns and landscapes worked in fabric and thread. Essentially, she creates a journal in fabric, needle and thread.
The image to the left is part of her Tour de France series, and features Day 1 of her journey. The image to the right shows an allotment with a garden gate.
Click the image to visit her web site, then select the image to see the details in a larger format. Visit the main page of her site to see a full list of the subjects she works with.
Janet selects cotton calico and silks to create her maps, often over-dying them to achieve the colors she remembers in her mind’s eye of the places, objects, animals and other things she saw during the journey she’s memorializing in needlework. Once the artist has the design perfected and pieced, she then works hand embroidery and machine embroidery to create the details.
I’ve featured a few of her designs here – click on the image to visit the page to see the designs covering each subject.
Often you’ll run across a pattern that calls for a partial cross stitch – either a half of a stitch, or a quarter of a stitch. While a quarter of a stitch is easy, working a half stitch can be a little trickier.
Here’s a little tutorial that’ll make it easy to know how to work a half stitch in a cross stitch project, suitable for use with any DMC Embroidery Thread.
A full cross stitch (top diagram) is worked using two diagonal stitches. The first half of the stitch is worked on the bottom – from the lower left to the upper right (shown in light red). The second half is worked on top of the first stitch in the opposite direction – from the upper left to the lower right (shown in the darker red).
The partial stitches should always be worked in the same manner to keep the stitching consistent:
When stitching for use in the upper left area of a pattern, the full lower stitch is worked, followed by a partial upper stitch that meets the lower stitch in the center of the stitch area.
When stitching for the upper right area of a pattern, the partial lower stitch is worked first from the center of the stitch area to the upper corner. this stitch is followed by the upper stitched, worked across the entire stitch area.
To work a partial stitch in the lower left area of a pattern, work the partial lower stitch first, working from the lower left to the center of the stitch area, followed by the upper stitch.
…and in the lower right area of a pattern, work the lower stitch first, followed by a partial upper stitch worked from the center of the stitch area, over the lower stitch, and into the lower left corner.
That’s all there is to it!
To celebrate, I’m posting this Friday Freebie featuring two chalices worked in DMC Light Effects Floss (floss numbers are listed on the pattern).
It’s perfect for stitching this time of year!
Work the glittering design on 28-count Monaco fabric (over 2 threads) in cross stitch, accented with French knots.
Click here for the pattern, and use 2 strands of the floss for all stitching.
I love the sparkle that the different colors of Light Effects Floss gives the design, but feel free to substitute your own favorite DMC Embroidery Thread.
Cording is easy to make and can be used to outline a project, cover seams, make hanging loops, tassle stringers or tied as a bow.
Use the same embroidery thread that was used in the stitching (it’s a great way to use up the leftovers), or for a wider cording use similar colors in chunkier yarns or pearl cotton. For a bit of glitz and glamour, you could blend a length of DMC Light Effects or metallic pearl into the cording.
Here I’ll show you how to make a 2-colored cord, similar to the one I used to trim the edges of the Fall Flower Vase project featured as a freebie last week.
1. Cut two lengths of embroidery thread 1-1/2 times longer than the finished length of trim you will need. In this example, one length of thread is yellow and the other is green. Tie the ends of the thread together in a tight knot.
2. Tie one end of the doubled thread to a doordknob (or tape it to the surface of a table), and tie the other end to a pencil or dowel. I’ve tied the end of the yellow thread to the doorknob and the green thread to a pencil in this example.
3. Next, start twisting the pencil to create tension in the thread.
4. When the thread starts to double-back onto itself, you’ve twisted enough to make the cording.
5. While holding the pencil (don’t let it un-twist), grab the knot where the two colors of thread meet, and let the thread twist back onto itself.
6. Knot the thread at the opposite end to prevent the cord from untwisting itself.
That’s all there is to it! Your custom cording is now ready to use.
TIP: To make a single-colored cord, cut a length 3 times the length needed and fold the cording at the center to double it back on itself.
DMC has posted several awesome new stitch videos that are sure to inspire you to try a new technique, or learn a new embroidery stitch!
Decorative surface stitchesincluding French Knots, Stem Stitch, Chain Stitch, Straight Stitch and Blanket Stitch to add detail and dimension to this colorful undersea scene.
Want to make the Octopus Project too? Click on the photo to get the pdf pattern.
I love how different lengths of punch needle loops are used to add texture and personality to the owl. You can get the pattern for the owl here.
The yummy frosted Cupcake is a perfect first-time project for Half Cross Stitch. It’s fun to stitch, and is 100% calorie-free!
The “How to the Work with DMC Color Infusions Memory Thread” video will show you how to use couching to attach this wonderful, fiber-wrapped wire thread to the surface of your projects.
Or, watch the “Discover More Techniques with Memory Thread” to learn how to make even more creative embellishments and beautiful details using DMC’s Color Infusions Memory Thread.
Now that’s my idea of entertainment!