Sunday, December 26, 2010

A Christmas Tassel

I know that there are times when I see something
special and I need to buy two or more of whatever it is. Why?

Because.....I may not be able to find it again.

I only bought one of these Nativity ornaments at Hobby LobbyIt was half-price....$2.50
As expected.....there were no more! 
Never buy just one!!!

I had seen and actually purchased what I call a
"Froo-Froo Fussy Tassel." 
Of course thinking that I would eventually  attempt  to make one

Now for the story behind my making
Christmas Tassels......

My sister Sue is the Master of Christmas CreationsShe creates some of the most beautiful wreaths and such that I never wanted to bring anything to her Open House Sale that might compete. So this year... at the last minute....of course...I thought that I could make some Christmas tassels. .

It seemed possible since they were made from ribbon. 
Of course....I have ribbon! 


An absolutely beautiful, soft, flowing piece of tactile therapy! 

It is a collection...not necessarily to be handed down...but a collection never the less.   I have ribbon that it would break my heart to cut.  Seriously...... 
If you are a sewista, sewer, seamstess or just a crafter, you probably buy ribbon....well, because it's


Ribbon Tassel Instructions

You will need:
 -An Ornament with firmly attached hanging hook/loop-
-Four or five different ribbons in graduated widths-
-Eyelash yarn-

So with my stash of ribbon, I began this experiment.  Keep in mind that for the most part, I don't like "exact" measurements when crafting and more often than not use the "TLAR" method.......
"That Looks About Right"

You will start layering ribbon starting with your longest ribbon loops first, working "up" the tassel.  Cut 6 to 8 lengths of each ribbon for the layered loops.  A "ringer" is added in the center using a bead or jingle bell as a weight.  I found small ribbon garland at Big Lots that worked for this...just removed extra beads from a 10 to 12 inch lengh of ribbon garland.  This nativity tassel was the smallest one that I made with the longest ribbon being cut 12 to 14 inches.  The second ribbon was cut 10 to 12 inches and the third 6 to 8 inches.  The last row of ribbon which is a focal point of the tassel, cut to a length that works in relation to the ornament that will finish the tassel.  The finishing touch to the tassel will be the eyelash yarn glues around the base of the ornament.  Use 3 to 4 strands of eyelash (also sometimes called "fun fur")yarn together, crochet a chain stitch approximately 6 to 8 inches, depending on the size of the ornament base.  Fluff the yarn to release all the lashes/furry strands.

Each different "layer" of ribbon were gathered using a zig-zag stitch over DMC pearl cotton thread.  Zig-zag the raw/cut edges in groups by length.  I did not used a wooden core, such as empty wooden spool of thread ....which would have worked better to be honest.   I gathered each row of ribbon and using hot glue, glued them together...working up the tassel.  To help hold the tassel while working, I used a gallon starch jug covered with aluminum foil to prevent the hot glue from sticking.  The weight of the starch in the jug helped it from tipping over.  Make sure the last layer of ribbon is level and flat so when the ornament is attached, the tassel will hand straight and level. 

This was a quick guide....if you need more information, please let me know.

Merry Christmas and may your home be blessed with love and happiness in the coming year.

Happy Smocking....and other stuff!



Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Christmas is for Sharing.....Santa Design and Graphs

This is a design that I did years ago. Years ago when I was publishing designs....when time seemed to be more plentiful.... when just getting that sudden creative energy was enough to make me want to spend hours stitching.

The original design was done for The Smocking Arts Magazine in 1986. I did a variation of this design for Austin when he was three years old. At times I feel that I'm in a time machine.....where have the years gone?

Austin's romper is smocked on Spechler-Vogel Imperial broadcloth insert, Children's Corner "Jeffrey" romper and Spechler-Vogel featherwale corduroy plaid. Santa also has blue pants.
This Santa is one that is much easier to smock that you might expect.
The body is symmetrical which requires less counting and positioning of stitches.
Basic Instructions
The design is worked over 12 rows. Pleat 14 rows. Begin border with a 2-step, half-space trellis beginning on row 2, working between rows 1 and 2; and row 11, working between rows 11 and 12. Use 3 or 4 strands of embroidery floss. Use the number of strands that will create a stacked figure with 5 rows of smocked cables beginning on one gathering row and ending on the next gathering row. See graphs. Arrows indicate stitching direction of smocked rows. Turn work as arrows change direction. Numbers on cable rows indicate consecutive stitches in the same floss color. Read graph colors from left to right. Red arrow-lines indicate where to end stitch (tie-off) sequence. Restart/continue smocking as indicated on graph. Note on graphs where satin stitch bars are worked over 1 or 2 pleats. Red dashed lines indicate backsmocking across back of work when moving over three or more pleats. When picture smocking, you must backsmock every row for support of characters except for front border design rows. These instructions are abbreviated, without cable-by-cable written text, in the hopes that this design with larger, more detailed color graphs will be sufficient to create this design.
Eyes for all figures are French knots wrapped 5 times in black/brown. Santa's mouth is a French knot wrapped 5 times in pink floss. Santa's belt buckle is a lazy daisy stitch in gold/yellow floss. Rabbit ears are lazy daisy stitches with pink straight stitch fill. "Snow" is randomly placed satin stitches over 2 pleats.
Santa is worked across 38 pleats.
Click graphs to enlarge.


This reindeer is smocked across 25 pleats. In the variation that I did for Austin's romper, I smocked this reindeer in reverse on the right side of the smocked insert.


The third character is a little rabbit that is smocked across 18 pleats.

Time seems to slip away and my productivity seems to be lacking at times....which is so frustrating. However, I always have a design just waiting for it's turn at my work table. I KNOW that Rapunzil will get done...right after the "new" Cinderella.
I would very much appreciate any feedback....please....regarding how much you like or dislike these new graphs. Also, I would be interested to know how many smockers prefer the cable-by-cable text. In trying to create new designs, with the limitations of a single page, I wonder if larger more detailed graphs would be favored or text.
Merry Christmas