NEW PATTERNS - A Pair of Peeps and More Forest Friends!

Classic baby chick cuteness. 

So. I went to the grocery store last week to grab a few things. Among the items on my list was a packet of classic yellow marshmallow Peeps - the kind of Peeps that I put in my children's Easter baskets every year. Little baby chicks - bright yellow, standing upright next to each other in their cardboard and cellophane package. There were four in a pack and they were made of sticky sugar-coated marshmallow. You remember. If you took them out of the packet, all the grass stuck to them. My kids actually never liked Peeps but it just wasn't Easter unless they were there.

Much to my dismay and disappointment, there weren't any; I wanted them in my photograph. Where did the classic Peeps go? Did I miss something along the way as my children grew older and the Easter Bunny stopped coming? I mean, there were Peeps on the shelves. But they were sitting in their cubbied cellophane packaging, not standing next to each other. And they were pink or blue, not yellow. Who wants a pink baby chick?

Alas. I'll just have to launch this Peeps Pattern Duo without them. Available now in my SHOP as a stuffie/ornament combo. What fun!

My newest collection of woodland ornament patterns has also arrived!

A wise little owl.

Shy and swift, a white-tailed deer.

And the simply adorable, cute-as-a-button hedgehog.

These new forest friends join forces with the mighty Maine moose to complete a four-pack pattern bundle. Each pattern is also available individually.

Woodland whimsy or Peeps delight - visit my SHOP to spring into stitching!


How to Make a French Knot

A French knot is a scary little embroidery stitch that, when mastered, is more fun than milk and cookies. It creates a lovely, tactile, three-dimensional nub on the surface of your felt. French knots are great for making tiny eyes, bunny bumps and textured woolies on sheep ornaments. 

Here's how you make one

I'm going to use bright orange Perle cotton on white felt and a larger-than-normal size needle in order to best illustrate the steps involved. French knots can be made with any number of strands of embroidery floss and any where from one to three wraps around your needle. The fewer the strands and wraps, the smaller your knot will be. More strands with more wraps will produce a larger, nubblier knot. Most of the time, I use two strands of floss and one wrap in my work. 

Step 1
Do not fear!

Step 2
Thread your needle with embroidery floss and tie a knot at one end; this is your "strand knot." On the BACK side of your work, begin about 1/2" away from the point where you want your French knot to be and feed your needle through a skim of felt toward the French knot location. Make sure you cannot see this "skim feed" on the front side of your work. The blue asterisk will be my French knot location.

French 1

Step 3
Pull your needle all the way through so your strand knot lies against the felt out of the way. Then, insert your needle on the back side of your work right where you want your French knot to be. 

And here it is, pulled all the way through to the front side of my work. I've removed the blue asterisk because by now you know where the French knot is going :)

Step 4
Now, lay your needle sideways and wrap the floss that has just emerged around (as in over and under) the needle near the point. For now, we're just going to do one wrap.

Step 5
This is where it can get tricky if you've never made one of these little suckers. Stand your needle up and point it downward right next to where you came up from the back. Keep the loop of floss wrapped around your needle as you do this. You can literally slide your needle point across the felt to keep the "knot" from slipping off of the point if you need to. You can see below that I have positioned my needle point as close to the floss that came up from the back as is possible without re-entering the same hole. As you do this, maintain tension on your strand of floss at the pink "X" as this will keep your knot snug around your needle while you try to keep it from slipping off the tip.

You're doing great! 

Step 6
Send your needle to the back side of your work. Reach around and pull it all the way through until your French knot is snug against the front of your work. You will need to maintain tension on your floss at the "X" as you pull - enough to keep the knot from loosening while its being secured. You will develop how best to maintain this tension with practice.

Getting there . . .

And Voila!

Step 7
Contrary to what you might think, this knot still needs to be "knotted." If you were to just snip your thread on the back, the knot would fall off the front. So, turn your work to the back. Make sure your French knot is snug on the front and make a finish knot into a small "bite" of felt. Make sure you don't bite all the way to the front of your work. Then skim-feed through a bit of felt away from this finish knot and snip your thread. Now you are finished. Yay!!!

Parlez-vous Francais, encore?

Hope you had fun!

Where've you been?

It's Christmas Eve.
Tomorrow I am headed to Brooklin, Maine, to spend the day with my daughter and her family. Brooklin is a tiny hamlet (population 824) on the Blue Hill Peninsula in Downeast Maine. It's the middle of nowhere. Gorgeous nowhere. We will exchange gifts and dine on pan-seared scallops and stuffed mushrooms filled with bacon and blue cheese. When evening falls, we will build a fire on the beach and watch the water lap the rocky shore. Maine Christmas :)

Before I go I wanted share some of what I've been up to for the past ten weeks.
The last post I published was on October 10 - a free Halloween pattern. Oh my. Where have I been? In my studio :)

I re-sized my polar bear pattern to accommodate a driftwood sleigh my daughter custom made for my gallery show at Archipelago in Rockland. Of course it then needed a jolly little driver! (photo above)

I've sewn lots of ornaments for shops and craft fairs and online orders:

Many of them I personalized for customers - like this one for River:

I made angel dolls with crazy hair and mittens:

I designed and created a large, one-of-a-kind wool felt soft sculpture as part of my installation at Archipelago's winter gallery show. The sleigh was quite the challenge (as it needed to support Santa and his toy bag on the runners) and is made from double-layered 3mm wool felt. My "reindeer" bears are a series of graduated sizes from my polar bear pattern. Modified, they are adorned with stitching and custom blankets. Santa, himself, is an adaptation of my santa doll pattern. He is poseable and rides comfortably in the sleigh. A giant toy sack and "BELIEVE" banner complete the back. Unfortunately I never took quality photos of this work - I figured I'd stop in the gallery one day and take them. But . . . it sold on the first day!!!!! Here is all I have - just to give you an idea. It measures 38" left to right!

Ho! Ho! Ho! Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!

Craft Fair Planning - K.I.S.S.

Craft Fair Planning - K.I.S.S.

I love participating in craft fairs. Despite the work involved - prepare, pack, travel, set up and break down, I find them truly rewarding. They provide an opportunity to get out of my studio, meet my customers face-to-face, network with other vendors, showcase my creative work and garner valuable feedback. I'm a "people person" and enjoy the art of selling. Craft fairs are fun! Until something goes terribly wrong. 

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