Hello and welcome to a slightly Behind-the-Times Festive Ta-dah! It seems a little bit strange writing about this now that Christmas is over and all packed away, but I'm still really excited to share it with you. This has been such a fun project, I've had a wonderful time working on it across the days and weeks surrounding Christmas.
If you ever fancy creating a bit of wordy decorative bunting, I can definitely recommend this pennant shape. Originally I had squares in mind, but as I was making the first one I suddenly felt it absolutely needed to go pointy. It was all a happy accident really, and I love how it turned out. Now I did contemplate writing a tutorial for making these pennants, but really it's a super-easy pattern and I don't think a tutorial is needed. I'm simply going to write the pattern out at the end of this post, so I hope this will be OK even for any newbie hookers out there who want to give it a go.
If you remember, I was hooking these pennants at the same time as the Jolly Holly and they seemed as if they were meant to go together. I used Anchor soft embroidery thread in various shades of green to make the holly (on a 3mm hook), and Rico Creative Cotton to make the bunting (on a 4.5mm hook).
The Rico cotton is a super yarn to use for this sort of thing. The colours are soooooooo vivid and jolly and happy. I used this yarn a year or so ago to make Christmas Decorations, and somehow although they're not traditional Christmas colours, they've sort of become my own personal creative Christmas colours.
Ok. Lets get down to some nitty gritty technical stuff shall we? I've often been asked about how I made the numbers on my Advent Garland, so I thought now would be a good time to talk about the business of putting fabric text on top of crochet things. I have to warn you that my method is a bit cak-handed and low tech as I don't have a printer and I don't have the required know-how to make text flip itself over. But I can explain the basic principles.
First you need to choose a suitable font, preferably one that's not too skinny. For my Festive Bunting I chose "Cooper Black" which is nice and fat when written in capital letters. Use a word processor or desk top publishing thingy to get your letters onto your computer screen in actual real size. Ideally you would then print these off, but as I am printerless I simply hold a piece of paper up to my laptop screen and very lightly trace the letters off with a pencil.
You now need to make the letters flip over and appear backwards. This is my low-tech method :: turn the paper over, hold it up against a window to allow the light to shine through and trace out the outline of the letters in black pen. See, I get there in the end.
Now I employ the magical powers of Bondaweb (a double-sided iron-on adhesive used for bonding fabrics together). Oh boy, do I LOVE this stuff, it really is a marvel. In the olden days when I was a professional textile person, I used oodles of Bondaweb to create my intricate appliqué pieces.
Anyways, what you need to do is to place the bondaweb over your backward drawn letters (paper side uppermost) and trace them off. Cut roughly round a letter and place it onto the felt with the paper side uppermost. Iron (under a cloth) to make it stick. Now cut around the letter.
Peel off the bondaweb paper. Place your felt letter onto your crochet (shiny glue side facing down), cover with a cloth and iron to stick. Tis like magic I tell you.
Now if your letters are bonded securely in place there isn't really any need to sew them as well. But I do enjoy some stitchy stuff on occasion, and I love the look of a neat white running stitch.
So. We have colourful crochet pennants. And we have colourful stitchy felt letters. But this is Festive Bunting and it therefore needs a little more embellishment. I choose buttons and bells. I adore these teeny tiny little coloured metal bells, I bought them from a local craft shop a few years ago but I think they are easy enough to find on the internet. Just google "small coloured bells".
Ahhhhhh that's better! Looking good!!!
I made thirteen pennants in total.
Thirteen colourful concoctions of yarn, felt, thread, buttons and bells. Now I come to think about it, this was quite a labour intensive project. But as I worked it over a good many weeks, a little bit here, a little bit there, it never felt tedious. I simply loved the whole process. And I knew that as this was likely to be something that would grace our christmas mantel for many, many years to come, the effort was worth it.
When I thought about this bunting in my mind, I imagined I would put holly leaves in between each pennant. But when I came to lay it all out it looked too busy and overloaded with so much holly. So I simplified the idea and added holly leaves to the blank pennants that start and end the words.
I did three rows of double crochet (sc for those in the US) to make the band that joins the pennants together. I worked each row in back loops only, from right to left (no turning, right side always facing). A little nod to traditional festive colouring :: green, red, green.
I didn't end up making any chain spaces between the pennants either as they seemed to sit nicely without. So the first joining row of dc simply goes straight from one pennant to the next.
Ahhhh now we come to the words.
What debate we had over them! I was offered a great many opinions and suggestions by all and sundry, and I changed my mind a gazillion times over. Just when I thought I had settled on the right thing, something or someone would force me to rethink. In the end I listened to friends who suggested I go with Little Man's choice, and yes, it's spot on. It was worth it to see the sweet look of pride on his face as he watched me draw, cut and stitch his words.
So we have JOY.
What other word did he choose?
He chose FUN.
FUN AND JOY.
Very sweet and very childishly, beautifully appropriate for our house.
It was a really Good Moment when I laid the finished article out on the floor and stood over it to take a look. I even had the right socks on for the job.
But it was when the bunting was finally hung in place on the mantel that my heart really jumped.
Want to see??
Isn't it fun? Joyful? Full of festive spirit?
Yes, all of those things, and more besides.
I'm so happy with how the Jolly Festive Bunting turned out. I love it. I know this string of colourful words is going to bring me oodles of happiness and sweet memories year after year after year. Fun and Joy. Absolutely.
Ahhhhh happy sigh. I do love a good, satisfying ta-dah moment.
Right then...what I'm going to do now is write out the pattern for the pennants. It's pretty straight forward.
To begin, chain 17, and beginning in 2nd stitch from hook work a row of double crochet (sc for those of you in US). You should have 16 stitches in your row. Chain 1 and turn.
Work 11 more identical rows of dc, back and forth, making 12 rows in total.
Now begin your decreasing....You'll be making a "dc decrease" at the beginning and end of each subsequent row. In words, this is how you do a dc decrease ::
Hook in stitch, yarn over, pull hook back through (2 stitches on hook). Insert hook through next stitch, yarn over, pull hook back through (3 stitches on hook). Now yarn over and pull through ALL THREE STITCHES. This effectively turns two stitches into one, ie a decrease.
So for example, in row 13, you work dc decrease, 12 dc, dc decrease. This will leave you with 14 stitches.
Row 14 will be dc decrease, 10 dc, dc decrease (12 stitches).
Do this decreasing at beginning and end of each row until you have just 2 stitches left, then dc decrease those remaining 2 stitches into 1 stitch before fastening off.
For the little contrasting dc border that runs around the edge, begin at the right hand side of the top flat edge. This is the foundation chain remember, so you'll be working into the single loops that make up that chain. Draw a loop through, chain 1, then dc into each of the loops along. When you get to the first corner, work 2dc into that last loop. Now work evenly spaced dc's down the side edge, working out of the spaces between the rows. Work 2dc as you turn the corner, then continue working evenly spaced dc's down towards the pointy end. Right in the end work 3dc, then carry on making dc's up the other side. Remember to work 2dc at the point where you bend round the corner. Lastly make 1dc back in the very first stitch and sl st to join.
If you're using a natural yarn, it's a good idea to give your pennant a light steam press when it's done (under a cloth on wrong side), just to flatten it out and improve the shape. The Rico cotton responds beautifully to this treatment, it makes a huge difference and gives a very similar result to blocking.
I think that's it. Brain is a little fuzzy today so I hope what I've written makes sense.
Thank you as ever for being here to indulge me in my little creative Happy Dance, I really appreciate your company. Right I'm off to drink tea and eat cake now, I think I deserve it!
Edit to add :: thank you so much for all your lovely comments! I had meant to say that this bunting is very versatile, and I had already planned to make some Birthday bunting (we have January, Febuary, April, August and October Birthday months here at number 24). I also thought it would be cute to make one that said WELCOME with ❀'s instead of buttons/bells to hang in the hallway. Oh, and SWEET DREAMS to hang above the bed, with little ♥ buttons. And yes, names for childrens bedrooms or baby gifts would be ace too. Soooo many possibilities! xxx