Yesterday, I decided the time was right to begin working on an idea that has been gently bubbling away inside my Creative Mind for a few weeks now. As with many of my creative endeavours, I had already visualised the design and could see it very clearly in my mind. So clearly in fact, that all I needed to do was assemble some colourful oddments of merino yarn and get busy hooking.
Oooo look, I made an owl, hoot-hoot! This happy little chappy kind of hatched in front of my eyes and positively flew off my hook, he did not hang about (I think he really needed to get a life outside of the mess in my Creative Mind). Now before you ask, I have to confess that I didn't even touch a pen whilst making this owl (there wasn't time, he needed to fly!) and so there is no pattern here to share. However, there is a very large parliament of owl patterns which exist in cyberspace, loads and loads and loads of them. All you have to do is go to Google images and type in "crochet applique owl" and you will see what I mean. They are quite easy shapes to interpret in crochet, have a look at Jacquie's fantastic tutorial if you fancy making yourself a cutesome, wide-eyed little owl.
Part of my idea was to give my owl his very own Christmas stocking. I drew out the basic stocking shape to use as a template, creating dinky little rows of colourful dc stripes to fit the shape on the paper.....
....the stocking came out a little bit thin and wobbly, but it does at least look like a sock type thing. I used my Jolly Holly pattern from three years ago to make some festive greenery, with some teeny little red berries (red yarn on a 3mm hook, chain 2, then 6 dc into 2nd ch from hook, sl st into 1st ch and fasten off).
The hardest thing of all was making the branch, I didn't just want it to be a plain brown shape, so I used three different browns to make stripes. It was fiddly changing colour so many times, and decreasing to make the pointy twigs at the end was tricky. Although not my best or neatest work, I think it turned out OK.
This morning at the studio, I started the glorious job of bringing the whole thing together. I used a sheet of blue felt for the background (a bit smaller than A4 size) and made a little string of felt bunting to hang along the top. I simply glued the small felt triangles in place, then made a line of stitching along the top using white yarn.
The rest of the crochet shapes (owl, stocking, holly leaves and berries) were stitched in place using sewing thread.
I absolutely love stitching, it is such a slow and gentle thing to be doing on a sunshiny morning with the radio playing and a cup of coffee to hand.
Pretty soon, everything was stitched in place. The owl had his feet sewn and his eyes popped in. The branch had grown it's leaves and berries and the stocking was tied with a small bow.
I was actually quite desperate to do more embroidery at this point (I was itching to stitch), but truthfully I couldn't think of anything to stitch! So I decided to leave it be and keep it simple, adding just one more little detail.....
.....a teeny-tiny, itsy-bitsy little smattering of bling......
.....awwww!! The tiniest silver stars you ever did see! These stars are literally a couple of millimetres across and came in a very tiny tube as part of a Christmas glitter set. I simply sprinkled them onto the felt, no glue or anything as they only needed to be temporary for photographic purposes.
The stars really pleased me, they added just the right finishing touch. Luckily, the light today in my studio was fantastic and the sun was streaming in through the front window. So I set up my hooky picture and took a gazillion photos, just to be sure that I would end up with exactly the right sort of image.....
.....to make into a Christmas card. Ta-dah!
I'm pleased with the finished piece, I think it looks suitably homemade and not too perfect (the owl is a wee bit cross-eyed, but maybe he's just excited about his stocking).
I made my first woolly Christmas card two years ago, printing out the photographs at home and simply gluing them to folded white card. The finished Christmas cards were truly handmade in every sense of the word.
This year I've decided to splash out and have a go at using Moo.com to get some proper printed cards made. It's quite expensive to do this (they work out at just under £1 each), but oooo there is a heap load of pleasure coming my way when the cards drop through my letter box. I am SO excited to see what they look like all printed up, I'll show you when they arrive (only two days to wait!), yipppeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!