Earlier this week I decided to work on the felted wool Christmas wreath that has been bouncing around in my head since last Christmas. My only rule was that I must try to use supplies that were already in my stash. I selected some remnants of upholstery fabric that I purchased about five years ago in Black Duck, MN, “way up north”, as they say. Then I disassembled a wreath made at the SAFF gathering in October. It was made from tufts of wool fibers which were tied around a metal ring. It was cute, but I wanted to re-purpose the wool to create this wreath. I set up my felting machine. It looks like sewing machine, but the needle doesn’t use thread or a bobbin, and the needle assembly has 5 to 10 barbed hooks, similar to fishing hook tips. The needle assembly has a plastic box around it to protect the needles from mashing a finger – very important protection.
Once I had the wool fibers felted into the fabric sufficiently, I cut several free hand leaves in the shape of magnolia leaves. These are about 4 inches wide and 7 inches long. I found, in my stash, some yarn which consisted of 3 strands – one a variegated beige, the other a glittery gold, and the third a gray/purple. I twisted and couched these using the double buttonhole stitch found on my Janome 6600 sewing machine. Then I added gold beads at the tip. The lower part of the leaf will be covered with other leaf layers, so I made most of the embellishments on the upper 1/3 of the leaf.
Rules are made to be broken, right? I needed either a foam or a straw wreath for a base, and I did not have one of those in my stash… off to the store. I decided on a straw wreath and left the plastic wrap on it because when you take it off, it immediately starts to flake and make a mess. It won’t show anyway. I did have the purple ribbon which I am auditioning here as a possible base decoration. We’ll see.
Well, I ran out of gold beads, and I didn’t wanted to keep my rule about using my stash, so I finished the remaining leaves with a variegated grouping of beads that add some additional hues.
This is the shape of the second layer of leaves. Using purple quilting thread and the buttonhole stitch, I outlined and secured the edges. Then I used a glittery copper thread to stitch veins and an outline. Coppery glass beads along with some amber glass beads were added for emphasis to catch the light.
Here is an audition of the first two layers. Now I need to needle felt the third layer of leaves and embellish them. Once the last layer of leaves is completed, I will begin to assemble the wreath. I do not want to use glue, so I think I will hand stitch all the layers to the wreath. It probably will not be completed until after Christmas…. but it is my Christmas project, so that is OK.
Our small family of four will take time off for a short escape and some travel over Christmas weekend, so I’ll probably finish it for New Year’s 2011-2012. More photos will follow as the work continues. Thanks for coming along on my felted wreath journey. I hope you will make Christmas meaningful in your own way. And…. Merry Christmas! Fa – la – la – la!