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The Witch’s Friends Autumn and Halloween Felt Wreath from ThreadED

Something a little different from me to you today… now that we have waved goodbye to Summer and said hello to Autumn this seems like the perfect time to celebrate the change of Seasons and share this absolutely darling felt wreath from ThreadED.

At approx 40cm diameter this fun door hanging is absolutely bursting with charm and features black cats, toadstools, a toad and a witch’s broomstick. There is also a witch’s hat which you can move around and place on the cats or the toad (or used as a separate decoration as I have). All of this is laid upon a generous bed of Autumn leaves in a soft and gentle colour palette which in turn is mounted on to the stuffed felt ring that is also handmade as part of this project. Phew!

The designer behind this lovely wreath (and others) is Claire Knight. Based in the UK and clearly a very talented lady, she has grown her business during the Covid Pandemic, and let’s face it we have all needed something to take our minds away from this dreadful situation over the past few months. Craft projects like this have been a source of comfort and distraction at a time when we have most craved it. Clarie’s patterns can be purchased in the form of paper patterns, PDF download patterns, or kits where you can choose between 100% wool felt or a blended wool felt.

This is not a quick project, but then you wouldn’t expect it to be, and what you have created will have been a source of pleasure to make, and potentially an heirloom piece that you can enjoy bringing out year after year. A textile wreath is a truly sustainable decoration, and whilst you can already find other designs in her Etsy shop listed above, I’m pretty sure there will be more to come in the future!

I would like to say right from the start that this kit was gifted to me from Claire in exchange for an honest blog post. As soon as I saw her designs I absolutely jumped at this lovely offer, and of course you know that you can always expect my honest opinions when I review anything that has been kindly sent to me.

I have made the wreath using the premium kit containing the 100% wool felt. The quality of this soft wool felt is very obvious right from the start and a real pleasure to work with – lovely and soft on your hands. An A5 colour instruction booklet contains written step by step instructions and colour photographs, and the full size templates are included ready for you to trace off. Top quality DMC embroidery floss, velvet hanging ribbon, roving wool, a felting and embroidery needle are just some of the contents that you will find in addition to the felt and all that you need to add yourself is the stuffing, freezer paper, and lots of tea and biscuits (optional). The kit arrives with you all beautifully packaged within a handy cotton drawstring bag – useful to keep all your bits and bobs together as you are making it, and also making it perfect for sending as a gift too!

The wreath base is where you start, and the attention to detail is apparent right from the beginning. The front and back wreath piece is sewn together with the inclusion of ricrac around the outer and inner edges, so that whilst your base ring should not be visible after decoration, if there is a little glimpse of it you will only see the pretty ricrac detail. It also means that your wreath looks cute from the back. The hanging ribbon is velvet (which feels very luxurious) and includes enough to not only to hang it, but to feature a sweet bow at the back where the ribbon attatches to the wreath. It’s also good that the wreath backing is made from felt too as you are safe in the knowledge that this will not damage or scratch your door.

Next are the cats. We have a stretching cat and a winking cat sitting on a broom. So cute, and actually contain rather a lot of different skills to make them – so lots of fun! The cats are traced and sewn around on the machine (although you can hand stitch them if you don’t have a sewing machine) and stuffed, you then have your first go at needle felting to add a fluffy pink inner ear detail. Embroidery stitches used on this include blanket stitch, running stitch, satin stitch and french knots! They’re actually quite detailed aren’t they? Instead of the black french knots to make the centre of the cat’s eyes, I used a small black bead to give it a little shiny detail. That’s the joy of handmade don’t you think – you can add or swap little details to put your own ‘stamp’ on it. Be very careful with your pattern placement on the black felt before cutting out if you are using the kit. You will need the black felt for the cats and the witch’s hat. Make sure you place your cat pieces on the felt really carefully allowing room for the hat too, otherwise you will end up digging around for extra black felt in your stash for the hat later on (like I did… whoops)

The toad is made in a very similar way. I’ve never used freezer paper before, but it’s really good, and I loved the challenge of sewing around the outside line of the shapes on the paper before carefully tearing it off. Once again place your toad carefully to make sure that you have as much leftover green felt as possible as you will use these leftovers later for leaves.

Toadstools are next and these were my favourite part of the process. Once again, every detail is considered as you have a selection of different coloured felts for the toadstool tops. Same for the stalks and frills. Light beige and brown roving wool is included for the dots on top, and the underside ‘gills’ are created with embroidery thread. I found that the perfect ‘gill width distance’ is appox 6 or 7 mm, and whilst I sewed some with lots more gill stitches, I think they look better spaced out a bit more (and also you might run out of thread if you sewed them all with the tighter stitch width). I should also say that the toadstool tops are a range of different shapes and sizes too. Nice one. The felted dots were a fun challenge on the toadstool tops, I have only tried felting once before years ago, so am not sure if the finish is exactly right, and I used an old knitting needle size guide to use as a template to give me nice round dots in various sizes. I also used some thick foam underneath when felting the dots.

The instructions continue to guide you through making the broomstick and witch’s hat until finally you reach the part where you make all the leaves. I used back stitch for the veins on the leaves, and used two strands of thread (rather than the three strands recommended in the instructions) as I wanted a ‘finer’line. Advice is given in the instructions as to how you can mark the hand stitching lines on your felt, such as the leaf veins. I actually chose to freehand draw the leaf veins on the felt with a heat erasable pens which disappear after a quick run over with the iron (after stitching). If you are going to choose this method however please do check on a scrap of felt that the lines you are drawing in will disappear leaving no damage/marking to the felt after ironing.

Just going back to the witch’s hat quickly … this is not secured to any of the characters and can be moved around to sit on any of the animals. It can also be added anywhere in the wreath as a decorative piece in it’s own right, which is just as well because guess who got a bit carried away with the glue gun and stuck all the back of the animal heads on to the wreath so well that the hat wouldn’t slip over the back of any of them. *raises hand*. Anyway, good job I like how it looks as an extra decoration and now you can see the pretty faces of all of the animals in all their glory!

The best bit is assembling the wreath once you have all your parts made up. A glue gun made this job significantly easier although they can of course be sewn on by hand. Claire recommends hanging your wreath and pinning your trimmings on first to check for balance and any leaf gaps before you start glueing/sewing them in place. Great tip.

I have really loved the whole process of making this wreath. It’s an enjoyable make that you can pick up and put down as you please. Hand sew in front of the TV, take it to work and sew some stitches in your lunch break, it’s up to you how quickly or slowly you make it. The important thing to remember is that you should enjoy the whole process. Before you start I would recommend that you take the time to read through the pattern and familiarize yourself with the kit contents so that you fully understand what’s coming up.

I would like to say a huge thank you to Claire from ThreadED for this wonderful door hanging which I shall treasure for many years to come, and also for the relaxing hours that it has given me in the whole making process. Why not jump onto your broomstick and check out Claire’s Etsy shop which is listed in the first paragraph of this post, and if you fancy giving this wreath a go why not enter the giveaway on my Instagram page where there is a chance to win a copy of the PDF pattern download! This giveaway will close at 9pm UK on Sunday 4th October 2020.

*edit – this giveaway is now closed*

Take care and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

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How to customise a top for Halloween using heat transfer vinyl

I’m very new to this whole iron-on heat transfer vinyl thing, but can totally see what all the fuss is about now that I have given it a go.

A couple of weeks ago I attended The Knitting and Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace in London. I was actually quite restrained in terms of what I bought that day I think, but something that I did treat myself to was a special show pack kit of vinyls from Happy Fabric

The kit contains 6 sheets of different vinyls (including one sheet of  pre-cut shapes), and I thought that this would be a great way to test out a new craft.

Before I started this project I had a little ‘try out’ of one of the pre-cut designs on my work apron which you can see here. As this turned out so well, I was buzzing to try something else and when Happy Fabric reached 5K followers on Instagram and launched a little Halloween/Autumn giveaway to celebrate, this seemed like the perfect opportunity (excuse -ha!) to get creative.

Whilst there is no getting away from the fact that wonderful cutting machines (such as a Cricut) will certainly make using the vinyls a great deal quicker and much more accurate, there’s no reason why you can’t go right ahead without it.

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For my sweatshirt project I needed

  • A plain sweatshirt
  • Happy Fabric vinyls
  • Free Halloween style font, downloaded and printed out in different sizes
  • craft scissors
  • bat shaped paper punch
  • craft knife and cutting mat
  • iron and baking parchment

Firstly I searched for free Halloween themed fonts. When I found a style I liked, I  downloaded it and printed out the wording that I wanted in a couple of different sizes.

After cutting out the letters, I placed them in different places on the sweatshirt to see where I liked them, and what size I wanted. I also cut out some paper bat shapes with the paper punch to see what the additional bat shapes would look like with the lettering sizes too.

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When I had decided which size lettering to go with, I cut the letters out. For this I used regular paper scissors around the edge and used a nice sharp craft knife and cutting mat to cut out the fiddly bits inside the letters. I was then left with a ‘stencil’ for each letter that I needed.

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Next I flipped the letter stencils over and traced them on the underside (the surface that will adhere to the fabric) of the vinyl. I used the HappyFlock yellow vinyl for this, as I was interested to see how this flock texture would look.

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Carefully cutting out the shapes didn’t take too long actually, and using the craft knife and cutting mat for the fiddly inside bits certainly helped too. When cutting out, make sure that you cut inside the pen lines.

Once cut out, flip the lettering over the right way around again and you are almost ready to get started. First things first though, you need to iron your sweatshirt. Pop the letters on and have a bit of a play around with their placement to make sure they’re exactly where you want them.

Once you are sure you have them where you want them, carefully place some baking parchment/greaseproof paper over the top and place the iron (with the heat setting on   two dots) over the top for about 15 seconds. Keep the iron still as moving it around might disturb your letters.

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Remove the baking parchment and wait for your design to go cold. Once cold you can peel away the shiny carrier sheet. So satisfying..

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I tried to get a close-up of the flock finish, but it was quite subtle and not sure if you can see this very well, but it’s pretty cute!

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I was bursting to try the next part, which was cutting out bat shapes using a regular paper punch, using the most FABULOUS HappyFashion vinyl in ‘multi’. It’s a sheet of rainbow striped holographic vinyl and is completely glorious. After cutting out a row of these, which gives you lots of different colours, they are applied in the same way to wherever you want them, and once again covered with the baking parchment and this time under the iron for about 10 seconds. ‘Peel to reveal’ again when cold.

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Et voila! How easy was that!

Turns out that I have more holographic bats than I needed so in order not to waste them (any excuse), I made a little bow tie collar attachment for the cat! I quickly cut out a small rectange of scrap felt from my stash and applied the bats to it in exactly the same way as above. I pinched it in the middle and wrapped a thin strip of felt around and stitched in place. A little bit of velcro attached to the back and there you have it – a little Happy Fabric collar attachment. Pretty cute. Don’t worry I didn’t leave it on for very long.

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Take care, and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x