Stitching Times serves up stories, examples and tutorials about needlework related crafts, especially quilting and crochet. Almost all of the projects shown have been designed by Kay Stephenson

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

A New Ornament; A New Technique

As long time readers know, each year I design and make a new ornament to give away as a party favor for guests at our holiday party. Today I'm going to share my 2011 holiday ornament with you. But first, a word about the inspiration. Back in late October I recieved a copy of American Quilter, the bi-monthly magazine of the American Quilt Society (AQS). In it I found a section on the winners of the 2011 AQS Quilt Show in Knoxville. As I flipped through the pages, I stopped stunned at a photo of Leah Day's Winter Wonderland.  Here is a link to her website and better images of the quilt. The snowflakes are made with a technique she calls reverse shadow trapunto. I knew as soon as I saw it I had the idea for this year's ornament. You already saw a quick preview of the finished ornaments in this post.
The best part of this one is that I already had all of the materials I needed on hand - though of course I bought more of everything!
Following the technique Leah outlined in the article, I cut out a variety of snowflakes from paper (I used plain old computer printer paper). Do you remember how to do that from grade school? Well I had to re-learn how to fold the paper, and if you do too, here is a simple tutorial for you.
Once you have your snowflake shapes, cut out squares or rounds of fabric that are big enough to hold your snowflake plus a bit of border. I cut 4 1/2 inch squares of red and green dupioni silk that I had on hand. You will need two squares for each ornament. At the same time cut out two pieces of white cotton batting in the same size for each ornament. I used warm and white because it is snowy white, lightweight,  and needled which helps it hold together better. Finally cut a square the same size out of something sparkly and transparent. I had some white sparkle organdy which really added something to the finished ornament.

Using a light touch with a pen, or invisible ink, trace a snowflake pattern onto the back of one of your fabric pieces. Layer that piece with a square of batting with the design showing, and stitch around the edges of the design. As you can see, I fudged a bit on my squares since I was using up scraps I had on hand. Once you have stitched all of the edges, turn the piece batting side up and using a sharp pair of embroidery scissors, clip out the design. This is painstaking, but worth it. 
Next, layer a piece of your sheer fabric on top and another layer of batting and finally silk on the back. Now you are ready to quilt your sandwich. For the large quilt Leah used dense free motion quilting around the design to make give the snowflakes dimension. However, due to the size of my project I decided to simply outline stitch around the snowflake. 
After all of the quilting was done, I used my circle cutter to trim the edges and make a nice round ornament. Finally I inserted a bit of ribbon for a hanging loop and satin stitched all around the edge to finish. 
If I do say so myself, I couldn't be happier with how they turned out. I hope you will enjoy this free pattern and that you enjoy a Happy Handmade Holiday. 
And if you love the quilt that Leah made as much as I do, check out her online quilt shop to buy this and other patterns.

1 comment:

  1. cute ornaments and LEAH day is AWESOME!! I get inspired A LOT by her :-)