Tuesday, February 25, 2014


First of all, I apologize for some of these pictures.  It is actually too cold here in Ohio to take pictures outside.  February 25.  It's about 15 degrees.  Fine when you're bundled up and taking the dogs.  Not so fine for photography.

I like wreaths all year long.  From my kitchen window I can see my front door and the little porch attached to our barn.  I hang a wreath there all the time.  In the fall it's a pinecone wreath made many years ago.  I cursed Martha Stewart for days as my hands bled from the sharp edges on the pine cones and my nails shredded from the wire.  But, 18 years later, the wreath is still together.  Darn her.

Here is my most recent creation:
 This one is made entirely from cast-off ribbings of recycled sweaters.  I've been working with old sweaters for more than 10 years and, most of the time, I can't use the ribbings.  So, I've been cutting them off and saving them in a big bin, not knowing what I would do with them.

I've seen versions of these online and thought I'd give it a try.  I sorted the ribbings by color and then picked out the pieces that would be long enough to wrap all the way around.  They are only pinned to the wreath form in the back.  It probably took me only about 10 minutes to cover the form.  I was planning on cutting all the ribbings into fringe after I finished but I really like the coziness of this look.  It's as if the wreath form is wearing a sweater.

For the top embellishment, I made a pom pom out of some leftover ivory yarn and some crazy flowers out of wider, ivory ribbing.  You'll see below that I kind of went nuts on the ivory theme on a different wreath.  This one just needed a touch.

Now this next wreath hung above one of my mantels during the holidays.  I was inspired by the "Anthropologie wreath" that found its way onto plenty of Pinterest boards last fall.  That wreath was solid large pom poms.  Too unidimensional for me.

Now THIS is more my style.  Elements:

  • Pom poms in 2 sizes
  • "Posy" flowers made from wide ribbing folded in half, rolled and sewn, and cut into ribbons
  • Spiky flowers made from ribbing rolled and cut
  • Rosettes made from a square of flat sweater cut in a spiral, rolled, and sewn
  • Vintage rhinestone brooches
  • Cheap craft bells from Jo-Anns

This wreath has evolved.  At the holidays, it wasn't quite as lush but I didn't have time to add to it during the rush.  So, this past weekend I sat down with my yarn stash and my pompom makers and went to work.  On many of the pompoms I incorporated some metallic silver yarn or accent yarn or even just string.  I wanted the sparkle in there.

The top is wrapped with velvet ribbon in a green I adore.  I think the wreath is peaceful and dramatic all at the same time.  The tone-on-tone unifies it and the metallic accents and brooches give it sparkle.  My plan next year is to hang it again in the same spot but then do the mantle with all white trees. I already have 2 felt trees and 4 awesome trees made from birch bark.  I got them for 75% off from Wisteria a few years ago.  This year I found some wire trees on an after Christmas sale that are kind of ivory with a pale gold finish.  Perfect.  I also am planning to make trees with ivory ribbing pieces attached to simple styrofoam cones and then cut into fringe.  These are all over the web also.  And, finally, I saw a great tutorial for making faux feather trees out of white wool.  Doesn't THAT sound like something I would have in my house!  Can't wait to try that out.  I'll have enough trees for a forest!

 Okay.  Final wreath of the day.  This is my spring wreath.  I have a tiny (BIG) obsession with black and white patterned weaves.  Houndstooth, checks, plaids, windowpane, etc.  Anytime I find some in a thrift store in the skirt aisle, I grab them.  Cannot help myself.  So, I had an entire bin of this stuff, some of which was in pretty narrow pieces.  So, I tore them into about 1.5 inch strips and cut them to size.  I will say I shorted myself and could barely tie the knots but I made do.  I alternated the knots outside and in so there wouldn't be too much bulk along the outside.  Wool is pretty thick.  I used up a ton of fabric on this one and I love being able to see all my patterns at the same time.
The embellishment is my version of a wool forsythia flower.  I cut little ovals out of a cheery yellow wool and then wired them together with green wire.  As I added the wire, I put a little leaf of green wool at the base, leaving about 3 inches of wire at the end.  I made LOTS of the little blossoms.  Then I took a skewer and wrapped that with an olive green wool, adding blossoms in a random way.  Easily done by putting that extra bit of wire along the skewer and then wrapping with the green wool.  I think they're adorable and realistic enough to be recognized!

 I hope all this has given you some inspiration at the end of a cold winter.  I never dread January and February.  They are very cold months in Northeast Ohio, but having all my inside crafts makes for lots of creative ventures.