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Patterns Re-worked: Yarn Sewing & Wool Applique

Welcome back to Patterns Re-worked! Previously Rebekah & I have covered transforming patterns using punch needle with floss, punch needle with yarn, and yarn sewing. But we are not done yet! More techniques are coming your way, but many of you were intrigued by the yarn sewing, so for this post, I used two wool techniques. Combining wool appliqué and yarn sewing was a fun endeavor, and it is not as hard as you think! Today I am going to give you some tips for combining these two techniques, and for yarn sewing in general, using two different patterns as examples. The Table Bouquet Runner was inspiration for the little purse, and the Cozy Heart Coasters pattern is the base for the little hanging heart.



Let's start with supplies! I used hand-dyed wool (by Rebekah, of course) for all of the wool appliqué parts. You can find the background fabric and needle types in our book, Exploring Folk Art with Wool Appliqué Folk Art.

Cozy Heart: I used the wool requirement as listed for one of the colors. For the yarn, I chose a heavy tan hand-dyed wool yarn from Prairie Moon Primitives and a thinner antique red Appleton Tapestry Yarn. I like using different thicknesses to add some variation to the look.

Table Bouquet Runner: I followed the wool requirements for the inner hearts and the leaves, I just chose different colors. For the yarn sewing part, I used a blue and a brown hand-dyed wool yarn from Prairie Moon Primitives. I used wool for the back of the bag, and added some rickrack at the top along with a wide twill ribbon for the strap.

Tip: When choosing yarn for yarn sewing, you can get something that is too thick. Make sure you can thread a large tapestry needle with it, and it should stitch through the monk's cloth. Also think about your design. If you need to fill in a large area, I highly recommend something with a variegated color to it, so that it does not look flat next to any hand-dyed wool. Local yarn shops are a great place to look for wool for yarn sewing! You can also use tapestry weight wool thread for smaller areas or a finer look.



Cozy Heart: Begin by making the freezer paper pattern of the heart border and the small heart. Cut out the heart border in wool, and stitch it to your monk's cloth (as you would a cotton used for reverse appliqué, leaving some sticking out from under the appliqué border, see photo). Use the small heart to trace an outline in the center. Then begin yarn sewing. I started with the antique red heart in the middle. Next I sewed along the wool

applique part to make a nice border with the tan, and moved in from there. Finish by steam-pressing it from the back, then trimming the monk's cloth so it sits under the wool heart. Sometimes the cloth pulls a little bit (you can see it in the in-process photo), but once you trim it and iron it, the heart will lay flat. Cut out a felt backing as explained in the original instructions, and stitch around the outside. Then you can add any trimmings you like to finish it off!

Tip: When you sew along your appliqué, try not to come up underneath the appliqué, but as close to it as possible.


Table Bouquet: Begin by cutting out the freezer paper patterns you need and cutting out the wool pieces. Cut a piece of monk's cloth or rug hooking linen with 2" border around the size you want your piece to be. I wanted my piece to be a 9" square, so I cut a piece 11" x 11". Draw your actual-size border, then lay out your wool pieces. I actually cut out the flower background as a freezer paper pattern and traced it to help place the hearts in the center.

Pin your wool pieces down and stitch them down. Make sure to embellish them (you can do that in this step or do it at the end, it does not make a big difference.)

I began yarn sewing with the blue border around the flower. I used the lines I drew as a guide, but did not stick to those lines completely. When you are yarn sewing, you are going for fairly even stitches. When I stitched down my wool pieces, they shifted a little, so I adjusted my stitches around them.

For the background, I wanted a nice, even look. So I did two rows of brown around the flower, holding to that flower shape (see photo below). To give it a nice finish, I did a straight row around the outside, adjusting the square to fit with my stitch size so that it met the tops of the flower stitches perfectly (again, see the photo below). I went a little over 9" x 9" because of that, but I liked how it looked. Then I finished by filling in the corners and around the leaves.

Tip: When you yarn sew, try not to pull too tight. Your stitches end up having a sort of domed look. The fabric will inevitably buckle a little bit, but once you steam press it, it flattens out pretty nicely.

Hopefully this inspires you to try a new technique with a favorite old pattern (or new!). You can purchase both of these patterns at Happy stitching!


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