In my part of the world we say you are a fool if your passion for a pursuit overcomes all practical sense. I am a stitching fool, and I stitch foolishness.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Pride goeth before a fall

Last week I was busily stitching ornaments for an EGA program tonight, and somewhere along the way I said I was reasonably competent in putting ornaments together.

Apparently I am not. Reasonably competent in putting ornaments together,  that is.

One of the ornaments was a little Christmas tree, which was going to be the crowning glory since it was going to be a shaped ornament instead of a simple square or circle.

Here's what you're supposed to do to put together a shaped ornament, if you're reasonably competent.

To make your template,  put the finished ornament on the copy machine and copy it,  or if your printer has a scanner, scan it.

Carefully draw the finished size of the ornament around the copy.

Carefully measure out 5/8 - 3/4" out from the finished size and draw another line. This will be your seam allowance.

Iron iron-on interfacing to the back of the ornament if the fabric is liable to fray, which linen is prone to do. Do the same to the backing fabric if it, too, is likely to fray.

Cut out the ornament and the backing fabric according to the pattern with the seam allowance.

Now you can trim away the seam allowance on your pattern and cut out the stiffener and batting, if you're going to pad the ornament, according to the finished size of the ornament. I cut two, so the back piece is padded, too.

You can get an acid-free glue stick now, and I use that to lightly glue the batting to the stiffener. I use comic paper boards (they're the sort of cardboard stuff that comic book collectors use to stiffen the bags they carefully and lovingly store their comic books in. It, too, is acid-free. You can get a big, ginormous  package at almost every comic book store, enough to last most of a lifetime.)

Now, fold the fabric around the padded stiffener. Since you've ironed interfacing on the back, you can clip corners and the linen won't fray. You can hold the folded edges down either by stitching or by putting a tiny spot from the glue stick on the back. Do the same for the backing piece.

Once everything is folded and straight and to your satisfaction, place the wrong sides of the ornament covered board and the backing fabric covered board together and slip stitch the two together.

Since I firmly believe that twisted cording covers a multitude of sins, I sew that around the edge of the assembled ornament, making the cord long enough to enable me to make a hanger at the top and a little extra at the bottom so I can dangle a tassel there.

That's what you do if you're reasonably competent.

I had some kind of brain glitch. I was thinking 5/8" or 3/4" for the seam allowance. I cut 3/8". I have never been good with numbers, but seriously.

I forgot the interfacing.

I thought about it just as I clipped the first corner and the linen went sproing! Little linen threads went everywhere.

I knew I was going to be away from home and supplies and would have very little time to do anything while I was away, so I didn't take the pile of stuff it would take to redo the ornament.  I figured I would get up before the crack of dawn and drive home early. The trip usually takes about 6 1/2 hours to drive at a comfortable speed. That's doable. And then I'd be home in time to redo the ornament--it only took an hour to stitch in the middle of the night, after all.

I was not expecting the amount of road work I found on the reverse path of my trip.

I did not anticipate two, count 'em, two accidents that snarled traffic for miles.

I didn't think it would take over 8 hours to drive home.

So I'm taking the poor pitiful ornament as an example of do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do.

My chapter is very lucky that this is the last program I'm in charge of doing. I rotate out of this job this year, and someone else is teaching the programs for the rest of the year.


  1. Oh dear!! But thank you for the step by step instructions here. I may now have the confidence to do a shaped ornament instead of sticking with the tried and true round, square and rectangular. Have a good day.

  2. These things happen. Sometimes you can't control everything. And after all is said and done you are wonderful for taking on this volunteer job!

  3. Eek! poor you, you must be exhausted! dont be upset with yourself, we forgive you for being human, all we can do when we fall is to pick ourselves back up and try again, its obvious by your story you tried your best and nobody can ask anymore than that - thankyou for the wonderful instuctions on how to construct an ornament, its the best instuctions i've heard yet, after all these years you've given me the courage to finally try my own shaped ornament. Big Hugs, Amanda

  4. Ann, I think you need a vacation! Seriously though, I think your EGA group will be forgiving!

  5. You really tried your best, I'm sure everyone will understand, don't worry!! Thank you for the tuto :)

  6. Oh dear, measurements, and counting, make me want to run screaming into the night so one might wonder why the heck I am a counted cross stitcher and quilter! Thank you for the tutorial and the tip about comic book card, most useful. Sometimes it's good that those that teach show their not so good attempts, makes people realise that mistakes do happen. I have a sad story about a needlecase for an exchange....! I came here by way of Lee, my Lake Stitcher friend.