Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Strawberry Candle Mat Tutorial (Part 1)

See, I promised that I would get started on this today and here I am!
This is the very beginning stages in the making of the candle mat.
I hope to show you a start – to – finish tutorial that will show you exactly how to make this once you purchase the pattern from me.
The purchased pattern will include detailed instructions but it’s always nice to be able to come onto a website and see pictures showing the stages of progress. It really makes the stitching go a lot easier, simply because you’re not guessing at the instructions, you’re getting them right smack in front of your face on the computer!
This does not mean that you can take this tutorial and make this strawberry candle mat without the pattern. This is copyrighted material, created and designed by me, so please don’t steal. Just spend a few bucks to purchase the pattern and I’ll love you forever and our friendship will remain intact. Steal from me and be forever snubbed.
If you want a couple names of the snubbed ones, just ask. :)
My hope is to share this so that you can see for yourself that this candle mat might look extremely difficult to make, but with the step by step approach, even YOU can make this. …. well probably not my sister, but I think if I sat right beside her the entire time instructing her stitch by stitch, she probably could make it herself.
Ok, let’s get started….
I guess I should show you what it looks like finished so that you know what we’re attempting here …
Pictures018It’s not going to look exactly like this one in the picture, but it’ll be close enough.
So, we’ll start with the black background shape first.
I traced the scallop background onto freezer paper.
Once it’s traced, I rough cut it out and place it shiny side down on my black wool. I’ll use a hot dry iron to iron the freezer paper onto the wool.
Once the freezer paper is adhered to the wool, simply cut the shape out, cutting along the traced lines.
And here we have our scalloped shape. Peel the freezer paper off and save it. It can be used again if you decide to make another strawberry candle mat.
straw4 Now, here’s a tip that won’t be in the pattern … I always do this on the scalloped mats, and especially the ones that tend to be really crowded in the space. … I take a ruler and draw a straight line across with chalk pencil and then using a quick basting stitch I stitch right across the mat. This divides each of the scalloped sections, giving them each their own territory. It makes it a lot easier to keep each strawberry grouping straight and in their own space.
Once the basting stitches are in, it’s time to lay out the strawberry leaves.
straw5 I’m making a mat with a white background too so don’t get confused with this picture. The leaves are arranged according to the pattern layout and I pin each group of three leaves to the background.
I backstitch right up the center of each of the leaves, leaving the outside edges free.
I’m ready to stitch on the strawberries now. I arrange them first just to make sure they fit nicely in the space.
Then using small stitches, I blanket stitch the strawberries on leaving the top open ….
100_3855 With the top of the strawberry open, I’ll stuff just a little bit of wool roving into the berry now. Just a little is all that is necessary … it should be just enough that they will be plump against the leaves. I use the eraser end of a pencil to gently push it in.
100_3856I recommend wool roving but poly fiberfill may be used instead. The wool roving doesn’t leave those little annoying fibers laying around everywhere. The fibers of the wool stay together and make much less mess.
100_3857 Wool roving is just natural sheep fur that’s been cleaned. I buy it in bulk from a sheep farmer, but small packets of it can be purchased at Joann fabrics now since wool felting has become so popular. It’s inexpensive too …Just look for it in with the knitting/crocheting needles or just ask someone there where the wool roving is. But like I said, polyfiberfill will work just fine too. Just keep the lint roller close by so that you can get all the loose fibers up.
After the roving is stuffed in, finish stitching up the top of the strawberry.
100_3858 Now just stitch the other two strawberries the same way. I’ve found that using small and close stitches for the blanket stitches looks nice, but a whip stitch would be quicker and easier, if you prefer to save some time.
100_3865 I’ll show more detail with the strawberry stems and the french knot seeds later, but I just wanted to give you an idea of how easy these all stitched together. The most difficult part of this grouping is getting those darn leaves lined up evenly in the space. Once they’re properly lined up and stitched in the strawberries fit naturally in their space without any trouble.
So, I’m going to quit for now. I’ll be back after I’ve stitched all 8 sections with the leaves and the strawberries. The next step after that I’ll show how to attach the stems and do the little seeds.
Hopefully,also I can have the white background mat almost completed too so that you’ll be able to see the difference between the two. Even though it’s the same pattern, the background color makes an enormous difference!
Oh , and in case I didn’t make it clear, after I’m all finished with the tutorial, I’ll have the pattern for this Strawberry candle mat ready to sell so that you can make it yourself!
Happy Day everyone!


marie said...

I can't wait to see the white background mat! Do you sell kits to?

Mary on Lake Pulaski said...

Oh I'm going to have so much fun with this one Cathy! It's gorgeous and I have all of my wools already. FYI, I finished my Springtime Garden yesterday and posted about it. I know at least one reader of mine came your way and purchased some patterns!

Bari Jo said...

Thank you so much! This is a wonderful tutorial! I can't wait to get the pattern! Your designs are beautiful! I have been recently hooked on working with wool after doing a few kits with wool felt that were fun - the difference with the wool, though, has been a fun find! I like it better! Will you be kitting this up also?

Lisa said...

You are super talented!! I get tired looking at all the work ;) I am glad you got the red to work out! it looks awesome!
Hugs, Lisa

Amy Loos said...

Oooh! This is so beautiful! I can't wait to purchase a kit and get started...I may need to buy one and make it for my momma's birthday present! She'd love it! Thank you for sharing your amazing talent!

Bari Jo said...

Hi! It's me again... quick question - what do you cut out your strawberry leaves with - they look like they are cut with teeny tiny pinking shears...