May the glad dawn of Easter morn, bring joy to thee.
Easter Sunday is a week away... plenty of time to make a little felt basket or two!
I have uploaded the pattern template to scrib, you can find it here - don't be too concerned about sizing. I made a couple of half sized ones and about a dozen bigger ones; you could probably go bigger again and it would still stay pretty sturdy depending on the thickness of your wool felt.
Decoration, or none, is completely up to your preference and time... I will show you how to do the little wool twist and stitch a bullion bee, just make everything else up.
ok you will need the pattern template, some wool felt, scrap wool yarn- about twice as long as the side length, various colours of embroidery floss, needles, scissors... maybe a little bit of raffia or wood curl shavings for inside the basket, that is it.
Cut out the felt pieces from the template - you should have three - base, side and handle.
Tie a little knot in the very end of your wool yarn and with matching thread make a few small stitches to secure it to your side piece of felt (notice that the top sides slope inward just a little? secure your yarn on one side about 1/2inch down from the top)
Start twisting your yarn, very quickly you will notice it starts to loop back on itself, working in small sections make tiny running stitches to secure the twisted wool yarn to the felt.
When you make it to the other end, tie a knot and snip off any remaining yarn, finish twisting and stitching and you are done with that bit.
Making a bullion bee...
Hmmm this could be as clear as mud but I'll give it a go. Bullion stitches are best made with straw needles - they are thin and even along the length, if you don't have one (and I don't even know if I do) use a needle with a really small head.. eye bit.. umm...one with even thickness along the entire shaft! It will help the wraps slide off smoothly if you do.
Any embelishments need to be done on the opposite side to the twisty wool bit and in the bottom two thirds of the basket side piece.
Ok. you will need black and yellow threads, I used two strands of each and don't snip them between bands (and they each have their own needle so I don't have to keep re-threading)
Bare with me cause I don't have photoshop anymore... Point A is on the right where you see the needle threaded with black disappearing into the felt and Point B is to the left about where you see the yellow thread hanging down. The distance between point A and B is the length of the bullion. You will need to make enough wraps to cover this distance.
With either yellow or black thread (knotted) bring the needle to the front at A, bring the thread through.
Take the needle to the back at B and re-emerge at A, LEAVE THE NEEDLE IN PLACE like the picture above..
With your thumb over the eye of the needle, raise the point of the needle up and wrap the thread clockwise around the needle.. pull the wraps reasonably firmly against the fabric and try to keep them even - to start with you should need 6-8 wraps.
Keeping the tension on the wraps with your left index finger, begin to ease the needle through the wraps.
Continuing the pressure on the wraps pull the needle and remaining thread free through the wraps.
Pull the thread all the way through tugging the wraps away from you, this helps to keep them tight.
Now pull the thread firmly toward you, The wraps (bullion) should now sit between Point A and B.
You can fiddle with them to make them even, if you need to, be gentle and keep the tension tight. Anchor the bullion by taking the needle to the back at B.
Now swap your colours and do another slightly longer one... keep going till you like the look of your bee. I like to end with a short black bullion 'head segment'
Put on a couple of 'lazy daisy stitch' wings and he is ready to buzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz...
I made a little tiny bee with three french knots (a very short bullion, just three wraps and anchor in the centre of A and B) and a running stitch buzzy path.
Putting it all together
With wrong sides together and using blanket stitch, sew the sides seam together from the top down
When you get to the bottom take the circular base piece and begin sewing it in place, easing as required.
Secure any knots on the inside of the basket, it is neater that way.
Fold down the top edge and secure with blanket (or any other stitch you fancy)
To make the handle, fold the two long edges into the centre and stitch in place I used blanket stitch...mainly because I think I can do it in my sleep. When you get all the way across secure the handles on each side at a depth of about the top fold.
That is it.. Happy Easter. May your baskets be filled with love (and a little bit of chocolate too).