For years i have been saying that I need to come up with a quick, fun & easy holiday project so that I can send all my relatives in England something handmade. Well, this was the year that I finally made it happen. And for that I thank Kajsa Wikman, the author of Scandinavian Stitches (Stash Books) because were it not for a certain project I found in the pages of her book, my relatives in England and I would have been disappointed yet another time.
Here is a photo of her Yule House project from the book.
And these are the Yule houses I made for my relatives and a few other lucky people on this side of the lake.
These houses made the perfect gift for the relatives because they are incredibly lightweight and so are cheap to mail oversees. Also, you can select fabrics, and window and door shapes and sizes that you think will suit the person the house is intended for. I admit that it took me a long time to come up with fabric combinations I liked, but this I attribute to having SO many fabric scraps. Although this is a holiday project, I found it quite amazing how you can create a holiday feel without using strictly holiday fabrics.
So once I had knocked out about ten of these guys, I of course wanted to leave “the box”, and experiment with houses of different shapes and sizes. I made this house for my sister as part of her belated birthday gift.
Sidenote (although this deserves a post of its own, we all know that won’t ever happen): Inspired by the Green Grocery Bag Challenge, I used the same fabrics in the above house to make a shopping bag to use as her gift wrap. I just couldn’t resist – once I finally find a fabric combination that I’m happy with, I stick with it! Here is a pic of my shopping bag…
And check out these two blog posts of mine on the Stash Books blog for more info on the Yule Houses and the Green Grocery Bag Challenge:
- Here I blog about the Yule Houses and include Kajsa’s project excerpted from her book
- Here I blog about the Green Grocery Bag Challenge and offer some shopping bag gift wrap ideas
OK now what actually inspired this post – because lets face it, the holidays are so behind us – is my lingering obsession with these softie houses. “Lingering” isn’t really accurate – it’s more like a growing obsession. See what happened was I picked up a copy of Samantha Cotterill’s book Fanciful Felties from mummysam. She also makes softies but the fabric she uses isn’t cotton – it’s 100% wool felt, which is thicker. I didn’t really like the way the base of my tall house above looked and I noticed that she stitches on her bases using the blanket stitch and embroidery thread and that it looks fantastic. Here is a pic of her Country Cottage project, which I love, and you can see more examples of her work on this page.
So with that in mind I attempted some houses with bases attached using the blanket stitch and embroidery thread. And they didn’t turn out too well. It seems the bigger you make the house, the lumpier and more mis-shapen it gets. I realized my fabric needed to be thicker, so not wanting to deviate from cotton fabric, I decided to line all my fabric pieces with Shape-flex interfacing before I cut them out. And that made a huge difference in the house’s shape and made it possible to attach the bases of the houses with the blanket stitch.
I am pretty sure I am doing the blanket stitch upside down. Lets face it – my stitching is sub par bordering on awful in every way. But I am still showing you because these examples are just the beginning in my quest to craft the perfect house softie. I have tons of scraps, stuffing, and embroidery floss that I can’t wait to dedicate to this challenge.
I also made the window and door fabric pieces thicker by fusing on some Shape-flex and found this made them easier to embellish with decorative stitching as well.
OK I am going to end this and start choosing fabrics for my next attempt. Wish me luck!