Sparkling Tutorial #2: Sylvia’s Sunflower Garden

Here is another companion project to the Sparkle Stories audio book, Martin & Sylvia’s Knitting from the Beginning, which you can find on the Sparkle Single Stories page. This is another tutorial that will help use up all those odd lengths of practice finger knitting.

In Part One, “The Spunderful Shop,”  Sylvia walks into Miss Melinda’s fiber shop and is dazzled by an array of sunflowers made from yarn. Now you can make your own vase full of flowers in any colors you like!

Flowersvase

What you need:

– A length of finger knitting of any size (a one-foot length is a good place to start), preferably with a long tail left at the end; the longer the length, the bigger your flower will be.

– Small felt scraps, which can be craft felt or recycled sweaters

– Embroidery thread

– Yarn needle

– Embroidery needle

– Floral wire; can be thick or thin, green or brown

Are you ready? Basically, we’re just going to make the tiniest of rag rugs with a length of finger knitting instead of braided rag. Simply take the long tail at the end of your finger knitting, thread it onto your yarn needle, and start forming a spiral with the knitting. Tack it in place every couple of centimeters with a stitch through the adjoining edges. Keep going until you have completed the spiral and have a tiny little “rug.”

As you can see in the bottom left corner of the photo collage, I like to tie a knot with the end from the opposite side of the knitting. If you have a lot of the tail left over, trim it a bit, but you can pile the ends up in the center of the flower, where you will be placing your felt circle. You can cut this out from your felt now that you know the size of your flower and how you would like it to look. If you’re making sunflowers, you want large circles!

Instructioncollage

Attach your circle with the embroidery thread and blanket-stitch it to the front. For this, I bring the needle from front to back, leaving a small loop, and then from back to front, bringing the needle through the loop and pulling it tight.

When you have just a small bit of stitching left to perform, cut a length of floral wire to a little more than twice the length you would like for the stem of your flower. Bend it in half and push the bent end up into the bottom of your flower, where you have an opening in your stitching. Finish stitching your flower center to the flower, making sure to bring the needle through under the loop of wire a couple of times. This way, your wire will stay put.

Stemcollage

Finish by twisting the wire into a nice, tight stem. Repeat all the steps until you have a bountiful bouquet!

Flowersvase3

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s installment: Sylvia’s Fairy Poke!

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A Sparkling Tutorial For You!

I’m pleased to present a series of tutorials I curated and created to celebrate the launch of Sparkle Stories new audio book, “Martin and Sylvia: Knitting from the Beginning.” What a fantastical pleasure to be working with the Sparkle crew and share these fun projects with you!

Necklacetrio
This first tutorial goes with a free story that Sparkle is offering on the itunes Sparkle Podcast and also on the Sparkle Blog!  It’s called “The Fingerknit Necklace.”

In this sweet story, Martin and Sylvia want to make a gift for their friend the children’s librarian.  They decide on a knitting project, and it’s not long before both Martin and Sylvia are hard at work on a clever fingerknit necklace.   They end up with two spectacular projects, and one problem: who will get the second gift?

The knitting project they create is the one featured below!  Listen to the Free Story HERE.

If you’d like to learn more about the full Martin & Sylvia’s Knitting from the Beginning Audio Book, you’ll find it on the Sparkle Single Stories page.


Happyhazel

(yup, it’s a fun project)

This necklace idea is curated from papier mache, with a bit of my own twist on it.

I loved this idea for incorporating finger knitting into a unique necklace, but as I am a felt artist, I couldn’t help but want to replace the ribbon with a strip of felt. I also thought about children wanting to put this on themselves and each other, and about how I like to have a tidy finish, and so replaced the bow tying concept with a simple button closure. With felt, all you have to do is snip your buttonhole into the fabric and you’re good! No finishing stitches required. Also, for further simplification for short attention spans, I left out the glue by securing the wrapping string or yarn with a knot and sewing it through the felt to attach it.

Triocollage
I might have gotten a little carried away…

Finger Knit Collage Necklace

I call this a collage necklace because it’s such a fun combination of scraps and bits…a piece of finger knitting, strips of scrap felt, waste thread or yarn, and a special button.

Instructionscollage

To make the necklace, begin with a six to eight-inch strand of finger knitting (it’s just about the length that kiddos make before they want to move on to something else). There are lots of great tutorials online and so I won’t attempt to recreate what has already been done well. In fact, if you click on this link to papier mache, the pictorial finger knitting directions there are fantastic!

Cut two lengths of felt about 1″ wide. You will be overlapping the end of the finger knitting by about an inch, so keep that in mind when you cut the felt to your desired length based on where you would like the necklace to sit. As you can see, I tried a variety of lengths. Craft felt, hand made felt and old felted sweaters will all work well for this project.

Setuppurple

Thread a needle with either embroidery thread, some scrap commercial yarn, or handspun. For the purple necklace, I used sock yarn, and it wrapped up much more quickly than the thread, so I recommend yarn for younger crafters.

Knot the end and thread your needle. With the end of your felt overlapping the end of the finger knitted piece by about an inch, bring the needle and thread through the felt and and knitting a few times.

Then, start wrapping!

Necklaces

When you reach the point where you’ve covered the end of your finger knitting, wrap a few more times, then tie a knot and bring the needle and thread under and through the wrapped section and trim the end for an invisible finish (see the top right in the step-by-step photo collage).

Repeat for the other side, and then we’re almost done!

Simply attach a button to the end of one felt piece and cut a small buttonhole on the end of the other. Always start with a smaller hole than you think you need. Felt stretches and a buttonhole that is too large will be too loose to stay fastened.

Hazelallthethings1

Fini!

Next up: Sylvia’s Garden: magical finger knit flowers! Also, my sweet model is wearing another project from the story series that I’ll share with you on Friday.

Have you made anything interesting with finger knitting? I’d love to hear about it. Link to your projects in the comment section!