Make sparkly star decorations from felt and metallic thread

Felt is fun and easy to work with. These two hanging star decorations took just an afternoon to make. They're quick and easily adapted to suit your festive decor.

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I used gold and silver metallic thread for the embroidery, to add a bit of sparkle - Mollie Johanson gives some good tips on working with metallic thread - but you can just as easily use six-stranded cotton in vibrant or classic colours, and different colour felt for the background.

The pattern includes two designs, but there are loads more in my Super Stars pattern if you want to make a slew of stars. They're the embroidered stars you can see in the background of the pic, the outlines become the cutting lines for the 3D versions.

My Felt Stars PDF pattern includes the usual illustrated embroidery instructions, plus step-by-step photo instructions on how to embroider on the felt and then assemble the stars. It's available in my Etsy and Craftsy shops as an instant download for some quick and easy Christmas crafting.

Black Friday to Cyber Monday: 25% off everything annual sale

Cyber Monday has become the day for shopping online, rather than in-store on Black Friday. Traditionally I've offered 25% off everything in my Etsy store for 24 hours, but this year I'm giving all you lovely embroidery people four days to stock up on hand embroidery patterns and ebooks.

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Starting on Friday, 24 November, you'll get 25% off any and everything in my Etsy shop and you'll have until Monday, 27 November to buy. This includes Small Business Saturday for those of you living in the US, so an apt weekend for a sale. And you don't need to sign up for an Etsy account to buy either, just add the items you want to the cart and checkout as a Guest.

It's a good way to stock up on stitching projects for the holidays or finally get those patterns you've been eyeing out for a while at a lower price. And if you're shopping for gifts, here are four ways to turn a PDF pattern into a wrappable gift with creative printing and packaging ideas or by adding extra supplies to turn it into a kit.

 Prices will reflect the sale discount from Friday to Monday, all you have to do is browse and shop.

A flurry of snowflakes in mini hoops

I had these mini embroidery hoops stashed in a drawer for absolute ages, with the idea to use them to make snowflake Christmas ornaments. But obviously I had to wait for Christmas to come around before I could use them! With the festive season just around the corner, it was finally time to bring the idea to life. 

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The pattern is made up of tiny, small, medium and large snowflakes. The tiny and small ones fit perfectly into Dandelyne's mini hoops and the large snowflakes work well for 4" (10cm) embroidery hoops - I went with wooden ones. The tiny, hand-carved hoops are unfortunately no longer available.

You will need a decent size tree if you plan to use the 4" ones for that, as they make quite a statement. But thread any of the hoops on to a loop of cord or silvery thread and they're ready to hang wherever you'd like to spread some festive cheer. 

They also make a nice stocking filler. I've been including a hanging decoration in each of my family's stockings for the past few years as a (sometimes) handmade reminder at the end of every year of that particular Christmas.

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The pattern features a complete design made up of 31 snowflakes, which you can embroider as the centrepiece of a Christmas quilt, table runner, nativity display or Santa bag. There are loads of other options, I'm sure. And then it gives the individual snowflakes as well, grouped by size.

I've gone with shades of blue, white and a silvery grey, but the thread colours can be easily swopped to suit any colour scheme. And you could add a bit of sparkle by using metallic threads, too.

The symmetrical snowflakes are really fun to embroider, quick and easy. And the pattern includes step-by-step photo instructions for assembling the hoops.

If you're in the mood for a white Christmas this year, Snowflakes is available on Etsy and Craftsy

Mock Deerfield

It's deerfield embroidery, but not that Jacobean looking. And using more than just blue and white threads. So not technically deerfield, but inspired by it.

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Deerfield embroidery is named for a town in western Massachusetts in the US. The story goes that in days of old, two women founded the Deerfield Society of Blue and White Needlework to replicate some old Jacobean embroideries for posterity. But they were forced to adapt to the realities of the time and used the blue and white linen and flax threads that they could get their hands on.

The crewelwork designs popular in that era had already been adapted to use less thread, another nod toward practicalities in deerfield embroidery. And so Mock Deerfield draws on elements of Jacobean or crewel embroidery but in a more contemporary design - the elaborate floral element is pared down and the larger trellis left unadorned.

Stitches commonly used in deerfield embroidery spring from those used in Jacobean pieces - stem, feather, fly, seed, herringbone and others. And you'll find these used in innovative ways in Mock Deerfield. Along with, of course, trellis work and multiple rows of chain stitching. 

Adding more colours isn't really a new thing, as different colours were introduced to traditional deerfield embroidery as and when new natural dyes were discovered and used to colour thread. It does keep the embroidery interesting to do, though.

Mock Deerfield, the fourth and final design in the Mock range, is available as a PDF pattern on Etsy and Craftsy

Mock Redwork

It's redwork, but without any farmyard animals or bonnets. And worked in more than just red thread. So not technically redwork, but inspired by it.

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Traditional redwork has its origins in the middle and lower classes, rather than the more expensive silk and linen embroidery that only the wealthy upper classes could afford. And although it originated in Europe, it became really popular in America as penny squares - simple designs printed on to a square of fabric and sold for 1p. They were used to make bed covers, quilts and other household items and this type of embroidery was dubbed redwork after the red cotton thread used to embroider the designs, which was made using a natural dye called Turkey red

French knots and running, back, blanket and stem stitch are the most commonly used stitches in traditional redwork embroidery, along with lazy daisies made up of detached chain stitches. Mock Redwork uses variations on these stitches or reproduces the look and feel of them with alternative stitches not usually associated with redwork.

Designs were fairly naive line drawings and generally reflected everyday life. Farmyard animals, kitchenalia, nature and young children featured heavily. In keeping with this, Mock Redwork draws on the traditional nature theme but in a more abstract and contemporary way. And the addition of extra colours adds another modern twist to this age-old style of embroidery.

Mock Redwork, the third in the Mock range, is available as a PDF pattern on Etsy and Craftsy