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Rag Wreaths, A Festive Way To Use Your Scraps

My Band New Rag Wreath Tutorial Is Here!

Rag Wreath Tutorial

 

A festive handmade wreath made from torn and knotted fabric scraps, decorated with bow and bells. In a range of teal and blue colours. © Stephanie Boon, 2016. www.dawnchorusstudio.com

A scrappy festive wreath

One day in summer my friend Sally from Coast and Country Crafts came round with two bin bags full of fabric scraps. Sally travels the county meeting quilters and selling her lovely range of fabrics (as well as running the shop) and quilters donate scraps for swapping with others. The bags she gave me were full of left-overs. I had a quick rummage through and discovered there were plenty of strips that would be ideal to put towards a string quilt. Then we had to move home and the scraps were buried in boxes for a few months.

Waste Not Want Not

I got them out the other day and began to have a proper sort through, bagging them up by colour – there are some real gems in there! Most of the useful pieces are small squares and narrow strips, but there are quite a lot of strips that were too narrow for piecing. It was tempting to throw them out, but they must be useful for something.

Waste not want not I thought to myself and put them to one side. Then, when I was scrabbling around for ideas for Christmas presents, rag wreaths popped into my head. It seemed like the perfect way to use up the scraps and help reduce the world’s fabric mountain at the same time (granted it won’t make much of a dent, but every little helps!). I got excited and got to work on the first one.

Detail of a handmade rag wreath in teal colours. Showing a detail of some added decoration. © Stephanie Boon, 2016 www.DawnChorusStudio.com

Jingle bells, jingle bells (yes they really do jingle)! Mixed blue, green and teal scraps.

Choosing Colours

I bought some 12″ wire wreath forms from a local florist and picked out lots of blue and green prints from the scraps. I wanted the overall colour to be Teal – a favourite of the recipient. Its not a colour I associate with Christmas but I had to put aside my doubts: the person I’m making it for loves it.  I needed a way to ‘lift’ it though and realised that something sparkly would do the trick. Enter 20cm of a forest green lurex fabric that sparkles when the light catches it (as I’ve mentioned before, it really isn’t good having a fabric shop 5 minutes down the road!) and a couple of shiny jingling bells. About as festive as it gets.

It’s a miracle I managed to get a second one finished too. Making the first one was tedious enough! I spent hours tying knots and shoving them hard against each other to get a full and fluffy effect. Obviously the final effect was worth it and I got to work on number two.

White and Frosty

This colour scheme was down to me. I love frosty mornings when the mist hangs low in the air, or temperature inversions where it seems to hover above the ground and I wanted to capture that. I went with whites and white on white prints, some naturals, soft pinks and blues and a touch of grey. Half way through I discovered I didn’t have enough – these things take a lot of scraps! Back to the fabric shop for some sparkly white. Still nowhere near enough, so I raided my stash of linen.

I’ve been given lots of linen clothes over the years and have a collection almost big enough to make a quilt. Not any more, out came the whites.  The beauty of linen is that it tears wonderfully for rag wreaths. You get that gorgeous frayed edge that adds enormously to the texture. I even found a couple of bits of embroidery Anglaise ribbon that I tied in.

 

Detail of a handmade rag wreath in teal colours. Showing a detail of some added decoration. © Stephanie Boon, 2016 www.DawnChorusStudio.com

Version number two was meant to have a frosty feel in white, silver and grey. Brrr!

I worked this one a little differently from the first. Instead of tying in a continuous circle, I added the touches of colour all around the ring first and then went back and filled in the whites. I wanted little pockets of colour to add depth and interest. Some of the linens seemed to tie up very closely and it seemed a lot longer to make.

A festive handmade wreath made from torn and knotted fabric scraps, decorated with a linen bow. In a range of white and silver colours. © Stephanie Boon, 2016. www.dawnchorusstudio.com

A linen bow and a string of silver snowflakes hang from the bottom.

I was so pleased to finish it! I finished it off with a few strands of sparkly ribbon and a really sweet length of snowflakes. It still didn’t look quite right so I added the linen bow. Perfect, even if I do say so myself!

A festive handmade wreath made from torn and knotted fabric scraps, decorated with linen bow. In a range of white and silver colours. © Stephanie Boon, 2016. www.dawnchorusstudio.com

A range of soft greys, pinks and blues added to the mix of whites and naturals. Look at the edges of those linens!

I had a couple of people on Instagram ask me how I made it and I wondered if you’d be interested in a tutorial? It really is a fab way to use up your quilting scraps and I know some of you have been collecting selvedges, which would look amazing! I kind of wish I had some now… Oh well, onto wreath number three: creams and golds this time. Watch this space.

My Instagram Account Has Been Hacked…Again

Instagram has been the bane of my life recently. My account just keeps being hacked. All my personal info is changed, my login details, my password… I change them back only to find that they’ve changed again next time I try to log in. This time all my photos seem to have disappeared too. I could cry I really could.

I’ve had my fill of it these last couple of days so decided to take a break until I have the patience and headspace to tackle it.  I’m really sorry, I miss my IG friends – it’s such a friendly place and so much more fun than Facebook.  I’ll try and get it sorted over the next couple of days, so bear with me. It does mean that there are some gaps in some of the posts here though where I’ve embedded my IG photos. I hope I can get them back…

Tutorial or No Tutorial?

My Band New Rag Wreath Tutorial Is Here!

Rag Wreath Tutorial

Don’t forget to let me know what you think about the idea for a tutorial on using up scraps to make a wreath. And if you have any other ideas for ‘scrap management’ let us know in the comments! Someone uses them for compost (great idea) and of course there are rag rugs and garlands – what else can we come up with to help stop textile waste going to landfill? I bet you’ve got some fantastic ideas.

Back with some quilting next time – it’s been a bit slow around here lately!

Linking up with Kelly for NTT this week, where I’ve just had the shock of my life and seen my quilt top Fete as one of her featured quilts! Also happy to be sharing these finishes over at Crazy Mom Quilts for Finish It Up Friday, woohoo! See you there!

Signature: Stephie © Stephanie Boon, 2015 www.DawnchorusStudio.com

 

 

27 replies
  1. Pat in WNY
    Pat in WNY says:

    I love both of these wreaths! And yes, a tutorial would be great. I can see making some of these for friends and as a way to raise funds for our quilt ministry. I save my longer strips of selvedges to tie up tomato plants in the garden, but hadn’t found a use for the pieces that are too short for that purpose. Now, maybe I can save all of them for wreaths.

    Reply
  2. Karen Goad
    Karen Goad says:

    the wreaths are very fun looking but yes take a lot of scraps. I have never done Instagram so can’t help you there, I was going to then thought no I spend enough time on social media as it is with my blog, email and Facebook – I want a life other than being connected all the time.

    Reply
    • Stephie
      Stephie says:

      I know what you mean Karen! I’ve found that I enjoy the groups on Facebook, but I don’t really get excited about sharing my own stuff there. Instagram has been much more fun for that. I share(d!) lots of pictures from where I live too and got to chat to other people that are outdoor lovers, as well as so many quilters I’d never have met otherwise. And the real beauty of it is that it’s quick, straightforward and simple! Who doesn’t want that where social media is concerned!!!

      Reply
  3. Sarah
    Sarah says:

    I typically don’t like rag wreaths, but yours are amazing. I think it’s because of your wonderful use of the colors! You could sell these. What about miniature ones for tree decorations? I use my scraps to make “made fabric” — anything that is wider than 1/2″ I sew up into squares by color and make into baby quilts. The bits smaller than 1/2″ I either throw, or chop up and use to stuff little animals and things that I make.

    Reply
    • Stephie
      Stephie says:

      Aw thanks Sarah, that made my day! Mini tree decorations are a totally FAB idea, love it! A lot of the scraps I found in the bag were indeed less than 1/2″, but I’d not thought of chopping them up for stuffing – but that’s probably because I haven’t made anything that needed stuffing for a while! Hmm can’t stop thinking about mini wreaths now…

      Reply
    • Stephie
      Stephie says:

      Thanks Deb! I don’t think there’s much hope with the Instagram account to be honest 🙁 I’ve had another look at it and have reported it, so now it’s just a waiting game… Have a great weekend – maybe see you at Kathy’s on Sunday! (I’ve been MIA for too long!)

      Reply
  4. Bossymamma
    Bossymamma says:

    Your wreaths are lovely and, yes, a tutorial would be great! What a drag, having your Instagram account hacked. I have never even looked at Instagram because, like Karen, I already spend too much time online.

    Reply
    • Stephie
      Stephie says:

      One tutorial coming up – as long as the weather is bright enough for photos this weekend :/ Being online is like being sucked into a blackhole! Instagram had just become my favourite place – no links to get lost in for a start! I’ve let other social media fall by the wayside to be honest – Google+…googlewhat?!?!

      Reply
        • Stephie
          Stephie says:

          I haven’t made the daily circles in a while Lynne, so much happened over the summer and last few months that I got way behind and disheartened. I plan to pick them up again though and give it a go in the new year. I’m definitely going to finish the quilts I started either way!

          Reply
          • Lynne Nicholson
            Lynne Nicholson says:

            I’m thinking of doing a personal sewing challenge starting in the new year.
            You don’t need to feel disheartened as you did so well. It is understandable that in the summer things got a bit out of hand so you couldn’t keep it up. Remember though it is good to complete a challenge like that it is better to forgive yourself and restructure to make things work well for you. Life is for living.

  5. Kaja
    Kaja says:

    Your wreaths are very beautiful – there would definitely be a market for these among non-quilters I reckon (though you would then have to spend all year making them!) Your instagram problems sound infuriating – so depressing too that someone out there thinks it’s okay to mess with your space in that way.

    Reply
    • Stephie
      Stephie says:

      Haha! Gifts only I’m afraid…I’d go mad doing them every day!!! It’s good to use up waste fabric, but it’s not quilting 🙂 Instagram is a pain in the backside, but now my email account seems to have been hacked too – probably as a consequence of the IG (your email address is there as part of your details isn’t it). It’s so depressing and stressful trying to sort it out. I reported it to IG, but now I can’t access my email to see if they replied, aargh!!! Hope you’re having a better weekend! xx

      Reply
  6. Ann
    Ann says:

    Thanks to your fabulous color sense, these wreaths are gorgeous. They hit the perfect note each time. I like the idea of mini wreaths for the tree, too.
    I’ve used my scraps to make a fringe on t-shirt quilts. Like you, I found mixing in bits of ribbon adds shine. I called it Texas Mink… but haven’t made them in a while. It does flatten if folded but still looks interesting.

    Reply
    • Stephie
      Stephie says:

      That’s so kind Ann, thank you! I’d never thought of adding a fringe before, but that’s a great idea – and Texas Mink is a great name too 🙂 You could use scraps for fringes on all sorts of things couldn’t you – table runners for example. If I remember rightly Jude Hill uses fringes quite a lot on her wall hangings. Definitely food for thought!

      Reply
  7. Abigail
    Abigail says:

    Love how these wreaths have turned out Stephie. I have a whole load of bits and pieces to make a natural coloured one and seeing yours has made me just add florist ring to my ever growing list!! My hand would definitely shoot up for a tutorial – pretty please!

    Reply
  8. Andrea Burnap
    Andrea Burnap says:

    so sorry to hear the Instagram problems continue. But at least I was prompted to check on you here! just resigned up for the newsletter too! love the wreath, reminds me of the projects I used to make. thanks!

    Reply
    • Stephie
      Stephie says:

      Thanks Andrea, glad you came by here instead! It looks like my account has gone for good, so I’ve just started a new one, although I haven’t posted anything just yet – stephie.dawnchorusstudio (hopefully I’m still there!)

      Reply

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