By Dawn, Nov 18 2018 12:04PM
In winter, when trees have shed their leaves, there’s something kind of wonderful in the big bunches of mistletoe, hugging the tree branches. Mistletoe is fairly common in this corner of the U.K. It’s rich green leaves and bright little berries, welcome colour this time of year. So let’s put on our warm woolly mittens, and go find some mistletoe…
Feel free to use your preferred method of applique - the block pictured, is made using the starch/ freezer paper method of applique, perfect for hand sewing on winter evenings. It would also be equally lovely using a fusible applique method, if you need a faster finish.
Fussy cut the mitten or stitch an embroidered snowflake or two. A scattering of buttons for mistletoe berries, ties the quilt sandwich layers together.
Sampler Block Ten measures 10 1/2” square before joining to other blocks.
To make block 10 you'll need:
11” square Off-white or Low volume fabric (Moda Bella Solids 9900 200)
5” square – blue fabric for the mitten (18652-12 Caroline)
Small pieces of green fabrics (Caroline no. 18653-14,
10” (25cm) Gingham ribbon (East of India gingham warm grey)
12 small white shirt buttons (12mm)
Green and Grey thread for applique
Embroidery thread – DMC Mouline Etoile (glittery white)
White cotton thread wt. 30 for sewing on buttons and hand-tied quilt
Equipment: Sewing machine; Iron and ironing board; rotary cutter, mat and ruler.
Notions: Clover water erasable pen, Small sharp scissors, Applique pins, Embroidery needle.
For freezer paper & starch applique method: spray starch, freezer paper, small fine brush.
Alternatively, for fusible applique method: Bondaweb
Optional: Stabiliser or lightweight interfacing
If you plan to Quilt As You Go*, you’ll need an 11” square of wadding, and Quilting thread e.g. Gutermann Sulky Cotton (30 weight). Depending on which QAYG method you’ll also need an 11” square of backing fabric.
*For more information on the QAYG method, please see Quilt Construction notes
So let's begin....
Print out the Mistletoe and mittens template [2 page PDF] or
Fold the 11” background off-white square in half, then quarters, creasing lightly to mark the centre.
Prepare the background
Use the template to draw guidelines on the background fabric to form the shape of the wreath.
• Cut out the larger outer half circle template. Match centre of half circle to the centre of the fabric square. Using a water erasable pen (or similar erasable marker), draw round the outer half circle. Flip over to draw the other half of the large circle.
• Cut out the smaller circle, and matching centres, draw round.
The circles form a donut shape, into which the mittens and mistletoe design fits.
Prepare the mistletoe and mittens
Trace the mittens and 4 leaves onto the freezer paper (the leaf templates can be re-used to make all the leaves).
Cut out the freezer paper and place glossy side down on wrong side of fabric.
Press for a second or two, using a hot iron till the Freezer paper sticks to the fabric.
• Cut out, leaving 1/8” to ¼” margin right the way round the template, rounding the tips of the pointy bits (see pic. a below)
• Using a small brush apply a little starch to the ¼” margin around the template. Turn the edges over the freezer paper template and press using an iron (pic. b)
• Remove the paper template (c), and re-use to make the next leaf.
You'll need approximately 21 leaves in total, including 5 or 6 of each leaf type.
Prepare the mittens for either fusible machine applique (Bondaweb) or Starch method as above.
You might want to fussy cut the mittens, or leave them plain, and embroider a snowflake or two later on.
If using starch method, snip the “V” near the thumb to enable easy shaping.
Positioning mistletoe and mittens
• Place the mittens inside the inner circle, overlapping them slightly. Pin in place using small applique pins.
• Position the mistletoe leaves, placing them between the inner and outer circle guidelines. (Try a few different placements, until you find the one which is right for you - the photo below, was an option, before I ran with the placement shown in the completed block).
• Space the leaves evenly, placing some in pairs, drooping downwards.
• Leave a space at the top for the ribbon
Pin in place using small applique pins, (or a dab of applique glue).
Once everything is pinned, you're ready to sew in place.
• Green thread is used to sew the mistletoe leaves, using small slip stitches
• Using grey thread around the edge of the mittens, blanket stitch (Machine setting Width 2 Length 2.5)
Snowflake on mitten (optional)
Trace the snowflake onto freezer paper, marking each of the dots.
Make pin pricks in the dots, large enough for an erasable pen.
Position the freezer paper template in the centre of the mitten, press to hold in place.
Use an erasable pen, to mark the dots on the mittens.
The snowflakes on the block were stitched using a really lovely glittery silvery white embroidery thread, it’s very pretty in real life, though doesn’t photograph well. Alternatively, use a more contrasting thread if you'd like you the snowflake to be more prominent.
Using 2 strands of embroidery thread, stitch the snowflake, using the following stitches:
Tie the gingham ribbon, into a bow. Sew in place at the top of the wreath.
A scattering of mistletoe berries….
Place the buttons evenly around the mistletoe wreath, towards the centre of the mistletoe sprigs, and not too near the outer edge of the wreath.
If using the Quilt As You Go* (QAYG) method, you may want to layer your quilt sandwich now, before sewing on the little white button mistletoe berries, which as well as being part of the wreath, also tie the quilt layers together.
Preparing to Quilt As You Go
Layer your block, using an 11” square of cotton wadding. If doing the 3 layer sandwich method, you’ll also need an 11” square of backing fabric, and remember to leave a small margin un-quilted inside the 10” design window, to make it easier to peel back the layers when joining blocks together.
First, quilt around the outer edge of the mitten, either by hand using small running stiches, or machine.
To hand-tie the remainder of the block, you’ll need an embroidery needle, and white cotton thread.
• Working from the back of the block, sew through all layers, leaving a tail about 2” long at the back.
• Pull thread through the buttonholes, returning to the back of the quilt sandwich. Repeat to secure the button on the front.
• Tie using a double knot at the back of the block.
• Repeat, until all the mistletoe berry buttons are sewn in place.
Congratulations! Block 10 – “Mistletoe and mittens” is complete!
In preparation for joining Sampler block to Irish Chain blocks, trim a sliver of each side of the Sampler square, till it measures 10.5” square, to match the other blocks.
We’d love to see the beautiful Sampler blocks you make, so please do post them on Instagram using the hashtag – #SweetestThingsSampler.
Till next time, from our little hive to yours,
Stay cosy and happy sewing x X
Dawn - Honeybee Cloths