Welcome to the second banner in the Handmade Heartfelt Banner sew-along! January is all about the view outside my studio window in January!
When I created the February Handmade Heartfelt Banner that I shared with you last week, I decided it would be fun to turn these banners into a monthly series. Since we were so close to the beginning of the year, I thought I would back-up and do January now so that when December rolls around we will have a full year of banners to display.
For January, I knew I needed to include a snowy theme since for many of us, January is all about snow. But being true to me, I needed to have little posies included in the design. A project just never feels quite right without a posey or two!
Posies in January?
Since January in Illinois (I live just outside of St. Louis, Mo) isn’t usually known for having posies or much other vegetation in bloom, I had to think really hard about how to include snow and posies!
As I was thinking about this, I found myself staring out the window of my studio at my now dormant Limelight Hydrangea. This hydrangea is like none you’ve ever seen. It is like no other Limelights that the local garden center owner has ever seen either! It is more like a tree. In fact, we have to cut the low branches off so that we can walk under it!
When it blooms it is packed with blooms. The bees love it! And the birds love building nest inside all the dense leaves and branches. The best part is that this all takes place outside my studio window. I literally get a look inside at all the activity. (Too bad I couldn’t find a photo of it in bloom to share. The photo above is right before blooming.)
When fall comes, most of the leaves fall off. Only a few hang on through fall and winter. But a ton of the flower heads remain. They hold tight all winter long. If it were a regular hydrangea I would cut them off in the fall, but this thing is far too big and too tall. We cut it back really aggressively one year and it grew back even bigger the next year. We’ve come to just let it do its thing and I celebrate that I have flowers outside my window in the winter.
Interpreting the Inspiration
When the snow comes, it clings to the dried blooms on the Limelight. It forms around the clusters of petals until they look like snowballs on branches. When the sun hits it and the snow sparkles, they look as if they are dusted in glitter. And while I am not a fan of snow and rarely happy at the thought of it, these snowball posies are quite magical!
And when one of our cardinals comes to perch on one of the snowy branches… it is a bit winter magic.
So yes, posies in January! I hope you love the design and inspiration as much as I do!
February Banner Supplies:
- Banner and Heart Pattern Download
- Linen: Week’s Dye Works Linen 36 ct- Linen (or Weeks Dye Works Weavers Cloth- Linen)
- Wool: Week’s Dye Works Wool: 2109 Morris Blue, 1096 Snow Cream, 1269HB Chestnut Herringbone, 1191 Dried Sage
- Batting: Warm Company- Warm & Soft Cotton Batting
- Fabric: banner sized scrap of choice
- Ribbon/trim: 24″ of twine, ribbon, or other trim
- Embroidery Floss: Sulky 12 wt Cotton- 1130 Dark Brown, 1222 Light Baby Blue, 1047 Mint Green; Week’s Dye Works 6 Strand- 1086 Icicle
- Hand-dyed Buttons: Just Another Button Company- Champagne Snack Pack
- Handmade Buttons: Just Another Button Company- 1113.s Small Frank’s Cardinal, 4442.t Tiny Snowflake, 4442.s Small Snowflake, 4706 January Tag
- Beads: Mill Hill Petite 2mm Seed Beads- 40479 White, 42017 Aqua, 40161 Crystal
- Die Cutting Dies: Tammy Tutterow for Crafter’s Edge Posey Flowers 3, Posey Flowers 4
- Adhesive: Therm O Web HeatnBond EZ Print or HeatnBond Lite, Fabric Fuse
- Tools: Scissors, Pinking Shears, Iron, Ironing Surface, #8 embroidery needles, beading needles, #00 beading thread, sewing machine, pressing cloth
- Die cutting machine: Crafter’s Edge Crossover 2 or Sizzix Big Shot (if using a Big Shot, you will need a Crafter’s Edge Metal Adapter)
A printable version of the instructions are available at the end of this post.
February Banner Instructions:
Download the pattern. Print the pattern onto HeatnBond EZ Print Lite sheets following the package instructions. You can also trace the pattern pieces onto the paper side of HeatnBond Lite.
Cut each piece out leaving a small margin around the solid line on each piece.
Because the flowers and leaves are very small, you may wish to die cut them instead of hand-cutting them. The flowers and leaves are similar (but not exact) in size and shape to the smallest flower in my Posies Set 4 and the smallest leaf in my Posies Set 3 die sets in my Heartfelt Stitches collection from Crafter’s Edge.
Place one banner shape adhesive side down on the back side of your main banner fabric. Use an iron on the appropriate heat setting for your fabric to iron and fuse the back side of the fabric.
Note: I am using Weeks Dye Works 36 ct linen in Linen (color). Weeks Dye Works Weavers Cloth is a nice and less expensive option to linen and comes in several hand-dyed colors.
Iron the HeatnBond the the back side of your wool pieces. Cut the fabric and wool pieces out along the solid line on the pattern piece.
Assembling the Banner Pieces
Fuse the second banner pattern piece to a piece of cotton batting. Use pinking shears to cut along the outside edge of the solid line on the pattern.
Remove the paper backing from the HeatnBond on the back of the fabric banner. Center the fabric banner on the cotton batting banner (do not remove the paper backing on back of the batting layer). Iron the two pieces to fuse them together.
Remove the paper backing from the HeatnBond on the back of the center heart. Center the heart on the scallop heart (do not remove the paper backing on the back of the scallop heart). Iron the two pieces to fuse them together.
Use a needle and coordinating floss to add a blanket stitch around the inside heart.
Adding Stitching to the Heart
Remove the paper HeatnBond backing from the back of the branch. Place the tree branch through the center of the heart. Iron the branch to fuse it in place. If the branch hangs off the edge of the heart, try to not fuse it to the scallop heart. Remove the paper HeatnBond backing from the back of the scallop heart.
Use a needle and coordinating floss to add a blanket stitch around the edges of the branch, sewing it to the heart below it.
Stitch around the branch only in places where it extends past the edge of the heart. Do not stitch the extending pieces down to the scallop.
Place the posies and leaves on the branch as desired. Pin the leaves into place and set the posies aside.
Use a needle and coordinating floss to add a backstitch through the center of each leaf.
Place the posies back in place. Use a few quick stitches in the center of each one to tack them in place.
Embellishing with French Knots
Add french knots randomly to the heart and along the limb to look like falling snow. (I’m using three strands of Week’s Dye Works floss 1066 Icicle floss for my french knots. It is a variegated floss that goes from white to pale ice blue.)
Add bunches of french knots to the center of each posey. You can stitch french knots on top of one another to build extra dimension.
Adding Beads for Sparkle
If you would like to add a bit of sparkle, stitch beads randomly among your french knots. I am using Mill Hill Petite Seed Beads (2mm) in White, Chrystal, and Aqua. When using this small of a bead, you will need to stitch them using a beading needle and size 00 beading thread.
Add beads along the branch and to the mounds of french knots in the center of each posey.
Assembling the Banner
Place the assembled heart in the center of the banner. Iron to fuse the two together. Try to avoid ironing the scallops too much.
Gently peel up and scallops that stick down to the banner. Keeping free will make them more dimensional.
Place button embellishments on the banner to decide on placement. If you place anything near the edge like the month button shown above, set it aside to stitch on later.
Add beads to your needle and thread as you stitch the buttons in place to add a bit of sparkle.
Adding the Backing
Cut a pice of fabric slightly larger than the banner. If your fabric has a right and wrong side, place it right side down on your ironing suface.
Remove the HeatnBond backing paper from the back of the batting on the banner. Place the assembled banner on your backing fabric. Use an iron to fuse the two together. Take care to avoid ironing too close to any handmade buttons as they can be damaged by the iron.
Trim the excess backing fabric leaving just a slight margin of it beyond the batting layer.
Machine stitch around the banner about 1/4″ from the edge. Lift any scallops up and out the way of your presser foot so that they do not become stitched down.
Add a button to each of the top two corners. Attach the handmade button month tag to the lower right corner.
Adding the Ties
To attach the banner to another banner, you will need to add a tie to the buttons at the top corners. Cut two 12″ (or longer if desired) piece of twine, ribbon, or decorative fiber. Fold one in half.
Slip the loop end of the string under one of the buttons.
Bring the tail end of the string over and slip it through the loop.
Pull the string tightly until it feels secure and all excess string from the loop is hidden under the button.
Add a knot to the ends of each string in a knot to prevent fraying.
Tie the string to the string of the next banner. Finish off in a knot or bow. Leave the extra string to hang loose between the two banners or trim it near the knot. Repeat the process with the second piece of string.
At the end of a project I always love to look and touch and pick a part that is my favorite detail. This time I just can’t decide, because I love the whole thing so much! I love the story it tells most of all. It reminds me to see the beauty in winter and to celebrate visits from our feathered friends.
I hope you are enjoying this series and stitch along. The March banner will be posted about the second week of March. I am already tinkering with ideas for it! I can not wait to stitch it up!
PS- If you make a banner I would love to see it! Join my Handmade Heartfelt Friends Facebook group to share your creations!