Saturday, March 7, 2009

Freebie Stick Pin HA! Get it Stick pin!

This original design is brought to you by Ruth Prest, © 2001

Think of the faces you have seen carved in wooden walking sticks or in tree stumps, then make the same kind of face in a little 6 to 8 inch "stick pin". People will think you carved it from wood!

I hope you will have fun with this idea!

Materials and supplies needed

Scrap of fabric with "wood grain" look – approx. 6 to 8" square

Sewing thread to match fabric, sewing machine

Upholstery or other strong thread for sculpting

Millliners’ or dollmakers’ needle

Beads for eyes

Metal pin back or safety pin

Air erasable marker - optional

Fine point permanent pens, Prismacolor pencils, white gel pen

Fairfield Soft Touch, polyfil supreme

Stuffing fork, hemostat or other turning tool

Optional embellishments silk ribbon, embroidery floss, tiny bird or flower beads or buttons


Use the pattern sketches below as a guide. Trace them, or feel free to draw your own "stick" with a different shape and branches.

Fold the wood grain fabric scrap with right sides together. Trace the stick of your choice on the wrong side of the fabric. Use shortened machine stitch length – 18 to 20 stitches /per inch. Stitch around the stick, leaving small space open near the bottom for turning and stuffing. Cut out leaving scant ¼" seam allowance. Clip curves, turn and stuff smoothly, but not too hard. Hand stitch opening closed.

Sculpting the face This represents a "stick" not a person, so play with the features! It doesn’t have to seem realistic. Choose an area – center, higher or lower, along the stick where you want to place the face.

If you choose, use an air erasable marker to locate eyes, nose, and mouth in the face area you have selected. I prefer not to mark the features on these little characters, and just see what develops as you stitch.

Use upholstery thread or other strong thread and milliners’ or dollmakers’ needle. Anchor a long piece of thread in backside of pin. Enter center back of pin and exit at inside corner of one eye. First form the bridge of the nose by making a series of tiny stitches back and forth underneath nose bridge, scooping up stuffing with each stitch. Next, stitch from the last "bridge" stitch down to the nostril area on one side. Take tiny stitch in nostril and return to bridge area. Repeat same stitch a second time, cross underneath nose bridge and repeat nostril stitches on other side of nose. Use the tip of the needle to "pick" stuffing up into the point of the nose and the flare areas on each side of the nose. Also "pick" up stuffing to plump up cheeks as needed.

Use additional stitches to define a shape for each eye, to create "furrows" in the forehead, to shape the mouth, and make "ripples" for a beard. Play with the angles of the stitches, where you enter and exit the fabrics, and how tight you pull the threads. The diagram here gives a few stitch locations you might try, but experiment with your own pin and see how you can make different expressions. Try making small tucks to form a lower lip or a heavy eyebrow, or to make a ridged, textured beard. Stitch a bead into each eye, trying to place the bead in the same position on both sides, so the pin looks like it’s focusing both eyes on the same thing.

Once the sculpting is done to your satisfaction, use the fine-point marker to outline eyes, darken nostrils, color in a mustache and / or beard, and eyebrows, if you wish. The color and shading of your fabric will dictate what pencil colors to use for shading. With a pencil just a bit darker than the fabric color, shade darken the sides of the nose and the eyelid areas, leaving or creating highlights along top of nose and on highest points of the cheeks. Shadow in the beard areas and / or eyebrow areas. Use a white gel marker to put white around the eye beads to make whites in the eyes.

Add any additional trims – silk ribbon, "leaf shaped" or flower shaped beads or other kinds of beads – whatever suits your tastes.

Securely stitch pin back in place on back side of pin and wear it with pride. Just wait and see how many people will squeeze it and ask if it is really carved from wood!

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