Make a mini felt Christmas tree
World of Wool, mixed with a little dried lavender to deter moths), some tiny beads or buttons and/or contrasting embroidery thread/s, an old cotton reel, and a twig (make sure the twig is fairly straight and will fit into the cotton reel's centre hole); also, paper to make your pattern, a pencil, a ruler, scissors, a needle, and a blob of Blu Tack or similar. Method: Cut a square of paper to roughly the height you want the top of your tree top to be, e.g. 5". Using the pencil and ruler, divide as illustrated and cut away the white triangles. The grey shaded shape is your tree pattern. Cut one per tree. With wrong sides together tightly oversew sides B to C and D to E (it's easiest to work toward the point). Now, to complete the cone, sew side A to side F in the same way. Turn right sides out. Any beads or embroidery should be added now - being careful not to stitch the front to the back (that's the voice of experience speaking there!) - and you might like to blanket stitch the lower edge. Next, stuff just the tip of the tree with the fibre fill. Wrap more fibre fill around the top of the twig and push it into the tree, packing in as much more stuffing as is necessary to hold the stick securely without stuffing all the way to the open end. As this is an ornament and not a toy there is no need to close the base of the tree top, the stuffing will stay in place, never fear. Make a little plug of Blu Tack and pop it into the bottom of the hole in the cotton reel. Now push the twig into the hole from above and on down into the Blu tack. In keeping with the woolly theme I had wrapped my cotton reel with some acorn-dyed Lopi so I used a few loops of the yarn to stop my twig wobbling, but Blu tack would work for this too. Take a few moments to pull, plump, and tweek into just the shape you want. And there you have it, your mini felted Christmas tree! To felt knitting you will need: a knitted woollen square at least 30% bigger than you want the finished piece to be (DK or worsted works best for the mini Christmas tree), or an old wool sweater. If knitted using more than one colour - stripes work well, as do simple Fair Isle patterns - it's a good idea to test your yarn for colour-fastness at higher temperatures. Superwash yarns won't felt, although alpaca, angora, camel and cashmere will, they'll just take longer. If knitting from scratch use needles a size or two bigger than recommended for the yarn. Place your square flat inside a mesh bag, or your sweater inside an old pillow case, and pop into your washing machine along with a small amount of pure soap flakes (put the latter into the drum with the knitting not into the detergent dispenser). If you have a front loading machine add a small towel to increase friction. Now run a short, HOT wash, and repeat as often as is necessary to achieve the desired degree of felting. Have fun!
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