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Yarn wreath tutorial!

If you're anything like me, you're always looking for fun ways to make use of the yarn you've accumulated over the years.

Not that I've accumulated that much yarn, really. Just enough to make sure that my children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren have an unending supply of hand dyed goodies.

I can just see my children reading my last will and testament, in which I bequeath them each 1/3 of my stash instead of cash. What a pleasant thought. For me.

Maybe our new staff T-shirts should say:


in big giant letters. I think everyone will go for it. I mean, who wants to get paid money when they could get paid in yarny awesomeness?

But I digress.

Look at these fun wreaths my sister and I just made for Valentine's Day:

We had so much fun, we ended up making four wreaths, and now I'm going to show you how to make them too! Yay!

Here's what you'll need:

  • Some yarn. Any color you want. The amount you'll use is dependent on the size of the wreath -- a big wreath will take about 150 yards of Aran weight yarn. A small wreath will take less than 100.
  • A pair of scissors.
  • A hot glue gun.
  • A naked straw wreath, any size that you prefer.
  • Pieces of felt. You can get a couple of flowers out of one sheet of craft felt. You could certainly use wool felt, if you like, but I bought recycled craft felt at a big box store.
  • Optional: Fabric scraps, buttons, glitter, and scrapbooking paper to snazz things up.

I'm in love with these dressmaker's shears I bought at Bobbin's Nest Studio. Where have you been all my life, shears? You cut like buttah.

 We found it best to leave the plastic on the straw wreath -- it makes them easier to wrap with yarn when you don't have little pieces of straw poking out all over. You could also wrap yours in plastic wrap if need be.

Do you know how to wind a ball of yarn by hand? A lot of people don't, so I'm going to show you. If you already know how, you can skip the next couple of pictures.

Lay out our skein of yarn and snip the ties carefully.

If you don't have a swift, just use the backs of two chairs.

I don't have a swift at home.

Does that shock you?

Ready to fall dead on the floor?

I like winding yarn by hand.

I own a nice ball winder, and I hardly ever use it, because winding them by hand is kind of fun.


Now you're ready to get your sister with the French manicure to demonstrate yarn winding. Wrap it maybe 20 times around two fingers.

 Then tell her to take it off her fingers and start wrapping it around the yarn in the opposite direction.

Then, because you're so much faster at winding yarn balls than your sister is, snatch the ball of yarn away from her and wind it yourself.

(Note: It is very important that you snatch the ball of yarn from your sister. It helps if you couple it with a phrase like, "Gimme that!" or, "What are you DOING?")

Marvel at your decidedly less manicured fingernails.

Tie the ball of yarn to your wreath. I'm using some undyed Lindon Merino here. You can use anything, really -- the thicker the yarn, the faster the wreath will get covered. If you want to use sock yarn, you could wind several small balls and hold the yarn double or triple.

 Wind the yarn five or so times around the wreath. I found it was fastest to hold the wreath like this with my knees and to pass the yarn through the center with two hands.

 After you've wrapped it about five times, scoot the yarn up so the strands touch each other. I also found this to be faster than trying to line up each strand perfectly one at a time.

Keep repeating this until your wreath is mostly covered. The you can go back and fill in any thin areas.

Keep in mind that this doesn't need to look perfect. The wreath is probably even more charming with a little imperfection.

 You can also layer more than one type of yarn for texture and depth. Once I wrapped my wreath in Lindon, I added some Deliciousness (a superfine alpaca with a lovely texture) over the top.

 When you're satisfied with how it looks, snip the yarn and tuck the end in behind other strands on the back of the wreath.  You could also add a dab of hot glue to secure the end of the yarn.

Now we're ready to decorate!

Cut yourself a square of felt. The bigger the square, the bigger the flower it will make. It doesn't need to be a perfect square. Imperfection is beautiful, remember?

Snip the corners of the square to make a circle(ish) shape. If it made you happy, you could trace around a bowl or glass and cut out a perfect circle. But this is faster, and the end result is no less pretty.

Now cut the circle into a spiral shape. You could trace it, if you wanted, or you could freehand it, like I'm doing.

When you're done with your spiral, you start reshaping your felt into a flower.

 Start rolling the spiral of felt so that each layer is behind the next, like this:

 Keep going until you're out of felt.

Then add a dab of hot glue to the end to secure it.

See how purty she is? I recommend making all your flowers and decorations first and affixing them in a pleasing way once you can see how everything will come together.

I love the way these look together.

The thinner you cut the spiral, the more petals you'll have to wrap. Notice how it's not cut perfectly.

And repeat after me: That's OK, because imperfections are beautiful.

Here's an example of a spiral I cut with a wavy line. It gives the finished petals a pretty shape.

All imperfect, all beautiful.

Now it's time to add embellishments, if you like. We glued some small buttons to the center of a few of our flowers, for added snazzle.

We experimented with other shapes and techniques, like layered hearts, and snipping some of the petals to appear fringe-y, like the purple flower in this picture. We cut some leaves out of glittered scrapbooking paper, and we rolled a few small balls of yarn from scraps to add to the wreaths.

Arrange your snazzles so they look good to you, and hot glue them on. (FYI: Since snazzle is a word I just made up five minutes ago, feel free to use it as an adjective, a verb, a noun, whatever. I give you permission.)

I like the layered flowers on this one. The yarn is wrapped in Cara on Springvale.

See the sparkly leaves and the small balls of yarn? This is Clare on Lindon Merino. It looks pretty on my library door!

And if you have some handpainted yarn with repeating segments of color, this is a fun way to show it off! Tara on Lindon Merino here:

I hung these in my kitchen, and I love the way the pale green looks with the red, purple, pink, and blue.

Your turn! Make some Valentine's yarn wreaths, and be sure and send me a picture! Happy Valentine's Day to you!

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Reader Comments (24)

I'm so making this!

January 20, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterashley

These are so stinkin' cute! I have lots of scraps that are dying to become mini-wreaths!

January 20, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDawn

Yay! Can't wait to see your creations!

January 20, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterYarnista

Thank you - we needed a craft to do on a cold weekend!

January 20, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMarcela

oh my gosh those are the cutest thing ever!

January 20, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMonica

I had so much fun making these with you!! : ) The more snazzle the better, like crack but better!

January 20, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSara B

I just got some Lindon that is dyed in Cathleen, I am also *so* going to do this. Amazing, really. So creative. I envy your creativity.

January 20, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAnyssa

Love! Gonna make one of these for sure. I can see one of these done up in a Frida Kahlo theme

January 21, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterstacey

OMG! I am making one for every holiday!!! Do you love having your sister handy? I would be lost without my sisters handy!! You can't snatch things and say "Gimme!" to just friends.

January 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAmy A

This is the cutest thing I've ever seen! I can't wait to make one of these!

January 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJodyH

those are freaking adorable.

January 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMandy

Thank you! That is so cool! And it looks like something even I can do!

January 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterGwen

Uh - where does one get those wreath forms?

January 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterGwen

Gwen, they sell them at any craft store. They're inexpensive at places like Michael's, A.C.Moore, or Hobby Lobby.

January 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterYarnista

Truly, those a Martha moment if ever I saw one.The finished wreath pix look like they came straight out of BH&G. How cool would that be? Because you have hours and hours and hours of free time (ha!) using that picture would be a great pitch to some mags. Think of all the perfect 3IG Snazzle Wreaths for other holidays -- Easter, 4th of July, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas..........

January 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKimH

These are fantastic! Thanks for the inspiration.

January 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterVe

I really need a hot glue gun of my own... So far I've resisted the craft felt, but you've just tipped the balance! I'm sure my mother need me to send her a Valentine yarn wreath!

January 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJessica Powers

LOVE these!! And like you, I like to wind a ball of yarn by hand, especially pretty hand-dyed yarn. It's very soothing! Until the little ones decide to mess with it and wreck your rhythm, LOL...

January 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterStephanie

Okay, seriously Martha, did you just make this up out of the clear blue sky? Where did you learn how to make flowers like that? Cripes I am not crafty. That is why I love google.

January 23, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSteph

Thanks! I'm going to check out Michael's this weekend! Making this will be a little break from knitting, but I'll still be feeling the yarn!

January 25, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterGwen

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