Tuesday, 4 February 2014

How to... Cross Stitch Earings + FREE PATTERN!

I am a fan a jewellery, particularly unique or quirky earrings and necklaces.  I have dice, thongs (flipflops, jandles, pluggers depending on what part of the world you come from), witches hats, Great A'Tuin, sheep, feet, and a time-turner!

Currently, my favourite pair are some Tardis Christmas earrings I made last year as part of the 50th anniversary celebrations (pattern available from my Etsy store).  They were much admired by others at the celebrations.  I'm off to Brisbane this weekend for a Doctor Who Spectacular concert (sort of like BBC at the Proms, but not) and am planning to make myself a new pair, minus the Christmas trees.

Tardis Christmas Earrings
What surprised me most when I made my earrings was how easy it was!  All it took was some spare threads, left-over plastic canvas and a couple of jewellery hooks.  In today's blog-post I thought I'd share just how to make your own pair of Discworld-themed cross stitch earrings.  Don't forget to check out the free pattern at the end!

Death's scythe

What you need:
stitching supplies
  • Plastic canvas
  • Threads (I've used DMC 310, 413, & 898 but any left over scraps will do)
  • Needle
  • Scissors
  • Double-sided tape
  • Jewellery hooks and chain links
  • Pair of pliers
  • Optional - a DVD or audiobook for background noise/entertainment (I watched an episode of Firefly while making mine) :) 

How to make your earrings

Count your starting point carefully!
1. Collect all your materials (one of my biggest peeves when stitching is to get really motivated for a project and make a start, only to find I'm missing a particular thread colour!)
2. Find your starting point on the canvas.  You need to allow for at least a one square boarder around the outside, and a two square boarder along the top - this will become the holder for the earring hook.

The loop method

3. Starting your stitching - when stitching on plastic canvas, I prefer to use the loop method as then you don't have to worry about dangling or loose threads showing through the canvas. 

The loop method: take a single strand of thread and double it over.  Thread the two loose or "live" ends through the eye of your needle. Stitch the bottom half of your first stitch, making sure not to pull the thread all the way through!  On the reverse side of your stitching, thread your needle through the end loop of the thread and pull tight.  Your thread should be "caught" and you're ready to continue stitching.

Half stitches are one half of the cross
4. Continue to follow the pattern to finish of your stitching.  A couple of notes:

Half stitches: you can't stitch through the middle of the plastic canvas.  Instead, only stitch one half of the cross (in the direction of the backstitch).

Finishing your threads: make sure when finishing off your threads that you tuck it under several previous stitches, and trim it neat.  Remember - any loose threads will show through the plastic canvas.

Square cut out

5. Stitch the backstitch, keeping it as neat as possible to avoid stitches showing through - you may need to double back on yourself once you are done. 

You need to stitch two of each pattern, in order to make the front and back of each earring.

6. Cutting out the earrings.  Using a sharp pair of scissors, carefully cut around your stitching, remembering to leave a two square boarder along the top, and a one square boarder on the other sides.

Cut out with diagonals
Diagonals: I find it is easiest to cut a square boarder around the design first, and then trim down the diagonals.  Although there is no right or wrong when it comes to cross stitching, I find it looks best when there is an empty hole visible between the diagonal stitches and the trimed edge - less chance of me cutting any threads as well!

7. Apply double sided tape to one half of the earring, peel off the backing paper and join them together, taking care to line up each edge.

8. Adding the hooks: using pliers (or your fingers if you are like me and need to buy a pair), stretch the chain links open and carefully thread through the top of the earring.  Which hole on the canvas you choose will depend on how you want your earring to hang.  I chose to thread the link through a hole closer to the tip of the scythe blade so that the earrings hang on an angle.  Add the second link to the open one, and then use your pliers to close the link back up.
I use two links so that the earrings are font on when I wear them.  If you would rather they face sideways, use one or three links, depending on how long you want them to be.

9. Attach the hook to the top link.

My jewellery hooks had a larger opening (hidden by the bead), which I was able to attach to the link.  Depending on your hooks, you may need to stretch the link slightly to get it to attach. 

Take care which way you face the hook!  Do you want your earrings to face the same way, or opposite directions?  I chose opposite directions, but it is up to you.

10. Pop them in your ears and get ready to party. :)


Here it is - the pattern to make your own scythe earrings; earrings Death and Susan would be proud of.  

Stay tuned for more Discworld earrings in the coming weeks.

Happy Stitching!

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