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Continuing our Christmas in July Celebration we Present

A class for kids and adventurous adults

by Lois Caron


*1 skein of CARON collection thread such as Rachelette or Watercolours (you will be able to stitch two large ornaments with a 5 yd skein of Rachelette; you will be able to stitch 4 or 5 large ornaments with one 10 yd skein of Watercolours)
1 tapestry needle size 18 or 20
1 sheet of 7 mesh plastic canvas

*We used a variety of threads for our samples: Watercolours, #145 Carnival; Rachel, B5 Royal Blue; Rachelette, A16 Silver and A44 Green


Beads and/or charms to decorate the ornaments (We used one package of Mill Hill Pebble Beads #05161 one wreath charm and one faerie charm)
Foil paper or felt to use as a backing for the ornaments


There is more to embroidery than just cross stitch. This month we will explore a fun stitch, called the leaf stitch, to make decorations which can be used as Christmas ornaments, or which can be pasted on greeting cards or notebooks. You could even sew them to your jeans jacket or make suncatchers to hang in a window.

There are many variations of the leaf stitch, but we will stick with the basic format and play with ways to combine "leaves" to make different shapes. We'll also see how different threads and different colors can make the same shape look like something really new.

You can make everything shown in this class with just one type and color of thread, but we've tried a variety and you may want to experiment also. The larger ornaments require about two yards of thread and the smaller ones one yard or less. If you've got scraps from previous projects, try them out on these designs.


Watercolours is variegated pima cotton. There are three strands twisted together and they normally should be separated.. For these designs, though, you can leave the thread just as it comes. For bright, fun designs choose color combinations with a lot of contrast. For a more realistic look (such as for leaves) choose color tones that are closer together in value.

Rachel is a tubular nylon thread. It can be stitched flat, like ribbon, or it can be scrunched up to stitch on finer canvas or fabric. It can ravel, so use a large needle and immediately cut off any ends that start to fray. Rachel gives a shiny, wet look to your stitching.

Rachelette is a tubular nylon thread with a thin metallic threaded through it. It is thick and should be used on canvas or fabric with big holes. Plastic canvas is perfect. Like Rachel, it can fray, so keep an eye on the ends and clip off any ravels before they get too big. You'll probably also have to smooth the thread frequently since the metallic or the nylon sometimes get longer than the other thread and they need to be equalled out again. Rachelette adds a really nice sparkle to your stitching.



You can either start with the "top" or the "bottom" of the leaf, so we show two different stitch sequences.

Begin by threading the yarn on a large tapestry needle and make a knot at one end. Bring the thread from the front of the canvas to the back, positioning the knot about 2 inches away from the starting point of your stitching. Follow the stitch sequence of your choice and bring the needle to the front of the canvas on uneven numbers and bring it to the back of the canvas on even numbers.

On our first stitched sample we have used Rachelette, A16. We added a cross stitch and a hangar made of the same thread at the base of the leaf. We added a faerie charm at the tip of the leaf.

If you want to make a bunch of these, they would be pretty on a small tabletop tree or glued on a greeting card.


On this example we stitched two groups of leaf stitches and placed them at right angles to one another. We added a wreath ornament where the leaves join. Depending on the threads selected, this could be made to look like holly leaves, or a bow. We used Rachelette, A44 for our sample.


For examples 3A, 3B, 3C and 4 we have combined four groups of leaf stitches, with each group facing in a different direction.

3A is stitched with Watercolours, Carnival (#145).
3B is stitched with Rachelette, A16. We've added three pebble beads in the center.
3C is stitched with Rachelette, A44. This time we've arranged pebble beads in a starburst and sewed them on top of the needlework.


For Example 4 we did something a little different. We took the tubular nylon thread (Rachel) in color B5. With a big blunt needle, we threaded the Carnival Watercolours through the center of the tube and used that to stitch the ornament. Look how different the Carnival appears now!We also left the center hole blank, so each leaf was moved out by one plastic canvas "thread. Then we added some cross stitches and beads for extra decoration.


For all of the ornaments so far, we've made sure the base of the leaf stitch was facing toward the center of the design and the tip to the outside. What happens if you turn the leaves around so the tips are all facing toward the center?

Take a look at the following example, which we stitched with the Carnival Watercolours.


Carefully cut all around your stitched shape. Be sure to leave one plastic canvas thread all all around the design.

Use leftover scraps of threads to make hangars if these are to be Christmas ornaments.

You might want to cut out felt or foil shapes to glue to the back of the designs first.

If you wish, you can glue the ornaments to paper or fabric for lots of other uses, such as clothing embellishment or holiday cards.


I hope, by now, that you have lots of ideas of your own and will go on to experiment with new variations.

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COPYRIGHT NOTICE: No part of these instructions/project nor the included diagrams/illustrations can be reproduced or distributed in any form (including electronic) or used as a teaching tool without the prior written permission of the CARON Collection Ltd. One time reproduction privileges provided to our web site visitors for and limited to personal use only.


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