It’s that time of year again . . . time to replenish (or start!) making handmade gifts for friends and family. This year I thought ahead. I already knit a few baby hats and tucked away several gift card wallets in my gift stash. Those are great for my sisters in law and their children, but wanted to make something practical for my quilting friends that didn’t involve too much hand work or an extensive time commitment. The gift that immediately came to mind was a pincushion made by “Quilting Arts TV” host and art quilter extraordinaire, Susan Brubaker Knapp.
Susan has a way of looking at the ordinary and coming up with an extraordinary artistic version. She shared this project on “Quilting Arts TV” series 2200, along with several other creative techniques. Here’s how she made the succulent portion of the pincushion that was later attached to a dryer ball.
Succulent Flower Materials
• Wool felt in shades of blues and greens (for succulents and base of moss)
• Heavy cotton thread (such as hand quilting thread) in green to match succulents
• Variegated green quilting thread (for moss)
• Black ultra-fine tip permanent marker
• Hand embroidery needle
Optional: Dye-Na-Flow fabric paint
How to Make a Succulent Flower
1. Place the wool felt on a cutting mat and cut a strip that is 1/2″-wide at 1 end and 1 1/2″-wide on the other end. My strips were 11 1/2″ but they can be longer for larger succulents.
2. With a black permanent marker, make 4 marks every 1/2″, starting at the 1/2″ thick end. Then make 4 marks every 3/4″, then 4 marks every 1″, and then 2 marks every 1-1/4″. These marks will be cut off later.
3. At each mark, cut into the strip down to about 1/8″–3/16″ from the edge.
4. From each segment, cut either rounded or pointed “petals” without cutting through the whole strip.
5. Using heavy hand quilting thread, roll up each strip and carefully stitch them together on the back as you roll. If desired, you can cut individual petals that are exactly the size you need for the outer edge of the succulent, and attach them separately from the strip. When you have finished stitching, smoosh the succulent down from the top, and manipulate the petals with your hands so that they stand up the way you want.
6. If desired, use watered-down fabric paint such as Dye-na-Flow to add some color to the center of each petal.
More projects and techniques for art quilters are featured in every episode of “Quilting Arts TV”. Each series is chock full of beautiful quilts, unique artistry, and on-trend embellishing ideas for you to try on your own. Watch Quilting Arts TV on your local PBS station, and consider purchasing your own copy of series 2200 today as a download or DVD so you’ll never miss another gre
at idea for quilt gifts and more.