Tuesday, May 13, 2014

A Maybelle flower garland


I'm known around here for my passion for hanging things on the walls. I can't let a blank space stay that way. If I can make something myself for the purpose, so much the better. I had lately been feeling the need to fill up the wall above the GB's bed. It's a fairly big space and it was mostly empty. Five feet across, from closet doors to window, it needed something to break up the space. I thought about it a lot and considered several options but ultimately decided to do it with a garland made from crocheted Maybelle flowers. This free pattern is quick and easy to make and I love the way the flowers turn out. I used cotton yarns in lots of bright colors, to make the GB's garland fun and cheerful.


Maybelle flowers are really enjoyable to make. I think they look more complicated than they are. Once you have the pattern memorized, it's easy to churn out a pile of them in very little time at all. I'd made some in the past and felt confident with the technique, so this time around, I decided to experiment a little and I discovered something very interesting about the pattern...


It's really easy to alter the basic Maybelle flower pattern to change the size of the finished flower. In the photo above, I've got three different sizes. The orange one has nine petals, the turquoise one has eight and the yellow one has six. The turquoise flower was made according to the basic pattern, but the orange and yellow flowers were made with my modification. I figured out that the second round has to contain stitches in a multiple of three in order to properly create the next round, which is the base for the petal round. The original Maybelle flower, with eight petals, has 24 (US) double-crochet stitches worked into the center ring (23dc+ch3). By changing the number of stitches worked into the center ring, but keeping it in multiples of three, it's easy to alter the number of petals in the finished flower. The orange flower has 27 stitches worked into the center ring (26dc+ch3). The yellow one has 18 stitches worked into the center (17dc+ch3). The shape of the flower changes slightly when you add or subtract petals from the original pattern, but I think it creates an interesting, sort of organic effect if you're going to use them together in a garland, like I did.


The flowers are such a breeze to make that I soon had a nice little pile of them. I made three of the large nine-petaled size, five of the original eight-petaled size and three of the smaller six-petaled size. I have to admit that cotton yarn is not my favorite kind to work with; I find it makes me sneeze a lot! The fluffy fibers come off the yarn as I work and I end up breathing them right up my nose. I try to keep the work low in my lap while I crochet, away from my face, but those pesky fibers have a mind of their own. I will also say that I have a distinct preference for I Love This Cotton over Sugar N Cream. The ILTY cotton is soft and pliable, almost silky to crochet with, while the Sugar N Cream is stiff and kind of rope-like. But both crochet up nicely and the colors are clear and fresh. I went with a mixture of brights and pastels, to make the garland visually interesting and not too girly or babyish for the GB's room. I love that foxy shade of golden-brown up there; I made that flower half-expecting the GB to complain about it, but to my surprise it was the first one she commented on when she saw the stack sitting on my desk. "Oooh, I like that brownish one," she said. I was relieved, because I like it too.


I knew the flowers needed some sort of help to flatten and spread their petals nicely, but blocking still kind of spooks me, so I did my own modified method of neatening them up. I laid them out on an old towel and spritzed them lightly with water, then used my fingers to gently stretch the petals out at the tips. I shaped the center ring too, some of them were looking a little oblong. Then I left them on the towel to air-dry overnight. I think it made a big difference, actually. I considered stiffening them with fabric starch or PVA glue, but in the end, I don't think it was necessary. I wanted them to be be neat-looking, but also to dangle kind of casually from the garland string once hung. I decided that stiffened flowers might look a bit...stiff for a whimsical wall display.


I created my garland string from white cotton yarn. It's really simple, just a loooong chain. I didn't need to fill the wall space from edge to edge, but I wanted the garland long enough to fill most of the central portion of the wall and allow for it to be swagged a couple of times as it went across. I decided to make the garland about five feet long, which is the general width of the wall space too. The string was easy, as was attaching the flowers. I figured out that it took about twenty stitches (using a size I/5.5mm hook) to create four inches of chain-stitching. I just counted chains as I went, to space the flowers evenly. I did 25 chains to start (about five inches of length), then attached the first flower by slip-stitching through the stitches along the top of a petal. This made a neat little join. Then I did 20 chains and attached the next flower, and so on. After the final flower, I did 25 chains to match the other end and tied off both ends, sewing the tails into the chain for a few stitches to bury them.


I attached the flowers sort of randomly, in terms of color and size. I didn't want it to look too studied. Whimsy, people.


I don't think I've ever shown you my toolbox before! I keep it in our home office. The Bear put this together for me a long time ago, when we bought our first house. That house was two stories and I was forever asking him to get me tools and wall-hanging paraphernalia from the garage because I hated going down there, due to a crippling combination of arachnophobia and laziness. He finally got tired of all the demands and gave me my own toolbox to keep upstairs, in easy reach whenever the urge to hang something came over me (which it did, often). He unearthed an old wooden toolbox and filled it with basic tools for me. I even have an archaic authentic hand-drill in there. I've got lots of hanging supplies, a good tape measure, a small level, a hammer - you name it. And guess who uses these tools all the time now, even though we now own a one-story house? Yep.


Here's the garland hung on the wall. I had a nail in the center of the space already, from a metal "wall pocket" I'd had hanging there before she got her big-girl bed a couple of years ago; it had sharp corners and I took it down to prevent head injuries. I added nails on either side, evenly spaced. I hung the garland unevenly, to make it look swagg-y and casual. I like how it looks, though this picture is a bit shadowy. It fills the wall nicely, especially because she already has painted wooden letters spelling out her name just above the garland. After taking away the wall pocket, there was too much space below the letters and I think the garland fills in the space.



She loves her garland. She told me it was "happy" when she saw it hanging for the first time. I'm glad. Her bedroom is my favorite one in our house; from her window, she has views of a mimosa tree and our beloved old apple tree. The room is bright and open and she helps me choose decorations. She has pretty good taste for a five-year-old. Like her mother, she has a knack for organization and has started keeping her space very tidy. I don't know how long that will last, but for now, she's proud to show off her neat little room. She's sitting next to me as I write this post and she told me to say that she doesn't have a favorite flower, she likes them all the same and she likes to see the flowers when she wakes up in the morning "because they're pretty and I like flowers." Also, she says that she knew I would want to hang something "in all that empty space." We're on a wavelength, me and my Girl Bear.

41 comments:

  1. What a lovely garland for a gorgeous, lovely girl. It is so sweet that she likes to keep her room tidy and that you and her have such an amazing connection. You can be very proud of both your garland and especially of your girl bear :)

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  2. This is so pretty, Jennifer, you did a great job of altering the sizes. It fills that space beautifully, no wonder GB likes to look at them them each morning! I can tell she has good taste! :) My little girl is quite a messy one and although she tidies her room occasionally, it very rarely stays that way! She goes through phases. A lot of the time, she will ask her brother to help her tidy and she will sit on the bed and watch him do everything (whilst she politely instructs him where to put her things!) Have a lovely day Jennifer, and thank you for sharing your lovely garland. :)

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  3. I never got tired of going from one photo to the next! What pretty and happy little units! I usually don't mind that I can't crochet. I take pleasure in quilting and don't want any time taken from that pursuit. But when I see these little blossoms? Oh, I do wish I could try them - even if just for one day!

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  4. I never got tired of going from one photo to the next! What pretty and happy little units! I usually don't mind that I can't crochet. I take pleasure in quilting and don't want any time taken from that pursuit. But when I see these little blossoms? Oh, I do wish I could try them - even if just for one day!

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  5. That garland is so lovely! I'm so happy that your girl bear is enjoying it in her room. You're a wonderful mother Jennifer!

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  6. That is a perfectly cheery, lovely way to prettify her room! Love the colours, too...Chrissie x

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  7. It's very pretty Jennifer and looks just perfect hanging there. I love hanging things too I have all sorts of my crafty makes hanging all over the house. I'm thinking a few of these would look good too. :)

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  8. How lovely that you are both on the same page as far as home décor goes! Long may it continue. Your garland looks beautiful Jennifer, and I think it is great that you worked out how to change the pattern a little to give a different effect, it adds nicely to the random! xx

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  9. Just lovely...the bright colours are so lovely. Glad the GB likes her new garland. Thanks for the link to the pattern, I will definitely be having a go at those...
    Marianne x

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  10. You're such a good mommy. I wish mine had been more like you. She worked outside the home the whole time I grew up and even before I started school - and I didn't get a lot of attention. So.. I always admire what you do with your kids. ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

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  11. That is such a sweet garland for GB, and I like the 'meandering' way you hung it, Jennifer - well done!
    Joy x

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  12. That is such a pretty garland for a little girls room.

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  13. That is beautiful. The flowers are so pretty and it looks lovely on that wall space.

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  14. It's full of whimsy - perfect! It really does look cute over her bed.
    PS- I love her bed too!

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  15. Oh you 2 are so cute!
    Cheers!
    Linda :o)

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  16. So pretty and yes happy xoxo

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  17. Wonderful work done by you! Colors are so bright and fine!

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  18. How stunning is this garland friend! And how sweet that you can make this for your sweetie! I would say that she will treasure this for many years to come...and who knows....maybe hang it in her babies room one day! A beautiful day to you tomorrow! Nicole xoxo

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  19. It looks perfect for the space. Happy is a good way to describe it.
    xx Beca

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  20. What a pretty garland, and a lovely crotchet project Jennifer. We had the same tool problem as you, with the boy tools all being kept down under the house. Eventually I began collecting my own but they are kept in various spots about the house. You are inspiring me to buy a tool box and collect them all together. Much more sensible!

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  21. Such a pretty garland and lovely that your daughters is so pleased with it. I can't see Matt wanting a flower garland sadly. I made some Maybelle flowers into a lap blanket. They really are very pretty, and I intend to make some more soon. X

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  22. This is just such a lovely garland Jennifer. I like the colours very much. I have a bag of colourful cotton and often make little flowers, for garlands or just to stick on the wall with blue tack, or I use them when wrapping presents. It is very therapeutic to crochet little flowers I think. I have a garland in my kitchen window, which makes my happy every day. I block by ironing the flowers with my steam iron. Works a treat, there is no faffing with pins or anything. x

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  23. Hey Jennifer,
    So pretty. I envy you a little girl and her room. Long may she be tidy. And she has obviously inherited her eye for colour and design from her Mum xx

    Loving the metal bedsted too.

    Leanne xx

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  24. It's so pretty and looks great on that wall space. I really love the colours you used - happy colours! xx

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  25. That is so pretty, just what every little girl (and big girl) needs in her room.

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  26. You are a darling Mother to a darling little girl. The flowers looks so lovely on the wall.
    I am sure GB loves them.
    Meredith

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  27. I agree with GB. The garland flowers are very pretty. That is so funny that she just knew you would hang something in that empty space! :-)

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  28. What a gorgeous idea, Jennifer. Just right on that white wall and perhaps an inspiration for GB as she grows up to have fun with yarn herself..... :-)

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  29. Awwww ... that last little bit made me smile ;) She does sound like a special girl, and what a nice mom to make such happy flowers for her to wake up to! They really do look so cheerful & whimsical floating across the room. Wendy x

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  30. It is such a lovely looking garland, the colours are lovely & bright. What a lovely sweet little girl you have.

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  31. So pretty great colours - and a lovely development of bunting

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  32. It is great when they love what you do for them isn't it, Big Sis is always in awe of what I make for her. I think it will be always treasured. Jo x

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  33. I think its happy too. A beautiful garland made with love for a beautiful little girl. It doesn't get any better than that.

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  34. I'm the same. Can't stand to see a blank wall. Love the garland. I've made one as a gift for a little girl in Sri Lanka but have never made one for me. It's on my list of must do. :) Yours turned out great. Have a great day. Tammy

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  35. Sweet! I love the way the garland turned out, Jennifer! And I love that you and GB are on the same wavelength :) xx

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  36. What a sweet garland... I love it! It looks perfectly happy in GB'S room.

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  37. It's really lovely. The colours, the flowers, the length - all perfect. Just the right amount of whimsy and casualness. It looks great above her gorgeous metal bed stead. x

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  38. A perfect little bit of whimsy to fill empty space ... the colours are lovely ... I'm not surprised she loves it ... Bee xx

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  39. It's at moments like this I know I need to learn how to crochet. My girls would both love such a lovely garland to decorate their room!


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  40. Oh I love that garland Jennifer.

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  41. Great idea to hang them too the wall! I have lots of these flowers made and a very empty office wall... I think I might take up your idea and add them to the wall too!

    Take care
    Anne
    http://crochetbetweentwoworlds.blogspot.de

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