Adapted from Told in a Garden's "2004 Christmas Free Design". Stitched on 22 count hardanger with a single strand of floss.
First I determined the size for this ornament. I used a circle template but one could also use a compass, or household items, to draw circles on semi transparent paper, like tracing paper or wax paper. (If the only option is opaque paper one can hold them over the stitched item against a bright window.)
I used the circle template to mark two circles on the backing board. (I like to use illustration board or thin mat board but I've read that comic book board is a good thickness too.) I cut out the two circles. I centered one of the circles on my stitched piece and cut the fabric approximately 1/2 inch from the circle. I repeated this process for the backing fabric.
I applied glue stick to the backing boards and pressed them down on my padding. (I like to use thermolam, baby fleece or dense quilt batting.)
When the glue was set I cut the padding around the circles.
Using a long piece of thread I basted two lines of stitching around the fabric circle, approximately 1/4 inch from the edge. On the second circuit I made sure that I matched stitch for stitch. (I like to go around twice because the fabric draws up more evenly and it doesn't relax too much as I tie the knot.)
I centered one of the padded circles padded side down on the wrong side of the fabric. I pulled on both ends of the gathering thread until the fabric was pulled tight to the backing board. I knotted the threads together and cut them about 1/2 inch from the knot. Then I repeated the process with the stitched piece of fabric. I placed four pins at the top bottom and sides of the stitched design, all the same number of threads from the edge. Then I shifted the stitched piece until it was well centered.
The stitched piece was quite tight on the backing board but I decided to lace the back of it to tighten it up a little bit more. (I also could have tightened it up by placing quick drying glue, like FabriTac, under the fabric edge and then pushing the opposite edges towards the center of the back.) I knotted one end of the thread to the fabric near the bottom of the ornament and made a small stitch in the fabric near the top of the ornament. I made the next stitch to the right of the knot and the one after that to the left of the second stitch. I continue in this manner ...
...until I arrived back at the knot. I gently pulled the thread tight, checked the front of the ornament to make sure that it was still well centered, knotted the thread to the fabric and removed the pins.
(In 2019 I published this page that shows how using self stick mounting boards eliminates the need for both gathering stitches and lacing.)
If I had wanted a hanging cord that emerged from the center of the ornament I would have now glued it to one of the backs.
I applied a line of glue to the folded over fabric. (I don't apply glue to the center of the ornament when I am gluing the ornament "sandwich" together. That is because the gathered fabric makes the ornament thicker at the edges than it is in the center where there is no fabric. If I forced the centers to stick together I would be making the ornament a little concave at the center.) I used Fabritac glue and I applied a generous amount, but not so much that it would ooze out the sides when I assembled the ornament.
I pressed the two ornament halves together, placed them on a flat surface and applied weight to the top. (If I had been using a slower drying glue I might have used clothespins around the edge instead.)
When the glue was well set I wrapped the cording around the ornament and cut it to a length that would give the ornament a bit of a tail. I prepared the ends of the cording and used a pin to mark the center of it. Click here to visit the page where I explain how I finish the end of commercial cording. Or here to visit the page where I explain how I make twisted cord with a single tassel. I stuck the pin into the gap in the top center of the ornament,
then moved the cording out of the way while I used a toothpick to apply glue to the gap along the top half of the ornament. I used a clean toothpick to remove any excess glue, pressed the cording into the glue and inserted pins just below the end of the glue. I removed any visible glue with another clean toothpick and left the ornament to dry.
When it was dry I removed the pins then used a toothpick to neatly apply glue to the gap all the way down to the base of the ornament. I pressed the cording into the glue and stuck two pins into the cording. I used a clean toothpick to remove any visible glue and left it to dry.
I knotted the two pieces of cording together using a length of Perle #8,
and left the two ends of the thread vertically on the ornament.
I fashioned a "faux bow" from organdy ribbon and pinned it together at the center. I placed it on top of the knot in the thread.
Then I tied the Perle thread in a bow over the organdy faux bow and removed the pin. I placed a drop of glue on the center of the knot. I threaded another length of Perle thread onto a tapestry needle and poked it beneath the cording at the center top of the ornament. I removed the needle, tied a knot and trimmed the cord above the knot.
If you click on the image below you can see how I have used self-stick mounting board (instead of gathering stitches) to make an Oval Ornament.
Note. Another way to make sure that a circular ornament is well centered is to poke a pin through the center of the stitched design and the center of the padded back. If the pin is left in place until back is laced or glued then the ornament will stay well centered. For an oval ornament it is better to baste the center lines of the stitched piece and align them with center lines drawn on the back of backing board. Similar to how I centered this lens shaped piece.
To make a puffier circular ornament one can use layers of padding. The bottom circles of padding can be cut smaller than the top circle. Or one can use metal finishing forms.
I have been asked where I get circular and oval templates. If you don't own compass you can probably find lots of circle shapes around the house but ovals can be more challenging. Both can be easily drawn if you know what size you want and you have MS Paint on your computer. The sequence is as follows:
Open MS Paint.
Choose Image, then Attributes*
Choose inches or centimeters and fill in your dimensions
Click on the Ellipse on the tool bar
Place the cursor on the bottom right of the white rectangle.
Click and move the cursor to the top left corner of the white rectangle.
(*With newer versions of Paint instead of Image/ Attributes use File/ Properties and then enter your dimensions.)
You should now have a circle or oval ready for printing. (First check your Page Setup to make sure that it is set to fit on 1 by 1 pages.)
Finally, sometimes an elongated circle may accommodate your stitched piece better than an oval.
(Adapted from Mill Hill kit "Sweet Greetings Gingerbread".)
Pinwheel 2008 to 2019