Holiday Gifts day two: needlepoint pin

When I was around 6, my grandmother gifted me my first little needlepoint pillow set.  I followed the little duck pattern with my oversized blue plastic needle, and slowly but surely I finished the little pillow and sent it off to get backed and stuffed.  I don’t needlepoint often anymore, but I have to thank my grandmother for giving me the skills all those years ago. Now, I’m making this slightly military inspired chevron needlepoint pin as a Hanukkah gift or stocking stuffer for the holidays (I won’t deny that I already made one for myself). Check out some of the pins I’m selling in my etsy shop or jump right into making your pin.

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what you need:

  1. A piece of plastic grid.  You can find it at lots of art supply stores or even Joann fabrics. I found little strips at SCRAP, a creative reuse center in San Francisco.  You want to buy grid with about 10 holes per inch.  

  2. 3 colors of embroidery floss. 

  3. Scissors

  4. Felt

  5. A 1” pin back

  6. A needle thin enough to pass through the grid and with a wide enough eye for the strands of embroidery floss.

  7. Hot glue gun (with glue, duh)

  8. A plan of attack, aka a pattern.  Here is my pattern.  If you can, print it out so that you can refer to it during the tutorial.

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what you do:

step 1: Cut the plastic grid into a rectangle of 22 by 15 whole squares. *of course you can choose any size you would like, but at least one side needs to be odd for the tip of the chevron*

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step 2: On the side of the rectangle with 15 squares, find the central square. Cut away the 7 squares on either side of that central square.  This one remaining square will be the tip of your chevron.  Now in the next row above the tip leave 3 full squares at the center and cut away 6 squares on either side of those central 3.  Keep cutting like this until you reach the outside edge. You are essentially cutting a stepped or tiered triangle.  

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Step 3. On the other odd end cut right through the center, cutting into about 5 squares. Then about 3 squares in from either edge angle your scissors in toward your previous central cut to create a cut out triangle (this is only to help you get a better angle when cutting the inverse triangle).  Now, leaving 1 square on either outside edges, cut in a similar stepping pattern as you did for the first triangle. In the second row, leave two squares on the outside edge.  Continue cutting in that same pattern as you move towards the center. As you get closer to the center it may be more difficult to cut away the squares, but the plastic is very flexible, so don’t be afraid to bend the chevron a little bit to get a better angle.  

Step 4. Pick your color arrangement and how you want to distribute the colors. You will have 13 rows to work with if you are using my pattern. So, you actually have many options to choose from in how to arrange your colors. I am going to do 5 rows of my first color (ecru), 2 rows of the second color (gold), and 6 rows of the third color (orange brown).  This is a 5, 2, 6 pattern. But you could also arrange the colors in 3, 4, 6 or 1, 11, 1 or 5, 3, 5 patterns. (so many options, oh my)

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Step 5. For the 5, 2, 6 pattern I will cut a strand of my first color (ecru) that is 68 inches long, a strand of the second color (gold) that is 35 inches long, and a strand of my third color (orange brown) that is 80 inches long.  These measurements should be almost exactly perfect, however to be on the safe side you may want to cut just a few extra inches on each strand.

Step 6. Thread the whole strand of your first color through the eye of the needle.  Make sure the thread folds in half so that it will be doubled up as you needlepoint.  And there is no need to tie a knot (yay)

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Step 7. If you are following the pattern I have provided, thread your needle up through the hole at N3. Leave a ½ inch tail of threads on the back side of the plastic grid.  Hold onto the tail on the back for the first few stitches so that it stays in place. Now, thread your needle diagonally and down through the hole at O2. Now, up through the hole at M4 and down through N3 trying to catch the little thread tail on the inside of your stitch on the back side.  Now thread up through N4 and down through O3. Continue making these upwards diagonal stitches until you get to the center row. These instructions maybe slightly confusing,  but put simply you just need to stitch diagonally up towards the right, catching the tail on the back side underneath your stitches.  With your first color you want to create 5 rows of stitches that will angle into the chevron shape. 

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Step 8. Continue stitching in this diagonal pattern until you reach the central column.  Here, you make a V shape with your stitches.  So, for example when you stitch up through H13 and down through I12 bring your needle back up through G12 and stitch diagonally down to H13 making a V.  Now your diagonal stitches are facing the opposite direction on the left side of the pin.  Continue stitching these Vs in the central column, and then stitch the rest of the left side in this new diagonal direction ending with stitching up through A2 and down through B3.  At this point you will have very little thread left at the ends.  Turn the pin over to the back side.  Take your threaded needle and push it through the backs of your stitches for about an inch.  This will secure your stitches and hide the end of your thread.  Trim the end and voila, now onto color 2.      

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Step 9.  Repeat the same diagonal stitches with your second color this time starting at N8. Make only 2 rows instead of the 5 you made with your first color. Make the same Vs at the center and switch directions.  Thread the end through the back and trim.

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Step 10.  For your 3rd color start your stitches at N10.  And continue with the same diagonal stitches ending up through A14 and down through B15.  And repeat the same pattern you did in steps 8 and 9.

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Step 11.  Hot glue your pin to the back of your stitched chevron.  Make sure to glue it closer to the top than to the bottom so it will sit better on your clothes.    

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Step 12. Now for you very last step.  Cut a rectangular piece of felt that will fit inside the metal pin back and hide your gluing.  Hot glue that felt down and you are all done.  

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Check back Nov 8 for DIY number 3: the leather barrette