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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Sometimes a Craft Just Isn't Worth it

To go with my red and white decor this year I thought I could whip up a bunch of simple ornaments from red and white ribbons, using Martha Stewart patterns. The first one, in the Dec. 2009 issue of Martha Stewart Living, was simple enough:
I just tied six overhand knots in the ribbon, facing the same direction, and they naturally formed a six-sided shape. Because the knots are necessarily loose (to keep the ribbon flat) they had a tendency to slide around so I held the first one in place with a safety pin. Once the six knots were formed I tucked the ends of the ribbons in the the knots at each opposite end, and glued the ends in place. I may use a little more glue; the knots seem flimsy, though I suppose there is no way they can actually come undone. I made a bunch for Beadboy1's teachers and therapists and paras (oh my!).

The second pattern, the "medallion ribbon," was from an older magazine -- 2008's Martha Stewart Holiday. This was not so easy. For one, they don't tell you what size ribbon to use, just that the length was approximately one yard and to make accordion folds every inch, then sew a thread "through the layers near the ribbon's cut ends, about 1/4 inch from the edge." Not particularly clear -- I'm pretty sure by "edge" they mean the long edge, not the cut ends, but it could have been worded better. And why specify 1/4 inch there, but use the imprecise "near" for the other measurement? After trying this with 1 inch ribbon and getting a crumpled mess, and examining the picture more closely, I realized I needed to use ribbon that was at least 2 inches wide.

So back to the craft store I went. With a limited selection, I settled for a white crinkly ribbon and a red fine grosgrain ribbon, both with wired edges, but it would be easy enough to remove the wires.

I tried first with the white ribbon, removing the wire (really, fishing line). But the ribbon was very soft and stretchy, and trying to get 36 accordion folds was a disaster. I persevered and ran the thread "near" the ends and 1/4 inch from an edge, and ended up with this:
This is not at all what it is supposed to look like, the folds are completely dissipated. But it is pretty, in a floral, sea-anemone kind of way. I could have gotten the exact same effect by just using a running stitch along one edge and gathering it together.

So then I tried with the heartier red ribbon, and kept the wire to help hold its shape -- a good call on my part, because it helped maintain the folds. I tied the ribbon, and then stared at it. The directions said to fan and flatten the folds, but I couldn't really see how to do that and keep all the folds in the same direction. I began fiddling and squashing, and eventually got this:
(The color is off). This is in fact how the finished product is supposed to look (their center is a bit neater) but I could not for the life of me tell you how I actually achieved this.

The last ribbon ornament was made from three lengths of ribbon coiled into figure eights, and layered to create a six "pointed" star. But the curve of the ribbon meant the top of the ornament would show the back of the ribbon, and even though I used 5/8 inch ribbon like they suggested, I can't actually fit all three on top of each other without squishing the loops.
I think I will just use two figure eights, to make a cross, and flip them over so you can see the stripes. I'll add a red button to the center to hide the ends and glue.

What a disappointment.

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