Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Tutorial (Part 2 of 2) for "Halloween Jacks" Candle Mat

For those of you following along, this is Part 2 (and the final part) of a Tutorial for my new "Halloween Jacks" pattern for an approximate 15" candle mat.  Part 1 of the Tutorial can be found here.  This is a fun and [very] easy project you can make from 100% wool or wool "felt" (which is a 35% wool/rayon blend you can find for a lot cheaper at fabric stores).  I received overwhelming response for pre-orders of this pattern (thank you!!) and the pattern is now back from the printers and ready for shipping.  You can click on the "Halloween Jacks" picture in the right-hand column of this blog, or you can get more information here.  Your copy of "Halloween Jacks" is available for $9.99 through snail-mail with FREE shipping or for $7.99 by e-pattern download.

By the way, if you haven't ordered yet because you're hoping to win my contest for a free copy of Halloween Jacks that I'm giving away at the end of January, I'll up the ante a little and be happy to refund your money if you are the lucky winner!  I've included info on how to enter at the end of this post.

Here's Part 2 of the Tutorial, and I hope you enjoy it!

Halloween Jacks Tutorial - Part 2 of 2

Let's Embellish!  In Part 1 of this Tutorial, we learned the difference between 100% wool and 35% wool "felt", how to trace and cut out the design, and about stitching the jack-o-lantern faces to the background. We also learned that by this point in your project, your candle mat is probably looking a bit lumpy and bumpy, and not to worry because we're going to fix that.  For the moment though, we've come to my favorite part of making the candle mat:  Embellishing!  You'll notice there are sixteen [yikes, sixteen!] little teeny centers for all the eyeballs in this candle mat.  Don't worry--the pattern gives you a quick little tip for cutting out 16 perfect circles in probably a minute.  Those little black dots are stitched to the mat with a single stitch in the center, making a very fast job out of finishing the eyes.  The smiles are stem-stitched, and again, instructions and diagrams for that stitch are included in the pattern, as well as an easy way to finish the teeth.

It's Time for Steam:  If your project looks anything like mine, your candle mat is looking a bit shoddy right now, your stitches might look uneven, and the wool might be puckering.  We'll that's exactly how it should look for as much handling as it's had.  My pattern shows you how to steam iron your candle mat so it is nice and flat, and you'll find that steaming also makes your stitches uniform.  Problem fixed!

We've Come to the End of the Story:  You could stop right now and simply blanket stitch around the outside scalloped edge of your candle mat, and it would look just fine.  But I wanted my mat to be thicker and plush, and I also wanted to hide all my little stitches and tails on the back.  To do that, I added 35% wool felt backing.  I chose 35% wool felt for the back because it's cheaper and generally thicker than 100% wool and I love the thickness it provided for my mat.  I've included the template for the backing in my pattern and it makes an easy job of cutting a perfect backing for your candle mat.  Carefully line up the edges, and bam!  You're ready to blanket stitch the layers together, which by the way, creates a wonderful finished edge.  A tiny steam bath again, and your candle mat is finished!

Win Your Free Copy of "Halloween Jacks"!  That's it for the Halloween Jacks Tutorial, and I hoped you enjoyed it.  Don't forget that between now and January 31, you can win a FREE copy of the Halloween Jacks pattern I'm giving away.  There's lots of ways to enter, and you can do ONE or ALL of the following to get extra chances to win:
  • Leave a comment on this blog = 1 chance to win
  • Become a follower of this blog = 1 chance to win
  • Get a friend to leave a comment or become a follower of this blog (be sure to let me know who your friend is) = 1 chance to win
  • Share this blog post on your Facebook page (there's a little Facebook link in the left-hand column of this blog) (be sure to let me know) = 1 chance to win

Gotta close now, as I'm applying the stitches on a cute new Christmas candle mat that I'll start yakking about later this week.  In the meantime, Happy Stitchin'!  -- xoxo  Melanie


  1. Such a darling design. I'd love to get it made for next year.

    I'm a follower.

    1. Hi Gayle, thanks for liking my pattern and for being a follower. You are entered for TWO chances, and good luck!

  2. Ooo! I just bought this pattern at the local quilt shop and I hope I can get it done before Halloween! I'm wondering if the people who bought this in January have theirs done yet?

  3. Hi Lisa! I'm happy you like this pattern! Yes, you can get it done before Halloween--it's real easy and fun to do. I often mix television or road trips with stitchin', don't you? :)

  4. Melanie,
    Thank you SO much for sending me the fabric kit for this pattern; I got it in the mail the next day and I wasn't even ready to start because I was still practicing my blanket stitch! I'm cutting out my pattern now and I just wanted to tell you how much I appreciated your fast service :)

  5. Lisa, I'm so happy you received your kit! I hope you enjoy making Halloween Jacks! --Melanie