Christmas cards: 2016

Most years, I make my own Christmas cards. These are typically made from card (of course), but in 2016 I ended up experimenting with mixed media.

At first, I tried a few prototypes…

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Multilingual cards. (Spanish and Czech were introduced after I dropped my ‘Y’ stamp down the sink, meaning no more ‘merry’, ‘happy’ or ‘joyeux’…)

…and I liked these designs, but they felt a bit too flat somehow. In 2016, I had been doing a lot of crochet, so the idea struck me to incorporate wool into that year’s cards.

I started by drawing a feint design in pencil on a piece of card using only dots (like a connect-the-dots puzzle). Then I used a darning needle to carefully punch through each dot, making a small hole. In this pic, you can see the light shining through:

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(This hole-punching technique worked best when I first placed the card on a large, thin sponge — just an ordinary thin kitchen sponge like these. The delicate card was less likely to bend or crease under the pressure of the needle, and the needle didn’t scratch the table underneath.)

I chose a contrasting colour of yarn and began to ‘sew’ through the holes, creating the final design:

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It took a couple of attempts to get the design perfect — the most challenging thing was arranging the holes symmetrically and choosing how many holes to punch so that the final stitch would pull the yarn through the back of the card.

On other cards, I wanted the final stitches to come out of the front of the card, as this was part of the design, such as on the Christmas tree version:

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The back of the snowflake cards looked pretty crazy, but this didn’t matter. I just covered it with another piece of card and glued this down so the stitching was no longer visible. And for the simpler designs, I left the stitches visible on the reverse. It really looked more appealingly crafty and organic that way.

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Behind the scenes!

In the end, I had a suite of four cards using different designs and colours. And I think these might just be my favourite Christmas cards I’ve ever made!

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