Felted flower pins are easy to make. (Charles V. Tines / The Detroit News)
Elaine Redmond learned to knit in her youth, "probably 50 or 60 years ago," but when her adult daughter asked for help in learning, she confessed she remembered "nothing" about knitting.
"I didn't remember how to knit, so we took a class together," says the Beverly Hills resident, who had given up the craft once she got married and had children. "So little by little, I started making these baby hats."
She later began making colorful felted flowers, stitched entirely by hand with a button center, to embellish her knitted hats.
"I had been making the flower hats for a number of years. Then last year, my son-in-law was near death. He survived but found out he had Type I diabetes," she says. "He had very little insurance but had to cover the cost of insulin."
So, she and her daughter decided to host a fundraiser, selling everything from antiques to photographs. Redmond also spent months making a "simplified version" of the felted flowers she used on her hats. She added a metal fastener to the backs and sold them as pins for $8 and $10 each, depending on the button used. Not only did she sell them at the fundraiser, but later at Franklin Art in the Village, Leon & Lulu's Artists' Market and the Birmingham Community House. She says sometimes people will purchase one for each guest attending a get-together in their home, like a bridge club party.
Redmond plans to start selling the pin pattern for $5, with all the money going toward helping her son-in-law. The pattern will include a color photograph, instructions, templates and sources for materials.
She's also willing to teach the flower-making technique, for free, to charity groups, especially those dedicated to helping individuals living with diabetes.
Felted Flower Pin
(A simple project that takes patience with cutting/stitching.)
Estimated time: 60 minutes
Tools: Scissors, sewing needle, glue
Supplies: A sheet of paper, three pieces of felt in different colors of choice, 1 1/8-inch button (with or without shank), embroidery floss, small gold beads, a 1 1/2-inch pin back
1. Use paper to cut three circles/templates (below left), one each of 2, 2 3/8 and 2 3/4 inches in diameter.
2. Use templates to cut out felt circles, one in each color/size.
3. Fold one circle in half and cut narrow triangle from top and bottom of folded side. Open, turn, line up cuts and cut again on top and bottom. Continue until you have a circle with eight "petals." Repeat for remaining circles. (If button has shank, put hole in center of each circle at this point.)
4. Stack circles by size with cuts evenly aligned. Starting with smallest on top (center of flower), stitch or glue centers together.
5. Sew button to center. If button has holes, stitch beads over them, if desired.
6. Use piece of felt to cut small leaf shape for pin back.
7. Split floss in half, using only three strands to make blanket stitch around leaf. Embroider center of leaf to create a "vein."
8. Stitch pin back on and glue or sew leaf-shaped felt in place so it peeks out from behind.
Contact Elaine Redmond at (248) 647-6912.
Elaine Redmond first made the flowers for hats she knitted. (Charles V. Tines / The Detroit News)
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