Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Vintage Yarn Roses

Many years ago, my grandmother taught me to make yarn roses that were woven on a circle of cardboard.  I was very young at the time, 9 or 10, but remember sitting with her in her living room making them.  She used to make them for sales for her woman's group.  Anyhow, I have never been able to recall how they were made.  I searched the internet but, not knowing what to call them, never came up with anything that resembled what she used to make.

Now I also collect old craft magazines and books.  Recently while looking through one of them, I found the instructions to make the same roses that Grammy used to make.  I was thrilled!  My grandmother passed away in 1994 at 94 years old so finding those instructions brought back a flood of memories for me and made me very happy.  And I want to share those instructions for this vintage craft.  Just to let you know, this is a long post!

This is the magazine that I found the instructions in:

It is a December 1977 issue of the magazine.  And these are the yarn roses.  My grandmother made them into brooches for sale.
The supplies are simple:  a piece of plastic or sturdy cardboard (I used the lid from a take out container), about 3 yards of yarn (worsted or baby weight), a yarn needle, 4 inches of wire (22 gauge works well), and scissors.  You will also need a marker to make a pattern on the plastic.

First step:  Trace a 3-1/2 inch circle onto the plastic.  This doesn't need to be exact.  The magazine came with a template, but it isn't necessary.  Draw lines across the center point of the circle such that it is divided into 8 equal pie pieces. Number them as shown in the picture.  Also notice at the outer edge of the circle where the line meets, an indentation has been drawn to hold the yarn in place.  Cut out the circle, including the indentations.
Time to wrap the yarn.  This proved to be a bit difficult  - don't ask me why!!  I had a heck of a time holding the yarn such that it overlapped in the center.  Thread the needle to start with the yarn needle.  Starting in the center, extend the yarn about an inch past the center dot.  ((My plastic cover had a dot raised right in the middle.)  Bring the yarn up to left of the 1, straight down to 2, across to 3.  This is where it gets frustrating.  Since they aren't exactly across from one another, the yarn won't intersect the center.  Just keep going, ending at 8.
You have to push and pull on the yarn spokes to move them back to the center.  Then hang on!!  The back of this will look fine.  So why not use the back?  Because the yarn will be on the front and you won't be able to wrap it properly.  But now that I'm writing this there is a way...duh.  Just do one final double wrap around 1, I believe, and bring it around to the back.  Oh well.  Trial and error!

Next you want to anchor the spokes.  Starting at yarn 1, just bring your needle over and under the spokes, ending back at 1.  Pull firmly. It will then hold the spokes in place, as shown below.
Now to begin the rose.  When you completed anchoring the spokes, you should have ended up going under spoke 8.  Take the yarn and go over spoke 1.  Sorry that the numbers are no longer visible.  They wore off as I worked on this.  I would suggest etching them in using a dried up pen.  After a few roses, you won't need them any longer.  Next go over spoke 3 and hold loosely in place. Take the needle and go back over the top of spoke 3, under spoke 3, and through the loop made, as shown below.  This picture is a little further along in the construction, but still the same steps.  Pull snugly up to the center of the spokes. 
Continue in the same manner around the spokes until all of the yarn is used:  over and under each spoke.  When I had about 1-1/2 inches of yarn left I tied another overhand knot on the spoke to anchor in place.
 Flip the piece over and cut the yarn in the center.  It will look like a yarn spider!
 Take the 4-inch piece of wire and insert it through the middle of the rose.
 Make a small hook on the end of the wire and draw it back down through the center of the rose.
You will need to manipulate it through as you don't want it too close to where you first inserted the wire.   
Flip the rose over. and twist the wires together.
I used my jewelry flat-nosed pliers to do this, but you can easily twist it by hand.  Flip the flower over to the right side, holding onto the wire as a stem.  Take the loose yarn ends and pull them down such that you are holding them and the wire like the stems of a bouquet.  Slightly push up on the bottom of the flower to give it fullness.  I then wrapped the wire around the the yarn, close to the bottom of the flower to keep the fullness. 
Trim the yarn ends slightly, cutting off about an inch.  The magazine suggests wrapping with floral tape.  I want mine to lay flat so I wrapped the entire wire length around the yarn ends and will trim the remaining yarn off. I'm not sure what I want to make from these yet.  I wove 3 green roses to make into a shamrock for Saint Patrick's Day.  For these I will mount the roses on a felt shamrock for stability.  I'll share that later this week.  But for now, I am happy to have found the instructions for this vintage craft.   I hope that you try this and enjoy it.  Please share with me if you do.

Happy Crafting!


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