Floral Embroidered Pillow

Designer: Katherine Shaughnessey

With its spindly form and distinctive blooms, the sarsaparilla plant comes to life in textural crewel stitches.


  • Natural linen (plain weave or twill): one 24″ square (pillow front) and two 16×20″ rectangles (pillow back)
  • 8″ embroidery hoop
  • Crewel wool thread: 1 skein each of Appleton #441, #442, #443, #445, #481, #992
  • Chenille needle: size 24, or comparable crewel needle of your choice
  • White cotton fabric for lining: one 20″ square and two 16×20″ rectangles
  • Hand-sewing needle
  • Sewing thread
  • 18″ square pillow form
  • Tracing paper
  • Fabric pen or pencil
  • Scissors
  • Straight pins
  • Ruler
  • Embroidery pattern (get it here)

1. Trace the embroidery pattern onto the center of the linen square. Hoop the pillow front.

2. Stitch the stem and branches using chain stitch and #445. Split- stitch the leaves, alternating the uses of #441, #442, and #443. Stitch each blossom using circular couching stitch and #992 (see diagrams, below) and double-wrapped French knots on the ends. Use quadruple-wrapped French knots and #481 for the flower centers. (See how to embroider these stitches here.)

3. Block your finished crewelwork.

4. Trim 2″ from each side of the pillow front, leaving a 1″ border on all sides. The linen fabric with finished crewelwork should now measure 20″ square.

5. Lay your crewelwork facedown on a flat surface. Lay the 20″ square lining piece on top of your crewelwork. Pin the two pieces of fabric together and baste with sewing thread and hand-sewing needle, using a series of 1- to 2″-long straight stitches in diagonal rows spaced about 3″ apart. Stitch loosely, so stitches will be easy to remove later; set aside.

6. Lay one 16×20″ linen rectangle on a flat surface. Place one of the 16×20″ lining pieces on top of the linen rectangle. Pin together and baste as described above. Repeat for the second piece of pillow back and lining fabric.

7. For each pillow back piece, fold one long edge 112” in toward the lining. Press with a hot iron or finger-press. Fold in again another 112“, press, and pin along the folded edge.

8. Using sewing thread, blanket- stitch along the inside folded edge on each of the back pieces. Remove the pins. You should now have two 13×20″ pieces of basted, lined, and hemmed fabric that will be used to make the backing for your pillow.

9. Lay your basted and lined crewelwork faceup on a flat surface. Lay one of the small pieces facedown on top of the crewelwork with the fold in the middle and the left edges lining up. Pin the left edges together. Lay the other small piece in the same manner, matching the right side edges of the crewelwork; pin edges together. The two folded and hemmed edges now overlap in the center.

10. Pin the top and bottom edges, and place a few pins through the center where the two smaller pieces overlap. Flip your work so the lining side of the crewelwork is facing up.

11. Machine-sew the three pieces together, leaving a 1″ hem on all sides; remove pins.

12. Trim the seam allowance to 12“. Snip corners, being careful not to cut too close to the seam; remove the basting stitches. Turn the pillow right side out.

13. Using the end of a blunt scissors, a knitting needle, or chopsticks, gently push out corners from inside the pillow. Slip the pillow insert into the opening in the back of the pillow cover and adjust as necessary.


Cross-Stitch of the Month: August


Download the cross-stitch pattern here



  • 6″-diameter embroidery hoop
  • 12″ square cross-stitch fabric
  • Embroidery floss: orange and teal
  • Embroidery needle

Cross-Stitch the Design: Place cross-stitch fabric in embroidery hoop, pulling fabric taut. Tighten screw. Using two strands of embroidery floss and following the downloadable chart (above) for the pattern, cross-stitch the flip-flops from the back side through the fabric. See how to cross-stitch below. Weave tail from last stitch under previous stitches; trim ends.


How to Cross-Stitch: From the back of the fabric pull the needle and thread up at A. Insert the needle back into fabric at B, and bring it up again at C. Push needle down again at D to complete a cross-stitch. Repeat to make as many cross-stitches as needed.


How to Finish: When all stitching is complete, turn the hoop over. Stitch a running stitch approximately 1-1/2″ outside the hoop in the fabric that extends past the hoop edges. Pull the thread to gather the fabric; knot the thread. Trim away the extra fabric approximately 1″ outside the gathered line. If desired, cut a felt circle that is slightly smaller than the back of the embroidery hoop. Whipstitch the felt circle to the gathered fabric on the back side of the hoop.

Visit us on the first of each month to receive a new seasonal cross-stitch pattern. Tag pics on Instagram with #MIYmaglife so we can see!

Get July’s pattern here.



Duct Tape Go Fish

Designer: Amanda Kingloff

Angling for a good idea? Add a school of colorful duct-tape fish to your kids’ activities.


  • Duct tape: assorted colors
  • Metal washers
  • Cardstock
  • 12“-diameter dowel: 18” long
  • 1 yard of string
  • Small magnet
  • Hot-glue gun and glue sticks
  • Poster board: light blue
  • Fish pattern (download it here)

Assemble the Fish:
1. Cut four 4″ strips from duct tape. Slightly overlap two strips at long edges with adhesive side up. Place  washer near center of strips; cover with remaining strips, sticky side down.
2. Trace the fish pattern onto cardstock; cut out. Trace fish onto prepared tape from Step 1; cut out.

3. Repeat steps 1 and 2 to create more fish.

4. Tie one end of string to dowel end. Hot-glue opposite string end to a magnet.

5. Cut shape for pond from light blue poster board.

Driftwood Sailboat Wreath

Designer: Jan Carlson

Ahoy there, matey! Come ashore with a rectangular wreath accented with a colorful driftwood-and-fabric sailboat.


  • 12“-wide furring strips: 2 cut to 23″ long and 2 cut to 20” long
  • Hot-glue gun and glue sticks
  • Chop saw
  • Driftwood branches (available at crafts stores and online)
  • Drill with assorted drill bits
  • Assorted printed fabrics
  • Fabric glue (such as Aleene’s Fabric Fusion Permanent Fabric Adhesive)
  • Hemp cording
  • Acrylic paints: lime green, aqua, blue
  • Jute rope
  • Heavy-duty repositionable hook-and-loop tape (such as 3M Reclosable Fasteners)

1. To make wreath frame, lay furring strips out in a rectangle, overlapping ends at corners. Hot-glue strips together at corners.

2. Use a chop saw to cut a segment from a gently curved driftwood branch that is long enough to extend from side to side across wreath frame. Hot-glue branch ends to wreath-frame sides about one-third above the bottom of the frame opening.

3. Cut 100–120 narrow driftwood branches into segments approximately 4–6″ long. Hot-glue segments to wreath frame, starting with inside and outside edges and placing segments end to end in tightly spaced rows.

4. Cut a curved driftwood branch approximately 13″ long for sailboat base. Select a straight and narrow driftwood branch for mast. Drill a hole slightly larger than mast branch in center of driftwood sailboat base; insert mast branch. Lay boat inside wreath opening, positioning it on top of branch extending across the frame. Determine how long mast should be, making sure it touches top of frame; cut. Hot-glue mast in place.

5. Use scrap paper to make a triangular pattern for each sail. Cut each sail 18” larger than the pattern from desired fabric. Fold raw edges under 18” and secure with fabric glue. Let dry.

6. Stitch a running stitch along each sail’s glued edges using hemp cord. Stitch a long length of hemp cord through running stitches on each back side of each sail, leaving long ends for tying onto branches.

7. Tie each sail onto mast and boat base by wrapping ends around driftwood pieces. Hot-glue hemp cord ends in place on backs of sails.

8. Cut approximately six triangles to desired size from assorted printed fabrics. Fold top edge of each flag under 18” and use fabric glue to secure. Use hemp cord to stitch flags together with running stitches, leaving long cord ends. Extend flags from tip of mast to one end of sailboat base; wrap ends around driftwood, using fabric glue to secure.

9. Hot-glue sailboat on top of branch extending across frame.

10. Referring to How to Make a Salt-Dough Starfish, below, make two 5″, four 4″, and two 2″ starfish. Poke a hole through one arm on each 4″ starfish to accommodate a hanger. Paint four 4″ starfish with lime green, aqua, and blue acrylic paints to match fabric. Let dry.

11. Hot-glue a 5″ starfish to each top corner of wreath. Hot-glue a 2″ starfish to each end of branch extending across wreath. Tie four 4″ starfish to branch using hemp cord.

12. Wrap jute rope around bottom corners of wreath; hot-glue ends on back.

13. Hang wreath with heavy-duty repositionable hook-and-loop tape.

How-To Make a Salt-Dough Starfish:

1. Mix 2 cups flour, 1 cup salt, and  1 cup water in a bowl to make dough.
2. Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface using a rolling pin. Draw a starfish shape in the dough using the end of a wooden skewer. Remove excess dough between starfish arms and smooth edges with your fingers.
3. Use the skewer to draw a line down each arm and to make small dots on each side of each line. If desired, poke a hole in the end of one arm for a hanger. Bake starfish in a 200°F oven for two hours. Flip starfish using a spatula and bake another 30 minutes. If needed, adjust baking time. Let cool. Paint starfish with acrylic paint if desired. Let dry.

Hanging Shag

Designer: Kristin Cleveland

Woven tapestries are all the rage. Design your own for beautiful wall art!


  • Frame loom
  • Strong thread or yarn for warp
  • Strips of scrap fabric that are longer than width of warp
  • Wide-tooth comb
  • Yarn for weaving
  • Shuttle
  • Yarn to use for base of weaving: ivory
  • Textured yarn in white or ivory (such as mohair)
  • 6″-wide piece of cardboard
  • Sewing thread: white or ecru
  • Tapestry needle
  • 38“-diameter dowel rod
  • Fringe twister


1. Determine the length and width of desired finished wall hanging and add 20% to allow for shrinkage from weaving under tension. This project was warped for 12″ wide.

2. Follow the “How to Set Up Your Loom” instructions, below. If you want a fringe at the bottom of your wall hanging, leave 4–6″ of open warp before weaving to allow for the added fringe.

1. To determine if warp thread/yarn is strong enough for weaving, firmly pull on opposite ends. If it breaks, chose another thread or yarn.
2. Tie one end of the warp on a nail on either the top or bottom rail of the loom; tie in a double knot.
3. Wrap warp around nail on opposite side of the frame. Keep thread tight and tension even as you work back and forth across the loom until you have reached the desired width.
4. Tie the thread end in a knot after going around the last nail.
5. Weave in three or four picks of a scrap piece of yarn to help space the warp and provide a solid base from which to begin weaving. This will be taken out later along with the scrap fabric. Pack in place with comb.
6. Select base yarn for weft, and wind onto shuttle. Weave four or five weft rows in plain weave to establish the base of your wall hanging.

1. Wrap yarn around a 6″-wide piece of cardboard. Cut through yarn along each side of the cardboard to create a bundle of 6″-long pieces that will be used for rya knots.
2. To add a rya knot, select two pieces of yarn from the yarn bundle. (Note: The yarns do not need to be the same.) Place the center of the yarn pieces over the two warp threads where you want the knot to be. Wrap the yarn ends over the outside of the two warp threads and up through the middle space between the two warp threads.
3. Pull the ends toward you to tighten and slide the knot down to rest against the previously woven weft. Repeat to add desired number of knots to the row.
4. Continue weaving tapestry with base yarn in plain weave, weaving the rows at an angle to the warp and packing the weft in place with a wide-tooth comb as you go. Weave four picks between each row of knots to securely pack the knots in place. To add a bit of texture to the tapestry, cut a short length of mohair yarn and weave it at an angle to the weft; pack it with the comb against the weft.


5. Follow Step 2 to add knots as desired throughout the weaving. If knots are in middle of row, carry the base yarn across the back of the knots and resume weaving on the other side of the knots. Continue weaving until tapestry is desired length, making sure to add 1″ to the top selvage for a rod pocket.
6. Remove fabric scraps and scrap yarn from warp. Cut warp threads from top of loom, as close to the nails as possible. Tie top warp threads together in pairs as close to the weaving as possible to secure the weft. Cut thread tails. Repeat at bottom of the warp.

7. Fold top selvage under 1″; hand-sew long edge in place with a whipstitch to make a rod pocket. Thread dowel through rod pocket.


1. Cut four white or ivory yarns to 30″ long. Knot them together on one end, and secure this end to a tabletop with a piece of tape.

2. Using the fringe twister, divide the yarns into two groups of two and insert the ends of each group in a clasp. Twist the handle on the fringe twister clockwise, keeping the yarn tension taut until the yarns begin to twist tightly upon themselves. Holding the ends securely, release the ends from the clasps and allow the yarns to twist back counterclockwise upon themselves in the opposite direction; knot the ends.

3. Tie one end of the twisted length to one end of the dowel, leaving a tail. Tie the other end of twisted yarns to the opposite end of the dowel; trim if desired.