Mollie’s Challenge: Hoop Art

I’ve been both looking forward to this one and dreading it: there are so. many. French. knots.

If you’re an embroiderer, cross-stitcher, or anyone with any experience at all with needle and thread, you’ll understand why that’s a bad thing.


Hoop art contents
Contents of the hoop art kit from issue #106 of Mollie Makes.


For everyone else: French knots are the bane of hand-sewers everywhere.

The first knot (the black tassel underneath the hanging pot on the left) was surprisingly easy. It practically knotted itself! (Small miracles; thank you, crafting gods.) The others…

Well, (k)not so much.


Hoop art kit
All the paper templates of the hoop art kit from issue #106 of Mollie Makes cut out and ready.


Anyway, I left the knots ’til last, because I do that: I always get the easy stuff out of the way first so I can concentrate on getting the hard stuff right.

Let me tell you, guys, if I thought cutting out the fiddly bits of ol’ Toucy-Toucy was difficult, I was yet to meet these gosh-darn-and-blasted leaves.

My craft knife is useless on felt (and paper, for that matter 🤦‍♀️), but thankfully I had a fine-tipped Sharpie and several pairs of fabric scissors to choose from.

No, my hands do not thank me.


Hoop art kit
Felt pieces cut out ready for the hoop art kit from issue #106 of Mollie Makes.


I meant to take more in-progress photos, but once I got started, it was very difficult to put it down.

After all, most of this is just straight stitch — although you’ll notice what are supposed to be French knots on the yellow basket (top right, under the leaves).

I say supposed to be French knots because they just did. not. want to knot.

I checked the guide page in the magazine (pro-tip: photo the guide page before you cut out the templates). I looked up tutorials online. I held the working thread taut. I wrapped the needle.

I was doing well and then, plerfbt, the knots just… dissolved.

So, they’re tiny, tiny dashes instead.


Hoop art kit in progress
Hoop art kit from issue #106 of Mollie Makes in progress.


As it turns out, letting all those green knots for the hanging basket percolate in the back of my brain while I embroidered the rest of this gave me the chance to be a total genius:

“Aha!” says my brain (probably while I’m trying to sleep or do something, you know, important). “Why not use the seed beads I’ve been collecting for my stitch markers and keyring making instead?!”

So I searched the good old interrinets for if and how such a thing had been done before — and it turns out that, actually, I am far from being the first person to have this genius idea because French knots are the worst.


Hoop art kit
Finished embroidery for the hoop art kit from issue #106 of Mollie Makes.


Man, do those beads look good. I’m not even kidding. They look so much better than any old French I could knot.

(Although, um. The mistake I made with the pink pot looks far more obvious now. Darn it.)


Hoop art kit
Seed beads look so damn good, guys.


Time to finish!


Hoop art kit
The back of the finished hoop art kit from issue #106 of Mollie Makes.


Ergh. Look away! Shield your eyes!

I swear I Googled how to finish hoop art. I swear I did.

Oh, well. It looks good from the front.


Hoop art kit
The front of the finished hoop art kit from issue #106 of Mollie Makes.


And guess what?

I had juuuuuuuust enough of the gold ribbon left over from the festive loom kit (issue #97) to make a tiny little loop to hang it with. (I do mean tiny, though. It’s just barely big enough to go over the hook on my wall.)


Hoop art kit
What’s left of the hoop art kit from issue #106 of Mollie Makes.


Ugh, what a mess.

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