project // kanzashi shamrock pin
Some of my favorite projects seem to come together quite by accident. Ideas like a pin celebrating an Irish holiday and made using a Japanese technique. I was thinking that I wanted to make a little shamrock, then out of nowhere I spotted some flowers that I knew needed to become my clover pin.
In Japan, they make hair accessories with folded fabric flowers and the technique is commonly called kanashi or tsumami kanzashi. There are tons of ways to make these flowers, and a quick search for "diy japanese fabric flowers" will turn up plenty. I especially like the tutorial from The Thread and Kanzashi in Bloom.
These really are quick to make, and I'm confident that even kids could learn how to do this!
Here's what you need:
Needle and thread
SHAMROCK PIN PDF TEMPLATE (This is optional, as you could create these pieces without printing an entire page...I'll explain along the way)
Here's what you do:
Cut out four 2-inch circles from green fabric. This is included in the template, if that's easier. Set aside one of the circles.
Thread your needle and knot the end. Fold one of the circles in half, then add a line of running stitch along the raw, curved edge. The stitches should be a little smaller than 1/4-inch long, and I found that it helps if they start and stop pretty close to the folded edge.
Pull the thread to gather the piece into one of the shamrock leaves.
Fold another circle and stitch along the edge. Gather it close to the first leaf, then add a third leaf in the same manner.
By the way, the little "puffs" that each leaf has can be pushed in either direction, so if one is going the wrong way, just poke it out so they are all matching.
With all three leaves together, bring the needle through at the edge of the first leaf. The secret here is to pull these all together into a sort of circle at the center, without pulling so tight that they want to stay in a straight line.
When you've gotten them all gathered and spaced nicely, take an extra stitch or two and tie a knot to hold it all in place.
To make your shamrock to be a happy Wild Olive shamrock (you know you want to!), stitch a face in the center of the circle. Again, this is included in the template, or you can make your own face.
If you don't want a face on your clover, leave the circle blank, or switch this part out for a green button.
Make this circle into a fabric yoyo. To do this, fold down the edge of the circle by a little less than 1/4-inch and and stitch with medium-length running stitch. Pull the thread to gather it tight and secure it with a knot.
Flatten and shape the yoyo so the gathered part isn't sticking out too much in the back, then use fabric glue to attach it to the center of your three leaves. Press and hold it in place for a minute or so until it's sticking. I love Fabri-Tac for things like this because it dries so very quickly which means a lot less frustration!
Cut out a backing stem piece from green felt. Mine is a 1-inch circle with a stem coming off of it, and it's included in the template.
Stitch the pin back onto the felt piece. Ideally, you'd probably want matching thread, but I grabbed the black because it was close at hand but still blends in.
Put some fabric glue on the back of the circle of felt, then press it onto the back of your shamrock.
Top o' the mornin' to ya, my shamrock friend!
Oh dear. Clearly I'm far too amused by my crafty creations.
I like shamrocks with three leaves because in keeping with the story of St. Patrick, they serve as a great reminder of the Holy Trinity: Father, Son, Holy Spirit.
But you can very easily add an extra circle leaf to make this into a lucky four-leaf clover. As you can see, you can also reverse the leaves and it's just as cute! In fact, I can't decide which way I like better...
Whichever way you make one of these, I hope you have a happy, lucky St. Patrick's Day next week!