Tag: Sewing

How To Make A Grunged Primitive Stuffed Pumpkin by Silver RavenWolf


How To Make a Grunged Primitive Stuffed Magickal Pumpkin — Priscilla/Priscella!
by Silver RavenWolf

Meet Priscilla/Priscella — the Sassy Primitive Pumpkin –– perfect for Halloween/Samhain decor!  Easy to stich!  Simple to paint!  Pattern included in this article.

Copyright Notice:  Primitive Stuffed Pumpkin and instructions are the design of Silver RavenWolf.  Neither the design nor the instructions can be sold in any form (hardcopy or digital) without the author’s permission.  Home crafters are free to make the finished project and sell it; however, mass production rights remain with the author.

Sewing supplies for Priscilla the Pumpkin.
Sewing supplies for Priscilla the Pumpkin.

Supplies:  To make Priscilla/Priscella you will need —

1 yard of muslin
a neutral color thread (such as beige or ecru)
straight pins (to hold material while sewing)
pencil (to trace pattern on muslin)
sewing machine (or you can hand stitch)
a selection of acrylic paints in several shades of orange and one golden yellow for pumpkin, two browns (raw sienna and burnt umber), and one green (olive works well), white and black (for eyes)
paint brushes
Grunge Mix (see ingredients in article) — which includes spices, tinfoil, and a cookie sheet
Pinking Shears
Paper (to print pattern from this blog)
One 16 ounce bag of poly fil stuffing (or stuffing of your choice)
Oven (if you plan to grunge your pumpkin) — 185 degrees for 20 minutes (check at 10 minute intervals)

Step One:  Print off the Patterns Below — you can use regular paper or cardstock.  Notice that I put some instructions directly on the patterns.  These instructions are covered again in the pictorials for your convenience.

Left side of pumpkin pattern.
Left side of pumpkin pattern.
Right side of pumpkin pattern.
Right side of pumpkin pattern.
Stem pattern for primitive pumpkin.
Stem pattern for primitive pumpkin.
Pattern for eyes, nose and mouth for your primitive pumpkin.  Please note that you can adjust the pattern to fit your pumpkin face.  Perhaps you would like the eyes and mouth to be smaller.
Pattern for eyes, nose and mouth for your primitive pumpkin. Please note that you can adjust the pattern to fit your pumpkin face. Perhaps you would like the eyes and mouth to be smaller.

Step Two:  Tape the two sides of the pumpkin pattern together.


Step Three:  Cut out taped pumpkin pattern, stem and pumpkin face pieces.  Set face pieces aside until you are ready to use them.


Step Four:  Fold your muslin in half so that you have a double thickness of material.  Trace around the edges of your pattern with a pencil directly on the muslin.  Don’t forget to add the marks at the top of the pumpkin so that you know where to start and stop stitching.  This open space will be where you insert the stuffing, and where the stem will be attached.  Once you have traced the pumpkin, follow the same procedure for the stem.


Step Five:  Pin interior of pumpkin and stem so that the two pieces of cloth won’t move as you are cutting.  Leave in pins to secure while sewing.  With sharp scissors, cut around your traced line, leaving at least 1/2 inch of material all the way around pumpkin and stem.


You will have two pumpkin pieces (the front and the back) and two stem pieces (the front and the back).


Step Six:  Sew pumpkin pieces (front and back) together, leaving the opening free for stuffing.  Do the same for the stem.  I always double stitch the seams when making primitives and dolls to prevent tearing while stuffing.  This means that you sew the seam once, then sew it again, following your original stitching.  I realize this takes about five more minutes of your time; but, it is well worth it!  There is nothing more disheartening when you are stuffing a primitive and the muslin tears at a seam or you punch a hole in the seam because you shoved too hard with a pencil or hemostat.  As a side note:  I use forceps (called a hemostat) to stuff all of my primitives.


Step Seven: Trim seams within 1/8th of an inch using the pinking shears.  This helps to keep the pumpkin from puckering while stuffing, allowing the fabric to stretch and give.  You can also clip curves (small cuts 1/8 to 1/4 inch apart) to ensure smoother sides of the pumpkin.  Just be careful that you don’t cut your stitching as that would weaken the seam and cause a tear while stuffing.  On the picture please see the black arrow — don’t trim the area over the opening — leave as is — this makes the seam easier to hand sew.  If you cut too close, the edges will tend to pop up from the strain of the stuffing.  Having a nice-sized lip allows for a neat fold and easy hand sewing to close.


Step Eight: Turn pumpkin and stem right side out.  Stuff with poly fill (or your choice of stuffing).  The trick to a great primitive?  Little bits.  I use the hemostat to push the stuffing into the corners first, and then continue to build the stuffing.  I periodically pack down the stuffing as I work.  I realize this takes a lot longer than you would like; but, it truly does render a wonderful finished product!


Step Nine:  Make sure that pumpkin is packed tight!  Hand stitch to close stem piece.  Test stem by inserting it into pumpkin — stuffing of pumpkin should come right up to stem (you don’t want a gap in stuffing — you’ll notice it when you are painting) — so make that stuffing good and tight!


With needle and thread, stitch the stem closed. Stem should fit nicely into top of pumpkin.
Close up of a Braucherei charm that could be placed inside of pumpkin.

Step Ten:  Time to Add the Charm.   Yup, you read that right.  Whether it is a prayer on a piece of paper, herbs that you feel will bring love or good fortune, or your favorite sigil — now is the time to make that charm and secure it inside the pumpkin.  Traditionally, here in Pennsylvania Dutch Country, such mystic packets inside of sewn items were common.  It was the seamstress’ way of protecting his or her family and friends.  As the fabric worker stitched and stuffed, he or she would also intone chants (Whisper Magick — Braucherei), to wish good fortune, wealth, and wellness into the project.

This paper charm incorporates Good Luck, Assistance from the Ancestors and more using runes, sigils, and an herbal mix.
This paper charm incorporates Good Luck, Assistance from the Ancestors and positive transformation using runes, sigils, and a specially blended dried herbal mix.
Mystic Packets were made out of cloth or brown paper, folded toward the seamstress or tailor to bring energy, or folded away from seamstress or tailor to push negativity away. Packets were tied with red or black thread.

Step Eleven:  After placing charm in pumpkin, insert stem.  Hand stitch pumpkin closed.


Step Twelve:  Paint Pumpkin with the orange and yellow hues.  Paint Stem with brown and green hues.  Use light brush strokes to avoid blobs of paint.  Unfortunately, on this type of project, paint build-up can crack during the drying or grunging process.  Feather your strokes (where the end of the stroke is lighter than the beginning) to help prevent paint build-up.  You can also lightly feather with a dry brush over most of the pumpkin periodically to avoid clumps.  Are you a sloppy painter?  So am I!  Therefore, I learned a good trick — I tell myself it is okay to be sloppy all over me — just not all over the project.  I usually wear a painting shirt and I often have more paint on me by the time I’m done, than on the project.  However, this seems to meet my emotional needs to be free while creating!  I am proud to wear my enthusiasm!

Use a selection of orange and yellow hues to create a professional looking project. Acrylic paint too thick? Blend with a little water


Step Thirteen:  Allow pumpkin to dry thoroughly.  To speed up the time, you can place the pumpkin on tinfoil and bake in your oven at 180 to 185 degrees for about ten minutes.  I’ve also used a hair dryer to speed up the drying process.  Just be careful!  Once your pumpkin is completely dry — sand the surface with a fine grain piece of sand paper.  This gives the pumpkin a softer feel.  Next, using your templates for the face, trace the eyes, nose, and mouth onto the surface of the pumpkin with a pencil.  Paint the eyes nose and mouth.  Sand again if you like; however, sanding will blur the facial features.  Your choice.


Add your own artistic twist to the painted features. Here, I painted small, white dots for a bit of highlight. Allow features to thoroughly dry before moving on to the next step.


Step Fourteen:  Grunging the Pumpkin — Gather the supplies listed on the picture and mix them in a glass or plastic bowl.

grubbydrymixHow much you mix up of this formula is entirely up to you — I usually brew up a large batch to use for several projects.  Store dry mix in a plastic or glass container.  Add the dry mix to VERY HOT WATER (I use triple strength instant coffee water)– and allow to cool — before painting your pumpkin.  The darker the water — the darker the stain for the pumpkin.  You can also save the unused liquid stain in the refrigerator for several months.


Step Fifteen:  Paint both sides of pumpkin with liquid grubby stain.


Step Sixteen:  Rub dry Grunge Mix all over pumpkin while surface is still wet.  Yes, this is messy.  Yes, your hands will be yucky.  Rub as much, or as little into the pumpkin as you like.  The more you add, the grungier it gets!

I store my left over dry Grubby mix in a coffee can. Depending upon the effect I want, I may add extra cinnamon directly on the pumpkin.

Step Seventeen:  Time to bake your pumpkin!  Set oven temperature to 180 degrees (or 185 degrees).  I put my projects on a piece of tinfoil on top of a cookie sheet.  Bake pumpkin for about 20 minutes (or until dry).  As oven temperatures vary, keep checking your pumpkin.  The spices will burn if you leave the pumpkin in too long.  This isn’t the time to walk away from the kitchen.  Stay close to be safe.

While baking, your kitchen will smell delightful!

Step Eighteen:  Take your pumpkin out of the oven with hot pads.  Allow pumpkin to cool completely.  Lightly brush loose spices off of pumpkin.  After cooling, if you think you’ve added too much dry mix to the surface, rub briskly with your hands.  

Step Nineteen:  Time to Embellish!



I hope you enjoy making this delightful Halloween craft!  It was an honor to share it with you!



Is There Magick in the Stitch?

Samhain Cross Stitch available at http://www.crowcrossroads.com
Samhain Cross Stitch available at http://www.crowcrossroads.etsy.com

Is There Magick in that Stitch?
by Silver RavenWolf

The needle is a little wand, directing the energy into the fabric.  A mini bolt of lightning, it dives into the cloth, then emerges to the heavens, capturing the energy you put into it as it swiftly returns, punctures the fabric, and grabs earth energy before it rises again.  With each stitch a thought coupled with an emotion is born.  The finished product is a sealed testament — a pattern of energy massaged, combined, blended and set forth by the stitcher.

I often surf through the products on Etsy simply to enjoy the immense creativity of the Pagan community.  Magickal stitchers abound with colorful quilts, detailed scarves, gloves, and hats, amazing table runners, flowing clothing,  fluffy pillows…the list is almost endless — their creativity has no bounds — their work a succulent candy to the eye, their innovation a balm to the soul.

Beauty.  Laughter.  Joy.  Intense emotion.

When you knit or do cross stitch, you are actually working with the Gyfu or Gyf rune which creates “gifts” “generosity” and “partnership”.

You can tell the space where the stitcher occupies by what they create.  Is it light?  Dark?  Something inbetween?  The art shows their life, their experiences, and their thoughts.  Whether you pick up on it or not — each piece of a sewn, knitted, or crocheted product has a backstory — the creative gleam in the mind as the stitches marched to completion.

Prayer bowl created on a Scorpio Moon.
Prayer bowl created on a Scorpio Moon.

When you sew you unleash tremendous power aimed at the manifestation of the thing.  If you dearly want something to come to pass?  Then needle and thread can be your best friend.

Stitching — knitting, crochet, embroidery, quilting, latch hook, cross stitch, needlepoint — all carry a meditative aspect.  The repetitive action to complete the project can soothe the mind, keep the fingers busy while you reach for something deeper inside yourself.  Many people “take up” some type of needlework as a meditative practice.  One of the most talented needlepoint artists I ever met was a retired Marine with three grown children.  I remember blinking repeatedly when he proudly showed me his huge canvas of poppies.  Once the shock was over, I marveled at his precise stitching.  “The back should look as good as the front,” he said.  I have never reached his perfection in stitching.

Protective Crow to watch over hearth and home.  Designed by SRW.
Protective Crow to watch over hearth and home. Designed by SRW.

When I first started needle work, I fussed and fretted that my stuff wasn’t perfect.  It took a long time for me to realize that mistakes are part of the process, and rather than bitching or giving up, I should accept those mistakes as the flow to completion.  Once you realize that mistakes are okay, that you can fix just about anything in the project, then you relax and the work takes on a whole new meaning.  A friend of mine once said that every needlework project should at least have one mistake in it — because perfection is really the process of working toward harmony.  If it was perfect — you wasted your time.

Sometimes a project is meant to fail because it was a vehicle to help you release negative energy that you decided to subconsciously hoard.  You know it when it happens.  You are halfway through, look at your work, and say, “Yuck, I hate this.”  It is then you have a decision to make — should you just toss it?  Or should you soldier on?  In most cases, I learned to toss it, and once I did, I felt freedom from some personal angst I’d been harboring.

Can you make your work more magickal than it naturally is?  Absolutely!  Here are a few tips:

1.  Make the gathering of supplies a fun experience.  If you need to shop, check out the phase of the moon and the sign the moon is in before making your purchases.  You can look at this information from a few different viewpoints:  Is the project a gift, and if so, what type of energy are you looking to create?  Do you need to save money or find a bargain?  Will you be making more than one item for the full project?  Are you looking for something unusual, different?  Is your end goal to sell this item, or to keep it for yourself?  Learning to work with a planetary guide like the one offered by Llewellyn World Wide, or using a moon phase/moon sign app on your phone, I-Pad or notebook can be incredibly helpful.   Use the information when gathering supplies, actually starting the project, and during your work on that project.

Note:  As a head’s up — There is an unusual heavenly occurrence coming on Monday, July 29th.  A Grand Sextile, which some astrologers feel holds amazing healing potential.  So!  If you are working as a healer with your creative pursuits — this would be the day to capture that energy and direct it toward your tools, supplies, ideas, and projects.

2.  Cleanse and bless all items and tools before you begin a new project.  You can do a simple ritual you design yourself, or you can cast a circle, call the quarters and really fire up that ritual drama.  This is entirely up to you.

3.  Make sure the area you work in is clean and somewhat organized.  Clutter, dirt and dust tend to capture negative energy.  If you are having trouble with a stitching project, take a break and look around you.  Do you need to take the time, walk away from the work, and re-order your environment?  Look at it this way — you are in the process of giving birth.  Do you want to do it in a filthy mud puddle?  Or, would you like the birthing process to be filled with harmony, light, and a pleasant atmosphere?

4.  Where is your mind while you are working?  Are you super upset?  Then don’t work on that baby blanket for Martha, or the wedding quilt for Jane.  If you need the soothing repetition, put those things away and pick up something else.  I actually have an angst project.  Something I turn to just for the mental ease of keeping my hands busy.  The project isn’t meant for anything important.  It will never be given to anyone.  Many artists, including myself, find solace in creativity when times are difficult.  Some claim that it is a time that they produce their best work.  I’m not one of those.  However, if your work results in a tremendous achievement, be sure to cleanse, bless and consecrate it if you know it is going to someone else.  During the normal routine of creation, periodically cleanse and bless the work when you stand back to observe your progress.  Daily family drama can cling to the project, making it more difficult to complete.  Rub your hands with basil herb, lavender herb, rosemary, etc., to keep the energy you infuse into the project clean and desirable.  Create a two or four line chant that you repeat as often as you like while you are working that envisions the tone of what you are doing.  Making a healing shawl for someone who is sick?  “Healing is Wholeness” is a good one-liner.

Remember to mark the date on your patterns, that way you can follow the progress of the work astrologically, or at least monitor the work by moon quarters.
Remember to mark the date on your patterns, that way you can follow the progress of the work astrologically, or at least monitor the work by moon quarters.

5.  When you are finished, do a small closure ritual — that way you can easily move on to the next project.  To sellers of your work, this is an important time.  If you are too much in love with your creation — it won’t sell.  And if you are using your creativity to pay the electric, car payment or mortgage — mentally holding onto the item is a bad thing.  Rule of magickal thumb?  Create it.  Fill it with joy.  And let it go.  Release it with honor.  Move on to the next project.

6.  Keeping a stitching journal really helps you to learn how you perform during the different phases of the moon and the moon in the signs.  Not everyone blends with the energy available the same way.  Sure, we read generalizations all the time through astrological info — but, the fine tuning?  That is yours alone.  For example, although they tell you not to start a project during a Mercury retrograde, if you were born during a Mercury retrograde this is a good time for you.  Another example — if you were born when the moon was in the third quarter, then you will naturally want to start things in that quarter and they will come out okay for you.  By keeping a journal, you can see your up periods, and your down ones, which will help with future projects.

Although these tips were written with the creative stitcher in mind, they will also work for anyone who produces creative material — woodworkers, builders, painters, musicians, etc.  Creativity is a marvelous energy that flows with every sort of talent.  There is always a way to use your magickal skill in perfect harmony with the physical objects, dance, or music that you create!

Note:  Samhain pattern is available in my Etsy store as an instant download — which provides you with three pdf. files — a color/symbol on one page, a black and white on one page, and a five page color/symbol chart for those of you who hate to squint (like me). 

As an important note:  True Samhain is when the Sun is at 15 degrees Scorpio, which normally falls sometime in the first week of November.

Samhain Cross Stitch available at http://www.crowcrossroads.com
Samhain Cross Stitch available at http://www.crowcrossroads.com
Halloween pattern can be found in Silver's Etsy Store at http://www.crowcrossroads.etsy.com
Halloween pattern can be found in Silver’s Etsy Store at http://www.crowcrossroads.etsy.com

When creating these patterns I wanted to design a product that would be simple to stitch, and bring the color and many of the icons of the season into play on the same sampler.  To me, the house in the picture belongs to the Witches of the town.  Every window is streaming with light because the coven is inside, dancing to the Monster Mash, reeling to Chiller, and boogying to Donovan’s Season of the Witch.  The ghost and cat are outside, dancing, too, while the pumpkins are chanting and singing the chorus.  The Witches Brooms and the pentacle were added to protect the home, where ever the sampler is used.  Stitchers have two choices — the Samhain Sampler or the Halloween Sampler, as I realize that many stitchers can’t display the word “Samhain” in their homes due to a variety of reasons.

Do you have magickal tips that creative stitchers would enjoy?  Please feel free to post.  We would all love to read them — we are a magickal village, after all, and if one succeeds, we all succeed.

In service
Peace with the Gods
Peace with Nature
Peace Within