Picture the scene: streaming sunshine and a bright blue ocean of sky above. The soft sounds of the birds and the pitter patter of the neighbours water fountain as you lay there on the grass watching the wisps of cloud waft across the sky.
That’s what I’d like to say I was doing when inspiration struck for Little R’s baby mobile but nope. It was more like this: laid out on the sofa, feeling a little bit judged by Netflix and their little “are you still watching” pop up. Why yes, I am still watching The Crown thank you very much- what is it to you?
Unfortunately for me I had to take my maternity leave early due to a few obstetric issues and with that extra time had gotten through most of my “must make before the baby arrives” list. The tedium of the days was starting to set in. I was too big to drive, too uncomfortable to move and there was no way I could fit behind my sewing machine (or have the energy to cut something out). Not one to be able to sit there and do nothing I gave myself the task of doing some hand sewing- why not make a felt baby mobile?
I had seen some beautiful ones made from hanging yarn on the internet but they were a bit too artsy for Taufiq who preferred the more classic clouds and hot air balloons. But I really wanted it to have a handmade/raw craft feel. Ideally I wanted to make one from giant tassels (I have a major crush on all things Anthropolgie and loved how they have been adding tassels to everything). But that got vetoed. So I set about with the clouds and downsized tassels (compromise being the key to marriage right?) but something was missing… at this point I was feeling really chuffed with how I was using things exclusively from my stash so dug around a bit more and found small balls of yarn. And that’s how the little beads entered the scene. Little by little I added a colour here and there, a bead, a tassel and a cloud and ended up with this mobile.
Separately it’s an odd bunch of things but I love how it came together. It features different textures, materials, shapes, colours and techniques: and feels like a really homemade gift to my daughter. It’s quite mesmerising to watch as the clouds twirl in the air.
What you need:
If you don’t have the same things to hand I would ‘shop’ your own stash and come up with creative alternatives! Yarn instead of embroidery threads, or normal sewing thread instead of cotton crochet thread etc.
- Embroidery hoop (size is personal preference, for little R’s I used two, a larger and smaller one. For this tutorial I used a 15cm diameter hoop)
- 1 sheet of white felt
- White embroidery thread
- Embroidery threads in various colours for the tassels (I used 4 colours)
- Small amount of toy safe filling
- Small amount of yarn and 3.5mm crochet hook
- Cotton crochet thread
- Tape (optional)
Print off the template for the clouds here.
Trace around and cut out the clouds from the white felt (10 large clouds and 16 small clouds).
Layer two cloud shapes together and starting on the flat side, stitch around the edges with a blanket stitch using the white embroidery floss. Stop 2cm from the end, stuff with a teeny bit of filling and carry on stitching until you close the shape.
Each cloud uses two pieces so in the end you will have 5 large ones and 8 little ones.
2. Using a new piece of thread, thread under the bunch of threads and tie a knot, bringing it to the top of the template.
You will need to make a total of thirteen tassels. I used four different colours which meant I had 4 in one colour and 3 in the rest.
You don’t necessarily have to be made with crochet, you could use pom-poms or beads, or even crochet around beads.
It just so happens that I can crochet I had lots of yarn to hand. If you like to crochet heres a simple pattern I used to make the balls.
Working in rounds:
Round 1: ch2, 5sc in 2nd chain to create a magic circle (5)
Round two: 2sc in each stitch (10)
Round three and four: sc10 (10)
Add in some stuffing if you want to give it a more plump look.
Round five: dec 5 (5)
Round six: dec 2 (3) And use the tail to close the stitches and fasten off the ball
Putting it all together
My long ones had: small cloud, large cloud, small cloud. And my short ones have smallcloud and a large cloud on one, and reversed (large cloud, then small cloud) on the second. Throw in the balls and tassels as you like, making sure you have a tassel at the bottom.
Once you’ve planned it out (or used my plan in the photo) we need to start threading the pieces on. Cut your cotton crochet thread to 80cm lengths (there will be an extra long tail so you can play around with the hang afterwards).
Thread a needle (single thread) and tie a knot at the end. To keep each piece (cloud, ball, tassel) in place along the thread you’ll need to secure it with a double knot. Starting from the bottom of strand- for tassels put your needle through the bottom and come out of the centre of the head part.
The same goes for the balls. I used roughly 5cm distance between the different parts, 8cm for the tassels as the tassels hang lower than the knot by 3cm.
Once you’ve threaded all your strands we need to attach them to the hoop. Remove the outer ring (with the screw closure) of the embroidery hoop and place to one side. We’ll be working with the inner hoop.
Start with a long strand decide on the length of hang you want from it. Tie it to the hoop and secure with a knot. Wrap the tail around a few more times and secure with a bit of tape on the outside of the hoop. These will be hidden by the outer ring of the embroidery hoop.
Repeat this with the other strands making sure they are evenly distributed around the hoop- but play with the lengths. I like that each of mine has a slightly different drop- it gives it a more interesting effect.
To finish off, hold the mobile out and tie off the five tails together in a knot- making sure the hoop hangs evenly. Make a loop and knot again before trimming off the excess. It’s now ready to hang! We used a ceiling hook bought from B&Q and hung it directly from the ceiling.
That’s it! See? It’s super simple. I think this might be my go-to gift for new babies in the family. Next time I might size up on the tassels or throw in some pom-poms instead of beads.
Please do tag me if you decide to make one! Would love to see how you get along.