Ladies’ Occupational Therapy

Sometimes after a hard day at work, I come home and feel the need for occupational therapy–basket weaving, making clay ashtrays, that sort of thing. I want to work with my hands, and I don’t want to think too much. This pencil holder fills the bill quite nicely, the original idea having come from a children’s craft book. It was fun to embroider on wool felt, and gluing is so therapeutic! I used to love gluing in Sunday School. Also, I’ve been reading a book on “penny rugs,” wool rugs made with appliqued circles, so I used a penny rug motif for the flower.

I made a small pencil holder, as well, for small pencils!


Clean, recycled tin can (the large can is 14.5 oz.; the small can is 8 oz.)
Scraps of felt or thick wool.
Straight pins
Crewel embroidery wool, pearl cotton, or quilting thread
Crewel embroidery needle, or any large-eyed needle
Glue (Yes! glue works perfectly)

How to:

blanket stitch

Measure the can, both circumference and height. Iron the main color felt, so it is smooth. Cut the felt to the size of the can using a rotary cutter and mat, if possible. For the penny rug flower motif, I used two spools of thread as templates–one large (1-5/8″) and one small (7/8″). Cut out the two circles from your scraps of felt. Cut out the leaves from green felt. Determine where you want the flower motif–probably exactly opposite of the can seam. Using the blanket stitch, sew the large circle to the main color felt, pinning, if necessary. Then sew the small circle on top, also using the blanket stitch. Use the straight stitch to embroider a stem, and some grass. Sew the leaves on with an overcast stitch, and make leaf stems. Oversew the long top and bottom of the felt rectangle, using the blanket stitch. Spread glue on the can, starting opposite the can seam. Carefully apply the embroidered felt to the can and continue to glue and smooth down the felt, meeting at the back seam.

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