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Making 'God's Eyes' Your Very Own
Submitted by Pam on Sun, 11/23/2008 - 02:07
God's Eyes (also known as Ojos De Dios) are colorful and very simple to make. They work well as ornaments on trees and garlands, as accents on gift-wrapped packages, or as the gift itself. And they are a great way to use up those little bits of yarn we all accumulate because they are just too pretty to throw away.
I learned to make God's Eyes when I was 10 years old during a craft class at Girl Scout Camp. We actually used twigs we had gathered in the forest, but these days I use dowels. But, if you prefer, you can get a very primitive look using sticks that are not quite straight!
You will need:
- Yarns of several different colors. Novelty yarns or yarns that are stretchy or loosely woven are not a good choice. Stick to standard 4 ply wool or synthetic yarns. You may wish to experiment with other types of yarn once you have made a few. I have some lovely weaving yarns from the 70's that I plan to experiment with.
- 2 dowels: 3/16" or 1/4" in diamater are a good choice for God's Eyes that will be about 6" to 10" across. 1/8" diameter dowels are perfect for tiny God's Eyes - like the small one pictured above, which is only 1" across. (Diane made this one for my advent calendar.)
How to Make:
Tie a half-hitch (or other simple knot) at the mid-point of one of the dowels. Place the center of the second dowel over the center of the first dowel, at a right angle. Secure the two together by criss crossing the yarn around both dowels 2 or 3 times in each direction.
Now, start the "weaving" by bringing the yarn up over the front of the vertical dowel. Wind it all the way around the dowel and then bring it back up over the front.
Take the yarn over to the horizontal dowel on your left, wrapping it over the top, around the back of the dowel, and then back over the top. Moving counter-clockwise, continue the process until you have made the trip around all four dowels twice. Your work may not look perfect this close to the center, but just keep going. it will smooth out soon.
Now that your center is completed, we're going to change our technique a little. From this point forward, begin wrapping the yarn around the four dowel arms in the same way as you have been, EXCEPT: instead of wrapping the yarn around the dowel only once, wrap it around each dowel twice before advancing to the next dowel. Always keep a fairly good tension on your yarn as you work.
This double wrap is the key to a successful God's Eye. It not only creates even spacing between yarns, but it also secures the yarn in place and prevents it from warping and stretching out of shape.
When you are ready to change to a new color, cut the yarn you have been working with to a length of about 3". Join the new yarn to the old with a knot at the back of the dowel. Trim the ends of yarn after tying the knot. Hint: Before changing to your new color, be sure to count the number of yarn strands in each section of your God's Eye to make sure they are the same.
Begin wrapping the yarn just as before with your new color.
Continue wrapping, changing colors when you wish. Stop wrapping about 1/4" from the end of the dowel, and tie a knot at the back to secure the end of the yarn.
You can leave the ends of the dowels uncovered, or, once you get the hang of the weaving, you can finish the dowel ends by wrapping them with yarn. You could even paint the ends of the dowels before adding the yarn. And if you feel really adventurous, try weaving on three or four dowells (six or eight arms!)
For some real God's Eye inspiration, check out the beautiful work of Jay Mohler.
Personally, I love beading my God's Eyes and share some techniques here.
I also love using them as little frames for "found nature treasures" kids bring home in their pockets. You will find the tutorial here.
Hand-spun and textured yarns provide amazingly interesting God's Eyes. I love this one!