Candy Cane Huggers & Holders


I usually wait until December to put up the Christmas tree, but when Aunt Sallie called and said she’d be passing through and stopping by the next day, I had an immediate change of plans. Aunt Sallie is the family queen of holiday décor. It would be the only time she could share a little holiday cheer, she had said, and as I looked around and saw no sign of Santa, I panicked!

I was able to drag the table top tree out of the basement and give it a good dusting, but the ornaments were in a storage area where only my husband could reach.  And even if I could get the boxes off their shelves, I wondered about the condition in which I’d find them, recalling my haste when storing them away. I contemplated this little dilemma, igniting my inspiration with a bit of sugar from a candy cane, while cleaning up my sewing area.  I found a couple of samples and decided it was a shame to tuck nice embroidery into a shoebox.  Then, with a candy cane in one hand, embroidered star sample in the other, I recalled seeing similar ornaments that hold candy canes.  Yes!

As the clean-up mission continued I managed to find a few more embroidered samples that would work fine for ornaments and stitched out other holiday appliqué designs on felt I had in my stash, and then I embellished each with whatever I could gather up in the craft room.  I admit some of those that I made may have been improved, had I more time.  Some I didn’t add back pieces to and others could have used a ribbon or some sort of pop, but in the end, I realized all was well when I saw Aunt Sallie smile.

These ornaments can be made quickly, depending on the sewing time of the designs you choose and the amount of embellishment that you desire. In general, each can be assembled within an hour’s time and they can be created from scraps of felt and other fabrics that you might already have in your stash. I’ve used appliqué designs in this project because they usually have a satin stitch column outline that works well for the edge of the ornament, but any design could work if you use a little imagination. The designs featured in this project require either a 4 x 4” or 5 x 7” hoop. The first five steps are the basic instructions, followed by steps for each of the 10 designs.



  • 1 square of craft felt suitable for each ornament
  • Fabric pieces to cover areas you plan for appliqué
  • Cut-away stabilizer
  • 40 WT Threads; variety of colors for each design
  • Fabric or felt glue
  • Ribbon or cord for each ornament that requires a hanger
  • Misc. trims, gems, beads, stick-on stars, dry glitter, and/or glitter glue
  • 10 Candy Canes



Step 1:1-Step

Gather the materials. You will need pieces of felt large enough to hoop and stitch each ornament design. If you have felt pieces large enough for the design but not enough to hoop, you can hoop an adhesive type stabilizer and lay the felt on top for “hoopless embroidery”. Use a heavy weight tear-away or firm cut-away. Find those bits and pieces of ribbons and trims in your stash that need a purpose and other materials for embellishment.


Step 2:


Embroider the designs. I used designs that are digitized for appliqué but it isn’t necessary to use fabric pieces in all areas intended for the appliqué. If you choose to use appliqué, the machine will stop after sewing the placement line and you can either set in your pre-cut piece that has been lightly sprayed with adhesive or backed with an adhesive stabilizer, or you can lay a piece of fabric to cover the area, and then stitch the cutline (the next color digitized in the design). When the machine stops stitching that color, trim away the fabric up to the outside of the stitches and then start the machine again and finish sewing the design.


Step 4:


Cut out the designs (fronts) and backs for the ornaments. You can cut as close to the border stitches as you prefer, but take care not to cut the stitches. Keep a bottle of Dritz Fray Check handy to dab on any stitches accidentally snipped. To be safe, leave a margin of about 1/4” to the outside of the stitches all around the design by first measuring and marking. For the Polar Bear I used my hem gauge and a ball point pen, marking dots around the outside, and then connected the dots before using a scissors to cut out the ornament. The Poinsettia was trimmed up close to the stitches very carefully with a small hand scissors, and then I pinned the front to another piece of felt and used a craft knife to create the back and cut out the holes for the candy cane (the holes for holding the candy canes should be cut on back pieces before they are glued in place). You can leave the stabilizer in place and it will add to the firmness of the ornament, but you may want to trim away the very outside up to the stitches to avoid any poking out of the edge. Attach the backs to the fronts with a thin line of fabric or felt glue around the inside edges.


Step 5:


Decorate the ornament. The hook of the candy cane is used to hang the candy cane huggers, but the candy cane holders will need a hanger of some sort. I cut a piece of ribbon about 5” long, folded in half and then I used a couple tack-down stitches to hold in place. You could also use a good dab of glue to attach the ribbon, but you will need to wait until it dries to continue working with the ornament. I used red Zazz glitter glue to seal the outside edges of the Poinsettia. For the Christmas Tree, I applied yellow glitter glue to the front edge and sprinkled multi-colored dry glitter on top of the glitter glue to add more sparkle.


Step 6:


Gingerbread Man Holder: This cute design actually includes a heart on each side of the gingerbread man, but those elements were unnecessary for this project. I chose to delete them from the design before it was stitched, but if you don’t have an editing software program, you can let the hearts sew and simply cut them out of the final ornament. I decided it was fine without adding a back piece to it. A ribbon was attached for a hanger (as shown in Step 5).


Step 7:


Poinsettia Hugger: This was stitched on the red fabric with green appliqué added for the leaves, and then the entire ornament was backed with red felt. Holes for the candy cane were cut prior to attaching the back to the front (as shown in Step 3). Red glitter glue was applied on the outside edge to embellish and it also hides the white cut-away stabilizer that is sandwiched between the fabric front and felt back. Note, the metallic gold thread that was used for both the berries and inside petals ran beautifully for these elements.


Step 8:


Snowman Holder: This was stitched on one piece of white felt and it has no back. After stitching I carefully snipped a hole inside the satin stitch ring at the top for the 11” long ribbon used for the hanger. I chose to leave a 3/8” wide margin around the outside to better support the area where the hole is cut at the outside of the elbow for the candy cane. A pink, red or blue felt with a white appliqué for the snowman may have been a better idea to help the snowman stand out, so I added polar white Flower Soft particles to highlight areas of the snowman. Dots of red glitter glue were dabbed in the center of the elements of the snowman’s scarf.


Step 9:


Christmas Bear Hugger: I added a back piece to this ornament because I wanted the candy to be placed vertically and the embroidery wouldn’t allow cutting candy cane holes through the stabilizer. Additional embellishment didn’t appear necessary, though you could add gems or glitter to the eyes for a bit of sparkle.


Step 10:


Merry Christmas Holder: This design was likely digitized with the intention of using it for a gift tag; slip a ribbon through the “button holes” to tie on a package or around a bottle of wine. Simply embroider the design, cut around the outside of the border and snip the centers of the button holes, and then attach a ribbon to hang.


Step 11:


Star Hugger: I stitched the design on red fabric and cut-away and attached a red felt back with a thin line of glue at the edge. The holes for the candy cane were cut into the back prior to attaching it to the front. I used a template made from shipping cardboard to mark a circle around the embroidery. Yellow glitter glue sprinkled with dry multi-colored glitter was added around the outside edge and a stick-on star was added to the center.


Step 12:


Christmas Tree Holder: White felt and cut-away were both hooped and the design was stitched as an appliqué by adding the plaid fabric after the placement line was sewn. Holes for the candy cane were cut into the stabilizer (as shown in Step 4). Yellow glitter glue with dry multi-colored glitter was added around the 1/8” margin left at the outside of the border stitches. A ribbon was tacked to the back for a holder. A stick-on star was attached to the ribbon at the top of the tree and gems glued on for added sparkle. Note, this design is pictured on the product page at with the plaid running horizontally and vertically; I chose to angle the plaid to offer the illusion of garland.


Step 13:


Santa Claus Hugger: This was stitched on white felt and a red appliqué piece was used for the hat. An option for this design is to also use a white piece of fabric like polar fleece for the appliqué that is digitized in this design for the beard and cap tassel. A white felt back was cut and holes cut for the candy cane about an inch apart and the back was attached to the front. No embellishment was added.


Step 14:


Gingerbread Man Hugger: Stitched on tan felt and a back with pre-cut candy can holes was attached with a thin line of glue at the edge after the stabilizer was trimmed away (as shown in Step 3). I chose to add polar white Flower Soft particles to the embroidered snow and a dab of red glitter glue to the nose and yellow glitter glue to the stars on the ornament.


Step 15:


Polar Bear Hugger: This was stitched on white felt and cut-away stabilizer; no back piece was necessary. I cut a 1/4” wide margin around the design (as shown in Step 3). Holes for the candy cane were cut and no additional embellishment seemed necessary. If preferred, you could add a bit of black or silver glitter to the nose and paw pads, or add embellishment on the scarf. You could also choose to stitch on colored felt and add an appliqué piece of white polar fleece or similar fluffy fabric for the body of the bear that was digitized for appliqué.


Step 16:


Decorate the tree!


With a little thought, most any design can become a candy cane hugger or holder.  Let your imagination have some fun! You may even already have a few embroidered test samples that were screaming for a purpose and what better way to put them on display!

You’ll find these instructions and many more to help you decorate for the holidays archived in the Projects at!

~ Till next time, keep on stitchin’!

CSR & Design Support Team
Digitizer Moonlight Design Embroidery Digitizing
Images © 2014 – B. Landsberger


Paisley Pocket Table Runner


With Mother’s Day approaching are you looking for an easy-sew gift idea?  I love this one, based on the Classic 10-minute Table Runner pattern.  It goes so quickly, I couldn’t resist adding embroidery and gems. Leave it to me to turn minutes into a few hours, but well worth the results!

First, if you’re not familiar with this sewing pattern, you may want to take a peek at one of the YouTube 10-minute Table Runner videos available online to get an idea of the actual assembly. There are a variety of items you can create with this simple concept of stitching two panels together with a total of four straight seams. It’s just a matter of the size you cut the fabric to produce a table runner, as well as arm chair covers, placemats, napkins and whatever else inspiration brings.

Time for sewing is quick, but you will need about 5-6 additional hours for this embellishment, depending on the design that you choose and your placement and hooping technique. I used a design by Pat Williams, a beautifully digitized paisley pattern that took very little time to stitch, but placement and hooping was a bit tricky using my old school measure-and-eye-ball method. I have to admit, the job would have gone a bit faster had I accurately measured and calculated, and then marked the center or used Design Magazine’s Target Stickers available at

My first thought was to decrease the size of the design slightly to sit nicely balanced in the corner areas of the bottom panel when using the yardage suggested for the 10-minute Table Runner panels of 1/3 yard and 1/2 yard. I could then also use the Baby Lock 5 x 7” hoop, which I felt might accommodate hooping all of the fabric of the corner. I decreased the design hastily, not noticing until after the sew-out that resizing caused the special stitches to disappear, defaulting back to a satin stitch. No, that wouldn’t do. Those beautiful special stitches were relevant if I wanted the design to match the paisley fabric pattern.The image at left has been decreased only 7% and the original size in the final sew-out is at the right.


In the end, I decided to use the Tajima Neo and the 8” round hoop, securing one side to the stabilizer with a pin.0-hooped2 The size of the design and the measurement of the item you choose to create, will determine the actual placement, but the only thing necessary to achieve balance is to mirror the design appropriate for the corner and make sure that the outside of the design is sewn on each corner the same consistent distance from the two edges.

The length of the fabric determines the width of the table runner.  The width of the fabric determines the length of the table runner.  The fabric width of both panels must be exact.

After washing and drying the fabric, double check the fabric width of each panel for shrinkage, and if necessary, trim to the same measurement. If you don’t check for shrinkage and wait to trim after the embroidery is in place, you will no longer be able to adjust the length so that the ends will meet for a seam, though fortunately when the ends are turned up to create the pocket the inside seam is hidden. If this does occur, you could add on a strip of fabric to extend the top panel. You can also create a longer table runner using the same idea, by doubling the panels and sewing them together along one side, resulting with a seam at the center of the table runner.



  • 15” paisley print cotton fabric 45″ wide (top panel)
  • 1/2 yard solid cotton fabric 45″ wide (bottom panel)
  • Poly mesh cut-away stabilizer for 4 hoopings
  • 40 WT thread
  • 3MM gems
  • Gem-Tac or similar adhesive for adhering gems to fabric
  • Needle nose pliers or gem fastener

Design: Bluework Paisley Corner embroidery design by Pat Williams
Size: 4.89″ x 4.94″ Stitches: 8881


Step 1:


Create a sample on same or similar type of fabric prior to stitching on the final garment to be sure that you are using the best stabilization. I use two sheets of the lower cost tear-away for testing, which has proven to be sufficient when I plan to use one sheet of poly mesh cut-away on the final garment. Examine the sample and make any adjustments that the sample reveals is necessary, such as correct the tension, clean the bobbin case, change a dull needle or change to a different size needle more appropriate for the fabric and thread weight. As well, if there is an excess of oil from over oiling or it has built up while the machine was idle awhile, the excess will likely be eliminated while stitching the test-sample, and prevent the possibility of soiling the final item (note, my sample reveals a few spots of oil). After stitching the test-sample, mark a guideline around the inside edge of the hoop, and then remove from the hoop and cut out along the guideline.


Step 2:2-step

Use the sample to judge placement on the final sew-out. Fold the corners to match up at the inside edge at the center of the panel. Lay the sample on the folded corner with the design placed in the direction it will be stitched. Measure the margin between the fabric edges and the design edge to determine the same measurement you will use for placing the design on each corner. I determined my margins best at 2” between the design and the top of the pocket and 1.5” between the design and center seam. Mark the center of the design with chalk or use a Target Sticker. If you prefer, pin the sample in place to use as a guide when hooping.


Step 3:3-step

Double check placement after the first element has sewn. For the mirrored design, set the sample into the hoop with wrong side facing up. Fold back the sample until you can see that the matching element on the stitching in progress is mirrored as accurately as possible from the same point. Finish the run and remove from hoop.


Step 4:4-step

Trim away the poly mesh stabilizer near to the edge of the stitches at the outside edge of the design. One reason I choose to use poly mesh cutaway on light weight fabrics is because, unlike tear-away, there’s no chance of stitches or fabric distortion when it’s removed, and when a standard cut-away is used, the cut edges are often revealed on the topside of the embroidery. Poly mesh is strong, yet flexible, and thin enough to remain undetected.


Step 5:5-step

If you have chosen to use a different design that would result in a different size, you may need to re-calculate the yardage of fabric to cut for the top panel. To do so, fold the finished embroidered ends to meet at the center where it will be seamed. Measure the length of the completed embroidery. In this project it measures about 10.5” and I wanted the paisley pattern to exceed the boundaries of the design. As well, I planned a 1/2” seam along the sides, so instead of using the classic pattern’s recommendation of 1/3rd yard, I cut the top panel to measure 15”.


Step 6:6-step

To make sure that the two panels will assemble properly with the embroidery balanced, lay it out and fold in the seams, finger pressing to create a guide while pinning and stitching. Then, follow the 10-minute pattern: with right sides together, pin if preferred, and stitch the length of both sides. Turn right side out and press. Fold lengthwise with the top panel to the inside and stitch a 1/4” seam at each end. Turn both closed ends by reaching to the inside and pulling out the corner where the end meets the sides to create the V-shaped pocket. If desired, top stitch down the center of the pocket to create two pockets or tack down near the top of the pocket by attaching a button to keep it in place when the pocket is draped over the edge of a table. Press the finished table runner.


Step 7:7-step
Attach the gems to the design where desired. I work over a tray lined with a dark piece of fabric that helps see the gems and keeps them from scattering. Use a small drop of glue and set the gem in place. Do not push on the gem, which will cause the glue to push out, leaving very little glue below the gem. If a small excess occurs as seen in this example, do not try to clean it away; if you use a quality adhesive like Gem-Tac, it will dry clear. Let dry 24 hours. Press with the embroidery side down for 30 seconds on a medium setting to heat-set the glue.

This small table runner can adorn the center of a dining room table, a coffee table or draped over a smaller table so that the pockets can be used to tuck items like a remote control.


Add a decorative border using one of your machine’s special stitches or attach a tassel on each end. Dig into your stash of trims, buttons and ribbons and let your imagination have some fun!

Wishing everyone a wonderful Mother’s Day!

Digitizer Moonlight Design Embroidery Digitizing
Images © 2014 – B. Landsberger