It is no secret that I love a good project, a handmade 70's esque wall hanging, and using both natural and thrifty materials to create something special. All elements came together in this fall tutorial to kick off a new season. First...a little history...
The Ojo de Dios, or God's Eye, is a weaving made over a frame of two or more sticks and is thought to have originated with the Huichol Indians of Mexico. They were traditionally called Sikuli, which means "the power to see and understand things unknown." They are considered a good luck charm which wards off evil influence (the evil eye) from the home, or from that of it's owner.
Ojo de Dios can be gifted to a newborn child as a sign of good luck, health and safety. When a child is born, the central eye is woven, then one eye is added for every year of the child's life until the child reaches the age of five.
I created the following God's Eye for Eve's nursery. While I created 5 layers ahead of time, it still is infused with love and positive vibes for my little one. I hope this tutorial will inspire you to create one for your own home, or for someone you love! Enjoy!
Medium Weight Yarn of your choice in 1 to 4 colors
two thin branches of similar size (willow and lilac shoots work well)
One doily, medium to stiff, no larger than the widest span of your branches/sticks
Choose a stick or branch that is long enough to divide in half. Look for one that is free of noticeable bends, and approximately the width of the top of your pinkie finger. A stick that is thinner than this will bend too easily, and may break. Saw off (or cut with sharp scissors if possible) the jagged ends and any branches or buds that will get in the way of an even wrapping.
Cross your branches, spacing them into an even X. Wrap your yarn across and then side to side, knotting cleanly. This will secure your sticks are you being in to wrap them. Snip the loose short end, or hold it down against one stick as you begin to wrap.
Begin to wrap. This is very simple. Remember this, and repeat:
Under, Over...Under, Over...
As shown above, simply bring your yarn Under the stick, and wrap back Over the stick. Then bring your yarn Under the next stick and Over it. Continue in this pattern until you have finished the center plane of your God's Eye. The amount of rotations you do depends on how large you'd like your ojo to be, and if you'd like to have all planes be equal. In that case, count as you go and remember it.
Tension is important, so wrap tight enough to keep your threads from sagging, but not so tight that you are pulling your X off kilter. If you start to loose tension, unravel to the point where your yarn goes slack, and re-weave.
Once your center plane is finished, you are going to continue on in the same direction, but now you are going to start to weave ...
Over, Under ... Over, Under ...
This will give you a flat plane of yarn where you cannot see the frame (sticks) being wrapped. Continue with this weaving pattern for the same amount of strands. I don't count, but if you're into preciseness, then you'll probably want to do so. When you reach the end of this plane, return to your first Under, Over pattern, and then back again to Over, Under.
You'll come to a point where your Ojo is nearing the end of it's frame, with an few inches left on all ends.
+ Note: You can see here that my Ojo looks more kite shaped than exactly square. I achieve this look by double wrapping (two passes around) on what I've chosen as the bottom portion of the frame. This creates larger spacing, and a more extended point at the bottom.
I had been saving a handmade lace doily to create another dreamer with, but noticed it had a tear in the very center. It was perfect for this project, with it's leaf like, decorative edging. It's medium weight allows it to stand on it's own. Each end of the frame was inserted in a space in the doily's edge to create a pretty underlay. The benefit of using a lilac or willow shoot as your frame, is that it will still be slightly pliable at this time of year - and you will be able to gently bend to get all ends through the lace.
The ends of your frame will remain showing. In this example, I chose to wrap the tips of the frame with THIS method, in the same shade of white as the lacy background. Use one loose end to knot around the lace to keep it in place. Leave the other loose to add decorations, or snip close to a double knot.
Add your embellishments! In this example, I created a large tassel using the same yarn that I created my Ojo de Dios with, by brushing out the yarn and wrapping tightly around a hoop. The embellishments you use could range from feathers to just about anything else you can imagine.
I hope you enjoy Lune's take on the classic God's Eye, and feel inspired to make it your own. Here are a few variations on the idea to get you dreaming...
Try using 3 equal sticks for a 6 pointed Ojo.
Embroider the flat sections of your ojo with floss, creating triangles, squares, lines and arrows.
Double wrap the entire stick section of your Ojo with a contrasting colored yarn.
Decorate all points, just the sides, or the bottom with feathers, strands of shells or stones, bunches of dried herbs or flowers, or even horse hair tassels.
Use thin strips of material in place of yarn, the frays will add to it's bohemian appeal!
Create a smaller Ojo in alternate colors and tie it diagonally (creating 8 points) to the center of the first one for a more dimensional look.
Create a chain or web of different sized Ojo's, connected or arranged on a wall to represent people in your family.
I'd love to see what you create, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you'd like to share your take on this traditional, spiritual handcraft.
Looking for more inspiration? Visit Ojo de Dios, Yarn Mandalas by Jay Mohler for more resources, and a peek at his amazingly complex creations! He was featured on the Etsy blog this September and shared a tutorial on how to make an 8 sided mandala!