Friday, May 23, 2008

Tutorial: making simple items using recycled sweaters

This week's theme for the Etsy Bloggers carnival is tutorials. I thought I would write up instructions for making some simple little items from fulled (felted) wool sweaters. Check out all the other Etsy Bloggers tutorial posts starting Monday, May 26. (There is a link in the widget on the right side of my blog which takes you to the weekly Blogger's carnival).

1. Selecting the materials to use: Start with a wool sweater that you accidentally shrunk in the washing machine. Doesn't everyone have at least one of these? if you already gave your shrunken sweaters away, go to the thrift store or your closet and find an old 100% wool sweater that has a design you like (or several...I have a closet full of them!) and you want to use for this project.

2. Felting in Your Washing Machine: If your sweater is already felted (you can't see individual stitches/holes), you can skip this step. Place your sweater in a zippered pillowcase or zippered washing bag (this will save your washer and make mess less).Use the lowest water setting on your washer and add the hottest water and a small amount (1/8 cup or so) of detergent. Add a pair of old jeans or tennis balls (I add 12 tennis balls and one pair of jeans usually) and run the washer, checking every 5 minutes or so to check for felting. It can take as long as a couple of washing cycles or as little as 5 minutes until "done". I like to take the item(s) out before the spin cycle is finished (just get a majority of the water out) because that tends to create wrinkles.
3. Drying your felted sweater: Hang you felted sweater on a hanger and put outside to dry--or inside if it's still cold and rainy like it is in Idaho (it will just take longer). You can also lay it flat on a towel, but it will take even longer to dry and I am not a patient person.
I suggest you resist the urge to put your sweater in the dryer as this can cause wrinkles and shrink the sweater more than you would like, but if you are really impatient you can do this and cross your fingers.

4. Make your item(s): Once your sweater is dry, use a rotary cutter or scissors to cut it in shapes to make the objects you want.

PINCUSHION: A couple of 1 1/2"strips rolled up can make a cute pincushion. I roll it really right and use a needle and thread to sew the end securely onto
the roll.

Three little card cases

BUSINESS CARD OR CREDIT CARD CASE: Cut two rectangles about 2 1/4" by 4 1/4". Place wrong sides together and use blanket stitch and a matching (or contrasting) yarn to stitch around 3 sides and you have a card holder. Embellish with a button, embroidery, or whatever you like.

GADGET CASE: Cut two rectangles just a little larger than any gadget you want to make a cozy for. Place wrong sides together and use blanket stitch or running stitch and a matching (or contrasting) yarn to stitch around 3 sides and you have a case for your Nano,IPOD, cell phone, or what have you. The Nano case pictured above is 4 1/2" by 2 1/2" in size and I've attached a clip to the back with another small rectangle of felted wool.

Soon you will realize that you can make just about anything using a recycled wool sweater that you've felted. You can move from pincushions and card cases onto wristlets, laptop cases, and bags. If you still doubt this, check out my slide show of Crafting 365 projects on the right hand side of my blog or the items in my Etsy Shop.

Speaking of Etsy shops, I think I almost let the month go by without recognizing the Etsy Bloggers member of the month, Cozy, of a Cozy Life. I envy Cozy because she lives in Arizona, a warm place. She has a very intersting blog and a wondeful shop full of items like this beautiful scarf which is my favorite from her shop. Take the time to check this talented Etsyier out.


. said...

Thanks for the tutorial. I am very interested in what you just taught us!


storybeader said...

what cute little gifts you can make! thanks for the tutorial.

Stormy Designs said...

Great ideas, thanks for participating.