Friday, March 20, 2009

Felting and Fingerless Mittens

In her book Felt It! Stitch It! Fabulous, Katheryn Tidwell Bieber teaches her readers how to take old sweaters made of wool, angora, etc., felt them and make them into something entirely different. Felting, by simple definition, is agitating a woven animal fiber item in hot water and dish soap in a washing machine which allows the fibers to tighten and interweave further, so much so that the item can be cut without unravelling.

The projects in this book are great. There are cute items for kids and totally wearable designs for adults. There are instructions for wearable flowers and there are a few holiday decor projects such as Easter bunnies and Christmas stockings.

I went to the local thrift store to see if I could find some wool sweaters for my first felting experience. The book says that items that are 85-100% wool or other animal fiber are best for optimal shrinkage and felting. Acrylic sweaters do not shrink.

I bought two sweaters for $11, which is still more than I wanted to pay, so if you have a wool sweater you're going to get rid of, send it my way!

To the right you see the purple sweater in it's original state. The bottom of the sweater is hanging over the edge of the counter.

Here it is, post-felting, I put it on my cutting grid so you could see the difference. Although it seem slight, I love the increased softness and thickness of the item.

For my project, Finglerless Hand-and-Wrist Warmers, I used this sweater (shown here in it's original state). It was a man's XXL 100% wool sweater. and it shrunk down to about a woman's medium.

After felting and drying, this simple project took just 20 minutes from cutting to finished stitching.

As per the instructions, I cut the sleeves 9" from the wrist. I hemmed the cut edge 1/2" with hand stitching. Then I put on the sleeves and pinched the portion of felt between my thumb and forefinger. I removed the sleeve and stitched in that pinched area and I was done!

They are very cosy and I think I'll be using them while I work on the computer as well as during crocheting and embroidering.

Speaking of embroidery, I think these would be even more awesome with some embroidery on the back of them. Put it on my to-craft list! Oh, and you'll have to stay tuned to see what I do with the purple sweater and what else I do with the cream/brown one.

1 comment:

Liberty Williams said...

So, I have thought quite a bit about this project. It's growing on me, and I like it! Plus, I was watching Sex and the City and she was typing on her computer wearing a pair of these!!!! I actually think it would be nice to wear them why I am typing...the edge of my laptop kind of irritates me, so having a pair of these would ease the irritation. After some time to ponder about these wrist warmers - I REALLY do want to make me a pair.