I fiiiiiiinally sat down and sewed up my recycled sweater blanket this weekend!!!
You do not even know how happy this makes me – I’ve been trying to finish up several abandoned projects lately, and each time I finish one it just feels better and better.
This was one of those projects that I’d had brewing in my head for a while (after first seeing this blanket and then this one and then THESE) and after seeing the one in Leigh Radford’s AlterKnits I thought, “I have to try that!” and so I bought all the sweaters and felted them and cut them all up, but then once I sat down to sew, I freaked out. And I put the entire project in the closet for almost a year. THEN, last week I emailed a very helpful Flickr user who gave me the encouragement to finally sew mine up. And ya know what? It’s not that hard.
And it’s SO FUN!
AND if you screw up the seams (which I did several times), you can just sew over them! Now, here’s a quick tutorial so you can go and make your own!!!
(Here’s the first half of this tutorial, published, oh, like a year ago. I’ll catch you up on what you missed though.)
Choosing the sweaters:
Be sure the sweaters are 100% wool (but NOT machine washable – you want them to shrink). Be sure to incorporate some interesting visual elements – cables, ribbing, stripes, pockets, etc.
Play with color and texture.
You can use almost every part of the sweater (except the seams and collar).
Felting the sweaters:
This is a GREAT introduction into felting. You’ll just need a zippered pillow case and a top-loading washing machine. Throw 2-3 sweaters in a bag and put them in the wash on HOT water with some regular dish soap. Let them agitate for a while and then check on them every 5 minutes or so. Once they’re shrunken to the right size, rinse them thoroughly (I threw them in my bathtub and gave them a good soak). Then throw them in the dryer for a bit, or lay them out flat to dry.
Cutting & assembling:
Use a rotary cutter to cut the pieces. I didn’t have a fabric cutting board so I used a ruler and nearly cut my finger off (click here to see the blood that splattered onto my ruler – I promise it’s not gorey). SO BE CAREFUL! 🙂
Then, once you have all your pieces cut out, lay them out on the floor until you get the right look. (I ended up using VERY large pieces and next time would probably mix up the sizes a bit and use more smaller pieces (I don’t know how to type that out without it being grammatically incorrect (please excuse the double negative)))
I originally tried overlapping the pieces a bit, but in the end I decided this was a little too “advanced” for me. But I like the look of it, so I’ll definitely try this on my next quilt.
I found it very helpful to practice on some scrap pieces first.
This allows you to get the feel of your sewing machine and play with the stitch length. I butted the pieces together (so it’s reversible) and used a zigzag stitch on the widest length setting and a medium stitch setting. Also, I used a contrasting color so the seams would pull the whole thing together. I’ve seen other people sew rickrack over the seams, and while it’s definitely cute, I think that would be too scratchy.
I also started overlapping one of the pieces so they would feed through the foot more easily.
I also found it helpful to sew the blanket up in sections and then sew it all together (like quilters do).
Smaller sized blankets will probably work best. The blanket gets heavy, and too much weight will stress the seams.
I ended up making a full size blanket, and it’s the perfect size for 2 people to cuddle up with on the couch. Or, for just wearing around the house. 🙂
If you do end up making your own blanket, PLEASE EMAIL ME! I’d love to see it.