Friday, November 20, 2009

felted sweater hat and mittens

I've been fascinated lately with all the amazing things people make out of felted sweaters. I had no idea people actually shrunk wool sweaters on purpose to make things out of them. I've been itching to try some of the projects I've found online and scouring local thrift stores looking for felting candidates (the sweater needs to be 80% wool or higher in order to felt well). I found a few the other day, one of which was 100% new wool and hand knit in Ireland...just lovely. I felt a twinge of remorse as I threw it in the washer on hot and then in the dryer. Sure enough, it came out about one third of it's original size and REALLY thick (my thumb started going numb from trying to cut through it with my little scissors)

Next, I got to work finding patterns online. I decided on this one. I must offer this caveat, though: I never, ever follow patterns or recipes...even if I want to. I did all the measuring and made a template and cut all the pieces and sewed a few together, only to find that the hat was hanging down to my nose and would have been WAY to big for my head, if I had used all the pieces. So, I only used four of the five pieces I cut, and then turned the cuff of the hat under and hemmed it so it didn't cover my eyes.

For the mittens, I found a lot of patterns, but thought the simplest way to make them would be to use the cuff of the sleeves of the sweater for the cuff of my mittens. So I put my hands in the sleeves the wrong way and then traced the outline of the mitten where my fingers were. The sleeves had shrunk so much they almost weren't long enough for my hands. Then I turned them inside out and stitched a very small seam around the raw edges (which was not easy because the felt was poor sewing machine had a rough time...but we made it through).

I really like the finished products, especially the mittens. The seams are a little annoying because they are so thick, but they are very WARM and look oh, so nice. Wish I had enough for a scarf...