The Crazy Suburban Mom: Wool Gathering....

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Wool Gathering....

If you have a wool sweater laying around gathering mothballs, cold hands, and the sewing skills of a five year old I've got a great project.

fingerless gloves

They are called many things; wrist warmers, fingerless gloves and more recently texting gloves.  I didn't have a wool sweater but the thrift shop had a truly unfortunate one in need of a home.   For five bucks I couldn't resist. It was thick and cheap, and most important, wool. 

You can't do this project without a  felt-able fiber and only animal fibers felt.  When you're out and about thrifting look for wool, alpaca, cashmere (Don't scoff,  I got a cashmere sweater the same day.  Five dollars, crazy right?), or a combination.

Some people felt their pet's hair.  Ginger's been laying low since I told her that.  She doesn't have much to spare.

 Plant  fibers (like cotton) don't felt. Acrylic being neither plant nor animal, won't either.  I've felted things that had a lot of animal and a little of something else, sometimes it's works.  Felting isn't a science, you just never know.  

Fingerless gloves

Use a pair of SHARP! scissors and cut across the sleeve at whatever length you want.  Leave the cuff intact; that will be one end.  

I felt in my top-loading washing machine.  Put the amputated sleeves (Note: I felted the entire sweater once before cutting)  in a pillow case, twist the open end and rubber-band it closed.  You do not want that pillow case to open (zippered pillow protectors are best but I don't have one). 

 Felting wool throws off a lot of washer-annihilating  fibers (Think: big, expensive repair bill).  So unless you want to open the top and find a woolly crime scene, close that pillow case well, my friend. 

Set washer on the hottest, least amount of water and the heaviest cycle, add a little soap and a few pairs of jeans (to increase friction) and the rest happens naturally.  

 I felt things down very far.  I don't want to see stitches in my felt.  You don't have to run things through the washer more then once or twice to make felt  but I  do; five or six times is normal for me.  

I  run my projects through the dryer, you don't have to do that either.  It doesn't speed up the felting process; just the process in general.

fingerless gloves

These were very institutional looking; bulky and concrete grey, so I embroidered a simple design using wool yarn.  Adding a design can be done any time but if you do it in-between felting washes it becomes part of the fabric.

fingerless gloves

I like them much better with dark teal and gold accents.  

fingerless gloves

I added a few stitches between the thumb and forefinger areas mid- washes so the gloves would 'felt to themselves' at the stitches.   You can leave the stitches out.  Many things called wrist warmers don't have stitches.  Think: tubes.  

fingerless gloves

my fingerless gloves

fingerless gloves

Now onto a second pair.

...and maybe some coaster.

P.S. There are books with far superior directions for sweater projects then I wrote up. You won't believe the possibilities!


Leslie 1/22/12, 7:24 PM  

They look awesome & warm. You did a good job. I hope you had a great weekend.

Lin 1/22/12, 9:33 PM  

GINGER!!! OMG. She is adorable. :)

I love the mitts!! I went to an upscale boutique this winter and bought Em some re-claimed sweater mitts. DANG, they are ADORABLE! I should send you a photo of them. They cut up another sweater and layered a flower on each one. Hard to explain. They are CUTE though. And they were a whole lot more expensive than $5. I may have to try your version. :)

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