Progress Report on the Summer of Blankets

As you may know, the Pie and I are hitting up two weddings this summer.  In June, Doodle marries the Cyclist, and in July, my big brother Krystopf weds the indomitable Atlas.  Both are getting home-made blankets from yours truly as a wedding gift.

Progress Report

The Atlas blanket is coming along well, though it never ceases to amaze me how many times I can screw up a simple knit/purl design.  As much as I try, I doubt I will ever be a practised knitter, though I am getting better at going back and fixing my mistakes.  And fortunately this is something that I can bring with me when I’m traveling, and something I can do while I’m watching television at night.

Progress Report

With these two strips you can start to see the sort of “patchwork” effect that I was going for, with the alternating colours and alternating knit and purled sides.

Progress Report

The place where I bought this gorgeous wool, A Good Yarn, has closed the doors of its physical business and the owner has moved to Halifax to focus on the internet side of the show, so I had to order the next batch of skeins online.  Fortunately, Tanis Fiber Arts has a really comprehensive website and such beautiful colours.  The new skeins I ordered just came in yesterday.

Progress Report

In biodegradable packaging, no less!

Progress Report

If you are curious, this is the Yellow Label DK Weight, which is good for pretty much anything, and the colours I have used are Plum, Olive, Deep Sea, and Midnight, from left to right.  If I knew how to use them properly and/or could afford them, I would buy the whole stock.

Progress Report

Doodle’s afghan is also progressing.  That huge box of seamless sweaters has been reduced now to a blue recycling bag full of carefully cut out oblongs, and a green garbage bag full of scraps of wool.  I don’t know if I will be able to find a use for all the scraps, but I will try.  If you have any suggestions let me know.  I also have a small pile of cardboard cutting templates I need to find a place for.

Progress Report

I have learned that when cutting felted wool with a rotary cutter you end up with a tremendous amount of static-charged wool lint.  Which ends up everywhere.  And doesn’t go away.  I also learned that you can loosen the blade on your rotary cutter so it rolls more easily and you don’t have to press as hard.  Of course I didn’t discover that until near the end.

Progress Report

I may go in a slightly different direction with the afghan, now that it’s all cut out.  I will still do the colour progression on the “right” side as originally planned, but, depending on the number of oblongs I have, I might just randomly sew the rest of them together and have that go underneath, as a sort of double blanket, rather than sewing the wool blanket to a fabric backing.  We shall see.  As well, given the scale of this thing, I think it might be a better idea to sew the whole thing by machine instead of using the by-hand blanket stitch, which, while very secure, takes for-freaking-ever.  The question will be if my machine can handle it, as some of the wool is super thick.  I will keep you posted.

Progress Report

Baby Boy Blue Blanket

Here is yet another project courtesy of the felted wool sweater.  It’s a present for the newest addition to Kª and Kº’s family.  We shall have to see what young Il Principe thinks of this.  Being an only child is pretty sweet.

Il Principe, in the flesh.

Here I took four sweaters, two gray, one navy, and one black.  These sweaters were of the softer, thinner natural fabrics, such as cashmere and merino.  They felt a bit differently than regular sheep’s wool, with less fuzz.  I cut those suckers up into tons of 3″ squares.

Then I laid them out into a pattern and, like in our other wool patchwork quilt, started sewing them together in long strips.

Because of the nature of the wool I had to do it all by hand, with a needle and thread, using the blanket stitch.

Then I sewed the strips together. 

It looks rather nice, don’t you think?

This is the back of it.  It’s kind of cool, too, but it will be hidden from view.This is the soft cotton I am going to use as the backing.  The blue and the gray match perfectly with the colours of the wool.

Then with great care I pinned the top to the backing.  

The backing is a grid pattern so I was careful to line things up properly. 

I folded over the edges of the cotton to guard against fraying.

Then, with great difficulty owing to the stretchiness of the wool, I machine-basted the two pieces together.  Next time I would probably do this by hand, just because of the way the wool bunched and stretched.

To bind it, I used blanket binding, which I folded in on itself to make smaller.  Shockingly, I had to actually PURCHASE the blanket binding from Fabricland.

It was a simple matter to fold it towards its own centre …

… and then iron a new crease.

My mother was kind enough to sew the binding onto the blanket for me, in exchange for my making of kumquat marmalade.  She has more patience for such things.

The corners are a bit tricky.  You can see here how Mum pins flush across the corner.

Then folds the fabric over the pin as a guide.

Then pins it in place before sewing it down.

Its pretty slick.

You can see at the end she just folded it under itself again before sewing it down.

Embellishments are always important when it comes to babies, but you have to be careful.  No buttons, or anything that babies can eat.  Colourful yarn is a good option.  I thought the orange would look great next to the gray and blue.

The yarn here also serves to anchor the top of the quilt to the bottom so it doesn’t shift around.

I threaded a tapestry needle with the yarn.

Poked it through and back out again.

Here it is back through.

And tied a double knot.

This is what it looks like on the back.

I did that at random points all through.

Here is the finished product.

All ready to be gifted away!

Tweed Felt Oak Leaf Bowls

Here’s another cute idea I picked up from Martha Stewart.  These bowls are great for odds and ends and for serving nuts and things as well.

Download the template from the website and resize it however you wish, so that it fits on the fabric you choose to use.

I decided to make three bowls here, but for each one you will need equal-sized rectangles of felt, fusible webbing (that’s the stuff that is sticky on both sides), and wool tweed.  The thicker your tweed, the better your bowls will stand up.

For the fusible webbing I used this stuff, which I picked up from Fabricland.

Follow the instructions closely on your packaging to use the webbing to fuse the felt to the tweed.  It took me a couple tries to get it right, so make sure to do exactly what the package tells you to do.

Cut out your template and use it to cut out the shapes from your fused tweed/felt.

Use a blanket stitch to sew up the V-shaped notches.

That’s it, that’s all.  Cute, huh?

Vinyl Lunch Bags

This is an idea I got from Martha Stewart and modified, because I couldn’t find any oil cloth.

Using two contrasting pieces of vinyl, I cut out the main panel (29 1/2″ x 8″) and the two side panels (12 1/4″ x 5″).

It is a simple matter to blanket stitch them all together (because vinyl doesn’t fray).

Then I used pinking shears along the top edge to make them look like the paper lunch bags.It’s a great gift to give to anyone who brown-bags it to work or school, and makes a handy gift bag as well should you want to stuff it with goodies.

Waterproof Picnic Blanket

Here’s a great gift idea for avid picnic-ers that you know.  This was a Christmas gift for Doodle and her man.

I found a brand-new Scouts Canada campfire blanket at Value Village in the fall, and I immediately thought of Doodle, who, although she has lived in the United States for several years now, is a staunch Canadian, and, like my brother Ando, who is also an ex-pat Canuck, likes to surround herself with various items of Canadiana.

Normally the little Scouts cut holes in the centres of the blankets to wear them like ponchos, and often sew badges and other things onto the blanket itself. Then they sit around the campfire and tell dirty stories.

I’m not sure exactly what the blanket is made of, but I hope it’s flame-retardant.

Anyway, I purchased a measure of bright red vinyl to match the red thread on the blanket itself, and cut it to fit.  Because the blanket wasn’t an exact rectangle, I made a little mark on the vinyl to indicate where the Scouts Canada logo should go.

I used pinking shears to finish the edges of the vinyl.  Then I cut buttonholes at all the corners and along the sides.  I reinforced the buttonholes with red thread in a blanket stitch.

I then sewed on all the buttons, making sure that none of them matched each other.  I saved the big silver button to go under the Scouts Canada patch.

And there you have it, a simple picnic blanket.  Just unbutton it to wash it and you’re set!

 

Scottie Cardigan Cushion Cover

This isn’t really a how-to kind of post.  I just wanted to show you one of the other things you can make with old wool sweaters that you have felted.  You may remember KDB, in whose house Kristopf and I made those amazing cocoa-caramel-pecan cookies.  This was a present for her for Christmas.

I found an image of a scottie dog on the internet and used it as a pattern to cut it out of a sweater.  I then blanket stitched it onto a red background from another sweater.

Then I took a cardigan that was slightly larger than the cushion I wanted to make out of it.  I cut out two squares, from the front of the cardigan and the back, making sure that the buttoned opening to the cardigan was in the centre on the front.

Then I sewed the scottie square onto the back of the cardigan (which will now be the front of your cushion) and then sewed the back and the front together.

Now you have your cushion.  The button-front of the cardigan now serves as a way to pull out your cushion when you need to wash the cover.  And it’s super cute!

Real McCoy Felted Mittens

Last week we had a little fun with the MacGuyver mittens.  This week I bring you the real deal.

Trace your hand (or someone else’s hand, it’s up to you, of course) with the thumb sticking out a bit.  Cut out your tracing, leaving about half an inch on the outside edges.  Use that tracing as a template and cut it out of both sides of your felted sweater, using the ribbing on the bottom of the sweater as the opening of the mitten.

Flip your cut out pieces so they are right-side in and pin them.Sew them up using a blanket stitch and turn them right-side out again.  It’s as easy as that.

 

If you want to be really clever, you can sew a loop of thread onto one mitten at the cuff, and a button onto the other mitten in the same place.  Then you can slip the loop over the button and keep your mittens together!