Washed and dried wool sweaters can easily be transformed into comfortable home decor such as felted pillows or blankets. Some years back, I wrote a series of DIY projects for Family Fun magazine. One of the projects used recycled wool sweaters to make felted mittens.
When we think of felt fabric it is usually the synthetic acrylic used for craft projects and felt boards. Have you ever made the mistake of throwing a wool sweater in the dryer? If you have, you’ll notice that the sweater shrinks into to a soft dense material. That’s the fabric used for this project. Natural fibers (wool) felt because they have bumpy fibers that bind together. The wool felt is easy to cut and will not unravel like regular knitting will. If you don’t have a collection of old wool (moth-eaten is OK) sweaters lying around, try the local thrift, Goodwill or secondhand clothing stores.
For a warm and fuzzy home decorating project, try making these felted pillows:
What you need:
Old wool sweaters (use only 100 percent wool)
Tapestry or yarn needle
What to do:
1. Wash the sweaters in the washing machine in hot water with a small amount of detergent two or three times.
2. Place the sweaters in the dryer for about 45 minutes. Check to see how they are shrinking. The sweaters will take on a thick felt-like fabric. The drying time varies depending upon the thickness of the fabric. You can check if the sweaters are ready by snipping the fabric. If it doesn’t fray, it is felted.
3. Measure the pillow or desired size for cover to be stuffed.
4. The pillow cover can be made from cutting two pieces of felt or patchworking a few pieces together.
5. Pin three sides to prepare to sew.
6. With a piece of yarn and the yarn needle, stitch the three sides using a blanket stitch.
7. Stuff the pillow form in to close the cover and blanket stitch the fourth side closed.
For more information, here is a site for lots of felt making ideas.