functional felt

Like most of the projects that I fall in love with and then later give away, I tend to need to write a good chunk about them in this space so that the letting-go part isn’t so difficult. This is one of those projects. I fell hard for this one, but then had to (happily) give it away. So get ready for lots of blather on my inspiration, the process, the recipient, and in this case, the organizers.

This blanket, made of three felted sweaters, was for the Functional Felt Swap organized by Painted Fish Studios and Three Sneaky Bugs. I had never worked with felt before and was nervous to join a swap for the first time. The only reason why I felt confident enough to sign up was because I saw this fantastic felted wool blanket made by Molly at Purlbee, and thought, “I can do that.” The binding, especially the patchwork part, was inspired by Erin at House on Hill Road who was, in turn, inspired by this blanket, also made by Molly at Purlbee. A tidy little circle of inspiration.

I had two gray sweaters that had small holes in them and bought one more at a thrift shop for two bucks. I felted the sweaters by washing them with hot water and detergent three times. I also dried them in the dryer three times. I cut them into five inch squares and then used a thin cotton embroidery thread to sew them together. I used the instructions that Molly at Purlbee provides in her project journal for the stitching. This particular stitch is great because it makes it seem like the squares are on hinges. Once the blanket was finished, I added the binding. That finishing touch really made the project for me. The best thing about this project was the amount of hand stitching required. I just carried those little blocks of felt around with me and stitched away whenever I had the chance. It didn’t feel like a big project because I started it early on and worked on it little by little. I only sat at my machine to do the binding. I should have more projects like this one hanging around.

This blanket was made for Sarah, who is an expat living in Paris with her husband and two-year-old boy. I read quickly through parts of her blog and learned that she puts a lot of effort into living an eco-friendly, sustainable life. Recycled sweaters seemed like a good material. I also read that Felix, her boy, loves trains. So when I created the binding, I made a patchwork section that has trains and some other kid things, like hedgehogs and rabbits.

My first swap experience was excellent, thanks to Jen and Anna. They did lots of cheer-leading and organized fun felted giveaways along the way. Check out the flickr group to see all the amazing crafts that were created for the swap.

As I was making the blanket, I secretly hoped that the Cydermaker wouldn’t ask me for whom I was making it because I didn’t want to explain the whole “crafty swap” concept. (I was fairly confident that he’d make fun of it.) Alas, the day before I shipped this blanket off to France, the inevitable question was put forth: “Who did you make that for, anyway?” So I explained the swap to him and he responded with a comment about how it seemed like crafty/bloggy on-line dating of sorts. Except that his EXACT WORDS were a heck of a lot funnier than that. I’d share but I try to keep this space PG in case any of my nieces all the sudden become geniuses. Having said that, if you are over the age of three months and are interested, just ask. He can be a pretty funny guy.

I hope everyone had a great weekend and hope that all the dads were treated like kings. They deserve it.


10 thoughts on “functional felt

  1. I would love to hear the exact words. The resident male here is really supportive of all the swapping, he sees it as the crafters’ barter market.

  2. i really love the blanket, sarah is soooo lucky. i’m so glad you joined us, and that we’ve met! i would love to here what the cydermaker said… i equate swapping to blind dating in some ways!

  3. i love this, nothing like a bit of hand sewing to carry around with you. i also love that you did the binding in yellow and green tones, such a great colour combination.

  4. Good thing you didn’t add the real words. Your little neice is turning into a little genius. She knows what her hands and feet are and for some reason finds them delicious!

  5. I like this blanket so much, that I clicked on each and every link you posted as you described it. I have been holding on to a box of very fun wool sweaters that I need to shrink down. For a long time I have been meaning to try a blanket like the kind the company Crispina makes. (they are near Lenox, MA I believe).

    I love how super simple, but sweet yours looks though and may have to use my stash for something more like yours. Thanks so much for sharing!

  6. This is another thing I live in awe of, you crafty people you. If I made something to swap, you would quickly tuck it in your recycle bin. Where it would belong.

    And of course I would love to hear the real reaction! ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. It’s such a wonderful blanket and Sarah is so lucky! I love that you put so much effort into customizing the item for her and her family. So thoughtful! I’m glad you had a good swap experience. Husbands can be so funny. Pretty sure mine is just trying to bite his tongue about the whole thing. He simultaneously things they are neat and bizarre.

  8. I did a few swaps already so my husband knows the concept (especially after the ornament swap…I made 20 ornaments in two weeks and he helped me a lot!!!) but I still get the you-are-crazy look from some of my friends! Have a lovely weekend xox Oh yes, I love that blanket ๐Ÿ™‚

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