I'm going to try something new, and start posting a tutorial every Tuesday. Fun, eh? This tutorial shows you how to make a beautiful blanket, and comes from the website Homemade Holiday Gifts. Thanks Homemade Holiday Gifts!
"This recycled wool sweater blanket is so much fun to make! The thrill starts with looking for the sweaters at the thrift store [ahem...or shop at Resweater :) ], then builds as you felt the sweaters and finally reaches it's zenith when you can give the quilt away as a gift...unless you plan on keeping this one for yourself (and if that is the case I don't blame you at all!)
This blanket was intended for my brother-in-law and I wanted it to have an interesting look and feel. I was inspired by the look of subway tiles, so I used rectangular pieces and grouped them together in pairs, alternating their orientation. I anchored the blanket with a dark gray trim around the edge.
The blanket should use 5 felted sweaters. I was short one sweater, so I used some wool scarves and a wool skirt to complete the quilt. Everything for this project was found at the thrift store - including the large piece of flannel that I used for the backing. The following information will give you all the help you need regarding finding and felting wool sweaters:
Recycled Wool Sweater Blanket: Finding the Sweaters
Search your local thrift stores [ahem...or shop at Resweater :) ]for wool sweaters. Look at the tags and only buy sweaters that are made from 80% or more wool.
Sweaters made from thin yarn felt up to a lighter weight fabric, whereas those knit from thick yarn felt up to a heavier weight fabric. You want your slippers to be durable, so try to find sweaters that were made with thick yarn.
Recycled Wool Sweater Blanket: Felting the Sweaters
To be technical, we are actually fulling the sweater, but since everyone these days calls it felting, so shall we.
Place 2 or 3 sweaters in the washing machine. If you only have one sweater to felt, throw in a couple pairs of jeans as well so that the sweater has something to rub against...you need lots of friction for felting.
Machine wash the sweater in hot water and let it agitate...I found agitating the sweater for 15 minutes gave the desired effect. Let the washing machine spin out the water and remove the sweater before the rinse cycle begins.
You can then either lay the sweater flat to dry, or you can put it in the dryer. The sweater will continue to felt up in the dryer, so if you don't want anymore felting, it's best to let it air dry.
Recycled Wool Sweater Blanket: Materials
- 5 men's wool sweaters felted
- large piece (54" x 64") of flannelet for backing
- needle and thread
- sewing machine and thread
Recycled Wool Sweater Blanket: Cutting it Out
Cut open your sweaters along the seams like so:
60 - 4 1/2" X 9" rectangles (for the main part of the blanket)
22 - 4 1/2" X 9" rectangles in a darker colour (for the border)
4 - 4 1/2" X 4 1/2" squares in a darker colour (for the corners of the border)
1 - piece of flannel for the backing that is 54" X 64". I have made the size of the backing slightly larger than necessary because the wool does tend to stretch as you sew it. Better to have the backing too big and trim it, than to have it too small!
Recycled Wool Sweater Blanket: The Making
1. Once your pieces have been cut, lay them out on the floor and arrange them in a way that pleases you. I laid mine out in groups of two and alternated the orientation of each pair.
Each pair of rectangles sewn together forms one square. Each 'square' measures 9". If you closely at the photo below, you will see that I have six rows, each made up of five 'squares'. NOTE: This picture does not include the border of the blanket
2. Making sure to stay true to the layout of your quilt, begin making your squares. With right sides facing and the presser foot along the edge of the fabric, sew together two of the rectangles along one of the long sides. Repeat this step for the other pieces. You will have 30 pairs/squares in all when you are done.
3. Sew 5 pairs together to form one long strip. (Don't forget to alternate the orientation of each pair). Repeat this step so that you make six strips in total. Each strip will form one of the rows of your blanket.
4. Making sure to stay true to the original layout of your quilt, sew the long sides of two of your strips together, matching the seams. Repeat this process until all the strips have been sewn together and you have completed the body of your quilt.
5. Sew the short sides of six border pieces together, to form one, long strip. Repeat this step to make a second border strip.
6. Sew one of the border strips that you just made to one of the longer sides of your wool sweater blanket, matching the seams. Repeat this process with the second border strip and the other long side of your quilt.
7. Sew the short sides of five border pieces together, to make another long strip. Sew a square piece onto each end of this strip. Repeat this step to make a second border piece.
8. Sew one of the border strips that you just made onto the shorter edge of your quilt, matching seams as you go. Repeat this process with the second border strip and the other short edge of your quilt.
9. Steam the seams of your blanket flat by giving it small puffs of steam as you hover the iron just above the wool. It helps if you pull the quilt flat with your free hand as you run the iron over the fabric.
10. With right sides facing, pin the backing piece and your quilt together. Trim any excess fabric.
11. With your presser foot along the edge of the fabric, sew the backing and the quilt together, leaving a 18" hole.
12. Trim the corners of your quilt to reduce bulk.
13. Reach into the hole and pull the quilt right-side-out. Steam the quilt flat.
14. With a needle and thread, hand sew the opening of your quilt shut.
15. On the right side of the fabric, sew a 2" seam around the inside of the quilt. This will help to make sure the quilt lays nice and flat.
You are now done your wool sweater blanket and it's ready to give away!
Spot clean when necessary, dabbing gently with mild soap and water."