Tuesday, March 6, 2012

It's Tutorial Tuesday! Make an easy, but awesome recycled wool quilt!



I wanted a nice looking throw blanket for the family room, to keep on the couch. I was originally going to just make one with squares and rectangles, since most blanket patterns frighten me with their intricacy. I get easily intimidated, and tend to stick to easier projects. When I saw this quilt, The Beekeeper's Quilt by Tiny Owl Knits ...



... I loved the look of it, but that quilt is made of hand knit "hexipuffs". I don't know how to knit, so I made one with felted wool! I printed this hexagon, that I found online, and used it as my pattern. If you want to be done quicker, you can use a bigger hexagon, like this one, but then you can't utilize much smaller scraps.

I learned as I made this that the stiffer felted wools worked best for this. Felted cashmere, soft angora blends, etc. did not work very well. I didn't want the blanket to be stiff either, so I found that felted lambswool worked best, but you can use just about any felted wool.

First you will want to pick your colors. I tend to gravitate toward natural colors, but this time I wanted bright & cheerful! I used mostly scraps that I had on hand, and arranged them randomly. If you are more adventurous than me, you can make patterns, like on this antique quilt, that I saw at a flea market this weekend:


For a child that loves soccer, I think this would be adorable in black & white, like a soccer ball! For inspiration on patterns, simply Google "hexagon quilt", and click on the "images" tab at the top. Apparently this isn't an original idea ;).

Molly, from the Finish Something Already blog, shared her techniques with me (& now with you!), that she used on her gorgeous quilts.

One of Molly's beautiful recycled wool quilts:

Simply put 2 pieces together and zig-zag stitch right down the line. You will want to press the pieces together a little, as you sew, so they don't move apart, and they are snuggly sewn together.




Now just keep sewing more hexagons on, until the blanket is the size & shape you want. If you like the looks of the edges, you can leave it as-is, and be done.


I wanted a more finished edge, so I cut the edges evenly...


... then folded back the edge a 1/2 inch, and zig-zag stitched it down to the back.

the back:

the front:

I ironed it with steam, to get out the ripples, and I was done.


(like my posed reading pic? Lol)

It was super easy, but be warned... this took many hours to make! I found that the end result was was worth the hours I put in though, and I was glad I was able to use up so many scraps. What do you think?

27 comments:

jspillane said...

Fantastic!!thanks Kris I am going to try this one....Jean

Irēna said...

It looks so beautiful!

Amy - while wearing heels said...

I adore the hexagons. I am impressed with your ambition {and jealous that you have time to actually read a book - I read, things but it's more along the lines of Harold and the Purple Crayon}. Beautiful job!

Becca said...

This is brilliant! I was considering knitting a beekeeper's quilt,but this looks simpler. Hooray! :) x

Quotidian Life said...

The quilt is gorgeous, Chris! Thanks for the inspiration. I have one question(so far): Are you having any unravelng issues with so many beginnings and endings to your sewing threads? I wonder as I had some loose end problems with something I zig-zagged in the same manner,especially after one gentle machine wash. I had to reinforce quite a bit of stitching--but maybe that was due to my own lack of care in the first place. What stitch length did you use for your zig-zag? Thanks!

Resweater said...

Thanks, everyone! You all made my morning! :)

Amy, I wasn't really reading... it was a staged picture, lol. The books I read these days generally involve Star Wars & Legos ;).

Melissa, I didn't cut the threads after each side, but kept going & going, sometimes having to go over a side twice, so I wouldn't have to keep cutting ends. When I did come to an end, I would back stitch too. There aren't any spots coming apart that I have seen. I don't remember the stitch length, but it wasn't too short (would cause more rippling), and wasn't to long (would unravel easier. The tighter you push the 2 pieces together, the tighter it will be.

Molly said...

I love your blanket! Such a lot of work, done so fast. The colors look beautiful. I admire your ability to make everything look so effortless. Now, I think I need to make a hexie blanket.
Thanks for mentioning my blog and putting a picture of my blanket in your post. Working with felted wool has been so rewarding and I always love seeing what you're up to.

twoyellowdogs said...

Kris --I am exhausted by your energy and creativity! This may be my favorite one of your projects - truly lovely.

Resweater said...

Molly, I think you have me confused with yourself ;). I am amazed at how often you are able to just whip up your blankets with such beautiful & intricate designs. You were definitely a huge inspiration on this blanket.

Gwen T said...

I've been cutting my sweaters that don't felt as well into rectangles to sew into a blanket. I've been trying to decide whether to straight stitch and put a back on it. This zigzag idea looks like a winner.

Rosemary said...

Thank you for showing me how I can use the sweaters and scarves that have felted down too much for me to use in my rag rugs. At the moment I don't have enough to make an interesting quilt (in terms of colour)but it will definitely be a project for the future.

Quotidian Life said...

Thanks for the sewing tip, Chris. I cut out 26 hexagons after dinner tonight.

Heidi said...

I love it! You are so talented! Keep it coming!

NeedlesAndKims said...

Wow! Your quilt is really fabulous! I can only try to imagine how long it must have taken. So many little pieces to sew together. I'm sure the lambswool feels really soft and warm.

Resweater said...

Thank you all for such wonderful comments! You sure know how to make a gal feel good!

Kim, It only took me about a week, but I worked on it in all my free time... at least an hour or 2 a day. I counted the hexagons... 504 of them!

Rosemary, I have some very felted scraps that were too felted for this blanket that I may make a hexagon rug out of.

Anonymous said...

How about much BIGGER hexagons? I mean really big?? I am a lazy crafter and quick is good for me.

Resweater said...

Anonymous, I think much bigger hexagons would be a lot faster & easier. I think it would look really cool too.

Tree Dellinger said...

Wow! How long did it take for you to cut all the hexes? And did you have any trouble with ribbed knits? I've had problems with them stretching too much while sewing pieces together, but they were much bigger blocks than you used.

Resweater said...

Tree, I didn't cut them all at once, but i'm sure it was several hours. There were 504 of them. It would have been a lot shorter, if I used bigger hexagons, but I wanted to use my scraps. The ribbed ones were a little trickier, but as long as they were felted, they worked ok. I just pushed up on the ribbed piece as I sewed, so it wouldn't stretch out (did that make sense?). I didn't use very many ribbed pieces though.

A Happy Wife said...

Kris,

There is an attachment for your sewing machine called a "walking foot" that makes sewing on stretchy fabrics a breeze. After you linked to The Green Sheep and her beautiful quilts, I was inspired to make a recycled sweater baby blanket for a friend. My walking foot made the process easy, with only a little distortion that I was able to steam out upon completion. I'm working on a second, larger blanket now, and I think I'll have to try the hexagon blanket next!

Thanks for all the inspiration found here!

Another Kris

Anna Keeton said...

This quilt is a very clever way to use small scraps of felted sweaters. Great job!

Resweater said...

Kris, I'll have to see if I have a walking foot (after I Google it, so I know what to look for, lol). Thanks!

Thanks, Anna! I did use up a lot of scraps!

Kasey said...

I love this! I think I am going to try it, maybe in triangles? I just found your blog last night. I enjoy it, maybe to much, because I was up til 3 am looking at all your old posts.

I am new to blogging myself and I would love to put a link in my article about felting to your page. I hope that is OK I am very new and do not know all the proper etiquette yet.

Anyway I realy love your work and want to try a few projects. I will send you a picture when I'm finished. Thank you so much for all the new inspiration.

Anonymous said...

I just cut out two size of squares from my remnants from making mittens from felted sweaters. You inspired me.

liniecat said...

Nice work and snuggly Im sure!

Anonymous said...

What type of thread did you use when sewing the pieces together? I love this blanket and want to make one like it, albeit on a small scale.

Anonymous said...

I love your blanket and I want to make one like it, albeit on a smaller scale. Can you tell me what type of thread you used to sew the pieces together?