Spinatomy

Archive for July 2011

I know some of you have been wondering how I went with my felting of jumpers.  It didn’t quite go as I expected, which iswhy I haven’t shared before now.  I am pretty disappointed with the results.  But I figure sharing failure is just as good as sharing success. You may learn from my mistakes.  I hope so.

So what did I do?  I put each cut up jumper into its own pillowcase and tied a knot in the end and bunged them all in the washing machine.  After all this is a fluffy process and I didn’t want my machine getting clogged up.  I did the hottest wash I could do (90 degrees C) and left the machine to do its work.  Once when walking by the machine I noticed that some bits had escaped their pillowcases.  A knot in the pillowcase is obviously not enough.  I should have used safety pins as recommended.  After it had finished, I very excitedly went to check my results.

Lets look at the results one by one, starting from most successful to most dismal.

1. The blue surf dude jumper

Wow – this felted amazingly well.  I knew it would as it had some felting signs from wear when I bought it.  It shrunk a LOT.  I’m talking at least half.  The bad news is that it is too thick for my pincushions.  I will have to come up with another idea – a bag maybe?  Not sure yet 🙂

Blue jumper felt - thick!

2. The olive green cardy

This also felted quite well – it was pretty much felted before hand.  It’s probably the one out of the 6 that I will actually use.

yay - it worked! olive green felt made from a jumper

3. The gorgeous red cardy

I am so sad about this one. The colour was so wonderful and the jumper so soft.  I had really high hopes for it.  It felted a little bit.  You can still see the weave of the jumper though, and it just looks like a really old bit of jumper and is not really suitable to make anything with. It was one of my escapees and if you look closely at the olive above, you can see red fluff on it.

Not really felt, just an old jumper

4. The purple turtleneck jumper

Another one I had big plans for that just didn’t quite get there.  The results are pretty similar to the red jumper – it just looks old.

Purple not quite felt

5. The black turtleneck jumper

No felting at all.  This one must have been treated to stop the felting process when made.  There are very little signs of felting action.  The edges frayed a bit, but that was about it.

Frayed black not felt LOL

6. The green work jumper

Total fail!  This one has no felting effect at all and also must have been treated.  The edges frayed a lot during the process as you can see.

a frayed mess

I put all the “fails” through the machine a couple more times and there was no improvement in the results.  I even tried the dryer as well.  No change.

Where did I go wrong?  Well I don’t think I did anything wrong as such.

I have a front loading washing machine which may have been a factor as they are generally gentler on clothing, but the blue felted so well I am not convinced this is the issue.

I believe my fails are due to the wool being treated so it cannot felt.  I guess the issue is how do you tell if something has been treated?  I am thinking the labels may give me some clues.  While they don’t say “this has been treated” the washing instructions are a little more flexible than pure untreated wool washing instructions.

So I can now say I have attempted felting my own wool.  I would like to try again and I will once I source some more jumpers that have the “be very careful’ washing instructions still attached.

PS I know its really called “fulling”  😉

Yes, it’s true.  I will tackle anything requiring a needle and thread.  Mega complex cross-stitch? No problem.  Need a hem taken up? Sure.  Make me a pincushion by hand?  Hey – its what I do.  BUT make something from a pattern on a sewing machine?  Yikes!

I have dabbled.  I have made clothes for my kids when they were tiny.  I made hats, dresses, dolls & their clothes, but to be honest they all looked very, well…..homemade.  I am completely self taught which is probably explains why I am not so good at this crafty skill. More recently, I have made bags as I’ve shown here and they have turned out quite well, which has given me the little confidence boost I needed to take the next step in overcoming my sewing machine fear.

I have today signed up forThe Haby Goddess‘s online sewing course.  The details can be found here.  Its a six week course that shows you step by step lots of awesome sewing basics.  Its starts 1 August and I can’t wait.  It will be great having all the info I need in small bits at my fingertips without waiting forever for perhaps not so good youtube things to load.  Heck there are things to be covered that I have never even heard of before too.

So here’s to a productive six weeks of learning!

Ladybird
I have a bit of a fascination with ladybirds. Or is it ladybugs?  I think it depends where you live.  No matter what you call them, they make an appearance quite frequently on my pincushions. Such a cute little things with bold bright colours.  What’s not to love?

Today I thought I would share with you my very simple yet effective way to sew a felt ladybird.  You could sew it on just about anything.

The only things you need are scraps of red & black felt, black embroidery thread, scissors & a needle.Things you need to embroider a felt ladybird

Step 1

Cut a square-ish shape from your red felt scrap.  I vary the sizes a bit, but a good starting point is about 1/2 an inch or just over 1 cm.  No need to be too precise.

Red squares

Step 2

Then with small scissors, round off the corners.  Keep trimming until you get a nice round circular shape for the ladybird bodies.

trim until you have a circle

Step 3

Cut a small rectangle from the black felt scrap for the ladybird heads.  About a 1/4 of an inch or half a cm long by half that wide,  just so they are in proportion with your red circles

Black rectangles

Step 4

Then round 2 corners to made a rough half oval shape.

Semi-ovals for heads

Step 5

Thread your needle with 2 strands of black embroidery thread.  Position your ladybird body & head on your work – no need for pins, just hold with your fingers.  Come up through the head from under and sew 2 small stitches on either side  of the black felt head to hold the it in place.  Then come up through the head in about the middle near the body.  Sew one big long stitch straight down the middle & over the top of the body.  Do not stitch through the body, but over it.

Make one big stitch over the body

Click on this picture for a close up view

Step 6

French knot time! (Click  here for a you tube video on how to do a french knot)  I like to do my french knots wrapping the thread twice around the needle.  If you want a bigger knot, then do 3 wraps, or just 1 wrap if you are after a smaller knot.  I like to position my knots symmetrically.  Of course you can place them where ever you like & how many you like too 🙂

French knot spots

Step 7

Now its time for the final details – the legs and antenna.   To do the antenna you can do simple small straight stitches and leave it at that, or you can add french knots to the ends as well.   Then its on to the legs. Start from near the top dot but come up from under the body.  Each leg is made with 2 straight stitches at a right angle or less to each other.  They look like little “v” shapes in isolation. Sew 3 each side.

Stitching the legs

And that’s it!  Job done 🙂

3 finished ladybirds

Off you go – go sew some ladybirds!


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