Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Felting is so Popular Now

Another felt covered tape measure finished and on it's way to it's new home. This is my new favourite fabric craft (I think). It's fairly quick, darned cute and very least I think so. Felt work is quite popular now, or so it seems to me, and there are many cute projects ideas out there. It's an ideal fabric to hand sew with, since it will not fray. This also makes it suitable for seaming with blanket stitch. Felt is easily available in acrylic, wool and wool blends. The wool and wool blends are more difficult to find but much nicer to work with and will wear better over time; while the acrylics are super easy to find, inexpensive and available in a wide variety of colours. There is also the option for you hard core crafters to make your own wool felt from wool roving.
You can also make your own felt material by washing 100% wool knits or wovens in hot soapy water. Once it has been washed and 'shrunk' enough it will be a felt fabric. For example there are many projects made by recycling old wool sweaters into felt fabric and them cutting the felt to make new projects. There is a free pattern available online for the teacup version of the Betz White cupcake pincushion which is adorable, and if you can follow the pattern, it is easily translatable into the super cute cupcake pattern or you can purchase the book mentioned on the Betz White site. There are numerous uber cute project ideas if you are looking for felted sweater project ideas on the Betz White Blog, that are well worth your time to check out. I highly recommend it! The few things I have made out of red felt such as the little duck, little red monster, red felt brooch and the red felt pincushion have been made out of a felted red wool blanket. Because it originated as a woven item, the felt produced is stiffer than if it had been made from a knitted wool sweater.

Another felt crafting option is knitting items with wool yarn and then felting them in the wash until the felt fabric is formed and the item is the appropriate size. You must keep in mind that when something is knit and felted that the item will become quite a bit smaller and thicker as a result of the felting process. There are many good books with great patterns on this subject. And many free patterns available online as well. Also of course the same kind of results can be had with crocheting with wool as well.

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