Friday, November 17, 2006
A Quick Great Gift Idea Everyone Will Love
I’ve decided that I am going to whip up a bunch of these great potholders for Christmas gifts. They’re a project in Colorful Stitchery and all the instructions are in the book. What makes them so special is the fabric they are made of – 100% wool blanket fabric. Wool self-extinguishes when it catches on fire so it's a great choice for this end-product. Best of all, you can whip up a bunch of them in a snap.
I’ve been frequenting thrift stores for a while – always on the look-out for old sweaters and blankets that I can felt and make into something new. Sometimes I transform them into clothes for Julia but many times I will use them for crafty home dec projects. I love embroidering on pure wool with pure wool yarn. It is very forgiving and after a quick steam, all my stitches look perfect. I use Paternayan Persian Wool for stitching. I usually split the triple strand and stitch with a single end. Paternayan is basic needlepoint wool which you can purchase at most needlepoint stores or on-line. I also sometimes use smooth thinnish knitting wool for stitching.
Nice wool blankets are hard to come by these days though. Maybe someone else in town is making the same thing? I don't mind a moth hole or two or twenty - I work around them or incorporate them into a design or cover them up with stitchery. When I get the blanket home, I wash it in the washing machine on hot with a cold rinse to clean it. Then I rip it into large squares (about 24 x 24”). I dye them in my old enamel dyepot using Acid Dyes which are really easy to use and yield super bright colors. Often I’ll dye a bunch one color and then change the bath and just keep overdyeing so I end up with a good selection of colors to use in the future. These old blanket pieces act the same as a good piece of wool felt which can run you a pretty penny.
If I am in a rush to make a project and I don’t have any backstock of old blankets to recycle, I order blanket remnant fabrics from Faribault Woolen Mill in Minnesota. Here’s how you order from them. You call 800-448-9665 and tell them you want blanket remnants. The cost is $8.00/lb. The pieces you will get will be a bit smaller than a twin bed blanket (standard twin is 66” x 96”). I think a twin weighs about 3 lbs ($24.00 for a lot of thick fabric). Ask them what colors they have and tell them what you want. I always ask for white or pastel colors so I can turn them into some nice brights with the acid dye. Make sure you specify you DON’T want machine washable fabric – if you purchase that, it won’t felt. They will ship it out and you will be very happy and have lots of beautiful thick wool to work with for a long time.
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