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One-of-a-Kind Woolen Gifts

Martha Stewart Living, November 2006


When wool is washed and dried, it is transformed: The fibers pull together to produce the soft, thick fabric we call felt. This is unintentional, of course. But you can shrink a sweater on purpose -- one that's old, with holes or stains, perhaps -- turning it into a medium that's wonderful for crafting. This is comforting news. After all, who doesn't have a few woolen sweaters that, though no longer worn, are too dear to part with? Gather these, or buy sweaters from a thrift shop, and use them to create cozy felt mittens, stuffed animals, and other keepsakes and gifts.

The projects on these pages incorporate the stitch patterns and designs commonly found on sweaters. To begin, machine-wash a woolen garment in hot water, and toss it in a dryer set to a high temperature. (You may need to wash and dry it more than once. If you can snip the fabric with scissors and it doesn't fray, it's felted.) Then it's a matter of cutting out shapes and stitching pieces together. Get started now, and you'll have plenty of presents at the ready for holiday giving.

Felt Hat How-To
Mittens & Pouches How-To
Pillow Covers How-To
Stuffed Animals How-To
Knitting Basket How-To
Patchwork Blanket How-To

Comments (6)

  • Resweater 14 Jan, 2010

    You can find oodles of great recycled wool (wool sweater) crafts

  • MSLO_Admin3 27 Jul, 2009

    You can find popular felting projects here: marthastewart.com/photogallery/felting-projects

  • Chilewoman 8 May, 2009

    Definitely Need a section for kniting to felting.

  • Patricia_L 30 Jan, 2008

    wool sweater that have shrunk became darling teapots on one of Martha's shows. I have never been able to find the instructions again. Lists of felting projects would be very helpful. Good idea, KimberelyE

  • KimberlyE 24 Jan, 2008

    Yes, Please let's have a felting catagorie! I find it so time consuming to search for all of these projects.

  • lauraks555 16 Jan, 2008

    There's enough felting projects to make its own category! Lots of cool projects, sadly, none of them knitted by the reader.