New This Month

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

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