It's very cold here in the Northeast. You can never have enough blankets!
I think I saw a picture online or within Instructables that showcased a blanket made out of regular, untreated sweaters.
I thought, "How about if I buy a bunch of wool sweaters from Savers, felt them, then piece 'em together?"
Step 1: Selecting Sweaters
I checked out Paige Russell's guide on felting before I headed to the
store. I know in the past I've had mixed results with sweaters not felting, so I needed more info. Her suggestion about staying away from stretchy knits was super helpful.
Once I got to the store(with my daughter, the cutie in the intro picture) we headed straight to the mens section and started feeling/checking labels. Lots of cotton and acrylic. Even those funny chenille-type sweaters that men hate to get rid of because they are so comfy, but know(well, most do) they must because they are so wrong to wear nowadays.
I wanted to keep a similar tone, so nothing too out there, color-wise. We ended up with about eight wool sweaters, one even cashmere. Came to just under $60, I think.
Step 2: Felt Away!
When I got back to the house, I went straight downstairs and threw all eight into the washer. Heavy-duty cycle. I put a little Mrs. Myers soap in there.
The washer sang its song after an hour and a half telling me it was complete. I took them out and giggled. Most shrunk a lot, one not as much as the others, and one shrunk ridiculously small. This particular sweater was a print, so not only did it have yarn chains, but it was also double layered. This thing was thick!
I threw them all into the dryer and set for "Very Dry".
After an hour they were done and even smaller. The thick one was so hilarious-looking, I paraded it around the house to show everyone. It was too small to even fit a 3 year-old, and if it did it would look just like Ralphie from A Christmas Story.
Step 3: Get Scissor-happy
I thought long and hard about how exactly I was going to put these together, because I didn't want to regret any cuts.
In the end I decided to first cut off the sleeves, then cut down the sides of the "vests", and finally to cut the tops off to square off the pieces. I was thinking that I could arrange and sew all of the squares together, and then frame the sides with the opened sleeves to give a curved silhouette. Maybe the tops I could use for either other projects, or combine for a matching pillow or two.
Step 4: Arrange and Start Sewing
I set out all of my squares in various patterns. The sizes of the squares were not exact, so that forced some creativity. For instance, some of the squares were much larger than others, so while most rows had 3, some had 2 squares.
I stitched each square using a simple running stitch, about 1/4". You'll need a hefty-sized needle, one that can accept yarn through the eye. I locked the ends by going over once then backwards a few, then just cut.
The pictures show the progress I made. First I'd stitch a row, then two rows, then stitch the two rows together, and so on. It sewed up pretty quickly. A running stitch is easy and doesn't have to be perfect. You could use matching or contrast yarn.
This will give me plenty of height with the amount of squares that I have. I plan on somehow using the sleeves on the sides to add width and interest with some curves.
Step 5: The Sides
I alternated the sleeves to create the sides. One sweater cuff, or bottom, I sewed to the main piece, then flipped the next sleeve so that the shoulder attached to the main.
The cuff is ribbed and has a little stretch. I stretched them a bit as I sewed to the main body as I was concerned I may not have enough sleeve distance for the really long middle section.
I ended up coming pretty close, and just having to add a small portion of a sweater yoke for those last several inches at the end.
Step 6: The Finished Blanket
I really like how it turned out! I prefer the right side of the blanket where the running stitches show. I think it looks more stylish.
It is quite heavy. If you move a lot in your sleep, something like this may slow you down. : )
I have entered this into the contest, please vote if you think this is a good one!