Upcycle some old, wool, sweaters to make this striking garland. The texture will look amazing on your tree and the project takes only 2-3 wool sweaters, a sewing machine and a few hours.
Step 1: Felt Your Sweaters
Start with 2 or 3 100% wool, knit sweaters (check the thrift stores). I chose a bright red, a gray and white, and a brown and mulitcolor. Moth holes are no problem for this project.
To felt the sweaters toss them in your washing machine on hot with detergent and run an extra cycle. Dry in the dryer. Repeat if necessary. The sweaters should be well shrunk and thick--they should not fray when you cut them.
In addition to the sweaters, you'll also need sharp scissors and a sewing machine. Ready to go?
Step 2: Cut Out Your Circles
Once your sweaters are ready, start cutting roundish shapes ranging from 1.25 to about 3.5 inches in diameter. No need for a template, egg shape, circle, oval, rounded square, all are fine. This is a perfect tv watching activity.
I can't say exactly how many you need but I spent about 2 hours cutting up most of 3 sweaters and ended up with 13 feet of garland. Maybe cut until your hand is tired and see where you're at?
Note the ruler for scale. You want a mix of sizes and shapes to add interest.
Step 3: Start Sewing
Once you have a largish pile of round pieces of felt, move off the couch and to your sewing machine.
Use a ball point needle and set your sewing machine to make a long, straight stitch. You may also want to use a heavier thread (although I used all purpose thread and it seems okay). Anyway, shove the first circle under the presser foot and sew through the middle.
As soon as the first circle is through, immediately push the next circle under the presser foot. Don't overlap them but try not to have any gap between the circles.
The third image below shows what the chain of circles should look like coming off the back of your machine. I got into a groove of grabbing the circles with my left hand and guiding them into the machine while guiding the stitch with my right hand. I never had to stop the machine. Try to vary the color and sizes to achieve a random look.
Step 4: This Is What It Should Look Like
Note the two images below, first is a good section, where the circles butt up against each other. Second is a bad section where there are stretches of thread between the circles. Aim for the former.
Step 5: That's It!
I made 13 yards of this in what felt like no time at all. The sewing probably took 15 minutes total. The cutting perhaps 2 hours of tv time.
Don't forget to pack this with mothballs. I found it easiest to store by winding it around a lid to a cardboard box. No problems untangling it for another use this year--it still looks great.