Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Making Christmas Gifts

Every year I say, "this year I am going to make all of my Christmas Gifts" and it usually doesn't happen. This year however, is different, I am making a "majority" of the gifts I will be giving. What makes this year different you ask? Well, I am not working 60 hours a week at the restaurant this year, so I have a little time on my hands.

My dilemma is always, what do I make for the men I give gifts to? I think I've figured a few things out. For my son a purple scarf, he's 24 and loves purple (I will buy him something as well) For one of my brothers I came up with this camera case. The grey and orange one is something i made for myself when I purchased my new camera, and I love it. So I made a male version complete with a loop on the back to wear on a belt.

I made these cases out of old wool sweaters that I found at a thrift store, and felted in my washing machine at home.

To felt:
I placed the sweaters in the washing machine, set the temperature to HOT on the longest cycle, and add a little detergent and a pair of jeans or something else that will help in the agitation (It is a good idea to place the sweaters in a zippered pillowcase, your washing machine will thank you) . I have found the most effective detergent to be one with baking soda. The heat will swell up these fibers and the agitation will force the individual wool fibers together. Rinse the items in cold water to encourage shrinking. Dry them in a hot dryer to pull the fibers together even more. Depending on the sweater, you may need to do this process more than once to get nicely felted wool pieces. They were reduced in size by about 50% and should not unravel when cut.

Next I cut three pieces one 4" x 5", one 4" x 10" and one 1 1/2" x 3 1/2.

After you have them all cut use some wool yarn and a large needle and blanket stitch the pieces together. First stitch the belt loop to the back of the larger piece (see diagram View A) Then turn large piece over and stitch the last piece to the large piece, lining up the bottom edges (see diagram View B) Blanket stitch the pieces together and continue the stitch around the top of the case.

After you are all stitched up sew on the button( I like to use vintage buttons) , and cut a corresponding button hole (stitch around the button hole as shown).



For my camera case I crocheted a strip of orange wool yarn and I felted it as well. Felting hand knit items is a slightly different process. You can find a lot of instruction on felting on the net.
I hope you can understand this tutorial. I usually like to do my tutes on video. Please comment with any questions and I will answer them for you-Have fun!!


Diana said...

Hi there Zublible Creations! Do you mind if I share a link on my blog to this article? It is great! I have always wondered how to felt and am interested in learning it.

zuliblu said...

Hi Diana,
I would be honored if you shared this on your blog. Thank you-Julie

esque said...

Great idea for gifts! I've never tried felting before, so this looks like fun! Thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

I wish I had read your tip about placing the sweaters in a pillowcase, before I mucked up my washing machine! after 3 sweaters, it quit draining, my menfolk were all extremely upset with me when they tore it apart and found it full of wool :)