Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Felted Sweater Patchwork Quilt

I've been collecting wool sweaters for a couple years now and finally decided to make the quilt I've had my heart set on.  Some of the sweaters came from the thrift store and some were passed along to me because they had been shrunk or had a moth hole or two.  I love that this quilt is made almost entirely of sweaters that would likely have headed for the bin otherwise.  I felted the ones that were not already shrunken - all I had to do to felt them was put them in my ( top loading) washing machine with hot water and a tiny bit of dish soap, I let them agitate until they were shrunken enough then spun them and hung to dry.  I do have a tendency to overfelt sometimes because I have too many other things on the go (and, apparently, a short attention span) and I forget to check on the felting progress but I've decided to keep the superfelted sweaters for making thick, warm slippers.  Here is a bit of information on felting in case you are wondering more. 
Once they were dry I decided on how I wanted my quilt to look.  I wanted to have some big squares (all the less sewing and cutting to do) and some random-ish squares.  I decided to use one of my cutting boards as a template for the big squares and then I used a mandarin orange box lid for my smaller squares.  Two of the (smaller side of the) box lid blocks would equal one length of the cutting board squares ( I know that doesn't seem to make sense but hopefully it will once you see the photo) 
By using the width of the box lid but making the "smaller squares" any length I could have my random look without having to fuss much.  The beige block here is my cutting board size and you can see that for every block that size I used two of the smaller blocks across.
I planned out where I wanted my big blocks, because I didn't have too many I only used 3 per row (and alternated their positions) and then filled with smaller blocks (of all different lengths), mostly cutting as I went - I was trying to use up most every bit of each sweater.  I put one strip together at a time and then sewed the finished strips together as each one was completed.  When I put my first strip together I immediately knew I would want to make a patchwork scarf with any leftever bits.  Here is the first strip...
in progress
 and here it is at 6 strips wide.  This is Just the right size for wrapping around me for movie watching on cold evenings but...I still have a few more big blocks so I think I'll make it at least one strip bigger so that I can share if needed.  Perhaps I can convince all the males in my family to watch one of my (favourite)shows with me if I offer to share my quilt with them??  And since it was almost getting dark and the colours weren't showing up very well inside...
I asked W to take an outside photo for me.  I haven't even clipped the threads off but I can tell you that I will already be using this tonight.  I love the warmth and softness of the felted wool and I especially love being able to re-use something old to make something new.  So fun

 
(You can click on the photo to enlarge it)
I couldn't resist using a couple of blocks with the pockets still on from an old cardigan - now, some people might think that would be handy for holding the TV remote but I'm thinking it looks just the right size for a big bar of chocolate. ;-)  Could I be any better prepared for an evening or four of Pride and Prejudice?  I think not.

25 comments:

Grace said...

GORGEOUS!

debbiedas said...

Wow Heather, it looks GREAT. You've inspired me as I've thought of doing something like this too. And I love the chocolat bar holder. :) Very clever. -Debbie

Rebecca said...

Excellent quilt.

And I love the pockets. How clever of you. ;)

Jane said...

Thanks for the link of felting. I have been hearing a lot about it and not sure what it meant. I can't wait to see those slipper and the quilt is wonderful.

affectioknit said...

What a lovely earthy warm looking quilt!

donna!ee said...

this felted sweater quilt is absolutely spectacular heather! colors are in harmony with the style & textile...it's awesome awesome awesome that it's uncomplicated by backing & fill & binding...AND WITH POCKETS FOR CHOCOLATE!!! so appreciate you sharing your process AND i gather you used a sewing machine BUT was wondering if you used machine quilting thread OR something else??? thank you much ;)

The Apple Pie Gal said...

That is an awesome way to re-use! Certainly no cold draft will get thru it! Great job!

Katherine said...

Hooray! It takes patience to collect enough sweaters for a quilt, but oh, how it has paid off. Your quilt is wonderful, Heather. I love the combination of big and small pieces that you used.

A pocket to hold your chocolate? Sounds just right! Wanna bring your quilt over to watch North and South with me???? ;o)

Shell said...

That is fabulous xx

amo said...

Good move on the chockie pockies. Except if you have too many of them, you might forget a bar in one, and the quilt looks so warm & cozy that the choc will be melted in no time.

Ooh yeah, Pride and Prejudice, and North and South? Sounds great, I'm in!

erin said...

warm rich textures and color pallette! Beee-u-tiful!

What does the other side look like?

I hope your family knows (and i'm sure they do) how spoiled they are. You have some amazing skills...

momma rae said...

hooray for you! i am motivated to get back to work on mine now. thanks! did you put a back on yours?

Amber Morrisey (@BirthRoutes) said...

I love that this is nearly the exact dream sheet(s) I've had in mind...and a friend send me here.

Along with the love of dark chocolate and good movies ;)

Beautiful! Love it

Jain said...

This is quite possibly the most beautiful thing I've ever seen.

deb said...

I love everything about this... the colors, the block sizes, the fact that all these sweaters get a second life, the coziness of it and of course, that pocket! So clever. :) Bring on the movies and the chocolate bar!

farzana said...

If I EVER had any doubt about your skills I am more than convinced Now. Damn you good.

Here take my Jerseys and Sweaters. Some of them Are new,But if they end up as Beautiful as this Quilt then it was all for a Good Cause.
The Chockie POckie is Brilliant.
Form and Function - what's not to Love.

I agree with Jain and Deb{November 9, 2010 2:41PM / November 11, 2010 4:46AM}

Thank you for sharing this Wonderful work of Art and the Felting Link.

sherrieg said...

Hi Heather,
It is perfect! We have amazing thrift stores around here, and I have had a plan forming in my mind for a long time to make almost exactly the same quilt! It's beautiful - you did such an amazing job! :)
Sherrie

Heather said...

Thanks all for your kind compliments, I can tell you that we've been putting this quilt to VERY good use and I can see that I might need to make one for each of us. We all, including our cats, LOVE it. Thanks for your questions too, I hope I've answered them all here.

Donnalee - I just used cotton thread on my sewing machine. I am a beginner at quilts (this is my fourth) and didn't even know there WAS such a thing as quilting thread. ;-)

Hi Erin and Momma Rae, I left the other side plain (so the seams show, I was definitely going for ease here). S was saying it would also be nice with a cloth backing so maybe if I make one for him I'll back it with a flannel sheet (just have to find one at the thrift store). It is definitely warm enough without a backing though.

Leigh said...

Hi Heather, I haven't visited in awhile and thought I'd pop over to see what you're up to. I absolutely love the quilt! What an excellent idea. Lovely and warm too!

moment to moment said...

That is such a lovely quilt, I have been wanting to make one for my daughter for christmas, I am inspired to get started now!!!
warmly,
Christina

Andrea said...

Gorgeous, Heather - I echo everyone else. I would love to see what the other side looks like!

simplychele said...

This quilt is creative and beautiful- well done! It is sure to keep you warm on a cold evening. Hope to see some more beautiful sewing from you.

Heather said...

Hi Andrea, good to hear from you, I've posted a photo of the back so that you can see.

Anonymous said...

I found your blog on a whim and love what you do! This is such a cool idea and I'm always looking for new and different creative things to do that are fun, thrifty, and just awesomely good for the planet! I love this quilt! I went out to savers (a local thrift store) and got enough sweaters to start my own quilt! I love how easy you make it! I went with some funky chunky sweaters and I think it will turn out really cool looking! Thanks so much for the inspiration and the beautiful images! Yay for home made and saving!

Mike said...

I'm assuming that chocolate bar was long since eaten. Hopefully you enjoyed it. I would have.