Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Felt the Halls with Wooly Garlands!

The holidays are officially here and it's time to get your crafty self into action! Forget about stringing popcorn and cranberries this up-cycled wool garland project will add warmth and color to your home all winter long.

Over the last year I've been saving my wool and felt scraps from plushie making. I regularly use my stash for bird beaks, wings, leaves and flowers. However the bags get larger each day and I needed to find a craft that uses entire color selection in their existing shapes. I found inspiration at my neighbors home, she has gorgeous handmade wool garlands hanging around the door ways and windows of her home.

I turned up an over sized darning needle, some cording, and a collection of large wooden beads in my studio.  Then moved the bags of scraps to the floor of our television room. The first step is to tie an overhand knot at the end of your of cording. The length of the cording is dependent on where you want to hang the garland and how much time you have. The next step is to slide a wood bead on to the cord so it rests against the knot, it'll prevent the felt pieces from falling off.

Now you're ready to begin stringing the length of your garland.  Simply slide the 2" by 1" scraps onto the needle. I folded my long strips in half and drew the needle up through both layers.

I quickly discovered that felted sweater scraps effortlessly slid over the needle whereas the tight weave of the brightly colored commercial felt from Commonwealth Felt was a struggle. My solution was to fold the felt and snip a single cut into the center of the piece, then unfold and string the needle through the cuts.

I'm drawn to random color stringing when I bead, it was automatic for me to distribute colors and textures along the length of the garland. Custom stringing garlands to match your decor is as simple as sticking to a limited color pattern or grouping like colors together. To break up the monotony of the stringing I periodically added beads a felt flowers to the strand.

I had grand plans of making loads of long garlands for craft sales. The results are beautiful but they took twice the time than I estimated. I stopped at five 55" long garlands and still have piles of scraps left to use. If you don't want to commit to making a whole garland consider adapting this project to make a fun scarf. For comfort I'd suggest omitting the beads and using strong yarn as your stringing material.

My book Craftcycle features projects that use felted sweaters and other recycled fabrics. For more crafty inspiration take advantage of twenty percent off your order and free download on Cyber Monday at!
The Castle tote and matching puppets from Soft and Simple Knits for Little Ones is one of today's free download selections.

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