Tuesday, August 25, 2009

All Things Ribbon Giveaway

My cousin makes absolutely darling hair bows for girls. This week she is doing a giveaway on her blog. If you have girls to shop for be sure to check it out!

How To: Felted Balls

Have you ever wet-felted anything? If not, felted balls are an easy and fun place to start. You will need:
  • Roving
  • Bar Soap
  • Towel for your work surface. You will have hot soapy water dripping down your arms so it's nice to be able to dry your hands and arms often.
  • Two bowls of hot water; one for soapy water, one for clean water. The hotter the water the quicker the wool will felt. Use common sense here though, you are going to need your skin later.
Pull of a piece of roving and shape it into a loose ball in your hand. Dip it into the hot water and start rolling it between your palms. Rub your hand on the bar of soap and continue rolling the roving in your palms. Occasionally dip the roving back in the hot water and add more soap to the mix. Around now you should be reaching the "this chick's crazy, this is never going to work" phase; keep going.

After rolling, wetting, and soaping for a few minutes you will notice that the roving has formed a loose ball. It still feels squishy and hollow in the middle at this point. You are now in the "yeah, they're cute but not that cute" phase; keep going.

Now the ball is really firming up. You have reached the "wow, that chick was right after all!" phase. You can add more layers of roving over the ball to make it any size you want. Just keep wetting, soaping and rolling until you reach the desired size. You can try changing the shape into an oval or egg shape too. Make sure the ball is nice and tight with a good smooth shape. Dip the ball into the clean water, swish it around to rinse it off and set it aside to dry over night.

Way to go; you now have a felt ball! You can trim any loose fuzzies with scissors to smooth it up if you like; I like the fuzzy edges myself. Also, try trimming the edges to form a square instead of a ball.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

How To: Fulling (Felting) a Wool Sweater

You have braved the racks of your local thrift shop and returned victorious with your sweater of choice. What now?

It's time to full/felt your sweater! For the best results make sure you are starting with a minimum of 85% wool. In order to full woven wool you need to subject it to moisture, heat, agitation and preferably soap. You can do all of this by hand, but why bother? I suggest you use your washing machine; it's quicker and cleaner!

Depending on your ultimate goal for the fabric, you may want to cut the sweater apart before fulling it. The wool will felt differently around the ribbing at the neck, cuffs and waist as well as the front edges for cardigans. If you need very flat, smooth sections of fabric for your project you may cut the sweater apart at all of the seams and cut off the ribbing before continuing. If you want the ribbing for your project, just throw the whole sweater in. Either way works.

Set your washing machine to the lowest water setting with the longest agitation cycle on the Hot Wash/Cold Rinse setting. If you are fulling more than one sweater make sure they are close in color; darker colors will bleed out a bit and make light sweaters look dingy.

Add two tablespoons (eyeball it) of detergent and two tablespoons of vinegar to the water. The detergent helps the scales on the surface of each strand of wool raise, enabling them to become enter twined with each other, which is what causes the fulling or felting. The vinegar helps freshen the fabric and removes any chemical odor from previous dry cleaning. If your sweater looks a little dingy you may also add a tablespoon or two of baking soda at this point; it works wonders for brightening up dull looking wool.

If you are planning on running several sweaters through your washing machine it is a good idea to use a sweater bag (similar to a lingerie bag, but larger), a zippered pillow case, or even a pillow case with a knot tied in the end. The sweater will shed a nice pile of lint during this process and you will want to keep it out of your washing machine pump.

If you really want the sweater to take a beating, a tennis ball or an old pair of jeans will help the wool full nicely by increasing agitation to the fibers. I personally have never bothered with this and have not had to put very many sweaters through a second cycle.

You may let your sweater run through the entire cycle or, if you have a top load washing machine, you may decide to check the wool at some point during the wash cycle. You have more control over the outcome this way. For example, if the wool is felting tighter than you would like you could set the knob forward and skip some of the wash cycle. If, on the other hand, the weave still looks too loose for your needs, you could reset the wash cycle and allow more agitation.

Once you are satisfied with the wool you may choose to lay it flat to dry or tumble dry on low heat in your clothes dryer. Keep in mind that the heat from the dryer will continue to felt the wool slightly while drying.

I almost always use the entire wash cycle then dry the sweater in the clothes dryer; I like the fluffiness that the clothes dryer imparts.

Before and after

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

New Arrival: "Sweet Heart" Sweeter Sweater

Nine pink hearts adorn the thick maroon wool of this Sweeter Sweater. I needle felted the hearts with yummy cotton candy pink roving and yarn; the neck is trimmed with matching roving. The pewter toned buttons boast a cute heart design. This would be a darling addition to your little Sweet Heart’s wardrobe!

Now available at www.SweeterSweater.com.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

And The Winner Is...

I would like to thank everyone who entered the drawing for the Apricot Rose Brooch. I enjoyed hearing from you; it was fun to hear all your different opinions on favorites! I have some fun things planned for future giveaways and projects; I hope you will check back often.

And the winner is.....Martha! Martha's entry was the eighth entry as selected by Random.org. I hope you enjoy the brooch!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Giveaway: Apricot Lambs Wool Rose Brooch

This lovely Rose bloom is made of apricot Lambs Wool and is accented with an olive Lambs Wool leaf. Sewn on the back is a nickel plated brooch pin. It is handmade using reclaimed 100% Lambs Wool.

This would make a sweet closure for a shawl or scarf and would look cute on a blazer or jacket.

To enter the giveaway simply visit our store at www.SweeterSweater.com and post a comment on this blog telling me the name of your favorite item.

If you post a comment telling me you have become a Fan of The Sweeter Sweater Company's Facebook page you will be entered in the drawing a second time.

Also, if you link to my giveaway in your blog and leave me another comment with the link you will be entered again.

If you are entering more than once using the above options please be sure to do so in separate comments to insure you are placed in the drawing each time.

Check back next week to see who won!

Monday, August 3, 2009

New Arrival: "Bumblebees" Sweeter Sweater

Eight cheerful bumblebees dance across the fluffy tan wool of this Sweeter Sweater. The medium weight wool is soft and fluffy; the neck is trimmed in brown roving that nicely accents the wool. This Sweeter Sweater will be a darling on your little “honey”.

Now available at www.SweeterSweater.com.