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Yellow Suitcase Studio: November 2012

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Simple Rustic Wreath DIY

 The holidays are officially upon us! We got our Christmas tree over the weekend and we had some trimmings that I didn't want to go to waste. Thankfully I there was an old metal wreath form in our garage and some wire. I whipped up this wreath in no time! If you don't have a wreath form on hand try using a couple metal clothes hangers (if you happen to have those).

Grab some gloves and a small clippers to trim pieces further if necessary. I found it easiest to have a glove only on my left hand to hold the greenery to the frame and my right hand was free to wrap the wire around the frame. Wrap the wire around the base of the branch to attach it to the frame. You can use the a long piece of wire continuously adding pieces to make it full and covering where you wrapped the previous branch.

Once the wreath is nice and full you can hang it up on your door for everyone to admire your handiwork! I used some ribbon I had in my stash. There are so many options for this! I think it would be awesome with a thick strip of fabric, plaid flannel, or burlap. Use what you have on hand! My trick for hanging it on the door is to use an upside down command hook on the inside of the door and tie the ribbon to it.

Do you use any of the leftover tree trimmings for decor? I'd love to hear how you use them!

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Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Felted Wool Sweater Blanket FAQs

The felted wool sweater blanket has been my most commented on, pinned, and shared post. I love it! I'm guessing there will be many being made for gifts this year. Thank you and way to spread the warmth :)

I also get a lot of questions about it so here are the most asked questions and answers:
  1. Can I do this with non wool sweaters?
  2. Absolutely! Never let the materials hinder your creativity. Be careful that they don't unravel too much while cutting and assembling. These sweaters may also stretch more than the felted wool. I think a regular binding might be nice around the edge with non wool sweaters, since the edges might be a little more unkept than the felted wool. If you cannot find wool sweaters how about trying to find wool suits and skirts? It will not be the same thickness, but it's still wool!

  3. Where can I find wool sweaters?  Go to a thrift store in Wisconsin! Ok, if you can't do that check out your local thrift stores - some sweaters will already be pre-shrunk for you! Ask family and friends and check out rummage sales. Again if you cannot find wool sweaters what about trying wool suits or skirts? Go for it and try other materials!
  4.  What percent wool should it be for felting? 
    The majority of the sweater should be wool or other animal fiber. While 100% is easiest, as low as 60 or 70 percent can work. Also note that every sweater will felt differently.
  5.  How do you do that closed blanket stitch around the outside?
    This is the best illustration and tutorial I can find. If you are familar with a regular blanket stitch - it's doing the same thing but stitching in the same spot twice and angling the needle.
  6. What size needle did you use for the outside stitching?  I used a metal yarn needle that was 2.5inches long. If you have trouble pulling the needle through, try using some finger grips like what you'd use for flipping through papers.
  7. Did you use batting?Nope. It's so thick already!
  8. Did you do any quilting stitches to hold the layers together?  I did not. I think it would be a good idea though to do some since both layers are so heavy and tend to separate.
  9. Did you cut the seams of the sweaters open before felting or not?  Really you can do it either way! Most of them I did cut open and there were a couple that I got lazy with and washed as is. Cutting them beforehand lets you easily get the most out of the sweater. The seams will be hard to find after it is felted.
  10. How do you wash your finished blanket? 
    I have not washed my blanket so I can only suggest what I think would work the best. Spot clean clean when you can. Wash cold delicate and dry low delicate. Another option would be to dry the blanket flat outside maybe on a nice summer day! Did you know that wool has antimicrobal properties and more?
  11. Isn't it itchy? 
    No don't find it that itchy. Also, since I use it when it's cold, I'm wearing layers already and it's not up against my skin. If you're concerned about itchiness use a flannel or fleece for the back. You could also use all cashmere or merino wool. These are generally much softer.
  12. How long did it take you to make?  It will vary on your experience and how you like to work. I liked working on it in chunks. One day I did the washing. I cut the squares in an afternoon. In one day I pieced the front. For the outside stitching it took me a couple long car rides and some movies/tv shows.
  13. How do you keep everything from unraveling? 
    Cut the sweaters than follow the instructions for felting. This shrinks up all the fibers and holds them together.
  14. How many squares of each size did you use? 
    There are 28 5.5 in squares and 35 of the 10.5 in squares. I cut out way more than enough of the smaller ones so I could play around with the layout and color placement. I didn't use a specific pattern for placement of the squares. You can do more or less of the smaller/larger squares to your liking and what you get from your sweaters.
I hope this helps all you other crafters out there. Did I miss any questions? I'd love to see your finished blankets!

I also have an update about my blanket. I'm sad to say it needs some repair that I keep putting off. Cats like wool and little did I know that one of ours would like to munch on it. We can now not leave the blanket out. So be aware if you own cats or will be giving one as a gift to a cat owner.

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Friday, November 2, 2012

House Facelift - New Windows!

Long time no posts! I know.

There are so many little projects that we are in the process of or just not quite finished with yet. Who else has a bunch of unfinished projects around the house?

One major update has been completed though! Our house has new windows! Oh and they are so nice!

Here's what our house looks like with the new windows:
But you have to see what we started with...oh yes, so much green.
Back of the house before:
And after!
 Side of house before:
And after!
 This is the before in our kitchen - cringe!
 And for what I think is one of the most dramatic afters! Yes, the trim is still a little sad looking.
And this is the after in our living room. I guess there's no before for this one! The kitty babes love the picture window.

Ah it feels so nice to have more efficient and easy to use windows!

P.S. The colors of siding and roof look varied due to the very different times of day they were taken at. Also, the windows are from Window World if you're curious!

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