Felted Wool Ornaments

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I am pleased to be on the Christmas at Home blog tour sponsored by Hometalk and Country Living! I am so glad you are here!

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I have been working on a couple of tiny Christmas projects. We are in the middle of moving and I don’t have much time or space for a lot of decorating this year.

So, I decided to go tiny.

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You have probably seen the trendy HGTV show, Tiny Houses?

Just watching that show makes me claustrophobic. I like tiny decorations, I do not like tiny houses.

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I started my project with some rather tiny balls of wool roving. The wool is thick, unprocessed yarn, perfect for felting.

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The first step was to make the balls by twisting the yarn around my hand, then shaping it into a ball. I used several colors of roving for some of the balls and used just one color of roving for some of the others. I used red, green, grey and winter white yarns.

After I made the balls, I used a large sewing needle to secure the end of yarn inside each ball.

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The last step was to put the balls of yarn into a single sock and secure the open end with a rubber band or twist tie. The sock needs to be stretched tightly over the yarns ball in order to felt properly.

The balls in their socks were then washed in hot water in the washing machine with a small amount of laundry detergent. The agitation of the machine helps in the felting process. When they were done, I put them in the clothes dryer on the hot setting.

The dry balls were removed from their socks and decorated with pearl head straight pins in different colors.
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I used different designs for the pins including a snowflake, a star, a tree and just some random designs.

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The glass bowl sits on our coffee table and allows the balls to be admired from all angles.

Who knows, maybe going tiny for Christmas will be the trend next year.

Thanks for stopping by!

 

Wool Wave Pillow

 

 

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This project is part of the So You Think Your Crafty Contest.

To say that I am excited about being a part of this competition is a big understatement.

Our theme for Week One, was “Stash Bust”.

I have been hoarding pieces of wool for a while now, and this was the perfect opportunity to use it.

These are 1/4 yard cuts of wool. Some are hand dyed, some are re-purposed. Usually they are used in quilting or appliqués, but I had a different idea for them.

pillow lead

My vision was a Wool Wave Pillow. This pillow only took about an hour to make from start to finish.

wave pattern

I created the wave pattern by cutting rectangular strips of wool 3 1/2″ wide. I used this piece of wavy Frog Tape as a pattern for the wave design, and cut ONE of the LONG edges into this wave pattern. After trimming the first piece, I cut 8 more identical ones for a total of 9 pieces.

 

front of stitching

I cut each piece from a different color of wool, you could use all the same colors if you wish.

The next step was to stitch them together. I found that my wool stretched slightly as I worked with it because of the bias cuts, which made it a bit difficult to sew. I would recommend putting a piece of Stitch Witchery underneath each seam and fusing them together with a warm iron before stitching to eliminate some of the stretch. Stitch Witchery is available from Amazon.com.

To sew the pieces together, I over lapped the wave edge of the first piece on top of the straight edge of the piece underneath, then top stitched along the wave edge from the right side. The blanket stitch worked well for this method, I used black thread so it would be easy to see and added some contrast.

back of stitching

This is what the pieces look like from the BACK SIDE. If your wool is thick, you may want to trim away some of the extra seam allowance, I did not since my wool was rather light weight.

Each piece was assembled the same way until the end. For the last piece, I INVERTED the wave to have the straight edge on the right side (basically the two wave edges overlapped for the last two pieces). This gave me straight edge on both the right and left sides, thus a neat rectangular piece to sew the black flannel backing on. I left a hole of 6″ to stuff the pillow with poly fiberfill stuffing, then slip stitched it closed with a needle and thread.

pillow and sofa

The pillow is now my favorite addition to our living room, I love the bright colors against our new teal sofa!

Check out the other projects in this week’s competition here.

Have a great day!

Felted Wool Dryer Balls

Felted Wool Dryer Balls

 

 

I have seen these Felted Wool Dryer Balls on Pintrest a number of times. They seem to be tried and tested enough to know that they really do work in place of buying dryer sheets.

I have a confession to make…

I have never actually purchased dryer sheets.

At least I don’t remember buying any, perhaps I did way back when.

Before I realized how bad they are for you.

Part of our quest to live an organic and chemical free lifestyle is to review each and every item that comes into our home.

Is it really necessary?

Is it full of chemicals?

Why do we need it?

Is there another alternative?

You would be amazed how your perspective changes after a while.

There are many things that most families purchase that are considered “essentials” , that we simple don’t buy. One of them is dryer sheets.

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The skin is the largest organ in the body, so they say.

Why do we perfume and chemically dose our laundry that goes next to our skin?

It doesn’t make sense to me.

We absorb so much of what we come in contact with in our environment, we don’t even realize it.

When our son was young and struggling with ADD, ADHD, allergies and learning disorders and a bunch of other things, I remember reading about how many environmental chemicals are absorbed by small children.

Children are so much more sensitive to things than adults. If chemicals in our environment bother us, just think so much more it must bother them.

I immediately began seeking chemical free alternatives, and have never looked back.

That’s my soap box for today: the less chemicals you have in your home the better.

If you absolutely love these organic, beautiful Felted Wool Dryer Balls, then read on!

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To make the balls you will need:

one skein of 100% wool roving yarn

essential oil of your choice

a couple of old socks and rubber bands

(Note: You must use 100% wool for this project or it won’t work. Also beware of light colored roving, it may be bleached and will not felt properly.)

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Wind the yarn into balls of desired size. Use a large needle to thread the loose end of yarn back through the ball to secure it and cut off any excess.

The balls don’t need to be all that huge, I would say the maximum size should be that of a tennis ball.

I used one skein to make 4 balls, one is a bit smaller than the others, but I like the variety in size.

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After you make the balls, tie them up in an old sock and secure the end closed with a rubber band.

(I knew that big basket of single socks would come in handy some day!)

The balls are then ready to be felted.

Throw the sock into the laundry with your regular wash on the hot water cycle.

It is helpful to have a full load, more agitation is better for felting.

Don’t forget the soap! It helps in the felting process as well.

When the wash is finished, throw them into the dryer on the hot setting along with your wash, until dry.

When the load is finished, remove the balls from the sock and admire your felted balls.

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Isn’t this the easiest thing ever?

All that is left is to add essential oil to your balls for fragrance.

I chose lavender oil, but you could use lemon, cinnamon, orange or grapefruit oils.

To use, place the balls in the dryer with your damp laundry.

The heat of the dryer during the dry cycle will release the oils into your clothes and they will smell wonderful. You may add more essential oils to the balls if needed as time goes on.

Wool is an anti-static and is excellent for absorbing extra moisture and odors inside the dryer.

It is priceless organic alternative to the chemically laden dryer sheets.

I am going to make a bunch of them to give as Christmas presents.

What sort of organic things do you use in your home?

Timepiece Christmas Ornament

Timepiece closeup

 

 

Some days just don’t go as you planned. I had planned to shop for food and start cooking Thanksgiving dinner today.

Instead, I spent my afternoon following an instinct.

On a whim, I began making this little Timepiece Christmas Ornament.

I have been dreaming of Christmas Ornaments and decorations for days.

Dreaming is a dangerous thing.

For me, when I wake up, I have to act on the dream or I forget it.

The other nigh,t I dreamed of what I could make with all the broken watches and jewelry I have laying around.

I can’t bear to throw them out. They are still beautiful.

This is my favorite old watch. We have been through much together.

It’s missing parts, and no longer works. I love it anyway.

Timepiece Ornament, lead

I love this old watch even more as part of a nostalgic keepsake ornament.

I cut up a couple of pairs of wool trousers and used the fabric for the ornament base. Mother always said, “Never throw anything away.” She was right of course. You just never know when you will need some scraps of old wool.

I cut a 4″ circle in of the dark wool, and a 3 1/2″ circle of the lighter color wool.

The edges were trimmed with pinking shears, and then bonded the two fabrics together with a fusible webbing.

Belt loops from the old trousers help hold the watch in place, and were topstitched in place .

A single needle stitch around the outside holds the front and back pieces in place. I probably should have used the fusible webbing to hold the pieces together before stitching, as they are small and hard to stitch without shifting under the needle.

A leftover bit of polyester fluff from an old pillow made the inside stuffing.

Bits of ribbon and greenery made the finishing touches.

Timepiece Ornament, back

I couldn’t resist adding the original garment label to the back of the ornament.

“Made in Italy” just sounds so sweet and exotic.

What’s not to love?

Timepiece display

I can’t wait to use this ornament as part of my Christmas decor this season.

DIY Woolly Sheep

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It’s spring here this week. Yup, it is. Regardless of the temperatures and weather forecasts, to me it is SPRING.

There are some woolly sheep that live down the road from us. They are absolutely adorable especially at the end of the winter when their coats get big and thick.

Have you ever been to a spring sheep shearing? It’s so much fun to watch. I would highly recommend it.

I found these adorable little sheep at an antique sale recently. They looked out of place and had to come home with me.

I purchased the three sheep on the left, the one on the right I made to go with the others. Here’s how I did it:

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Supplies:

White and Black Wool Roving (you can purchase this from craft stores in the knitting department)

felting needle

Cinnamon sticks or twigs for legs

small piece of floral foam

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I began by winding the white wool roving tightly around the palm of my hand to make a ball. After I started this I realized I wasn’t going to have enough wool, so I ended up using a piece of floral foam in the middle of my sheep body and winding the wool around it to save on materials. You can do it either way. You could also use a cheaper wool yarn in the middle of the ball/body and put the white wool roving around the outside.

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After a time, I slipped my palm out of the wool, and began winding in the opposite direction. Continue winding as before changing directions until desired body shape is formed.

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After I formed my body (remember mine has foam in the middle, I forgot to take a picture of it), I used the black roving to make a head.

I just bunched up the wool and used the felting needle to secure it into the wool. It takes a bit of stabbing, but it does work.

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After the face, came the ears. I used more wool and draped it across the top of the head, then secured again with the felting needle. Sorry for the poor picture, I don’t have a tripod yet, it’s hard to shoot and use the needle at the same time.

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I used cinnamon stick legs, and secured them into the foam body with hot glue. Make sure your sheep will stand up before gluing.

Then the last step was to “fluff” the sheep out by adding scraps of wool around the body to give a curly effect. I had bits of leftover roving about 2-3″ long, and worked great for this process. I applied them randomly in a curly pattern all over the sheep body.

I did not felt my sheep, but you certainly could. If you decide to felt, be sure to use 100 percent wool yarn, and do not use the foam. Make your yarn ball/body, then put it through the wash cycle and dryer cycles to felt it before adding the head, ears and legs.

Be sure to come back March 3 for the Mega Spring Linky Party!

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Baaaaa, Baaaaa