My knitting friends got together yesterday to repurpose our old sweaters into something new and exciting - Christmas ornaments! We're getting ready a year ahead of time!
A few years ago we took our old cashmere sweaters and turned them into blankets and scarves. I saved every last scrap of wasted material because I knew we could use it for something else.
On a separate note, check out this cute mini wreath ornament Michelle got me a few years back - made entirely of repurposed felted sweaters. How cute is this for the fiber artist in your life?
December 2014, my friend Carla was at the house and spotted this ornament on my tree and said "Jennifer, you've got to show me how to make these!" and the idea was planted. I started collecting old sweaters. I made a few thrift store runs looking for men's large or XL 100% wool or cashmere sweaters. The sweaters sat in a plastic bin for a year. Then over the quiet of the holidays this year, I washed and felted all of them. I removed all the excess fuzz and pills. I snipped them all into itty bitty squares (about 1.25 inch squares) and sorted them in plastic bags by color.
During the past year I made a few futile attempts to order the right kind of wire. I failed - twice. Then this past December during a wreath making workshop at my Garden Club, I got the bright idea to use green florist wire. Bingo! Now I was finally ready to schedule a Felting Workshop Sweatshop!
I set up a table with some plastic plates and all the colors of the felted sweater swatches. I had room for eight people around my kitchen table. I also provided the following supplies
- felted 1.25 in square sweater scraps
- green 1/4 lb forest wire
- quarter inch ribbon - red, green, white, etc.
- needle & thread
- wire cutters
- beads (optional)
- roving & needle felting kit (optional)
Select about 50-100 felted squares in your preferred color scheme.
Cut a length of green florist wire approximately 18 inches long. Roll one end into a loose coil to prevent the swatches from sliding off. This will be undone at the end so be sure to keep it loose.
Simply thread the felted squares directly onto the florist wire. The end of the wire is sharp and you can easily poke it through the center of each felted swatch.
Continue until you can form into a circle and see a center opening - approximately 10" long.
Twist tie the ribbon together - being careful not to twist too tight or the wire will break. Wait to trim ends of wire until after you have attached the bow.
Decorate with a ribbon bow on your wreath. I prefer the 1/4 grosgrain ribbon. Experiment with different types and use the one you like best. You can use a simple two loop bow or a multi-faceted bow. Attach to the wreath using the ends of the wire.
- Use favorite colors (you’ll see a pink theme in these photos); team colors, all one color, white, etc.
- Add little colored felted balls for “berries” or sew (or glue) beads on for berries if you like.
I used the above glass beads that I had in my stash from years ago. Originally I was going to sew them on, but then I though better of it and got my glue gun out and glued the larger beads onto a few wreaths to experiment. The smaller beads in the tubes look like they'd be easier (and safer) to sew on than to burn my fingertips with my glue gun.
The finished wreath. Originally we made a loop out of the green florist wire. I thought I was OK with that. But when I snapped a picture and tried to post it here - I thought it looked ugly. So I removed the pictures from this post; cut off the green wire loop; and added this gold ribbon instead. I think it gives it a more professional finish.
Experiment with different colors. I think you'll like the variety. I can imagine all white wreaths, sports team colored wreaths, multi-colored wreaths, and more.