Wool sweaters and blankets can be upcycled into something else through a felting process. Wet felting needs very hot water, abrasion and detergent. I put the sweaters or blanket into a top loading machine with a pair of jeans and very hot water. The jeans provide friction and also collect a lot of loose fluff. Then, I put them into the dryer. You may have to repeat the process a few times until the fibres become very compact and can be cut without unravelling.
This pillow was made with 3 different sweaters. I used some of the seams to create the raised texture. Because sweaters are pieced, it is hard to get large sections from them, so they are easiest to use in a patched effect.
The best wool to use is merino or something that is closely woven. Sweaters with nylon or polyester will not shrink enough and ones that have angora or mohair are often too fuzzy. I can always find wool sweaters in thrift stores here in Canada but they are popular items for crafters. This pillow was made with 2 pieces of a shetland cable knit sweater and a centre panel of indigo dyed unbleached cotton.
My favourite find is a wool blanket because you can get large pieces from it. I bought this yellow blanket with ablue and yellow stripe at a thrift store. It was frayed on the ends but it has still provided me with a few pillows. I added a wool blanket stitch to the corners.
I also dyed a piece of the blanket with indigo. Because wool is a protein fibre, it requires an acid dye but it can be dyed with indigo. I folded it into a simple shibori pattern with blocks of wood but the wool absorbed more of the dye than I had intended so the pattern is faint. It is, however,a great colour. I also used a blanket stitch on this pillow.
Wool pillows are a cozy addition to a room and because they have been felted, they can be washed by hand like a sweater. You can find my pillows here
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