Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Great Jumpers of our Time # 8 - A Favourite Old Jumper

A favourite jumper here that I bought quite some years ago on holiday in St Ives which quite frankly had seen better days. It had just got too bobbly and a bit small or maybe it was just me that had got bigger.  Anyway another Phd/WiP is felting old jumpers, either my own or from charity shops (or should I say vintage shops) with a view to sewing them up into  - yes you may have guessed by now if you read my previous blog - a throw!  You might think too that I am surely running out of old sofas for all these throws but you can never have too  many throws. So chucked it into the washing machine with the weekly wash (jeans are good for this - the more friction the merrier) plus a blast in the tumble drier and it felted up a treat. 

It was a lovely lady called Hilda Haarhoff who first got me interested in felting old jumpers. She came to do a talk at the Solihull Embroiderers' Guild a couple of years ago and she has a fantastic  little wool shop at Earslwood Lakes Craft Centre where she stocks some really great yarns not usually seen on the high street, not that there are that many wool shops on high streets these days. There is a dearth of independent wool shops in Birmingham and don't get me started on the demise of the so called haberdashery department in my local John Lewis in Solihull where the bathroom cabinets and fancy rolls of wallpaper seem to be ever encroaching into the wool and fabric department. Hoping for greater things when the new John Lewis spaceship lands in Brum in September and considering the Great British Sewing Bee is back on our screens again making sewing and dressmaking popular there aren't many independent fabric shops around either. Anyway back to Hilda again who champions the great art of knitting and crochet by running workshops from her shop. Power to the pins!!

So onto the next stage then which is to open the jumper out by cutting the side and underarm seams then cut into squares.  I used a 6 and 1/2" square template and a rotary cutter.

Which ended up like this little bundle ready to be sewn up with contrasting squares to create a colourful throw something like the one below which is one of Hilda's that I photographed in her shop.

Felting the wool creates a firm fabric which does not fray at the edges so can be machine stitched together using a zig zag stitch.  Hilda uses a combination of her own felted and hand-dyed machine knitted squares and felted vintage woolly jumpers found in charity shops. 

And the story so far on my bean bag project is inner lining sewn, stuffed with poly beads but needs more so waiting for more poly beads to arrive.  5 cu feet needed in total for adult size bag. 

Outer sewn ready and waiting for lining stuffed with beads. Watch this space

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