Thursday, December 27, 2018

Sabrina Sweater from We Are Knitters

I got this Sabrina Sweater kit back in early 2017, and it took me over a year to finish it. It shouldn't have -- I was excited to wear it, and it's not too difficult to knit. But summer came, and I'm not as interested in knitting when it's warm out. I put it aside for a little while, got distracted with other projects, and didn't pick it back up for a long time. But I'm so glad to be able to wear it now! 

The kit comes with a bare-bones instruction pamphlet and their pima cotton yarn. You can choose to buy needles from them or just use your own. I used my own since I like to knit on circulars, even for knitting flat. 

The sweater is knit flat, in four pieces. You sew them together after they're knit. The stitches used are just knits and purls, and making lots of baubles. 

I changed the pattern a bit by making the bauble rows get farther apart as I got to the top of the sweater. I also lengthened the sleeves and body (I'm 5'10"). I made the back a little longer than the front and made a split hem. 

The cotton yarn is really nice quality and was easy to work with. 

I think my sweater turned out really cute! It's a simple shape but the baubles make it fun and interesting. 

We Are Knitters shows the neckline as an off-the-shoulder boatneck, but when you sew the front and back together, you can just sew farther in to make a smaller neck opening. Mine is wide, but not off-the-shoulder.

The kit is currently on sale if you want to make one, too.

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Beaded Felt Wreath

Hi guys! Have you seen Purl Soho's Winter Wreath Kit? I think it's sooo cute! I wanted to get one last year, but I was too busy making other things. Then I wanted it again this fall, but I didn't want to spend $96. I'm so easily distracted by new ideas, maybe I wouldn't get around to making it if I had to wait to receive it in the mail. But I kept thinking about it and wanting to make one! But $96 - what if my focus shifted to some shiny, new project by the time it arrived? This debate happened every time I saw the tab for Purl Soho's website on my phone. 

My finished wreath

Finally this inner debate was resolved when I went to Hobby Lobby and saw some good, sturdy, 2mm-thick craft felt. I knew right then that I would make my own wreath, inspired by the beautiful Purl Soho kit. I bought several sheets of red felt and picked up a foam wreath for the base. 

Since my husband was out of town, I was busy with my kids all the time and I had to wait a couple days to get started, but luckily my focus never wavered. I kept thinking of how I would attach the flowers, and the different flower shapes that I wanted to make, and whether or not to cover the foam first. 

I decided to wrap the foam with strips of felt, using hot glue to attach it. It does not look that pretty, but only little bits peek through the flowers, so it worked out fine. I didn't want to see bright white foam beneath the flowers. 

Next I started making the flowers. At first I cut out separate petals, but I realized that it would get pretty bulky in the middle if I had to stitch or glue them all together. It is better to cut out the whole flower in one piece, and layer more shapes on top. 

My original petals idea - don't do it this way!

I have plenty of beads already, so I didn't need to buy any more. I got out my red, white, black, and silver beads and tried different designs on each flower. No two are the same, but the color palette is limited, so they all go together. I was able to easily sew through two or three layers of felt at a time. (It might have been a pain to get through all those separate petals sewn together, if I had gone that route.) 

I really like the effect of layering different shapes on top of the flower cut-outs!

For some, I cut circles and then cut out thin notches all around the edges to make them look like daisy petals. Layering these circles made really cute flowers.

I also used embroidery floss to embellish some of the flowers. It was hard to stop - I could have added so much more decoration to each flower! But I love how it looks with only one color of felt and the mostly-plain petals with sparkly centers. 

Then I attached the flowers to the wreath. I sorted them by shape, so I could distribute the different types fairly evenly. I hot glued the larger ones on first and then filled in with the smaller flowers. If you use a soft wreath form, you could sew the flowers on instead of gluing them. 

After I was done attaching all my flowers, I had to make seven or eight more to fill the wreath all the way (after I had done a good job of cleaning up all my supplies! Lesson: leave all your craft supplies out in case you need them again. YES, ALL OF THEM. Oh wait, you want a sane, clean house? I can't help you). It's a little hard to predict how many will be needed. I had tried to lay them out and guess, but I ended up putting them closer together than I originally thought I would. Luckily, I think it's fun to make felt flowers, so I didn't mind.

On the back, I added a ring to hang it. I hot glued a strip of felt over a metal split ring (from a key ring). You could glue or sew on a loop of fabric or yarn, if you don't have a split ring.

Voila! My beaded felt wreath is finished! I love it and would maybe make a white one, too, if I didn't have a bunch of sewing and knitting plans queued up already! Ooh, and a black one with black and metallic beads...