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Yarn Con – Intro to making with wool sweaters

Sweater Hoarders

Saturday April 2, 2016 2PM to 2:50PM

You’ve been hoarding sweaters for a while and still haven’t started that first felting project.  Let me show you some of the things that I have made, types of sweaters I use, how I make felt and get you started on your stash.

pile of sweaters

See YarnCon for details and to register.

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Down the Rabbit Hole….

Day 4 of my self-imposed challenge to do something new/creative each morning.

Pinch Penny Change Purse

I recently lost another change purse, that makes two in  less than a year.  So I decided to work on another change purse for myself but with a different design.

Several years ago I purchased this purse frame at the Bead and Button Show in Milwaukee, so it seemed the right time to give it a whirl.

Sew in Purse Frame

I did a little bit of research to see what purses made this way should look like and thought that Bag’n-telle has some good instructions.

So my plunge down the rabbit hole started with material selection.  My first thought was felt, of course, then I explored suiting, then leather and even briefly considered some of the linen or cotton fabric I recently scored at Zero Landfill Chicago.  

Change Purse

So to make a long story short…

— I didn’t consult the instructions that I found

— I didn’t measure very accurately

— I didn’t measure and line up the leather I appliqued on top of the felt.


So after partially sewing in the frame I could see that it wasn’t going to fit.

I don’t usually give up (I did rip out my sewing three times) but do feel like I am headfirst down the rabbit hole and no bottom in sight!  If I decide to keep  plunging down this rabbit hole, I’ll let you know tomorrow.


Not needing another UFO, I used a magnetic snap to create an envelope top (so the change won’t fall out).  Not so bad.  I hope all the handmade things I lose find someone to love them!

change purse with magnetic snap



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Day 3: How to make Felt Buttons from #recycledsweaters

Day three of my creative challenge started off a little bit differently with almost two feet of snow to shovel, so I didn’t get to my creative project right away….and almost forgot to do it!

Maggie Joyce Recycled Optical Lens Button

I have an idea for a neckwarmer that I think needs a button.  I immediately thought about using some of these fabulous buttons made from recycled optical lenses and I do think they might work beautifully, but somehow I got to thinking about felt buttons.

Since I have lots of little pieces of felt laying around, I started imagining a thickly felted wool button, with different colored layers that show at the edges.


Felt Button Recycled Wool 3

But instead I made a stack of offset circles of felt without button holes.

So this isn’t really a brand new creation for me, because I have made buttons like this before and used them to make wearable pins.  But I had never thought about using them as actual buttons…so that’s the creative challenge for today!

Felt Button Recycled Wool 2



I think the next time, I might try to add button holes and also try a stack of circles all the same size or adding the blanket stitch on the edges.


Can’t wait to show you the completed project!


Felted wool button from recycled sweaters



Here’s how I make a felt button or pin.

Cut three or four pieces of wool into squares bigger than the finished size desired.  I usually start with 4″ squares.  Because I am using scraps I cannot always get them that big, so I will also try with 3″ and 2″ squares.

I stack them in the order I want them and sew them together, down the middle with a sturdy stitch.

Felt them in a washing machine.

Trim them up into circles.

Hand or machine sew them depending on how tightly I would like them to stay together.

Add a button in the center if desired and a pinback.  Or you can sew them directly to your project.

Here are some examples of pins I have made in the past.

Thanks for stopping by!

wool button recycled sweater

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Resolutions or Revolution?

pine0001It’s January 29th not New Year’s eve, but after a month of frustration I have a new resolution.

I resolve to make one upcycled object for the next 5 days. I have seen many of you take on projects like this for one month or even a year, but that seems way too big for me!

Why am I doing this? As a working fiber artist there is a delicate balance between making the things I want, versus making the things I might sell. It’s a constant struggle to balance these two desires.   I have so many ideas that I struggle to hold onto until I have time to spend on them. So for the next five days I plan on spending the morning working on something that I have wanted to do for a long time for whatever reason!

Day 1.
A long time ago, my aunt showed me how to make a wreath with pinecones.  So this new wreath design is based on that idea.
Simple, but I like it.

Red Pinecone Wreath


If you would like to make one, take a look at my upcoming workshops.


Wreath pattern


I haven’t written up instructions for my new design yet, but I do have two other designs available as a downloadable PDF.