Friday, January 11, 2013

My Upcycled Warm Wool Lap Quilt

Every year I try hard to figure out what to give my mom for Christmas. She has no room for anything and she tends to pile gifts in a corner where she eventually gives them to her grand kids. One thing I know for certain... she is always chilly.

Ah Ha! I figured out what to give her 2 days before Christmas when making a stop at our Goodwill. A Sweater Quilt!

Here is how it turned out. She loved it!

I am not going to show a tutorial but if you look on Pinterest you'll see plenty.
I did my own thing and I guess I'll have to wait to see how it washes before I give you a tutorial.

I used a combination of 3 sweaters.
One very large medium weight medium gray wool. I think it was washable because it didn't felt and shrink.
One very large cotton cable sweater. Yes, cotton. It also did not shrink or felt.
I also used a black wool that had been felted.

I cut a number of 10 inch squares from each sweater using a rotary cutter. You should have seen the fuzzy bits on my rug! What a mess.
Now, that may lead you to ask...didn't those sweaters unravel?! No. They didn't. I was gentle in handling them. They seemed to be stable throughout the stitching process. The cable was the messiest but it had such lovely texture.

I placed all 48 squares in a random order that pleased my eye. I like asymmetry.
I sewed 8 squares together in each row from top to bottom. I did that for all 6 vertical rows.
I then sewed the vertical rows together until the entire quilt was together.
I used a 1/2 inch seam allowance. I did not stay stitch. (I think that would have caused them to stretch out too much.)
If you are so inclined, you can chain stitch the squares together.

When stitching, I bunched up the knit that wanted to stretch or seemed too short or too long. I used a straight, long basting stitch. This stabilized each block.

I chose not to make a backing. I wanted to keep it as simple as possible.

Instead of using a backing, I stitched the raw seam allowances down to the quilt, from the back. I used a very long, medium-wide zig-zag stitch. I was careful to make certain that the raw edges were covered well by the zig-zag stitches. I like how it gave it a bit of a decorative stitch look along each block.

I stitched the edges down just as I stitched each seam allowance down. I clipped the corners a bit to ease the bulk.

Once you are finished, I highly recommend that you clean your bobbin case and clear out all the little dust and wool bunnies.

I love how it turned out! I forgot to photography the embroidery I did on one of the blocks, "Let Love Keep You Warm".

She loved it. Someone said that when they put it on their lap, it felt instantly warm and incredibly cozy. My mom, who seems to hate getting presents, said she loved it and would keep it near. I think the small size, (about 48" by 55 inches), makes that easy.

I want to make another for myself! I love the calm gray, black and white, but I think I want mine in fun crazy colors!

Hope this gives you permission to play with patterns. If someone says that it has to be one way or no way... just say pish posh. Rules are made to be bent. Only break them when you know you are right and no one will get hurt from your creative civil disobedience.


margaret said...

what a wonderful gift for your |Mum I am sure she will use it a great deal, congratulations on coming up with the idea and thanks for sharing how to make it, I have quite a few jumpers that I keep thinking I should dispose of, now I will keep them and one day will try your technique

Bev said...

Wow! What a great idea! I love that! You are so creative and clever!

Cheery wave!


Julie said...

how beautiful this turned out!!! i love all the texture! i hope you will make yourself a colorful one and let us see it!
xoxo- julie


Your blog is lovely and I really enjoyed seeing your very creative pincushions. I also like to recycle sweaters etc into something lovely. Hugs Judy

Unknown said...

That does look very cozy - I bet your mom did love it! Great idea.

hula-la said...

I'm lovin' it! I think I will scour the closets for, um, undesirables... Thank you for sharing.

Sherry @ No Minimalist Here said...

The quilt was such a great gift. I just found you at the GYB party and I am now a follower.
xx, Sherry