Wednesday, January 2, 2013

DIY: Felting a Holey Mess, Anthro-Style

Hey guys! I'm updating this post with a link to another needle felting DIY I just completed...here AND one here...just can't stop felting! I don't normally stand around with my arms crossed. Unless I'm cold. Or I'm going head-to-head with a fourth grader and their attitude. In which case, one of my eyebrows are raised and my lips are pursed. Neither scenario is the case in this photo. I'm actually trying to show off my felt-y floral elbows.
Just to clarify: Anthro-Style is not at all similar to Gangnam Style. Least you be confused.

Anthro-Style is a way around paying through the nose for some adorable skirt/dress/sweater that you just know you could make. You can see my attempts here and here.

Gangnam Style is a way of dancing if you want to, well, have a female look at you as if you just ate your socks. You can see my attempts here and here (ha! made you look!).

I caught a bad case of Anthro-Style when I was at said store with a buddy. I spotted this sweet felted cardigan and was drawn to it's delicate colors and motif. However, the $138 price tag was just a pinch off-putting (ahem!). It was then I remembered the huge mound of roving I'd acquired during one of my hobby hoarding episodes and decided to attempt my own felted floral cardi.

Now when I say hobby hoarder, I mean that I've tried my hand at just about every craft under the sun. I collect hobbies like some people do baseball cards and coins. And I've got the garage full of potter's wheels, mosaic tiles, looms and jewelry making supplies to prove it. Occasionally I think to myself, "I should really get rid of all that macrame" and then I dream up something to do with it. For example. As I've yet to figure out how to craft a non-itchy macrame dress. But I will. Someday-ish.
 My version of the Anthro sweater. Granted, it doesn't look a thing like the original and I'm okay with that. Mine's the cheery-happy-kiddie version to their sophisicated-grown-up-lady original.
But my cashmere sweater cost $3.99 at the thrift store not $138. So you can add penny-pincher to my cheery-happy-kiddie version as well, you sophisticated-grown-up-broke-lady.

 Wait, what? You too wanna make a Felt-y Floral Anthro-Style Sweater? Duuuude, it is so easy. But you will need the following:
  •  A Sweater. I was under the misconception that the sweater must be 100% wool. Oh no. You can needle felt on any fabric. I'd had this thrifted cashmere sweater in my give-to-Goodwill pile because it was a little holey. Turns out you can felt-patch those holes. 
  • Wool Roving. I purchased mine at a workshop I attended a couple of years ago. I've made felted soaps and ornaments with it as well as this sweater. So, a little goes a long way. I wouldn't buy it at your local craft store because it will be a rip off. I'd look into some online vendors
  • Needle Felting Tool. This I did pick up at the craft store. I bought one by the company Clover with three needles in it. They are sharp as a mother so be careful as you stab away on your sweater.
  • A Sponge or Bristle Brush Block. Again, I snagged mine at the local craft joint. This is the cushion that you use under the punching of the needle.
Having never needle felted before, I watched a couple videos on youtube. I have found that when learning a new craft, the more tutorials, the better. Here's my feeble attempt:
  1. Pulling the roving. When you get ready to needle felt, pull apart the roving carefully, as if you are gently pulling off a piece of cotton candy. Done correctly, it should look like the photo above.
2.  Shaping the roving. I was creating circles in the above photo, so I gently rolled the roving into a ball and held it in place with my finger. Place your sweater on top of your sponge or bristle brush punching pad.
3.  Punching the Roving. Seriously, watch your fingers! Getting stabbed is not a pleasant experience as those needles are not only sharp but slightly serrated. As you needle punch, your roving will shrink in size as half of it will go through the other side of your sweater. You can shape the roving by angling your punching tool.
4. Making Diana Ross Hair. Because that's what you wanted on your sweater, right? To add a circle around your dot, pull roving as in step one, lay onto sweater and start punching.
5. Punching, Punching, Punching. It's like Fight Club but without Brad Pitt. Sorry.
6. Shaping the Roving. I love that you can shape the direction of the roving just by angling the punching tool and moving the roving. Here I am completing my circle by overlapping the roving.
This photo and the one below should give you an idea how much the roving shrinks as you punch it. I formed the roving into a leaf shape...
...and used my needle to do the rest of the shaping. I added a very thin strip of dark green for the vein in the leaf. Again, for those small details, watch those digits!
Here's a view of the back of my sweater. I flipped over the Anthro sweater to see if theirs was as fuzzy and it wasn't. I'm not sure if that means they trimmed the back or if they just didn't punch as hard as me.
And here's a view of my dining room table. Which has now become Needle Felting Central. Sorry, hubs.
Again, I blame the ridonkulousness of this pose on my showing off my felt-y elbows. sweater: cashmere with Target tags, thrifted; wood paneled skirt: old, Target; tights: geez, Target!; boots: Frye found second hand
I gotta tell you, this needle felting business is addictive. I started on this one morning and didn't stop until well after noon. I was so excited when I was finished, I showed it off to hubs and the following transaction went down (you know, I just can't have a single post without a lil bit of dialog):

Me (complete with bedhead and pyjamas at 3pm): Look! I finished my sweater! (realizing I'm still with bedhead and pyjamas) And I'm still in my pj's! And it's after 3!

Hubs: Yep. Just what I'd always hoped married life would be like.

Yeah, well, as I always like to tell him, you're stuck with me now, mister! 

I do hope this here post has inspired you to do some punching of your own. Of the needle felting variety, that is. Happy Punching!

28 comments:

  1. Oh, your sweater knocks Anthro's right out of the park! I absolutely adore this!! Now, to find some roving...

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    1. Let me know if you find an inexpensive supplier. I was at Joann's today and I just couldn't get over the cost, ouch!

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  2. Oh dear, I wish I wasn't allergic to wool.

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    1. Oh no!! Maybe you can use cotton candy ;)

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  3. Awesome sweater! I think you just introduced me to my next project! :)

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  4. Oh. My. Goodness. Cassie! This is amazing! I had no idea how this is done. I have a bunch of roving that I bought at a yarn store in North Carolina, just sitting doing nothing. How much is that tool? I would have to try something a bit less ambitious, I'm afraid, but I totally want to try this sometime. Ya wanna come over and work on something? Seriously!

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    1. Looking forward to a Lady Crafting Date :)

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  5. Um this is adorable. I need to hie myself hence to the local thrift stores and grab up a sweater or five and make some of these. I'm JUST lucky enough to have a dear friend with sheep who dyes her own wool roving, so I should be able to score some of that pretty inexpensively. CAN. NOT. WAIT. Thanks so much for the tute!

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    1. I know! I'm so glad I didn't give away my bag of sweaters...so many new ideas :)

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  6. have you washed the sweater yet? I wonder what will happen when you wash it...I suppose the felting will tighten up even more....I like how yours turned out better than the original!

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    1. No!! Hush your mouth, I don't plan to ever wash it ;) What I forgot to do at Anthro was read their tag to see what they do. I'm guessing dry clean or handwash. Glad you brought that up, I'll have to do some homework!

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  7. Cassie, I think this is my most favourite project of yours ever! It's darling and I'm going to have to try this I love it so very much!

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  8. Awesome sweater lady! Its great, I've been meaning to try needle felting for a while! x

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  9. An entirely successful needle felting project! Your sweater is really cute, nice job! Sherman's mom is heavily into woolen arts, and makes and sells roving...she has some with sparkles...just sayin'. :)

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  10. Yes!!! I've been meaning to try needle-felting for ages (my mom even has a felting machine - I know, lolwut, right? She's never used it; it was a freebie when she bought her sewing machine), but I always forget in favor of sewing things. I never even considered using it as a way to save holey cashmere sweaters, though. And I have a lot of those. Thanks for posting this! I'm off to source some roving :)

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    1. Keep me posted if you find a good source for roving...I'm in need of some more colors and the craft store was ridiculously pricey today. Boo!

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  11. Awesome sweater! I had never heard of needle felting and now I want to learn it! :-)

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  12. V pretty. I tried and just about stabbed my finger off so that it was hanging (well it might've happened...) so I'll just admire the products of others.

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    1. Ouch!! I know, I managed to stab myself a coupla times and it is mighty painful!

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  13. I love it, and I love your blog! great job!

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  14. Fantastic!! I wonder if this would work to patch wee little pinholes & elbow holes in knitted sweaters....

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  15. I like your works very much. This one is very colourful and juicy. This technique (dry& also wet felting) helped me to save my beloved waistcoat when I'v found some holes. But after that it needs only warm handwashing. Hello from Ukraine.

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    1. Yay! I'm so glad you gave felting a try and that you were able to rescue a holey sweater. Thank you so much for reading!

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  16. so glad a snow day gave me the chance to finally read this!! I always thought this would be way too hard to do...I see that this is my type of craft...I need to try this for sure, thank you for the post!! sorry for my ridiculous delay in reading :C

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  17. What a wonderful DIY needle felting you have completed there. And thanks for your tips too on making that felt-y floral anthro-style sweater!

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  18. So I just signed up to follow your blog by email. I knitted a sweater and was looking for ideas on how to needle felt something onto it when I found your blog. I'm a crafty, homeschooling mom and I love your sweaters. The circle sweater and bird sweater are great. In addition, the art projects you're doing with your students are fabulous. Thanks for so many great ideas.
    Julie - http://highhillhomeschool.blogspot.com

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  19. Anonymous9/27/2014

    Can you add a "pin it" button to your posts? I love your ideas. You are so creative.

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    1. Thank you so much for the suggestion, I did it today! I hope you find the pin buttons helpful :)

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Thank you so much for your comments. I appreciate each and every one :)