Mother Earth Living

Try This: Wool-Dot Blankets

Large dots of vibrant wool give tired, old blankets new life.
By Susan Wasinger
January/February 2006
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STEP 1: Find four or five 100 percent wool sweaters. Thrift stores are often treasure troves of pullover sweaters; these cost about $2 each. Washing them in hot water and then machine drying shrinks, tightens, and “felts” the wool, making it thicker and virtually fray-free when cut. Choose sweaters that have no acrylic or nylon in them, as synthetic fibers will prevent the wool from felting. Large or extra-large sweaters are best so there’s still plenty of material left after they shrink.
Photo By Susan Wasinger
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Trendy spots

Modern design is seeing big, bold, colorful spots everywhere, so let these hip dots hop across your bed and keep you toasty. This project recycles a vintage wool army blanket and four shabby wool sweaters from the thrift store. All that’s required is some washing, some cutting, and a bit of simple sewing. By lining up the dots in orderly rows and choosing colors that are adjacent on the color wheel—here, greens, blues, purples—the dots become less random and more graphic.

1. Find four or five 100 percent wool sweaters. Thrift stores are often treasure troves of pullover sweaters; these cost about $2 each. Washing them in hot water and then machine drying shrinks, tightens, and “felts” the wool, making it thicker and virtually fray-free when cut. Choose sweaters that have no acrylic or nylon in them, as synthetic fibers will prevent the wool from felting. Large or extra-large sweaters are best so there’s still plenty of material left after they shrink.

2 & 3. Trace around a dinner plate with a pen or colored pencil. The average sweater will yield four large circles, one each from the front, back, and both sleeves. A cardigan will probably only yield three, a vest two.

4. Cut out the circle with scissors. You’ll need about sixteen circles—four rows of four each—for a queen-size blanket. Lay the blanket out flat. Space the first row of four circles evenly from side to side across the blanket. Measure between the circles. Adjust the position of that first row up or down so the distance between each circle equals the distance from the bottom edge of the blanket. Use that same distance to position the subsequent rows of circles to create a grid of sixteen. The top edge of the blanket can have a greater margin because it’s typically turned down when the bed is made. Pin the circles in place.

5. Use a needle and thread to hand-sew the circles onto the blanket. A simple running stitch goes quickly and holds well. Stitch about 1/4-inch ffrom the edge, all the way around the circle.








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