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Week 1: felted wool pillow
Originally uploaded by rubbernun
For my inaugural Weekly Thing, I made a pillow out of an old sweater.

Jim had this great lambswool/merino sweater that had gone all holey and couldn't be repaired but was still pretty cushy. I originally thought it would make a nice throw pillow, but the colors don't really go with any of our furniture. Then I noticed how much time the cats spend on the floors in front of the radiator boxes and voila! Felted cat bed!

I washed the sweater in hot to felt the wool, then cut out a couple of non-holey rectangles (about 16 x 12). I don't have a sewing machine, so I pinned and hand-sewed three sides and about half of the fourth. Instead of using a premade pillow form, I stuffed the pillow with this creepy polyester filler. I wanted the finished cat bed to be flatter than a regular throw pillow, and this stuffing fit the bill (although I think I probably could have used more, looking back on it now).

I finished sewing it up with a fumbling attempt at a slip stitch -- sewing with black thread on black felt at night is not a great idea if you're going for accuracy.

The final product is a lot less symmetrical and competent than I'd hoped. Lessons learned: I don't really know how to sew very well; also some sort of white fabric pencil to mark where I should cut (instead of eyeballing it) would have helped. But the goal of this Weekly Thing thing is to learn new stuff and practice it until I get better. I have some other wool felting and sewing projects I want to try, so this was a good test run.

Besides, the cats don't care. Minutes after I finished up, Tigger curled up on the pillow and has been there about 16 hours a day since. Victory!

Replies: 2 Confessions

I have some personal experience with sewing things. Based on it (and nothing else), here are some ideas:
1) White chalk pencils are very nice for marking things, but sweaters are very hard to mark because of being so bumpy and the chalk not liking to stick to wool. But you can make a paper pattern and pin that on and it will also provide you with straight lines.
2) They make pretty flat pillow forms, although possibly not in the shape you want. Also there is disgusting foam rubbery stuff that can be cut to shape. People think it is gross but cats like it. Old t shirts also make excellent pillow fillers if you are looking for something flat. Surely you know someone with a few old t shirts.
3) Those are definitely Tigger's colors.

elavil @ 01/05/2008 12:42 PM CST

I thought about making a pattern, but then I thought, "Bah, it' just rectangles! How hard can it be?" Pretty hard, actually.

Amy C @ 01/06/2008 08:27 AM CST

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