Ribbon Felted Flowers

my totally moth eaten cashmere cardigan – but with darning still intact!

This is a sad story with a happy ending. My favourite cardigan that was included in my first ever post, Make Do and Mend, where I proudly showed the careful darning that I wore with pride, sadly,  got lost. When I eventually found it pushed to the bottom of my laundry basket (don’t ask) it was totally ruined even beyond my restorative darning powers.
I decided to felt it by boiling it twice. The colours are so vibrant that I just had to try to find a use for it and I found the perfect solution when designing with some lovely felted woolen blanket flowers that Kirsten Hill-Nixon had brought along as a new idea for a class at Heart Space Studios.

the reds and pink  selection- I really like the tartan rose.
the neutral colour selection

 Kirsten will make the flowers in the morning class and I will develop the design and make session with them in the afternoon…but first I had to design something with what she had brought me, and she had brought me a whole selection of disparate flower heads – just as I has asked her to.

I made 2 colour sets of flowers. the neutrals were really soft and wooly, very tactile and I thought first to just make a heart out of them – well I would wouldn’t I? and in fact this is a really nice idea I may go back to…..

sewing on some beaded and buttoned centres

But then I imagined them as adorning a woolly winter jumper or cardigan, they aren’t heavy but they are bulky and a brooch seemed better than stitching them to a piece of clothing. But I had been given so many flowers that I soon decided on a necklace….

Kirsten’s red flowers arranged as necklace

I set to work but when stitching them together without a backing fabric, soon realized that I needed just a few more roses….then I remembered my old ruined cardigan. I cut the sleeves into ribbons of different coloured stripes and stared to stitch the rose buds by simply rolling and folding the strips to suggest overlapping rose petals.

cut strips of sleeve being curled to start roses
stitching the rolled rose securely with matching fine wool thread

I had used this system many times as it is so easy – you just need to stitch as you go and control the folded edge,  I found the way to do it in a vintage dressmaking manual from the 1930’s; the natural affinity to roll for cut knitting really helps the rose petal effect. I was starting to see a new life for all my old felted woolens.

the finished necklace –

I inserted my knitted roses between Kirsten’s more substantial felt blanket ones, ( I really like her use of the blanket stitched edge for a fat rolled rose). She had provided leaves as well so they helped make the reds even stronger. Then I simply stitched 2 suede strips for ties onto the last roses and there it is – now for the neutral necklace.

the neutral necklace made of different blankets and added wooden beads.

this time I added wooden beads by threading them onto the leather strips to make a more decorative finish. Kirsten had filled some of the centres of the flowers with soft glowing beads so I added some wooden ones as well, the soft tones and texture of the wood feels just right for this sort of fabric.

finished felted blanket necklace

I was really getting into my stride, and now I just want to make more of these simple flowers pieces and I didn’t use the lively red tartan rose – so now I need to pluck up courage to felt my  tartans and paisley scraps to use with my old washed out jumpers……

2 thoughts on “Ribbon Felted Flowers

  1. Lovely — what a wonderful way to give a treasured sweater a new life. I’ve been lucky enough never to have my woolens (or my yarn stash) attacked by wool moths, but I’ve read that they’re starting to make a resurgence in my area and I’ve been a little paranoid about checking my yarn & my spinning fiber for signs of them. Apparently from about the 50s through 70s a lot of wool sold in the US was treated with something to repel them, which brought the population down for a long time, but they’re coming back again. (It’s a little horrifying to imagine everyone wearing insecticide-treated wool for all those years — ugh. Possibly not the best trade-off!)

    1. Hi Daisy,
      Welcome to my world. Please take courage and check your stash; not only did moths attack my lovely luxurious and much loved cashmere knitwear, they also got into a box of Liberty printed Varuna woolen fabric samples – they are now becoming paisley and tartan roses.

      Apparently moths hate fresh air circulating so just open the boxes and drawers and let some light in – but if you are anything like me, out of sight is out of mind until I want to either work with it or wear it. I am not sure whether there is a change in wool-moth genetics that makes them strong enough to withstand the usual repellants
      Apparently cedar wood, lavender and sandalwood are natural repellants, so go spread some lovely smelling plant based oils around your stash, because the smell of moth balls is truly repellant for any life form including my Fox terriers!

      yours Janet

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