Saturday, September 5, 2009

Six pretty pins...

Is it Saturday already? When I started "Bookworm 52" I didn't realize how fast the days of the work week fly by! Once again, I've spent my Saturday morning in my studio, finishing what I started early in the week. It is good to have a deadline that I am committed to.

My materials for the week were Snapple caps and shrunken wool sweaters It is getting harder to find 100% wool sweaters at Goodwill - I snatch them up when I see them! I've created a little stash of felted wool sweaters (done by washing the sweaters inside out in hot water with a little bit of soap - I wash them twice and dry them thoroughly in the dryer for maximum shrinkage).

The two flower pins in the top photo were simply made by cutting the felted sweaters in to random flower shapes, layering several layers and stitching them together with a button center. The leaves are from a dark green felted sweater. I added a pin back and they were done! Cute for a blazer lapel or even embellishment on a gift, in place of a bow.

The round pin in the top photo is part of a silk-ribbon embroidery piece that I started but was never going to finish. So, I cut part of it into a circle about 3/4" larger than the Snapple cap, sewed a running stitch around the edge and pulled the thread to gather. Some additional stitching tightened it up and then I sewed a small piece of fabric to the back to finish the raw edges before adding the pin back.

Speaking of finishing... when I was in High School, I was enrolled in the Floriculture program at the local Technical Center. It was the beginning of my training for my career as a Floral Designer. My teacher was Mr. Meyers. One of the things he taught us, that I try to bring to all the work I do, is to FINISH your work. He was referring to one-sided flower arrangements (where all the flowers face front) and wanting us to put greens in the BACK of the arrangement to hide the "mechanics" (floral foam, tape, wires, etc). I apply that idea to everything I make - my goal is to avoid visible glue, unwanted raw edges (sometimes we want them though!), unlined backings, etc. Taking the few extra minutes to make smaller stitches or be careful in your work makes a huge difference in the finished project. Sometimes I'll see a piece that would be exceptional except for strings of glue or lazy finishing. Finishing does not take a lot of extra effort but it is worth the time it takes!

The pins in this second photo were made by sewing circles of shrunken sweaters around Snapple caps (like the silk embroidery pin above). I then stitched on beads and leaves from my stash, adding a touch of ribbon or a dragonfly for finishing touches. The flower on the red rose pin was made from a square of felted wool, I cut a square, folded & tucked until it looked like a rose. I added a few beads to the center and made the calyx from some dark green felted wool. All are finished on the back with more felted wool and a pin back.

As I was cleaning up my studio today, I accumulated a small bag full of water bottles. I've got an idea for them and I'm going to try it later today. If it works out I'll post a photo. If not then I'll put the bottles in the recycle bin where they were headed anyway!

CraftCycle is a book full of fun projects - if you are into making eco-friendly art you should take a look at it!


  1. WOW, I never ever thought about using wool sweaters for craft projects. Thanks for the idea. I LOVE the pins. I love making decorative magnets for myself and for gifts, usually using those clear glass discs. This project gives me a whole new idea!!

  2. Wool sweaters are great for a LOT of projects! They make really cute purses and the cuffs are perfect for making bracelets (cut off the cuffs & embellish). A ton of possible project uses! For magnets, simply hot glue a magnet into the center of the Snapple lid before you stitch on the circle of felted wool. Glad you like what I'm up to, Jane - this is why I've been playing less poker at PSO! Cheers :)