Create a Simple Gift!
When I have leftover, 100% wool yarn, I like to knit pincushions to have on hand as hostess or housewarming gifts. Someone gave me one years ago, and I loved it. I couldn’t find a pattern, so I studied mine and copied it. It’s basically a ball with a flattened bottom and straight sides, stuffed with scrap wool yarn or roving—which keeps pins and needles sharp. I’ve found a few patterns since, but none as simple.
You can work it on circular or double-pointed needles, or straight and stitch it together—whatever you prefer. The size of needles and number of stitches will depend on the amount of yarn you have. Make the ball a bit larger than you want your final product, as it will shrink up in the felting process. I experimented until I got what I wanted. It’s a great way to have fun and practice different stitches. You can work stripes if you have small amounts of different colors, or embellish—get creative.
Once you have your ball knitted, but not closed, pack it with the yarn or roving. Really cram it in tight. Then sew it up, ready for felting.
Felting’s easy in a top-load washer. Use hot water and a heavy cycle—it’s agitation that turns the wool into felt. For front loaders, add in 4–6 clean tennis balls and run it twice. With either method, dry the finished piece on your hottest cycle. Toss in the tennis balls for added agitation.
Flatten the felted ball on the bottom while still damp. Stud it with pretty ball-end pins. For non-sewers, I use a variety of safety pins—everybody needs those! Sometimes I sew on a “Handcrafted by” label to add to the gift. I always include a little card with washing instructions to complete the package. The result is a unique present you’re proud to give, and the recipient is happy to receive.
- Words by Andrea Leigh Ptak
- November 9, 2013
- 3 Comments