Something I’ve held onto

This week I’ll be showing you photos of what I am making from my grandmother’s boiled wool sweater.  I’ve held onto this sweater for over 13 years and I’ve lugged it with me (along with lots of other things) every time and I’ve moved about 5 times since then (no exaggeration, I tend to move alot).   My grandmother was very petite, just over 5 feet tall and I am about 5’8″, so it’s not like I could ever wear it, but I could not bear to give it away.  So in the spirit of my “25 People, 25 Bucks, 25 pieces of Art” I’m making something new out of something I’ve held onto, that is precious to me.

Here are some pictures of the process, at the end this will be two bags for my older daughters, Annabelle and Millie.  I may make a block for Eloise when finished with this.

The sweater:  A boiled wool, sort of deep raspberry color:

First, I cut off the buttons…this felt really weird to do, honestly…like somehow but cutting it up there would be no chance of ever seeing my grandmother again, which of course I cannot since she passed away about 13 years ago.  I was a little emotional about that and it was hard to do.

Then I turned it inside out, because I wanted to see how it was made.  It seemed a bit haphazard to just go for it, and I’m glad I took the time bc this way I got lots more fabric from it.

I decided that the best approach was to disassemble it entirely, starting with the sleeves,

And from here I chose some pieces of the sweater to cut from, the bodice, where I can use the previous button holes to use as a closure for the bags.  I want to reference the sweater but not be obvious about it, but it’s nice to have a clue about where it came from.

Next is choosing the roving for needle felting.  Roving is beautiful just to look at, I keep mine in a bowl I made at a workshop at Frog Hollow, with roving from Outback Fibers.  If you are not familiar with needle felting check them out for tutorials.  Look at how lush and brilliant these colors are and it is so soft….

Here is my needle felting tool from Clover, I love it because it offers me more precision, is safer than using a single needle approach (I have stabbed myself many times w/these, they are sharp suckers!), and it is pink, and I love pink.

And here is some imagery of the design I am making.  I made this all free style, I like a more loose, spontaneous approach and flora lends well to this.


You kind of stamp down the design first with the needle and then go back and finish it by hand.  If you need an outlet for frustration this is the craft for you 😉

so you can see the imagery is a sort of Iris, vine pattern.  Next post on this will have the finished bags, and they are monogrammed – that was a little tricky but it turned out nicely.

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3 thoughts on “Something I’ve held onto

  1. Pingback: Something I’ve held onto part 2 « liz noonan

  2. Pingback: Project 14 finished! | liz noonan

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