Arm Warmers by Cathy Wycliff

 

Our guest artist/author today is Cathy Wycliff aka Luvswool who made a variety of arm warmers this Christmas for her family and friends.

Most of my felting this year has focused on wall hangings and scarves. Earlier this year, I went through a nuno-felting craze, followed by designing and felting cobweb and thick, wooly scarves.
But mostly, I focused on wall art, which included entries for the Quarterly Challenges, as well as some portraits, landscapes and seascapes. In November, I decided to experiment with arm warmers, or fingerless gloves and–if they turned out well–I would gift them to my mom and four sisters at Christmas. I looked at many wrist cuffs, arm warmers, gauntlets and fingerless gloves on-line and decided to start out simply with arm warmers–that is, short and long felted cuffs which extend over the fingers but do not include thumb or finger holes.

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My first pair would go to my youngest sister, who works in a cool office and wears arm warmers as part of her daily outfit. She mostly wears black, but I asked if I could toss in a color as well, and she chose olive. Using black Gotland and olive Coopworth (torn from a batt), I fashioned a rectangle which would make a pair. My intention was to cut the piece in half and then use buttons to close. Because I like to work on two projects at once, I then chose some grey Navajo churro and some mixed color merino and tussah for the second pair. Felting the wool was as easy as making a piece of flat felt, but choosing the proper buttons and making the buttonholes proved to be problematic.

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I have a modest collection of vintage buttons, some of my own from sewing 40 years ago, and some which were given to me by friends and family. But many of those buttons are one or two of a kind, so it was a challenge to find enough buttons for my project. I chose olive ball buttons for the first pair, and teal wavy buttons for the second pair. My mistake was in thinking I could snip small holes into the wool that would serve as buttonholes. I tried needle-felting, hidden binding, and blanket stitching; however, the holes remained loose and too large in some cases. My solution was to use hidden stitches to bind the seam and make a seamless arm piece. And yes, wool felt “gives.” The buttons became a decoration, rather than a functional part of the cuff.

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I continued to make enough arm warmers for my female family members, choosing the colors and lengths I knew they would prefer: pink, blue & white merino for my sister-in-law; shorter cuffs in black merino with embellishments for another sis, and finally small white wool cuffs with silk hanky embellishment for my mom. With the rush of the holidays, I never got around to making a pair for myself, but I am jumping on the slipper bandwagon next. My new lasts are ready and waiting!

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Thanks Cathy, I’m sure your family and friends will enjoy these lovely gifts to stay warm in the cold Chicago weather.

 

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19 Responses to Arm Warmers by Cathy Wycliff

  1. With the current cold wave we are experiencing, the warmers are not only a fashion statement, but quite useful. Good job.

    • luvswool says:

      Thanks, Judy! Yes, the warmers are quite popular now, especially with those who love to text on their smartphones!

  2. I like the slipper idea, I’ve tried flat wet felting but hoping to go 3d with it soon!

  3. luvswool says:

    The arm warmers and slippers make very practical and warm gifts, but 3D felting offers new challenges for those who have only worked with flat felt. I highly recommend your giving it a go!

  4. Judy says:

    Very pretty wrist Warmers, Cathy.. I especially love the shades of pink ones.

    • luvswool says:

      Thanks, Judy. I am not a pink-lover necessarily, but I thoroughly enjoyed making these girly warmers for my sister-in-law, who actually owns a PINK coat!

  5. Lyn says:

    Lovely gifts – especially as you made sure you used their favourite colours! A special gift is so appreciated.

  6. ruthlane says:

    What lovely gifts. I am sure they will be appreciated in this cold winter weather. Looking forward to seeing more of your slippers.

  7. luvswool says:

    Ruth, thanks, and this is just the perfect sub-zero weather in which to wear them. I told my sisters if they want slippers they need to provide the lasts!

  8. koffipot says:

    Very nice cuffs Cathy and perfect for the cold weather you’re having in your neck of the woods. 🙂 Mu favourites are the polka dots.

    Now I see what was in the slipper pic on Flickr, forgetting you had those lasts I thought it was some sort of breakfast cereal! 😀 There I was thinking you’d gone balmy, but it seems I’m the balmy one! 😉

    • luvswool says:

      Thanks, Koffipot! Once I realized I didn’t need to make buttonholes, it all progressed a lot better. Maybe next year I will try fingerless gloves with resists.

      You are so right about the lasts! They rather do look like someone’s leftover breakfast cereal. ;-))

  9. Great presents and appreciated by the sounds of it, very satisfying. Give then a try on a resist you can decorate in the round, lots of fun. I’m looking forward to seeing what you create in slipper form.

    • luvswool says:

      Yes, thanks, Ann. I had a bad case of “resist-itis,” but now I am cured. In the round cuffs would be fun…I seem to remember you made some great-looking nuno-cuffs.

  10. Marilyn Nelson says:

    Wonderful presents Cathy! I’m sure everyone will cherish and enjoy them especially this winter!

  11. luvswool says:

    Thanks, Marilyn. The gifts were appreciated for sure!

  12. Leonor says:

    Great presents, Cathy! I wonder if you have any photos of the recipients wearing their presents? 🙂

  13. luvswool says:

    Thank you, Leonor! You know, I never thought of taking photos with the recipients wearing their gifts — what a great idea! That would be nice for building a portfolio. (Note to self)

  14. zedster66 says:

    Great presents, cathy 🙂 You could make matching legwarmers next year! Button holes on felt are a bit of a pain, you were on the right track with blanket stitch though, if you do a really close blanket stitch it is a lot like a machine stitched button hole. I have a couple of pics on my purse tutorial https://www.flickr.com/photos/zedster01/5446018722/in/set-72157626049445520/ click right for the stitched pic. And you can make a feature out of it, sorry I don’t have a better photo: https://www.flickr.com/photos/zedster01/8730671165

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