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