Needle Felted Mittens
Day Eight of A Handmade Christmas: Needle Felted Tree Topper that won’t fit on top of my tree. Lame. A few years ago, who knows how many, I saw a picture of a Christmas tree in a magazine/book/interwebs/blog/someone’s house/on the christmas tree at Jiffy Lube/[insert some other random place here]. Ok, so I have no idea where I saw this idea. I just remember that I saw it somewhere and I loved it. On this particular mystery tree they had used a red and white striped mitten as a tree topper. I fell in love with it immediately, and now between four and eight years later (I’m really good with details, clearly,) I am making my own version.
I of course don’t knit. Or crochet. In fact I don’t do much with yarn except make pompoms. So instead of knitting a super cute striped mitten for my tree I made a felt version. I used the sleeves from an old felted sweater, and I added the stripes by needle felting some super soft wool roving. Here’s the how to:
Supplies needed: Needle felting foam pad (or brush pad) needle felter tool, scissors, pins, wool roving and wool felt. Oh, and I would suggest not starting this project at midnight…
I started by laying my hand on a piece of paper and making a big mitten shaped template. Then I traced that onto the felt, and cut it out leaving about a half an inch all the way around. I cut my mitten using the ribbed cuffs of the sweater as the cuff on my mitten. Then I used a few pins to stick my felt to the felting foam so it wouldn’t slip around as I was working. Needle felting is pretty easy, it’s basically just punching those sharp barbed needles through the layers of wool to knit (but not like knitting) them together. Here is a more detailed post about needle felting at The Silver Penny if you want more info. She has videos and a free downloadable handout.
Make a few stripes on each mitten. I angled the stripes on the thumbs to make it look more like a knitted mitten. So that needle felter sharp needley tool thing. It’s sharp. So don’t poke your fingers. It hurts. Like a lot. Blood and tears aside, it was pretty cool to watch the whole thing come together. (NOTE: This is the first time I’ve used this particular needle felting tool and I don’t like it. It don’t feel like I have much control over where the needles are, and they seem really far apart for smalll detailed projects. I think I’ll return this one and try this one instead.) I used about a half a package of wool roving for this project, about $2 worth.
Next flip your mittens right sides together. The back of the needle felted wool looks all warm and cozy, right? Right. You could probably spend a lot more time and make the back sides look a lot fuller and use them as the front sides, but like I mentioned before… I started this project at midnight. Trace your template outline on the wrongside of one mitten. Line up both pieces at the cuffs and then sew right on the outline of the mitten to sew them together. This particular sweater when felted was SUPER thick. The two layers plus the roving stripes ended up being about a half an inch thick, so I had to use a walking foot to get the two sides sewn together. If you are using normal weight wool felt then you won’t have nearly so much trouble. After you’ve sewn the two sides together, clip off most of the seam allowance, right near your line of stitching, Turn your mitten right side out and use your fingers to smooth out the curves.
See, in a world not dominated by midnight projects (a world of which I can hardly conceive) this last picture would be of a cutie little needle felted mitten happily hanging out on top of my tree. But it doesn’t fit. It will fit. Eventually. You know, sometime tomorrow night after Scott has pulled out the reciprocating saw to nip off the top few inches of my tree, and trim a few of those top branches off closer to the trunk so this will slide down on top. But tonight, right now (at two in the morning) it doesn’t fit. So so lame. But it’s cute, and tomorrow when all is said and done I’ll have a very cute tree topper. See you tomorrow!
PS- Dear Santa, I lied about that whole going to bed before midnight…. please don’t bring me coal this year. I’m usually really good. Except about bedtime.