Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Workshop Wednesday

Today marks another installment of my weekly blog series titled Workshop Wednesday. Each Wednesday will feature either a tutorial by yours truly or another talented artist or artisan, or a snapshot of an artist's creative process. This week's Workshop Wednesday features Karen of TuscaloosaRoad. She has put together a great tutorial on how to create an eco-friendly cuff. I posted this tutorial in March but it's one of my favorites and I wanted to share it again.

Eco-Friendly Sweater Cuff

What You’ll need:

Sweater fabric - Your local Goodwill or other thrift stores will carry sweaters of all kinds in fairly good condition. Choose sweaters that have a tight weave - cashmere works best because it’s natural and VERY soft. You’d be surprised what you’ll find while at the thrift shop. They carry some very nice items, and you could easily spend hours there. You’ll have to remind yourself to keep on track and repeat to yourself, “I’m shopping for sweaters, I’m shopping for sweaters!”

Yarn - This can also be found at your local thrift shop.

Embellishments - anything will do…a favorite button or pin, or a stash of beads works nicely.

Step 1:

Gather your sweater fabric together and choose colors that you feel will go together nicely. Here I have 4 sweaters in a creamy cashmere, a taupe cashmere, a camel colored cotton cable knit (say that three times fast!) blend, and apple green mohair blend. I ended up using all sweaters except the taupe cashmere on this project.

Step 2:

Now your ready to design the length, style and circumference of your cuff!

Cut several strips of sweater fabric of the same length and lay them out, making sure there are enough strips to cover the circumference of your forearm.

I find that if you use the ribbed areas of the sweater, it holds nicely when you sew the pieces together.

Choose the yarn you’ll be using. Here I’m using bright mustard, rust and olive colors in a 100% wool blend. Notice that my yarn contrasts with the natural colors of the cuff material. You can use whatever yarn color suits your fancy.

Step 3:

Using a very simple overstitch, stitch your cuff pieces together lengthwise. This step takes a little while. I’d say this cuff took me 2.5 hours to stitch. Grab a cup of tea, put on your favorite TV show, and stitch away.

Make sure to overstitch the top and bottom of the cuff too, to deter any fraying.

Once you finish sewing, you’re almost done! Notice how pretty and sinewy the stitches contrast against the fabric on your cuff. It will look very organic and if some of the ends fray a little bit, that’s o.k! It will add to the character of your cuff.

Step 4:

This is my favorite step. Gather together some trinkets for embellishing your cuff. I found these at garage sales and on Etsy. I chose the enameled calico cat pin for this cuff. I’ve decided to name him Cecil. I love the mustardy yellow color on Cecil the cat’s fur. I used him as my cuff’s center-of-attention.

Step 5:

Your done! Now you have an eco-friendly cuff that will look beautiful with a sweater and a pair of jeans. And it will keep your wrist warm too!

Be sure to check out Karen's work in her Etsy shop! If you're interested in being a part of future Workshop Wednesdays, please feel free to convo me in my Etsy shop or comment on this post. Have a great day!


AtHomeWithSewSuzanne said...

Great idea!! And what a great feature. Very well done!!!

Allie said...

Love that!

Anonymous said...

That's so awesome...I wish I had the time and patience to make tutorials for my blog...Love the color combos! Now I want to make one!!