Free-motion quilting and crochet? Together? In the same project? Yes!
Back in June, I took a sewing class with Jan Mullen at Stargazey to learn how to make a blanket from recycled jumpers. It was time to learn something new, and my new overlocker needed a workout. The class was called ‘One Block Wonderz’. You can no longer do the class, but the pattern is available at Patternspot.
The class was loads of fun and combined two of my favourite things: sewing and hunting about in op shops looking for hidden treasures. I was quite specific in only wanting pure wool or cashmere jumpers. I did not feel bad about cutting up my finds as many had moth holes or were hideously out-of-date styles. One was missing an entire elbow! One or two jumpers were too nice (and my size) so they made it into my wardrobe and were not cut up. A rescued Jigsaw purple turtleneck is my particular favourite.
I was selective in the colours I included, only using the softer, more feminine colours. Not sure if I had enough woollen jumpers in the right colours to cut up, I bought a cream wool-blend fabric for the back.
Jan at Stargazey suggested decorating some of the patches. I think I was the only person in the class to do so, but then I did not have some of the fun textures and patterns in my knits that others did. This pattern looks great made up with bobbly or cable-knit sweaters, but my screening for pure wool or cashmere forced me to exclude some of the fun textures. I could have used cotton or any other type of jumpers; I just prefered the feel of natural wool.
I used Vliesofix to fuse the fabric (cut from a charm pack) design on before free-motion quilting around the edges to hold it down. I then used the same design and free-motion technique to decorate some other blocks; I just did not add fabric.
I then took the whole thing one step further by crocheting a border. The most time-consuming part of the border was blanket stitching my way around the throw and carefully counting stitches to ensure that I had the right number for the crochet pattern I had chosen from Edie Eckman’s Around the Corner: Crochet Borders. I did a test piece of crochet border to judge the tension and spacing of the blanket stitches. I had chosen a more complex pattern with three rounds of crochet, but after the first round (not counting the base round) I decided I liked the simple scallop and left it as is. Luckily the wool shop takes back leftover balls if they still have the dye lot! I traded in my leftover yarn for some sock wool.
It was only last night that I finally put the last crochet stitch in the border. Another UFO finished! Ta da!
I like the idea of a crocheted border and might attach one to a conventional quilt in future.
I have heaps of leftover woollies in darker colours, which I plan to make into something similar but less girly for my dad. I think he would like something warm for his favourite chair in winter.