Jan 4, 2013

DIY Chunky Yarn Wreath

Yarn wreaths seem to be all the rage right now and I think they are so beautiful.  I was looking for an idea for a winter wreath for my door when I saw this one:

I saw this wreath in this post.  It is from Anthropologie.  I love the chunky, soft texture of it.  I had to make something similar.  The problem for me with yarn wreaths is that yarn is not something that I have on hand in my craft room.  The other problem for me is that when I get an idea in my head I want to make it NOW and not wait until I can get all the stuff.  So both those things led me to create my own version of a chunky yarn wreath:

This wreath is made from 2 knit sweaters. I wondered if there was a way I could create my own chunky yarn by cutting up sweaters.  After a little trial and error I discovered that I could cut strips from a knit cotton sweater, stretch them and make them into simple pom poms and that putting those together created the gorgeous chunky texture I was wanting.  Here is what I did.

Step 1: Start by finding a couple of knit sweaters.  Acrylic sweaters work to make pom poms but they do not stretch and curl the same as cotton.
Step 2: Lay out your sweater flat, cut off the bottom cuff (you know the tightly woven part at the bottom-if it has one).
Step 3: Cut strips from the sweater leaving the side seams intact.  The strips shouldn't be too wide because then they don't stretch nicely, but not too thin either because the whole thing just falls apart.  I made mine about a 1/2" wide.
Note: this is not hard, but it is time consuming and it is MESSY.  You will have little yarn bits all over the place so it is best if you can make the wreath from start to finish and then clean up just one time.
I cut all my strips first before assembling. (this is just a few strips-I cut nearly two full sweaters).  You will also need some pieces to tie off your pom poms.  I cut these from the sleeves.  I cut them the same way as the body pieces and just set them in a different pile.
Step 4: You are ready to make the pom poms.  Take one strip (from the body of the sweater), cut one of the seams to create one long strip (I cut off the little chunky side seam part in this process) and stretch it out-the piece should curl and separate but stay intact in a string of yarn.  If it comes all apart then you cut it too thin.  Some of the ones I cut seemed to come apart in places as I stretched them but they still made perfect pom poms so play around with it a little bit.  Now there are a lot of ways to make pom poms but this is the way that I found easiest for me.  I wrapped the yarn around my hand like this:
Step 5: Now take a piece that you cut from the sleeve, stretch it also and cut off a short piece.  Tuck this between your 3rd and 4th fingers and wrap it all the way around the yarn bundle you have wrapped around your hand.  Pictures hopefully will explain better:
If you wrapped the yarn really tight around your hand this will be really tricky to get the tie off yarn pushed down through your 3rd and 4th fingers so you may have to try and gain and not wrap quite so tight.
I tuck the tie off piece starting from the top of my hand so that the two ends are dangling on the palm side of my hand:
Step 6: Slip the whole thing off your hand gently, and tie off tightly.
Step 7: Cut the loop ends on both sides of the tie
Step 8: Fluff your beautiful, chunky pom pom.
Now do that same thing again about 50-70 times.  I used a white and cream sweater for this wreath because it was hard to find two sweaters exactly the same.
To create this wreath I cut a circle base from chipboard.  To give it stability I added one side of an embroidery hoop to the chipboard.  I glued this on with hot glue.

To create a hanger I poked to holes with a large darning needle in the chipboard and poked a piece of wire through each, the curled and folded them.
Lastly to add a bit more, but different texture I added a burlap bow.

It isn't the same chunky texture as the Anthropologie wreath but I love, love, LOVE the end result.  I have it up as my winter "snow" wreath but something about it screams summer to me as well so it might have to play double duty-we shall see.  Sweater repurposing = gorgeous chunky yarn.  This is the kind of recycling I love.

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  1. Oh my! this is so adorableIt looks so warm and solft. At first I could't figure out how in the world you created that texture, and then you showed us how with the sweater... I am so impressed!
    Good for you! What a lovely wreath to display and welcome guest with...

    have a very terrific new year!

    hugs x

  2. That is pretty cool! I would have never thought to repurpose a sweater that way! Amazing as always! :)

  3. That is one of the cutest wreaths I've seen! And how clever to use sweaters. I love it!


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