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January 4, 2011

Rebecca’s New Year’s Wish for You: Warmth (and Resourcefulness)

Rebecca Hume

Felt_Hand_Warmers

I love the wintertime: glittering lights, ice-skating, holiday (and post-holiday) shopping…everything except the cold. And, somehow, no matter how my apartment’s radiator clangs and gurgles, I’m always cold.This year, though, I’ve figured out a way to keep nice and toasty with some creative crafting/recycling: fuzzy, felted hand warmers. These make a quick and easy afternoon project and can be worn alone or over gloves for extra warmth. Best of all, they’re a great way to give new life to those worn-out sweaters lurking at the back of everyone’s closet. Instructions are below. I hope they help keep you cozy through the chilliest months of 2011.

  1. Find some old wool sweaters in colors (or patterns!) you like. Check the label to make sure your sweaters are 100% wool–otherwise the felting process won’t work.
  2. Cut the sweater(s) apart along the seams so you’re left with 4 flat pieces (front, back, and two sleeves).
  3. Run the pieces through the washing machine (with detergent) on the hot-wash cold-rinse cycle.
  4. Toss the pieces in the dryer on high. When they come out, you should notice they’ve shrunk significantly and the individual knit stitches are hard to see–basically, it should look like felt. If you don’t think your pieces look “felty” enough, repeat steps 3 and 4.
  5. Cut 4 rectangles from your felt for the fronts and backs of your hand warmers. Mine measured about 4 in. x 8 in., but yours may vary depending on your hand size and how far up your arm you want them to reach.
  6. Place 2 rectangles (1 front and 1 back) back-to-back and pin the edges. Stitch up the long edges, leaving a gap for your thumb about 1.5 in. long and 1.5 in. from the top. There’s no need to bind off the raw edges–the felt shouldn’t unravel.
  7. Repeat step 6 for opposite hand, making sure thumb gap is on the opposite side.
  8. Turn inside out, wear, and enjoy!

Happy New Year!

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