Felted Bracelets for Christmas


A few weeks before Christmas I saw some lovely felted bracelets at  a gallery in St. Paul.   I could make something similar, I thought, and went to my box of felting materials to see what I could figure out.  I started with an old sweater, one that I thought would shrink up nicely, and cut some long rectangles.  I folded the rectangle in half and sewed it into a loop.  I took bits of roving and loosely wrapped them round the sweater loop.  Some deep green and turquoise wool made the prettiest finished bracelets.  The quality of the roving made an interesting difference.  The roving with long fibers coiled tightly; some other plain black, shorter fibered batting made looser, softer, and less satisfactory finished bracelets.

I basted the batting donuts between two layers of slippery, lightweight, synthetic fabric.  The basting was just fine enough to keep the layers together through agitation in the washing machine, and loose enough to pull out easily.  I put the fabric-encased bracelets  in the washing machine with a small amount of hot water and a dash of dish soap, and set the machine for the longest cycle.  About 15 minutes later, after the spin cycle, I pulled out the magic, shrunk-up bracelets.  Now the fun part!  I removed the basting stitches and “worked” each bracelet, making it round and uniform and making sure it fit over the widest part of my hand.

To finish, I added small beads to the outside perimeter.  On one bracelet I put little stacks of three beads.  About halfway through I decided that probably wasn’t the best idea; I could see them getting caught on clothing.