Friday, October 9, 2009

The Hedgehog Cuff

You know that necessity is the mother of invention. Sometimes for me, necessity breeds creativity! One year ago I had ankle fusion surgery and was faced with 9 weeks of crutches and only having one foot. But, I had prepared. I had projects ready to go in my dining room. My sewing machine was tuned up. My scissors were sharpened. The goal was to create from what I had around. No running to the fabric store or the yarn store or the anything store! Besides, you can't run on crutches and using those horrid motorized carts in the grocery or Target was bad enough when I had no choice.
So, off I went on a journey to use things up. My husband was all for it, trust me, even though the dining room looked like some kind of alien, cashmere bomb went off.
I had an entire BIN of cashmere. I've been making the scarves (see previous post) for several years but couldn't bear to throw out even the smallest scrap of cashmere. Most pieces were long and narrow. Lots of ribbings, too.

During this process, I was learning about a rug hooking technique called "proddy." You use a special tool to draw small strips of wool through the rug backing mesh. I started to play around and came up with The Hedgehog Cuff, also known as The Potscrubber (by my husband).

Here are the steps. First I cut a piece of ribbing about 2 inches by 7 inches. Then, I take some rug hooking mesh (I use linen) and make a little strip about 1 inch by 6 inches. The mesh starts out at 2 1/2 inches by 8 inches. You want a big chunk pressed underneath so non of the mesh frays when you draw through your strips. Sew the mesh onto the ribbing, slightly stretching the ribbing as you go. Leave about 1 inch of ribbing on each end so you can put on the button part.

Then I sew on a bit of recycled wool on each end and add a small button hole on one end. Sew on a small button on the opposite end.

Now the fun begins! Take your cashmere (this bracelet used 2-3 colors of blue plus some yellows and some greens). Cut the cashmere into long strips about 1/3 inch wide. Cut those strips into small strips of about 2 1/2 inches. Exact length is not important. Variation adds to the piece, I think. Put all the strips in a bowl and mix them up so you'll be pulling a random color each time.

The one tool you need for this (besides your sewing machine), is a proddy tool. They run about $25-30 and are available through rug hooking retailers. Insert the proddy into the mesh, grab a strip with the clamp, and pull it back through. Now, do that again, moving all over the mesh, about 100 times! Make sure you insert strips as close as you can to the edge of the mesh so you cover your seam. This is a great project for evenings in front of the TV. I try to get a few bracelet bases done and then cut the cashmere and go to town while listening to the Indians game or whatever.

I have lots of these listed on my Etsy shop: . The feel is fantastic. You just want to rub your wrist all day long.

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