Saturday, January 3, 2015

Cashmere scraps ornaments. Making gold out of straw.

As promised, here is another of the ornaments that were part of my ornament-making party held in early December.  I've been working with recycled sweaters for more than 10 years.  My standard for saving a bit of sweater is definitely different if I'm cutting cashmere rather than wool.  I've thrown out very little of the cashmere bits and, consequently, I have bags and bags of small bits.  Over the years I've come up with a few projects that use small bits of soft cashmere.  Here's one of the posts here about some beautiful heart pillows.  And my Hedgehog cuffs are featured here.  Even with these successful products, I still have a LOT of cashmere.

So, then I found a box of pearl-head pins.  A whole box that I bought for a wreath project but the pins were too short.  Then I found a styrofoam ball.  And some wire.  Magic.

This is the result of all that serendipity.  I took the wire all the way through the ball and made a small loop at the top to allow for a hanger.  At the bottom I cut the wire to about 1 inch beyond the bottom of the ball.  Then, I threaded on a small bell (or you could use a bead), bent the wire back toward the ball in a "U" shape, and pushed the bell up against the ball.  The bell helps to keep the wire from pulling back through the styrofoam.

Now to the cutting.  I grabbed random pieces of red cashmere from my stash.  You don't need much for these because you're only cutting squares about 1/2 inch big.  I counted out the pins into groups of 20.  Because I was going to do this with a group, I needed to know how many pins to buy.  I ended up needing about 120 pins for 1 ornament.

It was so relaxing to sit and watch TV while putting pins into the ornament one by one.  Why is repetition so calming?  Why do we love knitting and crochet and even sweeping and raking?  I think it's the rhythm of it all.  Doesn't matter, though.  I thoroughly enjoyed making the ornament.

A few nights before the party, I got worried that guests would think they had to only use a monochromatic scheme.  So, I set out to make another ornament using a range of colors.  This one has absolutely nothing in common with my normal Christmas palette, but I still love it.  Ice blue, turquoise, hot pink, orange, yellow, apple green, and ivory.  It's like a party!

You can see the bell at the bottom of this one.

I do believe this was the favorite ornament of the party.  Several guests took spare supplies home to make another one.  Given that I bought 2000 pins, I had some to spare!  And to think it all started with stuff I already had.  That's my favorite kind of project, hands down.

Happy New Year everyone!  I've already started on a couple of projects for my house and am looking forward to my knitting group starting up again next week.

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