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How to Make a Felted Sweater Trivet
...Aaaaaaaand this project was the result. Hope you like!
I'm using pieces of several lightweight wool sweaters here. If you've never felted wool in your washing machine, you can learn to do that here. Make sure the sweaters you use still have some drape to them after felting - some shrink up into something pretty stiff, and that won't make nice yo-yos.
So first, you'll need to cut yourself a bunch of circles. You can trace around anything that's the right size. I'm using a Sharpie here (and cutting inside the line it makes), but you can also trace with a water-soluble fabric marker.
Did you see this tutorial on how to mark and cut felt circles, by the way?
You'll need 7 large circles for this design. And you'll also need 7 smaller ones, to fit in the centers of your yo-yos, like this. My circles measure 4 1/2" and 2 1/4".
Tack the small circles to the centers of the large ones with some fabric glue. (Fabri-Tac is a good one, or any glue that can stand up to washing.) As you can see, you don't need a lot of glue here - we're just lightly attaching the pieces so they won't move around.
Incidentally, if your sweaters happen to have a "right" side and a "wrong side," then glue this circle to the wrong side.
Next, thread up a needle with about 24" of doubled thread, and tie a secure knot in the end. Sew a little running stitch about 1/8" away from the edge of the circle. Try to keep your stitches fairly even.
When you've stitched your way around the circle, pull the thread to gather it up. Adjust the gathers so they're even.
(This is a good time to mention that, when you make a yo-yo from woven fabric, you turn under a little hem along the edge as you stitch. We're not doing this with the sweater felt because that would create too much bulk at the center of our yo-yos.)
Take a couple tack stitches across the folds to lock your gathers in place, and then knot the thread. If you're using matching thread, by the way, this will be invisible.
Make all your yo-yos, and then arrange them as you like. Keep in mind that the yo-yos need to be fairly close together in order to provide protection from a hot pot or dish.
If you wanted to arrange your yo-yos in a square, for example, I suggest backing them with some thick felt to help fill in the spaces between.
Time now to join the yo-yos! I'm using single thread here. Tie a good knot in the end, and let's hide that knot inside a yo-yo.
Take the center yo-yo, and pass the needle through the center and out one side, as shown. Pull the thread so the knot rests inside.
Now, put two yo-yos back to back, and sew them together with a tiny whipstitch. You only need to sew about a 3/4" seam here - you want these yo-yos to keep their circular shape, so they only need a small point of contact.
I like to hide the end of this seam inside a yo-yo, too. After I knot the thread, I pass the needle back into the side of the yo-yo and come out at the center. Then I clip my thread so the end hides inside there.
You can also work these little seams at the back of the trivet, if that's easier. Sometimes, with too many yo-yos attached nearby, it can get challenging to hold them back to back.
And that's all there is to it! This little guy is very thick, and stands up to heat very well. I recommend hand-washing it, and letting it air-dry on a towel.