Now that you have boxes to wrap your little gifts, what will you give? What I put together were a bunch of phone/MP3 player covers made out of felted wool sweaters.
Although I didn't take a lot of pictures of the process, I think if you have an inclination to do it, it will be easy to figure out.
I used two felting tools (pictured below). The one on the left is really just for fine details and only has three needles. I added the one on the right to my toolbox for this project. It has six needles and works on a larger area at once.
They make felting machines as well. They're a lot like sewing machines in looks, but do not have a bobbin or any thread at all, in fact. And instead of one needle, they have up to twelve needles going at once. I've seen them on TV shows, and they can really cover a lot of area fast! But meanwhile I made do with my hand tools.
You'll also need a type of brush to put under the fabric. It gives the needles space to extend under the working fabric. You can buy them, but I was too cheap for the $20 item, so I used a brush intended for use in the shower that I never used. It worked well enough, but I should warn you that using a brush this way will ruin it for any other use. It will get filled with wool lint.
For most of the covers, I started with sleeves cut off of sweaters that I had felted. This gave me plenty of width and also provided a nice rib for the top edge. I cut one seam so I could work on them flat, and then sewed the bottom and one side to make them the size I wanted.
First up, I made this from a cashmere sweater sleeve:
My sister mentioned she needed a pouch to carry her cel phone while walking the woods with her family. That inspired me to make the tree. I cut little strips for the trunk and each branch, laid them in place and just started punching with the needle felter. I got this much done by the time she visited, but I left it up to her to attach a string to be able to wear it around her neck.
Next up is this monogrammed design:
I used separate thin strips for the letter that I curved as I went. I thought it would be easier than trying to cut out the letter in one piece and keeping it in the right shape as I worked.
Some simple stripes that continue from the front to the back:
A fanciful flower:
This red did not felt very well. (You can tell that the edges are pulling up from the base fabric a little.) Taught me that not all wools are equal.
Next is this one:
I cut out what I thought were random shapes, but it ended up looking very much like an egg.
I made it from smaller pieces that I sewed together--the front red, the back pink.
And then I sewed on a piece of ribbing from another sweater for the top.
And finally, this cartoonish character:
I think the idea was planted by some quilts I've seen of this type of fanciful self-portrait style.