A couple of days before Christmas I wrote about the felted wool trivet I was making for a gift, but what I really wanted to do that day was find and photograph for you the other trivets I made a few years back, because seriously: this kind of basic embroidery is so, so therapeutic. And of course, when I was putting the Christmas decorations away, I did find them!
Even if you don't crave that kind of calming comfort: if you have access to felted wool from old sweaters, you can have inexpensive, personalized gifts-to-go in just a few hours.
Who isn't going to love receiving a cup-sized version, paired with a vintage teacup and saucer from the thrift store, with some wrapped candies from the bulk food store thrown in? (never mind all the people who wouldn't love that. you probably know SOMEbody who would love that.)
When I did most of these I was experimenting with machine sewn applique:
The sweater I used for this design had been heavy on the diamonds, hence the inspiration for this 60s-style trivet.
And I love the matchy blanket stitch border, don't you?
I think this yarn was the remnants of a really gorgeous Noro Winter Garden yarn - wool and raw silk on wool. Yum.
I did this one entirely by hand, using some leftover red sock yarn. I loved the cheery combination of red and turquoise...
and had just seen running stitch used in this incredibly simple but peaceful way, so I couldn't wait to try it.
To be honest, it's very hard to make this sort of running stitch design look good, but sometimes being forced to be artfully inconsistent as opposed to just sloppy is exactly what you need to set your emotions in order.
At the time that I made these, Pete and I were grieving as we grappled with a chronic condition for one dear family member and obvious end of life stages for two others, so I really needed the support of this kind of work. If you are ever so unlucky yourself, I can highly, highly recommend a trivet project for exactly this purpose!
I made a lot of mistakes with the trivets, of course. Like this cute teacup design, complete with needle felted steam.
Terrible, terrible blanket stitch on this thing, because the top was too bumpy and the bottom too loose a knit, even after felting.
Machine stitching the border first didn't help either, though it was sadly necessary for the bumpy fabric, which kept shedding and tearing at the edges - even when paired with a better fabric.
I bet I could rip out the stitching on the gold/black one and reapply that floral side to another fabric.
But this one with the loose weave? UGH. You just can't salvage that. I think it was mohair - but not nice mohair. It's very scratchy.
And plentiful, apparently.
So yes: a lot of mistakes. But you know what was the biggest one? Not choosing kitchen colours!! Seriously, what was I thinking? No wonder I still have even those two good ones. (apart from being naturally greedy, I mean.)
What do you think - are you going to head off to Goodwill this weekend for some lonely wool sweaters to felt down and turn into trivets, maybe getting a start on next Christmas?
Either way, I hope you have a wonderful couple of days and I'll see you again on Monday!