Thursday, March 15, 2012

from old, worn-out sweaters and memory-filled receiving blankets to easy-to-store Easter baskets

I hate having to store bulky things.  I am VERY lucky to have a large storage area in my house, but it has a dirt floor, so everything in it has to be packed away very tightly to stay clean.  I never liked the idea of storing bulky baskets for Easter that only come out once a year, so I wanted to make something that would lay flat and not require a giant box to store them.  

I still wanted them to be able to stand up sort of like a basket, so I turned to my good friend felted wool.  I have a bunch of felted wool from sweaters that I purposely "ruined" by washing and drying with lots of heat.  I love how it acts like regular felt with more personality and a handmade quality.  I decided to make a basket for each of my kids in a different color, lined with one of their receiving blankets from when they were babies (sniff).  

Their receiving blankets have a lot of memories for me since I swaddled all of them for almost 9! months and spent lots of time nursing them in the middle of the night (for way too long) with them wrapped tightly in their blankets.  UNSOLICITED TIP: I found that it was so much easier to nurse twins at the same time if they were swaddled and their limbs were contained.  

Anyway, I also put a layer of batting between the wool and lining to make the baskets sturdier.  I had planned to put a different applique on each of them, but after I made the lamb for my son, I decided to give each of them their own wooly, Easter lamb.  

Here's the super easy pattern for the basket.  I just winged it for the lamb by free-handing circles for the wooly coat, skinny rectangles for the legs, an oval for the head, and sort of a circle with one half divided into two triangular-ish points for ears.  I hand-stitched all of the lamb pieces into place before sewing the big pieces together and finished the edges off with a blanket stitch in coordinating embroidery floss.

I remember having the same Easter basket that I found every year when I lived in my parents' house.  I am excited for my kids to each have their own basket to celebrate such an important day each year.  Since they pack away so easily, the kids probably won't have many chances to play with them.  They sure had fun skipping around with them, though.

Aaaand dumping them out...

Can't wait to fill them with a bounty of blessings!