Getting my craft on (at least in my mind.)

I should preface this post by recognizing the fact that not everyone who reads this blog is of the female persuasion, and that those of you who are ovarian-challenged, that is to say my GUY readers, may not be as breathlessly enthralled with the following subject matter as I am. That also goes for some of my girl-but-not-really-all-that-’girly’ readers as well. Fair enough, I get that. You have my permission to skip this one, as long as you promise to come back. And I promise not to turn the ‘bloomr into an estrogen explosion of cutesy crafts and perky decorating tips. Deal? Ok. Thank you for indulging me.

Now where was I? Oh, yeah:

You may be surprised to learn that I am actually kind of handy around the house, go figure. When your husband is a musician (read: NOT THAT HANDY) and also travels for a living, you learn how to do a lot of stuff yourself, otherwise you’ll end up spending a fortune hiring other people’s husbands, aka professional handymen. That said however, I’m not really a big “craft person.” That would be my sister Liz, who can sew like a professional seamstress, makes darling hair bows, and always came up with all kinds of wonderful crafting activities to do with my girls when they were little (she teaches preschool, so she’s full of ideas) that caused them to gaze at her with wonder and adoration and hearts coming out of their eyes like in a Bugs Bunny cartoon.  Like this one time, at Christmas? She came over to Mom and Dad’s house with a bunch of styrofoam balls and toothpicks and 800 lbs. of green and red gumdrops and taught Madi and Charlotte how to make candy topiary centerpieces. She also cooks like you cannot believe. AND got the dimples and curly hair. *sigh* Good thing I love her.

But I digress.

I have created a few things in my day– there was a brief spell back in the 90′s when I made these soft, vintage-looking velvet hats and actually sold them to a local boutique. I can also paint rooms like a son of a gun, put Ikea-knockoff furniture together and I’ve made curtains out of sheets before, but as far as being one of those women who looks at something on Etsy and says, “Pfffft, I could make that myself”? Not so much.

HOWEVER!

I think I have mentioned before that I am currently addicted to something called tablescaping, which is a fancy word for spending an inordinate amount of time setting your table with a ridiculous amount of  dishes and themed decorations and then taking about a hundred pictures of it and putting it on a blog so people like me can sit and gaze dreamily at them and ooh and aah and think, “I ought to do that…” and then look up and realize that you just lost two hours of your life you’ll never get back. And since addicts love company, here’s a link to one of my favorite sites. ( Linda B, I know it’s too late for you, because you’re already hooked. And you’re welcome.)

OK, so a few weeks ago when I was thinking ahead and planning how I wanted to decorate my table for fall ( I can’t believe I just admitted that out loud), I came across a blog that featured these adorable pumpkins made out of old sweaters. They’re cuter than they sound, check out the ones I ordered:

I KNOW, right?! (And doesn’t my table look all fall festive-y?)

So my dear friend and fellow blogger/writer/queen of Gaither.com Emily Sutherland sees a picture of mine and loves them, and as I’m sending her the link to that blog so she can maybe order some herself, I notice that there is also a link to a little tutorial on HOW to make them. I emailed Deb Kennedy, the original creator of the “Sweet Sweater Pumpkins” at her blog Hummadeedledee, and she graciously gave me permission to share the instructions with you.

I have not tried my hand at these YET, but that Emily jumped right on the bandwagon and honey, by bedtime last night she had already made a fabulous one out of this nubby, oatmeal-colored boucle sweater! Behold:

WAY TO GO, EM!!! Now I’m totally inspired.

For those of you who are also now excitedly perking up at the thought of making Your Very Own Sweet Sweater Pumpkins (and not slumping over your computer in a deep boredom-induced slumber), here is Deb Kennedy’s own tutorial on how to do it:

Supplies needed:
old sweaters (adult size works best)
ball of twine (or yarn)
scissors
LOTS of heavy rubber bands (2 per pumpkin)
Cotton wool or polyfill stuffing
plastic grocery bags

Start with adult size sweaters – ones you don’t wear anymore, or thrifted.

Cut the arms off of the sweaters, then cut them (arms) in half for smaller pumpkins. If you leave them whole, you’ll have bigger but more elongated pumpkin/squash shapes.

Take the twine or yarn, and wrap it sixteen times around your elbow & thumb to make big loops. When done, cut it in half at your thumb so that you have one big long hank.

Turn one piece of the sweater arm inside out, and put the hank of twine inside it. Let about an inch poke out on the LARGE end of the sweater arm – the rest of the twine will hang out the narrow end.

Fold that inch of twine over the edge of the sweater, then gather the end up and fasten it tightly with a rubber band. Wrap it at least four times…I’m talking really snug here!

Flip the whole thing right-side out again, using the hank of twine to help.

Stuff the open end with cotton wool at the base, then with polyfill. Leave about an inch – or more if you prefer – of sweater ‘cuff’ unfilled.

I found that the bigger pumpkins hold a shape better with cotton wool in the base, then plastic grocery bags as fill. Remember that lots of stuffing will make your pumpkin rounder, less stuffing will result in a flatter, ‘squashed’ look.

After filling, lay it down with the open end facing away from you. Separate the hank of twine into strands of two strings each – you will have eight two-string strands. Spread these out equidistantly around the ‘lump’. (It’s not a pumpkin yet, what ELSE am I going to call it?!)

Pick up the ‘lump’, and evenly distribute the strands as you stretch them to the other end of the ‘lump’. Grasp the strands and the sweater ‘cuff’, twist them together, and wrap a rubber band around them several times. Make it tight.

Here’s what it will look like. Now, separate the strings into their two-string strands again, and then begin gently pulling each separate strand (of two strings) in a clockwise pattern. You’ll have to pull each one twice or more, so that’s three times around the ‘lump’.

As you pull, the strings tighten and make the sweater pouf out. Help it along by pulling it a bit at the top & bottom edges, so that they ridges are more defined.

Once the ridges are even, tie the strands together to hold them in place.

Roll the extra sweater fabric at the top into a ‘stem’. Cut another piece of twine – about two feet long – tie it at the base of the ‘stem’, and begin wrapping around it. Move up and down the ‘stem’, covering the sweater fabric with twine. Tie it off when done.

Here’s a shot of the wrapped stem. At this point you can trim the sweater fabric close to the twine if you want.

Then take all of the loose strands from the pumpkin, and begin tying them together. Wrap a little, make it a little messy for interest. Leave the ends dangling.

There you have it – Sweet Sweater Pumpkins! Enjoy!

(And if any of you actually DO this? Please send me a photo and I will totally post it. And if mine turn out even half as good as Emily’s, I’ll post them too!)

21 Responses

  1. Phyllis S

    Unbelievably cute, now I have to make a trip to Goodwill and find a sweater and see what I can do….Thanks Tori and your table is beautiful.

  2. Phyllis R

    I think I be lovin’ that. Gonna try it. Thanks for the instructions. :) Love your tablescape btw. :)

  3. TexasEbeth

    That sounds so cool! I’m not sure I can make one that looks that good but I might just have to try it.

  4. rachelbaker

    I like the pumpkins, but if I really wanted them in my house I would just buy them like you did. I think there is a part of my brain missing. I don’t do creative. I think creative, I just can’t turn those thoughts into substance. Seriously, those ‘simple’ instructions just leave me all befuddled. I would need this practically demonstrated to me a number of times before I stood a chance and even then it would somehow not look quite right. I’m not exaggerating, I have a lifetime of experience. I stopped even aspiring to be crafty a long time ago. Doesn’t stop me admiring other people’s work though.

    I have, however produced some very, very girly little girls who love nothing better than to make things. Top of Beth’s Christmas list is ‘making stuff’ – which I am told has to include googly eyes, lollipop sticks and feathers. I try to join in but what they produce is much better than my efforts… I might need to borrow your sister for a while.

  5. gracelynn

    Very cute and I love your table (that wouldn’t last 3 seconds in our house though – not with my dad and brother – TRUST ME!) but I think I’ll stick with my x-stitching LOL. I’m still trying to get one done now for a friend from college. Hopefully the CTS in my wrist will ease up and I can do a little work on it over Thanksgiving break. Being a teacher, I don’t have a lot of time during the work week so I have to wait until a break.

  6. meb

    Perfect timing as I just made a Goodwill run the other day to pick up a bunch of wool sweaters for projects. Now all I need to do is pick up some twine and get to work. Can a pumpkin be pink?

  7. Barbara M. Lloyd

    Well, I’m going to be looking for pictures of all your works of art….’cause they sure are cute. And, Tori, your table is adorably different…..which is always of great interest to me. Being something both adorable and different, I mean.

  8. DonnaMariePatterson

    That is so-o-o-o-o NOT my thing to do! My mother was so crafty, she did EVERYTHING and she was always trying to teach me. I just didn’t have the patience. *heavy sigh* I thought things like that were passed down in the genes …. ummmmmmmm …. maybe I was secretly adopted. Anyway, I totally love to decorate!! I’ve checked-out and admired all of your tablescapes and you’re right, the time drifted right-on-by while I was happily off in La-La Land.

    Emily did a great job with her pumpkin!

  9. bettyrwoodward

    Love them. I’m not crafty in that I couldn’t make these but I do knit and could make the jumpers they are made from.
    I just love the ones on Emily’s tweet as well.

  10. delightedabroad

    That looks really nice, Tori. However, since very recently my crafting ability ‘appears’ in homemade bread. I know this is not the same as a decorating item – but you can eat it! :-)
    Every now and then I can be crafty for a special project and afterwards this ability seems to go to sleep again.

  11. Anita

    Those are absolutely adorable!! Your table looks great too…would love to see more of it!

  12. DELIVEREDJEPARKER63

    WOW TORI!!! JUST LOOK ATCHA!!!! WELL, PRAY FOR ME AS I ATTEMPT TO MAKE SIMPLE BOWS FOR MY DOOR….I WENT TO THE DOLLAR TREE, BOUGHT 4 DIFFRENT TYPES OF RIBBON, (9 YRD PER ROLL)& GONNA TRY TO CREATE A HUGE BOW FOR MY FRONT DOOR…..IF THE GIRL AT THE TANNING BED CAN DO IT LICKITY-SPLIT, THEN I KNOW I SHOULD!!!

    SO, AT LEAST IF I BOMB, I ONLY SPENT 4 BUCKS!!!!

    love the pumpkins!!!! your table is FABULOUS!!!!! YOU ARE SO AWESOME!!!! :)

  13. LindaB

    I LOVE YOUR TABLESCAPE, TORI! I wondered when you were going to create on yourself. You done good! It IS fall festive!

    I can’t wait to try making one of the sweater pumpkins! There hasn’t been a sweater in this whole house post menopause. Not a one! And we live in Michigan! So, I’m gonna have to go to Goodwill and get one. I’m babysitting today, so I can’t go now. Maybe tomorrow. I hope you don’t skip on to something else before I get my pumpkin made!

    Isn’t anyone else gonna try to make one? Come on, you guys! Jonny, I know you are itching to try your hand at one!

    My daughter Candy makes a cute craft with old sweaters, which might be why we don’t have any around here left. For a while, you didn’t dare lay your sweater down around her! I’ll get some pictures of her craft idea and send it to you, Tori.

    And Emily, you did a great job!!!! You’re so talented in so many ways!

  14. jonny

    Thanks for the vote of confidense LB, but jonny’s gonna pass on this one. I also didn’t read past the opening disclaimer, but did look at the pictures and and have read the comments.

  15. feefifoto

    Is there a non-goofy way to write GASP!! ? Whatever it is, I’m writing it. These are fantastic!

  16. feefifoto

    PS: could you revise your feed so it’s not so partial? Thanks.

  17. jonny

    Oh, and at first I thought they were gloves of garlic until I read in the posts that they were pumpkins. FWIW.

    And regarding the previous entry with the Halloween pics, Tori’s costume reminds me of a fallen Angel trying to get in good with God again. The flowers are sort of a peace offering on the Angel’s part.

  18. LindaB

    Well, I made one!!! I sent a picture of it to Tori. We’ll see if it’s good enough to be posted. It was fun to do!

  19. KellyBurton

    I think you won’t be surprised that I’d almost rather kick a puppy than try that myself, but they are adorable li’l sweater punkins!

  20. DELIVEREDJEPARKER63

    OK….WOUND UP PAYING THE BEAUTICIAN TO FIX MY BOWS FOR ME…SHE TOOK 2 MINUTES, CHARGES ME 7 BUCKS..OH, WELL……I WAS BEGINNING TO MANGLE THE RIBBON……NOTMY THANG……yall can keep the pumpkins!! gotta get easier than that for me..this is the person that it took MONTHS TO FIGURE OUT HOW TO LOG IN, SIGN UP ON FACEBOOK AND TWITTER…I MEAN…..but I am making some GREAT CHRISTMAS CANDY!!!!!!! :)

  21. kwaggoner

    OK, I’m one of those blog lurkers, but I gotta comment. Tori, you are absolutely, without a doubt, my favorite blogger. I laugh out loud more times than not when reading your posts. I’m also one those mechanically-challenged, bumbling musicians so I can relate to ol’ Russ. Anyway, just had to let you know your blog is a joy to read. Keep it comin’.

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