I recently ran across a story online about an architect who had started designing scarves using felt. Her scarves had a beautiful structure to them, playing with negative space and texture. This is the time of year that I naturally start leaning towards craft projects using felt, and I was inspired to create some similar "architectural" scarves. This project is relatively straightforward, but there are a few things that will help you achieve the end result successfully.
3 sheets of Woolfelt - the felt sheets we carry here are approximately 18x22
Accuquilt Go! cutter with circle dies
Start by cutting your felt into squares that will be die cut. The smallest circle on using the Accuquilt "Circles" die required a 2.5 inch square. I was able to get 28 squares out of each sheet. First cut your sheet down into 2.5" strips, then cut each strip into 2.5 by 2.5 squares. It was helpful to use a small square Olfa ruler for this part. See how there's a half-inch mark on the side? That made it super easy to line up by 2.5" lines.
*Be sure to keep all your scraps. You will need them later.
Now start running your squares through the Accuquilt Cutter. (The cutter shown here is the large version, but the Accuquilt Go! Baby cutter that we sell here in the store works just as well and is easier to pick up and move around.) See in the second picture above how I didn't run the die completely through the cutter? Just run die through enough to lift up the mat, remove the cut pieces, and replace with a fresh square. Then, simply reverse the cutter. This makes fast work of cutting out the pieces.
If you're wondering why I used the Accuquilt cutter instead of a small, die-cut punch, the Accuquilt cutter could cut four layers of felt at one time. This made it really, really fast to cut out all my 84 squares. You need a die-cutter that is meant for fabric and is heavy-duty enough to cut out multiple layers at a time.
Once you have all your circles cut out, starting piecing them together. This is a method called "string-piecing". Start at the top of one circle, sew down the middle, and stop sewing with your needle down at the very bottom edge of the circle. This may take some practice, but set your machine to a slow speed so you don't overshoot. With your needle down at the edge of the circle, raise your presser foot and slide in the next circle. There should be no gap between each circle. Stitch onto the next circle, and then backstitch so that you reinforce the area where the circles meet. It is important to backstitch at the beginning and end of all your stitch lines, and backstitch over every "circle joint" to reinforce.
You will want to test how long your scarf needs to be. On my first try, I sewed 25 circles together and then tried the string on. It was too short , so I added three circles to get my desired length. Once you find out how long each strand needs to be, sew three strands.
Now, you will join the three strands together by stitching across the scarf. I left 7 circles to dangle at each end. So, count in 7 circles, then start sewing across the three strands to join. Sew the three cross-wise circles together just like you sewed the long strands together. Don't forget to backstitch over each joint to reinforce.
The next part is what I forgot to photograph as I was doing it. Once you've sewn down all the cross-wise portions, leaving some portion of the strips dangling at either end, you will need to sew a few reinforcing strips to the backside of your scarf.
You will quickly realize that this is a necessary step to give the scarf a bit of structure. If you try on the scarf after sewing the cross-wise stitches, you will notice that the scarf will simply fold in on itself instead of standing up around the neck. The number of reinforcing strips is up to you, but you should have some scraps leftover from cutting to use for this part.
Starting from the middle of the scarf, stitch down the reinforcing strips. I started with a strip in the middle, then tried it on and realized that I would need a reinforcing strip every other two rows. Start with a strip in the middle, then try it on and keep adding strips on either side until you get the desired structure. I sewed strips, then tried on, and just kept adding strips until I got the structure I needed. I ended up with a total of five strips.
The scarf looks beautiful when wrapped around your neck or just hanging straight down.