Creating a cozy throw for your sofa or bed that matches your colors and style is an easy afternoon project that could also morph into an idea for gift giving. Giving one in interesting colors and textures is sure to please someone on your list.
Have a length of your favorite fabric cut 50-by-60 inches for a small throw; 60-by-90 inches for a large one, then customize the edges with one of these choices.
Fringe: Pull out 1 to 1 1/2-inch of the weave on each end of the cut fabric with your fingers. The looser and fuzzier the textile, the easier it will be to separate the weave and make the fringe. Wool-mohair blends work well.
All stitched up: To finish the edge with a blanket stretch, roll each end of the cut fabric with your fingers. Then using yarn or stitching floss in a contrasting color, sew around the folded loop of fabric, removing the pins as you go. For more on the blanket stitch, go to marthastewart.com/blanket-stitch.
Braids: Trim a 4-inch square from each corner of a wool or fleece fabric. Fold each edge of throw over 2 inches; stitch along each edge, creating tubes. Using chalk, mark notches every 3/4 inch along each tube. Cut each notch down to the stitch line, creating loops. Starting in the middle of one side, slip one loop over the next loop to it. The take that loop, and slip it over the one next to it. Continue around the perimeter. At the end, cut the last loop open at one side of the stitch line, thread it through the first loop, and hand-sew shut.
Transform old sweaters into decorative pillows
Rather than taking your favorite old sweater to the thrift store transform it into a pillow that you can use for many more years to come. Add interest by positioning a button edge down the middle of the pillow, or place a ribbed edge as a closure to one side.
Step 1: Cut a pattern out of paper to conform to the pillow form. (The sweater cover should be slightly loose.) Pin pattern to sweater front, and zigzag stitch around pattern before cutting to prevent raveling. Carefully cut out pillow front around zigzag. Repeat process for sweater back.
Step 2: With right sides together, machine-stitch the front to the back leaving one end open to fill with pillow form. Turn right side out, and insert form; then handsew to close. If you choose to use the button edge of the sweater on the pillow, you can insert the pillow form at that opening.
Step 3: Handsew antique buttons to replace original ones, or add buttons to the ribbed edges for a decorative closure.
(Source: Southern Living)
Susan Woody has been a home and garden writer for more than 20 years and is a master gardener.