A couple weeks ago the Purl Bee team was having its usual brainstorming session. We strolled around the shop, being inspired by the rich colors and plethora of fibers. As we walked about, I picked up one of Molly’s Felt Ball Trivets which was on display. Throughout the rest of the meeting I could not help but play with the trivet, twirling it between my fingers, sliding it on my arm as a bracelet. Noticing my interest, Joelle instantly thought, wouldn’t it be nice to have that trivet as necklace. And the project was born.
We wanted to create the same modern feel as the trivets, but transformed for attire. The Handbehg’s Felt Balls are strung together with Alchemy’s gorgeous Silken Straw. The flat, ribbon-like yarn with its sheen and drape, contrasts beautifully against the naturally rough texture of the wool felt balls.
The thin yarn has a delicate appareance, but packs a punch with its color. The more you love the color, the more you can showcase it. The flexibility of the technique used in this project allows you to use as much or as little as you’d like. I made three necklaces, each with a different number of silk stripes around the felt balls, each with a different feel and personality. Enjoy! Laura
To make one necklace with approximately 40-inch diameter:
- One skein of Alchemy’s Silken Straw. I used Michelle’s Marigold, Canary and Silver.
- One package of Handbehg’s 2cm Felt Balls. I used Charcoal.
- A Felt Needle
Preparing your Silk
Before you start making your necklace, first decide how many stripes you would like on each felt ball. I did one necklaces with 3 stripes per felt ball and one necklace with 4 stripes per ball and one necklace with 5. The number of stripes will determine the length you cut your silk.
To calculate the length of yarn, take the number of stripes you would like, multiply it by 2 and multiply that by 12 (the number of felt balls). Add this number to 40-inches for necklace length + 20-inches for the closure. This formula will give you plenty of length to comfortably compete the necklace.
For 3 stripes per felt ball, cut a 132-inch piece of silk (72 + 40 + 20).
For 4 stripes per felt ball, cut a 156-inch piece (96 + 40 + 20)
For 5 stripes per felt ball, cut a 180-inch piece (120 + 40 + 20).
Stringing the Felt Balls
The felt balls are quite dense. Threading them takes a bit of effort. Push the needle through the first felt ball while twisting the needle side to side and applying a little force.
Pull the thread through, leaving a 10-inch tail.
While holding the first felt ball, take the needle and push it through the same end you originally went in to.
Pull the yarn through. This will secure the ball in its location and also create a stripe on the felt ball.
For the first felt ball you want to make one stripe less than your desired number (the missing stripe will be made in the closure process). So, for a 3-striped ball repeat the above step once more, creating two stripes total. For a 4-stripe ball, repeat the above step two more times, creating three stripes. For a 5-stripe ball, repeat the above step three more times, creating four stripes.
Thread the second felt ball and pull the thread though until it is approximately 2 1/4-inches to 2 1/2-inches from the first felt ball. Holding the second ball, take the needle back through the second ball to secure it and make its first stripe. Repeat this step to make all 3, 4 or 5 of your stripes.
Continue spacing and striping the felt balls until 11 felt balls are secured and striped. For the 12th and final felt ball, you want to make one stripe less than your desired number (the missing stripe will be made in the closure process).
Lay the necklace flat with the first ball on the right and the last ball on the left.
Connecting the Ends
With the right tail threaded on your needle, go into the first ball on the left side, where its tail is coming out. Pull the thread through, leaving the usual 2 1/4-inch to 2 1/2-inch gap. Take the threaded needle back through the same ball to create the missing stripe and secure the necklace closure.
With the left tail threaded on your needle, thread the last ball on the right side, going in the last ball where its tail is coming out. Pull the thread through leaving the established gap. Take the needle back through the same felt ball to create the missing stripe and secure the necklace closure.
Trim the tails and it is ready to wear.