Friday, February 19, 2010

Frugal Friday: Ye Olde Wool Sweater

Have you got any old wool sweaters laying around? Perhaps it's something you love but realize you'll never fit into again. Perhaps it was an amazing deal at a thrift store. Perhaps it's gotten a hole. Perhaps it's just too scratchy to really wear.
Well it certainly doesn't need to be sitting in the back of your closet tempting the moths! Here are a few things I like to do with wool.

*Any regular 'hand-wash' wool can be felted. If the wool is scratchy, I always recommend felting it. This means wash it in a hot soapy wash a couple of times (with lots of agitation) until it shrinks up and gets thick. You can cut/sew it before or after felting, but I recommend doing it afterward because you never know exactly how much it will shrink! (Please note that washable wool does not felt...however once it's been fully felted, your formerly hand-wash-only wool will be machine-washable in cold water.)
  • recycle the yarn~not all sweaters can be unraveled, but many will unravel quite easily. just snip a little into the neck or cuff, and start pulling gently at the yarn. It will pull out into a kinky but long piece of yarn. Gentle washing and hang-drying will get the kinks out, and voila, you're ready to use it for a new project!
  • recycled longies~felted or non-felted, best made with soft wool with tighter stitches. If you want it for diapering purposes, do not use a washable wool~whether you cloth diaper or not, wool pants are a nice winter option for the kiddos. They are great for playing outside in wet/snowy places because they have a degree of water-resistance to them. Of course if you DO cloth diaper you probably already know how amazing wool can be for that! Here is a tutorial that uses the sleeves as the legs of the longies. Here is another that is a pattern cut from the front/back of the sweater (for this latter one, the maker tells me that she's added about 1" to both the length and width of the pattern shown since making the tutorial).
  • storage for cast iron pans~especially if you use them for camping, a 'pan sweater' will keep the pan from getting wet or dirty from outside sources (the wool will absorb moisture that may head its way), and inversely it will also protect everything else from getting black smudges from the cast iron! I made mine using the body of a felted sweater--just cut it off at the armpits, sewed across the top, and left the bottom open for sliding the pan in and out.
  • hot pads/pot-holders~felt the wool, cut it to size, sew two (or more) layers can make it fancy (turned and topstitched) or just zig-zag around the edges to hold the layers together. (The one downside of these is that if they get wet they will not protect you from heat...but that is the nature of most hot pads, so I don't see it as a big deal.) If you are feeling ambitious, sew the layers on three sides but leave the last side open so that you can use it as a that case I recommed an extra layer for at least one side of the mitt.
  • cast iron handle covers~felt the wool, then make a rectangle that is the length of your pan's handle and about 5" wide. Fold in half, sew across the end and down one side to make a closed-ended tube, and turn it right-side-out. (Depending on the thickness of your felted wool, you may want to double-layer it, but I prefer not to as that becomes bulky and difficult to work with.) Slide it right onto your pan handle and keep it there--no more grabbing for slippery pot-holders when you need to shift your cast iron pan, the hot pad is already right there!
  • (felted) quilt squares~if you have a lot, especially if you have some fun colors or patterns, consider felting it all, then making it into a lap quilt. It will probably be a bit heavy, but will be toasty warm!
  • (felted) rug~The same idea as the quilt...just look what my friend Joy did for her entryway! (you'll need to scroll about halfway down the post). My goodness I need to make me one of those!!


Thomasin said...

I mean to shop at the resale shops for wool sweaters and always forget (I'm lured into the book section and then spend all my money there...). Thank you for the reminder (and inspiration!) about all the things I could be doing if only I were to pick up a few sweaters.

Also: I really like your friend's blog!

Mallory said...

Oh wow! I do love that rug a lot! I think I will make one. The only problem, my sewing machine doesn't do zigzag (it is a VERY old machine, and a lot of the doodad's are missing/broken). I wonder if I could just hand tie it together using some wool yarn (that maybe was even recycled from some of the old sweaters!) Love this post, because I never really knew what to do with wool before!

Crystal Escobar said...

oooh, I love those ideas. So awesome! Thank you for sharing, never thought of unraveling an old sweater. My mom would love that idea because she knits ALOT.

Linked Within

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...