Wednesday 13 February 2008

Anatomy of a Sweater

Remember these piles that showed up a couple of weeks ago? Well...

Can I talk some more about felted sweaters? It is almost Valentine's Day, and I do love them so... :-) From this wonderful stuff you can make blankets, legwarmers, armwarmers, scarves, mittens, oven mitts (particularly good as wool is not very flammable), the lining for tea cozies, clothes for children, stuffed animals, pillows, and the list goes on!

As a textile, it comes with it's own peculiarities when you're using it, since of course it has had a previous life. Since I'm into recycling and closing the loop, I was trying to find ideas on how to use an entire sweater with nothing leftover! So, already accounting for using the arms and body as fabric, here goes....

Take one felted sweater. Let's pretend is has a hood, pockets, a front zipper, and buttons, just to make life complicated.

buttons: (easy...I mean, c'mon, they're buttons...)

the label: mine get cut up for the snippets bin, but if I were more ambitious and oh - way more talented, I could try something like the incredible quilt by by Terese Agnew called "Portrait of a Textile Worker".

zippers: very cool jewelry by Kate Cusak

pockets: cut out to make a pocket purse, keep for cool surprise pockets in blankets, add to other clothing (I'm thinking of adding them to a spring coat for Safiya), use for legwarmers...

hood: why mess with it? :-)

And then we come to the seams. The peculiarity with felted sweaters is the seams. Usually I cut out the seams, as they are too bulky to use for most projects. And so, for over at least a year, I've been accumulating this mountain of seams, waiting....and waiting.....Until one day the light went on, I sewed the ends of all of them together and ta-da!

It makes an awesome kind of yarn. I've started crocheting a rug:

However, I think I need a bigger hook! I worked in the round so that the differences in thickness wouldn't matter so much. This stuff works up fast, and is soooo thick and cozy - it's going to feel fantastic under the toes. Even better, it will be a wool rug that's also washable, since it's already shrunk! What's cool is that while I was working on this, Betz White had another great idea of what to do with the seams...

The only thing leftover that I can't figure out what to do with are the used sewing machine needles from all the sewing! I think they look pretty in a small glass jar by the sewing machine, but I'll bet someone has thought of what to do with them.....the craft universe, after all, is a very creative place!

got any ideas?


sweetie pie press said...

what a fantastic idea, that rug is. i've been feeling compelled to shrink a bunch of sweaters for some time (there was a moth attack at my old place a couple of years ago). i also need slippers so it seems a perfect plan.

as for the crochet gauge, it looks okay. buuuut, a certain woodworker/pipe maker i know has been doing craft fairs and toying with the notion of making some humongo crochet hooks to expand his markets. i could hook you up if you are on the hunt for a hard to find size in wood. i think he's still in the prototyping stage, so feedback from crocheters is useful.

also i have tagged you in my new new blog. you have to go read the entry and see what that's about.

Anonymous said...

amazing, I love this!!!

Caitlan said...

I don't know that it will be fully washable, because I think the fibers can get continually more dense, but it will certainly not change as much as an unfelted wool rug!

That hood is beautiful!

sew nancy said...

love the idea of making a rug like this. once i have enough seams i think i'll give this a try
thanks for the inspiration