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a home + living guide for the post-college, pre-parenthood, quasi-adult generation

02.02.2004

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crafty crafty:
M
ake a sweater 
p
illow 
by Yee-Fan Sun
|
1 2 3

Every year, no matter how vigilant I am about dry cleaning and storage, winter rolls around and I discover that I've lost a few more of my favorite sweaters to the insects. I go to put on a beloved soft blue sweater, only to discover that there's a big section near my right shoulder, or by my cuff, or along the bottom edge, that has more holes than a hunk of Swiss cheese. In the past, I'd sigh and toss the sweater into my Goodwill pile. That is, until I realized I could recycle these babies and use them for exciting(!) new(!) purposes.

One of the easiest ways to put those old sweaters to good use is by turning them into snuggly throw pillow covers.  Here's how I whipped up a new cover for a throw pillow using a couple of my insect-hole sweater casualties.

You'll need 100% wool sweaters for this -- no blends. The number of sweaters you'll use will, of course, depend upon how big your sweater is, whether there are huge hole-y sections that can't be used, whether the sweater's a v-neck or crew-neck (the latter will yield more fabric) and how large your pillow is. For my 17" square pillow, I used two old v-neck sweaters that were too riddled with insect holes for me to wear anymore. Fortunately, most of the holes were around the neck and cuffs, and the bodies were generally in fairly good condition.

what you'll need |
old wool sweaters
throw pillow to cover
thread, a sewing machine, scissors and pins
an hour or two, tops

1 Felting the sweaters: First things first, you want to get those sweaters into a state where they won't instantly unravel once you start cutting them up. Get wacky and ignore that little label telling to you dry clean only. Wash your wool sweaters in hot water with a smidge of detergent, then toss them in the dryer -- and voila, what emerges is a nice, fairly dense fabric that's ready for you to start playing around with.

2 Cut off the arms of the sweaters; then cut along the sides and shoulders of the body to separate the fronts from the backs. The arms will most likely be too narrow for use for this project, but if you think you might want to make smaller felted wool things -- a little purse, for instance -- or quilt a felted wool blanket, save them for future craft use.

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