It was in the lost and found at the kids’ school, looking like a forlorn street urchin, but it felt like royalty. A holey cashmere sweater, one that would never be worn again. Not only had the moths been at it, but something had savaged its elbows. But it called to me. The softness! The luxury! I asked for permission to raid the lost and found and took home the cashmere rag and threw it in the washing machine for two sessions in the hot and aggressive cycle. (As you may have found out by accident, when you wash pure wool in hot water it shrinks to half its size and all the knitted threads meld together to make a solid fabric rather than a woven one. More details here.)
Out came a felted, soft as a peach (still holey and savaged) sweater, but this is something I could work with. I cut off the sleeves to make two very soft baby hats, and cleverly tied knots over the holes in the elbows. Done and done.
I chopped off the bottom from the armpits down and made myself a simply wonderful winter cowl. I can’t tell you how much it pleases me to wear (washable! indestructible!) cashmere next to my skin every day. It still has a few moth holes, but you can’t see them when the fabric is all ruffled up snug against my neck.
And last, but not least, I made a wee egg cozy from the bit left over at the top. I made a template of a bunny in profile, cut out two of it, sewed them together on the wrong side, leaving a hole at the top for the ears, turned it right side ’round, pulled out the ears, and sewed up the top. It took about as much time as making a hard-boiled egg. I’ve got enough of the sweater left to make the bunny some friends, too, but for now he’s a singleton and has already left this nest to go live with a friend who had expressed a wish for a felted egg cozy. I got this photo of him before he left, keeping an egg warm in a felted egg cup.
That’s four items of luxurious softness out of one very sad sack of a sweater. Go hunt in your rag bags for your moth-eaten wool and cashmere sweaters! If you don’t want them, I’ll take ’em.
Beautiful upcycling, Nathalie. Wool is such a precious material; and felting is such versatile alchemy. I find myself saving it and asking for it – I want to make some Christmas stockings from salvaged goods. Congratulations on your new makes!
Very clever of you! I admit to perusing the sweater racks whenever I’m in a second hand shop, looking for that elusive bit of wool goodness. Seems there are some die-hards who are much much more diligent at scouting them out than I, as I never find what I’m looking for.
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