Sweater Reincarnation: giving old, ruined sweaters new life forms
October 19, 2008 10:02 AM   Subscribe

You've been getting your sweaters out for the cold season, and finding that moths have been picknicking on them all summer. Or your significant other did the laundry and threw your favourite handwash-only sweaters into a hot water wash and/or the dryer. Or your children have outgrown the sweaters Grandma made them. However your sweaters became unwearable, it's time to make like a surgeon and do some cosmetic reconstruction. (If the old sweaters are at least 50% wool, you may be able to felt the material first.) You can make extra long gloves from sweater sleeves, mittens, a scarf, or slippers, legwarmers, a tote bag, a few handbags, or a coin purse. If the kids don't want to let go of their favourite sweaters, they can be pacified with building blocks, a bunny, snail, or seahorse, or diaper-coverup pants. If the cat feels left out, make it a pet bed. Or you can make things the whole family can enjoy: throw pillows, a quilt, or felted bowls. Since Christmas is approaching, Christmas stockings or a wreath might come in handy. If you want to get into needle felting and start sculpting with the felted fabric, you could make virtually anything, including, oh, say, a robin in a nest, Anne of Green Gables, a zebra, or art for the wall. And best of all, by the time you're done you no longer want to throttle your laundry-challenged significant other! As much.
posted by orange swan (11 comments total) 53 users marked this as a favorite
Thanks for the great links, Orange Swan! I've been thinking about making felted toys for a long time. And wow, that zebra is incredible.
posted by nikitabot at 10:14 AM on October 19, 2008 [1 favorite]

If you want to destroy my sweater, just post this thread as I walk away. Really, thanks for all the great ideas.
posted by Sailormom at 11:14 AM on October 19, 2008 [1 favorite]

If you happen to be this flavor of geek you'll have been looking forward to fall (when the weather lends itself so well to getting out on the field and hitting your friends as hard as you possibly can with a big stick, and they you) for many hot, sweltering months. If you find when you drag your warbag out of storage that your chainmail looks a bit like this (because you were lazy and just made butted mail which falls apart the way a Chinese-rings puzzle does, instead of riveted mail which doesn't) you'll find a good aide-mémoire for fixing it here. (And a good link farm to other making/fixing pages here.)
posted by jfuller at 11:18 AM on October 19, 2008

Thanks for all the great leads. I am inspired to start with things I've already 'felted'.
posted by carolusal at 1:07 PM on October 19, 2008

Recycled sweaters are way cool also for making wrist warmers. And sitting by a drafty window at the computer knee warmers.
posted by nickyskye at 1:09 PM on October 19, 2008

Hey gang, I had two sweet old wool sweaters which I just could not wear any more, way too big, since they were going to go to a thrift shop anyways I had nothing to lose, tossed them into hot water wash, dried on hot for maybe 12 minutes, or fifteen -- Viola! They fit perfect now! Took about ten or fifteen minutes to get all the fuzzballs off of them and you'd never mistake them for new but you'd never have mistaken them for new anyways, and now they are clean and they fit.

Yet again, MetaFilter to the rescue!

posted by dancestoblue at 4:06 PM on October 19, 2008

My wife has had some luck unraveling old sweaters back into balls and then knitting up big stash shawls and throw blankets (with other odds and ends).
posted by sebastienbailard at 4:22 PM on October 19, 2008 [1 favorite]

Finally something to do with the sweaters that clothes moths (actually, their larvae, which you never see) chomp holes in.
posted by bad grammar at 5:52 PM on October 19, 2008

A few other uses for an old sweater: wine cozy, cat bed, laptop sleeve, seat covers, storage basket and picnic mat. More here and there.

Or you could just take your old sweaters and have a bad sweater party.
posted by twoleftfeet at 6:13 PM on October 19, 2008

posted by Lynsey at 7:39 PM on October 19, 2008

Just clicked on your felt slippers tutorial and wanted to say that when I've worn felt boot liners from the sporting goods store, I've been able to stand outside for 12 hours in subfreezing weather. Felt is an amazing thing for keeping warm.
posted by nickyskye at 10:45 AM on October 20, 2008

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