Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Felting sweaters

I decided the red knit mini mitten ornaments needed some embellishment. As cute as they are plain, they would be even cuter jazzed up a bit. That's how I ended up buying nine sweaters at the Salvation Army thift shop.

Here's what happened: I started thinking it would be cool to embellish with little green felt holly leaves and red beads for berries. I could knit up some green wool and felt it, but why not try to felt an old sweater? I've always wanted to try that.

So, excited that I still have my neighbor's van, I decided to take a few bags of our old clothes and other donations to the Salvation Army on Montrose and Broadway and shop for sweaters, then round out my night of errands with a trip to the Jewel that's right there.

I hit total paydirt. I couldn't believe how many cool 100% wool sweaters I saw--each for less than $3, some only $1. Here's three patterned ones that I thought would be cool felted (note the really beautiful metal clasps on the middle one. Unfortunately I've decided I like this one as a sweater so may not felt it.) I already felted the other two and they turned out great!

I usually don't felt at home because I have a front-loading washer and can't stop it to check the felting process. But for these cheap sweaters, I decided to give it a try. I just ran them through a hot load with a pair of jeans and a tiny bit of soap. The green/blue/burgandy one from the first photo looked great after one cycle. The black one could use a second one. That's what I did with the forest green one, which got super tiny with tight fibers. I can't wait to cut out the holly embellishments. I also picked up a solid lavender Old Navy sweater and another nordic print, although this one didn't have a label. Even if it's not 100% wool, it was worth the $2 for seven of these really nice silver metal buttons.

In the linen department and found two darling yellow gingham pillowcases, with ruffles (45 cents), and I immediately thought of the pattern for pillowcase dresses forlittle girls. I'll save these for that. A final linen find was this cute kitchen towel (75 cents) with a rolling pin design, which has total apron potential, if I even get around to actually getting my machine out to sew. We'll see.

Finally, even though my closet is packed to the brim with sweaters I couldn't pass up these two grey ones: the far left is a wool Ann Taylor cardigan and was $2 and the middle one is a super heavy fisherman's sweater from Ireland. It was $1.50. Then this little pink top (Nine West) accidentally jumped into my cart (for $3). I'm a sucker for pink.


Meredith said...

Wow, you totally scored on the sweaters! They are really beautiful.

The rolling pin towel is very cool too. It's amazing, the things you can find in thrift stores, isn't it?


Rebecca said...

You and I would have been fighting over that tea towel! ;) LOL! I can;t wait to see how your little felted holly leaves turn out! What a great project. I've tried felting things I've knit (with so-so results) but I'm a whiz at felting things I didn't mean to, sigh . . . BTW I love the middle sweater in the first picture (with the metal clasps) and think you should definately keep it as a sweater, it's very unique!

Apron Thrift Girl said...

I have debated about felting sweaters but didn't feel I could manage with a front loader. How cool to hear that you were able to do this. I love the Norwegian sweater with the three clasp. Those are so beautiful. What a fantastic price.

Anonymous said...

Great thrift finds!

I can't wait to see that Irelandic fishermans sweater felted :-)

Post pictures of it before and after felting please.