A Knit Decision

Knitting in Oregon, with other stuff, too, such as crochet, cats, dogs, history, fashion, highly opiniated rants, reading, diabetes, church, life in general, etc. I like circular needles, prefer natural yarns, don't spin, choose small projects, and don't have any one favorite yarn store. I love them all.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Sweaters for Felting

I was running back to the office, after yet-another medical appointment.
These medical appointments, by the way, are excellent for sock knitting. I thinkI got about half of my sock gusset increases done while waiting for the doc today.
As I was saying, I was on the way back to the office afterwards, when I saw a big sign. Did I say it was big? It was aBIG SIGN saying that there was a THREE DAY GARAGE SALE for some charity. The little car just pulled right over. It practically expelled me from the car.
I've been thinking about Leigh Radford's felted bags, made from second-hand sweaters, since when I first saw her collection when she taught me to cable at a class at Lint. I don't own her first book, Alterknits , which is where the projects are pictured, for those of you not lucky enough to live near enough to see them.
Basically, you buy a good quality knitted WOOL sweater. You felt the **** out of it. And then, a few cuts, a few seams to sew up, and voila! A spiffy re-purposed bag.
So I spent about eight minutes pawing through the sweaters and checking labels. These babies were $1 each. ONE DOLLAR. The folded black & grey one on the right is merino wool. It's tough to see in the big photo, but it's an interesting almost a woven look. I'd swipe it myself, but it's a mens and the sleeves will be way too long. The beige/brown stripe is ribbed all over and may have gotten into the garage sale due to its tendency to felt. It's halfway there. The grey patterned one is very thick and must be very warm.
I passed up a baby-blue cashmere because 1) it was boring and 2) I couldn't remember whether cashmere was a felting or non-felting fiber. Oh well, I did have to leave something for the others. It's only fair.
The beloved is out of town for the weekend - camping with the boys from work - so I may just pop these into the washer right now to see if they'll felt up nicely. Dr. Parts is not so much a fan of the wet wool aroma.
Toast, the cat, is definitely a wool fan. He loves felting projects. Of the four animals in the house, he's the most into knitting. He's on a campaign to convince me that my blue knitting bag is not actually a knitting bag; it's a cat bed. Notice how he has carefully selected the sweater that will flatter him most. Clever cat.
Let's see how these sweaters fare. I have a lousy washer for felting, but we will continue the sweater torture in the dryer!!! More photos soon.

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At 10:10 AM, Blogger Kathy said...

Oooh, what wooly treasures! I don't think cashmere felts at all, though I guess you could just cut and stitch into something else, technically. My cats love felting of all sorts, too :-)

At 4:07 PM, Anonymous Stephanie said...

I know exactly what you mean to do, I have seen her patterns myself. I keep thinking I should stop by Good Will and check it out, because those bags would make great presents with fairly little work. I also think about the blanket she talks about in Alterknits where you felt different parts of sweaters and felt it together. I can't wait to see your pictures of the finished products.

At 1:01 PM, Blogger Starfish said...

Hey that's a cool concept, never thought about that before. I'm anxious to see what you do with the grey patterned one..that would definitely make a cool bag.

At 8:51 AM, Anonymous Judy said...

Very cool! I love that moose sweater. That is going to make one very nice bag! It's so fun when you find treasures like that.


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