Try This: Recycled Sweater Blanket

Don't let a holey sweater get you down. Snuggle up with a warm, DIY woolen sweater throw this winter.

| January/February 2004

Recycled warmth

What to do with that beautiful lambswool sweater with the moth hole in the sleeve? Or the cashmere cardigan that your teenager shrunk to infant size? Turn it into a soft, warm, snuggly woolen throw you can wrap yourself in on cold winter nights. If machine washed and dried, any wool, angora, or cashmere sweater shrinks scandalously to yield a dense, soft fiber that doesn’t unravel. Thus, the simplest of sewing techniques can be used to create a patchwork of naturally warm fiber. We supplemented our cast-off sweaters with a few others from the local used clothing store. This 48-by-60-inch throw required about eight adult-size sweaters.

1. Wash the sweaters in hot water and machine dry them. This shrinks the fibers and tightens the knit so it won't unravel.

2. Cut out large rectangles of the fabric. Cut the pieces so that one direction measures 12 inches wide. (Hint: Long, uniform strips are easier to assemble.)

3. You should be able to get a large rectangle from the front and the back, 12 inches wide by as much as 18 inches long. The sleeves will yield a smaller rectangle.

4. Use an impermanent ink marker to draw lines on your fabric and cut out some graphic elements from the scraps to decorate the finished quilt. Because of the no-ravel edges, these pieces can be sewn on with an easy, running stitch.

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