Thursday, December 29, 2016

Repurposed Sweaters

I'm not sure why....
but years ago, 
I began to collect wool sweaters.
There was a vague idea that I would transform them
into something else,
but I had no clear plan when I decided to begin this woolen odyssey.
I fear these could be the opening lines to a horrifying documentary on hoarding.

Each sweater was felted by repeated cycles in the washing machine and dryer and then placed in a large storage tub.
Eventually, two storage tubs were filled with sweaters,
waiting for a plan.

I considered making mittens,
but then thought, 
"Ugh...opposable thumbs.
Too much cutting and sewing maneuvering."
Yes...I can be lazy and impatient with some of my creative endeavors.
I briefly considered making hats,
but having previously been down that path using fleece,
I kept pushing that idea to the back of the line.

Then...
helping out at Sweet Mabel a few weeks ago,
I realized what the plan would be.

Beth Warren,
multi-talented mosaic and assemblage artist,
(https://www.facebook.com/BreakingTileMosaics/)
was wearing a wonderful scarf as she also worked at Sweet Mabel.
After commenting how much I admired her scarf,
Beth told me that she had handcrafted it from a variety of
recycled sweaters.
She had made and sold a number of scarves,
but eventually ran out of her old sweater inventory,
bringing the scarf making industry to a gentle conclusion.

As we worked,
I kept thinking about the sweaters
that were accumulating back at my home.
I could definitely handle the straight lines of a scarf
and asked Beth
if she would mind if I gave the recycled scarf thing a try.

And so...
the plan was ready to go.
Yes,
I was busy getting ready for the holidays,
but I made time to prep for my scarf making by cutting apart a selection of sweaters.
Pieces of different sweaters were going to be sewn together
with a blanket stitch along the edges.

Not knowing how to do the blanket stitch...
I turned to YouTube.
After a few video tutorials and some practice stitching on a felted scrap,
I was ready.

My sweater carcasses were cut into strips,
and the sewing began.

modeling the first scarf...
which is now on its way to London.
More scarves coming soon.

 An example of Beth's wonderful talent...
 the landmark mosaic wall on
Sweet Mabel Studio
in Narberth, PA.
It's fabulous!

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