felting fun

I have acquired quite the stash of thrift store sweaters. I don't buy them to wear myself, but to felt them and make them into other things. In total I've probably made a dozen trips to various thrift shops around town over the last couple of years, and after scouring the racks for felt-able items, I've got my method down and I've learned a few things: 
  • I can almost always tell by grabbing a sweater sleeve if it contains wool content or not. 
  • I recognize the cheaper brands (like the ones sold at Target and Kohls), which are almost always acrylic blends. 
  • Lands End and Eddie Bauer are fairly reliable sources of wool, easy to find on the racks, and the sweaters always felt nicely. 
  • I'm more likely to find cashmere sweaters at Savers than at St. V's. 
  • People offload a lot of cashmere in pastel colors like pale yellow, light blue and lavender.
  • Also - and this is odd, I think - there is almost no point in checking the racks of men's sweaters because you can rarely find wool or cashmere there. More's the pity, since men's sweaters contain a lot more fabric and you get more bang for your buck.
  • I used to buy everything wool I could find. I've got enough gray and black to last a while, though, so I've started putting those back unless they feel really good to the touch to begin with.

I found myself with a spare half hour today, and while I should have spent it cleaning up my house, I went to Savers instead and scored a huge pile of sweaters, a number of them cashmere. And why all the cashmere? I'm collecting cashmere to make scarves and a lap blanket.*

Here is a portion of today's haul.
What is my plan with all these sweaters?  Well, I like to felt them in the washing machine and then cut them up and make other things with the nice, felted fabric. So far I've mostly made mittens and potholders, and I've got a half-made hedgehog toy somewhere. I ought to finish that. I have been invited to sell some of these things at a local artists' studio downtown, but I have to make enough of them first. Making enough to sell takes time, and time for sewing is not something I have in abundance these days. I really didn't have any business shopping at the thrift store today at all, seeing as I have a healthy pile of sweaters to deal with already, and it wasn't really necessary to buy more. I'm happy with what I found, though, and it's inspiring to have all the colors to play with. I think in the back of my mind I was thinking that getting more supplies somehow makes up for not having the time to actually make stuff. (I am, by the way, completely aware of how irrational that is.)

Sometimes there are nifty buttons on the sweaters as a nice little bonus.

Shiny! And this one is Ralph Lauren, so you know they're good.

*I do have a problem with cashmere because of the way it is sourced. I am convinced that most cashmere sweaters are not being produced in a sustainable way. I figure, though, that once a cashmere sweater gets to a thrift store, the damage has been done and I might as well salvage it for another project.


gay said…
looking forward to your future felting projects. I started collecting wool from thrift stores but got discouraged due to lack of anything wihtout acrylic!

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