Project 1: The sweater in question

January 6, 2011

Sweater: felted

Ready or not, I felted my sweater. I tossed it into the washing machine in a pillowcase like the others, but it wasn’t quite as beautiful when it came out. It wasn’t beautiful after a second washing, either. The yarn I had used to make the sweater was expensive and the places where it felted looked almost like a high end art project. Sadly, the washing machine method left it unevenly done. I briefly considered felting it by hand but decided against that due to time limitations.

The entire sweater had shrunk and firmed up a bit so I took a chance on cutting it as it was. This was the difficult part. I stood at my work table staring at this shriveled and unwearable part of my past, and I couldn’t bring myself to cut it. I had to reason with myself. Sure it was the first and only sweater I’ve ever knitted, but I hadn’t worn it in at least 12 years. I never really liked the way it fit and I didn’t do a good job with the neckline. I also wasn’t in one of my better life stages when I made it so the memories associated with the sweater weren’t all good. I was pleased with my overall knitting workmanship, but the moths had been working on that. And besides, in pillow form I’d still be able to appreciate my work. If what I was really upset about was losing the feeling of a large job well done then finishing these blog projects should give me plenty of opportunities to feel that again.

So I cut it. In fact, once I started cutting the task became kind of cathartic. I launched into it like I needed to prove something to my younger self. It wasn’t until I sat down to sew and the needle pushed through those thick layers of wool that I felt at peace. I took a photo at the moment that happened:

Sewing the pillow

Finally the pillow cover was done. I had purchased a new pillow form earlier in the week rather than try to put an old and lumpy throw in what I was sure would become my favorite couch pillow. As I shoved the pillow form into the small opening I left for it, something beautiful happened — my old, ugly sweater transformed into something squeezable and soft. It still has a bunch of holes but it is new and useful again, and if I don’t stop now I’m going to end up using it as a metaphor for life. I’ll leave you with a photo instead:

Beautiful new pillow

Tomorrow: couch pillow photos before and after and my lessons learned for the week.


  1. Very, Very Nice – I love the idea of recycling sweaters into other usable things.

  2. […] want to belittle my experience. It was tough. I’m glad I did it. This project, like the sweater pillows, brought back a lot of memories for me. I can’t believe I’d forgotten about my beading […]

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