Google+ House Revivals: Recycling Old Sweaters and Old Memories

Monday, November 19, 2012

Recycling Old Sweaters and Old Memories

A couple of years ago, I was planning our annual Parade of Lights Christmas party.  We lived in a historic neighborhood, within walking distance of a charming little downtown area.  Every year, our town held a Parade of Lights, complete with Girl Scout troops and Cub Scouts, local firetrucks, school marching bands, and of course, Santa!

Our party would meet at our home for hot drinks, then bundle up and walk down to Main Street.  We have so many great memories of those days. When we started, our kids were, well...., KIDS.  Then, through the years, we watched them grow up.  In their high school years, they sometimes wanted to go to the parade with their own friends, but by college, they were back, with boyfriends and girlfriends.  They enjoyed sharing the story of our little tradition with their current loves, as we shivered and huddled close together and waved at the parade participants.

Now, in our household, parties are planned months in advance -- even years.  After our last Parade of Lights Party, I decided to package a pair of mittens with everyone's party invitation the following year.  I hit the thrift stores and bought lots of old wool sweaters, brought them home, felted them in the washing machine, made a mitten template, and made a million pairs of mittens!  Okay, maybe a million is a *slight* exaggeration :)

I stitched them together on my sewing machine, and made coordinating felted wool flowers for the ladies' cuffs, using scraps leftover from the project.  Then they were packed away to be sent out with invitations the following year.

Little did I know, at the time, that we had hosted our last Parade of Lights Party.  The new year brought big changes to our family -- job changes, a renovation (the first of three in a row-- including this beach house), a long distance marriage, a home sale, an engagement, graduations, a major move and the packing into storage lockers of all our worldly goods.  The mittens were forgotten.  Three Christmases came and went, and the mittens, along with everything else we owned, stayed in storage.

It was a bittersweet moment to find them recently.   I still love them, and they brought back some really great memories of times shared with family and good friends.  What shall I do with them?  Last year we started a new tradition -- an annual Christmas tree bonfire on the beach.  Although our summers are sunny and warm, our winters at the beach house are c-c-c-coooooold, so maybe we can box mittens up with an invitation to a post-Christmas bonfire? 

To make your own recycled mittens, first gather and felt an assortment of 100% wool sweaters.  Trace around your hand to create a template -- add a little extra "wiggle room" and add a seam allowance. Next, lay your template on a sweater, using the waistband as a cuff.  You should be able to get two adult mittens from one adult sweater. Cut out and stitch together, using your longest stitch length.  Embellish, as desired.  I am still trying to decide if I want to add a blanket stitch to mine, similar to these mitten ornaments I made last year.  

What do you think?  Blanket stitch, or no blanket stitch?


  1. Oh wow! I have just felted two sweaters to make mittens for my university girls and me, but the flowers are a great idea, even for other purposes, like pins, pillows and such.

    You've inspired me to be more innovative!

  2. Amanda, Thanks for this tut! Love recycling.

  3. This are gorgeous! I've been felting knitted mittens lately but these look a lot quicker to make and are just as lovely :)


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