The Woolen Home: Upcycling

Upcycling has been “the new buzz word” for about a decade now. Clearly, some “new buzz words” have longer lifespans than others.

But is it any wonder? People’s eyes have been opened to the amount of waste they create and are looking to minimize their impact on their planet. Not only that, but upcycling items is a great money saver and can be a creative outlet as well.

Lots of Wovemberists know that wool can go into the compost at the end of its life, but why not give it a second reincarnation as a usable item before sending it to become fertilizer? As a wool consumer, there are so many ways to upcycle wool items. Sweaters and blankets cushion covers and rugs and more can all be given new life when they have become too worn for their initial purpose and you are not able (or willing) to repair them. Here’s a list of ideas for ways to upcycle a wool sweater you no longer want to wear:

  1. Wool Headbands or Ear Warmers:
    • Cut strips from the sweater to make headbands or ear warmers. Embellish them with buttons, patches, or other decorative elements for a personalized touch. If you think the wool may run when you cut it, felt it lightly first.
  2. Wool Scarf or Cowl:
    • Cut the sweater into strips or squares, then sew or knit them together to make a cozy scarf or cowl. You can mix and match different sweater patterns for a unique look.
  3. Wool Throw Pillow Covers:
    • Cut out squares or rectangles from the sweater to create pillow covers. This is a simple way to add a touch of warmth and texture to your home decor.
  4. Wool Blanket or Throw:
    • Combine multiple sweaters to create a larger wool blanket or throw. Cut the sweaters into squares and sew them together, creating a patchwork design.
  5. Wool Wine Cozy or Tote Bag:
    • Transform the body of the sweater into a tote bag by cutting off the sleeves and top of the sweater. Sew up the bottom and arm holes. Fold under the top opening of the sweater and sew in place to create an edge. Line the bag with cotton cloth and attach handles. Use the sleeves to create a wine cozy by trimming them to the proper height and sewing up the cuff side to form a bottom. Hem the top. Voila!
  6. Wool Hat:
    • Turn the sweater into a warm hat by using the body or sleeves. Embellish it with buttons, patches, or other decorative elements for a personalized touch.
  7. Wool Pet Bed or Blanket:
    • Cut the sweater into pieces and sew them together to create a cozy bed or blanket for your furry friend. Or simply stuff it as it is and sew up the openings. Wool provides a warm and comfortable surface for pets.
  8. Wool Arm Warmers or Leg Warmers:
    • Cut the sleeves into shorter lengths to make arm warmers or leg warmers. These can be both functional and stylish, especially during colder seasons.
  9. Wool buffing cloths
    • Lightly felt the sweater and cut it into small squares to use to buff jewelry, leather shoes and bags, and other metal items in your home that need the occasional shine.
  10. Wool Stuffing
    • If the sweater lacks any attractive areas that you’d like to use in another way, fold it up and use it to stuff a cushion. Or cut it into small pieces to use to stuff homemade teddy bears, cushions, and throw pillows.

We all love our wool sweaters, but sometimes fashions change dramatically or they are extensively damaged. A little creativity, and they can continue to serve a purpose in our homes!