The making of an upcycled wool quilt

I LOVE reusing wool sweaters! I buy them up at the thrift store for $1-$2 each, then bring them home, wash them in hot water with detergent and put them in the dryer. Most the time they shrink (felt) into a miniature much thicker replica of the sweater they started as. Sometimes they don’t shrink very much or even at all. It must have to do with how much wool is in the sweater but I haven’t worked out which ones shrink up the best yet. Beth and I go through the pile, keep some to wear and use the rest.

My initial plan was to make arm warmers (fingerless gloves) and hats. I love how they turned out but when my BFF saw them she wasn’t impressed. And when I mentioned I was making them for Xmas gifts she said she didn’t want one. Hmm well to heck with her. The arm warmers only used the sleeves of the sweaters so I still had all the guts to use.

I decided to make a wool quilt with some of the remains. I picked out colors that complimented each other than sat and pondered how I was going to do this. Finally I decided to just start cutting and see what would happen. My dilemma’s were: should all the squares be the same size or should I try to ago all willy-nilly? Also should I use the ribbed bottom of the sweaters or cut it off. Too much indecision leads to nothing being accomplished so I just started cutting. I prefer for things not to be perfect since my finished product never is. So I cut squares that made sense for the sweater. I tried to get as many pieces from each sweater as I could. I decided to cut off the ribbed bottoms, but then ended up using those pieces to fill in when a row was short.

I did want to make the squares a little more decorative so I added some whimsical touches by layering smaller squares on to the bigger pieces.IMG_6654IMG_6655IMG_6656


Then I tried to lay it out somewhat cohesively, or at least so no two of the same color were touching. Somehow in the final sewing I did end up with some overlap. Sweaters (especially ones that don’t shrink up as much) are still stretchy so I did have some play on the lengths. But that also caused things to not match up exactly.


I just finished the fun part, getting all the squares sewed together. Now comes the work: adding the batting, backing and edging.



Here is Thomas trying it out while doing his schoolwork. Beth also tried to lay claim to it, but no, I have this planned for a Xmas present for someone special. Not the BFF who is unimpressed with my creations!



8 thoughts on “The making of an upcycled wool quilt

    • when you felt the wool sweaters it fuses together the stitching so it’s one solid mass so there isn’t any fraying. But on some of the sweaters that didn’t actually felt I just sewed the edges with a zig zag stitch.

  1. The quilts looks great!. Do you guys live in Portland or Eugene? I’m guessing somewhere near Corvallis, since ur son is at OSU and he came home at Halloween. I lived in Albany for about 5 yrs (near Corvallis) and reading ur blog makes me homesick! We HS also–although I’m guessing I’m a little older than you–my oldest is 27 and I have a granddaughter LOL and I have 25, 21 yos — then the HSling ones (again) 5 and 3yos. 🙂

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