How to Make an Embellished Blanket with Recycled Sweaters

comments (6) January 1st, 2018     

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leethal Lee Meredith, contributor
Love it! 62 users recommend
A functional work of art is the best kind of gift!
This is a good quiltlike project for someone with no actual quilting experience!
I did a gridlike design with the ties, but you could go crazy and put the knots in randomly or in a swirl design or whatever you can think of!
A functional work of art is the best kind of gift!

A functional work of art is the best kind of gift!

Photo: Lee Meredith
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In all genres of my crafting, I like to use recycled materials whenever possible, and thrifted sweaters are definitely one of my favorites to work with. So I'm going to show you how to take pieces of wool and make them into a one-of-a-kind blanket, personalized with embellishments for the lucky recipient. If you need to go thrift-store hunting for the sweaters and you want to put a lot into the embellishing, you'll need to get started on this project right away to have it done for a holiday gift!

Supplies needed:

  • An assortment of wool sweaters
  • Scissors
  • Sewing machine and lots of thread
  • Your choice of embellishment materials-embroidery floss, scrap yarn, fabric for appliqué, fabric paint, etc.
  • Either a separate large piece of fabric for the back, or enough sweater felt for double the area of your blanket
  • Some scrap yarn
  • Tapestry needle or large sewing needle


First, you'll need to find and felt your sweaters. When shopping at thrift stores, look for 100% wool or wool blends with other natural fibers (not cotton or acrylic, which won't felt). Don't worry about holes or rips because you're cutting them up anyway, and the bigger the better for maximum fabric yardage. Now just machine-wash them on a regular hot or warm setting, and dry them on a hot setting. When you're done, they should be shrunken and thicker so when you cut the fabric it will not unravel. (Diane Gilleland wrote a detailed felting how-to for CraftStylish.)

Make an Embellished Blanket with Recycled Sweaters
A variety of sweater colors and textures will make for an interesting finished blanket.

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posted in: embroidery, sweater, recycle, quilt, applique, wool, blanket, embellish

Comments (6)

ArchieDDent writes: I love it!
Posted: 7:54 am on December 14th
YouMustBeKidding writes: Great idea but this has got to be one of the ugliest blankets I have ever seen!!!
Posted: 7:48 pm on February 28th
sophiecai writes: this recycled ideas!
Posted: 8:39 pm on February 15th
Jen1964 writes: Ingenious! I have to admit, I've never thought of quilting with sweaters. I've seen people quilt old t-shirts, but not as nicely as this. I love the crazy quilt appearance, and the cuddly sweater factor. Just nutty enough to be genius. (Yes, that's a compliment) Some folks swear by tufting, but I like what you've done better. The backing is SOOOO important. For this kind, I'll bet you want it to breathe, too. Wouldn't hurt if it was as fuzzy as fleece or a light knit velour. Just watch out for static electricity! Sometimes the stores have $10 lap robes, in good washable fabric. Sounds a little like cheating, but not if you're just after the fabric. They make excellent slipcover fabric as well. Betcha could do some cute pillows from your idea.
Posted: 11:45 am on October 20th
croqzine writes: Nice! I love blankies!
Posted: 1:03 pm on October 9th
Sister_Diane writes: Okay, it must be said: he looks adorable. :-) And I love the blanket!
Posted: 11:29 am on October 9th
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