Fulling sweaters and sampling

I have this sweater that I have had since around when the The Official Preppy Handbook came out (possibly I have had it for only a little more than 20 years). A size small hasn’t really fit me for quite some time, but for some reason I have hung on to it. I thought I would try to unravel it to get the yarn (a nice tweedy burnt orange), but after I started undoing one seam, I realized it had been serged together, indicating it was machine knit and then cut and then sewn together. This means instead of a nice long yarn I would get a bunch of short yarns. So now I have this sweater that doesn’t fit that I feel I should mend before it goes to Goodwill.

Time passed.

JQ and I started having a conversation about felting (actually fulling, if the terminology is the same for woven cloth) sweaters to make bags. I have never done this and neither has she. There are quite a few web sites that talk about doing this, with various designs of bags. I haven’t noticed any with cables, so am unsure if that would look OK fulled. It also may be that the fulling obscures the cables so I just haven’t noticed them in a quick web search. It isn’t like this is a heavily cabled sweater – just two simple cables up the front.

From my quick web search, it seems like people full the sweater and then shape the bag. However, if you knit a bag, you knit it to shape and then full it. people then comment on how thick the material is to sew through. I assume this is because if you throw knitting with completely raw, cut edges into the washing machine you are likely to obtain unraveling before fulling.

However, I am wondering if you could do some shaping before fulling, such as stitching together the bottom or piecing sleeves (double layered for sturdiness?) for the bottom or possible as an asymmetrical flap to close it. Then I was wondering if sewing the knitting would limit the fulling at the seams, whereas if you full knitting where the seams are made of the same, shrinkable material, it will all shrink together. but if this is the case, what about those serged seams on this sweater? will they cause problems?

I have no answers at this time, just questions. I am still not sure if I feel inspired to do something with this sweater. (by the way, it is about 18.5″ across at the widest, and only 13.5″ at the waist, with 22″ from shoulder to waist, and 18″ from below neck to waist)

Last night after doing all sorts of unfun things, I did just a little bit of knitting of the artyarns I bought yesterday to get gauge and try to get an idea if it would work with the hat. I think if I drop to #7 needles and add a stitch in every 10th (so I go from 90 to 99 stitches) it would work OK. But I am really not convinced this is right for the hat.

I am also considering using leftover yarns from baby blanket #1 from last year (I’ll blog about it eventually), doubling the yarn. I am not convinced by that either, but I think the color is better.

I really should get back to TH’s vest since he keeps telling me “it would have been a perfect day for a vest” and other subtle hints.


3 thoughts on “Fulling sweaters and sampling

  1. I like the sweater and I still like the idea of reusing it to make it functional again. I think that I’d like to see fulled cables in person. I believe that, if any design is left, it would be very cool to use some silk thread embroidery to embellish the cables so as to make them stand out. I’m thinking vining pattern with flowers.I’ve been looking at the designs and exemplars you linked to on the web for these fulled bags and they don’t match with the ones in my head. Well, the lined one on Knitwerk is getting there. Does this mean I’m off my rocker, the bags-in-head are impossible, OR I have a good idea? Let me just state for the record that I haven’t done an extensive amount of research to see if anyone out there is making “my” bags someplace.I have acquired one men’s large 100% lambswool vest with which to experiment, and I have my eye on a couple of sweaters in Music Man’s closet. They are similar to your orange one in that he will never wear them again.

  2. I guess I’ll be sending you the sweater. your embroidery idea sound far better than anything I am coming up with. A bit more poking around and I found some patchwork bags for you (there is nothing is new under the sun)http://www.knitty.com/issuefall06/FEATfall06FK.html has 1 bag more like what you were talking about. Also, there is a book with a patchwork felted jacket http://www.interweave.com/knit/books/Felt_Frenzy/toc.asp that might be of interest.

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