The Year of the Sweater

In my attempts to knit I have collected a few old school patterns. I love this pattern book. I just wish all the patterns were for women!

In my attempts to knit I have collected a few old school patterns. I love this pattern magazine. It is called Spinnerin Volume 180. The really funny thing is that all of the photos were taken in Switzerland even though the company is in New Jersey. I guess sweaters just photograph better in the Alps than in South Hackensack.

After the joy ride complete with crash that the preparation for the Bellevue Arts Museum show was, I really–for the first time EVER–was not interested in quilting.

I wanted to spend some time on an idea that had been percolating in my head for a while. I wanted to get back to making clothing aka Fashion Sewing.

In the quilt world, we jokingly call it the F-word.

Once I discovered quilting, I stopped fashion sewing except for the random Halloween costume for my boys. Over the last decade, quilting moved center stage in my life and there just wasn’t any time for fashion sewing.

But I had this idea–or question really.

Could I use repurposed wool sweaters to create beautiful patch worked garments appropriate for a northern climate? I really wanted to know if I could do it.


This one is from a pattern called Bear Brand Hand-Knit Cardigans Volume 354

These sweaters are from a magazine pattern book called Bear Brand Hand-Knit Cardigans Volume 354

I have a collection of vintage Norwegian sweaters–my favorite brand is Norse Knit. We keep our house quite cool, and I spend almost three seasons out of the year wearing these sweaters.


I tried to do a little bit of 1970s style modeling., and I think I should keep my day job. But If I am going to do this, I will have to get a little better about being in front of the camera.

I tried to do a little bit of 1970s style modeling. I am not quite rocking the runway, but I do hope this adventure helps me become a bit more comfortable in front of the camera.

The problem is that they really aren’t that stylish. Maybe on a hip twenty-year-old, but on a 46 year old momma of three they look a bit anachronistic–like did I get this sweater in 1970 and never ever get another one? Or maybe I am living in the 1973 while everyone else is living in 2013 and no one has the heart to tell me that fleece and all kinds of mircofibers are out there.

The other problem with these vintage sweaters is that they are VERY bulky. And if there is one thing I don’t need more of its curves.

Still I couldn’t give them up. They were WARM.

IMG_2436 IMG_2435 IMG_2434

Aren't these guys amazingly groovy. The guy in the poncho is great.

Aren’t these guys amazingly groovy? The guy in the poncho is great–a serious trendsetter–a 1970s metrosexual.

So, I wanted to take the warmth of those sweaters and make good looking contemporary arctic clothing. I have tried knitting, but it isn’t my thing. People say it is relaxing, but if I am relaxing I have a glass of red wine in my hand not a knitting needle.

If I wasn’t going to knit how was I going to get the sweater of my dreams? Last summer while visiting family in Kansas, I found this great little store in Lawrence, Kansas called MADE. There I found these beautiful scarfs made from old sweaters that had been felted. And that is when my brain started putting the components of this idea together. Could I make sweaters out of felted re-purposed old sweaters? Maybe I could.

And so begins the Year of the Sweater. Of course, I will be quilting and teaching, and doing other stitch related things too. I hope you will join me on this adventure. I’d love to hear what you think about sweaters, and quilts, and all things stitched.

This entry was published on January 1, 2013 at 9:47 PM. It’s filed under ArctiCouture and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

7 thoughts on “The Year of the Sweater

  1. The story of the sweater inspiration is awesome! I will be checking in with you from time to time to follow your progress.

  2. Hah! LOVE the flashback photos!

  3. Pingback: The Making of the Mod « Maria Shell

  4. Pingback: Prelude to a Spring Frock | Maria Shell

  5. Pingback: To the Studio | Maria Shell

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: