December 15, 2013

The Cashmere Quilt

When I moved into my house a few summers ago, I didn’t pack away my sweaters and they were selectively chewed by moths. I couldn’t bear to toss them, so I made them into scarves which I mostly sell, or give away as gifts. scarf

However, all along, I’ve been thinking of how I can make a blanket out of the sweaters, which I now buy for a few dollars each at thrift stores. You’d be amazed at how many I find.

A few weeks ago, I came across a technique that was the solution for the blanket. I needed to be able to patch the squares together without having rough edges. I found a Korean process for seams that would work perfectly. The finished edges looked nearly identical on the front and the back, and this was exactly what I wanted. You can see where I started the project here.

I first put together strips of 11 blocks of 8x8 inch cashmere squares. I was never good at maths, and so my calculations were slightly off and the finished blanket was a wee bit bigger than I anticipated and it was very ungainly to sew.

It wasn’t until I put it on the bed that I realized exactly how big it is, so I may actually have to cut it down a little bit and maybe make another blanket. This one’s already spoken for – actually, it’s a Christmas present for my mother (she already knows because I wanted her to pick out the colours).

It’s puckered a bit at the hems, but that’s mainly because I haven’t blocked the piece yet. That will flatten it out and shape it.

Not all of the patches aligned exactly, but once I saw the finished product, I realized that I liked the slightly off-set look of the pieces.

I discovered that the patches with the cables, particularly a certain sweater, stretched more than the other pieces, so that accounted for the lack of alignment.

Over all, I am pretty pleased with the way this turned out, and now I am going to make one for myself!

And then I am going to wish for a very cold winter, because this is going to be so cozy and warm!

37 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Thanks! I am quite pleased at how it turned out.

      Delete
  2. Lovely, warm, and also very eco-friendly! Way to go!!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I adore this Meg. She is going to feel so snug with this!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. She's probably going to roast! It's sooo warm!

      Delete
  4. Holy guacamole! How many sweaters were chewed? I feel like we need to take a moment to remember them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Originally 10 sweaters or so... but then i discovered the treasure trove of thrifted cashmere sweaters. i always find at least one sweater per hunting trip!

      Delete
  5. I'm sure Connor will love yours!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hope not. I don't want him anywhere near this!

      Delete
  6. How pretty! You are so clever to be able to make such a lovely thing. I can imagine that it feels just heavenly. Your mother will be so cozy this winter! xo, N.G.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much! It does feel pretty amazing.

      Delete
  7. I wish I had one right now, it's chilly this morning. This is beautiful Meg.

    xo j

    ReplyDelete
  8. I love the off kilter look. And cashmere is all warmth with little weight ( I was gifted a cashmere blanket from a large group for my wedding - it is a prize possession). She will LOVE it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am glad it's slightly off-kilter. It makes it more distinctive!

      Delete
  9. Just beautiful Meg......such great taste! You are a very interesting, talented and capable person; someone needs to write your biography! Angela Muller

    ReplyDelete
  10. Meg this is so gorgeous and how luxurious to have a cashmere blanket!

    xoxo
    Karena
    Scalamandre Giveaway!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Hi Meg. Cashmere love! This is gorgeous. I like the offset look also and the cable patches,too; and great texture and character.
    Mary

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! The cabled pieces made it stretch too much.

      Delete
  12. I like the off kilter look. Can you share the Korean process? I can't quite figure it out from your pics.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The easiest way to explain it is to sew the two pieces together right side to right side. Then press the seam open on the wrong side and zig zag stitch the raw edges of seam on the sides. The zigzag almost creates a serged effect. Does that make sense? Look here for more details and pix.
      http://www.pigtown-design.blogspot.com/2013/11/my-latest-project.html

      Delete
  13. Meg it looks so beautiful - i bet this will be a new trend now!

    ReplyDelete
  14. So beautiful, and cozy-looking--such a great idea!

    ReplyDelete
  15. How did you treat the edges of the blanket/quilt? Did you bind them of just stitch them under. By 'blocking' the quilt, did you press it? Steam? no steam? Thanks

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi..I basically did the edges like the pieces. I folded them over once and then zig-zagged the raw edges. I blocked the quilt by pressing and steaming it. Cashmere doesn't shrink or fell like wool does because the fibers are so much smoother. I even pitch some of my cashmere sweaters into the washer and drier. The pieces where I had the most problems were the ones where I used cabled patches. There's more stretch to them. I didn't use ribbed pieces at all.

      Hope this helps. You can e-mail me with other questions. mfairfaxf at juno dot com

      Delete
  16. Hi there, your photos are beautiful. Quick question: Did you wash the sweaters before cutting and sewing? Did you use a sewing machine or hand sew? Can you give more detailed instructions? Does this blanket need a backing? Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi... I always wash my sweaters, and use a special cashmere soap from The Laundress. I use a rotary cutter to get clean edges and they don't unravel. I use a machine, set on the zig-zag stitch for the edges. Because of the stitch I use, I don't need a backing. And it's very cozy without a backing. Basically, I stitch the squares together to make rows, and then the rows together to make the blanket.

      If you click the link: http://www.pigtown-design.blogspot.com/2013/11/my-latest-project.html , you will see more information.

      Delete
  17. Hi! Wow this is the most beautiful cashmere blanket I have seen! Well done!! Thank you too for the great instructions on the seaming technique. I read your older post and it is totally clear. One last question--- what kind of seam allowance did you use when joining your patches? I was wondering if 1/2" would be enough. Thank you so much for your help! - Joanne @ www.modern-monograming.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Joanne - I think a half an inch should be fine. I cut the squares with an 8.5 inch square template and they end up being a little less than 8 inches.

      Delete
  18. What a fantastic idea, Meg! I find holes in my sweaters every year -- now I'm going to start stockpiling them!

    ReplyDelete
  19. I love this quilt. And now we know that you are responsible for the Winter of 2014-2015,. Maybe next you could wish for a lot of spring rain in Northern California? Much obliged:).

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for reading and commenting on Pigtown*Design. I read each and every comment and try to reply if I have your e-mail address.