November 27, 2012

I {Heart} Cashmere!

Right before I left for college, a friend of my mother’s gave me some hand-me-down cashmere sweaters, and I’ve been in love ever since. It’s gotten to the point where I can no longer wear wool sweaters – except an old one someone’s gran in Ireland made that I bought at a carboot sale in Wales for about 50p. imageI have two big cashmere throws that I wrap up in when I take an afternoon nap. One’s cream and one’s French blue. imageLast summer, when I moved into my 110-year old farm house, I neglected to re-pack my sweater collection which I had accumulated over several years. The moths got into the sweaters and I was furious that I’d let that happen. But, ever the optimist, I decided to take the sweaters and remake them into something useful. I’ve been cutting them up and remaking them into patchwork scarves.

As you might have gathered, one of my favourite ways to spend an afternoon is to “poke around”.  During my travels, I always check the sweater section and look for cashmere sweaters. And it’s quite amazing how often I pick up one or two… or more. sweaters (1)I make a habit of never paying more than about $5.00 for one, although I have gotten them for as little as $.79! Most have a hole or two, which doesn’t bother me, because I can cut around them. And most of them are “name brand” sweaters, some even of great Scottish cashmere.sweaters (8) I wash them in special cashmere wash from The Laundress in New York. And then I chuck them in the dryer, because I don’t care if they shrink, which they don’t, because cashmere doesn’t felt like wool.

My favourite part of the process is putting together the colours to make each scarf. sweaters (5)The scarf on the left was built around a blue sweater with a grey Fair Isle pattern, so I used a white cable knit sweater, and two grey ones. The scarf on the right was built around the pink paisley and so I used moss green, celadon green, pink and white sweaters.

For this scarf, sweaters (6)I used a hot pink and pale tan striped scarf as the base and then added more hot pink and tan, as well as some baby pink. sweaters (7)I pin everything together and then sew it. sweaters (4)Then I press the edges to block the scarf into the shape I want. The scarves are usually about six inches by six feet. Except for this one, which I made in navy blue and white for my cousin Chris whose school colours at Oxford are navy and white, and is about eight feet long.sweaters (2)

I am selling the scarves through With Gratitude in Baltimore, and will eventually put some on my Etsy Shop. sweaters (9)Look for them on the right sidebar. ---> Over that way.


  1. Hi Meg, I love them. Oh, the joys of creating--to get lost in the process. Out here in sunny warm SC, it is a bit too warm for scarves (at least for me); if I were living in a colder clime, I would be your best customer.
    Have a super week.

  2. That is an amazing idea, Meg! When I moved to Baltimore, I lost most of my cashmeres that stayed over five months inside the container. The moths did a fest!
    I made some pillows using in one side old silk scarfs and the other cashmere.

  3. What a grand idea! + you are so creative, meg

  4. Oh my, the little label farm was something to behold! You really are extremely talented, seeing what you have done with the sweaters made me want to get busy and repurpose some of mine, although I don't have your keen eye for design, there are some that would be better off around my neck than stashed in storage, to be sure.

  5. Love the scarves...I'll be keeping an eye out for them in your etsy shop!

  6. All I can think of is that Seinfeld episode . . . !

  7. MEg, thanks for fulfilling our custom order for a kids size scarf. The scarf is so "cozy" he's always happy to wear it!

  8. I'm so glad I found this post! My Mom gave me a cashmere sweater for Christmas a year or two before she died (she was proud to give it to me -- too big an indulgence for herself). I haven't worn it in a couple of years and when I sent it to the cleaners a week ago, it came back with a hole in it. I'm sure the hole was there, but I hadn't noticed. I've been beside myself about it, but now I know what to do with it. Can't tell you how happy I am. Thank you for such a beautiful idea!


  9. Your choices for cashmere sweaters are nice. Those "name brand" Scottish cashmere can be good clothing collection. Have you tried dropping by Illan Cashmere? They provide good selections.


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