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Thursday, February 10, 2011


Crafts make us feel rooted, give us a sense of belonging and connect us with our history. Our ancestors used to create these crafts out of necessity, and now we do them for fun, to make money and to express ourselves.
~Phyllis George~
 Here's the pictures of the scarf I knitted from twenty-five cents worth of yarn from the thrift store. Mind you, it hasn't been blocked yet. Now that I know that the pattern is "doable", I'll knit another one in expensive yarn from the yarn shop for a present.  The sweater in the picture is pure Shetland wool purchased for fifty cents at the winter clearance at the thrift store.  I'll unravel it and use the yarn for socks or a scarf.  To unravel  yarn, deconstruct the sweater at the seams, then starting at the top, unravel the yarn.  Crew-neck sweaters work the best for this purpose.  And if the seams are over-locked, forget it!  You'll just end up with short pieces of yarn. Did you know that during WWII they unraveled socks and knitted lovely Fair Isle sweaters with the yarn? Necessity is the mother of invention.

While the clearance sale was going on, I also purchased a sweater with over a dozen lovely little mother of pearl buttons, that I'll salvage for a sweater that I've been knitting off and on for the last few months.   Thrift stores are a great source for buttons and sewing materials.  Not only do they often have lots of vintage zippers and trims in their original packages, the actual clothes can also be reused.  I found a 100% pure linen skirt that I intend to make into pillows. If you have little girls, the woman's dresses and skirts can often yield enough fabric for a skirt or pair of trousers.  My sister made her granddaughters Christmas dresses from a thrifted evening gown.  When I was a girl, we didn't have thrift stores.  Once a year, the church held a huge white elephant sale.  My mother taught us to look for the good quality fabric and buttons to refashion into lovely things.  It must have worked because people often commented on how well-dressed we were.We also were the recipients  of an older, wealthier cousin's hand-me-downs, that we spent hours remaking into more youthful, trendier fashions.

Currently, I'm working on a sampler.  The pattern, floss, and fabric were all purchased at Goodwill.  It will give me hours of enjoyment for a few pennies. And when I'm finished, I'll have a lovely sampler for my wall.  Provided I can find a suitable frame on the cheap.

PS:  The scarf is Ulla's scarf from Knitted Gifts by Ann Budd.


  1. It's amazing what you can find at thrift stores and garage sales so much cheaper than the fabric store. Beautiful Scarf you have made.


  2. I was just paging through that Ann Budd book at the yarn shop as she is the author of the sock book Matty sent to me and I love it. Great photos and diagrams etc.

    I love thrift stores and have bought yarns and pieces of fabric there but I hadn't thought of mining the clothes for special buttons and good usable fabric. Now I'll have another mission when I visit mine. I love your ideas, Jane - you have me thinking in a new direction!!

  3. Thanks Vickie! If you find vintage pieces, the quality is usually so much better than what you can find in thelocal stores.

    Sandy, shopping at thrift stores is pretty much a necessity around here since we only have a K-Mart and Wal-Mart nearby. It's a 140 mile round trip to get to any fabric or craft stores. Did I mention that I live out in the Boonies?

  4. Dear Jane:
    The scarf is just beautiful! I love the pattern. I have made three or four this year as gifts for friends that have a similar autumn leaf design. I always practice my new knitting patterns on less expensive yarn first too. I thought I lived out in the boonies, it is about an 80 mile round trip to our nearest craft store. You have me beat almost double! :) I love all of your thrifty ideas. You have a wonderful blog. Your reminders and suggestions are very inspiring.

  5. Thanks Delisa! Too many times, I've bought yarn for a project only to find out later that the pattern had a mistake or just didn't work for whatever reason. Now I try it on the cheap yarn first. That pattern was a lot of fun, so I won't mind making another.

  6. What a lovely scarf! It is perfect! I keep reading about reusing yarn from sweaters found in thrift stores. I haven't found any worth using, yet... I keep hoping!

    BTW, your little town showed up on the Weather Channel yesterday. Someone named "Holly" had sent in a photo of the lake. Lovely lovely lovely!

  7. Thanks Matty! I don't know anyone named Holly in Port Austin. Thought I knew most of the village's 700 population. Maybe she lives outside the village limits.

  8. What a lovely scarf! I've never heard of unraveling sweaters to use the yarn for something else.