This was a simple yet satisfying project inspired by an article on shibori felting in Interweave Press magazine and by projects in a book called Second Hand Cool. Lately I don’t have the patience for knitting, so sewing up felted pieces of old sweaters is very appealing as a quick and fun knitting “substitute.” Also, it allows me to use high quality fibers at low cost. This scarf was made from a cashmere-silk blend sweater that I picked up second hand. I did not change the color, although any animal fibers can easily be dyed with food coloring, kool-aid, or Easter egg dye.
First I cut a small sample of the sweater to see how it would felt up in the dryer. It shrank lengthwise but not width-wise, so when cutting the pieces for the scarf, I took that into account. Felting is always a bit of an experiment: you never know exactly what the end product will look like, but that’s one of the things I like about it. You can felt just about any 100% animal-fiber sweaters, though for a scarf I suggest something really soft (like cashmere) with a fine gauge. Once you wash the sweater and dry it on high heat in the dryer, it will shrink up and felt in such a way that the resulting fabric is (usually) ravel-free.
In this case I wanted the stitching to be a part of the pattern created by the felting process, so I cut up the sweater before felting it. I then sewed the rectangles together with embroidery thread. I made the seaming a decorative element of the scarf, so that they look like zig zaggy gathers at random increments. Then I threw it in the washer and dryer. The results are pictured above.
For more specific instructions on how to make an old-sweater-shibori-felted scarf, check out this link: