Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Cashmere Sweater Upcycle: Stage One

Thanks to everyone for the great feedback on what to do to help with the moths. I've got a system of rotating freezing going on, and some moth traps, as well as Irish spring soap and lavender oil, and as soon as I get my hands on some cedar planks, I'll be adding that to the mix, too.

After the horror of finding all three of my cashmere sweaters chewed by moths, I wanted to set about finding a way to upcycle them somehow. I cruised my pinterest fashion upcycle board for ideas, and really fell in love with the idea of embroidering on sweaters- as seen here, here, and here.  I used to love doing cross stitch when I was a kid, and still have loads of embroidery floss- so I got out my stash and started working on one of the sweaters (I'm starting on the least expensive sweaters first, work. Here is the progress so far:



I'm aiming for a  sort of abstract/geometric kind of thing. I think it's actually working out! Which is good, because I needed a bit of cheering up. Guy and I were excavating Lila's closet, to see if there were moths in there, and we found my old beloved Turkish carpet chewed to bits, and teeming with larvae. The carpet was the only one I bought myself (in the Grand Bazaar, no less!) when living in Istanbul many years ago, and it was really expensive for me. Even though we weren't using it at the moment, I was utterly heartbroken when we unrolled it in the bathtub and saw how bad the damage was. It had to be thrown out. I cried, and then had some wine. It was the only thing to do, really.




20 comments:

TallGeek said...

It looks a little fox like. Your apparent love for those little fuzzy guys might be seeping through subconsciously.

The Sexy Knitter said...

Oh Julie, I am SO sorry to hear about your trouble with moths! I almost cried right along with you. It looks like you are making lemonade out of your lemons! Beautiful, beautiful lemonade. Can't wait to see how this and the others turn out!

knitlove8 said...

You are so creative! The embroidery work looks great and definitely adds a pop of color. Thinking happy thoughts for you!

kessainstitches said...

What an awesome idea! Can't wait to see how this project turns out. Who knows, it might be even better than before! Love the cheerful colours you chose.

Bee said...

I'm so sorry to hear about the moths! I can sympathise - I discovered casebearing clothes moths in my wool stash this summer (after a period of several months of not knitting much, as I had been renovating a house), and there were so many larvae in there that I had to get rid of the lot. My little brother ended up chucking the wool for me, because I couldn't bear to actually put it into bin bags - particularly not the beautiful and complex half-knitted aran jumper dress that I had been looking forward to wearing this winter!

I'm afraid I got pest control in for my moth problem, as they had started to bury under the carpets. They came and sprayed all the carpets twice with an insecticide. Obviously that would not be the best plan for you with your baby - it wasn't too bad for us as we simply kept shoes on in the house for a couple of weeks, and made sure not to sit on the floor until it was all hoovered away.

Other than that, I have been doing rotational freezing, the same as you, and I also took a bunch of larger items (wool blankets, coats, etc) to the dry cleaner's, as from what I have read, dry cleaning kills them too. Now I'm in the process of buying sweater storage bags to keep all my woollen / silk items protected on a permanent basis in drawers and wardrobes.

I would imagine that you have found the source of your problem in the carpet, and now that you've got rid, it will just be a question of hyper vigilance to make sure any survivors get picked up. I remember reading that Stephanie Pearl-McPhee takes her yarn outside in the sun twice a year to shake it down, expose it to sunlight, and inspect it for larvae - I am going to start doing the same for my clothes! Best of luck.

Moorecat said...

I lost a beautiful red cashmere wrap I bought in Ireland, it was a precious souvenir and quite expensive at the time. I cried when I found the holes in it, but my SIL found patches shaped like moths at the V&A Museum and brought them back for me.

Jane said...

That patching looks lovely!

Right after you posted, I discovered that I had my own HUGE moth problem - they got into all the handknits I had stored for the winter, as well as my sock drawer and some of the knits I was wearing day-to-day. I'm also systematically baking and freezing everything to try and clear them out, and I learned to darn for the less visible holes in my socks and mittens and things. It's just heartbreaking, isn't it?

Silvia M. said...

That is a great idea and you'll end up with some pretty unique sweaters!

Loulou said...

Oh dear ... I'm sorry to hear about your ruined carpet and the moth problem in general. Such a hassle. What you're doing to fix your sweater looks good so far though.

Melanie Yarbrough said...

Aww I'm sorry to hear about your rug. That embroidery looks wonderful! Can't wait to see what else you do. Also, I found some cedar planks and hangers at Marshalls last year, so maybe peruse those kinds of places as well. The hangers might be great for the sweaters/items you prize most. Good luck!

Lauren jonczak said...
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Tanis said...

I love your upcycled projects! This is going to be amazing. Way to make the most of such a pesky problem.

CelticCastOn said...

Aww sorry to hear about your rug. I hope you get them all and they stay gone!

Savannagal said...

That's just awful about your rug. It really makes me worry about all the yarn and sweaters I have stashed. I really hope you can get the moths under control. So sad.

eliza said...

oh no julie! i'm so sorry about your rug! what a sad story.

on a more cheerful note, i love that you are upcycling these sweaters, and i like the cheerful geometric thing you have going right now! i can't wait to see the finished product, i bet it will be gorgeous!

Megan said...

Hey Julie- sorry to hear about your moth problem. I too have been having issues so thanks for giving some ideas as to what to do. I too have had such a hard time with my cashmere...seems like the little buggers really love cashmere or 100% Merino- argh!! And yes wine really does help...in moderate doses of course :)

Anonymous said...

Hi Julie, I guess you found their homebase now - in the carpet. As sad as it is to throw away such a precious and prizey thing - I once had the same problem from the same source (a rolled carpet) - I am sure you are out of the woods now.
I now keep all my yarn in ziplock bags and my beloved handknits too. It is not very decorative in the closet but saves me from bitter tears...
Anyway you really do the best to solve the situation - I looove this modern embroidery you did as much as I love your blog! Always so inspirational and so from the heart! All the best, Anja

Phyllis said...

I am so sorry for you losing things dear to your heart.

Hilary said...

Oh nooooo, Julie, I am so sorry about your carpet. :( That is truly heartbreaking! But I do think your sweater-embroidery is going to be gorgeous...it's looking lovely so far!

Lauren jonczak said...

That looks great, love the creativity. I just started getting into upcycling. I am making a table from scraps, i just need to find an old vintage table base to go with it and it will be complete. I should try embroidering next. Thanks so much for sharing, can't wait to see the end results!