Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Old knitwear - new tricks

A piece in the Guardian suggests making an old jumper into legwarmers.

There are other tricks you can try, too. I successfully cut up a large old sweater and converted the 'body' part into a knitted skirt - really quite simple with one big piece of elastic used for the waist.

If the arms have gone (quite often happens at the elbows), you have a tank top / gilet if you can carefully detach them.

Sweater 'bodies' also convert easily to knitted bags. Not really robust enough to use for carting your shopping around, but very useful for organising stuff at home. I have one for all my shoe brushes, polish, etc, and another that holds teatowels and dishwipes. (You could also make cushion covers.)

A rather specialised use for the arms, and also for old socks, is not going to be useful to many people. But if you play bagpipes, flute, whistle, or bassoon, a knitted instrument cover can be useful. At least you know your instrument is going to be nice and warm! I have a lovely set of bamboo flutes by Patrick Olwell and each of them now has a different knitted bag made out of an old jumper arm.

With hand knits (less so with machine knits) you can also unravel the garment and reuse the wool in your own knitting. However, it will be much more unruly than 'new' wool, often curling up in funny ways. Still, if you enjoy knitting, why not extend your stash of yarn rather than simply throw a garment away?

Monday, 23 February 2009

"Sides to middle"

Sheets tend to get very thin in the centre, where you've been lying on them. Most people throw their sheets away - or send them to the charity shop - once this happens.

But if you're smart you can give them another lease of life. It's very simple, though it does need a sewing machine (unless you have very good, and fast, hand stitching).

Simply cut the sheet all the way down the middle.

Now reverse each half, so that what was the outside hem is running down the middle, and the threadbare bits are down the outside. Stitch the seam together and voila! An almost good as new sheet!

(It helps if you unpick the outside hems first, so you don't end up with a rigid seam down the middle.)

This works with blankets too.

Other uses of holey or threadbare sheets - if they're good quality cotton:
  • If you're canny, you can make pillow cases out of the bits that aren't holey.
  • Reuse parts for tea towels or napkins.
  • Use for lining baskets or bags.

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Don't get silly

I like to keep things frugal. But I don't like to be silly.

For instance; 'Don't use conditioner on your hair, use mayonnaise.'

Apart from the fact that I don't want to go around all day stinking like a badly made burger, I don't think it works.

And actually mayonnaise is not noticeably cheaper than the supermarket own-brand conditioner, unless you're buying a catering size tub.

Frugality and abundance is not about 101 things to do with a dead teabag. It's about having some fun while saving your money. It's about the low hanging fruit - the easy savings. The savings that don't mess your life up.

So don't be silly, be smart.