by Diana Durkes
Today let's work some DIY magic with our furniture and accessories makeover specialist, Contributor Diana Durkes. Diana gives "New Life to the Tossed and Found" at her blog, Fine Diving in Chicago.
Not that anybody asked me, but in my opinion, crafters are geniuses
. They take often overlooked bits of things, parts big and small, and put them together in the most practical and creative ways to make...useful things. Without crafters, we'd be absent cozy felt slippers, long finger-knit scarves and exotic scented candles.
The art and craft of re-using old t-shirts—now that's eco-genius to develop uses for an avalanche of old cotton. I've seen tee's used for a charming country wedding dress and comfy pants for babies.
Then, this pillow
by Taryn brought to mind another plentiful material and, further, how I might transform the foothill of old sweaters
in the basement. Sweaters line the racks of thrift shops, too, and the supply never seems to diminish.
To start, I gathered up a pile from the basement with the idea of making it into a patchwork throw rug.
For the rug's back, I grabbed a Pier One throw rug
from the top of the dryer. It was once a sturdy kitchen sink mat until I washed it.
I revised the rug design when I picked up this soft cream sweater. (I know it looks perfectly cute in the picture, but it was really ill fitting.) I took the sweater apart with scissors, and then by machine I sewed it back together in a rectangle shape
Laying it on top of the Pier One rug, I sewed the two layers together
. My machine labored through the layers' thickness---if you want to avoid this, you can whip stitch them together by hand with thread, or maybe with yarn and a decorative border stitch.
While I only succeeded in recycling one sweater, just one makes a soft, cozy rug
. I'm packing it up to send to my daughter in Colorado. It will be perfect for getting out of bed on cold mornings in her first apartment.
Diana Durkes is a creative recycler and a confessed alley shopper. She gives a makeover to one found item each week, and publishes the before & after on her blog, Fine Diving in Chicago.
She also writes the Tossed and Found column for Time Out Chicago and pens the blog Garage Sale Warrior for the Chicago Trib's Chicago Now.
How many old sweaters
are hiding in your basement? What are you going to make with them?