A Tribute to Those Who Have Finished Craft Projects

second time cool recycled sweater bookAdmit it. You collect crafting books. It’s all right, we’re your friends. We won’t judge you.

Or maybe I should speak just for myself. My name is Skye, and I collect craft books. My collection is very small when compared to some people’s (hello Jessica, are you reading this?), but it contains books for quilting projects that I likely will never undertake. Celtic knot applique using bias strips, crazy landscape piecing techniques, etc. It’s like I have a fantasy craft life that is totally divorced from my real craft life, which is mostly concerned with making baby quilts for other people’s children.

Now I’m branching out into non-quilting books as well. One of the books that is about to add itself to my collection – note the use of passive voice to imply that it’s not my fault – is the eco-fabulous Second Time Cool: The Art of Chopping Up a Sweater by by Anna-Stina Linden Ivarsson, Katarina Brieditis, and Katarina Evans.

I know that getting books from the library is the greener option, but at some point the Austin Public Library is going to get sick of me having their book out all the time and want a few words with me.

The fun, funky projects in Second Time Cool include skirts, hats, scarves, jewelry, gloves, slippers, and bags. It’s intended for teens, which is why many of the projects are too cool for me, but there’s plenty there for a 30-something mom as well. Everything I need to know is included, from felting and deconstructing a sweater to adding embellishments to the final piece. I have heady visions of the wonderful recycled sweater crafts I will create after rummaging through Goodwill during the three weeks a year when they actually put wool sweaters out for sale here in Texas.

Or will I?

Does anyone? Second Time Cool is lauded across the web for its style and possibilities, but out of all the people who bought it, did anyone actually make anything? I can’t find sales figures, but its sales rank on Amazon is 554,476. For reference, the cookbook from reality show The Biggest Loser is 18, and one of my husband’s obscure books is ranked 1,964,912. So let’s assume that a reasonable number of people bought Second Time Cool.

After careful research, I have found dramatic evidence that at least THREE people on the planet have actually completed a project using Second Time Cool as inspiration. I would now like to pay tribute to those brave souls.

First up is Aimee Owen at Wardrobe Refashion. She actually did turn a sweater into a skirt. Aimee, we salute you!

Flickr user vasilisa also turned a sweater into a skirt, adding a crocheted hem and a ribbon at the waist. Impressive!

Last but not least, it turns out that the staff at Powell’s Books in Portland, Oregon is full of crafters. Who knew? Tracey of Powell’s made some sexy wrist cuffs, which she wears inside at her desk. Tracey, congratulations! And tell your employers to turn on the heat.

All joking aside, craft books are yummy, and buying them new supports crafters and authors. Buying them used is greener. Either way, frequenting your local independent and used bookstores is good for you and your community.

And I am heartened to discover that making a project from a book is not just an empty dream.

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Written by Skye Kilaen

Skye Kilaen began sewing at an early age and eco-rabble-rousing shortly after that. Many years later, someone finally told her that there are books about how to make quilts. Life was never the same. In fact, she spent more on her sewing machine than her car. Bringing her green and crafty passions back together, Skye is now happily discovering ways to create beautiful and useful objects using thrifted and sustainable materials. No, that's not just an excuse to visit Goodwill more often. Honest.


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  1. I love the book “Second Time Cool”. I did first check it out from the library, but now own my own copy. I recently finished sewing a scarf from the book, made of strips of felted sweater fabric hand-stitched together. I love it, although it did take awhile to do all that hand-stitching. It’s a good project for using up some of those little scraps I couldn’t bear to throw away.

  2. OOOh, i need to get this book. I have always wanted to know how to re-make sweaters. And the rest of the projects sound cool. Since I was a nerd in highschool, I take great pleasure now in teen projects (you know, a late in life purging). 🙂

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