Monday, 18 February 2008

10 uses for a woolly jumper

Today's guest post has been provided by Jane Perrone at Horticultural. Once again, it's time to settle yourself down with a cup of tea and enjoy the top tips and links from those with more experience. Today's topic is one that we all take for granted, the woolly jumper. I had never known there could be so many ways to recycle this everyday item, with many more options to hand than simply the clothing bank. Don't forget to pop over to Jane's blog for some extra wisdom, especially if you fancy taking things one step further and getting your very own veg patch. So without further ado, it's time to put your feet up and enjoy..."

"It really troubles me when I hear a friend say they've just chucked a load of clothes into the bin. Textiles are one thing that there's absolutely no reason to trash - if something is too old, stained or holey for the charity shop, then consider dropping it into one of the many clothing collection points you see in pub and supermarket car parks. Anything that can't be sold on as clothing will be sent for recycling to make lagging and other products - nothing will go to waste.

But if you happen to have an old woollen jumper that is even too ropey to do the gardening in, there are lots of other uses you can put it to. Here are a few of my ideas: I am sure you can come up with some more:

1. Lining a hanging basket.
A 100% woollen jumper makes a great liner as it holds water well and will mould to the sides of the basket. After a few years it will decompose - just replace it with another.
2. Plant ties.
Cut the arms into strips and use for tying back larger plants - it's a lot softer on delicate stems than string. The same applies to old pairs of tights.
3. Make your own mittens.
4. A compost heap cover.
Wool makes an excellent compost heap topper, keeping the heat in and letting in just the right levels of moisture. Again, it'll decompose in time - just add another as it disintegrates.
5. Unpick the wool and knit something new.
Knitting is now very cool so get your needles out!
6. Use as a mulch around fruit bushes.
If you are worried about it looking a bit odd, just top off with some straw or compost. Will the weeds down and the moisture in.
7. Make a scarecrow for your allotment
This is a fun weekend job that children will particularly love - a woollen jumper will keep your bird scarer toasty through the winter.
8. Keep your worm composting system toasty.
If you buy the Can-O-Worms setup I recently got for my birthday it comes with a moisture mat, but if you are making your own wormery, a woolly jumper works just as well (and is free!)
9. Make your own wool nappy wraps for cloth nappies.
Instructions here: You'll also save on disposables and cut down on your waste.
10. And finally ... make a woolly friend.
Seek some inspiration here: and get crafting."

Want some ideas on recycling T-shirts? Read Jane's post here:

Jane Perrone is the author of The Allotment Keeper's Handbook and she writes about organic gardening, allotments, composting and ethical consumerism on her blog, Horticultural



Jane - thanks so much for this. I will never thow away an holey jumper again.

Ruby in Bury said...

Hi Jane, thanks for all the ideas! I was shocked to find out that at least one of our local charity shops bins clothes they can't use, as I'd assumed they'd send them for recycling. So now I'm ultra careful about what I give them, and have been stumped as to what to do with the rest.

Almost Mrs Average, do you know if we have a local clothes recycling point?

N. & J. said...

Neat ideas! I make sure to give as much as possible to thrift stores etc and even found I could give used towels and blankets to animal shelters but I never thought about way to repurpose holey or stained clothes.

Jane Perrone, Horticultural blog said...

That's really bad form from your charity shop Ruby in Bury ... most of them make a bit of extra money selling on ropey clothes. I happen to know that the ones I use do because either I've seen it being collected, or I know someone who works there. The Salvation Army have loads of clothes collection points - you can find your nearest on this page:


Hi Ruby - I agree with Jane that it's bad news that a charity shop does that (you'll have to whisper in my ear to let me know the one so that I can avoid it). There is a clothing recycling point at the "tip" just up from Wyevale, where you can leave all sorts of textiles for recycling, including curtains etc. Sainsbury's also has a clothing bank in its car park. Hope that helps.

Hi N.&J. - I am now looking forward to some of your new projects using holey jumpers.

Hi Jane - thanks for the link to the Salvation Army. I'll make sure I add it to my list of useful sites.

Crafty Green Poet said...

thisis really useful, great ideas!

I've enjoyed browsing your blog, I'm always encouraged to find people making such a real effort to cut down on their waste!


Hi Crafty Green Poet - Thanks so much for popping by and for your encouraging comments. The support from people like yourself makes things a lot easier...and by the way...if you're up for writing a poem about The Rubbish Diet, I'd be delighted to post it for you ;-D

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