I recently came across The Better Sweater Project, where Kylin Navarro details her project of giving thrifted sweaters new life by frogging them and knitting them into new sweaters. These are a couple of her refashions (commercial sweaters are shown in the left column; Kylin's knits are shown in the right column):
I appreciate her commitment to recycling -- she has a great list of resources on yarn harvesting -- and she chooses great patterns to knit, like this one from La Maison Rililie (top right image in the gallery above). Kylin has just finished her ninth sweater, which I'm excited to see.
I've thought about doing this before (I remember seeing a lot of articles on yarn harvesting in the mid-2000s) but I've never been able to find good sweaters at the thrift stores here in Edmonton. It's always cheap, pilly acrylic, or cotton (not bad in and of itself, but I tend to work more with wool because of the climate here), or really really fine wool blends, or, even worse, sweaters that can't be recycled because of the way they're constructed.
I've also never been able to find good yarn at a thrift store; maybe I'm not shopping in the right neighbourhood? My sister has a friend who has a gift for finding great yarn at thrift stores -- she even once found some Rowan yarn! Not me, I'm not so lucky (or maybe not shopping in the right places or at the right times). As well, I suppose I could take apart sweaters that I bought at retail prices but that I'm not wearing anymore.
In any case, Kylin's project gives me hope that one day, I'll be lucky enough to find a sweater that is ripe for yarn harvesting. Just what I needed, more excuses to go to thrift stores (wink wink).
All images from The Better Sweater Project