WOOLYCLAVA–Hooded Cowl Balaclava from recycled wool sweater

Yesterday Cat Bordhi posted this spectacular hood/cowl/ski-mask thing (maybe it is a balaclava?!) that she had knitted and made a pattern for

Cat Bordhi Designs Warm All Winter cowl

Beautiful!!! I wanted to make one! But, then I remembered how lazy I am and how my thumb hurts and how it would take weeks and then it would (hopefully) be warm here again. My friend Cathy said she might try it with a recycled sweater and DOH! what a brilliant idea!

Now I’ve made two, I think they shall be called “woolyclava”!

Side story:  I’m a substitute teacher and I have two teenage sons and we had FIVE snow days in a row this week, so I actually had time to fool around online and do crafts, which I’ve been sadly neglecting recently.


Anyhow, I remembered that I have a tubful of sweaters that I’ve bought at Goodwill to use for projects.  Maybe two.  Hush!


The back is all one piece. The front is two or three pieces, where the opening at the face is made with ribbing from the bottom hem or cuffs –down from the top and upside down from the bottom.

I opened one side seam and took off that same sleeve before I tried the pattern pieces, in case I would need to piece parts together for the top of the face.  I traced a beanie hat, compared to my Turtleclava, cut up the sweater and made the thing and put it on and cut parts off and re-sewed.

I used a pretty thin lambswool sweater. I think I had already washed it in the machine.

I think it is about 20″ from top of crown to bottom of cowl. I had to narrow the face from what I originally tried, so that it doesn’t gap too much.

Upcycled wool sweater version (cheater!) of Cat's spectacular Warm All Winter cowl

Upcycled wool sweater version (cheater!) of Cat’s spectacular Warm All Winter cowl



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I used scissors and rotary cutter to cut the sweater– I wasn’t too worried about it unraveling, but I was sewing it right away.  If you might be handling the pieces a lot, they might start to unravel!

I sewed the pieces together, wrong sides facing, with double lines of a very narrow zigzag stitch on my ancient Kenmore sewing machine.  The zigzag will allow for some stretching.  I also have a serger.  I might use that on the next one.  I also ran a row of stitching around the unhemmed edge, so it wouldn’t unravel.


I have some plan to embroider or decorate the seams and edges with wool yarn, but haven’t gotten started with that!


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I made this one for my husband.  When I first saw Cat Bordhi’s knitted creation,  I thought it looks sortof like chain mail, like an arming coif?  Anyhow, in my tubful of wool sweaters was was a black & grey herringbone cardigan…

woolyclava on the husband

woolyclava on the husband

woolyclava on the foam head

woolyclava on the foam head



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