New England Prep meets Energy Crisis

Growing up in the ’70s, Jimmy Carter instructed us to turn down the thermostat and don our wool sweaters. As a mid-Atlantic family newly transplanted to thrifty-minded New England we dutifully obliged. Who wouldn’t? Fair Isles sweaters and the Prep look were all the rage and the harsh New England winters made you glad for all that warmth.

New England thrift became part of my being. My mother advised saving my colorful fairisle and colorblock sweaters, “so that your daughter can wear them someday.” As an avid rescuer of all things vintage, my favorite high school sweaters now serve as inspiration and resources for my crafty home accessories. (My daughter has no interest in wearing these dated, and itchy, sweaters.)

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Pillows are versatile home accessories that can be changed for a seasonal update and are a perfect use of your vintage supplies. Most wool sweaters felt easily. They make a nice dense fabric from which you simply cut appliqués—stars, trees, geometric shapes and other simple designs—and attach with either a sewing machine or hand embroidery. Feel free to embellish with buttons, embroidery thread or any other vintage supply you have on hand for a truly personal, and vintage, touch.

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