Cozying up in a favourite sweater is one of the distinct pleasures of autumn.
This fall, designers and retailers are stitching up sweater motifs on an array of home décor. So while you're wrapping yourself in a big, soft cardigan, you can also grace your space with a dollop of knitted comfort.
Hannah Millman, executive editorial director of crafts for Martha Stewart Living, says knitwear is a trend with near-universal appeal. She suggests some do-it-yourself projects.
"Almost everyone has a memory of a sweater that makes them feel good. What's so great about repurposing one of your own is that you get to keep it and enjoy it," she says. "And if you've found one at a market that someone may have knit back in the '40s, you can give it the opportunity to be loved again by making it into something new."
One of Millman's favourite ways to reuse sweaters: Collect a bunch of creamy-hued ones, in one type of knit or perhaps several, and cut them up to make a blanket, pillow or rug. You'll find project ideas and instructions at Marthastewart.com as well as Countryliving.com, where there are also how-tos for lamps, bowls and sconces.
"Creating a little story on pillows using pieces of old sweaters is a big trend," she says. Look for pieces in gradations of colour — perhaps pale pink to deep cherry, or sky blue to indigo. Or search tag sales and thrift stores for sweaters with nature motifs to create a group of woodland pillows.
Those dreadful Christmas sweaters of old can be transformed into new Christmas stockings; other heavily patterned and colorful sweaters make great rugs.
Millman suggests using a rotary cutter and anchoring the edges of a loose knit with masking tape while cutting, to reduce fraying.
She also advises washing any woolens in hot soapy water in case there are moths. If you then machine-dry the sweater, you'll end up with a "felted" material, popular in crafting circles, where the fibers smush together. If you line-dry the garment, the knit pattern remains and the fibers stay separated.
If you aren't up for a craft project yourself, don't worry — there are lots of stores offering sweater-themed items.
Wayfair's got One Bella Casa's My Christmas sweater pillow and Rizzy Home's cable-knit pillow. NoYo Home's slipcovered headboard comes in a turquoise and white knit photoprint, like a sweater for your bed. (www.wayfair.com)
Lauren Weege's Fair Isle and caramel cable-knit vase covers are snug and stylish. (www.laurenmarydesign.com )
Mollaspace takes the knit motif and turns it into a ceramic mug. Crate & Barrel's Bowen table lamp also features a ceramic knit pattern. (www.mollaspace.com; www.crateandbarrel.com )
Anthropologie's got a collection of ceramics printed with knitwear patterns, including bowls and bakeware. (www.anthropologie.com )
Sweater-knit wool rugs are in West Elm's fall collection. Betsy Olmsted's Acid Knit rug for Deny Designs prints a knit pattern in psychedelic hues on a flatweave rug.
British designer Naomi Paul's pendant lights are clad in crocheted cotton to balance modernity and homespun charm. (www.bespokeglobal.com )
Kim Cook can be reached on Twitter at #kimcookhome