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Archive for November 30th, 2005

Sweater-to-Skirt Project

Wednesday, November 30th, 2005

sweater, beforeOh, Joy! I have a skirt. And it’s cute as a button, after all that.

Here’s the chain of events that happened to make this a reality:

Last year I bought a sweater at a resale shop. Label: Ralph Lauren… and it says hand made in Uruguay. The yarn is the same colorway as Manos del Uruguay yarn I’ve seen in several shops. Price, less than $10. I take it home, even though the colors are more muted than I usually wear. (Photo 1)

I wore it once. It was raglan style and snug fitting, and it came to the waist. I like long tunic sweaters that are baggy. I sometimes buy Men’s sweaters and roll up the sleeves, I like them that big. I’m not a large woman, I usually wear a size 6 or 8 US/Medium size, and I’m short, only 5’2″ tall.

sweater, after ripping seamsSweater ages in closet wondering what it will be when it grows up.

Sally Melville Color book comes out. Rae knits a skirt from the book. I look up the skirt pattern, and it calls for Manos del Uruguay. The gears in my brain start working overtime.

I realize I don’t want Sally’s skirt. I don’t like eyelets, don’t like wearing lace. My favorite skirt in the world is a tube skirt, knitted cotton/lycra. But I take another look at the sweater.

waistband in processThe light goes on! The sweater looks a lot like a tube skirt with sleeves. I measure, and sure enough, my favorite skirt is the same circumference as the body of the sweater.

I let the idea percolate a while as I gear up the courage to rip apart a perfectly good sweater that just is not my style. One night after midnight I’m peaceful enough inside to go for it. It takes 2 hours to un-seam the sweater. (Photo 2)

I take the parts to Rae and try on the remains of the sweater body (as a skirt) for her. Looks promising! I realize I don’t want elastic at my waist, so I don’t need much yarn to knit up from the armholes to make it fit with elastic at my hips.

skirt blockingI rip the yarn out down to the armholes. I realize that one reason it was so hard to undo the seams, was that the knitter had alternated skeins of handpainted yarn to avoid pooling. Amazing how it did in fact work well! It does mean that I have a whole lot of tiny, golf-ball to tennis-ball size balls of yarn with which to work.

LynnH wearing skirtI pick up stitches around the sweater with a circular needle. I choose a needle size really a bit small for the project, but I plod on anyway. All these years as a socknitter means I love dense fabric when loose and drapey might be fine.

I knit in circles until I am out of the yarn I’d ripped from the body. I debate whether I should rip out the arm yarn as well, but I have designs on making the arms into legwarmers so I think better of the idea. I rip back one row, and re-work the row as a purl ridge for a turning edge. I knit an inch or so of fingering weight yarn in charcoal for the back facing of the elastic casing/waistband. (Photo 3)

I sew the casing shut and thread elastic. I block the waistband. I gasp at how short it looks on the table. (Photo 4)

I put on the skirt and model it around the house like I’m some movie star! I realize how short the skirt really is when I put on the sweater I thought I’d wear over it, and the sweater is as long as the skirt. Oops! I find one plum knit jacket in a fine gauge that works great for a dress/work occasion, and a fisherman knit bulky blue mohair sweater for casual. (Photo 4)

I’m very pleased that the skirt goes great with the charcoal Maggie’s Organic Cotton/lycra tights I just bought at the Food Co-Op this week. (And the hose feel wonderful and look like they will last a good long while. They even have heels knit in!)

That was fun!!! Adventures like this are few and far between. I enjoyed the ride.