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Archive for November 5th, 2007


Monday, November 5th, 2007

I learned from my mother, that I could take one clothing item and make it into something better. It would be related to where it started, but it would suit me better.

Mom and I are both quite small, she is smaller than me. Her bones are so tiny that I tried to put on her wedding dress (I weighed a few pounds less when trying it on than she had weighed when she wore it), and my arms would not fit into the sleeves. We could not zip up the dress because my forearms were too big. And trust me, they are not all that big.

It was hard to find things off the rack that would work instantly. So Mom would buy a dress that was almost right. She would need to shorten it, maybe change the sleeve length, open up the neck, whatever. She might take the dress apart at the waist seam, pull up the skirt at the waist, re-sew it, and then the skirt would not be too long any more.

She taught me to take a purchased sweater which had unraveled/run from the shoulder seam, and use a crochet hook to work the stitches back up to the top again. She added, subtracted, changed buttons. She is very clever and creative. I never thought twice about it, this is just “what you do.” Never imagined that others did not do this, too.

So now I look at my works in progress. One is a huge colorwork sweater, a size XL at least. Handspun, handknit in Nepal. I found it for $1.99USD at a resale shop, and it may have never been worn.

It’s beautiful, totally my colors. However, as a pullover it just plain was too big and clunky. I plan to turn up the sleeve ribbing but not by rolling while wearing. I will fold the rib into the inside of the sleeve. And I’ll gently hem that so that the sleeve is the right length and looks more like a coat.

I ripped out/frogged the collar on that sweater. I “steeked” the front center (cut the knitting fabric open) and bought a zipper. I plan to install a zipper on the front, sew in shoulder pads to support the weight of the large garment, and reknit the collar. Nearly-Instant sweater-coat! Way faster than knitting from scratch, anyway.

The second changed project is more simple. I started a sweater in K1P1 rib, in Aspen super-fat yarn (it calls for 2.5st/in in stockinette). I started this one at least a year ago. I knit till I got to the place where underarms required some shaping, and stopped. Well, I can not find the pattern anywhere. And I got the yarn/pattern at Threadbear but they don’t seem to have access to that pattern anymore, either. So I put it on the shelf trying to figure out what to do next.

I know now what it is. I’m knitting on it again. It’s about as wide as a stole. Cool. I need to make a little fiber hug for a wonderful child. So now I’m making a K1P1 wrap from what once was the back of a sweater, in super fat yarn. It will work great for a toddler. I may crochet a simple edge on it so that I can add some extra color and increase its width slightly.

You guys are so the best. I count my blessings every day for this life. You, my family, my husband, friends, Lansing’s artistic community. Thank you for coming by and being a part of my life.

I have photos of cutting the steek of the sweater-will-be-jacket. I took them at Rae’s retreat up at Drummond Island about a month ago. Right now I’m falling asleep at the monitor but I will look at getting some photos for you soon.