Friday, November 25, 2016

Halloween socks and a new upcycling project

Thank you for all your feedback on the Charm cardigan. Before going on just one small thing…
I can totally understand about the button issue. They are very, very loud, and I was little bit worried of them too, but when I found them, I was totally smitten and only started to have second thoughts later. I decided to follow my first instinct and sewed them on. Good thing is that I can always change them if they start to be too boisterous. Time will tell.

Thank you for following the journey; and it is time to be on the road again.

I am not sure what makes me to go through the wardrobe to find something to work on. Maybe I feel hesitant to start a big knitting project, or maybe I just need to make use of what I already have. This not having a big project on the needles, does not make sense, as the last cardigan with the skirt did take a lot of knitting. I love finishing, I did not use to, but since I have learned many techniques on the subject, I enjoy it thoroughly. Upcycling gives me plenty of opportunities to finish. Mostly though I enjoy the problem solving. Every single step needs some thinking and I seem to be in a place where I need to shake my brain. Problem solving does not always come easily, and with the previous projects there have been moments, when I have felt that I don’t know how to proceed, and think about tossing away the whole thing. Especially the thought of throwing away the whole thing, comes to mind, if I feel that I am in a hurry. I need to take time and go on slowly, pondering the procedure from all aspects I can think of. I make lots of mistakes and only afterwards realize what I should have done, but try to take them as learning opportunities.
Other kind of handwork that brings me joy, is sock knitting. Plain, vanilla socks, something that I don’t need to think of at all. I take a book, in Finnish (as I listen to so many English books), open it on my lap (or iPad), pick up simple socks and bury myself in a stream of words and plots. I knitted these while reading Revelation (Ilmestys in Finnish) by C.J. Sansom. There were over 600 pages, which resulted in these socks with long cuffs.

While I steamed through the Beige Coat and the Charm, winter came. Yesterday I noticed that it was getting dark already before four in the afternoon. The chill has crept in on some days and has forced me to get the fires going. Christmas is only a few weeks away. This being the season of baking, cooking, gift wrapping, cleaning, I am afraid that my next upcycling project is not going to be as speedy as the two previous ones, but you never know… I might get so wrapped with it that I need to squeeze that into my days.

Now you are probably wondering what it will be… I took a deep dive into my sweaters and came to the surface with this.
This is a store-bought sweater. The design is by Estonian designer Riina Tomberg and I think I have bought it from Estonia. You could call it muddy color, but let’s call it sheep-y. It is long, maybe 3” above my knee height, done in pieces, there are seams under arms and sides. No shaping, big, wide sleeves, that are little bit too long for me. The colorwork in the back of the sweater is very lovely, I like it more than the front. Immediately when I saw it I knew it needed to become a cardigan. I never use it because that is a lot of wool to pull over your head. I would love to wear this daily bases, when I need to go to the garage or take garbage outside… Or just something to pull on when being cold.

This was my very first thought but then… could I make this into a real coat, hand stitch a lining to it, the same way I stitched the lining under the button bands when remaking Charm. Make pockets and add maybe even a hood. I pondered this for a bit but disregarded the idea, because outside you need something that protects you from the wind, and I would not want to line this so heavily. I would stick to my first plan and make this into a cardigan.

My very first step was to wash it well, to get rid of all the wrinkles that have grown during the long shelf life and then get rid of all the pilling. There was hardly any, but some that I took care of. Only then the fun began.
I steeked the front; marked the center (it was easy to see), crocheted rows on both sides of the center front to stabilize the steek, and then I cut. At first I was not sure of the neck band, as it was so lovely with the two colors, but it had to come out. It was tedious process and difficult to take out, I had to be careful to get it right.
After cutting, I picked up stitches on both sides of the fronts and around the neck and knitted the button/neck bands. It worked out like a charm. Except I was not sure of the color of the bands…
I took the sleeves out and oh my! the sleeve openings were huge. How to fix them? Cut away the underarm shaping? It would have made the cardigan too small.
I knitted this little patch for the underarm… although I knew from the very beginning that it would not work, I had to try it to see how easy it is to make patches… And then...

I know, I am little bit horrified myself too. I disregarded all these ideas and went back to the beginning. This sweater was not going to be this lovely, draping garment no matter what. It is heavy, almost bulky with all the colorwork, and thus I need to work out a plan B. Something entirely different. This is the point where I thought of throwing away the whole thing, how very frustrating. But I did not throw it away.

I took out the button bands (I did!), seam ripped it to pieces, that is the back and the fronts and took some drastic measures with scissors… which are making me little bit worried and nervous, I am not sure if this will work, not sure at all. It is but a pile of pieces at the moment and I have only vague ideas in my head. I know, at some point, I am going to make a BIG MISTAKE, something that I cannot fix… Hopefully, not just yet. It does feel ... hmmm... bad, doesn't it? I took this lovely wool sweater and cut it into pieces. Sometimes, I can be so --- plain stupid? Fool?

Enjoy your weekend,
And I am saying Wool with you, although Fool with you might be more fitting today,


  1. Just catching up and I LOVE the Charm sweater re-make. It is quite lovely and yes, charming!

  2. Well! I was enamored with your button bands and looked forward to the cardigan, but I do love following your journey. :-)

  3. Love those socks, especially the stripes around the feet!

    You are much more adventurous than I, when it comes to re-working garments. I guess I just wear them at home and don't worry what they look like.... :-)

    You are surely exercising your problem-solving muscles! I look forward to seeing what happens next.............

  4. Anonymous19:06

    I don't think foolish at all. You have some lovely knit fabric, and have proven you're a clever woman!


  5. sandra19:17

    Your sweater is like the caterpillar that must become an ugly chrysalis before it emerges as a beautiful butterfly. Try not to judge your sweater during the chrysalis stage! It will become beautiful again under your gifted hands.

  6. Not foolish at all I say! Before what did you have... a beautiful sweater? No. You had a pile of folded wool that sat on a shelf in a closet and never saw light of day. What sort of life is that for the wool? Maybe it will not be quite what you want right away, but I feel sure that if you let your hands work with it while your heart guides you it will become something of beauty and usefulness.

  7. I have faith in your ability to work knitting miracles, but in case you disagree the pieces would make lovely throw pillows or toys! I have a feeling you will come up with another redesign that will amaze and delight all of us, including yourself.

  8. Anonymous19:19



  9. I love following you on your knitting/crafting/upcycling journey! We are rooting for you! xo

  10. I did not mind the bands, even in the lighter color, but I'm excited to see what else you come up with. And, the sweater is wool, so I think it will forgive you a little cutting here and there, just like it did with the front opening.

    This is all so interesting!

  11. I'm totally with Sandra, it will come out beautifully in the end!!- I thought you could maybe make this all in a book! It is so interesting and sustainably at the same time!

  12. Beautiful socks and your upcycling project is so impressive!

  13. I love following you on your upcycling journeys. I have no doubt that you will crack this nut too! Looking forward to the next post. You're an inspiration!