"Her hands are busy spinning thread, her fingers twisting fiber." Proverbs 31:19 NLT

Friday, May 23, 2014

Re-purposing - Hand Spun Style or A LARGE Mistake

Let me tell you a story. It goes like this: Once upon a time I knitted a wonderful sweater from hand spun corriedale for my late husband. If you read about it here, you will know that it was a large, wonderfully warm sweater/jacket. That was in about 1986. Sometime after I finished it, I decided to knit myself something comparable. I was excited to have a nice warm jacket/sweater to wear along side him so I began the thinking part of the process. I don't know dates or years but I began looking for a pattern and found one I loved in an old McCall's Needlework & Crafts, October 1989 magazine. This was before Ravelry and all the other on-line pattern sources. I believe I had picked up the magazine at a 2nd hand store - as I am wont to frequent - and eventually settled on a pattern from it.

The selected pattern is called "Crafted from the Heart" and features a lot of motifs, similar to quilt designs, so popular at that time. I knew nothing about multi-color knitting then but determined to use some neat colored stripes around the sweater. So I began the spinning process, and as you can imagine from a sweater the size of this one, I would need a lot of yarn. ALOT. I used to try to have all the yarn spun before I began knitting so I could keep on truckin', so to speak, while knitting. And thought I'd get dizzy if I attempted to knit in the car on trips. (Now, years later, I like to have a knitting project going at all times, so I can grab it up and haul it in the car, when on the go - only if I'm not driving. I'm told that knitting while driving is a dangerous combination.)

Again, I don't know dates, but I do know that my boys were very young and our nephew had moved in with us to be in a safer situation, so I likely didn't dedicate large amounts of time to the process. What I know is that before my husband got sick and died, I had begun knitting and had the ribbing and 2 rows of stockinette done on the back of the sweater. He died in 2001.

It was several years later, maybe 2007 that I decided to resume construction of said sweater. Now, life has a way of changing a person, for the better, if you let it. I don't know if I let it, but I think I am different in many ways. And I know that I am more relaxed and more easy-going. (That may be as much from age as anything else.) BUT, and this is huge, I never bothered to check and see if I was a different knitter than when I began. I had notes on my gauge at the time I began and notes on my plans for the stripes, etc. so I just resumed. And I knitted and knitted and spun more yarn, and spun and spun and knitted and knitted and spun. I thought I'd never get enough yarn spun to finish this large project. It never occurred to me that the sweater might be too big. When I would hold it up, it seemed big but I would always think, "Oh well, I want it for a jacket anyway."

So I finished it and thought it looked a bit strange but when I would wear it for a jacket, I was usually in a hurry to go somewhere and didn't really give it much thought. Until a couple of years ago. I realized it DOES NOT LOOK GOOD ON ME!  ugh!!!  :^)

Since then, I have been planning to rip it out and put the yarn into a nice thick yarn vest. Re-purposing is a current term and I like it for this yarn. I'll re-purpose it! So I've been looking for a pattern but I was shy to mention it to my husband. He always mourns even when I have to take out a few rows of knitting to fix a mistake. He feels bad that all that work is just ripped out. So I was keeping the plan for this too-big sweater mum for the time being.

The other day I thought I'd blog about it so I put on the sweater for him to take some photos of it and I casually mentioned that I was going to take it apart. I thought he'd go nuts but when he saw it on me, he said, "Ehhhhhh."  HAHA  I was, however relieved that I didn't have to justify my plan. Even he could see the blunder.

So now I have begun the long process of un-making a beautiful sweater. The snarls and other tangles within wool knitting is amazing. My finger tips are already getting sore. And I haven't settled on a use for the yarn as of yet. If you have suggestions, I'd love to hear them.

I think the saddest part so far is ripping out those
lovely button holes...
Here's what it looks like as of right now, a pile of curly yarn and a
partial very LARGE sweater.


(In the meantime, I have a delicate lacy scarf and a tote on the needles for Christmas presents. I do love knitting. 

Remember, I'd welcome suggestions for some type of short sweater or chunky yarn vest patterns. Thanks!)

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