Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Beyond unraveling

It took years of knitting before it dawned on me there was a much cheaper way to come by yarn. I began buying up sweaters made of quality yarn at thrift stores, then unraveling them for use in my knitting projects. I could get the equivalent of 10 skeins of yarn for $3. I was in knitting heaven - and quickly acquired by far more sweaters than I could re-knit in a lifetime. Even though it felt a bit like cheating, I decided to pursue the concept of repurposing sweaters. The idea that a knit sweater could be treated like any other knit fabric - cut apart and sewn into something new - was a brilliant solution to the glut of sweaters in my knitting pile. I picked a soft blue (moth-nibbled) wool sweater for my first project. Ever frugal (even with a $3 Goodwill sweater), I spent days finding a way to make two sweaters out of one. This was the first.
The sweater itself, and my determination not to waste any of it, dictated the design of this one for my four-year-old. I enjoy the challenge of creating something when faced with constraints - the end product is often superior to what I could have come up with complete freedom.


  1. this is fantastic. was the collar like that? if not, how did you seem is edges to keep them from unraveling?

  2. The sweater I made this out of didn't have any type of collar. I disassembled the sweater and tried to cut out as much as I could utilizing the finished edges. Some sweaters are serged together, but many are knit into the separate pieces, then sewn together with a stitch like the kind you find at the top of a big bag of flour or rice. The long edge of the collar was originally part of the seam of the sweater, but since it was finished I could use it that way. The short edges of the collar were part of the rib on the sweater - the sleeves perhaps? I can't remember exactly. Anyway, because I had to end up with only finished edges being visible, that helped to decide the design of the sweater. Time consuming, but fun!

  3. i can't even imagine how this is done, not being a knitter myself (unless you count that one potholder).
    when do you like to knit? can you do it with kids around (i'm guessing not)? where would be a good place to start if i want to learn?

  4. Knitting is practically impossible with kids around. I've actually tried teaching Junie how since she seems so intensely interested when I attempt to pick up my needles. To no avail - she lasts about 2 minutes and then wants nothing to do with it. I wonder at what age it's possible for them to learn?

    As far as starting, you did great with the blanket square you knit! It was learning how to knit on about four separate occasions that finally did it for me. My first projects were scarves - simple, as it's just like knitting a very long potholder.

    Find a neighbor or friend who knits and ask to work on a project under their supervision. The internet is also a great resource as there are many videos showing different knitting stitches.

    I've also run across small, independent yarn shops that have open knitting times - with employees on hand if you have a question. In fact, I think there's one on Center Street in Provo.