Saturday, 28 April 2012

A Labour of Daughterly Love

I was going to do this in chronological order, but I actually don't remember now what my first project with reclaimed yarn was! Probably something I sent to the frog pond...

So instead I'm starting with the one I'm most proud of.

Queen Mum


These fingerless gloves were my mum's Christmas present - she didn't receive them until February, of course! But both she and I were very pleased nonetheless. She to be finally wearing them, and me to be finally not knitting them any more...



Truth be told I started and knitted most of this project with great enthusiasm, and enjoyed most of the knitting. But once I'd ripped and reknitted the wrist part of the second glove 5647 times, I was getting a bit miffed. I was more or less winging it with the pattern (using Melissa Burt's Queen of Diamonds as a base for the stitch counts and an edging pattern from Nicky Epstein's brilliant Knitting on the Edge for the cuff), and foolishly left several weeks between finishing the first glove and casting on the next without having made sufficient pattern notes, so I'd kind of forgotten what I'd done. Oops.

They came out marvellously though. This project was extra special too not just because I was making them for my mum, who is awesome (and for whom I had yet to produce a successful knitted item), but because of the yarn. It was fine (and soft!) laceweight merino unravelled from one of my dad's sweaters and hand-dyed by me (red over the original periwinkle blue) for mother's purple fixation. My dad died 18 months ago and although my parents had been divorced for 20 years, they were still friends. She was surprised at how upset she was about it, but when you take into consideration that she met him when she was 16 and spent 22 years with him, it's no surprise at all really!

I navajo plied the yarn as I knitted to create 4-ply - more on this in another post, but here's a quick link to the Lucy Neatby video I learnt from - using 2mm dpns. These were also my first 'fingers' and frankly I'm not in a hurry to do it again. Must practise picking up those stitches!


A confession (or two)

I have several confessions to make. One is that I am a terrible blogger! My to-post list is as long as my arm, but I am horribly remiss in getting them done. Will work on that.

Tick tock.

Second, I seem to be developing an addictive fondness for silk/cashmere blend yarns... It's decadence up there with warm chocolate fudge cake in the bath. I've been lucky enough to find quite a few lately and I just love unravelling them! It's so so smooth and soft on the hands.
 
And my third confession - here we come to the crux of this post - is that I am a very slow knitter. Not just very slow, but very bad at finishing anything! The trouble is a case of the 'ooh, shiny's! That new exciting project is more likely to get started than the old and increasingly annoying one is to get finished. So I don't often have FOs to show off here or on Ravelry. I will do my best, and there are at least one or two projects I mean to post about - but once my back catalogue is exhausted, I'm going to be short on new unravelled and reinvented projects to show off!

Feeling guilty, owl?
That's where you come in. I hope. My aim is to get you out there, my readers, and customers of the Rewound shop, to send me *your* recycled/upcycled/reclaimed (whatever you like to call them!) projects - so I have something fabulous to blog about! It doesn't even have to be limited to knitting. I love hearing about all the great ways people find to reuse and recycle, be it yarn, clothing, or just an old cardboard box.

So hit me up, people. Send me your stuff, ideas, project notes... And there might be a discount voucher in it for you!

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Medievalesque


I love medieval fashion, and my boyfriend and I have been planning a medieval fashion coup for some time. On that basis, here is a lovely cowl-type pattern I improvised (lace pattern adapted from 198 yards of heaven - I had just finished one of those for a friend and it was on hand to attempt creating my own lace from!) using 2 skeins of Sirdar Big Softie in Cherry Pie (mmm, pie). Those skeins have been plaguing me for a while too, I can tell you...

It's a transcription of a few scribblings on a piece of paper so please feel free to point out errors, omissions and plain rubbishness, if you spot any.

Tools: 8mm needles, 10mm needles, 100 yards of super bulky yarn, and some buttons.  
Gauge: appx 2sts = 1".

To fit a 14" neck loosely, or a bigger one more snugly.

Directions: With 8mm needles, cast on 35 stitches in whatever way you please.

Working a 3-stitch garter edge at both ends throughout (I will not include instructions for this in any of the subsequent rows, but every row begins and ends with k3), begin by knitting 7" stocking stitch, or as long as you want to neck portion to be.

Increase row: *k1, yo* to last stitch, k1 - 63 sts.

Switch to 10mm needles. Purl one row. Mark centre stitch.

Lace section: (apologies for writing it out longhand - I haven't figured out an effective computerised chart-making system yet)

Row 1: k2, *yo, p1, yo, k5* to last st, yo, k1
Row 2 and all even rows: work as sts present themselves - purl the purls (and yarn overs), knit the knits.
Row 3: k2, *k1, p1, k1, yo, k2tog, k1, ssk, yo,* to last 2 sts, k2
Row 5: k1, *k2, p1, k2, yo, sl2 as if to k2tog, k1, psso, yo,* to last 3 sts, k3
Row 6: k3, *yo, k2tog,* to last 2 sts, yo, k2.

Bind off loosely, with a bigger needle if you have one. It's possible that I used a 15mm for this, as I have a problem with loose bind offs! Weave in ends, attach buttons to one of your selveges (I put far more than necessary on, mainly because I like buttons), or lace it up with ribbon, whatever you like, and you're done. I hope.

Off the Cuff fingerless gloves


*This appears to have been my most popular and knitted pattern so far. Thanks everyone who has favourited/queued/knitted it!*

Anyone who knows me knows about my obsession with fingerless gloves. I'm rarely seen without a pair, even in summer, and even in bed during this brisk season! Normally I favour a long length, but I had a single ball of bulky weight yarn knocking about, in a variegated shade that I wasn't fond of, and felt the need to knock up some quick, short, about-the-house hand warmers. You'll notice my cunning punnery when you look at the loose, casual fit of these gloves combined with the loose, casual method of constructing them.

Partly I just wanted to see if the yarn was any more likeable knitted up than on the ball, looking all orange and brown and grey and mangy. Here it is on Ravelry. Looks fine in all other colours as far as I can see, but mine was part of a gift from a well-meaning but slightly misguided friend.

So I checked glove patterns against yardage on Rav, but found no inspiration to follow/adapt, so decided to wing it. You know when you see a pattern for a garter stitch scarf, or the most absurdly basic gloves ever? Well, that's pretty much what this is going to be, but I like to feel all creative by 'writing' patterns, so maybe it'll help someone out in some small way. I'm still not over-keen on the yarn but as I've barely taken the things off since I made them, there must be something in it... I particularly like the way the loose fit around the wrist enables me to look at my watch, without having to employ my left hand to wrestle them out of the way!

I've knitted these flat for ease of thumbiness (for this, see laziness). They are also quite roomy, which was intentional, but if you prefer a snugger glove or have bigger hand than mine (7.5" around), you may want to add or subtract stitches according to your tastes. I really wouldn't recommend the Sirdar Crofter though, it's not only vile ('beautiful Fair Isle effect spray dyed onto the yarn' my arse), but after only a week of use it's pretty much felted. (I'll just note retrospectively here that after I threw them in the wash they look much better!) Warm though.

Materials:

One ball of bulky weight yarn - I used Sirdar Crofter Chunky, which has 86 yards/50g.

Size 4.5mm needles (I think that's what I used though of course you may need to experiment for gauge anyway - note these are much smaller than suggested for a yarn of this weight, this produces a thick, firm fabric).

A yarn/tapestry needle.

Gauge: 14 sts per 4" (in stocking stitch)

Directions: Cast on 32 stitches. Leave a nice long tail for seaming up later. *Work stocking stitch for 3 rows (knit a row, purl a row, knit a row). Work reverse stocking stitch for 3 rows (knit a row, purl a row, knit a row).* Repeat * * twice more - you will have 3 'welts' on the RS of the work. Continue in reverse stocking stitch for 22 rows (just over 3" for me), or for a long as you'd like the hand part of the glove to be. Switch your stocking stitch again (back to ordinary st.st) for 3 more rows, then bind off all stitches, again leaving a seamable-sized tail.

Now you can either make a second glove and then seam both at the same time, or seam this one first, then make the second. Up to you.

To finish, take your tapestry needle and seam the sides of your glove. Work from the top and bottom using the tails, leaving a hole for the thumb. To be more specific, working so that the right side (the side with the 3 welts at the cuff and the 'V's on the hand) is facing out, mattress stitch the sides together. Start from whichever end you like, but make sure you leave enough space for your thumb, and in the right place! I allowed mine to be quite roomy, for knitting in, obviously, so I made about a 2.5" seam from cuff to thumb, then from the top made a seam of 1.25", weaving my respective ends into the seam afterwards. I know a lot of people really hate seaming, but it does give you a neat little spot to hide your ends!















Ta da!

Cosy Collar


















I acquired a single skein of this gorgeous yarn from ebay - it's Gedifra 'Easy Wear', really chunky and soft, comprising an open, barely-twisted single ply, held together by a contrasting thread running through it. I knew I had to make something really great with it, but it took me a few tries to get it right. First I tried a pixie cap type thing with a long point, but it wasn't right. A few more non-starters later and I accidentally came up with this cowl. You can find it on Ravelry - here's the link: my cosy collar cowl.



Materials: 9mm (10 would work too) knitting needles; one skein of super bulky yarn; large eyed yarn needle; buttons and elastic or thread as desired.

I'm afraid I don't know what my gauge was, but this thing is quick and simple enough to play around with. I'd estimate around 5 sts to 4".

Cast on about 20 stitches. Knit stocking stitch until the work is about 7" long, or the height desired for one's neck. Mine was longer to fold over like a collar. I think I knitted about 13/14 rows for this, and possibly threw in some drop stitches to show off the plumpness of the yarn. Bind off all stitches.

For the panel: Cast on about 12 stitches - more or less depending on how wide you want it. You could even use a contrasting colour for this part. Knit seed stitch until the work is a little bit shorter than the main piece - 5"/6", or as you see fit. Bind off all stitches.






















I then picked out 12 lovely old translucent buttons from my stash, in colours to complement the yarn - 6 pink, 6 purple. I tied each pair together with elastic (leaving a gap of about 1cm between them, though maybe more of a gap would be better so they don't pull through so easily) so that each 'toggle' was pink on one side and purple on the other. I pushed these through the fabric, three on each side of the seed stitch panel, and then attached it to the main piece. Ta da!

What I really like about this cowl is that it's totally adjustable - by merely popping out the button toggles and putting them back wherever you like, you can adjust the fit and the look of the collar. At the top you see it buttoned closely for a funnel-neck, battened up against the cold sort of thing - and in the second picture it's at full length for something more casual, and showing off the contrasting texture of the panel.

Here it is reversed for another different effect:


















You can even get away with wearing it as a headband for maximum ear coverage - and a 'little Dutch girl' look:


























Hope you like it - knit on and be happy!

Here's one I made earlier

A few, actually! I decided to get things started by moving some patterns I posted in another blog over here, as it's more knitting-appropriate.

My own patterns are pretty simplistic, I'm no pattern designer! But they do the job.

Coming up in the following 3 posts (they have to be separate so I can link to them from the Ravelry pattern page more easily), we have a very cosy cowl, a pair of natty fingerless gloves, and another, pseudo-lacy, cowl.

All three patterns call for bulky or super-bulky yarn and are very quick, easy knits for instant knitting gratification!

Welcome knitters!


Hello!

Welcome, knitters and other crafty/thrifty/ethically conscious types, to the first instalment of my new knitting blog.

Here will be discussed the merits of reclaimed yarn, what you can knit with it and how you can get it, amongst other things.

About a year ago I discovered the marvels of unravelling old sweaters, not only providing me with an almost unlimited supply of gorgeous yarn, but eliminating my ethical quandaries concerning the purchase of new yarn.
(See my blog post 'A Woolly Conundrum' about such things.)

Soon I found I almost enjoyed unravelling more than actually knitting... And, that I had more unravelled goodies than I knew what to do with! So I decided to start selling my excess stash - which developed into actively purchasing and unravelling sweaters to sell.

Find Rewound on Etsy
Check out my Etsy shop: Rewound.

Knitting with reclaimed yarn can be slightly more challenging than knitting with shop-bought stuff, but therein lies the fun! It's always unique, so you can't check out the Ravelry stash pages for advice. But on the other hand, it's unique...

Angry the Wild Boar



So I am writing this blog to document my unravelling adventures, offer up potential patterns and tips for reclaimed yarn, show off my own FOs, and post tutorials on all aspects of reclaiming.



I look forward to reading your comments, answering your questions and making some new knitting friends!

Knit on and be happy...