Monday, September 3, 2007

Reclaiming the Past

I bought it the year I moved to Connecticut at the Goodwill in Rocky Hill. It was "100% merino" but had clearly been machine washed many times. It had a kangaroo pocket in the front with an olive green panel behind it. The neck was too high, and with the kangaroo pouch right under the bust it made my boobs look low. No shaping in the waist at all. It was completely unflattering, but I bought it anyway because it was warm. It must have been $1.

Fastforward four years. I found it today as I was cleaning out my closet, getting together a bag of clothes to go to the Goodwill. Funny how a lot of my clothes start and end at Goodwill. I could gladly have given this sweater up, ugly as it is.

But as I was holding it, trying to decide, I thought "I can do something with this." I was filled with a sense of certainty, especially when I saw that the pieces had been knitted, rather than cut, to shape, and so the yarn could be salvaged in good usable lengths. So I went for the scissors.

Quickly, it decomposed.

The kangaroo pouch was a little difficult. Against my expectations, the olive patch was knitted separately and seamed in, and the main panel was all one piece (albeit knitted using three separate strings).

And finally:


Drying post-wash.


Laura said...

Oooh, I love that color! What do you plan to do with the yarn?

Sunswept said...

I was thinking a shorter, fitted boatneck with a design in the darker wool around the neck.. but it may end up having plans of its own! :)

Jane said...

That color is just wonderful. How appropriate to be doing a "green" thing like recycling yarn with green yarn. Looking forward to seeing the results. Your Dad is just great to be so supportive of you. He must be so proud!

mãenuela said...

have you ever changed the colour of wool? sometimes i do that with old yarn, when the colour is a bit burnt (i don´t know the right word in english)

Sunswept said...

Yes, I like to knit "green" :)

mãenuela, I do dye yarn sometimes, but I've never done it with aged wool. In fact, I usually only do it with things like socks, because I'm afraid that without any of the metal compounds that dyers use, my colors won't last very long.

But I did do a pair of hippie socks once, double-sided for a hiker, that were striped in yarn dyed with: turmuric, red onion skins, and walnut shells. Those were pretty cool.

Dr. Quilter said...


Your dad posted the link to your blog in our newsgroup (quilting) - I never read blogs but since I knit also I was intrigued. I love recycling yarn, first because the real reason I knit and quilt arises from a pioneer-like wish to reuse materials, and second because yarn is so expensive in this country! I have reknitted several of my sweaters and I am really intrigued with the results of yours!

mãenuela said...

sometimes i reuse old sweaters without undoing them. i picked one from the 80s with very large sleeves, and i made a new small "coat" (i don't know the word in englis) for one of my daughters only with the sleeves, and a another for my , without the sleeves, to use over a shirt. you can see it in my blog, if you look on the tags "reciclar" or "reutilizar"

Sunswept said...

dr. quilter, thanks for the comment. I do a bit of quilting, too, and I share your pioneer-like feelings! I went to a quilt show in St. Charles, Missouri, this weekend. The work was all beautiful, of course, but it was all the really formal stuff with perfectly matched fabrics straight from the store, and I just felt I would like it all better if it stayed truer to our poor-American roots.

But I wonder sometimes if I don't just feel better about the amount of time I put into quilts and knitted goods when I haven't also put in a lot of money!

mãenuela, have you checked out Knitty's regular article Frankenknits?