One woman’s trash can also be her treasure
January 31, 2013 § 2 Comments
This morning while the little Buckaroo was getting his breakfast bottle I looked down at our poor, extremely cluttered coffee table and what did I find? Low-and-behold, inspiration. The most unlikely of places, and yet, there it was. The tiny embroidery thread in lilac that was used to hold my latest hank of Madelinetosh Tosh DK in Silver Fox together, before being wound was left with a random shard/scrap of my purple bamboo knit fabric which I cut on the floor the other day, before it transformed into a fabulous maxi dress, and my gold metallic size 2 knitting needles.
Since seeing this spread in the January 2013 issue of Lucky Magazine, I feel like something in my brain was triggered to constantly go back to thinking of how to make tone-on-tone style work.
I cannot get it out of my head. My mint pants with a great green sweater, now if only I had a green sweater, or green yarn … My new lilac pants—my current obsession—with a deep purple something. Deep down, I knew I had just the thing.
But it was scary.
Until I saw my pile of purple mess on the coffee table.
It wasn’t scary.
Almost two years ago I finished this dress, Jill’s Dress.
I loved the yarn, and I loved the pattern, but I knew that this project just wasn’t right. The wrong yarn for the project. I really, really wanted a tight fitting, long sleeve sweater with this yarn, and I knew it as soon as I finished the last stitch. Well, actually, I think I knew it long before, but I really wanted to try to make this work.
I mentioned to a few people that I was going to rip out the bottom of the dress, and turn it into sleeves and everyone that I told melted down in utter despair. “OH THE HORROR!” they said. “You can’t, you simply can’t! It’s so beautiful! Why! Why would you want to rip it out! All of your hard work!” Yes, really, that many exclamation marks.
And they were right. It was beautiful, and I would reply, “But, I am never, ever going to wear it like this.” They convinced me NOT to do the unthinkable.
Well, it has been two years, and sure enough, I was right. I hate being right. All that hard work! Serious sad face.
Wait, no, lets not look at it like that. All that hard work! See, there is a happy face at the end of that one. A head start, and absolute confidence about the right thing to do with this beautiful yarn.
I had a sweater bodice completely finished, and I have been wanting to change it for years. When I saw my little garbage pile, I felt so inspired. I typically don’t like variegated knits for myself, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t have a place in my heard. I LOVE this yarn though. Its variegation is quite subtle, and adds depth and texture even in plain-old stockinette stitch. The embroidery thread from the coffee table mess almost matches my new lilac pants perfectly. The gold knitting needles? Maybe I need to find myself a cute pair of metallic gold flats (lets be realistic, that baby can crawl with the best of them, getting into loads of trouble, and heels just aren’t in the mix when—even though he’s only 7 months old—he’s going to be walking in no-time-flat, shoe pun intended). The purple from that dress would be the perfect, perfect sweater for my tone-on-tone obsession. I just know it. And purple. Who the hell can get away with wearing all purple?!?! Only crazy ladies they feature on those “teach-me-what-style-means” shows on the aptly names Style network? Hell no, bitches. I can do it, and I am going to prove it!
So, this morning I dug this dress out of my knitting bag filled with projects that are so close to being finished, but aren’t quite yet. Well, this was actually the very last project actually IN that bag. My goal had always been to go back and add the crochet princess and empire waist seam lines that the pattern specified, but deep down I knew that the reason why I never got around to finishing it was because it just wasn’t meant to be.
I ripped out the crochet seam in the back, but left the one in the front. Something I surely never would have thought of for a ho-hum plain-old v-neck sweater. A lovely detail. I have also decided to leave the crochet for the collar, and won’t be adding ribbing. Another nice detail I would not have likely thought of on my own. I ripped out the whole bottom of the skirt after trying the dress/sweater on, and marking where I wanted it to come to (not including the two inches of ribbing I will be adding).
After the extremely tedious task of un-weaving-in ends (OMG, UGH! Not for the faint of heart, and also not for those who have to listen to a screaming baby while they’re doing it), I frogged almost two complete hanks of beautiful Malabrigo Rios out of my sweater
dress. That is amost 440 yards! That should be sufficient for sleeves. Beautiful, long, skinny sleeves. Oh, and the ribbing. Mmm, now it’s not sounding like enough, but I had one extra hank from this die-lot left over when I finished the project. Stash? I can hear you in there hiding, quietly, under the guest bed. The trick is going to be locating which of the 7, or maybe 9 bins of yarn it could be hiding in, then identifying the proper ball from the proper lot. Have I mentioned that I love this yarn?
After the frogging, I carefully spun it around my swift, but even after tying I couldn’t imagine the super 80′s crimp left from blocking and two years of being knit relaxing while hanging in the bathroom during a shower. So, into the sweater tub it went, then I hung it out in the sun to dry. It’s going to take a few days.
When I brought it back inside this evening, after the sun had set I felt so genuinely excited about the turn that this old project is taking. When I was taking Fashion classes, I remember one of my teachers, who was from Finland, saying that once someone there gets tired of a sweater they rip the whole thing out, rewind the yarn, and create something new. A few of my classmates cringed, but I can see the joy and the love in doing this. Just because the project hasn’t turned out the way you wanted, or maybe it has become old and tired, doesn’t mean that the yarn is bad, it is just waiting for the next adventure, inspiration. Even though this yarn has been knit, and hiding out in a dark yarn bag for the past two years I see it again, today, as being utterly beautiful, and so full of potential.
I’ll need to take some time to work-up a pattern for the arms. I just wish that I had decided to listen to myself a lot sooner.