Tag Archives: re-use

Necking

I like a GIANT squishy cowl neck.

I like scarves wound round and round and round my neck.

But I hate turtlenecks.

Even though they pop back in and out of style, I generally view them as always out – and smelling of elementary schools in the 70s and overly religious Midwestern mothers who dress decades beyond their age. But mostly I don’t like the feeling of my neck being oh-so-slightly constricted.

I’ve de-turtled a few necks over the years.

neck-flappy

(This one also got de-epauleted and de-shoulder padded, and de-gold buttoned – then I sewed the epaulets into the fake pocket to make a whimsical detail of sorts.)

Very often, there is a convenient seam running up the side of the neck that merely needs to be unzipped or picked and voila! A constricting turtle becomes a floppy…

manta ray? collar.

I’ve been going through my bins of thrifted sweaters to see what should be cut up into mittens and such, unraveled, or mended enough to wear…

neck-before

And I found this horribly weird pinkish, orchid? one that fits really well and lies on the “professionally” appropriate side of the fine line that it skates with  comfortably slouchy – partly because it’s actually a decent length on me and many thrifted cashmeres fall a bit too short.

But even after the turtlectomey, I’m debating about tossing it into the to dye pile, but I run the risk of loosing the good length… and though I think I hate the color, I think I can wear it without looking ill, and it goes well enough with browns or greys…

(I’d probably dye it yellow to turn it orange, or go the burgundy or brown route…)

neck-after

Turtles are also often the easiest part of a sweater to frog since they’re often knitted in rib stitch and don’t felt/full as much as the body. I’ve had several moth-eaten thrifts that were too holey or felted to frog as a whole, but still gave up good bits of usable yarn from frogged necks and cuffs.

Or merely extracted, they make good headbands or hat brims…

neck-headband

And once in awhile, a decent cowl will get detached too – most often from my own sweaters that have generally ceased to function as intended.

neck-mohair

And it can remain cowly, just no longer attached to a body…

neck-cowl

This was actually a favorite sweater of mine for about 10 years, so I’m happy to save part of it now that it is done being part of my wardrobe due to damage and too tight sleeves that always annoyed me but now are entirely unacceptable after the home reno and summer of gardening (big guns don’t play well with sheer skinny mohair). And I’ll attempt to frog the rest even though I swore off frogging mohair – if it works, I might knit more rounds onto the cowl to make it GIANT.

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Filed under collecting, dyeing, knitting, recycling, sewing, thrifting

Not quite as old as a rock

I recently had one of those stupid decade-marking birthdays.

snakeskin

I’m mostly okay with aging – I’m not fighting it with dyes or potions or knives – but I miss my younger self, rather my younger ache-free self.

mutant strawberry

On this particular birthday, we went for ice cream and the teen behind the counter flirted heavily with N, but called me “ma’am”* very pointedly and twice – normally I’d address that with amusement and mild contempt for the youth of today, but it stung a bit this time. And on that day I also accepted the fact that my knee had gone to hell and wasn’t coming back any time soon.

So it’s a couple of weeks later, and I’ve been banned from hiking, stairs, ladders, and hills (we live on a hill for christsakes). I’m bummed and it’s slowed down the progress on the house and curtailed my typical summertime activities.  Another downer is Italia going out of the World Cup.  I’m not much of a sports fan, but I can commit to something that only happens every few years.  In order for us to watch the matches though, we had to buy cable TV.  I hate it.  I thought we’d try to get our money’s worth and tried out a few of the channels with those ghastly home flipping/shopping/designing shows and in the end, I just want to forget it all happened…

I know the people on TV aren’t quite real, but those houses do exist, and the dumpsters of utterly wasted materials are very real too.  Granted, tragically awful aesthetics and very broken things need to be addressed, but walls being knocked out for mega-refrigerators and perfectly fine stone and ceramic being smashed and tossed rather than extracted for re-use, or left in place makes me want to vomit.

Stone is ripped out of the earth and shouldn’t be a trend.

It should be banned altogether or require some sort of hoop jumping to get it, but not in an exclusive sense to make it more in demand.

pink marble

We recently stayed in another fine old hotel, and I was happy to find that they retained the possibly original pink marble floor.  The rest of the bathroom was done up in the latest trend – including a clashing granite sink top cut in a stupid shape for the stupid sink, but the floor was just lovely because of its age and it came from the days things stuck around a bit longer.

I’m thrilled we can cancel the TV now (but the World Cup also offered up some premium knitting time).

*We don’t live in the south or within a community where ma’am is a sign of respect – here it’s hurled at no-longer-young ladyfolk in sneering tones…

Don’t get me started on Mrs…

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Filed under home, home decor

Caaaaashmeeeeere…

I had a huge thrifting score a few weeks ago.

I hadn’t been shopping for months because I’m too broke now even for thrift stores, and I already have a decent stash of wearables, frogables, and feltables.  But I needed just a few more things to complete or begin a few more things.

Thriftscore-cashcardi-grey

While there I found my sweater Shangri-La.

I can’t understand why someone would get rid of this: 100% cashmere, a nice shade of grey, and no issues apart from a few easily removed pills on one side where someone probably carried her purse.

Yes, it’s baggy and shapeless, but holy hell, it is utter bliss to wear.  It’s perfect for sleepwear or just lounging about too, so why would someone get rid of it?  Even if you lost a ton of weight, it still feels nice to wear, so unless you gained a ton, like an actual ton, or died, I see no reason to be rid of this.

I’m not the sort of shameful woman who does happy dances and squeals and all those sorts of public behaviors that continue to set women back decades, but this was one of the few times I came close as I cracked a faint but noticeable half-smile when I found it and hurriedly shoved it securely down into my cart.

And for $5.99 on the half-off day – it was only $2.99!!!

Thriftscore-cashcardi-grey-det

This also solves my need for a new long thin sweater, though I’m still planning on knitting one eventually.

I picked up another one to wear too – merino & cashmere, in perfect condition, also quite cheap.  The tag said it was from Fall 2004, so perhaps someone thought 10 years of ownership was enough?   The tag also emphatically stated DRY CLEAN ONLY, but it survived and flourished in its sudsy watery bath.

Thriftscore-stripeyT

And even more cashmere!!!

Thriftscore-cashpile

Most of these have some sort of damage or kill-worthy preppyness, so they will be harvested for their yarn or turned into linings for hats and such.

And I found a few sweaters made with good sturdy wool or wool/nylon blends in colors I like which will be harvested for their yarn as well.  The one on top is another (misshapen and holey) Shetland – I think I have enough Shetland sweaters to harvest an interesting palette of yarn now.  I was intending to make a big Hap shawl out of them, but I love the vintage spencer dresses seen here and here and here and would love to make something similar at some point.

Thriftscore-woolypile

I’m looking forward to making something out of the stripey one on the left too, perhaps along the lines of the scarf I made last year from recycled stripey sweater yarn.

stripey 007 - Copy

And it has already been reduced to a pile of lovely squiggles.

stripey 023 - Copy

Then a tower (what were you thinking?) of yarn cakes.

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Filed under collecting, knitting, recycling, thrifting