Tag Archives: snowshoeing

Swirt, skeater, or skiter?

I love Stephen West’s Swants.

I love wool, I love stretchy pants, I love recycling, I love projects with quick gratification.

However, even though I have a mountain of old sweaters and went looking for more, I still can’t find the perfect Swantsable one (though I’ve already named mine Swousers).  I’ve got long-ish, muscular-ish legs so I need a fairly big sweater and I want my Swousers to be more pants than knickers (although I love the shorter style of Kate Davies’s Sweeks) and I want them a bit thicker too – like an adult version of a soaker, only in the reverse rather than being disgustingly diapery – for keeping out cold and damp or snow.  I hate snow pants because they swish, swish, swish and are made from synthetics, so I’d like thick wool sweatery pants for wintertime activities instead.  So I must wait until the right big, long, thick sweater comes along.

Until then, I made a sweater skirt…

swirt-back-sun

Or Swirt.

But that name already has certain sexual denotations I just learned about when Googling it… so perhaps it should be a Skeater or Skiter…

It started out as a thrift-store-found hand-knit South American sweater that had been shrunken and felted/fulled a bit (by its previous owner) making the body dense but the sleeves short and tight.

swirt-sweater

I cut off the arms, slit open the neck, sewed a hem at the top, sewed up the sides (put a zipper on one), and added a couple of hook and eye closures.  My only complaint is with the sweater itself – the star motif on the front was cropped by the neckline, so I didn’t have much room to spare for the waist.

swirt-detail

I was imagining that I’d style it for a photo with a new pair of grey and black wool tights (thanks K!) and a pair of cute but impractical boots I almost never wear anymore since I work from home, but instead I got to field test it in a more rugged fashion almost immediately thanks to Hercules.

In cold weather I literally freeze my ass off.  Even with wool unders, base layers, and pants I feel like my southerly cheeks are still flirting with frostbite.  And my knees suffer as well, though I hooked them up with a quick fix last winter.  But the Swirt kept my bum and knees warm!  It was about 19F and I also had on wool long johns, wool-blend leggings, and those bulky army-surplus wool gaiters, and I was fine.

swirt-deer

Even the deer were enviously eyeing my woolies.

swirt-back

So one day I’ll have my Swants/Swousers, but for now the Swirt/Skeater/Skiter will do.

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Filed under hiking, recycling, sewing, thrifting

Even quicker and more practical…

I can’t even really call this a project (unlike my previous one) – take a slightly fulled* sweater (preferably cashmere) chop off the arms and pull them up over your knees and thighs under your pants – done.  For the thin-thighed, you might consider attaching them to a garter, sewing in some elastic at the top, or keep shopping at your favorite thrift store until you find the absolute perfect size.

kneewarmer

I love the outdoors and I love wool, but I don’t quite love winter yet, though I’m slowing warming to it, all puns aside. I could bring myself to near financial ruin over the fabulous items of clothing made from whisper-thin and oh-so soft-merino wool from brands that rhyme with dicebreaker, fartwool, and especially the one named after a lithe four-legged mammal.  Who knew wool underwear, yes, the underpants kind of underwear, are the awesomest things ever in cold or hot weather and dry fast too making them perfect for minimal travel?  But alas, I have only purchased a few items here and there and have yet to obtain the perfect woollen base-layer bottoms.  I have an older pair that is a little too small in the waist, just enough to cause discomfort and make me grumpy – in ye olden days of corsets and girdles, good god, I would have been grumpy… But I also don’t quite like the pants under pants feeling – part of it is the doubled up waist feeling, and part of is two pieces of fabric occasionally in opposition.  This solution is to treat the underparts in segments like an insect.  Previously I was just relying on knee-high ski socks and some floppy old woolen men’s trousers, but my knees would get chilled and achy, but these sleeves-turned knee-warmers were the perfect hack.

kneewarmer detail

I am not an exceptional one-legged snowshoer even  though it appears that way in these pictures…  The gaiters were a recent acquisition too – forget the big-bucks gearhead brands and look at Swiss army surplus – wool and cheap!

*The improper use of fulled vs. felted is driving me bats, but felted is a more often heard term so I’ve got it down here for the sake of keyword searching, but shrunken knitting is fulling dammit!

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Filed under recycling