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Friday, 15 October 2010

Loop, London, knitting-heaven?



In Camdem Passage between the antique shops, you find this pretty, crafty knitting shop. I was so lucky to visit on wednesday 6th of October, that means speed-visiting, because I didn't have much time. Time enough though to notice their beautiful collection of yarns, including Habu yarns from Japan. The interior is full of crafted props, that could easily by my next DIY project. Very inspiring. 



Saturday, 9 January 2010

Reknit Project Number One

Also for project number one there was too little yarn for a complete sweater. That's why it became a poncho. One day during the christmas holiday I suddenly knew it, a poncho would be just the right thing to make. Probably made several attempts before it ended up like it is, but it wasn't too bothersome, because the yarn is very thick, so it knits away very fast.

it's a very warm and comfortable poncho, that you can really hide away in.
I used my moms basic way of creating a garment starting from the neck, just increase 2x4 stitches every 2nd round and it will fit, after having passed the width of the shoulders, increase less. As with everything else, I crafted it as I found fitting as I went along, so there is no real recipy. Because it's reknit out of an old sweater-jacket I also cannot tell you what yarn, but I assume hand-spun.

Friday, 8 January 2010

reknit project number 2

Reknit project number 1 and 2 are closely related as material for both of them came from the same old sweater jacket. This was a found and lost jacket that was lying in the cupboard in a villa I once occupied. The owners had left the house full of stuff, they where off to the retirement home, so no time or energy for cleaning up. I was happy enough to move in as a house caretaker for a while for a very modest price. With the occupation came the care for all the stuff, and I went through it all to decide what to throw away and what to keep or sell. 

The sweater jacket was horrendous, but made out of a combination of beautiful handspun un-died sheep wool with pockets and detailing and accessories in brown tweed. I quickly decided that this yarn was suited for re-use. This is from before the time that I decided to record all these steps in more details, so I don't have a picture of that sweater-jacket.



The brown tweed was tricky because there wasn't really enough of it for anything. I worked a bit on a brown woolen jacket for my husband with tweed pockets etc, but it didn't really work out the way I wanted it. After having made several trials with needles and stitches I decided that the yarn worked the best in "patent" stitches. (not sure this is the right English word for the stitch) and then it suddenly came to me, and I decided to make a bodywarmer with little or no sleeves (not yarn enough) and then knitted in the horizontal direction.
    

I do admit that this was a rather complicated knitting piece, and I would be rather difficult for me to explain to anybody how I shaped it. But let me try; I created the surplus space in the shape by knitting rows stopping halfway, which is extremely tricky in "patent" as you work with slip-masks.

reknit project number 3

 I have started this backwards chronology of reknit projects now, so I better stick with it, but when I get to think about it there has been many more of them than this. I have just never recorded any of it with photographs etc. And even now as I get to number 3 my recording starts to get poorer, it was probably only as I went along that I realized that it was interesting to keep the traces.

This project was initially a sweater that Jitske tried to dump on Queensday, the famous Dutch holiday where everybody can sell their old crap on the street for 24 hours. It's like the whole country turns into a short and intense flee-market. Well this sweater was so unattractive that she didn't manage to get rid of it, even at the very end when people tend to just give things away nobody wanted it. Well not so strange, because it wasn't very nice, very old-fashioned model and really not very flattering because it was completely straight. But I like the quality of the yarn, so I begged her, give it to me, some day I will make something out of it.

And there it went into my endless piles of salvaged second hand clothes, in a black binbag under my bed. It stayed there for quite a long time. Some years probably. Then one day I though, hey that would be a nice yarn for a pouf, so I first knitted a pouf/cushion with a cable pattern. But I wasn't satisfied with the result, I just thought it was too boring. So then I though how about some mega-knit, and I started crafting the yarn into a small tube filling it with fluff. Well also that didn't look very nice. Then Jitskes birthday came closer and suddenly I thought, I will make a nice poncho for Jitske. Some of the process you can see on the picture to the left, and to the right Jitske wearing the result. Some day I will make a better picture...

.... there was a also a cap to go with it....

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Reknit project 4

let me start backwards with project reknit project 4. The last one I completed. This WAS an awful old shawl from my mum, probably from the dark stoneages of the 70's, at least I remember her wearing it when I was a kid. Really old-fashioned in both colors and style.

Firstly I unraveled this shawl and that was quite something, because it's made of an untwined type of irregular wool it really sticks together so it took me quite some effort. By the way the un-twinedness is exactly why I spend the effort, it gives the work a beautiful handmade texture. And where I live now, they don't sell this type of yarn. It's not that it wouldn't be impossible to get hold of over the internet, it's just that I like the other way more. Not wasting anything. Not throwing a beautiful and useful material away. Just upcycling it into something new.

It was turned into a poncho for my sister. So the yarn also jumped a generation. My sister loves the poncho (she still owes me in-use photos though!!) The knitting itself was quite some work, as it was knitted on thin needles. It's also in the nature of my work that I do things over several times, because I knit without a recipy, just let the work appear in front of my eyes, and guessing how to continue. Obviously that doesn't always go well. And then I unravel and do it again. And again. And again. Until I get it right.

Reknitting manifesto

The magic thing about knitting and crochet for that sake is that it's made out of one uninterrupted line of thread. In principle. Of course much of the knitwear you can buy in the shop today is cut into shape. Such a pity. Chops the thread up into little pieces. Makes it useless for recycling. Or reknitting, the new buzz-word.

I have been reknitting for ages, for many reasons. Practical ones like I'm just a frugal person, so why would I go out and buy new yarn, when actually I have heap loads in stock, lying in my cupboards in the form of unused sweaters that went out of fashion etc. But another reason is also that much of the yarn you can buy today is really crap, it's just not nice, not a nice texture, mainly made of artificial material, whereas I prefer, cotton, wool etcetc. 




If you unlike me, don't have the cupboard full of old knittings, you can just go to the salvation army and buy some nice old sweater etc, unravel it, and make a nice new piece of work. Supercheap and absolutely fashionable way to get through the recession, frugal or not.
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