WIP Wipeout Final Progress Report

I’ve been sick for the last two weeks. A head cold that seemed to be clearing up over the weekend, then I took a dive on Monday and by Wednesday I was at the doctor getting antibiotics for an ear and sinus infection.

So having lost two weekends to the cold I’m pretty sure I won’t finished all the WIP Wipeout projects, especially as my evenings have to go toward reading a manuscript at the moment, and I’m not a fast reader. Still, I’m happy with the progress I made. I’d all but decided that I need more time to really be sure I’d frog the 80s jumper. The fair isle bag involves too much work to get it done. I could still finish the slippers, though.

I’m most chuffed about the silk scarf hemming. I really didn’t think I’d get through them all. Yay for sewing machines!

The brown jacket came out better than I’d expected, so a big win there. And I’ve knit up quite a few sock bookmarks to give away as gifts when I go overseas.

They’re a little addictive. I have plenty more varieties of left over sock yarn. I could still knock up a few more…

Braided Scarf

Another WIP done:

Pattern: Made it up as I went, inspired by ‘Lane’ from Vogue Knitting Holiday 2006
Yarn: Debbie Bliss Pure silk, purple overdyed with navy silk painting yarn

The pattern this was based on was on the front cover of that issue of VK, but I got rid of my collection of VK a while ago because I found I didn’t tend to knit much from them, and the few patterns I’d used were often badly written and full of errors. But I didn’t really need a pattern. The idea is very simple: knit tubes, braid them.

I had only two skeins of the yarn so I aimed to knit a smaller scarf anyway. I knit them into a 10 stitch tube then divided it into five lengths, leaving a little extra for the end sections. I put the stitches of one end of each tube onto needles and knit the end section, using kitchener to bind off. Then I braided the tubes before finishing the other end in the same way.

I’d read the comments on the pattern from other knitters who’d made this project, so I was pre-warned about how boring it was to knit. It is mostly a lot of i-cord knitting. I probably spent six or seven nights just knitting i-cord – 3 to 4 hours a night. But by the time it started to get tedious I had a head cold and wasn’t capable of anything more complicated. I don’t think I could have endured much more i-cord knitting by the time it was done, however, so I’m glad I only had the two skeins of the yarn.

Braiding shortens the tubes considerably. I wound up with a fairly short scarf, but long enough to go around the neck and cross ends. But that’s made up for by it being thick and cushy. Being 100% silk, it’s soft and feels lovely on the skin.

It’s a pity the pattern is so boring to knit, really. I like how it looks and would like to make a wider, longer one out of wool or alpaca. Or attach a lot of tubes without braiding, then make another long one and weave it. But you’d want to have an i-cord maker so you could churn out the tubes quickly.

Pants into Jacket Refashion – Part Two

Once the facing was made for the front of the jacket, I got a little ambitious and decided to make a collar. I based it on the shirt I used to trace out the armhole shaping, but I didn’t have a lot of fabric to work with so it became a rather small collar.

Even as I was sewing it on I was thinking ‘I bet I sew this on the wrong way, but you know what? If I do I don’t think I’ll mind’. And sure enough…

Since the fronts didn’t overlap, buttons weren’t an option. I didn’t have a jacket zipper the right size or colour so, in the spirit of using what I have, I made loops to attach some clasps I took off a rather slutty lycra dress my ex bought me in the 90s. (Actually, I just remembered that I turned that dress into a bathing suit! Those clasps have been waiting for a new home for 20 years.) I also cut the pocket openings for easier access (when the other way around, the top overlapped the bottom) and then snipped into a fringe so the cuts looked deliberate.

Finally the arms went in. The pants were bootleg, so the arms have the same flare. I might get tired of this and take them in one day, but for now I’m keeping with the spirit of the pants-to-jacket refashion, and leaving them as they are.

The Brown Pants Jacket from the front:

And from the back:

Much to my surprise, it actually fits. It passed the Paul test, too. (I ask him ‘is this an “only wear at home” thing?’ He said ‘no’.) Which isn’t bad for a project I did mainly for the entertainment value, not really caring if I got a wearable garment out of it.

Pants into Jacket Refashion – Part One

A while back I saw an interesting refashion of a pair of pants into a jacket, and I had to give it a try. But… I had no pants I wanted to cut up! Well, not until recently when I noticed that a pair I’d bought in Canada, with a waist I always felt was slightly too low for comfort, had a faint stain in an unfortunate location. The stain wouldn’t budge, so the pants didn’t even make it to the refashion pile – they went straight under the knife (aka, sewing scissors).

I only just remembered to take a ‘before’ photo:

The idea is, you turn the pants upside down and the waistband becomes… the waistband.

I considered the front and back. The instructions I’d read had the front of the pants become the front of the jacket. But I could see that the pockets for the back had potential to become usable pockets, so I decided the back of the pants would be the front of my jacket.

The instructions have you hold the pants up to your front, waistband where you want it, then cut off the legs at your shoulder. I deviated from the formula on the arms after this.

The ‘front’ is cut up along the centre seam and the inner leg seams slashed…

I stitched down the front-now-back pocket inserts so they’d stay flat, then turned the back-now-front pockets down and stitched them to the waistband:

Then I unpicked the centre seam of the new back to the fly and resewed it flat:

Next I used an existing shirt to work out where the armholes and neck shaping should go:

And did the same for the arms:

The refashion I based this on had you cut open the outer leg seam and attach the arms to it, to form a drop shoulder. The cut edge of the legs were sewn together to form the shoulder, then you cut a v-shaped neck and hemmed it.

I’m not a big fan of drop shoulders, but I could have lived with them for this project. But a shaped armhole isn’t that hard to do. I liked the v-neck less, and hemming would have made the front of the jacket narrower then the back. I decided on a facing, and that led to other ideas… but I’ll leave them to the next post.

This whole project was done in short snatches of time. An hour here and and half an hour there, and the final bit done around a cranky back and then a head cold. The whole thing would make for a very long post, so I’m dividing it into two.


The 90s are back, right? What do I remember of the 90s? Well, I remember leggings (though skin tight jeans were popular in the 80s, there were no leggings until the 90s where I lived), bodysuits, deconstruction (clothes that looked all ripped and bleached), silk shirts and scarves, and hats.

The hat thing… well, I remember them from the 80s as well. It may have been that I caught that particular fashion at the end of the curve because it wasn’t until the 90s that I had an income and freedom to buy whatever I wanted. And now… all through the 00s we’ve had all manner or knitted hats go in and out of fashion but, like with scarves, there’s a shift away from knitting to fabric and other materials (perhaps helped along by steampunk fashion ‘going mainstream’). So not only have I whipped out the silk scarves, but dusted off the remains of my hat collection.

And when I say dusted, I mean it quite literally.

A few years back we had our bathroom done, and it involved considerable sledgehammering of the concrete slab floor, and tradesmen who weren’t very considerate when it came to keeping doors closed. My hat collection, stored on my hat rack, got very, very dusty.

I was too scared to wash some of the older pieces in case they dried distorted, or fell apart, and brushing never really got them clean enough. The whole thing made me a bit depressed, so I packed them away. When I brought them out again, I noticed that this old favourite was not only still a bit dirty, but the tape around it had ingrained dust and the stitching faded almost to white.

But I’d also just popped a bit of tape exactly like that into my sewing box, having recycled it from some parcel Paul had received. I decided to see if I could recondition the hat, steeling myself against the possibility it would fall to pieces and I’d have to say goodbye to an old friend.

First I unpicked the old ribbon, then I vacuumed the felt base thoroughly. I tried sewing the new ribbon around the brim with the machine, but it looked terrible – the ribbon was inclined to bunch up. I had to hand sew it on instead, which isn’t as neat as the original machine stitching but I kept my stitches as even as possible and I don’t mind the hand-done result.

Then I fashioned and stitched on a new ‘bow’ and band. Here’s the final result:

Which, though hand done, looks a lot smarter than it did when it was all dusty and faded. I can feel my old love of hats stirring back into life, and for something equally as fun to collect: hat pins!

WIP Wipeout Progress Report #3

It’s a bit of a surprise to me that I finished hemming the last two silk scarves this week. I expected that impatience or a sore back would get the better of me, and I’d end up tossing one or two of them into a corner somewhere until the memory of hemming silk faded enough for me to put myself through it all again.

What saved me was the sewing machine manual. It had a couple of stitch suggestions. The first was an automatic stitch for finishing lingerie. I tried this out on the purple scarf:

It gave the edge a scalloped effect. Not as tidy as hand stitching, but decorative enough to do the job. After that I got the courage up to try a simple narrow zig zag on the last scarf:

I had to cut of the first attempt, as it formed a hard, inflexible edge. Once I knew I’d have to cut that first edge off anyway, I lengthened the stitch as I went until I was happy with the result. Then I cut it off and did the whole scarf. The finish is simpler and tidier than the lingerie edge, so I like it better.

The other wip I finished was the green woven scarf.

The yarn is handspun (not mine) that I’d knit into a mobius scarf, but then frogged. It’s a very dark green with a thread of silver through it.

Weaving made it into a much nicer scarf.

Finally, I got one of my wips off the list another way. I decided that if I really didn’t want to crochet a few more squares, and wasn’t keen to have another lap rug, then what was the point of finishing this one? The crochet blanket squares were frogged, and the bonus was that each was made from one unbroken thread so I didn’t wind up with lots of short lengths as I’d expected:

I have several ideas floating around for what I’ll use the yarn for instead. It’s Cleckheaton Country, which is a good basic yarn that will work for many kinds of projects. But for now it goes back into the stash.

The Devil in the Retails

You know how it goes. To buy something hard to find (in my case, ink for a fountain pen) you end up at a big shopping mall. While you’re there you discover a sale on at a shop that’s closing down, and an intriguing new stationary chain, and suddenly you’ve swapped some of those thin rectangles of plastic (paper if your local currency is low-tech) for some pretty stuff.

I didn’t know there was a Borders at Doncaster. Well, not for much longer. It was having a closing down sale. Along with some novels and a book on art, I picked up these for 20% off (which probably equals 5% off considering that Borders prices were usually hiked up by 15% to begin with):

The finishing techniques one actually contained a few tips/techniques I didn’t know, so definitely worth getting. The other two ought to be polar opposites – classic vs latest fashion – and yet I found more than a couple of patterns inside both that I thought I might actually knit.

The stationary store was like Smiggle and Ikea got together and had offspring. Cute things, but lots made out of pale wood, pastel colour schemes and prices so surprisingly cheap for this sort of thing that the words ‘mass production’ and ‘third world sweatshop’ whisper at the back of your mind. I couldn’t resist these:

Today I found Interweave Knits Spring issue at my local newsagent. I asked him what happened to Interweave Knits Winter since I hadn’t been able to find it in the five or so newsagents I usually look for it in. He looked it up and discovered that, while they’d been ordered, the stock had never arrived. So I wasn’t imagining things. That issue never did show up locally. Which is annoying because I usually only buy the autumn and winter issues.

Frog or Finish?

Ode to the 80s jumper:

Pros in frogging: Yarn this nice deserves a better project. At least I got some practise using the knitting machine. If frogged, stash will get bigger again.
Pros in not frogging: Most of the work is done. It’s not THAT bad. More yarn out of the stash.

The blue crochet sampler blanket:

Pros in frogging: Don’t have to make two or more squares. Don’t have to remember what I was doing. Really over this project. Can use yarn for something else.
Pros in not frogging: Could make (yet another) lap rug with just two more squares. Frogged yarn will increase yarn stash. Frogged yarn will be in lots of short lengths.

WIP Wipeout Progress Report #2

Lots of progress has been made on my wips, but not many were finished. The first one to be ticked off the list was this scarflet:

Once again, I used sticky tape to hold down the hem while hand stitching and once again it took ages. So when I came to tackle the next scarf, which is a square one, I made a fringe instead:

However, this took as long as the hand stitching did on the first scarf. Partly because it’s bigger, and partly because it’s a lot more fiddly than it sounds. I have two more square scarves left to hem/finish and I’m considering trying two other ways to do it.

I’ve been working on my pants-into-jacket wip, and since the sewing machine was out I also hemmed the table mats:

Cotton is MUCH easier than hemming slippery silk, I can tell you!

WIP Wipeout! Progress Report #1

The socks were pretty close to done, and I finally finished them last night. I’ve been knitting them since mid-February, but designing involves a fair bit of knitting and frogging and knitting and frogging.

The bit I was designing was a heel that didn’t break the graduation of colour with sock yarns like the Regia Hand-Dye Effect one I used. The finished sock looks a bit odd.

But it looks fine on the foot. The shaping creates a triangle. I did these toe-up but the instructions are the same for top-down.

I also realised after I started the second sock that I hadn’t started anywhere near the same place in the colour graduation to get matched socks. So I knit a longer foot and made sure the heel started at the same place, then frogged the toe and reknit it top down.

I’m planning to write up the pattern then test it. Knowing my luck the exact same thing will be published in a magazine or something before I get the chance to.

I finished two more WIPs on my list as well. The Painted Canvas Bag:

I’d been waiting until had the sewing machine out to sew the handles on, but when I came to do it I discovered there wasn’t room enough for the foot of the machine to move up and down with the thick handles in the way. I wound up hand sewing them with a bit ‘x’ on each loop attaching the handle, using black cotton warp ends.

The other finished project is the hemming of a silk scarf. It took me 2 1/2 hours to hand stitch this one, and it’s only a ‘scarflet’:

As Paul said: “I can see why you hate hemming silk scarves”.