Refashioned Knits

Something I’m really keen on other than sewing is knitting and usually focus on it more when I’m on a disease flare and not as physically capable which is the case at the moment and am going through a particularly bad patch. I’d hoped to get back to my sewing machine but plans were scuppered after a nasty fall on Sunday before last which resulted in a bashed open nose and hurt pride (I’m a bit too hard on myself that I’m gradually losing a lot of control but there’s nowt I can do about it so shouldn’t be) It’s a case of making hay while the sun shines nowadays so have to tailor my making around what I can do. We all do, so there’s nothing out of the ordinary there. So knitting usually happens whilst my body goes off on one for a while and it’s something that I’ve been doing with regularity since living on a boat and off grid electricity wise but is standing me in good stead nowadays with the developments in my physicality.

I learned to knit really young and jumped right in to jumpers and cardigans sadly bypassing accessories for some reason until latterly and I am by no means a knitting expert. I like to get stuck in though and learn new techniques. For example, last year was the first time I knit on circular needles. I know, where have I been? I’d always done any sort of tube on double pointed needles and still knit socks on them but so many modern patterns call for circular needles that I thought I’d best pull my finger out and have a go. I’m gleaning lots on the internet from a variety of sources to enable me to push forward and learn new tricks knitting wise as I didn’t want to stay in the rut of being in a comfy zone and only knitting within my limits. The sky is the limit it is said. Anything is possible knitting wise, it’s bloody amazing and enormously therapeutic. It requires relatively little energy and can bring a sense of calm through the repetitive movement that I find eases anxiety and takes one out of oneself. It also counters the sense of uselessness which can be quite profound when hampered by ill health and provides a squishy bridge of creative sanctuary. How good is that?!

Like anything craft wise that has come about since the making revolution in the past few years, it seems it’s quite cool to knit lately. So gone are the days when knitting in public is something deranged people do (yes, I have been questioned over my sanity whilst knitting on a park bench during my lunch break about 12 years ago so there’s been a quick shift in reception) and one can shamelessly flop one’s work in progress out on public transport without people moving away from you.

It’s got difficult though to be able to get decent quality yarn at a reasonable price though now I’m finding because of the trend association and the boutique brands and suppliers popping up. So to still be able to afford to knit I’m turning my thoughts back to tales of people re-using the wools from outgrown garments like in the war years for example when things weren’t so throwaway. I have memories of being turned into a human yarn winder as a kid and pulling knits back (frogging) and the yarns then knitted into blankets and what-nottery. So re-using is the way forward for me and over the Christmas period I decided to refashion a nasty mohair cardigan from the 1980s with labial folds in the sleeves shown here:

The sleeves were re-knitted with the addition of some other mohair oddments I had.

I unpicked the button band as the holes were unevenly spaced anyway and re-knit extra length with new ribbing to the bottom to make it longer for my height. I made a new button band and the whole thing started to take on a Mondrian-esque vibe.

I pulled the band back several times as my buttonholes ended up around the neck, but as I’m a bit concussed I’m not being too hard on myself for that one. This Sunday evening after spending the whole day sewing on the pockets bluff style (see separate post) it was finally finished.

I shall add a picture of it being worn here at some point though opportunity to model and reticence to do so are perhaps a barrier for me. I don’t relish that part and though some folk seem to, it’s not something I enjoy partly because I have marked physical changes and partly because I’m not used to manipulating an image of myself, I’m someone who doesn’t remember the last time they looked in a mirror so don’t really have that sense of self needed to project. I like sharing photos of what I can see which is what I make and that is what I’m comfortable with and photographing myself and in particular with any editing and filtering doesn’t seem to sit happily alongside my reality. It’s totally a personal thing though and maybe when I’m feeling a bit more confident about my own avatar then I could make more of an effort but for now I shall bimble on. Getting back to the knitting though I’ll definitely be having more knitting re-making adventures in the future and it’s been a lovely interlude for me at the moment.

(Photo added on 27.01.18)

4 thoughts on “Refashioned Knits”

  1. Hi Josie, I think your knitting skills are amazing, I love your reuse attitude and I agree that we just do what we can when we can! By the way the first thing I thought of when I saw the picture was Mondrian 😉 Sorry to hear the health side isn’t wonderful right now. Personally I love seeing a human in the clothing because I think it really brings it to life, but I understand your reticence. I have a new camera for family photos which also means better sewing pictures. But the style of the pics and editing I like are quite different from what I have put up in the past and less “normal me” / reality 🙂 undecided whether fantasy is a good thing or not! Take care and speak soon xx

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    1. Ah thank you Kate! I really do love knitting and always have something on the go, socks mostly as they’re quite addictive to make and are always a useful gift for other people though I buy sock specific yarn for them that’s washable and easier to care for so don’t use repurposed then. I’m really looking forward to seeing the photos with your new camera as you said you had lots of really interesting murals in your area and I love that type of backdrop. I do really appreciate the photos of others but never my own if that makes sense?! I like taking the pics but not being in them, I think just generally camera shy really! I think it’s important to do what makes us feel good and if it’s enjoyable then I certainly am all for it but for me it detracts from the enjoyment of sharing most of the time, though some times I feel better about it than others. It’s all a really interesting process! Hope you have a great rest of the week and get to catch up with the snooker too, I love the UK Masters! Take care KateX

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