Sicily Scissors Sweatshirt

Hey up, long time no blog. I’m mainly popping by to talk about discharging colour from garments but I shall skirt tentatively around any detail because I’m not sure that giving information about using harmful chemicals over the interwebs is wise or responsible. So I’ll make no mention of what I used or where I obtained my supplies because I’m not endorsing you try it and I only say this with the concern of someone who has previous scientific background experience with working with (potentially) harmful substances and take the safety of other folk extremely seriously. I’m only writing this as I’ve been asked about the process and I’ve directed my reply here and off the grid.

Anyways, the jumper right? The knitting pattern is by Erika Knight, the Sicily.

I chose it because it has a bum flap. This is an important feature because I like a bit of coverage there if I’m wearing trousers – being incontinent after a series of strokes a few years back and and current health affairs one wears homemade pads which though they’re the best thing I’ve ever made, I do like to make sure the outline doesn’t show through my clothing. So bum flaps are good.

I chose a dark blue linen yarn to start knitting it up in two years ago with the view to applying a scissors motif to. I like scissors a lot, the sound of them is one of my earliest memories. I’m also a synaesthete so when I hear them I taste lemons. Lemons are also good.

I had a plan that I would use some sort of ‘bleaching’ technique to fulfil my design idea. I’ve been taking the colour out of stuff and putting it back in since I was a teen to keep changing up the same garment and give it a new look. Here’s a few examples of recent bleaching, in fact I’ll use the term discharging from now because not all of these would come under the umbrella method most widely used. No details are given for method, just applications for example:

The collar on this dress discharged rather nicely whereas:

This dress whilst effective, maybe was a bit overworked.

In the example on the top I made above, colour has been discharged and then redyed with pigments to achieve this effect.

Back to the Sicely sweatshirt, I decided to make it 10cm longer than the pattern for height adjustment. When it was finished just this past week, it hit me that I had to actually carry out my plan on this thing I’d been knitting for yonks, oh no. What if it disintegrated? So before niggling doubts took hold of the proceedings I decided to plough on.

Here’s my swatch:

I thought I’d best be sensible about it and do a practice with the chemicals I was using because I wasn’t sure how fibre reactive they were. I was so chuffed with the result that I couldn’t wait to push on.

I decided to do it outside on Sunday, I was playing chicken with the looming rain clouds too but knowing the fumes from the project were not the best it had to be so.

I laid out my scissors on all the pieces before construction and applied my discharging potion. Then I waited for it to dry overnight.

The next day, it was time to develop the pieces. These were the results:

This is the back and came out a treat though the sleeves were patchy and had yielded an unforeseen violet hue.

I decided to rework the sleeves as the results were slightly tipping the scales towards unacceptable. After the second go though, I was a lot happier with them so then gave all the pieces a thorough wash before working on the hand sewing of the sweatshirt.

After all main piece construction, I finished knitting the neck band and the whole thing was was complete but I always wash something again and block it if it’s in linen or cotton, this is the former. I mainly do this because I need to know how it will perform in the washing machine as I’m not a great hand washer because of limited grip.

Here’s a photo of it after said laundering and I’m itching for it to dry so I can wear it. Curiously, after washing the whole of the sweatshirt took on some of the violet tones that the sleeves had produced but I’m quite pleased with it as it’s distributed evenly all over.

Thanks for stopping by, I hope you don’t mind my caginess concerning the chemical mentions. Safety first and all that.