I’ve been spending an increasing amount of time on Twitter since the country ground to a halt. I’m not generally a sociable human, but not seeing anyone other than my family for the last few weeks has started to take its toll and I find myself actively seeking out contact outwith my bubble.
And I’m so glad that I happened to be online when @AmyTwiggerH posted one of her incredible remade knitted garments. Her #Reknitrevolution website is absolutely stashed full of tutorials for how you can turn unloved knitwear into something you might actually get some use out of.
In my case, I’d seen an old cricket jumper in a charity shop (about a year ago now) and snaffled it up instantly because of the 100% wool fibre it was made from. I thought that even if Husband or I didn’t want to wear it, I could always felt it and either make a nappy cover for my youngest (who is due to start school this year, so that shows you how far back I’m going!) or some slippers. Fast forward and it’s been in my cupboard for about half a decade doing nothing. Time to change all that!
You can’t really tell from this picture, but parts of it are in a sorry state. There are ladders and snags, and it’s just generally an unhappy thing.
Here’s the worst ladder…
And one of many snags…
Aaaand a hole in the cuff.
But look how old! Look at that phone number! All things considered, it’s doing alright…
So, first step – repair the bits which need repairing.
I started with the big, obvious ladder and used a crochet hook to do this. Excuse my manky nails in these pictures – I do wash, especially at the moment, but I’d just finished potting up some lettuces and apparently was lazy with the nail brush…
Anyways. What you’re seeing here is me sticking the hook through the loop closest to the body of intact knitting. Once I’ve done that, I’m going to grab the nearest ‘rung’ on the ladder and pull it through this loop….
It’s really hard to photograph and descrbe, but if you do a quick search, you can find all sorts of better tutorials out there for how to do this.
I basically repeated these steps along every rung of the ladder until I reached the edge of the knitting.
When I got to this point, I sort of bodged it all by passing some of the cut ends through the last loop, securing them with a knot and then working the tails into the knitting.
Again, hard to describe, but this is the result.
Far from perfect, but it’s not going to unravel any time soon.
Next, I fixed the hole in the sleeve, and pulled the loop of the snag back to the inside of the sweater.
After this, I opened up the collar. It was a strip of garter stich sewn onto a strip of stocking stitch. These were joined in the centre, so I unjoined them.
Then, for ease of the cadiganising process (detailed here), I cut out the central cable. This could technically have been cut in half directly (and that’s actually what Amy recommended I did), but on trying on the sweater, it was a bit bigger than I would have liked, so with the added cardigan front it would have been even wider. This gave me the chance to get a better fit.
But here’s where I ran into difficulty. The yarn that I’d chosen to match the sweater…
… had been nibbled by moths. I bought it secondhand so I’m really hoping that the moths from it haven’t devoured any more from my stash. In any case – the yarn took a trip into the freezer to kill any residual moth eggs.
Meanwhile, I got out my good, sharp scissors and did some surgery…
In order to get a good, neat line right down the edge of the stips, I turned the sweater inside out and followed the single column of stitches between cable and stocking-stitch panel.
When the wool came out of the freezer, I started the process of picking up the stitches… This was oddly more terrifying than the cutting because it felt like the whole thing would disintegrate if I moved it around too much. Amy’s instructional videos are really reassuring, but honestly, I’ve dropped too many stitches and wrecked too many garments ot be complacent.
It would be entirely redundant of me to detail the next section of work as there is literally a video linked to above (where it says ‘instructional videos’) which shows you how to do the next steps.
Just to prove I did it though, here are some pictures of the cricket sweater.
Here, you can see me joining the two sides of the sandwich together and casting off at the same time with three needles…
It’s not as complicated as that makes it sound.
Fast forward again and you have this lovely little jacket for your cut edge. Suddenly, it’s nice and neat and tucked away inside where it can’t unravel.
On the other edge I did the same, but instead of casting off as I went along, I switched to a 3×2 rib and put in button holes. I sort of eye-balled this and sort of mathed it (‘Hey, Husband – which numbers go into 79 ish?’)
At this point, I realised I needed to make a decision about the collar. The issue I had was the fact that I’d unpicked too much of the neckline when I cut the front. I’d presumed I’d be chopping these bits off so I wasn’t careful about damaging the knit as I undid it. Unfortunately, I was wrong.
So, I sewed the blue and the garter stitch back into place. It looked like a total mess.
At this point, I was ready to cut my losses, but the sense that I couldn’t wreck this any more than I had done drove me to try and crochet along the joining edge between the blue and garter stitch.
At first, it looked crap. But again, I just kept going…
When I reached the other edge of the neckline, I still wasn’t happy with how it was looking. But again, I didn’t feel as if I could hurt this sweater any more by experimenting so I crocheted my way back along.
And it looked neat. The messy edge was nicely enclosed. I was so glad I kept working it to the end.
After that little hiccup was dealt with, I picked out some buttons from my mother-in-law’s stash. Like any box of buttons, the number of matching sets is limited so I picked out some cute little red ones.
After I’d sewn them on, I was ready to try it on.
Unfortunately, I can’t take a photo of myself wearing it, but I did snap a few shots of it on my manequin.
I don’t think it’s especially flattering in the picture, but in real life it ticks all the boxes for what I feel a squishy cardigan should look like. I really love it – really love it.
Thanks to the amazing tutorial from @AmyTwiggerH, I’ve taken an unwanted, unloved garment and turned it into something that I’ll wear almost daily. I’m super grateful for the guidance and the idea.
I think, as well, that this has changed how I’m going to knit, going forward. I’ve been working cardigans by turning the work, but this opens up the option to knit in the round – significantly quicker – and then cut the work to create the cardigan. It’s something I’ll definitely be experimenting with.
Have you tried altering knitwear? I’d love to see some examples. As ever, contact me here or on Twitter.