Monday, October 06, 2008

Vortex Street 2

Remember the Vortex Street refashion project? I took the center cable panel from the Vortex Street Pullover in Norah Gaughan's Knitting Nature and turned it into a scarf.I finally finished it last month. I should have listened to the little voice that told me to STOP and rethink my approach. Like Mardel, I tried to force my way to the finish line and regretted it. The placement of the scarf collar was not based on fit or a flattering silhouette, but on minimizing the number of moth holes I needed to darn. Laziness will get you ever time.
I did lay the sweater out with another sweater to figure out the overall length. That told me that I could turn up the sleeves at the beginning of the ribbing. I blind-hemmed the ribbing to the inside of the sleeve by hand. The width looked like it would be fine, also.
I cut the neckline and then serged all around the opening. Why didn't I just mark the cutting line and serge along that line? That would have helped alleviate the stretching problem. My excuse was that it was late at night.
I vaguely recall learning how to reinforce neck and shoulder lines with a piece of woven selvage. I couldn't recall which way to place the strip and tried this. Don't do this. It is not the right way to do it! You should really serge the raw edge to the neckline, attaching and finishing the raw edge at the same time.
Then I zigzag stitched the scarf collar to the sweater body. Look how wavy and terrible that looks.
In broad daylight, I knew that I had to start over. Not only was the seam unattractively wavy and uneven, but the sweater clutched at my hips in a most unflattering way.

I undid all the stitching, steamed out the needle holes as best I could. I removed the woven selvage, serge finished the raw edge, and sewed it right side down (to soften the brown color to a tan) with the serged edge up against the serged edge of the sweater body. Much better.

Then I used the Bernina "Tricot" foot #12, designed for seaming hand-knits, laid the collar right sides together with the sweater body, and seamed with a 0.5 mm wide zigzag (aka drunken straight stitch).
This time, I eased the collar so that the edges went all the way to the center cut edges, which exposed more of the sweater front (and two more moth holes that needed to be darned). I sucked it up and darned some more. I think the results are worth it. It is now a swingy A-line jacket, just like the other scarf front cabled cardigan. And another Pringle cashmere sweater finds a new life.

  • I couldn't find any wool in my stash or at the stores that matched the color of the sweater. I tried to tea-dye some ecru tapestry wool. The color barely darkened. Who left the coffee-maker warmer on? And is that half a cup of coffee in there? I poured coffee over the wool and nuked the cup in the microwave for a minute. Coffee is acidic and wool dyes with acid, right? After the wool had cooled and I rinsed it, the color was perfect. I split the plies of the tapestry wool and darned with single ply.
  • There is cashmere and then there is cashmere. There is no way all the stuff leaving China marked as cashmere is really cashmere. There simply can't be enough goats if you do the math. Most of that "cashmere" is adulterated with merino. The old stuff, when cashmere was a rare luxury and a cashmere sweater was something you saved years to buy, that was real cashmere. Moreover, the natural color fibers are softer than the brightly-dyed ones tempting you to buy a whole rainbow every season. This stuff is "like buttah".

1 comment:

  1. What a great way to update a sweater. Great idea. Good little tutorial too, not that I will probably think of it when I am trying to do something late at night.

    That good older cashmere is such fabulous stuff -- well worth saving.


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