archive for 'recycled'
after my recent whinging i decided to take myself in hand and set out to try to find affordable sources of fabric. old bedding seems to sell fairly cheaply here and you get a useable amount of fabric (as opposed to clothing, which usually has way too many seams and awkward shaped pieces to make it worthwhile dismantling). if you can stomach some poly with your cotton you can get your hands on some cracking vintage prints.
the above aren’t all vintage; the far left is current stock ikea but display damaged so a bargain, i got a single duvet cover plus pillowcases and the print is a smaller sale on the cover, which i love. some of these are simple stash building, others already have destinies. M and i are both keen to experiment with pillowcase dresses for the summer. she really wants a dress out of the balloon fabric (a duvet cover with a rather fetching reverse) which i think i’m going to find quite a challenge
i’m really pleased with it, it’s got a fantastic drape and it’s yummy and soft. ideally i’d have liked it to be bigger but that would have meant unravelling all the 3-ply yarn into singles which was more work than i could be bothered with. it’s still a reasonable length, just below the bum, and the ends are long enough to tie behind my back so i can wear it more like a shrug. i really like the stretch and give in the fabric, it clings gently but has plenty of room to move.
testament to my appalling willpower; i’m working on another seraphina. i love working with the caribea handspun but it’s never going to be a snuggly next to skin thing, more outerwear and the sproing means it doesn’t have great drape. but since my spot in the front room happens to be the coldest in the house, next to where arctic winds apparently blow through the window (we’re getting some replaced w/double glazed but don’t have funds to do the ones that aren’t literally falling into the street) i thought i could do with one for cwtshing into of an evening.
i wasn’t actually looking for anything specific but the silkiest deep pink jumper in the world refused to let me leave the shop without it. my brain said no as it had a fairly high proportion of synthetics, but my hand said yesyesyes and i couldn’t resist.
now i was under the impression that viscose was a synthetic on a par with poly and acrylic, but something in the back of my mind said it might be the same as rayon, a cellulose fibre that gets great press in the sewing communities i frequent. and so it turns out. the jumper is a blend of mostly cotton/viscose/poly with touches of cashmere and angora. it is impossibly silky smooth with fantastic drape and machine washable. i was looking up the fibre as a possible for spinning and it’s available in the states but couldn’t find much info on how difficult it is to work, needs to be blended though.
the seraphina’s coming on slowly because the yarn’s lace weight again, but i reckon i’m about half way through size-wise and it looks like i’m about half way through the yarn too which is handy. it’s great because the deep collar and cuffs were done in the same yarn but triple plied, so i have more of the same gorgeous stuff but in a more workable weight that might stretch to a pair of gloves (oooh maybe to the fingerless gloves/mittens i’ve been coveting).
from charity shop jumper to crocheted gloves in just over 24 hours. pix (and probably rsi) to follow.
i had to rescale the pattern for the laceweight yarn (18 wpi) and unfortunately it didn’t quite work out as double the number of stitches, so i had a fair bit of head scratching to do, especially when it came to the fingers. i didn’t get it quite right and they’re a little wonky, though my attempt to make a left and right mirror pair (despite what the pattern claimed my first one turned out very definitely handed) was pretty successful. they don’t match properly, despite careful counting, but the discrepancy isn’t too bad and they’re wearable. made for my dad who’s miles away so had to borrow unwilling hand model and estimate from my own. because i was against a deadline i didn’t have time to use markers for the ends of rows for the fingers, which i really should have done. some of the fingers narrow drastically then bulge out again where i realised my mistake but didn’t even have time to frog a couple of rows back.
the one on the left looks a wee bit fuzzy cos it show the inside, which i brushed. i was planning to felt them for warmth, so i picked a 100% wool, hand wash jumper, and while the swatch felted nicely it didn’t shrink at all, it stretched. i guess this might be because the crimp left in the wool after frogging meant there was a lot of stretch in the stitches. anyway i couldn’t be sure that the result would be wearable and didn’t have much time, and i remembered someone talking about brushing the inside of gloves. i used the dog brush i have for perking up our sheepskins after washing and it worked a treat – it was quite harsh and stretched them out a bit but i figured since they ended up a wee bit on the small side that was no bad thing. it really did make them super soft and even warmer.
and even though i got the parcel out of the door by 5.15pm it didn’t actually get into the last post at 5.30 because of queues at the post office. so i could have spent the extra time doing them properly…
another recycled yarn page with good advice on choosing jumpers, different fibres, calculating yardage and – what i was looking for – how to unkink the frizzy mass you’re left with.
wahey! finally finished
patchwork blanket made from charity shop jumpers fulled (felted) in the washing machine.
the hardest bit was getting the buggers to felt properly. once i’d narrowed down my criteria it was easier. i had very little luck with 100% wool jumpers, i found it much better to look for things with a proportion of angora or mohair, the best sign being “hand wash only” or “dry clean”. i found most of these jumpers had a percentage of nylon, up to 20%, which didn’t adversely affect the fulling at all.
then there was a cost . i think i finally used 10 jumpers, averaging Â£2-3. then there’s the ones that didn’t work… then there’s the thread… i used upholstery weight, maybe 8 reels? then there’s the tape… i used close on 50m of cotton tape to support the butted seams. so by no means a cheap project, although much cheaper than something of similar quality (lambswool, angora, mohair) would cost in the shops. it is very warm.
on the up side the actual sewing together was much easier and quicker than i’d anticipated. after a lot of thought i decided to butt the seams, partly because i didn’t want ridges along the seams and partly because i didn’t want to loose any of my precious fabric having to turn it under. i did 11 x 11 6″ squares in the end. it would have taken at least another 3 jumpers to make it 12 square. i used a stretch zigzag (hence the huge quantity of thread) and just fed the two squares next to each other over the tape. it’s by no means perfect but much easier than i’d anticipated. a friend said you could do a butted seam without the tape with a serger, but i’m not sure i’d want to test the strength of the fabric in that way – it would be a hell of a lot of work for it to disintegrate at the first wash. there was some rippling at the seams, especially with the least-felted (most stretchy) squares, but a heavy steam and press helped massively.
so i’m left with a have a huge pile of felt scraps to play with, and a bedroom that reeks of imperial leather (got a load on cheap for the fulling).
i can’t believe how tiny my latest jumper came out. i can’t look at it without laughing. it was cheaper than my usual charity shop finds, nicole farhi, dry clean only, size L. so i bunged it on my usual 90 wash and hey presto, it’s stiff as a board and too small for my toddler it’s so cute i’m not sure i’ll be able to bring myself to cut it up. don’t know whether a pic will really convey it, but i’ll get one in the morning.
i was dead good today, i resisted a really tasty moss green textured jumper in the same shop. it was thick enough to work great without any fulling which is handy since it’s acrylic. lol i haven’t quite let go of this one have i? a phrase i just read is resonating at the moment “snag it while you can for tomorrow it may be gone”. ahhhh i might have to go back. i resisted cos it’s a colour i’m inextricably drawn to and much too similar to bag 2 (only better), i was trying to be disciplined. but it would set off those buttons a treat… maybe i should set myself a challenge – see how different a bag i can turn out with near-identical materials. and see if i can steer clear of the too-obvious flowers/grass kind of vibe.
i’m getting better at picking out the bargains though – i got a grey cardi that i wasn’t over-keen on for the blanket but i was swayed by a nice metal zip and detatchable fake fur cuffs and collars plus a bonus handful of tiny buttons that can all be reused. dd was running round the garden being a “scarecrow” with the cuffs on her arms and a beard/scarf to keep her warm.
lack of recent blog activity recently doesn’t entirely reflect lack of sewing activity. my fulling frenzy has been ongoing but a decent size blanket will take many more jumpers than i expected. i have 6 jumpers fulled and cut, but i’m only about 2/3 of the way there. it’s the ones that just don’t felt that have slowed me down, i’ve had 4 failures so far, but i’m narrowing down the criteria for successful fulling: up to 20% nylon isn’t a problem, as long as the care label says to hand wash. hand wash gently in cold inside out is what i really like to see.
all isn’t lost for the non-felters though, i’m going to turn them into bags, as then they don’t need the tight structure to support a butted seam. the bag class is going great, i’m full of ideas and i actually got to do some sewing over the weekend (after being ambushed all week by things that had to be done first). the first one is done save the lining, it’s pretty wonky but should come in handy for keeping reels of thread in (i’ll add velcro closures). the second one has some obvious faults but i’m still delighted with it, it’s very very cute. will post pix and blow-by-blows hopefully tonight.