Thursday, 6 August 2015

Tickling my creative side

Life’s been a bit rubbish chez Gingerknits so in a bid to cheer myself up I bought not one, but two crafty kits. I have some knitting projects on the go but fancied a change.

Project one is making a lampshade, something I’ve wanted to try for ages as shop bought ones are pricey plus it is a nifty way of using my fabric stash.

Project two is making a pair of knickers. Again with the fabric stash.  Also I want to improve my sewing skills but get nervous about cutting fabric. I’ve got my mum’s sewing machine at the moment, it’s a 1980s Toyota which needs a bit of a service, but will hopefully improve with a bit of a clean and oiling.

I’ve had a bit of a sneaky peak, both kits are beautifully packaged with clear instructions. I’ve got the day off work tomorrow so I’m going to give at least one of them a try, though I imagine I’ll start dithering over which fabric to use….

Monday, 2 March 2015

A good mental workout with a hint of emotion.

Back in November my work friend Tim was wearing a beautiful Aran cardigan, albeit a beautiful Aran cardigan which was full of holes.

We got chatting about the cardigan as I was admiring the cables. Tim said his Gran had knitted it for his Grandad in the 70's and he enjoyed the continuity of wearing the cardigan, especially as his grandparents are no longer alive. Tim is also into sailing and wears the cardigan a lot on his boat, 'tis a very warm garment.

I couldn't let this beautiful piece of knitwear stay in its holey state, so I offered to fix it for him.

I took the cardigan home, which felt a little bit like taking the class pet home for the weekend, there was definitely an air of responsibility.

On closer inspection, as well as a few large holes, there were several small areas of wear and tear all over the cardigan. I didn't count them all but I think there were about 40 in total.

I didn't fix this all in one go - that way lies madness. I worked on this on and off over the Christmas break and January, finding I had to be in the right frame of mind to tackle it. Some holes were easy to fix, just anchoring a loose thread on cable or ribbing and reinforcing it.

Other areas took some engineering, including undoing seams, ripping back, and re-knitting. I really enjoyed this process, both understanding the stitches, and repairing the work of a skilled knitter who is no longer around. It was a good mental workout with a hint of emotion.

Some areas of cabling had worn out so I did a little faking it. In these sections I pulled back the loose cable stitches, repaired the underlying fabric with (reverse) stocking stitch, then made a fake cable over the top with a crochet hook or needle and yarn.

On other sections I used straight forward darning, which I found the hardest, rebuilding row after row.

A few sections had been previously mended using cotton and to use a technical term, bodging. I considered undoing the fixes and repairing with wool, but I figured they are also a part of the history of the garment and they seemed pretty sturdy so I left them.

I finished the fixing in January and returned the cardigan to Tim last week. He was a little apprehensive and excited. I hadn't told him I'd repaired the cardigan in pattern.

Rather than describe Tim's reaction, here's a photo.

and here's a bonus picture of the back.

I've told Tim if he spots and areas of wear in the future, bring it in asap! While I enjoyed fixing this, it is so much easier to repair a small area if you catch it early. But you knew that already, didn't you.