I used to knit a lot. I taught myself when I was still in college and really, really enjoyed it for a long time. However, about this time last year, I started having pain in my right index finger and wound up with tendinitis. Really, really painful tendinitis. This was shortly after I started my current job and I had a mouse set up that I wasn’t used to. In fact, I hadn’t used an actually computer mouse (I’ve used laptops with touch pads for a long time) in ages, and it seems that they don’t really agree with me. So, in a short period of time I managed to damage my hand pretty severely. Anyway, it doesn’t hurt anymore but one of the long-term issues is that I really cannot knit at all. I’m sort of okay with it, unless I into yarn shops, like I did recently for the Craft 06 Release Party that Diane and Susan hosted at Twisted here in Portland. I think it’s not so much the missing knitting, but being reminded that there’s something that I can’t do. That really pisses me off.
Anyway, what my most recent jaunt into a yarn shop also reminded me of is that my mom (who does this sort of thing quite often—she’s cool that way) had recently bought me some very cool mohair and wool black sweater knit fabric from Bolt. In fact, she snagged me the last to yards on the roll It’s from Italy, which makes it even cooler, of course.
Since I subscribe to Burda World of Fashion, I try to look there first for patterns, I the Spring-Summer Burda Plus Special Edition had a fairly snazzy pattern for a hoodie design especially for sweater knits.
However, as I started sewing it, I needed to make some modifications on the fly. I couldn’t figure out the weird darts in the cut on hood. They made the hood really pointy, like a gnome. Not one of my favorite looks. So, I hacked that off, cut a new neckline and added a collar like the one that my Forever Fur jacket has.
I also realized that I had to eliminate the darts from the sweater, because the loose nature of this fabric meant that those types of details weren’t possible. So I eliminated those and added waist shaping to the sides instead. (I didn’t add enough, actually—I’ll get to what I did after I realized that in a minute. But hindsight being 20/20 and all that. Are you getting the picture that I sort of put this thing together on the fly?)
I also had to add some professorial-looking elbow patches to protect the fabric. But, since I couldn’t decide on where I wanted to put the patches before I sewed up the arms, I decided that it wouldn’t be “that hard” to sew them on once everything was attached. (No surprise, it was really hard.) Anyway, I used some charcoal colored red and white pinstriped denim that I also got at Bolt. (Basically, I love all of the fabric at Bolt, in case you haven’t noticed.)
The other challenge that I had with this fabric was sewing the buttonhole. The loose nature of the knit of this fabric, and its fuzziness, meant that I made several attempts at creating the buttonhole—all of which resulted in the fuzz getting tangled in my machine’s feed dogs and no buttonhole. Eventually, I came up with what I think is a fairly ingenuous method. I wrapped the edge of the sweater where I wanted the buttonhole with some cheapo Ikea black cotton and used my automatic buttonholer. Then I had a buttonhole, no problem. I actually developed a number of tricks for working with this sort of fabric (there wasn’t much good info online about dealing with super-loose sweater knits) during this process, so I’m contemplating actually writing all of it down into a compilation post of tips and even maybe a tutorial (Scary, me writing a tutorial!).
Anyway, once I finished this thing up I wore it to work one day and found it to be uncomfortably huge—especially in the waist. (I have this problem a lot with Burda, actually, especially the Plus edition of the magazine. I usually sew their 44 and take in the waist and back a bit and get a perfect fit.) When I looked back at the pattern photo, I realized that I was styled to be sort of billowy (frumpy)—not an ideal look for me.
So, after thinking on it, I converted it to a wrap sweater to get the fitted (sort of) look I prefer. I moved the button over and added some ties inside the sweater. Overall I’m pretty happy with the look.
This not-knitted-but-sewn sweater really makes me feel like I’ve pulled a fast one on my stupid tendinitis. Sorta kicked its butt.
(I am such a dork. I only hope some of y’all find my pathetic attempt at karate kicking the camera as absurdly humorous as I do.)
~SarahNo related posts...
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