Cool hand-dyed yarn and sweater from a blog I like

I really like this blog. The author has cool hobbies – veggie gardening, chickens, native plants, fiber arts, natural dyeing, beekeeping, vintage clothing making, and vintage “reenactment”.

The post that originally caught my attention was one about knitting a Fair Isle sweater from naturally-dyed yarn! It was quickly followed by another about a sweater vest. I can only hope to make such beautiful garments in the future!!

Swiss darning

Swiss darning is like this. You can use it to fill in holes in a knit while still retaining stretch, unlike “sewn” (regular) darning.

A few months ago, I found a cashmere Loro Piana sweater and a felted wool hat in the trash. To those of you with offended sensibilities, they weren’t deep in the trash, they were in a little paper shopping bag beside the trash. Although I like dumpster diving, I’m not up for rummaging through gross stuff. I mostly look for things on the top or left out on purpose (i.e. the person knows they are too good to get rid of but doesn’t want them anymore).

It seemed that the sweater had been thrown out because of a few holes – totally fixable, of course!

Too small for me.
First attempt, on the sleeve. Gauge is too large.
Second attempt, on the shoulder. Much better! This is probably as good as it gets on machine knits. (Hand knit items have a larger gauge that’s easier to work with.)

I’m going to give this sweater to sibling C. I hope it gets a lot of good use in its second life!

Quilted pajama top for sibling C

My sibling C is perpetually cold. She needed a new winter pajama top and requested that it be quilted, so I threw this together (it’s so much faster to make items for other people – I care much less about getting them perfect).

The pattern was made based on the previous pajama top (which I also made. It was based on commercial pajamas). Amazingly, we already had all the necessary materials. It took about a week to make, I think.

For future me, you already have a pajama top pattern! No need to make another 😭

Batting was sandwiched between the lining and outside. Sibling C did the actual quilting (by hand), I cut the pieces and sewed the garment together. The batting is smaller so that it doesn’t make the seams bulky.
Pink cotton flannel for lining, cotton batting for fluff, cotton plaid for the outside. The flannel and plaid were both previously purchased from creative reuse stores.
Hand-quilting.
The quilting gives a bit of a muscle-man effect… 💪
The original top had darts on the back. Those didn’t turn out well with the extra-thick quilted fabric. I’d remove the darts and make the back piece a bit narrower next time.

Overall, it turned out really well! C says it is super warm. It is nicely color-coordinated and I even got some of the stripes to line up!

We have a teensy garden

Our front windows are quite sunny – they face southwest – so I’d hoped to be able to grow some veggies. I planted lots of things, cilantro, peas (for pea shoots), various greens. Peas are the only thing that really took off, and (amazingly, considering they’re inside) actually made peas!

Various seeds from sibling C’s collection!
Pea shoots, with some small crucifer sprouts in between.
Pea flowers!

We got a handful of pods from the peas. Maybe I’ll save them to plant next year?

I also have a houseplant (Aglaonema) that I got for free! from work. It’s doing well. I might expand the houseplant collection. Ferns sound nice 🙂 It’s also possible to grow some tropical and more unusual foods indoors (see Growing Tasty Tropical Plants). I’m considering figs.

Finishing the wool slippers

Original post here! I put the slippers around my foot casts (filled with scrap fabric to make them firm) then ran them through the washer and dryer.

Oooo, very nicely shaped.

Overall, they fit better but there’s still a bunch of extra felt around the ankle. As it turns out, positive molds (vs negative molds, i.e. casts) of your feet are bigger than your feet, so these are a bit loose. For actual shoes or other tightly-fitted footwear, I’d want to do some additional shaping via cutting/sewing. The instructions I followed (loosely) for this project were meant to be boots with a tongue and laces – hence where the extra felt was supposed to go.

Another rag rug

I made a custom-request rag rug for Sibling C! This is going to go beside a bed, so you don’t step on the cold floor in the winter.

Made from 1 sheet, 8 shirts, 3 of those cloth bags sheet sets come in, and about 10 pairs of underwear (the elastic was all stretched out).

This one is also braided, but in a zig-zag instead of a circle.

New yarn projects

In my new-spinner‘s excitement, I made a big batch of handspun yarn before realizing that it was waaay too loosely spun to wear well. It might’ve made a good hat, but certainly not the sweater I was aiming for. Sweaters and other items that get a lot of friction need tightly spun or lightly felted yarn to last a long time.

Fluffy but delicate.

Sooo, I’ve been respinning the batch! The aim, of course, is to make the yarn more durable by spinning it more tightly. To do so, I had to un-ply the yarn, spin the singles more, then re-ply everything. The whole process for about 600 yards of yarn only took a few years.

You can see that the yarn is now finer and more twisted.
But there’s not quite enough to make a sweater…

I’m now unsure what to use the yarn for. I’ve been considering:

  • A hat for J (see draft below!), potentially with a matching scarf or cowl
  • A sweater vest for me
  • A sweater with a contrasting color for the sleeves or the bottom, color-block style.

Let me know what you think would be best!

The draft hat using a Ravelry pattern.

I gave up a while ago on my gray linen shirt, after extensive patching failed to halt its rate of degradation. I still really like it, though, and I’d like to recreate it in the future, so I’m trying to trace its pieces to make a pattern!

Tracing the yoke! The pattern paper is from my grandmother’s sewing collection (or, y’know, maybe it’s a really low quality tablecloth that I failed to identify correctly).

Cutting the garment apart wasn’t as easy or as clean as I would have hoped, so a copy-cat shirt might end up a little wonky… We’ll have to see. I also tore the sleeves into strips before deciding to make a pattern, so… I’ll have to wing those when the time comes.

Decluttering art supplies!

Here are some old projects I found. I think I made them in middle school – I was really into beading and jewelry then.

Collection of pendants made out of polymer clay!
This is a waterfall jungle scene, complete with vines and reptiles. You’re supposed to hang dangly things from the bottom holes.
Some abstract thing I actually turned into a necklace. It looks kinda like corn…
My mom’s grade-school watercolor kit (we did not get rid of it), and her scientific drawing dip pen! Vintage~

Both of my siblings are strangely attached to crayons. Although they allowed many of our crayons to be given away, the compromise was that we had to keep the 96-color set. As sibling C said, “Who knows when the world will end and we realize we need crayons”.

Sleep hat for sibling C

Since I’m trying to use up the merino wool from the failed sweater, I’ve been asking if anyone has knitting requests! Sibling C is perpetually cold and tries to avoid using a lot of energy on heating in the winter, so she requested a sleep hat.

I modified this baby pattern (pictures of the finished product here) by casting on 107 stitches and using short rows to make the top curlier and pointier and more elven (:

I-cord ties! They are knit top-down, with the initial stitches picked up from the edge of the hat.

Stockinette with a garter stitch border in a smaller needle size (3 mm).

Looks kinda dorky…

The hat has three points; one comes down on the forehead, the other two create ear flaps and allow for I-cord attachment.

Pointy top!