Mend It Monday #5

“If it’s not worth mending, it’s not worth buying” …

This week I finished repairing the cardigan that I darned last week. Once the holes were repaired, I moved on to the frayed cuffs. In fact the fraying wasn’t too bad, only affecting the very ends of the sleeves, but sorting the issue out now will save a much more difficult mend later.

I started by reinforcing the frayed edge, so that it wouldn’t fray anymore, catching any free stitches to avoid ladders forming. Then I worked a row of blanket stitch around each cuff, a couple of centimetres in from the end. I used these stitches as the foundation for crocheting new cuffs. I worked two rows of double crochet, then three rows of treble crochet so that the work was long enough to fold over the original end of the sleeve and enclose the raggedy ends. Although the original cuffs were cream, I decided that black would actually be much more practical. I used sock yarn, so it should be robust and, hopefully, last a good few more years.

So, have you mended anything this week? If you’ve written a post about mending recently, do share a link to it – I love to see how other people manage to extend the lives of the things they own.

Mend It Monday #4

“If it’s not worth mending, it’s not worth buying” …

After telling you about a cardigan that I don’t like in my last post, today I want to tell you about one that I really love… and that I have really loved for about 30 years. I am pretty sure that I bought it when I was a postgraduate student, and I haven’t been one of those for 29 years, so it can’t be younger than that. Anyway, it has started to show signs of its age and a couple of weeks ago I noticed a large hole and some smaller ones in one of the sleeves. Originally I thought I’d crochet a flower to cover the big hole, but then I discovered that I have some cotton yarn that matches the cream (also cotton) and thought that I would stabilise the holes first. Having done this, I’m going to leave this particular mend alone, as it has worked so well.

I am not, however, finished with this cardigan, as the cuffs are starting to fray, so more work is required before I feel ready to wear it again. If I notice any worn patches after that, I think I will add some black crochet flowers or leaves, as they would be fun to make.

So, have you mended anything this week? If you’ve written a post about mending recently, do share a link to it – I love to see how other people manage to extend the lives of the things they own.

A long time coming

One of my current goals is to end the year with fewer unfinished projects than I began it with. Several of the items that I have on the go have been hanging around for absolutely ages and there are various reasons that they have been put aside: sometimes I’ve got bored, sometimes I’ve realised that I don’t really like/need the thing I’m making, sometimes I’m awaiting inspiration/supplies, sometimes it’s just a long-term project (like the sofa covers) and sometimes it’s because something more interesting has come along and distracted me. One of my abandoned projects, however, was put aside because the pattern I was following was just so badly written.

I started crocheting this cardigan to wear for a friend’s wedding several years ago. I didn’t manage to finish in time, but I battled on with a less than easy pattern until I came to the edging up the front and around the neck. And then the pattern made no sense – I asked other people what they thought and no one understood it, so I contacted the designer, asking if she could send a picture or diagram showing how the motifs were put together. Her reply basically told me to fiddle around until it worked… easier said than done because the very small motifs were crocheted together, with the final joining round constituting a large part of each piece, so I couldn’t make them all and then try to assemble them like a jigsaw. In the end, it was abandoned.

I did revisit it, thinking I might be able to use a different approach with snail-like spiral motifs that I could sew together, but I hit problems again and so, once more it was put aside… until this year. And this year I am determined not to be beaten by any project… so I had a re-think. I looked at the cardigan and looked at it and looked at it. I realised what a very strange design it was and that I would need to use a completely different method if I was actually ever going to finish it.

So, I crocheted rows to fill the gap at the top of the back that was supposed to be filled with flower motifs that didn’t fit. Then I worked around the bottom edge, up one side, round the back and down the other side, until the front edges met, before adding a buttonhole band on one side and a button band on the other and finishing with a small shawl collar. I used some antique glass buttons that I’ve had for ages, to give a nod to the flower motifs that were supposed to characterise this cardigan (and do still run up the centre of the back). Currently it’s pinned out on the blocking mats, as the edges were rather untidy and crumpled and when I put it on Mimi it didn’t hang well.

I’m not sure, now it’s finished, that I actually like it – it looks rather frumpy – but it’s pure wool and therefore warm, so it will be fine to wear around the house if nothing else. Plus it is actually finished and so that’s one fewer project lurking out of sight.

Watch this space for more finished projects as the year progresses (there are lots of them).

WIPs and FOs

Whats and whats?

I’m guessing that any knitters or crocheters reading this will know what the title means, but no one else. Starting any new craft seems to result in exposure to all sorts of new jargon and yarn crafts do seem particularly prone to this (I blame Ravelry). However, I thought you might all like to learn a bit of knit-speak (if you are really interested, you can learn what frogging is here).

There are buttons to sew on - these had been in my collection for a couple of decades!

There are buttons to sew on – these had been in my collection for a couple of decades!

First, however, I have a confession… like many knitters I’m not very enthusiastic about sewing my knitting together. I love the knitting bit, but the finishing is generally quite tedious, This is why I like knitting socks with self-patterning yarn – you cast on, knit the sock like a tube and graft the toe to finish off, leaving just two tails of wool (one at the beginning and one at the end) to weave in before the whole thing is complete. Bigger garments are more challenging to complete – there are often seams to sew together, buttons to stitch on and lots and lots of ends to weave in. And so, it is often the case that, because I am unenthused, I end up with a long-standing WIP (Work in Progress).

All laid out, in no particular order

Hexipuffs for my beekeepers quilt – this is going to be a WIP for a very long time

Some projects were always intended to be a long-term WIP. My beekeepers quilt, for example, should take me several years to complete, especially since I only intend to use oddments… mainly of sock yarn. But mostly I intend a relatively quick turn-around. So, it is with great shame that I have to confess I have had one WIP hanging around for several months now, with the knitting completed and only the sewing left to do. This is the beautiful Debbie Bliss Sophia Cable Vent Jacket. So, finally, this week I decided to bite the bullet and get it finished. I set aside a whole evening, but that wasn’t enough, so another session was required, but finally I have a FO (Finished Object). I was really pleased to discover some buttons in my collection that were suitable to use – I remember buying them for a long black velvet dress I planned to make years ago that somehow never got made.

FO... finally

FO… finally

I think the lesson here, as with many things in life, is to maintain momentum. Once you stop working on a project, it can be remarkably difficult to get back to it and resume work. This is the case even with a FO that you really want – like this cardigan. However, I did manage to overcome that hurdle in this case, and am delighted with the result. Perhaps now I should make a start on that dragon I keep hankering after… although I do have half a pair of socks in my knitting bag and it would probably be good to knit the second one…

Back detail

Back detail

The back of the finished jacket

The back of the finished jacket

%d bloggers like this: