Knitting Patterns by Lyndell

Halter Neck Dress for Neo Blythes - here
Design your own Dress for Neo Blythes - here
Gum-Nut Hat for Neo Blythes - here

Who? What? eh?

This is the blog of a constant crafter - a 'showcase' for some of the things I make, some hints for crafting & recylcing - lots of photos and some words. I hope it will inspire.
Please Note: all photos are Copyright.

Monday, 28 July 2014

Recycling an unwanted jumper / sweater

Tomorrow I'll be teaching a beginner's knitting class at the Green Living Centre in Newtown.  Apart from teaching the basics of knitting I'll be talking about how to knit & be eco-friendly at the same time. 

We can unravel (un-knit) unwanted things and use the yarn to knit something new - the bottle green yarn here was once one of my hubby's jumpers (sweater). 

We can make yarn from rather unlikely sources -

 those dreadfully polluting non-biodegradable plastic shopping bags can be cut into strips -

 They call it 'Plarn' - and this little bowl only took about 2hrs to knit up!

Plarn is possibly better suited to crochet but I've seen rather nice bags made from it (both in knitting & in crochet) and I've seen it used to make a picnic rug - wonderful idea!

We can also cut old Tshirts into strips that can be knitted or crocheted - and woven fabric too can be cut into strips, just cut it on the bias so it doesn't fray completely away.

Old jumpers (sweaters) can also be used for the fabric of them - the jumper that shrank in the wash is ideal for reuse as it won't unravel when cut and the fabric is relatively stable and won't stretch under the sewing machine.  Shrunken knitting can be sewn into all sorts of things, from beanies to dog jackets but what about the old, unwanted jumper that won't shrink?

This grass-green jumper is a commercial knit in a blended yarn that is mostly plant fibre - it wasn't going to shrink no matter how mean I treated it.  It has pilled badly but I like the colour - I also like the fancy stuff at the wrists ...

Ahuh!  turned in-side-out there is no pilling and the texture is nice

The largest area of usable fabric is from the hem to the underarms - a tube that is roughly square ... and about the same size as this old cushion that is in need of re-covering.
Rule & chalk straight across from one underarm to the other ...
flip the jumper over and do the same on the other side ...

Now - because this jumper would not shrink / it has not fulled (to use the old terminology) if I cut into this it will start to unravel. 

So I'm going to sew along that chalk line first - then, when I cut the knitting it will unravel only as far as the machine stitching ...

using the widest zig-zag stitch - along the chalk line.  Then I can cut, a few mms (about 1/4") above the line (above = towards the neck of the jumper)

Now I need to sew that end together ...

You can see that I'm sewing just inside the previous stitching, and the new right sides (old wrong sides) are together - there are 2 layers now.  The knitting is going to get all stretched and distorted going under the machine foot - so I'm gently pushing it under ...

My cushion is not as wide as the ex-jumper so I will re-seam the sides but first I need to re-arrange things at the hem so I can fasten the cushion nicely.  Snip the seams for about 4cm (not quite 2")

Overlap and pin together (do this on both sides) - then with the now right sides together I stitched down the sides ...

The next bit needs to look nice so I did it by hand - overlapping the hem edges by about 2cm (3/4") and matching the ribbing I stitched from the corners for about 5cm (2")

The rest of that side of the cushion cover is left open but will have fastenings ... a zip? too fussy
buttons? too hard to make the buttonholes
big snaps ... perfect
The finished cushion cover with cushion inside


Well - I've reused the 'body' of that old jumper but what can I do with the sleeves?
& I forgot to mention that there are strange elbow patches !
Well, let's mark and cut just below those patches - trying to keep straight along the row of stitches  
but how to transfer that to the other side of the sleeve?  With pins...
Make sure the edges are even
At the chalk line pin through both layers

Flip sleeve over and use the pins as a guide to chalk across
Stitch then cut as before - putting the sleeve on the free-arm of the sewing machine ...

then hem that cut edge & I used wave stitch here -

 Then I sewed some soft 'underwear' elastic on the inside ...
this doesn't really have to look attractive - it'll be hidden under my coat sleeves. 

Because what I've made are 'wrist-warmers' or false sleeve ends - they stop the cold wind going up the sleeve of your coat and hide half your hands (which is good when your hands are old & crinkly like mine!)

There is still some jumper left over ... I could make bottle covers from the rest of the sleeves, I could unravel the yarn & knit a toy frog, I could sew near the cut edges and use this as a cleaning or polishing cloth ... ... ...

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