Dyed and overlocked waistcoat piece
I'm just kicking myself that I didn't take a photo of the hideous mangled oatmeal jersey before I started this project - it was truly a sight to behold. My first thought when my daughter produced it was "What on earth can I make out of that?".
Further inspection proved that it was of good quality; had a nice feel if a bit lumpy, and was quite big, a major concern if I was going to shrink it a bit more in the dyebath.
Progress on the hat and mitts
Once I had it dyed (see previous post) I finished all the edges with overlocking (although the fabric was pretty comprehensively felted after the dyebath, I wanted to be sure) and inserted some little gussets cut from scrap into the thumb area of the mittens to give a wider hand and better fit around the thumb (I did all this 'by eye' as I'm a bit of a risk taker!). I shortened the mitts because I found that I had made them much too long in the wrist and they were a bit floppy.
Having chosen some felted thick-and-thin yarn, plus a light navy/purple wool, mohair and alpaca yarn from my 'stash of the ages', I began to play about with various ideas, starting with the mittens. The first attempt at cuffs, made with the plain yarn, was hopelessly clumsy-looking so I undid that and used the thick-and-thin. You can see the edge of the starting row of chain stitch (in the plain yarn) that I made to begin the knitting. The more bulky yarn gives a pleasantly lumpy finish, which actually looks as if it's supposed to be like that! (It was - but it needs to be convincing). Then I started working on an edging strategy for the hand end of the mitt. this was crucial as it would be a keynote for the whole set.
I'm not particularly fond of blanket stitch, as it can look very "home made" and I wanted a nice-looking, hand-crafted finish (I hope you understand what I mean here). The thick-and thin yarn is a pain to stitch on the felted fabric with, but it gives an excellent edge with a lot of interest - it forms a wavy pattern which is very pleasant. I decided to add a little height to the edge by forming a row of needle knots on top of the blanket stitch. This looks great and is quite unusual. You can see this on the thumb edge of the mitt. The finished edges of the original jersey were in simple rolled stocking stitch, which needed to be stabilised before continuing (it kept rolling while I was trying to work on it), so I have simply slipstitched them in place with a cotton thread.
To start the hat, I sewed the (former) neckband onto the joined sleeve pieces with the overlocker. I had to trim the hat pieces a bit to get a nicer look to the shaping. Then I made a tassel by unpicking some of the thick-and-thin from a locker hooked sample I had made a few weeks ago - that was a bad idea! This was attached to the hat by stitching a few threads back and forth and then blanket stitching over the threads, forming a strong attachment which allows the bobble to flop roguishly.
To be continued...
Kate is a photographer, writer, web author and craft dyer who lives in North Canterbury, New Zealand.