Saturday, January 26, 2008

Anatomy of a Sweater: Projects 2 & 3

I really thought the remaining projects from my sweater were going to be easy like Sunday morning and all, which is why I put myself out there to make them.

I mean, obviously.

If I thought that finding projects for all the remnant pieces of this sweater was going to be time consuming or, like, a big time sucking challenge I would have saved myself the hassle and gone for the seventh and final trip to the Goodwill bag with this sweater I'm learning to hate.

Now, I'm not ready to call this a time sucking failure yet - it hasn't come to that. But I did imagine that these two projects were going to just fly out of my hands and be all perfect and "Wow! I can do something useful with an old ugly sweater" which I guess they kinda did, but perhaps I didn't start out with a lot of patience which is how they ended up seeming more time intensive than I'd originally imagined.

Because, yes, while I made this whole project out to be one based on whimsical premises like Reuse and Simplicity and Usefulness, in my head these projects also needed to be FAST and then PERFECT.

I apparently have very high standards for products made from the loins of a $20 Old Navy sweater. I'm silly.

Project #2: Fingerless Gloves

Y'all know what a big fat whore I am for fingerless gloves. I must have about 10 pair now. And I buy/knit/sew them constantly because I guess I think I live in Antarctica and that I can't leave the house with my knuckles showing lest they freeze clean off my hands and leave me with finger nubs. Meanwhile I wear flip-flops all year long and my toes don't thaw until the temps go above 80 degrees. Perhaps I need more fingerless gloves for my feet? Who can say.

Anyway, this project is so easy I doubt I need to explain in mind-numbing detail the teensy seams or where I sliced the fabric, but for consistency's sake, I'll say a few things.
  1. If you like longer gloves, leave the sleeves long when you cut them free of the sweater. I chose to make these short because I've been having a difficult time lately (because I'm a retard) getting my long gloves shoved up my coat sleeves because I tend to forget my gloves until after I've put on my coat and then where does that leave me? I can't be taking my coat back off just to put on gloves. No, that's what sane people do.
  2. You might be tempted to run a zigzag stitch along the bottom raw edge here. I was. And it turned out terribly. Now, this may just be an indication of how lame I am with the machine, but I decided after much poking of the gloves and personal contemplation that the raw edge was kind a neato and rustic and I was going to leave it for now until I had a premonition on how to improve upon it. Perhaps a sewn on cuff that folds over would look good? I dunno. You try!
  3. The thumb hole was my only real triumph with this project. I simply used my handy razor blade to slice open JUST the thread that was sewing the seam together on the inside edge of the cuff to a size just wider than my thumb. Then I seamed and backtacked on the top and bottom edge to make sure there wouldn't be any mid-wear unraveling happening.
If you ever get the wild hair to slice up a sweater and make these, I'd love to see how you doctor this recipe. I'm sure y'all are much more inventive than I. However, I have a new pair of fingerless gloves now and will be enjoying them in the snow where my knuckles might have a chance of coming in contact with freezing air and so I must bar them from such interaction with wooly gloves cut from old sweaters. No, this is not ghetto at all.

Project #3: Mug Sweater

At first I was calling this a Mug Cozy, but I have a thing with the word and concept of "cozies" mostly because it makes me think of toilet paper and also useless crocheted items from the 70s that lived in houses of family members who will remain unnamed.

However, this is a useful device for me because, unlike toilet paper, the temperature of my mug is something of relative importance to me and when there is a method by which I can maintain the proper temperature of my mug, I will use it.

Again, the makings of this item from the scraps of the sweater's waistband was pretty simple, so I'll just recap quickly the few tips I gathered in my short session:

To make these, just cut the waistband off a ribbed sweater, measure the fabric for your mug by eyefucking it to get the desired width, cut, fold in half with right sides facing and sew two short seams on top and bottom of the fold leaving enough open space to accommodate the handle of your favorite mug.

  1. Don't measure the fabric width by laying your mug on it and then folding your fabric in half. This is too much to ask of the very technical "eyefucking it" method. You probably know that wouldn't work, but you know that I did it and then ended up with a supah snug sweater for my mug that didn't work out. So, instead, I suggest using the aforementioned method and adding a third the total width of the fabric before cutting.

  2. Using a zigzag stitch worked fine. Especially after I realized that my seams only needed to be about 1/2 - 1 inch on top and bottom to accommodate the mug handle.
That's about it. Clearly, not the most earth shattering of patterns/ideas/blog posts, but I think you'll agree that at least the ribbing from the sweater's waistband looks sorta smart on my favorite blue mug. And, hell, it took me all of 10 minutes to go from nekkid mug to sweatered mug which is a lot less time than it would take if I knitted one of these thingees like I keep seeing people doing.

I will now be making tea so that I can ogle my Temperature Maintenance Innovation of the 21st century while also probably wearing my new Fingerless Gloves. Because I'm that way. And also cold.


  1. I love your idea for the fingerless mitts! I have been aching for a pair, especially with all this rain!

  2. OMG I have nearly wet my pants laughing.

  3. eyefucking

    how much do I love this term

  4. My hands are always freezing, and my tea cools off entirely too quickly, yet I have sat here with a "Well, what am *I* supposed to do about it?" attitude for the last month. I love both of these, and now I have to see if I have the sweater to prove it!
    Seriously, how do people like us survive in actual cold climates?

  5. Ah yes, I am a fan of the "neato and rustic" edge on occasion too. Look at you go, crafty mama!
    May I just point out, however, that your hands may be warmer if you could feel that warm cup...
    hee hee. Always the smart ass, I know.

  6. I love the gloves! I have been looking for some for first thought was to maybe sew bias tape along the rough edge? maybe even something a bit funky to go with the sweater...

  7. Excellent. Three down, one to go? You are obscene and we love it.

  8. Love those. I think I'm too frumpy for the gloves (I'd look like a hobo), but I bet my girls would like them.

    Also, is eye-fucking kind of like eye-balling? :)


    (Had to put a space in to make the whole thing show up)
    Came across this today and thought of your project. She talks about a book that gives ideas for using felted sweaters - just in case you're stuck! ;)

  10. Oh I adore this whole reuse of a sweater concept. Bravo. And a great color.

  11. That's very innovative!


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