Needless to say, the economy isn’t exactly in stellar shape these days. While this poses many problems- particularly for someone leaving school and (hopefully) entering the job market- the need to be frugal has an upside. Certainly, one takes fewer luxuries for granted. And, of course, one can become quite resourceful. I’m admittedly a little bias, but I feel like nothing’s more resourceful than patchwork. It is, by definition, an act of salvage and making do. So, when I spotted a beautiful Marc Jacobs sweater for about $300 in a magazine, I decided to make my own instead- and patchwork showed me the way! I swung by T.J. Maxx (a discount clothing store that I’d never shopped in before- it’s marvelous) and bought three sweaters for a total of about $12 (two were from the kid’s section). I spent an afternoon cutting, recombining, making fabric-covered buttons, and voila:
As you can imagine, the whole thing was just black and white stripes before I got my hands on it. Naturally, I prefer the contrast. And I must say it’s pretty gratifying to walk into a thrift store and end up with something more unique than the item I had originally lusted after- and hundreds of dollars saved!
However, thanks to my summer internship at Classic Elite which enabled me to afford cashmere yarn for the last time in what will probably be a very long time, I also finished up something a bit fancier this weekend. Let’s just say the train ride to NYC (not to mention the train delay) was just as productive as I had anticipated. While I may have gotten some odd looks in Penn Station as I sat knitting on the ground, surrounded by bright pink fabric, it was well worth it. My sweater is complete, simple and lovely:
Like I said before, 100% cashmere yarn needs no embellishing. It’s a straight forward modified drop sleeve fit, three-quarter length sleeves… and fits perfectly. I owe the much-improved seams and picked-up stitches to Sharon Brant’s wonderful workshop that I attended a couple of weeks ago at Westminster Fibers. Thank you! I even have one ball of cashmere leftover. Who knows what I’ll do with it, but I’m in no rush to use it up…
Like any responsible knitter, I had my next project lined up and have since made considerable progress. I’m using Cascade’s 100% cotton Sierra (on the more frugal side of things as far as yarn is concerned) and working with a polka dot pattern that I came across in “The Essential Guide to Color Knitting Techniques.”
This is, incidentally, a glorious book- well worth the investment for any color-minded knitters. Anyway, the pattern combines purl and knit stitches, as well as lots of slipped stitches, which precludes the whole lumpy intarsia problem I was having before.
I’m aiming for a sort of cowl neck minus the sweater… a cross between a scarf and a shawl if you will. The color combination should be familiar by now, definitely one of my favorites. It’s coming along quickly and should be finished soon- which means I’m already mentally conjuring my next knitting project.
I’m also getting much better- as in much quicker- at circular hand quilting. Furthermore, I’m really starting to enjoy it. Don’t get me wrong, learning how to use a sewing machine changed my life, but a little handwork is a nice balance. So I’ve completed a couple more polka dot squares, making nearly seven altogether which is more than half of the total required for my Log Cabin with a Twist quilt.
Now, last but not least, mini quilting continues. I’m getting into the ‘sketching’ groove and letting myself be a little imprecise, even more improvisational than usual. This week’s little quilt is already finished- and to be honest I am yet again unsure of how the idea came to me. It’s a sort of woven quilt made of bands of overlapping fabrics, secured with french knots.
I feel like this would make a pretty awesome full-sized quilt. And it really isn’t all that difficult… some day… Meanwhile, I’m sticking to one big project at a time (more or less) with plenty of room for experimentation on the side.