When I taught a steeking class a while back I had a clever idea to bring a sweater that I had prepared for steeking to show the students how Not Scary steeking is.  I used a J.Crew sweater that I had bought at the thrift store for $3.50.  The sweater is the old J.Crew standby rollneck, in 100% wool.  It was heavily pilled when I bought it, but I snipped off  most of the pills with some sharp scissors and really, it practically looks new.

extreme makeover: thrift store sweater edition

I crocheted the steek before the class, then cut it during class. Then this poor slashed sweater has sat in a bag for months while I decided what to do with it.

extreme makeover: thrift store sweater edition

Yesterday inspiration finally hit: I received Alice Starmore’s Book of Fair Isle Knitting from Anne, and it is colder now (necessitating more wool), and I’m going to a wool festival to teach a class on stranded knitting.  SO!  I decided to knit some colorwork bands on the borders using a chart from the AS book and I can wear it while I teach my class!

First a swatch.

extreme makeover: thrift store sweater edition

Then, what I thought would be a quick, one day project took me hours and hours. And I’m only halfway done. And I don’t know if I like it or not.

extreme makeover: thrift store sweater edition

Here’s how it went. First I checked my gauge and decided how many stitches to pick up. Next I picked up the stitches, cast on steek stitches and began to work the pattern in the round. After a turning row after the color pattern was complete, I knit a facing to cover the colorwork band and the green reinforcing stitches.

extreme makeover: thrift store sweater edition

The knitting didn’t take long, it was the figuring and planning and finishing that took longer than I thought (it always does, but I love that part anyway). I’m not sure I’m in love with the colors, but I used yarn I had on hand. The front band is now very heavy, but every time I try it on it lays nicely. The top of the band matches up with the top of the rollneck in a pleasing way, but the bottom is all out of whack and I can’t decide if it’s okay or not okay. If it is not okay, I can’t figure out how I would fix it.

extreme makeover: thrift store sweater edition

Nonetheless. The sweater is 1) warm, 2) visually interesting (I think) and 3) a way to have a something unique without having to knit a whole damn sweater.  I should finish it.

13 thoughts on “experimenting

  1. I also like it – the color work against the grey is quite striking.

    I’ve see some sweaters and jackets with a front band which is shorter at the bottom front than the bottom edge, so I don’t know that you need to do anything with it. Finish the other front band and then decide?

    At any rate, quite nice 😉

  2. What a fantastic idea! You must finish it. It will be one of those sweaters you wonder how you lived your life without. I agree with Jillian. It is good as is…well, once the other side is done. 😉

  3. What they said. If it bothers you, try pinning it up to see how you would like it simply hemmed up. If you hem it you could also install a drawstring.

  4. I think it’s brilliant!! The colors are great – lively contrast from the grey, and your knitting is beautiful, that band looks like it grew out of the sweater (or was always there!)

    Could you trim the bottom to a shorter roll or add a hem if it bugs you?

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