Slowtober: Remaking 4

November 8, 2017

Thank you all so much for your enthusiastic response to my recent remaking conundrum. I have spent the last decade occasionally wondering what I should do with this beautiful sweater made by my dear late friend for her son in the late sixties.

But with your suggestions prompting either ideas or realisations of the deeper emotional constraints around this remaking project, I think I finally have clear plan. Since the execution of this plan will probably take me some time, I thought I better share the idea now rather than leave you all wondering for months.

As a result of thinking through your suggestions I realised:

  • No amount of altering was going to make me happy to wear this garment.
  • My friend’s actual stitches were precious to me, more than just the motifs or the yarn. Unravelling was not going to be emotionally possible.
  • I wanted to display her work in some way not just store it, waiting for a time it might be useful again.
  • More than being a sweater, this article was fabric. This opened the possibilities of what it might become.
  • The colour had to change, it is hard to look after and doesn’t fit my wardrobe.

So, this beautiful, currently unworn sweater is going to become the biggest tote bag I can make, something I can take to fibre shows and workshops where my friend’s work will be amongst folks who will most appreciate her skill and labour.

I will dye the sweater to match some tartan wool fabric from a skirt I have been saving for almost as long as the sweater.  The sweater back will become the bag front, which I will stitch to a backing fabric and reinforce to support the stitches. The bag will be lined and have lots of pockets and zip pouches inside. The sweater arms will become the bag strap, backed with a durable, supportive fabric.

The sweater front which has a little moth damage will become a cushion, to sit next to other cushions of great sentiment and beauty.

I hope that both articles will honour my friend’s work and our friendship.

You can follow my Slow Fashion October 2017 adventures here.

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  1. Brilliant solution. It’s part sentimental, part utterly practical. I think your friend would be delighted at the thought and feeling you’ve put into this.

  2. This is a fabulous solution to your long standing conundrum. I love the way that the discussion has enabled a strong sense of what you are really attached to about this item and don;t want to lose (the stitches, but not the colour); what you just can’t bear to do (wear it as it is, unravel); and the possibilities of interpreting the sweater as fabric instead. Looking forward to seeing the outcome!

    1. Thanks Mary, it has been a really interesting process for me, sharing the problem and working through the various suggestions to get to somewhere I had not imagined at the beginning. It will be a while before i back to this project though…I have sock fever!

  3. I love this!

    I have loved this whole series. So far it has inspired me to re-make a pair of socks that really just needed new heels and I am casting a new eye over several other items.

    1. I think repair and remaking is a bit addictive Bethany! Once I broke through the procrastination, things have started to re enter the wardrobe again and that is highly motivating. As we practice this kind of intervention, I guess our confidence and abilities grow.

    1. Thanks Jemima. Yes, the tartan is lovely, not really fine but I have loved the fabric a long time. It doesn’t fit me as a skirt any more but I reckon it has another life with that Aran knit.

  4. While reading this I am shouting out loud, YES YES YES YES! Sometimes our thoughts just need an airing for the way forward to become clear. Both the bag and the cushion are wonderful ideas and I am so glad that you are finding a use for such a treasured object… Now, I have a beaded belt made by a dear friend many years ago.. the beads are falling off as the threads disintegrate.. I wonder if I could bear to upcycle it?

    1. Thanks for such an enthusiastic affirmation Jane! But oh gosh, I don’t envy the bead conundrum you have before you…that is fine detailed work to repair. How do you think you might upcycle it?

  5. Perfect! Often we need to hear all the ideas we would never come up with in order to consolidate our thoughts. A wooly bag, for wool etc……..:)

    1. Yes you are right Susan, I hadn’t even conceived of this solution until all those other ideas had played out in my head. Thank goodness for the shared brain.

  6. Great idea for remaking your sweater into a tote bag and pillow. Can’t wait to see the finished pieces. I think you are doing what is best for the memory of the knitter and yourself. Thanks for sharing.

  7. This sounds really wonderful, Rebecca! Take as long as you need over it, is the only thing I want to say.

    1. Thanks Polly! Your words are wise. I do want to sit with the idea for a while just to make sure it feels right. And then, I want to do a really good job.

  8. I love this plan! A workable way to honour your friends knitting.

    (and that tartan is making me swoon with delight and envy – blue tartan is my very favourite type)

  9. The most perfect idea! I’m sure that you will get many admiring comments from people who appreciate the beauty of the knit. You are a clever clogs!

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