The other day I mentioned that I voluntarily dragged out my sewing machine and used it without crying. This is a pretty big deal for me! My mum is a sewer – it’s what she did the whole time I was growing up. I have dabbled in just about every craft except sewing. I got this very sewing machine for Christmas when I was 10 or so, and have never used it without crying tears of frustration. It has probably been used less than once a year since I got it 17 years ago. The photobooth backdrop for our wedding needed one long seam sewn… I left it until my mummy arrived in town, so she could sew the big scary straight line.
Leave it to Pinterest to make me drag the machine out on my own! I saw this tutorial for a braided t-shirt scarf and loved it:
But it’s October in Alberta and it won’t be warm enough for a jersey scarf until some time in May or June of 2012, so I wondered about making it out of old sweaters. Nice warm, fuzzy, wooly sweaters. Handily, I had an actual errand that needed doing today that brought me right next door to Value Village, so I popped in for a look at the sweater stock. I bought these two sweaters:
I thought having one half patterned and one solid would be really fun, plus these two sweaters were by the same company, although they had slightly different makeups. The solid one is more wool than rayon, and the striped is more rayon than wool.
Here is where you see exactly how much ribbing draws a sweater in:
I got distracted by the pretty colours and bought these sweaters in the section I’d buy sweaters to wear – the small section. To get more width to my tubes, and more length as well I should have been searching the L and XL sections. I stuck to the ladies department because I figured there would be better colours there, but image the yardage you’d get of an XL men’s sweater!
My fabric pieces ended up being about 9″ wide, instead of the 15″ called for in the tutorial. I got two pieces each about 9″x16″ from the body of the striped sweater, and similar-shaped pieces from the sleeves. I managed to cut the body of the solid sweater into 3 9″ wide by 16″ish long pieces – this meant that one piece has a sweater side seam in it. I think it adds character because that sweater had exposed seams. I also cut rectangles out of the solid sleeves to practice on. To get enough length to loop the thing twice around my neck though, I had to get the seam ripper out and sew those two sleeve-y bits onto the the scarf. I didn’t find this out until after I’d made the main scarf tube, and I was proud of myself for figuring out how to add another section to the tube (put the inside-out sleeve over the end of the right-side-out tube, sew around the circle without sewing it shut).
So it’s very patchworky – the striped bit has 4 pieces to it, the solid has 5, but I love it. And I actually like how one section is longer than the other! The solid is definitely softer and flowier than the striped half, but for two different fabrics, I think they go pretty well together.
I wore it all day after finishing it, and I wore it around work that evening too. I kept petting it when I had time. It’s a little bit amazing to me to have a finished object in one day, in a matter of hours! It probably took me about 3 hours to make, with all the cutting and the sewing and the more sewing when it was too short. But for a knitter who can work on a pair of socks for a month or more, it was done like greased lightning!
And this project has the distinction of being the first thing I have sewed without tears, and I didn’t immediately put the sewing machine back in the depths of the storage room when I was done. It’s still sitting here beside my desk, saying ‘see, it’s not that hard to work me!’ I was talking to my friend J about it at work (while wearing said scarf) and she said that you only really need just that one project to help you turn the corner. I was quite happy that she liked the scarf, and even asked me to send her the link to the tutorial – she knows how to sew like a pro. She is a pro, she’s the dresser at the theatre I’m at right now! That and she’s always dressed beautifully, so that’s quite a compliment to the scarf too, if she wants to make one.