Friday, 15 April 2011

The Much Loved Item

Do we all buy too many clothes?  Probably.  Despite my sewing and knitting efforts  I still love to trail my hand along the rows of tempting delights in department stores and little specialist shops.  And do I buy?  Yes, particularly on impulse.  I have certainly made hideous mistakes or bought a very pricey dress perfect for one single occasion which then hangs in my wardrobe in almost pristine condition for years.  I even have a box of them in the attic which I have labeled 'vintage' in the hope that they will become an investment

But I would never not buy on impulse as sometimes I find treasure.  I often don't know it's treasure for a while.  This is when I discover the snag, this Much Loved Item gets worn so much it takes on the personality of an old bear. And then I realise it is too late, I should have bought two when I had the chance.

There doesn't seem to be any hard and fast rule about this, the MLI can be a coat, a jersey or dress.  Sometimes I don't even know what it will become.  This brings me to my dressing-gown.  When you live in a cold house and have to get up to children in the night, you need a proper dressing-gown.  Something you can throw on, find the shouting child before he or she wakes the whole house and that will not get in the way as you attend to said child, keeping you warm all the while.

This is what I found I had more years ago than I care to think when I bought a knitted caftan with a hood from Monsoon.  Little wonder it was in the last dregs of the sale.  It was obvious when I got it home that despite its perfect soft grey colour and angora softness it was not something to wear out of the house even on a chilly winters evening.

But it made the perfect dressing gown, meeting my criteria perfectly and has even out grown the children.  But every good thing comes to an end and so it is with my favourite dressing-gown, and as I have now adopted the slovenly habit of lounging on the sofa in it on the odd evening I have to replace it.

I am going to make one this time.  I have the yarn (Rowan Tapestry) and a pattern for a caftan shaped jersey (Debbie Bliss) that I hope I can just make longer.  That bit I shall have to make up as I go along.

I have a little more than twice the yardage recommended in the pattern (which is really for Debbie Bliss Rialto) .  As I needed so much yarn I had to look for a cheaper option, the Tapestry was in the sale in January.  It is still a beautiful yarn in a delicious over ripe plum colour.  I see no point knitting something in very cheap poor quality yarn.  I put so much love time and energy into what I knit I want it to be a thing of loveliness when it is finished.

My plan is to knit up from the hem in the round until I have used all the yarn I have over and above the required amount for the jersey then follow the pattern, dividing at the armholes.  For once in my life I knitted a swatch, including trying out various sorts of hem.  This helped me to decide between a knitted hem, picking up the cast on row after knitting 32 rows straight or to knit a fairly narrow ribbed hem after casting on with long tail tubular cast on method.

The Knitted hem has it.

This is going to take a while to make - the long straight bit not very interesting but ideal for group knitting where I go on to automatic pilot.  But I only wear such warm wooliness in the winter so have plenty of time. I will keep you posted on progress.

I have have something in mind for the old dressing gown to do in retirement.  I will probably blog about that next week

Have a lovely weekend




Jane said...

Sounds like a great project - I find more and more that I'm knitting items that require little shaping and not much attention once you've got the pattern sequence in your head. They work better for me because I get so many interruptions. Lovely colour yarn, by the way.

Anonymous said...

There's only one hole - it can be saved! I'm on a bit of a darning kick at the moment - Loop started carrying darning threads a few months ago.

But it sounds like you have other plans for it, I'm looking forward to finding out what they are! (let me guess, does it involve hot soapy water?)

Caroline said...

Ooh, I love the new project! My son's MLI (a blanket made by Granny) recently had to undergo a mending session as it has been so mauled and chewed in the past few years! The renovation project took quite a while, such that Mum was threatening to just knit a whole new one!
I LOVE the Rowan yarn. I usually just go into yarn shops and admire from afar...!

Catherine said...

Hi Caroline, I think your son's blanket will continue to improve with each time it's darned. But Sarah, sadly the hole I photographed was one of many (and an elbow worn paper thin so darning not really an option. But yes, something like felting is on the cards. Jane, the colour gets better adn better as I knit as it is not only slightly varies but changes a little as the light catches it.



Tracy said...

I got distracted (blame school holidays) and forgot to leave a comment about this. I wanted to say that I love your choice of wool and your choice of hem. To me that finish looks much cleaner and more weighty. I am also looking forward to seeing the end product and with being impressed by how quickly you produce it!