Knitting up: Recycled yarn, part III

After winding down, naturally, comes knitting up.

I’ve been working nights, over the past few weeks, on my recycled-yarn sweater, and it is slowly taking shape! After dreaming about tackling a seamless top-down sweater (a construction method I love), I decided to work on a seamed sweater project instead. Having had the fun and excitement of making a top-down baby sweater, I felt like I wanted a new challenge.

I felt a twinge of love at first sight when I laid eyes on Roberta Rosenfeld’s Drape front sweater in the pages of a slightly weathered copy of Vogue Knitting’s Very Easy Sweaters (2013).


© Vogue Knitting/Rose Callahan

The sweater looked comfortable, versatile and, yes, very, very easy in its all-stockinette composition. If you recall, the back of the sweater was completed a while ago.

WIP 6-1-17

The front of the sweater has since also been knit up, but with one major modification: it won’t be a draping sweater after all! It will be a plain-fitting, non-draping front. Literally, a sweater t-shirt. It’s as simple as tops get. I chose this modification for two reasons:

1. I learned that I did not have enough of the recycled yarn for the drape version, which requires an extra stretch of knitting at the front. Yep.

2. Knitting up using my recycled yarn ended up requiring making many (many) joins. The sweater is basically made up of yarn pieces! This photo may be tantamount to airing out my dirty laundry, but here’s what I mean:


Sweater front (wrong side): a veritable infestation of joins.

The original pattern requires half of the sweater-front to be twisted after being knit up, leaving half of the front ‘inside out’ (with an outfacing garter-stitch side) and the other half in regular stockinette.  The prospect of multiple loose threads from the joins above coming undone and leaving little ends sticking out did not appeal to me. I decided to abandon the dream of that beautiful drape and keep the joins where they belonged: on the inside of the garment!

right side.JPG
Sweater front (right side): I was sad to ditch the drape, but the joins will be contained once woven in.

What’s left, now, is to block the front, then sew the two pieces together. I’m a little jittery about this last step, but I can’t wait to share (and wear) the results. I resolve to love this ‘first sweater,’ regardless of how misshapen it may turn out. In honesty, I already love this future recycled garment with all my heart: I love that this sweater gave me so much time of happy work. It will be that funny sweater I wear that contains all the hours of joy and delight that went into making it. It will be my Happiness Sweater (for this reason, I really hope it fits!). More to come.

Hoping this week finds you enjoying some stitching under the sun!

25 thoughts on “Knitting up: Recycled yarn, part III

  1. It looks great! I think you made some very good decisions in the process of making your sweater-tee. Can’t wait to see it all finished!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oooooh, I’m excited that this project is so very nearly there! It looks great, and hopefully it won’t be too hot for you to wear it once it’s ready! Plus you can always go back and revisit the pattern with your next haul of recycled yarn 😀
    Good luck with the blocking and seaming!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for reading, Helen. 🙂 I’m full of hope for this recycled sweater, and am finishing up on a wing and prayer ;). Thank you for your reading and well-wishes – the luck is surely needed, lol. 😉 Happy Saturday!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Shame to ditch the twist but I agree, you’ve got to work with what you’ve got and being green with recycled yarn and so many joins is a challenge enough and one to be proud of too. I heard something funny the other day – someone I know thought if she had to undo a mistake and the yarn was ‘crinkly’ she had to ditch the crinkly bit and knit with new yarn! Needless to say her first sweater took a lot more yarn than the pattern suggested …….

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for reading and commenting, Christina. 🙂 I think it’s been a real learning experience, using recycled yarn to make an ‘eco’ sweater. 😉 I did not expect the countless joins, and am also realizing just how much yarn sweaters really need. Thank you for the reminder to work with what we’ve got! (the ‘perfect’ FO is a dream worth keeping, but ‘done’ is also quite good). Happy Saturday! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh wow! That also looks like fingering weight yarn? So many stitches! And your knitting is so neat and beautiful 😀 Im terrible at panelled sweaters but I’m going to throw myself into it for my next sweater! I had a failed baby sweater because my seems were just too ‘thick’ feeling:( Op shopping for recycled yarn is such an awesome idea! I might even find some blends I usually wouldn’t afford at a nice yarn shop 😀


    1. Thanks for reading, Kat. 🙂 The yarn feels like it may have been a worsted, “compressed” by the previous knitting; luckily there were not too many stitches to deal with (only 98 top to bottom). I would definitely love to do a seamless top-down raglan when this is done – thank you for the inspiration and guidance on that! And, I hope you find some good recycled yarn – it can be a good amount of extra work (and def. delays the knitting by a bit), but it can amount to some nice savings, too. Happy Saturday!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. This pattern was first featured in the VK winter 2011/2012, and if you can believe it, it was the first sweater I knit. I did the twist, but even though the yarn was great (Berroco Ultra Alpaca) the execution and the seams were far from perfect and it ended up looking like an old mop. So it went through the frogging process too, and got recycled in a lovely sweater (Flax, from tincanknits) for my son. Looking forward to seeing what it looks like without the twist. At least your version looks quite symmetrical, so it should work fine.

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    1. !! I’m thrilled to know Rosenfeld’s Drape-front was your very first sweater, too! Another quite wonderful coincidence. There is something very timeless and simple about the design. Yes, it seems (seams?) from the comments above, and what I’ve read, that finishing up the seams is a big challenge, esp for beginners like me (I’ve done bulky seams before, so will be scratching my head over this for the next little while). Incredible to read that the Drape front sweater became a Flax for your son soon after (that’s a great pattern, too, and is also sitting in my queue!). Thank you for reading, Agnes. Have a great weekend! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. We might be soul knitting sisters 🙂 yes, the seams were a challenge, mostly because of the twist. They might be easier for your version. Flax is a great pattern, really easy to knit (and no seams). Happy knitting !

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m setting aside an entire day just for those ridiculous ends(!). Hopefully the next unraveled skein will have fewer joins. 🙂 Thanks for your comments, Melissa, and happy summer knitting to you. 🙂


  7. Thanks for reading, Claudia. With all of your crafting and creative genius, I’m sure your knits would be incredible and amazing (whether on you, or your beautiful doll creations!) If ever you have a little spare time, go for it! 😀


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