Sunday, January 11, 2009

Search and Rescue

Last week, I was browsing the thrift shop on my street when I came across something fairly extraordinary.


One of the nice things about being a crafty person is that you can easily recognize something handcrafted, and vice versa, recognize something clearly made by a machine. It didn't take long before I realized that this sweater was a handknit. There were several clues: it had neither a tag nor a place where a tag had been cut out; the sleeves and sides were mattress-seamed; the top edge of the collar was tacked down, making a fold; the back seam of the collar was fairly visible; there was a small rip in the seam on one of the sleeves (not in the knitted pieces, just in the joining); and I recognized the cast-on. Store-made sweaters have distinctive edges on the hems and cuffs, not clear cast-ons.

I knit an Aran sweater myself last year. It was a hard slog -- a fun time, to be sure, but quite difficult -- so I can't imagine anyone relinquishing a handknit Aran to the thrift store donation pile. In the end, I decided that it was a gift and the recipient either didn't like it or didn't want it anymore. Call me biased, but I simply cannot imagine the original knitter giving it up to a shop with nary a thought.

It's a fabulous sweater, roomy and warm. Like the Aran I knit last year, it's very unflattering to wear -- rather like sporting a comforter. I'm sure it would look much better on me if I were a man and 6'5". Still, I knew I had to have it, to make amends with the original knitter, and because I left my own Aran at home.

Here are some detail shots as well:



N.B. Of course I do not store my knitwear on hangers. I fold up my sweaters! Or I at least ball them up gently in drawers. I know that storing sweaters on hangers (except for those fancy padded kinds) will kill the shoulders.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

A Return

Poor neglected little clothing blog. Something happened, known in most cultures as "the end of the semester and the part where you go on vacation," and along the way, Deep Red Bells lost out.

However! One of my goals (not a resolution, as I am not doing resolutions this year) is to shift my wardrobe to a greater proportion of used/thrifted clothing plus handmade goods -- for the savings, and for the environment. So, hopefully I will able to put together some posts about that.

I did slip up in Brussels where I bought a lovely white lace parasol. It's not exactly seasonal right now (if I carried it outside, it would blend in perfectly with the snow!) but I'm very excited about using it when spring arrives, if it ever does. Pics will be forthcoming once I find a good location.