Saturday, December 14, 2013

Lemonade from lemons


From the ashes of a laundry mistake comes two great projects.  Step One:  buy a beautiful blue cashmere (cashmere!) sweater at the thrift shop for four dollars.  Cashmere.  Four dollars.  Who cares that it doesn’t fit?  Stash gorgeous cashmere in anticipation of step two.  Step Two:  wait for daughter to accidentally shrink a fine-gauge merino wool sweater in the laundry.   Express sympathy, re-educate daughter in the finer points of hot water vs. wool, and then ask her if you can have the teeny shrunken sweater.  Of course you can hurry step two along by buying a fine-gauge wool sweater at the thrift shop and shrinking it on purpose, but that’s not how I did it.  Step Three:  get crafting.


I saw this pattern a long time ago at whipup, and after the girl shrunk her sweater, I remembered it.   After a lengthy scrounge through my teetering piles pattern library, I found it, and then it was the work of an hour. 


I’m from the Midwest, where it snows a lot, and now I live in New York State, where it snows even more.  If you’re from where I’m from, or anywhere like it, you already know that double-thick mittens are the way to go.  Double-thick wool mittens lined with cashmere?  Oh my goodness.  I’m kind of glad it’s 10 degrees F, just so I could give these a real test drive. 


Deep sigh.  Warm, warm, warm.  Huge success.  Thank you so much for this pattern, Katie. 


Hang on, we’re not done yet. 


There’s still a lot of sweater left.   That’s too much cashmere to throw away.


I cut off the sleeves and turned the raw edge 1/4” to the wrong side, and embroidered a blanket stitch over it to secure.


I measured 1 1/4” down from the cuff edge and used my seam ripper to open the seam, leaving a hole about 1 1/2” long, then hand-tacked the two ends of the opening closed. 


Soft, warm, beautiful.  Turned that frown upside down!


  1. That is just brilliant! You would have to pay lots of money to buy mittens like that even if you could find some. Keep warm!

  2. Oo, I do love the things you make! Off to shrink a few jumpers... Jen

  3. Wonderful! And what a bargain. Clever you.

  4. Ooh, isn't that clever, and I love the colour of the cashmere.
    Enjoy staying snuggly and warm,

  5. What a great idea, glad your fingers are happy.

  6. Love the way you use and appreciate the wool and the steps it takes to get what you want ;-)). Your mittens are lovely as are the armwarmers.

  7. Genius. That is my kind of thrifty crafting. I have never thought about gloves, I always fashion a bag out of my shrunk knits but there is a new one for my memory. Jo x

  8. great idea........both practical and beautiful

  9. Kristen, I am so much on your wavelength, about seeing the possibilities to turn a bit of a set back into ...a creative opportunity.

    It's snowing here in NYC today, but we won't get any results like Rochester. Just this morning I was talking with my brother who lived up in Canada for a while. (I've made him socks, and he's even given me some yarns and books about socks.) Anyhow, today he was telling me about some "double" knit mittens that he actually wore out on his cross country ski journeys.

    And now, you've given me another notion about how to create that warming insulation of two layers...mitten wise.

    One of these days, I do hope that we get to meet. I always have so much more to say than my fingers have space to type in these comment boxes.


  10. Oh I like everything about this! The thrifty-ness, the colors and the outcome. Well done!

  11. Clever girl. Nice and luxurious and beautiful and warm!

  12. Bravo...and thanks for sharing your thrifty, practical, and stylish project, Kristen :-)

  13. What cool mits, and they look so warm x

  14. BRILLIANT !! What a great idea and they look fabulous. Well done.

  15. It's official--you have the happiest fingers on the planet.

  16. These mittens look great! Perfect for today's weather of snow & cold. But don't throw out those teeny tiny scraps ... I made a garland of felted circles (about 1-1/2" circles) to hang on the tree ;) Wendy x

  17. Funny and great! I have been thinking about making a pillow from a knitted cotton sweater that fits to small on me. I might do it this week...♥

  18. They look so cosy. Great project for a sweater that has been treated poorly. Take care, Carla

  19. You are so clever! I hope that the mittens keep you lovely and snuggly and warm all winter long - along with your arm warmers!! xx

  20. Great ideas. I think they seem extremely warm and cozy.

  21. Wonderful job you've done there, I love them, and your sense of humour too! Joy x

  22. How cosy they look. I bet they are soft too. xxx

  23. Beautiful gloves. And as usual love your writing! You make me wish that we had a proper winter with snow and all.....Well, with global warming etc, etc, who might just snow in Ahmedabad!! :)

  24. Hi,
    I just found you! Where in upstate NY are you from? I Amin the southern Adirondacks!