Interlude: Into the Hoods
For an introduction to what goes on in this column, click here.
Twice a year I turn over the accumulated samples in my chest of drawers and make tough choices.
There are months when I feel like all I do is swatch. Yet the finished objects pile up. And up. And up. On one hand, it’s good to have evidence of productivity. On the other, it’s nice to not die trapped under a avalanche of small woolens.
At the bottom of a chest I found one end of Scarf That Ate the World, and after five minutes of pulling had got the whole thing out into the light.
It wound up buried because I couldn’t stand to look at it, or to have it sitting around staring at me.
It was ridiculously long: twelve feet. And so very candy-colored. Not a bad piece of weaving, sure. But unless I were to make the acquaintance of a six-foot-tall toddler with a chilly neck, what was it for? It took up a lot of precious storage space to be so useless.
The fabric itself–that wasn’t bad. Made from three colors of HiKoo® Rylie, it had drape, drape, and more drape; and felt deluxe in the hand.
Now, a nice thing about weaving is if there’s too much of it here or there, you can chop it to size. There wasn’t quite enough to make two good scarves, but I thought about trimming it to make one scarf of less monstrous proportions.
Then I’d have a length of handwoven to throw away, which seemed a shame. Why not do a little trimming and a little sewing, and transform almost every bit into something useful?
Stage One: Cut and Sew
After taking some measurements…
I found I had the right amount of fabric to turn the scarf into a hood.
The first stage was staystitching (simple sewing to prevent unraveling) followed by cutting, as shown below:
A sewing machine would have made quick work of the staystitching, but as my sewing machine needs to be hauled out and set up for every new project I elected to just backstitch by hand. Backstitch is quick–each seam took about seven minutes. Setting up the machine takes thirty.
The cutting was fun. There is something intrinsically thrilling about this sight.
Next, I turned and sewed quarter-inch hems that hid the staystitching on both pieces of fabric, using a matching pink thread.
Stage Two: Sew and Sew
Now I had two pieces–one long, one short–and turning them into a hood was ridiculously simple.
First, match the center of the long piece to the center of the short piece like this.
Pin them together.
And sew the seam, which will become the top of the hood. I used Color 088 (Guava) and whip stitch, figuring this piece was rustic enough that visible seams would be an asset. (For more on whip stitch, see Adventure of the Stealth Blanket, Part Two).
Then, sew first one side of the hood back, then the other. Same yarn, same whip stitch.
That could have been the end, but I’d also found in my stash a ball of HiKoo® Rylie in Color 124, a deep purple that didn’t appear in the weaving.
I used it to make a blanket stitch edge all around the hood opening,
where I was tickled to find it tempered the cutesy-wutesy effect of all those Necco wafer colors. (You know the party is a little too WOOOOOOOOOO when purple comes in and settles everyone down.)
I liked the purple so much in the hood that I decided to use more of it…
….to make four tassels…
And these I attached firmly to the bottom corners with a bit more sewing. Tassels aren’t just decorative here–the added weight should help keep the tails in place if they’re worn thrown back over the shoulders.
The Scarf That Ate the World is gone, and in its place is a hood that I hope will bring a big smile to dear girl who lives in the snow and wind of coastal Maine. I don’t know, because she hasn’t seen it yet. I’ll keep you posted.
Tools and Materials Appearing in This Issue
Hikoo® Rylie (50% Baby Alpaca, 25% Mulberry Silk, 25% Linen), 274 yd/100g skein. Colors: 086 Periwinkle, 087 Freesia, 088 Guava, 124 Purple
Designer, teacher, author and illustrator Franklin Habit is the author of It Itches: A Stash of Knitting Cartoons (Interweave Press, 2008). His new book, I Dream of Yarn: A Knit and Crochet Coloring Book has was brought out by Soho Publishing in May, 2016 and is in its second printing.
He travels constantly to teach knitters at shops and guilds across the country and internationally; and has been a popular member of the faculties of such festivals as Vogue Knitting Live!, STITCHES Events, Squam Arts Workshops, Sock Summit, and the Madrona Fiber Arts Winter Retreat.
Franklin’s varied experience in the fiber world includes contributions of writing and design to Vogue Knitting, Yarn Market News,Interweave Knits, Interweave Crochet, PieceWork, Twist Collective; and a regular columns and cartoons for Mason-Dixon Knitting, PLY Magazine, Lion Brand Yarns, and Skacel Collection. Many of his independently published designs are available via Ravelry.com.
He is the longtime proprietor of The Panopticon, one of the most popular knitting blogs on the Internet. On an average day, upwards of 2,500 readers worldwide drop in for a mix of essays, cartoons, and the continuing adventures of Dolores the Sheep.
Franklin lives in Chicago, Illinois, cohabiting shamelessly with 15,000 books, a Schacht spinning wheel, four looms, and a colony of yarn that multiplies whenever his back is turned.
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