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A Jumper That Didn’t Cost The Earth

There are few things in this world that stop me stitching or making art, but every once in a while I decide to knit something. I haven’t made anything for a few years now because I have more hats, gloves and scarves than I need and knitting your own jumper is an expensive business. Knit anything in a decent natural yarn, especially with more than one colour, and you can easily spend £70.00.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I don’t think it’s worth it, it’s just that I can’t afford to do it on a regular basis. Having said that, I can count the jumpers I own on one hand and I made 4 of them. I still wear them all because hand-made takes a long time, and lasts a long time.

Make It Don’t Chuck It

No-one wants to chuck something away when they’ve invested hours of work in it, from quilting to knitting or growing your own. That glut of courgettes you had this year: landfill, compost or chutney? That jumper you made a couple of years ago, it’s getting a bit thin on the elbows: landfill, darn it or reuse the yarn? The quilt you spent years making, the binding’s a bit worn: landfill, or make a new binding?

When we invest our own time in something (rather than exploiting some poor, faceless person on the other side of the world) we take care of it. Obvious innit?

Make Someone’s Day

And if we have stuff we don’t know what to do with we can give it to charity. Like, if you had a load of yarn but you don’t know how to knit…landfill ? Or charity and make someone’s day?! Yeah, you know where this is going:

A hand-knit stripy jumper. © Stephanie Boon, 2017. www.dawnchorusstudio.com

Bargain knit

Someone Made My Day

I picked up some luscious Rowan Tweed yarn for a steal in a charity shop sometime before Christmas. As soon as I was out the door I shared photos on Instagram (which disappeared with all the others when my account was hacked), because I couldn’t believe my luck.

A hand-knit stripy jumper. © Stephanie Boon, 2017. www.dawnchorusstudio.com

Colour and texture… simple things make me happy (mostly!).

I had enough to make a short jumper and settled on a Marie Wallin pattern in a Rowan book I already had (another way to save money).

Self portrait in a hand-knit stripy jumper. © Stephanie Boon, 2017. www.dawnchorusstudio.com

It’s cosy!

Self portrait in a hand-knit stripy jumper. © Stephanie Boon, 2017. www.dawnchorusstudio.com

It’s short, sweet and probably outdated, but it’ll do. And I don’t know what I’m looking at either!

There were 5 different colours of yarn in different quantities of 100g skeins: it was obviously going to be a stripy affair. I settled on random stripes, but knit up all the rib first and then divided what was left between each pattern piece.

This simple shape knit up pretty quickly in the big chunky yarn, so I decided to concentrate on knitting to the exclusion of everything else. I was pretty determined to get some wear out of it this winter. Didn’t think about how dated a 2008 pattern might look. (Does it? I don’t know/who cares.) Or what I’d wear it with… might have to make a skirt now. Or maybe a dress. Or Something.

Nuts and Bolts

  • 800g Rowan Pure Wool Chunky Tweed @ £15.00 the lot
  • Pattern ‘Kettlewell’, Marie Wallin in The British Sheep Breeds Collection (Rowan, 2008)
  • Pattern requires 600g (s). Used 650g (made sleeves 1″ or so longer, + extra for stripes)
  • Over: 150g-ish in pale pinky colour… damn, could have made it longer
  • Final cost £12.50 (I already had the pattern book and needles required).

And I’m happy. Which is good, considering. Anyone got any ideas for using up the rest of it?

What? You Came Here For Quilting?!

Ok, a short catch up. Plain Sewing, my ongoing daily patchwork ritual, is still on track. Pretty much. My Instagram friends have seen a few finished blocks that have a bit of hand sewing detail. Since then I’ve made some very simple blocks like the one below. The patchwork background on this one includes scraps from some old linen trousers and a cotton shirt. I love the texture and the soft drape it makes.

Plain Sewing. A patchwork quilt in progress, showing an appliqué circle on a patchwork background in muted neutral and blue. © Stephanie Boon, 2017. www.dawnchorusstudio.com

Plain Sewing. Right and wrong side of the appliqué fabric.

I used the back of the floral fabric as another way to reveal something we usually take great pains to hide. Another way to reveal the ‘truth’ if you like, which is the drive for making this piece (more thoughts on that here).

What’s Wrong With The Back?

Why do we so blithely ignore the wrong side of printed fabric? It deserves more consideration I think. You never know what you might find, but some things to look out for include:

  • an interesting texture caused by the dye
  • a lighter colour
  • a softer pattern
  • a plain fabric
  • a change in the surface of the weave.

And it’s a good way to vary the stash without acquiring more fabric – great for the wallet and easy on the storage space. The only other quilter I know that does this as a matter of course is Maureen at Mystic Quilter. How about you, do you ever use the wrong side? Let us know below!

I’m linking up with Lorna for Let’s Bee Social today. See you there.

Signature: Stephie © Stephanie Boon, 2015 www.DawnchorusStudio.com




15 replies
  1. Sandra
    Sandra says:

    I have used the “wrong” side….as recently as the #100days100blocks Tula Pink quilt that I am working on right now! I once heard some one say that there isn’t a wrong side…..but two “right” sides…..that we get two fabrics for our money. I think that’s a good way to think!

    • Stephie
      Stephie says:

      That’s fantastic Sandra, and it really is a good way to think! Your Tula Pink looks wonderful and I had no idea you’d used the ‘other’ side. I’ve just added you back in to my IG feed – still trying to find people after my account was deleted, grrr! If anyone else out there is on Instagram, make sure you follow Sandra for lots of colourful inspiration!

  2. Kaja
    Kaja says:

    I have been known to use the wrong side by mistake, but once it’s none I’ve never felt the need to correct it! Jumper looks fab – pretty sure the 80s are fashionable again now anyway!!!

    • Stephie
      Stephie says:

      We call them sweaters too, although it seems to be more for men I think. Mostly we say jumpers though! I think what you call jumpers we call pinafores – sooo confusing for bears of little brain (me)! Shall we all be really old-fashioned and call them ‘woollies’ instead?! (That’s what my nan used to call them.)

  3. Lynne Nicholson
    Lynne Nicholson says:

    That is a classic jumper. So lovely.
    As for using the wrong side of the fabric you may have given me an idea for putting my tumbler blocks together. The fabric is a range called cocoon and I love the patterns and colours in this collection by Valorie Wells (I think I’ve put my notebook down and can’t find it right now). They are very bright and in your face and I was thinking of adding some solids to give a resting place but instead of cutting more fabric I will audition wrong sides first. Thankyou for the inspiration.

    • Stephie
      Stephie says:

      Thanks Lynne 🙂 That’s a really good idea, it’s definitely worth trying before buying solids. Some of Valorie Wells’ prints are gorgeous, especially her nature themed ones – I’m sat here staring at a pencil case thing I made with several of her bird prints on it! The butterflies in Cocoon are lovely and I might be a tad envious! Good luck with the audition.

      • Lynne Nicholson
        Lynne Nicholson says:

        I already have the solids in my stash as I’m only shopping from my stash at the moment but using them wasn’t singing to me.

  4. Maureen
    Maureen says:

    Thanks for the mention Stephie. I do use the wrong side of the fabric pretty regularly, still get a hint of the colour but much softer, and as you said it saves on fabric costs. You were lucky to score the wool and I love the jumper, I like the older style, particularly so in the dress pattern department but very hard to find now.

    • Stephie
      Stephie says:

      Thank you Maureen, I hope anyone new here will pop over and say hi to you and your gorgeously colourful blog too. (Isfahan is to die for by the way and I love, love, love your new kaleidoscope!) It’s always intriguing looking at your quilts – I know you often use the back of the prints but I can never spot them! All the more reason to do it I say 🙂

      Thanks for your kind words about the jumper, I was very lucky. I know what you mean about dress patterns. If you want older styles you generally have to buy second hand patterns and finding your size, or ones that aren’t cut to pieces isn’t easy.

  5. audrey
    audrey says:

    I will use the wrong side of fabric occasionally, such as with my current quilt in the hoop. Couldn’t find the proper white/lt. gray so I flipped a fabric over and it was perfect! Your jumper looks wonderful. I’m scared to get into another hobby, might never get anything done!

  6. Ann
    Ann says:

    A lovely sweater, Stephie. Making the rib stitch of one yarn was such a good idea.
    I use the wrong side of fabrics occasionally. Sometimes on purpose and sometimes by accident.


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