Sunday, 18 March 2012

Knitting–Jumper from Unravelled Dress–Preparation

Over thirty years ago, I bought a beautiful knitted dress from a craft gallery near us – I balked at the price at the time but never regretted buying it, as I absolutely loved it,and wore it for years – its shape, the soft subtle colours, and the design. Reluctantly it got put away a few years ago after I put on too much weight to wear it any more, but I simply couldn’t bear to part with it, or imagine anyone else wearing it when I no longer could.

This year I have been clearing out lots of stuff I no longer want or need, and came across this dress, and another one I made a few years after getting it – I used the first as a basis for the design for the second, and again, this dress is now too small for me, and I didn’t want to part with that one either. I have decided to unravel both dresses, and a couple of other things I have knitted which no longer fit, and make them up again, giving them a new lease of life.

Both dresses are made from pure Shetland wool, 4-ply thickness, and far too good not to make use of. I have completely unravelled the bought one now, and about half of the one I made, and I am now ready to progress to the next stage.

Having been knitted and held in that position for over thirty years, the yarn had a permanent wave! I wound the unravelled wool into balls of each colour, and then skeined them, ready for washing to remove the kinks.

You can see from this picture what gorgeous colours they are.

This is the pattern I have drawn, taken from the original colour scheme of the dress, and the design I have made.

My plan is to make the sleeves patterned, but on the original dress they were 3/4 length sleeves, so there may not be enough of the coloured wool to do this, so I may knit the tops and cuffs with the pattern, and keep the rest plain. I will also do some pattern at the top of the body, and some around the hem, and use different colours to form stripes in the ribbing of the hem and cuffs. The shape of the neck and armholes (square) will be the same as the dress. This is a simple shape, which occurs frequently in ethnic clothes, and it works well.

Here are the skeins drying after washing.

On the left are the skeins of the background colour, with the pattern colours on the right. The next photo shows these in more detail.

After thirty years of being knitted, there is still a bit of kink in the yarn even after washing, but not enough to affect the re-knitting. Anyone got any hair straighteners they can lend me??!! (Imagine what your hair would be like if you kept rollers in for 30 years…)

Finally here are the skeins, ready to be wound into balls again for the knitting. You can see what gorgeous subtle colours these are, reminiscent of the colours achieved from natural dyes.

Time to dig out my circular needle kit again! Meantime, back to unravelling the second dress.


  1. your house looks like an old fashioned wool mill.
    lovely colours though

  2. Beautiful earthy colours! Can't wait to see what you do with them!

  3. I am in awe of soeone who take so much time and trouble in this day and age - well done you!! I look forward to seeing the finished work. Cindy x

  4. Once again, I am amazed at your patience, your creativity and your abilities.


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