Monday, 23 November 2009

the balla(r)d of goodwill

It's quite a few months since I last went to the Ballard Goodwill. I've always found it vaguely disappointing there, with only my wooden sewing box as a stand-out purchase (and that dates my most recent visit to last April). Anyway, we went today to help some friends collect a desk they had purchased and spent a bit of time shopping - what a change a few months can make! Either they have been getting some really good donations lately or Goodwill's central distribution system has decided to favour Ballard - either way, they are really well stocked and I came away a happy shopper.

My strategy for collecting J Crew woollens in the trust that eventually I will find duplicate garments and be able to confidently knit myself something (more) from recycled yarn came to fruition. Out of this size medium and the identical size small that I bought some time ago, I would definitely have managed a garment. Alas, I have already repurposed the size small into a dress for little miss bear, which gives me the opportunity to show off a finished object dating from mid-October.

It started with making leg warmers from the sleeves of the garment, but when left with a truncated sweater what I saw was the potential for a little dress. I gathered the neckline slightly with some elastic and took in the sides to shape the dress a bit. There were also two spare lengths of sleeve left over after making the legwarmers, so I unravelled these to give myself some yarn to work with. The dress sleeves themselves I edged with some machine stitching and then, after turning the hem under, finished with a line of crocheted stitches. With my hook still handy, I also crocheted some motifs to adorn the dress. The larger one is from a free pattern that I found on Ravelry, the two smaller are just a simplified version thereof.

The entire dress took less than a day to make and will keep little miss bear comfy and warm. It is also 100 per cent machine washable as that is the way that I treat all of my woollens the minute I get them home from the thrift store. If they pass that first test I know that they are good for life. As to what I'll do with the size medium now ... umm, another dress? a jacket? wait for the next one to show up?

I also today very happily purchased a pair of Hanna Andersson pyjamas (brand new as far as I can tell) and cardigan and a book for little miss bear, a book on heirloom embroidery for myself, two other books, a vintage sewing pattern, a wooden toy high chair perfect for teddy to eat his breakfast at and, surprise, another J Crew woollen which I am hoping will deliver up enough yarn for Tim's first sweater. Thing is, I went to bed way too late last night, considering the relative benefits of knitting either Jarrett or Beau for Tim. Beau was winning out, being at a looser gauge with heavier yarn, and lo and behold, there was the yarn today. Ok, slightly twisted up in a few cables but that's just the way I like it for $7.99. (The entire Goodwill haul came in at less than $50 and included two decorated light switch covers which at a craft market I might consider kind of cute but not bother to actually spend money on, as opposed to 99c each for which you can try out just about anything. I love thrift shopping.)


Maiden Jane said...

Great repurposing! I love finding wool sweaters - if nothing more than to kick around my house. I found my first J Crew - plain, v-neck sweater. I wore it so much I have holes in the elbows. But I found some leather elbow patches at a garage sale so it is in my mending pile! The dress is adorable, btw.

shandy said...

I love reading how you are able to see the potential in everything. I've been a big fan of charity shops for many years but have never unravelled a machine knit jumper before. Is the yarn not odd to handknit? I sometimes find this with yarn on cones intended for machine knitting.