Knit, rip, reknit

Have you ever knit a garment, not really used it, ripped it and reknit it into something else? I hadn’t until just recently. Today I knit, rip, reknit and rejoice. Spoiler alert: There is no spinning in this post.

A while ago, when I was looking for inspiration for linen knits, I stumbled upon a top that I really wanted to knit. My plan was to knit it with my handspun linen yarn.

Knit, 2014

However, I did have a top that I had knit back in 2014 in a commercial yarn that was the same as the yarn required in the pattern for this new top. The commercial yarn was a beautiful linen yarn by Quince & co. that I had ordered from the U.S. for the 2014 sweater.

Back in 2014 I knit the East end top by Alicia Plummer. It’s a lovely top, but I didn’t wear it very much. Photo by Dan Waltin.

I did love the top back when I knit it, but when I wore it, it was quite fiddly. The neck was a bit on the wide side and there was always a risk of body parts or bra straps showing. It never occurred to me back then to alter the fit. Therefore I didn’t use it very much.

Rip, 2023

When I found the new pattern requiring the same yarn, I decided it was time to rip the old top. Ripping linen yarn was a bit of a detangling challenge, but after some fiddling and occasional secret cutting, I managed to undo the whole top. To even out the phone cord curls I soaked the squiggly yarn overnight and hung it to dry, lightly weighted. It worked very well, reknitting with it felt no different than when I knit with it the first time.

Reknit, 2023

The new pattern is the Seguin top, by Quince. & co. It is a simple bottom-up knit in the round stockinette raglan sweater with rolled up cuffs and hem and a simple 1×1 ribbed neck band. The detail that makes the whole sweater interesting is a rectangular chest panel in sort of a tight oats pattern. The one over two cable repeat pulls the fabric together, making it look like decreased stitches underneath the panel, but it’s exactly the same amount of stitches.

I really like this detail, that shapes the whole yoke and gives some flare from the bust down. In combination with the simple stockinette and rolled hems it is the perfect everyday want-to-live-in kind of a top.

Shortage and abundance

The further I knit on the Seguin top, the more I realized that I might need to buy a couple of extra skeins. I found an online shop in France that carried the yarn in the same colour. I bought two to be safe, but I ended up using only a quarter of a skein to finish the sweater.

A colour shirt where I needed to join a quarter of a skein of new yarn is a sweet reminder of the thriftiness that is the core of this top.

I knew there was a risk that the colours of the used, ripped and washed 2014 yarn and the new 2023 yarn wouldn’t exactly match, but it didn’t bother me. It would just be a quirky conversation starter in the name of sustainability and making do and mend.

I was right, there is a colour shift from the old to the new yarn, and I quite like it. Ripping and reknitting has been a way of taking care of precious yarn and clothe your family through rough times. Knitting in the round works very well for this purpose – once a garment has been mended and patched until it can’t be mended anymore, it has been frogged and reknit into something else.

Happy spinning!


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4 Replies to “Knit, rip, reknit”

  1. Yes, I do the same, in fact there is a jacket I knitted years ago waiting for me to rip and reknit in the pile of mending, something I have been doing for years – not very well, I might add ha ha ha.

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