Hello, my pets! Have you been able to get out and about yet this Spring? It’s been so beautiful here in the Bay Area lately, hasn’t it? I hiked Sibley Regional Park again this weekend, this time with Edna Louise, and if anything the scenery was even more fabulous than it was when I hiked there with Mum-of-Mine a few weeks ago. We’ve had few glorious days of real rain these last two weeks, so the hills are still bright green and everything is in bloom. Oh, and even better than hikes, the Mister and I had a lovely visit with Sky last week! He took the train up from his hometown, Tiny-Lovely-Town (which is near Ventura, SoCal), to visit us for a few days, and we had perfect weather for college visits: not too nice (which would sucker the boy into thinking that the weather up here was lovely all of the time) and not too nasty (which might have frightened him away). And on Sunday, when the Mister and I took our post-errand, post-church ramble, we came across another tiny art installation near our home. The Bay Area did us proud this weekend, lemme tell you.
But Spring doesn’t just mean fine weather for hiking and touring campuses and rambles about town, does it? No, all of that fine weather also means it’s time to put away cold weather clothes and to bring out warm weather ones. At least, that’s what it means to me. And as I was switching clothes out, I came across three re-made cardigan sweaters that I thought you might find interesting. Perhaps you have some cardies kicking around that could use a little refreshing?
One of the easiest ways to freshen up a cardigan sweater is to change its buttons. It’s also a great way to personalize a cardie, don’t you know. The first cardigan I wanted to show you is this white cotton cable one. It had awfully cheap-looking buttons, which I replaced with these rustic, oblong abalone buttons that I had in my stash (proof, as if I needed it, that having a stash of such things is always good idea). The buttons are pretty sturdy – they’ve held up for years now, even after the occasional spin in the washing machine (I turn the sweater inside out, to protect the buttons). The buttons have slight variations in size and color, and they compliment the sweater’s rustic cables quite nicely.
I purchased the cable cardigan’s abalone buttons ages ago on a foraging trip to a marvelous bead store in San Francisco with the same friend who remade our next cardigan: a sheer black cardie with doubled jet-black beads used as buttons. The original buttons were dreadful in some way, so Mel, clever woman that she is, swapped them out for the jet beads. I think that tiny bead topper was a stroke of genius, don’t you? It’s such a good example of inventive remaking. The beads-as-buttons function well, and provide a subtle bit of sparkle in an otherwise somber sweater.
This last remaking example is one I’m rather proud of: crocheted cotton flowers sewn to the front of a white cotton cardigan to mask my coffee-drooling habit. (Do you have this habit, my pets? I can’t tell you how many outfits I’ve ruined by dribbling coffee on ’em. And what a shameful waste of coffee!) This alteration was made before I discovered Clorox’s bleach pen, which will take away almost all stains known to womankind. (I use the bleach pen with care, as I suspect it will eat holes into more delicate fabrics.) As I did not know of such wonders as bleach pens yet, and as necessity is the mother of invention, I made do with what I had. And what did I have? I had a coffee-stained white cardie and a number of colorful crocheted flowers stashed away (ahem, please see parenthetical above about the wisdom of stashes). I carefully sewed one to the other and now have a lovely cardie that I wear with pride. Did you notice that I left the crochet threads dangle down from the flowers? Partially inspired by Natalie Chanin of Alabama Chanin, I decided to celebrate the evidence of how the flowers were constructed by leaving the threads in place. It’s a simple touch, but it makes the cardie all the more sweet to me.
As a side note, the crochet flowers weigh down the front of the sweater a bit – not terribly so, but enough to slightly annoy me. I can’t apply counterweight flowers to the middle or bottom of the cardie’s back, as they would catch on things or poke me when I sat back, but I’ve been toying with the idea of sewing addition flowers to the back neck, or all the way around the collar. Some of the flowers arranged at the top of the cardigan are from my stash, and others are flowers that I linked together to form a necklace (you can see the bead I used as a closure for the necklace at the end of the cord on top right of the cardie). The flowers themselves are based on a pattern I got from an old book, and they make great travel projects. If Mum-of-Mine and I take Amtrak to Glacier this summer (!!), this is the kind of project that I’ll bring for the trip. The resulting flowers will get stashed away, and who knows what use they’ll get put to in the end?
That’s it for this week, my pets. I hope all is well with you and yours. If you have some cardigan sweaters that you’d like to remake, let me know and we can geek out about the joys of remaking!
Fondly, your little munakins
PS: You may have noticed that I’ve changed my blog’s tagline. It’s a temporary change, but one that was needed in order to reflect the current state of the Houseproud homestead: reasonably neat, but not so tidy. My houseproud tendencies have been surpassed by my mania for the Marketing Tote prototype, and I’m afraid there’s a layer of dust uber alles. Ah well, such is life …