Saturday, September 27, 2008


What are you supposed to do on a very grey, dreary, drizzly Saturday? Well, what we did on this very grey, dreary, drizzly Saturday was to visit the thrift shop. They were having a half off special on jackets and sweaters. This was a steal at a mere $3.00. That's less than most commercial sweater patterns cost.

Thrift Store Zip Cardigan

I think it is 100% cotton.

When I saw the sweaters on the rack, and knowing that they were 50% off the tagged prices, I started thinking, "Wow, maybe I could score a sweater super cheap and experiment with reclaiming the yarn." This sweater called my name from the hanger, so I flipped it open to check the nature of its seams.

Good seams for reclaiming yarn are ones that look like the kind we all sew when we make up a sweater. If you unravel it, you get one, long continuous piece of yarn.

Bad seams look like the serged edge of a piece of fabric. That's because they are: the pieces are cut from a larger piece of knitting and then sewn together. The cutting means that each row would yield a separate piece of yard-long yarn.

This sweater has good seams. I held it up, estimating its size. It looked to be my size, so I figured that I would be able to reclaim enough yarn to make it worth my while. Three bucks for a whole, entire sweater's worth of yarn? I dare you to beat that. I double dog dare ya!

I considered the sweater a little longer. It looked quite nice. It was soft. I liked the oatmeal color of it. It looked like it was about my size. I've never owned a zippered cardigan but, oh, heck, why not? I tried it on.

It fit like it was knit especially for me. Another thrift shop customer even said so.

I turned from side to side in front of the mirror, admiring the curvature of the arm scythes and the shaping of the collar. I examined the way the zipper was installed...

Now that the sweater is home and washed and dried, I have evaluated some of its vital statistics.
  • The gauge is 19 stitches and 32 rows in 4".
  • There are 20 rows of 2x2 ribbing.
  • It measures 20¼" across the back.
  • There are 96 stitches across the back, above the ribbing.
  • The back is knit even for 86 rows before the armholes begin to be shaped.
  • There are 82 stitches at the shoulder bind off.
  • Each front panel has 50 stitches, including the zipper band, above the ribbing.
  • The sleeves have 36 stitches above the ribbing and increase every five rounds until there are 64 stitches.
  • The sleeves measure 15" long when they join the body.
  • The zipper is 23", stem to stern.
Oddly, each purl pair of the ribbing becomes a single knit stitch when the Stockinette begins. The ribbing doesn't pull the sweater in (those "extra" stitches in the ribbing). I wonder if knitting the whole sweater on larger needles and not decreasing in the first row of Stockinette would yield the same results.

I bet it would.

Wouldn't this sweater look great in hunter green? Or a bold red?

7 yarns:

Jennifer said...

Very nice find! That would look lovely in a hunter green.

April said...

We sell reclaimed cashmere yarn at the LYS where I work. I gather some lady on the East Coast hits the thrift stores in search of cashmere sweaters, takes them home, unravels them, washes 'em and skeins 'em up. Seems like an awful lot of work to me but the yarn is definitely gorgeous.

Karen said...

It's a beauty of a find. Hunter green would be stunning.

Mouse said...

I have to admit that the reason why I don't knit sweaters is that I tend to find some nice (although slightly felted) sweaters at my local thrift store for 99 cents each. Though I love to look at beautiful and fancy knit sweaters online and in magazines, in reality I wear big ol' sack sweaters that would be a bore to knit.

Chris said...

I love zipper front sweaters! Indeed - it would look fabulous in hunter green.

Deb said...

Or you could just keep it as is and wear it since you seem to like it so much?

Carrie said...

I don't know. If something fit me so perfectly, I'd probably just dye the sweater! Good find - congratulations =)