Friday, October 30, 2009

Frugal Friday

I went shopping in my closet this week. HP needed another warm indoor jacket -- has trouble keeping warm, because of being forcibly inactive -- and I fancied another cardigan. But there was no time to get to the thrift store, so I did the other thing, and realized that we both had what we needed but in different form.

He had a beautiful hand knitted Irish aran sweater (no, not by me, from an expensive boutiquey place) had had it for over 20 years, these things never wear out, and it is too difficult to navigate in and out of it in his current situation. So he needs jackets now. Aha, light dawned, and I cut the sweater up the middle, turned back the edges like lapels, and now he has a very nice, extremely warm, jacket ready to go. The trick was to cut it up the middle of a motif so that it hangs symmetrically.

And, full of ambition, I figured I'd take a terrific heavy cotton sweater of my own, LandsEnd best, which I bought for $2 at a garage sale about 10 years ago, cut that up the middle and have a nice shawl collar cardigan, which would suit me better. It's purple, not my fave color, but looks good if I put white next to my face, not if the purple is there. It makes me look old and tired. Well, maybe I am, but there's no need to look it, too! and since I've lost a lot of weight this year, the sweater was way too big, but is a nice generous size for a jacket, can wear a sweater with it. I should explain that it came in a bundle of terrific LandsEnd turtlenecks, all of them for less than $5 the lot. I liked the other colors, dusty pink, and ivory and jade green, so the purple came along.

So I present to you my happy frugality results. This is actually quite easy to do, once you nerve yourself up to cut through really good knitted fabric, and the results are definitely worth it, when you think that both of these items were languishing on a shelf unworn for ages. And it took approximately 45 minutes per sweater to do this alteration. Piece-o'-cake.

I did get to the thrift recently, though, and snagged three sweaters for unraveling, I mean harvesting (!), purposes, really good yarn that would be much more expensive bought as new yarn. One is multicolored, and will provide a nice range of shades for my tapestry, now on the second, yellow/orange/flame/red color family. One is caramel, great for quiet sorts of knitting for people who are not heavily into color. And the last is charcoal, lovely heavy yarn.

HS had recently suggested that because long pants are not an option, HP might do well with something like legwarmers. A technical explanation here: because of the spinal damage, causing total incontinence, he has a permanent external catheter setup, as well as protective underwear, which between them make it very very difficult to insert him into regular long pants, since he can't assist with movement, and it takes nothing at all to detach the catheter which means back to square one, an hour's work of undressing, reapplying, redressing, etc. So he wears soft knitted shorts. But despite the handknit afghan he uses in the daytime, it's still a bit draughty.

I was going to knit him some legwarmers, thinking HS was really onto something here, until it dawned on me at the thrift store as I pawed through sweaters, that this charcoal one has lovely long sleeves which might make great legwarmers with practically no work at all once I've detached them from the sweater. That was when I realized I could cut his sweater to make the jacket I was at the thrift store idly thinking about, a couple of weeks ago.And the color is a nice conservative one. And he can tolerate wool.

So that's the next frugal adventure around here. If I live to 150 I will not run out of work to's also incidentally how two seniors can survive on social security and a tiny pension each, and live like royalty. At least we think we're royalty.


  1. Yes, you are royalty! And my mini-rug arrived over the weekend!!! Thank you so much.


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