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Thrifting, and sleeveless.

March 14, 2008

I can’t seem to get into knitting a sweater. I’m dying for a big, woolly, hand-knitted sweater, but it just seems such a huge project for my fickle self. Solution: vest. Look ma! No sleeves!


Pictured above is the yarn from a thrift store sweater. It was a women’s medium, Abercrombie v-neck sweater, 70% wool/30% nylon blend, that I bought for less than $4.00. It unraveled like a dream; you never can tell how it’s going to go until you start deconstructing. I have knit about 8″ of body on a vest for my sister. I know, I know. I promised Holly [on Rav] a sweater long ago, but that sweater was abandoned a while back with the intention of someday knitting her something else. So the sister gets a vest…eventually.

Yea, thrift stores. I try to pop in frequently to my favorite ones that are close to my house. Yesterday Maggie and I went to one just down the street. I’d been there before and it was a huge mess, but for some reason I decided to try it again. You never quite know what you’ll find.

lucky find

Wow. Jackpot. Hand-knitted. In Norway. Steeked. Twisted stitch ribbing. Garter stitch button band. Pewter buttons. Picot neck edge. PICOT! This sweater is spectacular. It cost less than $2.00.

lucky find

The Husfliden company has a website, but since my first (and only) language is English, I can’t decipher anything. Well, I’m pretty sure garn means yarn but other than that I’m lost. My brief search also turned up this New York Times article from 1983 (!) about hand-knitting as an industry in Norway. That’s cool.

lucky find

The person who previously owned this sweater either never wore it or was a knitter herself and knew how to properly care for it. Other than one small stain on the bottom near the ribbing, the sweater is in impeccable condition. It has such a lovely feel; a good hand, if you will. Luck was certainly on my side at the thrift store yesterday.

For now, I have no plans for the sweater other than gazing at it occasionally. It doesn’t fit me and the yarn isn’t salvageable since it has been steeked. Not that I would even consider unraveling this beauty. The buttons are great, but removing them would ruin the integrity of the sweater, right?

The corniest thing: I feel like this sweater has a life ahead of it, and I’m just the keeper until the story unfolds. Told you it was corny.

lucky find

In the mean time, I’ll keep this baby around for…inspiration? To knit sleeves? Yea, probably not.

16 Comments leave one →
  1. March 14, 2008 9:47 am

    That is such a cool sweater. I have been looking for some inspiration on just such a sweater, so thanks for sharing. I have some natural oatmeal colored wool that is begging to be made into a circular yoke of some kind. Love your knitting style. Everything you make is totally cool.

  2. March 14, 2008 10:40 am

    wow, that sweater is so beautiful! what a great find! i don’t have a lot of patience, so it is hard for me to go through racks and racks of clothes, but maybe i should start!

  3. Sharon permalink
    March 14, 2008 11:30 am

    Gosh, that is gorgeous (and the unraveled stuff as well). You might think about felting the sweater and making something wonderful from it. I did a quick search on felted sweaters and found this nifty knitting basket made from a felted sweater:
    But it’s perfectly okay just to keep it and admire it!

  4. katie permalink
    March 14, 2008 1:42 pm

    Wow, that IS a gorgeous sweater! Great finds. Everything I have ever gotten from a thrift store feels greasy and gross, and smells funny, even after washing. We just don’t have any good ones around here.

  5. March 14, 2008 2:55 pm

    Oh my goodness the craftsmanship on that sweater is just stunning!

  6. March 14, 2008 3:33 pm

    Wow, that is gorgeous. I’m always amazed when stuff like that shows up at a thrift store. I’ve never personally found anything half as cool, although I’m not sure if that is for lack of perseverance or a super-saturation of hand-knit aficionados who can’t bear to live more than 20 minutes from Webs…

  7. March 14, 2008 3:38 pm

    What a fantastic thrift find! I love going to shops too, but never found anything remotely like that! My most recent post actually showcases the yarn I found thrifting, but I would trade it in a heartbeat for a handmade Norwegian sweater!

  8. carpoolknitter permalink
    March 15, 2008 2:30 am

    I think maybe the best stuff finds you, rather than the other way around. hmmmm, maybe Maggie grows up into that sweater . . .

  9. March 15, 2008 11:17 am

    Magnificent! Have you read Antionetta by John Hersey? This sweater makes me think of it. 🙂

  10. March 15, 2008 1:01 pm

    husfliden which means housediligence directly translated is a norwegian crafts movement. and that baby is some piece of craft. don’t ever rip it. it is gorgeous. love the garterstitch buttonbands.

  11. March 16, 2008 8:30 am

    You lucky DOG! My thrift shops never have anything NEARLY that cool. Frankly, my shops never have anything wool which totally stinks on ice but whatever. I’m totally jealous.

  12. March 17, 2008 7:41 pm

    Wow! What fantastic finds!

  13. crimsonpurl permalink
    March 18, 2008 7:24 am

    OMG!!! You found a treasure!!!

    Would make a lovely bag! ;o) Buttons still on and all!

    Can’t wait to see what the future holds for it!

  14. March 20, 2008 11:42 am

    That is a fantastic find!

  15. April 10, 2008 1:53 am



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