So it’s almost time for Me-Made-June. And I’ve decided that, after the minor debacle that was Me-Made-March, that it would be best for me not to sign up. I’ve got a lot of complicating factors this time–namely job stuff that I don’t want to get into here, and several days that I’ll be traveling. I don’t really want to deal with the hassles of trying to, say, take pictures of me in self-stitched outfits while running through an airport. But best wishes to those of you in blogland who are participating, and I’ll be looking forward to seeing the outfits that come up in my reading list!

I am, however, going to be participating in the Summer Essentials Sew-Along! This sort of challenge looks like it’s right up my alley–no specific patterns, no specific deadlines, no having to take unsatisfactory pictures of myself every day! Here’s the guidelines, copy-and-pasted from The Wardrobe, Reimagined.


In an effort to be as laid back as summer heat inspires, the Summer Essentials Sew-Along asks participants to sew five(-ish) warm-weather friendly pieces by August(-ish), ‘cause wouldn’t you rather spend August looking fabulous in your homemade threads? The goal: Stock your closet with quality summer basics. The benefit: A group of sewers who will encourage and inspire you, not to mention talk you off the ledge when you need it!

To me, there are six categories of summer wear. Feel free to add to this, but this is just to start us thinking of what you need/want.

Poolside Pretties: Anything that cools or dries you off when there’s lots of sun and water around. One and two-piece swimsuits, swimsuit cover-ups, surf shorts, sun hats, oh my! One versatile swimsuit cover-up I find lovely is a terry cloth dress. Double-duty, that’s what I’m talking about.

Clam Diggers & Co.: Bifurcated bottoms of every style and length, from flowing linen pants to short-shorts and all the inbetweens—clam diggers, pedal pushers, Bermuda shorts, etc.

Sweet & Sassy Skirts: Prints and solids, short and long, low-slung and high-waisted. But most of all: Airy, flirty, flattering.

The Sundress: Need I say more? To me, the perfect sun dress strikes that cord between casual and elegant—arms and collarbones, looking good barefoot or high-heeled. It’s something you can wear to both a barbecue and a summer wedding.

Tees, Tunics & Blouses: Yes, please! I’m finally understanding the worth of blouses as they also strike that balance between casual/formal, totally versatile. I’m also thinking mini-dresses that do triple duty as tunics, dresses and cover-ups.

Those Summer Nights: Pullovers, cardis and hoodies may be the last thing you’re thinking of with the mercury rising, but there’s those cool summer nights, not to mention every last establishment with the air con blasting. Or: for those of you where thunderstorms are a daily summer experience, a lightweight trench?

I’ve got an idea of what I want to do. Obviously, the Anthropologie pants are going to be one piece, and by extention, the test shorts. (Which, by the way– I took Gail’s suggestion and did a little more tweaking, and the wrinkles are much better now! No pics, though.) I’ve talked a little about the next two before, but I definitely would like to do the embroidered ruffle skirt and the sheer Frankenpattern blouse, since they’ve been in my mental queue for quite some time! I also have a piece of drapey olive green jersey for which I’ve had an idea simmering in the back of my mind for a year or so, so hopefully I’ll get to that as well. I’m also going to count the Odyssey tank, since it is clothes-making for summer!
I definitely have some ideas for other things I’d like to get to if I have the time–the Crescent skirt, for one. I would also like to sew or refashion some knit tops, since I’ve been feeling a need for some stuff that can flip between work and weekend wear for me. And I have the yarn for another sleeveless top to knit. But I’ll see how it goes.

the promised knitting update

I’m finding it easier to keep my sewing and knitting posts pretty much separated. And I haven’t said anything about my latest yarny endeavors in awhile, so here’s what’s been going on.

1. I still haven’t blocked that Stolen Moments wrap. Kind of a combo of lack of time/lack of good weather to do it with. I’m thinking that, since the recommended method involved rolling it up in towels and whatnot, probably the best place for me to let it dry is out in the backyard. And between all the cloudy days and rain we’ve been getting this month, and just not being home for a long enough stretch of time to do it….yeah.

2. The unraveling continues from those sweaters. The cream colored one is all unraveled, balled up, and listed with its estimated yardage and weight on Ravelry. I’m maybe 1/3-1/2 done unraveling the cardigan, and the grey sweater is in pieces, at least.

3. Largely due to #2, I ended up purchasing a ball winder and swift. I found the swift on Etsy, actually– a more tabletop-type one that folds up and was way less expensive than the average umbrella-looking thing (something like $25 vs. a minimum of $60, based on what I saw.) It’s making it sooooo much easier, and way more fun, to do the unraveling– I found that I can just wind it right from the sweater onto the swift, estimate the yardage from that piece based on where I’ve got the pegs (measured around them), and then crank it onto the ball winder. And then I get these nice flat-ended balls instead of the round ones that just fall all over the place while I’m trying to knit/tempt the cat into evil/etc. (Actually, I like the idea so much that I ended up using it on almost all of the yarn I have.

4. Oh, yeah, actual knitting. I’ve got two projects in the works right now, though I can’t talk about one of them yet.  All in good time. The other is the Drop-Stitch Lace Tank from a book I got called Fitted Knits (by Stefanie Japel). I guess you could say this is my first sweater attempt, though there aren’t any sleeves involved. This is about as far as I’ve gotten–I’ve added two rows since the picture was taken, but that’s not enough to make a difference in the look.

On a random note, so far, this project constantly gives me urges to listen to Arcade Fire. The yarn is by a company called Berroco,  and The Suburbs has this song (that gets stuck in my head a lot anyway) called “Rococo”…

And every time I think of it, I just keep subbing the chorus lyrics with “Berroco, Berroco, Berrocoberroco….”

I know, I know, I’m a geek. I’ve accepted that and moved on. 

If anything, this should give me the urge to go watch some movies based on Greek mythology. (Or get done with my current read so I can read the last of the Percy Jackson books.) The colorways all have something to do with it. Mine’s the “Homer Blue”. I’m calling this my Odyssey Tank, since The Odyssey is a waaaaaaay more fun read than The Illiad, IMO.

Testing, testing…

Warning: The following post contains pictures of me attempting to fit pants. Or pants-like things.

I’ve gotten the test version of the pants basted together, and spent some time this afternoon tweaking the fit. Here’s how the process has gone so far:

Step 1: Added all of the markings that didn’t happen in the original Frankenpattern. Which turned out to be way more of a trial and error than it should have, at least for the first piece, because I hadn’t finished my first cup of tea for the day at the time and forgot that my seam allowances are currently 1″ and not 5/8″.

Step 2: Discovered my first pattern tweak– apparently I mis-traced one of the waistband pieces (out of the magazine, and so much has been said about Burda’s new pattern sheet layouts that I don’t think I need to go into more explanation there) and one ended up longer on a side than the other.

But that was an easy enough fix. I trimmed them to the same width on that edge and marked the difference for later. (Slightly harder to fix will be my discovery right after that I’d only cut 1 facing piece for each waistband instead of 2. I guess I’ll have to dig in the remnant bin again and see what else I have, since I’m pretty sure I don’t have enough left of the piece I used to cut those and the pocket pieces. If I have enough at all.)

Then came the fun part: basting the whole thing together (sans pockets and facings and zipper fly bits) to see what the situation would be.

Actually, it was pretty close on the original pattern. (The top row is the “before” pics for the pattern sewed together on all given seam allowances, and the bottom row is the “after” pics after I tried a few of the tweaks I learned from the jeans class. Fronts and backs are diagonal to each other, because I messed up on the Picasa collage layout before saving and couldn’t edit it.)

The main problem initially was, of course, the crotch. Lots of pulling and sagging and whatnot. I also had to take in a little bit on each side and at the top of the back to fix some gapping issues.  It’s still not perfect, but I think it’s about as good as it’ll get, at least with this fabric. It’s a kind of stiff twill, so it just doesn’t have much in the way of drape to hang well in the back. As for the front, there’s still some creases, but I’m becoming convinced that pretty much any pair of fitted-at-the-top women’s pants is going to do that, since it seems like, in my cursory glance over the internet just now, even skinny models with no hips have those wrinkles when they wear pants. (At least, in the initial Google image search, and on Anthropologie. On a side note, these pants aren’t there anymore. So this has to work!)

I’ve got my pattern pieces basically prepped for alterations now, except for trimming– the orange line is the new seam allowance, and the purple is the new cutting line. This piece (the back) was the most dramatic change. Most of the rest of it just involved taking in the tops of seams about 1/8″ or so. I’ll need to add just a little bit to the center front, too, since I had to flatten out the curve there and it seems like it took away from the seam allowance somehow.

Next step: I need to take these shorts apart again, since they’re only basted together (though I think I’ll trim the seam allowances down a bit first.) Then it’ll be sewing them together for real, mainly to give myself a bit of practice on the two techniques that concern me in here: the welt pockets and the fly-front zipper!

Strapless no more!

I don’t know if it’s because I hate being cold so much, or because I’ve been wanting to travel to Hawaii since I was 5. (I have a rather vivid memory of my parents going there and leaving me and my 3ish-year-old brother at my dad’s parents, and being woken up every night by sirens at the nearby fire station and having this bizzare, vivid nightmare of standing outside of my house with my other grandparents’ dog, watching it tilt on one corner and fill up with water. What can I say, I’ve always had bizzare, vivid dreams. But the point is I’ve wanted to go to Hawaii ever since.) But I have a definite weakness for tropical things. I kind of want to hug palm trees every time I see them, and I seem to be strangely drawn to fabrics with hibiscus flowers and other Hawaiian-style prints on them. So when I found this dress on a Goodwill run with one of my friends on Friday night, it was no exception.

It’s a lovely print of flowers and palm leaves, in red and green and just enough brown to keep it from looking too Christmassy. But there were two things wrong with it:

1. Though it fit really well overall, it was just a little bit too small at the top to be truly comfortable.

2. It was strapless. Which always makes me feel like a wardrobe malfunction waiting to happen.

(On a random side note, do you ever feel really self-conscious about how you photograph for this sort of thing? I don’t know if it’s because I’m just that pale, or something weird about the way the natural light comes into my room, or what, but my legs look like they belong to someone else when compared with my arms! I’m like a Frankensew-and-so! Anyway, back to the dress.)

The bodice had a boned lining with an elasticized bottom (to substitute for a bra for ladies who can get away with that sort of thing, I suppose). And though the overall fabric is a stretch cotton, the lining was also fully underlined with a non-stretch layer. So I figured I had a shot at making this thing fit without too much trouble.

(The lining after I took it off of the dress, removed the elastic, separated the underlining, and ditched the boning.)

I was impressed with how many nice details were in this dress, actually. It’s originally from The Gap, which is a place I tend to not shop (mainly since I find it rather expensive and often too preppy for my taste.) But besides this couture-esque lining, it also had  a fully faced hem instead of a folded-up-and-stitched one. The finish was really clean, and I may have to use that at some point. It was actually partially what gave me the idea for how I could make this work with a very limited amount of fabric.

The top of the lining had a strip of interfacing on it.

So I added a seam allowance and cut it off. This became a similar facing for the top of the dress.

With what was left of the bodice lining, I cut strips, sewed them together on the bias, and made two straps. They ended up being a bit thicker than spaghetti straps–linguini straps, maybe?

Now I want pasta. I shouldn’t write when I’m hungry. (Sorry for all the tangents and apparent loopiness!)

And here’s the finished dress. I feel a lot more secure with the straps! And with just the facing to allow for a little extra stretch, the fit of the top is much, much better. I can breathe without it being painful now!

I probably would have delayed this recon a bit longer so I could get started on the pants project, but I wanted to get it done in time for the Around The World in 80 Dresses challenge, for which I believe the deadline is Saturday. So just in time! And since I’ve been scraping small bits of sewing time here and there, this was a nice project to work in so I could feel like I accomplished something this week.

And Operation Awesome Pants is underway!

At least in the testing phase. I figured I’d go ahead and document the process a little more closely–both because my idea to copy the Anthropologie pants seemed to generate some interest, and because this might help me for future pants projects! I’m not quite working on the actual pants yet– I’m using up some stash to make what I hope will be a wearable muslin, though in a shorts version (since I’m lacking in those anyway.)

So here’s where things stand so far– all of this was done last Tuesday since I had unexpected time off work, though I haven’t touched it since. (I just haven’t had time to post, which is probably just as well given all the problems that Blogger had last week. Haven’t had time to sew, either.)

I’m using elements of three different patterns to try and get this to work–the laced-up pants that was a purchased pattern, the waistband and fly front from the shorts, and the welt pockets from the second pair of pants (in the magazine.) All three of these are Burda, so I figured they’d be fairly easy to mix and match. For the sake of clarity, let’s say the laced pants pattern is A, the welt pocket pants are B, and the shorts are C.

I traced out the various pieces I would need (though the legs of the pants are shorter), then got to work on the alterations. The first thing I tackled was the welt pocket from B, which is a vertical welt leading into a full-sized pocket. So I laid that over the side front of A and reshaped the side to match.

I didn’t realize this when I got the pattern, but the front of A is actually split into two pieces! Which I’m hoping will look ok for the shorts. I’m actually quite happy with this discovery for the real version, because that is going to make adding a pleat to the pattern much easier.

This was me making the actual waistline….

….so I could check to see how the waistband of C matched up. The shape was almost identical, actually– I just needed to fix the length a bit.

The waist of A had a facing rather than a band. So the next step was to change this to use a waistband instead. I just traced the edge of the C pattern, then added seam allowance (the more solid line that’s closer to the top.)

Then I repeated this for the back, which was slightly complicated by the dart.

Once all of the pattern pieces were altered and trimmed out, I laid them out on the twill. For the test version, I extended the seam allowances to 1″ instead of 5/8″, so I’d have a little extra room to play with for fitting purposes. I just drew the seam allowances directly on the fabric with a disappearing marker.

And here’s everything cut out and ready to go! I think I’m going to tackle this in a few stages. The first is going to be just a basic fit test, which will be all basted. Then I’m going to unpick the sides and do the actual welt pockets, because I’ve never done one of those before and I’d rather have a practice run. I also need to make sure that the fly front is going to work, since I’ve had trouble with those in the past.

Like I said, I haven’t had time to touch anything sewing-related since Tuesday, though. Things have been super-busy over the last several days, and so the only time I had to actually sit down and sew would have been Saturday night after work. But by the time I got done with that, I was lacking the brainpower to tackle something as complex as merging three patterns. So what I have been doing is a little bit of knitting, and a little bit of sweater unraveling. (I caved and got a small tabletop swift from an Etsy shop, and a ball winder from Amazon–the ball winder isn’t in yet, but the swift did arrive, and it’s making unraveling those thrift-store sweaters so much easier already!) So there probably will be a knitting update post before too long….but not now, since I have to run off to the next job.

It’s a slip! It’s a dress! It’s a slipdress! (Ok, maybe just a slip.)

Skipped rock climbing again last night–was feeling rather tired and generally unwell. So I treated myself to a quick wardrobe fix that I’ve been meaning to do for awhile.

I picked up this dress during a Goodwill run with a friend several months ago. Which is not actually the subject of this refashion, because I like it as is! It’s just a basic knit wrap dress in a bold print, so it’s very comfortable and fun. But I’ve been kind of afraid to wear it–it’s also more low cut than I feel comfortable wearing out in public (especially in a stretchy fabric), and the way the wrap is constructed would make it very prone to wardrobe malfunctions on a breezy day.

When I was swapping my warmer-weather clothes into my closet and drawers, I came across this tank top. I’ve had it for awhile, and it had gotten to the point that, while it still fit well overall, it had gotten uncomfortable even as a layering piece. It was just too short, with a tendency to ride up underneath whatever shirt I was wearing it with. So I figured this would be the perfect base for a layering piece for the stripey dress.

I didn’t have anything on hand in the stash to pair with it, though. So I picked up this basic knit skirt at the thrift store last week. (The same trip on which I spotted the sweater I just unraveled that led me down the path of excessive yarn consumption in the name of science.)

It was a rather simple refashion– I unpicked the hem on the tank top, chopped about 18″ off the base of the skirt, took in enough at the top of that part to make it fit the edge of the tank, and serged the two pieces together. And in about an hour, I had this:

Kind of reminds me of those dresses the Project Runway models always walk out in. I doubt I’ll ever wear this on its own as a dress. For one thing, I think stylewise it would be much more flattering if the skirt joined more at my waist instead of my hips. And then there’s that two-tone black thing it has going on–I tried to find something that would more or less match up, but I didn’t have the tank top with me so it was hard to judge. And since I used the lower portion of the skirt, it’s got a slit in it the back that runs the risk of being a bit risque! But as an underlayer, it’s great because it’ll be easier for me to walk. (I often joke that I walk like a guy– I take big steps!)

Not the best action shot, between my pasty legs and that weird shadow on my face that I didn’t notice until I’d already put away the tripod and uploaded the picture…blah. But I’ll feel much better about leaving the house in this dress without the fear of flashing people.

I suspect this slip-dress thing will come in handy later on, too– I saw this knit button-down shirtdress-type thing in one of the more recent issues of BurdaStyle that I really liked, and think would be a great pairing for one of the knit prints I picked up at Mood awhile back. But that, I think, would also need something underneath it.

Another reconstruction!

I did finish that shirt after posting yesterday’s blog, but didn’t get the pics until today. This is the before picture of the blouse. I found it at a thrift store awhile back. And, well, it had some issues. It was kind of big and baggy, but with sleeves that were this really weird length. (Kind of like it was supposed to be long sleeves and shrank in the wash.) And the buttons didn’t really go with the shirt at all, IMO. But the fabric was really nice– a 100% silk woven of some type. And the color is gorgeous; it kind of shifts between turquoise and violet depending on the lighting. So I thought it was worth salvaging.

Here’s the after….a much better fit (even though a crappy picture, since I’m terrible at taking pictures of myself wearing things.)

It was a more involved reconstruction, since I basically had to take almost the entire blouse apart. And it was a case of winging it as I went, for the most part. The back is almost as it was, other than losing some of the width in the back. But I removed the collar (leaving just the stand so it has that mandarin look), and cut the sleeves to just above my elbow. One of the things I’ve learned in this cooler spring is that I needed some brighter colored transitional clothing. Nearly all that I had looks like fall! And obviously, I made some more drastic changes to the front…

I cut the front down the center to give it more of an empire waist (I know it looks low, and maybe the seam is just a little lower than it should have been, but it does fit better than a lot of that style seems to be for me.) Did a little gathering to make it smaller, and a little box pleat on the lower part to do the same. I also ended up deciding that I didn’t want it to be completely a button-down shirt, so I took the side the buttons had been on, laid that on top, and topstitched it down so the bottom half is one solid piece. There’s a zipper in the side now so I can easily get it on and off. And then I swapped out the buttons with ones that match much, much better. Whew! So I’m pleased overall with how this one turned out….now I just need to figure out a fun name for it so I can stick it in the sidebar list.

So there you have it! I’m hoping to work in a quick refashion or two this week for Refashion Co-Op’s Around the World in 80 Dresses challenge. Aside from that, now that I’ve done a couple of relatively quick sewing projects, I think I’m ready to tackle my next Big Challenge: The Anthropologie pants!!

baa baa wet sheep

Wet mostly plastic sheep, really.

I was planning on sewing more last night after Nicole left. But by the time I got everything cleaned up, I was so tired that all I was up for was sitting in front of the tv for Doctor Who and the most brainless crafting I could think of–unraveling the rest of the Stay-puft Marshmallow sweater. I washed it this afternoon and hung it to dry and hopefully stretch out. (It’s draped over my music stand, covered in plastic to keep it from rusting where I’ve chipped the paint off, with water bottles at the ends of the skeins to weigh them down. I found the idea on Ravelry and got all excited since I wouldn’t have to buy anything to make this work.)

It hasn’t quite unkinked as much as I’d hoped…might be due to the high synthetic content. But I think it is a little straighter than it was. Balling it up might help, too. It actually dried almost all the way in the approximately three hours I had it outside–the only damp spots were right at the bottom, where the water bottles were. So I’ve got it in the basement to dry the rest of the way.

Other things I did this afternoon:

  • Went to the garden center where I work with my parents to help them get stuff for their gardens (with my employee discount, of course). The tradition the last couple of years that I’ve done for Mother’s Day has been to get the stuff to fill her couple of flower planters on the deck, so she and I picked out stuff for that too.
  • Planted said flowers in the pots, as well as the herbs that also go on the deck.
  • Finished one half of a knitting project:

 This is the second set of Constellation Gloves that I’m making for a friend of mine (who loved mine and wanted to steal them.) I was planning on sewing once I got done dealing with the planting and yarn washing and laundry and such, but then my brother and sis-in-law stopped by to visit Mom. And then they put in a Star Wars movie. So I had to watch it with them. Darn. Finishing this was quieter than sewing, and quicker to grab. So there ya go.

Ok, off to finish tidying up here a bit. And then maybe actually do that sewing!

Apron crafting!

My friend Nicole had the idea a little while ago that we should make some Anthropologie-inspired aprons. We finally got together this weekend to do so, and spent quite a few hours last night and this afternoon putting them together. With her permission for posting the photo, here’s what we ended up with!
We ended up pretty much winging them completely, with no patterns. Which meant we had to make some tweaks as we went along, but it was great to have her there so we could bounce our ideas for how to make things work off of each other!

 She used their “Tea and Crumpets” apron as her inspiration….

…and I used the “Gray Gardens” one–with the boldness of the print in the fabric I ended up choosing, it seemed like the best match!

We’re hoping to get together before too long for another sewing day–she made this one to give to a friend who recently got married, and wants to make a second one for herself. (I’m being selfish and keeping mine.) I hope it doesn’t take too long, anyway–sewing with other people is kind of a rare treat for me! (And most often happens with my mom, though it seems we don’t really have the time to sew at the same time much these days.)

Also, I kind of feel like I should cook something soon, now that I have a cheery apron to keep myself from splattering bits of food all over my clothes!

A day of small things. (And some rather oversized ones.)

Because I don’t really have anything finished to show. Things have been kind of busy lately, since I had to work almost all day on Saturday, I was out on Friday night, and had way too much going on between church activities and flute choir on Sunday to do much. But I’ve been working on a couple of different things as I’ve been able to since the last post, so here’s what’s been going on in my crafty world:

I’ve been refashioning a shirt– a 100% silk blouse that I thrifted some time ago. I skipped rock climbing on Monday to stay home and sew, since I got done teaching too late anyway, and made some nice progress on this. It’s close to being done, I just have to deal with the sleeves. But here’s a teaser shot.

This is one of the things I really like about refashioning–they’re the perfect sewing project in a pinch for when I just don’t have time to lay out a pattern and cut something out.

I knitted a gauge swatch for one of the tank tops I’m hoping to make soon. I think it’s ok….the width was absolutely spot-on, but the number of rows left me about half an inch short of what the book said. So I’m guessing I just make this a little longer if need be. I hope it’s ok, anyway, since I stopped at Joann’s on Monday to pick up a couple of things I needed for said refashion, and already bought the circular needle that I need. (I’m excited about this yarn. Not only is it a very pretty blue, but it’s sparkly! And it’s cotton!)

I had stopped in Goodwill earlier this week too, in order to pick up something for another refashion where I didn’t have anything good on hand to add to what I do have. While I was there, I saw a sweater with a low wool content, and almost got it. But I didn’t. And then I went back today before I went to my band teaching job, and ended up getting 3 sweaters with low animal-fiber contents. As you can see, they’re all kind of ugly, so my plan is to unravel them for the yarn and use them as test subjects to see how my skin handles them. So here’s what I’ve got:

1. A bit too long for a tunic, a bit too short for a sweater dress. And a ridiculously oversized cowl that makes it look way too 80s for anyone’s good. The blend is 55% cotton, 20% viscose, 20% acrylic and 5% rabbit hair. (I guess that would also be known as angora? Or does it have to be a certain type of rabbit for that?) I’m guessing worsted weight.

2. The original sweater I spotted and didn’t buy. I’m not seeing how this sweater would possibly be flattering on anyone, really. Especially with that bubble turtleneck thing. It makes me think of the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man. Come on, Express, you should know better. Anyway, this one is 45% acrylic, 44% polyester, and 11% wool. Definitely a bulky yarn.

3. The best one of the three stylewise by far, and if it wasn’t so huge, I’d be potentially tempted to just keep it as is. I do love a long cardi. And it’s super-soft. You can’t really tell from the picture, but the yarn is really pretty– it’s kind of a blend of a mossy green, grey, a greyish blue, and something that looks kind of yellowish-green. This one’s 74% polyester, 11% mohair, 7% acrylic and 8% wool. It also looks like a worsted-weight.

None of these seemed to really set me off when handling them in the store or trying them on for the photos, so maybe that means I’ll be ok? I’m most definitely going to wash these first, since they do have that kind of musty thrift-store smell, and then I guess I’ll start dissecting them and see how much yarn I end up with. Either way, 3 sweaters’ worth of yarn for $10.50 is definitely not a bad way to start my experimentation!

edit, later this evening: So after looking at some tutorials on how to unravel the sweaters for maximum yarn yield, I decided to go ahead and work on dissecting the Stay-Puft Marshmallow sweater. (I’d already thrown the other two in the washer before reading that wool should be unraveled first, then washed. Hopefully the cardi is ok. I didn’t put them in the dryer, and I wash everything on cold…) So far, it seems that I was able to work with the yarn for about 2 1/2 hours before my palms started feeling a little funny. The downside is, I think this sweater is also partially felted! The strands are definitely clinging together a bit much, to the point where I have to use my thread clippers to chop those extra fuzzies apart on a fairly regular basis. For those of you who have more experience with yarn than me–is this still usable?