Anyone who truly knows me will tell you that I love the fiber arts because I always have something in my hands, whether it is knitting needles, a crochet hook, or fabric with my sewing machine. I had been wanting to do a little more crochet, just to fit it in, and I had this idea of mixing my sewing with my fiber and thought, “What if I put them together?” Over the past few years I have worked hard on being an intentional spinner, which means spinning with the yarn’s end use in mind. Although I do occasionally like to spin just for the joy of it, that leaves you with yarn and singles you may not have any idea what to do with, so I love to spin for a project.
I am not a fast-fashion type of person, and I believe our clothes should last a long time and be repurposed. I also like to make the clothes I wear. I decided this project would be repurposing a pair of jeans into a skirt and adding handspun. My next step was figuring out if I wanted to knit or crochet. I am much faster at crochet, and I wanted to wear something new for Maryland Sheep and Wool so crochet it was!
I took an old pair of jeans that I’ve had for over ten years, opened the inner part of the legs, and cut the legs off about 1.5 inches past the stitching lines for the front zipper on the jeans. Most sewists, including myself, would recommend that you measure the circumference of what is now the bottom half of your denim skirt, but for this project I just freestyled it. I will confess I did have to rip back on the crochet chain stitch a couple of times to get the accurate number of stitches I needed. I did make sure what I casted on was snug to the denim, like a second skin. Not too snug but just right.
I ended up crocheting in the round as I wanted to work on getting rid of jog lines on the side of my work. I crocheted a few rows before I basted the crocheted portion of the skirt to the denim for placement. I sewed it on with my sewing machine when I was about a third of the way into the project. I figured I knew what I was getting by then and could commit to the project at that point.
I pulled out all of my leftover handspun yarn. I’m talking about all the singles, the Advent spins, the samples leftover from classes, the yarn spun while figuring out weights of yarn/wraps per inch, yarns leftover from handspun projects, and the wool from that sheep breed study and/or new to me breed I just wanted to try out. All sizes, all breeds and blends, both woolen or worsted were included and used all together.
The stitch I used for this project was a half double crochet. I used an H hook which is 5.00 mm because I love that size and I think it’s middle of the road for most of the yarns I was working with. Most yarns were either Aran or worsted weight yarns. I do remember one of my yarns being a DK weight, but the H hook worked fine for that as well. For the placement of yarns when crocheting, I made sure at least one cohesive color matched the next yarn choice. For example, gray is in the first two yarns at the top. Toward the middle, I used yellow but there is a purple/blue in the yellow, so I thought blue went with that. After the blue I have a brown and white base yarn with primary colors mixed in. I picked that yarn because it has blue in it. Pink and fuchsia came next because in my head they’re in the pink family, so they match.
I wore my skirt to Maryland Sheep and Wool, and the reactions I got were overwhelming, unexpected, and delightful all at the same time. I’ve never been stopped so much in my life. I mean everyone was stopping me to give a compliment, take a picture, or ask for instructions on what I did. It was a very humbling experience.
When I look at my skirt, I can remember the roving or batt gifts my fiber friends have sent me, the Advent calendar that I spun, the yarn I made for my very first handspun sweater, the class I took learning to make a fractal yarn. Memories of my spinning journey, my history. If you decide to do something similar, your skirt, jeans, top, hat, or whatever you want to make, even a sweater, will have a history too. It tells a story, your story, your fiber journey. Enjoy the process!!!!
Andrea Peart learned to crochet as a child but was obsessed with learning to knit which she finally did in her thirties. Knitting led to her other love, spinning. She is currently eyeballing floor looms. When not tied up with her wheels or yarn, you can find her in New Jersey where she resides with her husband and three rescued cats: Marsha, Axel and DJ short for Dennis the Menace to Society. You can find her on Instagram @knitknac.