Sunday, November 28, 2010

Monsters Inc: DIY Rodarte-Inspired Looped Cardigan

DIY Sweater, Elizabeth and James tee, VPL bra, Carin Wester pants, Dieppa Restrepo brogues, Devaki hat, Slow and Steady Wins the Race Sunglasses and purse, Triskaidekaphobia necklace and ring.

So, I know I haven't put up a DIY in ages, but I kinda got hung up on one monster project that took me a lot longer than I could ever have anticipated. If you've been reading this blog for a while, you know I have a thing for Rodarte, and have tried my hand DIYing their tights, dresses, and leggings. All of those projects went relatively quickly, taking no more than a few weeks max, so I thought I would take a chance and give the Rodarte hairy-looking looped cardigan a try. I went for a Where The Wild Things Are-inspired muddy color story, which felt appropriate for such a shaggy mess of a sweater. I knew it would be an ambitious undertaking, but I didn't expect to take me almost a year to finish.

Most of that year was a eight month long pause between last winter and this one, getting sick of the ridiculous project, and wondering why I was devoting so much time to something so fashion-jokey (I will be the first to admit that this sweater looks like a prop-piece from Zoolander). It took me less than a week to knit the body of the sweater, but the main bulk of the time was spent latch hooking the whole thing. Judging from the runway images, I made the mistake of thinking that the Rodarte sweaters were entirely latch hooked, and didn't realize until I saw them in person that their hairy texture is composed of a mix of loop-knitting and latch hooking. If I had figured this out before knitting the sweater body, I would probably have saved myself a lot of time. Latchooking seems easy, but when you're working with such bulky, chunky yarns, it actually is a huge pain in the ass.

Anyway, I'm not actually going to bother going through the DIY instructions for several reasons. First, I'm not going to delude myself into thinking that anyone else would want to make this, wear this, or look like this. I know that I'm probably the only person in Manhattan willing to be mistaken for an Asian-Amish vagabond (yes, I actually walked out dressed like this, and yes it did elicit a lot of funny looks). Second, even though I got every single scrap of material I used for free from my former job, it probably amounted to about $500 worth of yarn, which is a rather huge amount of money to drop on such a fashionably questionable project. Third, I never work with a pattern. If however, for some reason you would like to give it a try, or are working on something similar on your own, feel free to leave any questions in the comment section and I'll be happy to explain or clarify any of the steps I took.

Now that this nonsense is finished, I think I will get back to some lighter projects--maybe some more practical sweaters and scarves for winter that don't involve making yarn-dreadlocks. On the plus side, the monster sweater was a great way to get rid of scrap yarn, and I have to say--it's as crazy-warm as it is crazy-looking.


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Brandon Acton-Bond said...

Nice job Tiff! I know how long its been going on for!

lucinda said...

Good on you for finishing it! I tried a similiar knit jumper/dress earlier this year but ended up unravelling it so many times I'm putting it off until next winter.

Grace said...


Love Grace.

somewherebetweenwakingandsleeping said...

the long awaited Rodarte sweater DIY we've been hearing so much of! well can i just say, it has most definitely been worth the wait! cant even begin to imagine how cozy that sweater is and it would be such a delight to run your fingers through :)
amazing amazing craftsmanship and im so glad you had the will to see this through to the end. dont think i would ever have the same dedication!

Amy T said...

that cardigan is a thing of beauty. kinda jealous at the mo ahaha

Emilie said...

Beautiful shoes!

Charles said...

that is so frickin' cool! it's really too bad my diy skills are sucky. Maybe one day :) xx

rebecca said...

always loved those shades!!!