Monthly Archives: February 2014

Channeling Judi Dench

Knitted cardigan, socks; upcycled skirt

Closeup of Diane Soucy top-down cardigan

My family has crowned me with a new nickname: Judi Dench.

I’m quite honored, although I know my brother bequeathed the nickname on me to ridicule my fashion sense. I’m sorry, but I like sturdy wool sweaters, tweedy skirts, granny glasses, and my regular adornment of a simple string of pearls. Coupled with my imposing demeanor, I can see why I remind Matt of “M.” OK, that last bit is my own delusion. I’m no more imposing than sunshine on a rainy day. Or these days, a warm breeze after a long, cold winter.

O likes to inspect my daily outfits now. They are usually pronounced “too Denchy.”

I’ve been quiet, but don’t mistake that for sloth. I’ve been busy in my sewing room. This month alone, I’ve:

  • Mended three pairs of men’s pants
  • “Upcycled” the wool skirt you see above
  • Sewed a brocade A-line skirt (photos forthcoming when said warm breeze arrives)
  • Sewed two knit turtlenecks
  • Sewed a Tova blouse for the spring (photos, again, TK)
  • Knit a pair of socks

The upcycled skirt started out as a thrift store purchase from two years ago, a gorgeous lined wool Talbots skirt. It was, however, rather long and made me look more like Judi Dench’s mother, so I lopped off about eight inches and rehemmed it. It wasn’t an easy job because there’s a false wrap on the front with some piping on the seam edge, so I had to carefully rip out threads and resew some of the seams. I think it turned out quite well! I love wearing it with thick cotton tights and wooly socks.

The sweater I finished some months ago. I knit it from one of my tried-and-true cardigan patterns, the neck-down cardigan by Diane Soucy. It’s a size small, but quite roomy on me so next time I think I’ll knit the XS. (I have to chuckle at that because I look like a linebacker in this shot!) I’ve decided to accept that I like very simple, utilitarian sweaters, especially in the winter. I’ve been living in this one since November, as well as my Candide Aran, and both have held up extremely well and keep me cozy warm.

The wool came from sheep raised over at Drumlin Farm Wildlife Sanctuary in nearby Lincoln, Massachusetts. It’s unbleached and was spun up at Green Mountain Spinnery in Putney, Vermont. The pewter buttons are recycled from a very old moth-eaten Talbots sweater.

The socks you see peeking out of my boots? Handknit from Patons’ Classic Wool from another tried-and-true pattern, Elizabeth Zimmerman’s Woodsman’s socks. These will last me through the rest of the winter. Unfortunately, the wool isn’t strong enough for socks, so they’ll develop holes in the heels. No worries; I’ll felt them and use what’s left for craft projects.

Brown turtleneck: Target; cotton tights, Marshalls; Maine Hunting Boots, LL Bean; wool socks and sweater, handknit; Talbot’s wool skirt, thrifted and upcycled; glasses, Costco; attitude, all mine.