Let’s set something straight. I don’t sew. I don’t mend. I don’t reattach buttons. But, when my fingerless alpaca gloves started to unravel after three seasons of abusive wear, I reassessed my lack of practical domestic skills, and set out to fix them.
Let me explain.
When I buy something that I like, I use it as long as possible and expect it to last forever. When the signs of wear and tear bow to the brute forces of time, I usually rebel by buying replacements. But it’s not that easy with my alpaca gloves. Three years ago I splurged and bought myself a pair. These hand warmers became the functional fashion staple of my wardrobe from October through March for two straight years. I chose the light gray color to coordinate with nearly everything.
At first, I said I would only wear my alpaca gloves for driving. I wanted them to last. But, I enjoyed feeling how soft they were and how cozy they made my hands feel so much that I soon began wearing them into the grocery store, post office, bank – heck, anywhere – when I would have to get in and out of the car several times on a trip. I started teaching night classes in cold classrooms in them. Then, I started wearing them when I walked my dog, Shady. I blame her for the first signs of fraying. She tugged on the leash and pulled through my right-hand grip, exactly in the spot where the unraveling began. Driving, shopping, errands and dog walking led to the most abusive practice yet: Typing.
You’d think typing would be harmless, but it’s not. I’m always cold, and sitting at a desk keyboard isn’t conducive to building heat in the body. I hate cold hands. My fingers need to be warm enough to type freely, which is possible in these gloves if the top edges are rolled over. And, that’s the big problem. I would roll the edges over when I got to work, and then unroll them to drive home and run errands and walk the dog. All this rolling and unrolling took a toll on my poor alpaca gloves.
I noticed that the first stitch had unraveled at my son’s winter baseball practice. I didn’t have a crochet hook, yarn needle or matching yarn with me at the time (who would?), so I did the only sensible thing. I started pulling and picking with teeth and nails, trying to salvage any part of the unraveling yarn that I could. Anyone who has experienced the obsession to pinch a tiny dot of poison ivy until it blossomed into its fullest potential, understands this compulsion. I can’t leave well-enough alone.
So, when I noticed that the two stitches that originally frayed out were slowly expanding into the next row, I tucked my alpaca gloves into my purse, and vowed to not touch them till I found a crochet hook, yarn needle and yarn. The fix was easy. It took me about 20 minutes to use the crochet hook to make a “ladder” out of the loose knitted stitches, similar to picking up a dropped stitch when knitting. Unfortunately though, the top horizontal strand was broken, and I didn’t have anything to attach to. So, I took some gray alpaca yarn left over from another project (that’s why you shouldn’t throw away leftover yarn scraps), and wove a clunky pattern through the open stitches. It wasn’t pretty, but it held.
The result is that I now am back to abusing my alpaca gloves. In fact, I’m wearing them, tops rolled back, as I type these words now. Don’t you love happy endings?
Do you find it difficult to not pull a loose thread? Would you take the time to repair your alpaca gloves or would you buy another pair?
Sirius Alpacas is a family farm in Chardon, Ohio that raises and boards alpacas for fun, therapy and profit. The farm uses its fleeces in the production of high-quality yarns and felted goods.
Sirius Alpacas also imports fair-trade Andean items including socks, scarves, hats, gloves, sweaters and more from Peru and Bolivia, offering the style and culture of South American goods while helping the farmers, artists and craftsmen of that region. Lori Weber, co-owner of Sirius Alpacas, is the creator and writer of this alpaca blog. You may reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.