Tuesday, October 25, 2011

On Saving Sweaters with Whatever it Takes

For days now, the Yarn Harlot has been doing whatever she can to save her sweater.  She has even performed sweater surgery.

You must be very brave, or very desperate -- or both -- to attempt sweater surgery.  A couple of years ago, I performed sleeve surgery on my Ariann cardigan knit with Brooks Farm Yarns Mas-Acero.  The sleeves were started at the wrist and then joined to the body and knit up to the neck.  It was hard to know exactly how long the sleeves should be before joining, and the yarn was especially soft and drapey.

The finished sleeves were easily two inches too long.  Do you know that you cannot rip knitting from the cast on edge?  In order to shorten the sleeves, I had to decide on a row where the ribbing should start if worked downward. Then I snipped the yarn in that row, and pulled out the row, one stitch at a time, detaching the extra length.  (Sorry I do not have photos of the actual surgery.  This was over two years ago -- long before I was blogging.)  I did save the detached sleeve pieces.  They are like my red badge of courage.

 After carefully pulling out the row of knitting, the live stitches were put on needles, knit down and bound-off.  Sweater surgery is quite nerve-wracking, but it was well worth it to have a sweater with the right length sleeves.

I have good news on my latest sweater fiasco -- the fuzz ball Cerisara.  I used ALL of these de-fuzzers.

It took a lot of time, but the stitch pattern shows again.  And my "Evergreen" Cerisara, in Handwerks So-Soft DK, is now a finished object!

I hope that all of your knitting (or whatever is your work or passion) goes well, and that your mistakes will be few and far between!


  1. Ah mistakes - always a learning opportunity! So which defuzzer worked the best or did you need all three to do a complete job?

  2. Though I used them all, the battery operated Lint Shaver was the most effective. I used one that a friend loaned me first, and then (because I did not want to wear it out before returning it) I bought the one picture at Joann fabrics for $9.99.

  3. The biggest error correction I ever had to make (not exactly sweater surgery) was a cable and lace poncho - I had over 300 stitches on the needle (I was working with no life line) and there was an error about 20 rows down. The error was one complete lace row done WRONG. And it showed ... so I pulled the needle right out, (warned my family to stay away), kept my fingers crossed and ripped back and then - after a BUNCH OF SWEARING got the project back on the needles with some adjustments, and struggled to figure out which cable row and which lace row I was actually on so I didn't have to do this AGAIN. It was the most hair raising thing I had ever done. But I was pretty puffed up with pride when I had done it right ... AND I learned the lesson about life lines.

    I am not sure I could do what you did. I have a sweater that the sleeves are too long. Guess I should learn.