Saturday, February 18, 2012

Sweater Surgery

A couple of weeks ago, I showed you the cardigan I made with my hand spun yarn, and lamented the fact that I'd made the sleeves too long. I finally got around to fixing those sleeves so I can wear the sweater to Stitches next week, and I want to show you what I did.
These sleeves were knit flat, from the cuff up, and sewn into place. There were two options for fixing my problem. One option would be to take out the seams, rip out the sleeve cap and part of the sleeve, and start the sleeve cap sooner. The other option was to cut off the lower part of the sleeve and re-knit the cuff.
You may be asking why not just unravel up from the cuff.  It is not possible to unravel knitting from the cast on edge.  Go ahead - try it.  It doesn't work.
I decided to cut off the lower part of the sleeve.  I began by picking out the seam from the cuff to past the point where I needed to cut.

Then I identified the recovery row. This is the row just above the spot where the cut would happen.  I needed the sleeve to be 2" shorter, but I was going to re-knit cuff, which is 1" wide. So, I needed to remove 3".

The process was complicated just a bit by the fact that I was working with a slipped stitch pattern.  On some rows, not every stitch is knit.  I wanted my recovery row to be one on which every stitch was knit.  I chose a row worked in white because it is easier for my old eyes to see.

The next step is to take a small knitting needle and thread it through every stitch on the recovery row. As you can see, I worked the tip of the needle under the left-hand leg of each stitch along the row.  Since it is a slipped stitch pattern, some stitches are shorter, some are longer, but they are all in the same row.
Here is the needle worked through the entire row

Now for the scissors.  I want to remove everything below the recovery row. If this was plain stockinette stitch, I could cut one stitch, unravel that row, and be done with it.  Because this is a slipped stitch pattern, I had to cut two stitches.  My recovery row was sometimes worked into a white stitch, sometimes worked into a brown stitch.
  Both strands must be cut to release the cuff.

Here is the hole that opened up with I cut one white strand and one brown strand.

Then I picked out the white row and the brown row, working from the center of the row out to the sides, until the cuff was separated from the rest of the sleeve, leaving the stitches of the recovery row conveniently on the needle.
Then it was a simple matter of unraveling the cut off section, and using that yarn to knit  new cuff, beginning with the recovery row.
I'll be wearing this sweater at Stitches West next weekend, if you want to see the results in person.
Speaking of Stitches, the forecast is calling for beautiful weather, and the buzz is starting to build.  The marketplace is sure to be inspiring, the classes and events will be entertaining and informative.  You know you want to be there!

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