Wednesday, October 30, 2013

WIP: Sweater Surgery

Last week I'd pretty much finished the Christmas sweater for my youngest nephew... but I did think it looked awfully small! I knew that he'd only be able to fit it this winter as it was, but it would be such a shame to knit a sweater that was too small before he even got it! So I decided not to weave in the ends until after I'd tried it on him.

Turned out not to matter, because while it was too small for him, it was too small lengthwise (I'd mostly been worried about the tightness of the bind-off) so I needed to knit another 5-10 cm before the bottom ribbing. As this yarn was easy to knit with and had wonderful stitch definition, I figured this was as good a time as any for my to attempt Sweater Surgery... especially because this sweater was small enough that no real harm was done if the sweater surgery failed and I had to knit the ribbing again after all ;)

Sweater prior to Sweater Surgery

Taking a scissor to the yarn... that was kinda intimidating. I haven't tried steaking yet, so in my books knitting and scissors don't mix!

Slowly unravelling the cut yarn, catching the stitches as I go along.

Leaving a gaping whole and two sets of live stitches.

And finally the ribbing completely separated from the rest of the sweater.

After having knit another 8cm in the round it was time to combine the two again...

Using kitchener stitch to graft them together.

Getting a seam that's practically invisible... should be completely after blocking.

The purple stitch maker shows the place of the original ribbing.

And all done!
Granted, the tree looks kinda small compared to the full size of the sweater now, so I probably ought to have unravelled further and done another set of branches there, but what's done is done. Now I just need to weave in all the ends, and it's ready to give to my nephew for his birthday next month! I'm still contemplating whether to use coloured yarn to embroider ornaments on the tree... On one hand I think it looks good as it is, on the other, the added colours could give a neat effect as well. I might just try a couple and see how it works out.

Lessons Learned
1. Always get measurements of the person you're knitting for! Especially if you're knitting something time sensitive for a growing person! I've knit other sweaters for my nephew in the past, but there I deliberately chose a size 1-2 larger than I knew he used so he could grow into it. This sweater he'd be using within a couple of weeks of me finishing it, so I should just have asked my sister for measurements right away.

2. When cutting and then grafting remember to check all your stitches are facing the right direction before starting to sew them up. I didn't, so some of my stitches came out crooked. As it's the first round after the ribbing it's not too noticeable, so I don't really mind, but if it had been in the middle of a longer sts section it would have been VERY obvious.

3. Using kitchener stitch to graft 80-odd stitches together takes FOREVER!!! Time-wise I'm pretty sure it was still faster than just re-knitting the ribbing, but it felt slower, so for another time - when it's such a narrow ribbing at least - I think I mind just unravel entirely and reknit instead.

4. I need to be more careful not to pull the yarn too tight when grafting. The ribbing turns up some, but I'm hoping to fix that with a good blocking.

5. While it took awhile, and was it somewhat daunting to start cutting into my knitting - I managed!!! Yay! A new technique learned :D :D :D


  1. Goodness, that looked scary!! But well done, I think I would have just knitted another one and given the smaller one away to someone else

    1. I probably would have as well, if it had been too small in anything other than length!

  2. You are brave! And the end result is amazing - Congrats!
    Marigolds' Loft

  3. Nice work! And think of much grafting practice you got:)

  4. Ohhhh my God I would have been too scared to do that!