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how to: cut your knitting to adjust the shape

February 20th, 2010

Last night, I cut my knitting.

I had a bit of a knitting disaster late last night. I’d just finished knitting the armhole bands and tried on the new tunicy sleeveless sweater. It fit, but it wasn’t right. The arms were too droopy and too bulky. They hung weird, and they felt even weirder.

So, I assessed the situation and decided to cut off the excess fabric and reknit the bands, about 3 inches closer to the body.

Yes, cut.

I’ve done this before, many times, but always on stockinette or rib. When you’re done knitting a sweater and it’s just too short, it’s a great solution. Weave the needle through, trim a row or two above the needle, and then pick out all those ends until you’re left with live stitches.

This, my friends, doesn’t work so well with cables and lace.

I was left with a big, horrible, scary, disastrous mess.


Maybe the best decision I made last night was leaving it until the morning to fix. I wasn’t sure I even could, to be honest. I had ideas of stabilizing with the sewing machine and then attaching bands with mattress stitch to hide the seam.

In the end, I decided to try it once more the ‘old-fashioned way’. I carefully wove my circular needle through every stitch a few rounds below the unraveling stitches.

The cables actually helped this, as the twists gave me a good idea where to weave the needle.

Lots of ends

All the way around, I was pretty sure I’d grabbed as many stitches as possible, and that all of the unraveling bits were loose above the needle, not below. This is the key, really. As long as the loose stitches are above the needle, nothing can really happen to the knitting below, and the ribbing would be stable and ‘safe’.

Working the first round of rib, I had to adjust a little to pick up another stitch here or there, or sometimes even let one drop off the needle if I’d picked it up twice.

After I’d done a few rounds, I used my fingers and a scissors to pull and snip away at the leftover bits, letting them unravel as much as possible.

Some cleanup still to do

Although I’ve gotten it as cleaned up as possible, there are still a bunch of ends to weave in, and a few floats of yarn that need to be tacked down. But, I’m pretty sure my ribbing is going to stay put, and the rest of the lace won’t unravel.

But it looks good!

The best part? From the front, you can’t tell even a little bit. It looks as smooth and even as if I’d picked up stitches from a provisional cast on.

Luckily, this was the hard side. The other armhole is where I’d cast off the lace panels, so it’ll be a matter of unworking the seam and frogging back a few inches.


Knitting saved.

how to: drop down a cable to repair a mistake

November 11th, 2007

A few days ago, I was knitting happily along on the body of the Big Cabled Sweater when I noticed that a few of my braided cables had gone wrong. Can you spot the “Oops” in the above picture? It’s on the little braid, just a few rows down from the needles. While I could […]

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