Sunday, January 06, 2008

"Before, during, and after" or "you'd never know"

First - thanks for the comments, I guess I was calm about this, the sweater wasn't going to be worn as short as it was so something had to happen. I went for the cut and extend fix rather than the add on the bottom fix. What didn't show up in the photos was the tapered shape of the body of the sweater, adding a band to the bottom would have made it longer in the wrong place. This sweater needed length around the chest where it was wider.

I did have a clear back up plan if the adding an extension section at chest level didn't work. That plan was to pick up and knit a few rows of garter stitch as a kind of separation band, and then knit a stocking stitch body down, replacing the lower body section entirely.

The fix for Bears sweater was surprisingly quick, I had estimated it would take 3 days or so, but in less than 24 hours it was cut apart, extended and put back together.
Here is how it went: first I snipped and unraveled a single row of stitches just below the front placket opening. Because the yarn was sticky - I didn't thread them on a needle, or safety line as they were freed, I just left them hanging around.

I continued all around the jersey until the top and bottom were separate entities. Notice that with a little ribbing, the top would make a cute short empire waisted shrug - design idea for latter perhaps? I put the live stitches from the body back on 5mm needles and knitted an extra 10 cm on to the body. I put the live stitches on the yoke onto a 2mm circular needle - just to hold them. I know the sweater looks long here, but Bear is one of those humans with short legs and a long torso. He buys extra tall shirts and I shorten his jeans - it all evens out.

Next day, working at the dining room table, I grafted the two sets of live stitches together. I made sure the underarm increases lined up before I started. I put both sets of stitches on 2mm circular needles to make it easy to thread a needle through them while they were on the needle. Grafting the whole sweater took more than an hour, but less than two hours. I attempted to work the kitchener in pattern, two knit and one purl - but I just kept confusing myself. So to keep thing simple and achievable, the KISS principle, I grafted all stitches as if they were knit stitches. The only tricky bit was making sure the knitted ribs lined up correctly, by the end I had one extra stitch - as you always do, but I fudged it in just fine.

After the join was grafted, it wasn't invisible, I warned Bear it might look like a fold line after it was blocked. This was always intended to be "a weekend, evening, at home warm outdoor sort of work jersey", so I think we were both prepared to live with that for now. You can see the 'rough' knit section of added length quite clearly - it was quite interesting to feel the different textures of the washed and unwashed yarns. Washed was much softer, floppier, unwashed had a more pronounced rib effect and felt harsher.

Here is the finished lengthened sweater after a quick block wash, and air dry in the back yard. Wet blocked at 2pm, dry at 5pm, gotta love warm summer days for blocking knitwear.

Look - you would never know! I promise more formal Finished object photos and details when the clasps arrive.

Stella - off to plan a new project :-)


knitonlybutalso said...

That is extraordinary! Talk about amazing, I am well impressed (mind you cutting a straight line is a toughie for me), happy 2008 and may the knitting gods and goddesses smile upon you in all future projects.

KathyR said...

Well done! I knew my faith in your abilities wasn't misplaced. Bear will now be able to wear his jersey (once the cooler weather arrives, of course!) proudly.

Hilary said...

Hurray! It looks great! You're so brave! I think the line before washing was an excellent design element, but how amazing that now you can't see it at all. Bravo! :)

Knitting Linguist said...

Oh my goodness. I missed the previous post, so imagine my shock when I saw the pictures! But it looks great -- I am so impressed that you had the courage to cut it in half :) And I'm so glad that it worked out!