Archive for January, 2014

Sweater Surgery

Friday, January 24th, 2014

There comes a time in the life of a sweater where it needs a little help. Sometimes it’s the cuffs that start to wear, sometimes it’s the seams, and like this sweater, sometimes it’s the elbows that go.

I was asked by the sweater owner if it was fixable.

Most knitted garments can be repaired. For me, I’ll choose to repair things that I’ve knit and that I love. I darn my socks, often in crazy colours….I’ll re-knit thumbs on well worn mittens, but this is the first time that I’ve done any major repairs on a machine knit “made in China” sweater.

I tackled it because it is the owner’s favourite sweater, and also, I was curious if I could repair it without darning it.

Not bad eh?

My technique involved catching all stitches that were causing runs, and using a crochet hook, I brought them back to the edge of the hole. The next step was to work duplicate stitch over the stitches that were wearing thin. I included 2 extra stitches on each row, just for added security. At the edge of the hole I used a technique sort of like using a lifeline in lace work. I worked duplicate stitch on the row below, but could not stitch into the row above, so I wrapped the yarn around a contrasting scrap to preserve the loop. I worked this way, building row upon row until I had completely re-knit the elbow patch, and could join with the thinning stitches on the top of e hole.

After working patches on both elbows, I noted that the yarn was wearing thin in a few other places as well. Underarms where there is a lot of friction wear, showed more fraying and thinning yarn. I worked duplicate stitch where needed, using a mix of my handspun, and acrylic. (This is why we have stash yarn….there’s always something on hand!) I didn’t have the exact same colour yarn, but it’s close enough, and I think that the elbows now add to the story of the sweater.

Hopefully my surgical attempts can extend the life of this favourite sweater for years to come.

Custom Mitts

Thursday, January 9th, 2014

There are certain situations that inspire me to knit.

A little while ago I met a woman who has suffered a stroke and has lost the use of one hand. She was braving the cold, and needed mitts on to stay warm, but also needed use of her one hand to wipe her nose or to get a good grip on handrails.


She told me that her favourite colours are red and black. Her son told me that it’s hard to keep track of her mitts, so strings would be helpful.

After a bit of searching I found some black and red acrylic in my stash. The stranded pattern comes from Robin Hansen’s “spruce” mitten pattern. The cuff has a Latvian braid, and that technique is also used to finish the finger edge and thumb hole on the fingerless mitten. The high contrast in these mitts make me smile!

Projects like this make me really glad I have such a yarn stash….from idea to finished mitts within a very busy week!

Christmas knitting

Saturday, January 4th, 2014

This year I knit some of my Christmas gifts, and have kept them secret for quite a while!

These are elephant mitts for my mom. She has a bit of a thing for pink elephants! The stranded pattern was inspired by my Ravelry searches, but the mitten pattern is my own. They’re a bit delicate for the frigid temperatures we’ve had since Christmas, but they will be good in the spring and fall, or they’d make a good liner mitt. Yup, it’s that cold that we’ve been layering mitts around here.

Here are some other mitts that got finished in the nick of time to be given on Boxing day. Better late than never!

The yarn is my handspun from the Spunky Eclectic fiber club. It’s a DK weight yarn that is soft and really wearable. These mitts are for my sister in law, and they pass my brother’s test. He said he’d hold her hand if she’s wearing them. He’s got such a sensitivity to any slightly coarse wool, that it’s high praise for this fiber club offering.

The mittens are improvised, and rather plain in construction. The simplicity of the pattern really lets the colours in the yarn shine through.

The last pair of mitts are based on Robin Hansen’s Fox and Geese pattern. I combined the remainder of the green yarn from the previous mittens and paired it with a DK weight acrylic brown yarn.

The brown really makes the green pop.

I love knitting with handspun and watching the colours change and interact with each other. I hope that these mitts will get lots of wear for years to come!