Saturday, January 20, 2007

Snip/Tuck: A sweater surgery

The Sparky and Max Sweaters (Wonderful Wallaby pattern) are complete! I finished Max's two days ago, and then Sparky's sweater surgery took place yesterday. Here's how things went down:

The first order of business was to add red skull and cross bones motifs to the hood, since I'd knitted them right into Max's with intarsia.

I used duplicate stitch on this. Of course, I didn't check first online how to do it, exactly (how hard could it be?) so the bottom half was less than stellar. I got better at it though, and after all four skull, I can say that I'm completely comfortable with the technique.

Next, I needed to rip out the fair-isle light blue skully band around the bottom, and put those stitches back on needles.

I began fearlessly, but soon became so hopeless that I would ever get it right that I actually considered throwing the entire sweater in the garbage and starting over. Yes, I honestly thought that.

However, I persevered, and soon every single live stitch was on the cable of my circular, and this pile was on the floor (please try not to notice that I didn't vacuum first).

Since this involved ripping right up to the bottom of the pouch, I then knit back down about 2 inches, knit a purl round, switched from my #8 tips to the #6, decreased my stitches by about ten, and knit another inch or so. I knit a thin red stripe into the inside of the hem so that it would be easy to tell which sweater was which, without comparing sizes.

Then, using my darning needle, I carefully hemmed the live stitches to the inside of the body to make a flat seam.

Since I've had insomnia for a few nights in the past week (damn pregnancy hormones), I've had a good bit of time to figure out how to deal with the arms. Remember, they were blue striped, and now needed to be red. I decided to go with one of my favorite techniques of all time: Kitchener.

To start, I ran circulars through all of the stitches immediately above and below the stripes, to secure them before anything went "live".

Next, I cut one blue stitch in the row above the bottom needle, and started raveling it from there.

The little sleeve was soon free.

(For those who will want to know, on the TV is the movie Cars, which was keeping my boys occupied while I worked.)

Then I continued to rip back until the blue stripes were gone, and I got up to the top set of needles. I left that as a "stitch holder" and went back to the sleeve. From there, I knit the two red stripes in, and grafted (or Kitchenered) the sleeve back on to the body. Like magic!

Here are the finished sweaters.

Hopefully tomorrow we'll actually have some sun (unlike today, and almost every other day this rainy winter), and I'll be able to get pictures of the boys modeling them.

My husband thinks that the sweaters are very cool, which is a great relief to me. I'm glad that I went through the extra work to get both sweaters to look "properly rock-and-roll". Even if red and black really aren't the colors for blond haired, blue eyed little people. On the bright side, look at how many new techniques I had to learn to get all of this done!

Right now, there is NOTHING on my needles. What will I cast on for next? Check back soon -- I'm planning on getting a jump start on my first PS project. !!!

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