Cut! My knitting? Grafting adventure!

I love being the boss of my knitting, even to the point of cutting it up to make it behave. Steeking had been on my bucket list for years, and I took a class from the fabulous Mary Scott Huff several years ago to force me to actually do it. As you probably know from my blog, I embraced it and ran with it, and even teach classes using my Bucket List coffee accessories pattern.

I’ve also cut off sleeves that were knit bottom up but ended up being too long. Knitting ravels down, not up, so rather than removing the sleeve from the body to shorten the top, I snipped one thread of the sleeve at the new wrist length and then picked up the freed stitches and knit a new cuff downward. Not so scary, as long as you plan the right location for the cut.

One technique I tend to avoid is grafting, or kitchener stitch. I’ve done it a few times, but don’t love it, and will usually use 3 needle bind off to duck it. So I was a little horrified when I realized there was no way out of it this week.

I had sent a project out for test knitting, not realizing there was a math error on my part. The home decor item in question came back twice as long as it was supposed to be. It was…okay, but definitely not what I intended.

I would have offered to re-knit it myself, but I’m working on another deadline right now. How could I fix it? I could think of only one way out. I suggested cutting it, frogging it to a more reasonable length, and then grafting it back together. Great, they said; can we send it to you to do it?

Uhhhh, sure…

So armed with Google and a swatch to practice on (complete with the same stitch pattern so I could plan where to place the cut and graft), I tried it out. I wasn’t sure if the stitches would be a half stitch off as they are when you’re grafting end to end. It shouldn’t be, since both pieces were knit in the same direction, but I wasn’t taking any chances. So where would you place the cut and graft?

I decided to put it at the beginning of the section before the dot pattern began, so there would be no chance for the dots to be out of register with each other. I’d replace one of the plain stockinette rows, no grafting in two colors for me!

I snipped a thread 2 rows below where I wanted the graft at the end of the project, so I could pick out the stitches one at a time to get them back on the needle. I was a bit shocked to find that I could tink out that last row, even though it was in the wrong direction; I was raveling up! (I’ll have to think about that later; I didn’t think that was possible.)

The other half of the work was easy to frog, raveling down to remove excess fabric.

I found this video of grafting in the round from KnitPurlHunter to be very helpful with the beginning and end of my grafting round. In case you ever need it.

And I found that using previously blocked yarn makes it really easy to adjust the tension of your grafting, because the yarn is pre-kinked into the right size and shape for the stitches.

I’m sorry I don’t have a picture of before and after. Even if I did, I couldn’t show it to you yet. But the project turned out fine, and I’ll show you this fall!

What’s the biggest knitting mistake you’ve had to fix? This was the most time-crunchy scary, but I should let you know: That sweater pictured above? That’s verison 2. Version 1 was way too big (swatching, heh), so I took out all the seams, frogged the entire thing, and then re-knit it the next year (2008). Yes, I’m the BOSS of my knitting! And I’ve learned a lot since then.

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2 responses to “Cut! My knitting? Grafting adventure!

  1. Kitchener stitch is one of those things that for me is so not scary that I don’t quite know why it freaks some people out so much (but I also know that *lots* of people hate it, so maybe I’m the weirdo), but even I wouldn’t want to attempt it in more than one colour at a time. That just sounds insane to me.