Saturday, December 19, 2009

Mom's re-shouldered sweater

To quote a friend, "Today I bring you The Rescued Sweater." To understand the full story behind this sweater, you must first go here. And when you're done reading there, come on back for the rest of the tale.

Now, before you close that window down, take a really good look at the shoulder. You can see in GeekKnitter's pictures that the cream color in the body and the cream color in the shoulder don't actually quite match. We tried this sweater on quite a few people and found that the arms were just plain old long. Despite that, my mother (who happened to be visiting at the time... lucky Mom!) loved this sweater. It really is beautiful and a work of art.

I devised a plan. I would (yikes!) separate the sleeves and (YEEEEK!) frog them back, re-knitting what needed to be replaced so that the arms would then be a proper length. If you are weak of heart, you might want to stop reading now.

RIBBIT! RIBBIT! RIBBIT! Yes. I really did. It was no easy task, either. First, I had to bring out my seam-ripper (a pronged tool that is slightly sharpened at the fork so as to allow you to sever sewing thread in a seam with ease--it also parts yarn and cloth with equal ease). I had to rip out the seam inside where the sleeve had been knit long enough to be sewn down over the top of the steeked mess around the armhole. It's a natural mess, but it had been covered up beautifully. After ripping that seam and revealing the mattress stitch within, I carefully picked THAT out and removed the sleeves. Then, I popped the cast-off edge and ... zip, zap, zoom... the top of the sleeves were gone.

About half way in on both sleeves, a new ball had been joined in the knitting (flawlessly, of course). So I took those balls of yarn and skeined them up. I skeined up what remained attached to the sleeve as well and then carefully dunked everything in a hot bath in my sink to get all the kinks out for re-knitting. I dryed and then re-wound a ball of the cream color. With this, I knit a swatch on three different size needles to make sure I would get proper gauge.

Needle sized determined, I returned to the sweater and knit it about half-way back from what I had ripped out. This still left them several inches shorter than their original length. But it gave me a chance to expand the sleeve back to a size that would fit the armscye, and make it the perfect length for Mom (we determined this by making her wear the remains of the sweater and snugged the arm up until it fit right).

Mom's re-shouldered sweater
As you can see, it came out wonderfully! I tried to put the same care in re-attaching the sleeve as the original creator, but I didn't do it quite the same way. I mattress-stitched the sleeve into each armscye carefully. And then I took the excess (I had knit myself some wiggle room) and I mattress stitched THAT down over the ragged edges of the steek. I'm afraid I'm not a good enough hand with a sewing machine to trust myself to seam down the edge that way. But I know my hand-seaming skills and they were up to the task.

Mom's re-shouldered sweater
Here's a final look at the new shoulder. It looks snazzy. So does Mom. And now everyone is thrilled that this rescue project has come to a close. Mom says it's deliriously warm. That should serve her quite well for the chilly Winter she'll "enjoy". And I get to warm up with the knowledge that I did a good job putting things back together again.


Geek Knitter said...

Oh hooray! That's just fabulous! I'm so glad that sweater finally found a good home. Well cone.

Yarn Mafia said...

I never got to see that on your mom before it left. It looks great!