Saturday, August 25, 2007

when bad things happen to good sweaters

I like to believe that sweaters are inherently good. Sometimes they will do bad things, like slipping into the washing machine and felting, or running away when you take the bus, but mostly they want to be good. They warm you, shelter you from the rain, and sometimes they're just there to be pretty.

Which is why I think it is so sad when bad things happen to them. Like, oh, I don't know, when a steek decides to leave and your sweater explodes.

I do not know why or how this happened. I had used the crocheted steek (method can be found on Eunny's old blog) and successfully picked up stitches for the border, as you saw in my last post. A few days ago, I picked it up and started to knit the border, and whole sections of the crocheting fell away and left hundreds of loose yarn ends to frantically try and run through the whole sweater. I entered a strange stage of calm. I carefully put the sweater down, covered it with a pillow to protect it from the cat, and sent out a few e-mails asking for help.

As I should have known, the very talented Hege was the one who ended up with the best solution. We both agreed that it needed to be sewn somehow, but whereas I was all for pulling out the sewing machine and trying to drill it all down, Hege recommended Dawn Brocco's handsewn steek method.

This worked so well that I almost couldn't believe it. So far, I have sewn two rows up the left side of the cardigan, effectively anchoring all those ends that so badly want to move. I think I may do one more row, just to be sure. I'll then have to repeat this on the right side - so far that side is holding together much better, but I don't want to take any risks, and besides, it will be symmetrical this way. At that point I'll pull off the crocheting and then carefully tack the cut ends to the back.

As I said, I'm not sure why this happened. I examined the edges carefully, and as far as I can tell, I executed the method correctly. I'd used this method in the past, on both the Crichton cardigan and Snow Sky, and hadn't encountered anything like this. My only ideas are that perhaps the fingering weight merino is just too small and slippery for the edging to hold, and/or maybe I didn't pull the crocheting tight enough. Whatever the reason, I will definitely not be in a hurry to use this method ever again.

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Blogger Knitting Therapy said...

I am so glad you were able to save it! I am knitting my first sweater with steeks and find my self dragging in the knitting so that I will not have to cut those things! I guess I will have a good talk with my sweater before reaching for the scissonrs!

11:28 AM  
Blogger Julie said...

ACK! Scary stuff... I've heard of this happening to crocheted steeks knit with superwash wool, but I've never had a problem myself.

Anyway, glad you could save it.

12:11 PM  
Blogger mel said...

You were so calm!! I think I would have freaked out. I'm so glad that you were able to save it!! I'll have to consult you and Hege before I do any steeking :)

3:54 PM  
Blogger hege said...

That looks very secure (from here :). I don't think you even need to do another seam. Great job! I am really glad that it's working out!

7:36 AM  
Anonymous Beth S. said...

Oh my goodness! That was terrifying just to read about... I can't imagine what it must have been like in person. ;-) I'm so, so glad you were able to stop the hemorrhaging and salvage the sweater. The alternative is just too awful to contemplate!

7:56 AM  

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