Evaluate Your 2012 Knitting Projects

To me, a New Year means evaluating my knitted projects from the previous year…

  • Was that scarf a success? Nope. It’s tucked away in a drawer, unused, because the yarn is too scratchy for me to wear.
  • Have I ever once worn that cowl in public that looked so chic in the Vogue Knitting magazine? Not after my husband burst out laughing and called me a babushka. (Vogue models can make anything look fabulous…and granted, maybe my yarn was too thick, so instead of languid sexy drape, I got the thick peasant look.)
  • And why am I not wearing that Icelandic sweater that I finished months ago? Besides the fact that I had chosen a rather startling color combination.

The past few weeks have been dedicated to reusing yarn that was knitted into something that I wasn’t entirely thrilled with. The scratchy scarf is still tucked in my drawer, awaiting rebirth.

My new hat knitted from my babushka cowl yarn.

My NEW hat knitted from my babushka cowl yarn.

But the cowl has been re-knitted into a lovely cabled hat that doesn’t make me look like I should be hauling firewood across the steppes on my back. I no longer have one of my best props to make my husband chuckle. But I have a new, warm winter hat.

And the Icelandic sweater?

The original Lopapeysa sweater.

The original Lopapeysa sweater.

I wasn’t happy with it. I didn’t like the added color along the bottom—it always reminded me of Charlie Brown’s sweater—and the hem was ribbed. Ribbed hems gather around my hips and balloon out the rest of the sweater.

So I ripped out the bottom color work, and did a simple loose bind-off. The sweater is still plenty long enough and now I actually wear it!

NEW Lopapeysa sweater without bottom color and ribbing.

REVISED Lopapeysa sweater without bottom color and ribbing.

How to Shorten (or Lengthen) a Sweater

Tearing apart a finished knitted project is a scary prospect after all the time put into knitting it. But it’s actually pretty easy to do. To shorten or lengthen a sweater, simply:

  • Decide what row will be your cutoff point.
  • Snip a thread.
  • Insert your knitting needle into the first open loop.
  • Continue picking up each loop along that row while carefully pulling out the previously knitted yarn.
Carefully pick up each stitch.

Carefully pick up each stitch.

NOTE: Don’t keep snipping the yarn if you want to re-use it…keep it intact as you unravel it, then roll it back up into a small ball for re-knitting.

  • Once you have the sweater on your needle, do the bind-off of your choice using the ripped-out yarn OR grab some new yarn (the same or a complementary color), and add a new bottom section.

The only issue I ran into was making sure I was picking up loops from the same row. Once in a while, I would wander off-row. It’s obvious when you do, because suddenly you can no longer pull the previously knitted yarn out of the garment. If that happens, just back up a stitch or two and get back on track.

So, take some time to evaluate your finished knitting projects from 2012. If you’re anything like me, they’re made from yarns that are too precious to pitch into the giveaway pile. That lovely alpaca or hand-dyed wool deserves a place in your wardrobe. Take the time to make it happen. You’ll be glad you did!

Happy knitting!

Dani

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