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September 5, 2006

Knit Fix to the rescue!

lisa-kartus-knit-fix.jpg


Now can ya'll think of anyone on this planet more well-suited to an entire book about FIXING horrific, tragic and sometimes alarmingly knuckleheaded MISTAKES than yours truly? Be honest now. Ya'll aren’t going to hurt my feelings.

Well, as it turns out Lisa Kartus has explained all sorts of knitting mistakes and how to fix them in her new book out from Interweave Press called Knit Fix. Hello, publishing world. Meet your target audience: me.

Lisa is taking her knit-fixing show on the road, and today she’s helping me with some of my more wine-induced knitting errors. Welcome Lisa!

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Q& A with Lisa! - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -


Crazy Aunt Question: One of my very first knitting projects was this green ribbed scarf in Lion Brand wool-ease. Now from far away it doesn’t look too scary:

greenribby-whole.jpg

But up close it’s a big ol’ pile of beginner knitter mistakes.

Issue #1: I may have been possibly caught up in one of the very first episodes of LOST and possibly there was cabernet involved, but for whatever reason I thought it would be A REALLY GREAT IDEA to just join the yarn right in the middle of a row:

greenribby-messy-join.jpg

Is there any way to fix this error? I hate to go back and rip out eleventeen feet of scarfage.


Lisa The Knit Maven:

But Crazy Aunt Purl, this could be a whole new design element: yarn tails pretending to be Bob’s tail decorating both sides of your scarf.

Both sides – that’s the problem with joining yarn in the middle of a row on a scarf, both sides are open to the public.

All right, say you want to be conservative and hide that join. Go find some matching sewing thread and a sewing needle. Make a few (2? 3?) TINY stitches in the knot at the join. Then pull the thread snug to flatten the knot and weave needle and thread back and forth through two or three inches of ribbing. Pull at the rib to make sure you haven’t scrunched it up. Knitting stretches, you know. Tie a little tiny knot with it in your knitting. Cut the thread close to the knot very carefully – please, please don’t accidentally cut your knitting. Because that’s a whole other mess entirely.

About the Bob tail? Do the same thing, just put those tiny stitches into the yarn tail, then use the thread to weave in the tail.

And next time, join at the side, OK? Or put lots of Bob tails everywhere in the scarf.


Crazy Asks: And furthermore on the green ribby scarf of despair, I discovered my cat Bob had ... I don’t know. Made sweet love to it or something. And now I have these occasional big stretched-out stitches:

greenribby-pulled-stitch.jpg


Lisa Answers:
Does Bob get blamed for everything? Poor baby. Well, to get him off the hook (no crochet pun intended; well, maybe...) pull the edge of your scarf longways. Now crossways. Pat Bob, tell him you understand that finding new uses for knitting is a requirement of felinehood, but if he does it again, you’ll clip his claws. Which he detests, if he’s anything like my felines. Then pull the scarf lengthwise and crosswise again. Repeat. See if those stretched-out stitches don’t crawl back into shape. If not, guess what? Take out that matching thread, thread that sewing needle and tack the suckers down with those tiny stitches that you’ve gotten really good at.


Q: Since we’re on the "blaming cats for knitting mistakes" train of thought, do you have any ideas for how to repair a beloved knitting needle that was gnawed to within an inch of it’s poor, Lantern Moon life?

chewed-up-needle.jpg

Lisa:
I’m hoping the needle was gnawed only at the blunt end. If so, get out your sandpaper, girl. Use the heavy grit paper to start on that needle, then medium, then finish with the fine grit. That should smooth out the teeth marks enough to use it again. Put some sort of finish on the end of the needle, like clear nail polish. If those teeth marks are all along the length of the needle, you’re stuck. If you sand down the marks, you’ll change the size of the needle. But it’s a moot point until the other needle shows up, no?

Crazy Aunt Cat Blamer: Thanks for all the help with my green ribby scarf, Lisa! I started that thing back over a YEAR ago and I never finished it… partially because I am missing the other needle (Bob has hidden it in his lair somewhere) and partially because I didn’t think my mistakes could be fixed. Now if I can find my needle, I’ll be well on my way!

Finally, I have one issue that crops up time and time again in my knitting. I love to knit in the round, LOVE IT! But I never seem to make a pretty or well-constructed join. I do the normal thing, just knitting into the first cast-on loop when I’m ready to join a round. But it always ends up looking kind of wonky.

For example, one of my favorite hats, a pink roll-brim hat:
mistakes-pink-hat.jpg
Yarn: Lana Grossa Colore Print in color #004, 100% virgin wool, so soft!
Pattern: Try the easy roll-brim hat pattern


And the join:
mistakes-pink-join.jpg


Lisa:
Love the hat. Love the fact that the messy join hides in the curled brim. However, that join’s a problem whenever you work in the round. One of the fun things about writing Knit Fix was that I got to knit mistakes ON PURPOSE. See page 58 for the official photo of your icky join.

Next time, after you’ve joined in the round, work one row. Before beginning the second row, switch the end stitches – first stitch on left needle becomes first on right needle and vice versa. Then knit the next row in pattern. Switching those two stitches pulls together that open join. For a nice illustration (thanks to those wonders in the art department at Interweave Press), see page 59 of Knit Fix.


- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Thanks, Lisa! - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

I do appreciate the help fixin' my knittin' and of course, full understanding that just about every knitting problem or mistake here at Chez Pass The Buck is blamed entirely on one Bob T. Cat.

If ya'll need a Knit Fix, just send your knitting problems to Lisa! Visit Lisa’s new web site, www.knitmaven.com, for her weekly Knit Fix picked from your submissions. Each week she selects one knitting problem and a picture of the unhappy result, and posts it with a solution on her web site. Send your submission to her email address: knitmaven@sbcglobal.net. Starting this month, she’ll also broadcast and discuss this weekly knit fix on the popular podcast, Cast-On: A Podcast for Knitters, hosted by Brenda Dayne.

Now where is my green sewing thread? Anyone...? Bob...?

Posted by laurie at September 5, 2006 12:59 AM