A few of you might have seen this photo on Instagram earlier this week? If you did, you’ll also know that I’m on a mission to fix a cardigan.
I’m very lucky to have a good friend that enjoys knitting so much, that for a number of years now, she’s been making some of my clothes for me. Jill has helped me enormously, particularly when I was busy with the shop and had all the samples and swatches to get through.
Many of my favourite garments have been made by Jill and I openly confess that they’re not my handy work when asked. I met Jill here many years ago, but she moved back to England a few years back. I still regularly send her parcels of yarn and she returns it to me, all knitted up, in need of blocking and buttons. Occasionally, it does mean there might be the odd ‘fitting’ issue, it’s rare, but it has happened.
Jill made this beautiful bright orange cabled cardigan for me early last year and I immediately gave it a wash and blocked it. Once it was dry, I tried it on and discovered the sleeves were too long, they completely covered my hands and even rolling back the cuff, wouldn’t work.
I can’t quite remember what the pattern was, it actually looks really like the Sunset Cardigan that featured in Issue 2 of Olann and, but it’s not, because it was from before that. I have definitely put Isabell Kraemer’s Alpenglühen in my Ravelry favourites, but I don’t seem to have bought it. Alpenglühen It’s a very traditional design, so I’m sure I must have several similar ones in my vast collection and I’m assuming it’s one of those?
Anyway, I couldn’t bring myself to rip it back, so the cardigan has sat in my jumper chest since then. Looking for another cardigan I spotted it and pulled it out again, and decided to try and fix those sleeves. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
I tried it on again and decided three quarter length sleeves might be the way to go and I’d still prefer a deep ribbed cuff, so need to allow for a couple of inches of knitting to be done. Popping a pin in one of the sleeves as a marker, I took the cardigan off and with a very sharp pair of scissors ‘snipped’ one of the stitches.
Before unraveling my sleeve, I wove my circular needle through the stitches on the row above and then removed the rest of the sleeve. Repeating this on the second sleeve, I discovered I’d gone up a row, so had to pull my first sleeve back a little bit more.
With both sleeves securely on needles, it’s time to rip back the rest, so I can use the yarn to knit the cuffs. This cardigan was knit from the top down, so as tempting as it is to rip from the cut edge, it really is better to snip one of the stitches at the cuff and work from the bottom of the sleeve up. If you’re going to do something similar and only need a small amount of the yarn, it’s good to know that you can rip back from the top. Note that the rib will prevent you from going any further easily.
I started to wind the yarn around my elbow to make a hank, but as you can see from the photo above, it’s super coiled and to tell the truth, I hadn’t cut any yarn to secure it in place. So I balled it up first, cut a couple of pieces of scrap yarn and then re-wound it into a hank, which I secured in 3 places.
One of the great things about wool is that it has ‘memory’, that’s why it’s springy and keeps it’s shape. The fibre remembers the form it has been in, great for your garments, but not so great when you need to re-knit with the yarn. If I knitted straight from the ball, the fabric would be kinked and would very likely always look different.
To counteract the coils, I first submerged the hanks in some cold water and squeezed it through the yarn a good few times, until it felt wet through. Next I put them in a bowl of plain water and left them soak for a good hour, checking first to make sure, the colour wasn’t bleeding. The water must be plain, the last thing you want is for the cuffs to be a completely different colour, unless it’s a design feature of course.
After an hour I squeezed out the excess water and hung the yarn out on the washing line.
As you can see there was still a bit of the knitted twist left in the yarn, so I decided to weigh it down slightly, hoping it will dry a little straighter. It’s a little risky doing this, as I don’t want to stretch the yarn. Hopefully as the yarn is only going to be used to knit the ribbed cuffs, any difference won’t be too obvious.
We’ll all have to wait and see if it’s successful, the yarn is currently outside drying as I type. Hopefully, I’ll be the proud owner of a Tango Orange cabled cardigan in the very near future and who knows, I might even sew the buttons on – if I can find them.