Tag Archives: sweater surgery



Christmas came and many knitting gifts were given.  I completed the last of 3 projects  two  days before Christmas, so felt “in complete control”!

I was most nervous about my son Aaron’s sweater.  Here’s the saga.

I found this no-longer-in print sweater pattern  on  Ravelry and through communication with the person that posted the picture, was able to find and buy it from a vendor on Etsy.

As I was knitting, I was convinced the sweater was going to fit the Jolly Green Giant.  The back measurements seemed to be fine, but the front measured 4-5 inches more than the extra ease recommended for a contemporary cardigan.

Add to that the yarn: a 75% wool, 25% angora mix. On the skein, it seemed springy with a lot of life.  After listening to knit.fm, I washed each individual piece first and then assembled it using mattress stitch. The yarn softened a lot and created even more ease.

When Aaron put it on, I was right – too big!!!  Here is the saving grace – the back and shoulders fit well.  The sleeves were 1 inch too long and the front panels were  each 2 inches too wide.

Here’s the cool part – I had just finished watching a Craftsy class about sweater surgery.  Here was my chance to practice those new mad skills!  Forget that I had never practiced on anything before. Knitting that recommended baby sweater and following along with the instructor?  Ha!!  Why not start with a  real sweater just given as a gift instead?!?!  That’s how I roll.

The first thing I realized was that the pockets in front did not allow me to take in the side seams  from the bottom.  The hips fit well anyway, so that was no big deal.  I had Aaron put the sweater on inside out and then pinned the side seams to find the right fit.  I  better visualized this line by basting with bright green yarn.


Then off to sewing machine I went.  Who knew that knowing how to sew would come in handy with a knitting project?  I followed the green line in order to sew the new seam, using a small enough stitch to be sure and catch all the yarn.  As I approached the green yarn, I would pull it out so that it did not get caught up in the sewing.


Then I sewed a second seam just to reinforce.  Having a walking foot on my sewing machine proved key, since it kept the yarn from pulling out of proportion while sewing.

Next…… cutting the yarn.  I have to admit that I talked this through with myself and all those in my proximity multiple times prior to the actual cut.  Then snip!!


Next the sleeves – an inch too long.   The first step was undoing my mattress stitch in the sleeve so that I could work with the sleeve laid flat.  Next, I  snipped one leg  of a knitting stitch and unraveled the sweater close to the  ribbed cuff.  The cuff  became totally detached from the arm.  I unraveled the arm for 1 inch.  Then I grafted the cuff back onto the sleeve using kitchener stitch.  Voila!

A couple of other modifications I made while knitting the cardigan: The pocket edge called for ribbing  but I didn’t like the look of this, so instead knit the pattern for the body and used i-cord bind off  to finish the edge.

The collar was also a ribbed collar and I found it very heavy and bulky, so I picked up stitches around the neck opening once the sweater was assembled and knit the pattern used in the body.  After completion, I picked up stitches along the outside edge of the collar and used i-cord bind off to give it a more finished look.

All in all, another crazy, fun, nerve racking adventure.    Here’s the final product.


1966 Shawl- Collar Cardigan using yarn from Kimmel Croft Fibers “Softie” 75% merino, 25% white angora , 2 ply DK weight yarn.

What I have learned and enjoy most about knitting  is that it’s not permanent once knit.  There was a time when I would have cried, ripped this sweater out and called it a failure.   Listening to podcasts, enrolling in classes, hanging out with fellow knitters, haunting the local yarn shop ( I have a great one in my town:  Stitching Memories) – all brings about a new understanding and development of skills.  And I suppose it doesn’t hurt to be a little on the crazy side as well.



Chocolate Chai

While Mackenzie is using her acute night vision to work on her lace and bead shawl, I have created a new beverage – well it may not be new but it’s new to me and I thought it up this morning when I got out of bed: Chocolate Chai.


I bought some Bengal Spice Chai tea and found that if I heat up milk in the microwave and steep a chai tea bag I have chai tea made easy.  When I woke up this morning, I thought “why not add chocolate to the chai tea?”  So I mixed up some powdered sugar with a little cocoa powder and added it to the steeped chai tea.  Voila!  My tummy was very happy this morning.

My brain is always thinking of ways to change something.  I never follow a recipe, I try recipes never tried before on company (they are, of course, improvised out of the gate). This also holds true for my knitting.

One example is this Color Affection scarf I knit for Mackenzie.

Color Affection by Veera Valimaki in sock weight yarn

The pattern called for changing the colors every other row, but I found that my colors were similar enough that they blended too well and the striping effect was lost. I knitted 4 rows for each color before changing to make the stripes more distinct. It was a small change that made a big difference.

Flexibility and learning skills that help the execution of my ideas are my latest goal. I just finished watching a Craftsy class that was fabulous: Sweater Surgery. I feel so excited to think that the sweater that I have almost completed for my son Aaron will fit him in the end – regardless of how it fits him initially.


The problem with knitting for others is the fit issue. I took measurements prior to starting the project, but failed to obtain all the ones I needed – part of the learning process. Because of this class, I now know how to lengthen or shorten, widen or narrow an item after it has been completed. When I finish assembling this sweater, I will post the pictures of how it fit initially and then keep you posted on the adjusting event. Now I can look forward to Christmas, and the anxiety cloud that follow me wherever I go is much smaller. I think another cup of chocolate chai is in order.