Friday, March 30, 2007

How I Shortened Sleeves....Without Fray-Check!


It's probably been about 6 weeks since I shortened sleeves on a sweater for a co-worker. I remember that I told you about it, and you replied, "Step one - get out the
Fray-Check!" I said, "Oh yeah, I never thought of that!" You were curious as to how I did it without - I'm not sure that I would have used it if it had been available. (I was using the contents of my knitting bag and desk!)

So, here's a quick tutorial on how I did this. The pictures do most of the explaining.

The sweater was knit with a fairly bulky cotton yarn, which made a huge difference. I was also asked to shorten sleeves on a sweater knit with VERY FINE gauge yarn - almost thread. This type of fix was out of the question on such small yarn, even with my bifocals and the smallest needle I have!

I needed to remove about 6" from each sleeve. The sleeves were knit in fair-isle stockinette stitch, with a rolled edge. Here we are, tools assembled, ready to begin. I had measured to determine how long I wanted the sleeve to be, and marked that spot near the seam.

Next, I clipped the yarn used to seam the sleeve, and unpicked it a little further than the marked spot. I was careful to pull the yarn out instead of clipping it along the way, so that I had plenty left to re-sew the seam when I was finished.

Next, I threaded a needle with waste yarn and pulled it through the stitches to act as a lifeline. (Note: I thought of this on the SECOND sleeve, so I'm using waste yarn from the first sleeve!) Any similar weight yarn would work.

Since my goal spot was just after a fair-isle pattern, I clipped and pulled the pink yarn from the area that was going to go. My goal was to have several rows of my main color yarn that I could unravel, so that I could reknit a row or two if needed, and then cast off.

Then I just clipped the tan yarn near the seam, and separated the waste fabric. All I needed to do was unravel the yarn back to my life line and I was ready to bind off. This sounds easier than it was in practice. Since I was working basically from a cast-on edge, I couldn't seem to just frog - I had to pull the yarn through most of the time. I don't know for sure if this is because of the fair-isle, or because I was doing something wrong, or if it is the nature of ripping back from the beginning of the work instead of the end. This was the first time I've shortened from a cast-on edge. Maybe someone else has experience here??

Now all that remained was to bind off. I had just read about binding off with a crochet hook, and so that's the method I used. (I had one of those in my bag!) It is in effect the same effect as the regular two-needle bind off.

And presto, two finished sleeves of equal length, neatly finished! I just re-sewed the last bit of the seam, and wove in the ends.

This picture illustrates just how long these sleeves were. What were they thinking!?!

So....where would I have used the Fray Check????


Keep knitting!

Cynthia (aka Designated Knitter!)


YarnThrower said...

Your method is **much** more elegant than what I was thinking about with the Fray Check, which involved cutting off the sleeves, coating all of the loose ends with Fray Check, and hoping for the best. What **were** they thinking with those long sleeves?! Your shortened version looks great!

Lauren said...

Isn't Cynthia amazing???? I remember watching her do this. Luckily I was there to contribute extra needles and a smaller crochet hook. ;-) Our coworker was so surprised and pleased at the beautiful sweater she could now actually wear! Nice job C!

Anonymous said...

And it's true, you cannot frog from that end, you absolutely have to kind of 'unsew'.
What a lucky co-worker!

Marie N. said...

Thank you for your timely post! You and authors and your commenters always have the best information :-) I'm looking at a sweater in my closet that may be in need of this same surgury.

Sus said...

Thanks for taking the time to do some photojournalism. The pictures are really helpful. I'm eyeing a sweater for this treatment right now.

Unknown said...

OMG, I just made a sweater (first one) got carried away and sleeves go to knees (so does sweater) going to try this!