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Knitting Tips


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Knitting Tips - Lengthening Sweaters

If the sweater was originally knit from the top down, just undo the bind off row, pick up the stitches and knit as much more ribbing as you want. If the yarn has felted a little, use a small, sharp pair of scissors to carefully clip the strands apart. You may want to unravel back to the top of the current ribbing, because it will probably be noticeable where you begin knitting again.

If the sweater was originally knit from the bottom up (as most of them are), it's slightly more complicated, but still do-able.

First, you need to cut one stitch at a side seam, right at the top of the current ribbing. (If it was knit circularly, you can pretty much pick anywhere to make your snip, but it's best to put it at the side where it won't show. Pick out one row of knitting, starting at the snip. You will actually need to pull the yarn out through each stitch. If it becomes too long to pull out easily, just snip the end off short and keep going. When you get back to where you've started, you'll find that you've detached the ribbing from the rest of the sweater.

Second, pick up all the stitches that are now hanging loose from the bottom of the sweater. This is easiest to do if you use a skinny needle. Then, when you work your first row, you can knit them off onto the proper sized needle. If the sweater has been seamed at both side seams, you can detach the ribbing front and back, pick all of the stitches up on one circular needle and knit the ribbing circularly in one piece.

Third, if the sweater was done in plain stockinette stitch or garter stitch, then you can simply knit the ribbing down. If you are doing K1P1 ribbing, make sure you have an even number of stitches (you can always K2tog at the end of round to get rid of an extra stitch if you do not). If you are doing K2P2 ribbing, make sure you have a multiple of 4 stitches. If you don't then decrease however many stitches are necessary, evenly spaced around. Likewise, if you are working any other ribbing pattern, make sure you have the correct number of stitches.

If the sweater was not knit in stockinette, but in a cabled or ribbed pattern, you will need to camouflage the fact that the new ribbing knitted down doesn't match the original stitches exactly. On a cabled sweater, I'd recommend working two rows in purl and then starting the ribbing. The purl ridges will make a divider between the ribbing and the sweater pattern that will prevent any but the most discerning knitting expert from seeing it. You may also be able to get away with just knitting one row plain before you start your ribbing.

If the yarn you are adding doesn't match the sweater, either because the sweater has faded or because you had to purchase additional yarn of a different dye lot, then you'll need to disguise the point where the two meet. Do this by alternating rows of the old yarn and the new yarn when you first begin.

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All text and images copyright © 2001, 2002 Margaret K.K. Radcliffe