Tuesday, February 24, 2009

A Knitted Sweater Vest for Mom

It's been awhile since I knitted anything with cables. Making this sweater vest for my mom was slightly challenging, but mostly a joy, since I knew she was excited about getting it. Unfortunately, when I finished the front, delighted to have finally finished the basic sweater so I could start on the detail work, which would take me another few days, I noticed that I had twisted one of the cables down near the bottom of the sweater.

It's worse than it sounds. This sweater vest is knitted from the bottom up. Redoing the front would take about a week. I set it aside and went to bed. Some time during the night I woke up, remembering what happens when you drop a stitch and don't catch it in time. The whole thing unravels. It can unravel all the way down a sweater. I got up and looked at the offending garment. The problem was about 190 rows down. The cables twisted every six rows. I went back to bed.

The next morning I looked at it again, then called John over. He was pleased to see that it was off the needles. I laid it out flat and asked if he saw anything strange. He looked about fifteen seconds, then pointed right to the mistake. He tried to convince me that it would just give the sweater "character." I knew it would be the only thing I saw whenever Mom wore it, though. Knowing Mom, she'd be sure to wear it when I was around, just so I'd know my efforts were appreciated. She's like that.

Knowing what I risked if it didn't work (having to redo the entire front) I still decided to try repairing just the cable. I put the other stitches on holders and used a crochet hook to pick out the cable stitches down to the problem area. I didn't cry, but I felt like it. I never did a repair job like that before, and I wasn't at all sure it was going to be successful. 

I figured I'd better take a photo before I started to work on it. I'm not quite sure why, but now that my plan worked, I'm glad I did. I also hope I never have to do such a thing again. It took a day and a half of squeezing the needles and cable hook into the tiny gap and making sure the yarn tension was perfect for each stitch so that it came out evenly on each row. Also, it was great fun constantly having to twist that sweater back and forth, counting to six and double-checking that I was making the cables right each time. I  actually got about a third of the way up when I realized I had started one row off, and the cables didn't quite match the ones on the other side, so I unraveled and began over. Why not?

So now that it's done, I'm satisfied. Do you suppose it was worth it? To me it was. I'm not sure how much Mom would have cared. I'll wash and dry it, since it's a little wrinkled from being crumpled in my lap during the crafting process, but I should get it in the mail this week. I don't think I'll tell her it's done, either. Surprise! I'm hardly ever glad she doesn't have a computer.


sherrie said...

Oh My Goodness, Kathleen, it is SO beatiful! The effort was definitely worth it, especially since it worked and saved you 5 1/2days of knitting it over. You know I only knit one thing, dishcloths. I dropped a stitch once and didn't know how to fix it, so i just took a couple of inches of yarn, tied the dropped stitch to another stitch, and worked in the ends -- it was good enough for me :-) I don't think my trick would have been helpful to you at all.

Absolutely beatiful. I can't wait until I see it on your mother.


Heather said...

You have an incredible talent.