Operation Orange Overload

I’ve got a front and a back to my Filati tunic, but of course they aren’t the same:


The wider piece, the one on the bottom, is the first incarnation, and it got just a little too wide after blocking – lace is pretty, but also pretty stretchy :). The more narrow piece resting on top is the second incarnation, and it has one fewer lace repeats – although I cast on 16.7-inches’ worth of stitches in stockinette terms, it stretched to a perfectly comfortable 18″ after blocking due to the lace.

Now I just need to make the wider piece match the more narrow one. I decided to follow a plan I conceived earlier: I would re-knit the bare minimum – a more narrow lace panel and decreases leading up to the waist – and graft it to the perfectly suitable upper portion of the sweater piece.

But first, some practice. My knitting reference book of choice is Montse Stanley’s The Knitter’s Handbook, and she has a lovely illustration on p. 242 explaining how to graft live stitches.

Can you tell which row is grafted?

Heh, not bad :).

Okay, okay, don’t corner me!

That the third try ;).

Getting the right tension wasn’t a problem, but (and I hope some experienced knitters chime in here) I didn’t realize that cutting off some knitted fabric and picking up the stitches as though to work in the opposite direction results in one fewer stitches. It took me three tries to be convinced of this fact, although I haven’t thought carefully about how the “geometry” of stitches causes this.

Practice out of the way, it was time to fix the real deal.

Continue onto the extended entry to read more.

(click thumbnails for big)

First, I knit the bare minimum replacement and placed it on a length of thread, in this case. I also threaded the equivalent of a lifeline through the stitches of the completed sweater piece – the lifeline will hold the first row of “saved” stitches.


Then, I snipped the first row of the errant lace portion and unraveled until it was fully separated from the perfectly suitable upper portion.


The lace replacement was introduced to its better half, and I started grafting. You can see the stitches are far from perfect – during the initial grafting, my goal is to secure all stitches in the proper orientation, nothing more.

I grafted while fully ignoring the lifeline threads, which remained in place until all the stitches were secured. They are very thin and did not at all interfere with what I was doing.

After the initial grafting was completed, I removed the lifelines. I think you can clearly see the grafted area, it is nowhere near perfect.

Then I worked from one edge of the piece to the other, meticulously tweaking the tension of the graft. To the left of that big yarn loop are stitches which have been tweaked, and to the right are ones that still need adjustments.

Here is the grafted row. The tension is right, but I bet you can still see the boundary between the two pieces of fabric. The top part is blocked, and the bottom part is not, adding to the visual difference.

Tada! Sealed and delivered! I mean, blocked and delivered :).

I can see the grafted row (how about you?), but I think it will blend in more and more with washing and wear. Besides, one grafted row is a whole lot better than reknitting the entire sweater piece from hem to neckline, don’t you think? 😉


36 thoughts on “Operation Orange Overload

  1. Denise

    I believe you can still see the grafted row because you know exactly where it is. Kinda like a sore thumb for you.

    I took a good look and can’t tell which one it is. I would never have thought of doing that.

  2. Danielle

    Looks great! I can see the general area where the grafted row is, but only because I am looking for it. Nice work, and thanks for the photos!

  3. Tracy

    You know, it is okay to make the front and back to different dimensions! Especially if you’re busty! My back measurement is 6″ less than my front–so if I were to split the total circumferance in half, I end up with bagginess at the back, and snugness at the front.

    Just a thought for ya!

  4. Laura

    Ok, you’ve convinced me. I made a sweater for my husband that he thinks is too long. I have been thinking about shortening it by grafting ribbing to a higher location, but it scares me. Now I have to try. I wonder if I can do the grafting without cutting the yarn in the middle.

    Your corrected back looks perfect to me. I’m not sure if I can see the grafted row.

  5. Purly Whites

    You are so impressive!! What a great photo essay and how you did this. It doesn’t seem quite so scary anymore.

    And yeah, the one less stitch thing. That always happens when I do my toe-up toes. I haven’t figured out the geometry of, all I know is if I cast on 30, knit the short-rowed toe, I end up with 29 stitches to pick up. Weird.

  6. Kim

    That is really amazing.. I didn’t know grafting could look so good.. does the back feel/look different?

    Seems like you did the right thing : )

  7. freecia

    I wanna grow up to be just like Grumperina!

    Amazing. Simply amazing. I scringed (scream cringed) when reading the top of the post, then my eyes got all big big like at the bottom. I think you’re my knit idol of the week. (There are so many talented knitters).

    Super-grumperina, do you think I could shorten a store-bought sweater sleeve in this manner? I have stubby arms, evidently, and otherwise cute sweaters are put in the do-not-buy pile due to sleeves which need to be rolled twice or so. And stumpy legs. But that’s a story for my alterationist.

  8. Jackie

    Amazing…you are amazing! I cannot see the grafted row at all. Thanks for the great step-by-step, though I’m not sure I would ever be brave enough to tackle that!

  9. Jen

    Wow, am I that late in reading your post so that EVERYONE has already commented? Cheers to you for taking scissors to your knitting!!! EZ gives a way of making set in sleeves in the round in Knitting Without Tears, but it involves cutting your knitting and that just petrifies me. So I guess I’ll have to try something else.

    I too think the faint grafted line will come out with further wash and wear. It must be the scientist in you who figures out how to most efficiently fix a mistake!

  10. Carolyn

    That truly is amazing. You are a fantastic knitter. I will never fear doing this now, and never fear making a mistake in my knitting…it is so repairable!

  11. Judy

    Wow. I wish you’d write a knitting book, it would make it much more approachable for all of us to have your eye for detail clarifying this for us!!

  12. gleek

    fantastic grafting job!!

    and the one-less-stitch thing was mentioned once in my “knitting for dummies” book in the section about undoing a cast-on, picking up stitches, and then making a sweater longer. it has something to do with flipping the stitches upside-down and then having to re-orient them one to the left or right. it doesn’t matter so much with stockinette but with ribbing you have to increase 1 in order to get back to the correct count.

  13. Audrey

    Holy braying donkeys, you rock. My socks. Wow. I can’t see where the grafted stitches are after the blocking. And I looked. Impressive, my dear.

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