A Quick and Dirty Sweater Cuff Repair

There’s a window of time between October and February when my ‘Owls’ jumper is the only thing in my wardrobe that is guaranteed to keep me warm. It’s by no means my best knitting (some very visible, very dodgey short-rows) and after five years, it’s bobbely and stretched out at the elbows, but I still dig it out every year without fail.

So, when I pulled it on for the first time last autumn, I was devastated to find one of the cuffs had split and started to unravel at the cast-on edge.

I was at a loss about how to fix it, since a straightforward darn wasn’t going to work, and the sleeves were knitted from the cuff up, so I couldn’t easily unravel the broken edge and re-knit it.

Owls Cuff-2

I picked my colleague’s brain about it, and we decided that the only solution would be to cut the whole cuff off and re-knit it from the sleeve down. Terrifying, but do-able!

sleeve cuff 1

First, I put a safety line in by threading contrast coloured yarn through every stitch around my sleeve, a row below the beginning of my cuff.

I then took a deep breath and cut away the cuff a couple of rows above my safety line (I was wary of accidentally cutting through my safety line stitches and losing them).

Owls Cuff-8

I then put the saved stitches on double pointed needles and ‘tinked’ back one round so I would have a long enough tail to join to my new ball of yarn (I had yarn left over from knitting this jumper, but I could have re-used the yarn from the old cut-off cuff)

Since I didn’t know where my original round started when I first knitted the sleeve, and I would be knitting in the opposite direction to the original (down the sleeve, rather than up the sleeve), I made sure I started my round on the side of the sleeve facing down when I wear it, so the ‘jog’ in the pattern wouldn’t be so obvious.

Owls Cuff-9

I then re-knitted the cuff following the original pattern. My tension was very different to the original (despite using the same needles and yarn…) so I found I needed fewer rows to get it to the same length as the other cuff.

After a bit of blocking, you can hardly tell the difference between the new and the original (New cuff on the left, original cuff on the right), and my jumper is ready for the next cold winter!

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DIY Guitar Strap: The Birthday Edition

My mum got a guitar for christmas last year, and ended up with one of those cheap generic rainbow guitar straps. I decided she deserves something more stylish, so I made her a new one for her birthday.

Leaf Guitar Strap1

She wears a lot of blues and greens, and is quite the land-girl, so this lovely leaf print cotton seemed like the perfect match. I actually ended up buying a whole meter of it because I love it so much…

After scouring the internet in vain for somewhere that sells individual guitar strap parts, I resorted to buying a cheap strap online and cutting the hardware off (what a waste..). The finished strap is fully adjustable, and about 150 cm long when completely extended.

I made a wool strap for myself last year, but I think cotton works much better. It’s smoother and less bulky, which makes it much easier to get through the adjusting-buckle-thingy (yes, that’s the official term). Something to remember for next time.

Leafy Guitar Strap3

I managed to get a couple of unreliably lit photos before wrapping it up for the big day on Wednesday.

Happy birthday Mum! xx

Not Your Mama’s Poncho

Sometimes my brain decides I need a break from making, and everything that I started in the last month or so either fell at the first hurdle, or went wrong at every conceivable point until I put it away in frustration. Given my run of bad luck, I was a teensy bit worried when work asked me to try to machine knit a simple asymmetrical poncho for the shop. Especially because they let me have four skeins of beautiful Artesano Alpaca 4-ply that I definitely didn’t want to ruin…

Grey Poncho 7

I won’t say it knitted up without incident – the yarn was almost too fluffy and splitty for my machine, and I had a few tension problems because the centre pulling balls didn’t pull easily. That said, I think it looks pretty damn good!

Grey Poncho6

I cast on 128 stitches, and knitted until the piece was about 1.3m long. I then folded it in half and partially seamed it on one side, leaving a gap for the neck. It’s knitted at quite a loose tension for 4-ply (tension dial setting 8 on my Toyota) to give extra drape, and minimise rolling at the hem.

It’s almost perfect. The poncho has a bad rap amongst the style-conscious, but in this guise, it’s really quite elegant. It feels amazing to wear – like a really soft, luxurious, easy-to-wear sweater. Everyone who’s tried it on (including me) wants one. I think I may have Christmas sorted…

Grey Poncho 5

My only gripe is that the seamed edge flicks out a bit awkwardly at the side. I think this is because the cast-off edge was much looser than the cast-on, leaving a slight ripple where they meet. Next time, I might try using a provisional cast-on so I can match the tension on both edges more closely. I also think I’ll invest in some blocking wires, so I can get the edges really straight

If you don’t mind hours and hours of stockinette stitch, you could easily hand-knit one of these (you don’t really need a pattern, but this one on Ravelry looks very similar and has an additional cowl neck option). It also makes an easy beginner machine knitting project.

I’m optimistic that I’m back in the groove now, watch this space…