MacKenzie and the Greatly Loved Sweater

I have knitted quite a few Caitlin Hunter sweaters; she is one of my favorite designers for sure. One of her sweaters, Nordiska, was one that seemed to be a big hit with my cat, MacKenzie. The whole time I was knitting it I battled with him to STAY OFF THE SWEATER!!! It was just nuts! When I finished I took the final picture of it hanging from a tree so I could get the shot without a cat flopped on the sweater. My project notes on Ravelry are here.

Sometimes I had to give up and just let him have the sweater.

Somehow it seems to be fated that, out of all of my handknitted sweaters, I was wearing this one the night I rushed MacKenzie to the vet’s office. In the middle of the struggle to get him medicated there was a little injury…

Do you see that snag? One of MacKenzie’s back claws pulled out a one-ply 16 inch long snag!
Here’s the close-up.

That pulled row is so tight there was no way to hide it and it really affected the way the sweater fit. Ugh. I like this sweater, it is really comfy to wear (that burgandy yarn on the sleeves is a cashmere blend), so today I pulled myself together and attempted to repair it. Lucky for me, I obsessively save all of my left over yarn, and I had exactly what I needed to do the repair.

I started by putting in a life line above the damaged row of knitting. Of course MacKenzie was all over me trying to snag the yarn or maybe, if he could get away with it, just move in for a nap on the sweater.
Eventually I got life lines above and below the damaged row of knitting.
Once I had life lines above and below the damaged row of knitting I carefully removed it. I left 2 inch tails of the yarn from that row at each end so I could secure the ends of the replacement row once I got it in.
After that it was easy to return the stitches to the needles (and thanks to Ravelry I knew what size needle I had used!) while fending off more feline assistance…
and I then used Kitchener stitch to make the repair. Whew! This was a little rocky at the start, but I got a feel for it as I went.
I used a steam iron to block the stitches of the repair to blend in with the original knitting and ta-daa! I have a  functional sweater again. 

The repair isn’t perfect as I can sort of see my Kitchener work, but the casual observer would never see it or suspect what had happened. My beloved sweater is back in service, and from now on I will be taking it off before I subject MacKenzie to any more vet related abuse.

Poor guy! This wasn’t a good night for MacKenzie or my sweater!

Tonight it is snowing again and I am getting ready to settle in to knit on my latest sweater project. MacKenzie, exhausted from trying to put the moves on my sweater during the repair, is now taking nap. A perfect evening to get some serious progress done on the current sweater project.

Be good to your cats and knitting, people!

Sock Mending Day

This morning I work up on fire! I cleaned out the stash room, sorted all the knitted socks, mitts, and shawls into moth-proof bins, and organized the yarn for a few potential projects. While I was still feeling positive (and knitting powerful: call me Wool Wonder Woman!) I set aside three pairs of socks that needed mending and then headed downstairs to watch the weather forecast with the noon news while I worked.

Box of sock yarn leftovers.
I really am a scrap hound when it comes to the leftovers from knitting projects. Somewhere in this box is the yarn that I need to mend my socks.

Two pairs of socks had simple little holes that were fast and easy to darn. There, done! Back into the sock bin you two. The last sock, however, was a mending job of another order. This was going to take a little courage and ingenuity to get done.

Heel-less sock.
Poor little heel-less sock. There is too much fabric gone for this to be the normal darning job.
Picking up stitches.
I started this repair job by picking up a row of stitches in the heel flap a couple of rows above the worn spot. I picked up a total of 34 stitches across the flap.
New heel on sock.
I knitted eight rows of the heel flap pattern and then turned the heel just like I would have with the original sock. You can see the new turned heel at the bottom of the picture. I ended with 20 stitches on the needle when the heel turn was done. I then picked up 20 stitches on the foot of the sock at the location where the new heel matched up (upper needle).
Joining new heel to bottom of the sock.
I used the tail of the yarn from the heel construction to join it to the bottom of the sock with Kitchener stitch. The join is to the right of the stitches still on the needles. The tattered remnants of the original heel is now hidden inside the sock.
Finished heel.
Here is the finished heel: the fixed sock is the one on the right; you can see the line where I picked up stitches to start the new heel. I decided to just leave the tattered remains of the old heel (with the worst of the ends trimmed off) inside the sock as it felt fine once it was on my foot.
Finished socks.
Here they are! I have a favorite pair of socks returned to service after an hour of knitting braveness.

I just love these socks, and am very happy to have them back. I think that they are about 5 years old, and with the repaired heel I hope to have a few more years of wearing them.

Sock pattern: Lotus by Andrienne Fong. The pattern is one in the book The Joy of Sox by Linda Kopp.