So I'm all dolled up in my Vogue Knitting Yoke Sweater and ready to go to work when my husband says, "Um, there's a hole in the back of your sweater." PANIC. I take a deep breath and think a little before doing the required acrobatic contortion to look. It will be alright Dayana, you just caught it on something...
And then I saw THIS abomination!
The sweater was made with 100% luxury-meal-for-moths alpaca (bought in Santiago, Chile) and there was a gigantic very NOT friendly hole.
Knits can break in a lot of ways. There's the classic pantyhose pull, where the loop comes out and tightens up stitches to either side of the pull or break. That one's obvious. Then there's the wearing out you see in sock heels and elbows -- that's pretty obvious too, because the yarn is thin along a whole patch surrounding the break. Less obvious might be a bad piece of yarn that you didn't realize was thin or knotted before you had knit it in. In that case, you should see just one break and 2 loose ends.
But this? This was at least 3 breaks in a row, all 6 pieces graced with jagged edging. This, my frightened friends, was an insect attack.
|Mothra doth visit.|
|So not to size, if only!|
And carpet beetles.
|Think 1/8" and infuriatingly invisible.|
While I'd love a nail polish in either of these colorful coats, I'd like these critters to stay the #$%@ away from my closet!!!
In this post I will rescue you, should you find yourself in my terrifying position. First I will tell you something simple you can do to STOP THE MADNESS. Second I will tell you how to darn your hole so that no one will know your shame...
WHAT A KNITTING SCIENTIST DOES AFTER AN INSECT ATTACK
Working as a developmental biologist, I learned some important insect facts from colleagues working on the model organism Drosophila melanogaster, a.k.a. the fruit fly. It isn't adult insects that are eating your wool, it's the larvae, and larvae are evolutionarily HONED TO LIVE. You can actually freeze eggs and certain stages of larvae and they will survive the thaw and develop normally. What they can almost never do is survive TWO THAWS.
STEP #1: Stuff your knit in the freezer.
STEP #2: Move to room temperature overnight for a good thaw.
STEP #3: Repeat once more!
I highly suggest you do this with any wool you bring into your home. Anytime I go to a thrift shop, I throw my yarn and clothes twice into the freezer before storing. If you buy a wool rug, especially if it's an antique, keep it outside in your garage for two freeze/thaws.
I can't say when my trouble occurred as I don't use this knit very often. WORD TO THE WISE: USE YOUR KNITS. If you wear a knit, it's way less likely to accumulate bugs, they hate the light and the movement.
WHAT A KNITTING SCIENTIST DOES TO FIX A GAPING INSECT HOLE
First, look at the anatomy of the hole. This is a good metaphor, because you are basically opening it up and preparing it for open heart surgery.
Find all the stitch loops you can and catch them onto yarn or locking stitch markers. Then pin out all of the strands to see what is required.
I had 4 live stitches on the top and the bottom, and 3 broken rows. To fix the knitting so it looked perfect, I needed to treat the live stitches like dropped stitches. To pick up a dropped stitch over many rows, you take a crochet hook and loop up the horizontal ladder above the stitch.
I wanted to do the same thing, but my insect friends had decided that the ladder would make a nice snack.
To put it back I threaded a needle with the original yarn (ALWAYS SAVE SOME YARN FROM YOUR KNIT SWEATERS!!) and simply traced from the break through the row for about 2 inches. You will basically be looping up and down through the row above and below. Start with one side, leaving enough excess to pick up the other end of the yarn for the other side of the hole.
Here's what it looks like after tracing 2 of the 3 rows!
(After you are done making each horizontal, you will have to unpick the old yarn until it's long enough to weave in.)
Take your crochet hook and pick up your dropped stitches from below upwards... BUT...
... IF YOU WANT PERFECTION, to attach those stitches to the live stitches above, you need to embroider or kitchener them to the live stitches from below. The crochet hook will not get you there. To do this properly, ONLY WEAVE ONE SIDE OF THE LAST LADDER. Then use the other end of the last ladder for kitchener or embroidering along the loops.
Your stitches will be wonky and loose...
... tighten them up along each row. I found it easier to do on the stockinette side.
And I WAS SAVED FROM MY MOTH ATTACK!!
See my Yoke Sweater on Ravelry
Just a little bit of good news today: my blog was featured on Feedspot's Top 100 Knitting Blogs! THANK YOU GUYS FOR ALWAYS COMING BY. <3 Yeah, I'm just as dramatic when I'm happy.