Fixing Mistakes: Cider Mill

I recently discovered a mistake in my CustomFit measurement set – the length I had entered for tunic sweaters is a few inches shy of what I actually like in tunics. The good news is that once you discover a mistake, you can fix it!

the bad news is that I discovered this mistake because I found myself taking my beloved Cider Mill off after wearing it for around 15 minutes. And Jill Draper’s Rockwell is too luscious and warm for that to be okay. So, I did the only thing I could do: Pouted about it.

(Kidding!)

(Well, okay, not kidding. But only for a little while.)

I fixed it.

And I decided to document the process, because I thought you all might be interested to see that even us “experts” have to rip, sometimes. So, here’s how I lengthened my Cider Mill:

Step One: Measure Twice, Cut Once.

I wanted to be sure I was actually fixing the problem, so I measured my Cider Mill’s length against a favorite tunic. Yup, there’s definitely a problem.

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I needed about two extra inches, maybe a smidge more, below the armholes. I decided I could safely drop the neckline depth by a couple of inches, since I always wear a shirt under this sweater. So the plan was to rip the body pieces back to just before the armhole shaping, and work an additional 2 inches before re-shaping the armholes.

Step Two: Lay in supplies.

I would pick out and rip the neckline, cut open the seams and take off the sleeves, then rip the body pieces down.

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Scissors to cut, my darning needles to help pick out, and a nice glass of Cab to ease the blow.

Step Three: Rip out the neckline.

This wound up being more of a problem than I’d thought. My weaving in of ends in the bottom center neck area was, um, thorough enough that I damaged the front of the sweater picking it out.

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But, I eventually got there, and the Rockwell is grippy enough that the neckline stitches were relatively stable.

Step Four: Removing the sleeves.

I had used a smoother yarn for seaming, so this part was simple. Soon, I was ready to truly start ripping.

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(I saved the balls of yarn from the neckline to use in the re-knitting, so that the colors would blend well – I’d alternated the Rockwell when knitting Cider Mill originally, and wanted to continue doing so.)

Step Five: Rip and re-knit the front.

Since I’d damaged the front center neck, I needed to rip all the way back to the neck’s starting point – rather than just the armhole shaping like I’d planned.

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This meant I’d needed to pick out a couple of inches of side seam, too:

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…which was a bummer, but on the other hand, I could now re-calculate the rate of shaping in the new neckline depth so that all shaping would be smoothly spaced along the neck edge. (Oh yeah, I just made that lemonade!)

Step Six: Re-knit the front, the do it all again on the back.

The re-knitting itself was pretty quick on the front – the gauge is large enough, and the neckline shaping deep enough, that I got back to the shoulders with the help of just a few chapters of my current book:

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The back took longer, because there was no neckline shaping. But even so, in relatively short order I was finished. (It helped that I only needed to re-knit from the armholes up, on the back.)

Step Seven: Re-seam the pieces and Re-knit the neckline.

I have a quick video of re-seaming the sleeves, below, but honestly, this was a quick step. Moving on…

Step Eight: Put it on as soon as the last end is woven in and wear it for days.

Check.

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I finished the re-knit just in time for the big storm last week, and wore it for three days straight.

Moral of the story: Fix your mistakes! Wear that sweater!

I wanted to share this process in the hopes that it will give some of you the nudge to fix sweaters you want to love, but don’t. Even if the sweater is finished and mostly okay. My fervent belief is that if you’re not wearing that garment and you’d like to, it’s worth the time to fix it.

Here’s a little stop-motion video I made of the steps I took to rescue Cider Mill:



It took a few evenings’ worth of work, overall, and I’m so glad I did it.

What do you all think? Have you ever ripped and repaired something until you loved it?

15 thoughts on “Fixing Mistakes: Cider Mill

  1. Wonderful post, Amy!! I think everyone has been in this situation. It is so encouraging to see you walk us through your process. It is encouraging to me that someone as ‘fluent’ in knitting as you are, faces the same problems I do. I also consider red wine a knitting essential!

  2. Great post Amy. I did almost the same thing with the vest that I finished knitting last month. Luckily,
    I found out that it was too long when I blocked all the pieces, so I didn’t have to unseam. Like you I had
    to rip out to beneath the V, but then I took out 14 rows and reknitted.

    My row gauge changed, but my stitch gauge was the same.

  3. So interesting! I thought all you’d have to do is knit on the extra length at the bottom. I would never have thought that you’d have to do so much but it was a very good lesson to learn.

  4. I cut the bottom ribbing and a couple rows above it off a sweater so I could add length. I added about two inches of knitting and then kitchenered the bottom back on to the sweater. The hardest part was getting my kitchener stitches to match the rest of the knitting. But after a lot of tweaking it was impossible to tell where I had connected the two parts. I was pretty dang proud of myself.

  5. I’ve definitely done that — and with your instructions! I’d made a pullover with what was to have been a boatneck, but it turned out to be a round neck. You very kindly helped me rescue the sweater, which I do love. Thanks again! 🙂

  6. Wow have I ever. It was your cardi, but the mistake was totally mine. I miscounted the number of rows after I pulled it out twice and my adorable husband re wrapped it twice. Normally I would have trashed it but the yarn was Wollmeise and at the expense of the yarn I decided my mistake….my fix. So I did it. Rinsed, dried and on the third venture got it right. Soaked it and re blocked it. Viola is gorgeous.

  7. I did an laborious repair job on one of my first sweaters. It was a free Ravelry patter ($5 in Paris), top-down, and the neck was too wide so always falling off my shoulders. After a couple years of never wearing it, I pulled out the four or five inches of ribbing around the neckline (that was the worst part, as it was the opposite direction as the knitting so wouldn’t come out easily), decreased, and reknit. I then pulled out the bottom ribbing and added a few extra inches. Then I lengthened the sleeves to past my elbows. (Who in their right mind knits a short-sleeved sweater out of a heavy wool/mohair blend?) Now I wear almost every week, and love it.

  8. I would have done something more like Savannagal. I have frogged from the bottom which is a little more tricky but when it is a few rounds, totally doable. I’ve also done a ribbing in a new color when I didn’t have enough yarn for the longer sweater then added a little bit of the new color to the other part of the sweater that has ribbing. This comes in handy when you have a growing child that can still wear the sweater if it only needs length added to it.

  9. This is over helpful, and inspirational. Though I think I’d probably need a much bigger glass of wine before I’d have the courage to take a scissor to my sweater!

    1. Sorry, I meant VERY helpful. TY autocorrect.

  10. Amy do you have any pics of the sweater that would show where the bottom fell on you before the surgery? And after? It would be instructive, I think, for folks who haven’t knit as many sweaters to see the difference on the body.

  11. I’m so glad to hear that I am not the only one who weaves in ends so thoroughly that I run into trouble. I was having trouble with my Sanderling neckline not being right enough that it was too low and kept sliding off my shoulders at the back neck, and I didn’t like the way I had anchored the band as the bottom of the V.

    I redid the band on smaller needles and am much happier, and it no longer slides off at the neck. I need to get a new picture of the revamped neckline.

  12. Oh yes. Years ago I made a Fair Isle sweater, knit in the round from the bottom up and the sleeves attached at the bottom of the color work. I was really proud of how it came out – until I tried it on. It was about 3″ too short. I knew my choices were to rip out the 7 color yoke, rip it down, and rework it, or never wear it. I ripped. 30 years later, I still wear it.

  13. Love the pattern!
    Years ago I knit a cabled vest and the neckline came out way too deep. I wore it a few times, then tried to fix it by sewing up the neckline a bit, but I hated it. It sat around for another few years until I finally took the time to make it wearable. I ripped the whole thing down to the V, added another cable repeat, then did it all back up again. Worth every second to have a wearable garment that actually gets love!

  14. Hi Amy, It is always good to see your posts! Love that you are showing us how to fix things. Was this a problem with just the Cider Mill or is it a general concern to this point with all of the tunics? Thank you, Kathleen

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