07 April 2008

Lace Surgery

Important note: next time you go off caffeine, don't knit lace for at least a week.

Exhibit A:

16 rows of screw up! So.

There was nothing to do but rip it down within the repeat. I always try this once at least. If it doesn't work, then I rip the whole rows. I whipped out the foam core, my double points and the pins.

I chose not to rip the entire repeat, but rather did just the affected area. I took the lace off the needles and put point protectors on the ends of my working needles (very important!).

I began carefully ripping row by row and pinning each length of yarn as I did. This is an important step when there are so many rows to knit back up. It is easy to lose track of the working yarn when you rip yarn overs.

At the last row I intended to rip, I took out one stitch at a time, putting each stitch carefully on a double pointed needle.

I began with US 6s, and then recalled how difficult it is using the same size as the working needles, and so I switched to US 2s. The smaller needle size left more play in the yarn and made the process much much easier.

I took out my chart and located the problem area (boy, it looked huge!). And then I took in the full impact of the situation.

I started knitting.

Row by row.

As I went along, I evened out the stitches at the end of each row.

I knit each row from left to right right to left (caffeine issues again - thanks Susan!) - much easier to do when everything is pinned out, but requiring constant futzing with tension at each end of the affected area (sounds important, eh? "affected area" Hee).

I knit some more.

I evened out stitches.

I knit.

And then it was time to put it all back on the working needles. Yay!!!

I had a pile of pins.

And a fixed lace project!

And I'm even starting to get used to being caffeine free. Sort of. :)

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Blogger Laritza said...


9:45 PM  
Blogger Saralyn said...

That's really impressive. Thanks for posting the step-by-step photos of the fix.

9:45 PM  
Blogger kat coyle said...

wow good job. i always go through withdrawals when I quit caffeine. it isn't pretty.

10:00 PM  
Blogger mary said...

WOW! that kind of lace surgery is definitely impressive. Nice job, doc!

10:11 PM  
Blogger junie said...

Great Surgery. When I do something like that, I have to just frog it back. I am lousy at trying to re-knit an error. I think it takes me more time that frogging back - or that is what I tell myself. That is impressive Rosemary.

Thanks for the pixs.

10:49 PM  
Blogger Helle from Denmark said...

Okay...this must mean, that you are kind of insane!!*GRIN*

Great Job.....now we all know where to send our lace to be repaired!*GRIN*

11:52 PM  
Blogger Agnès said...

What a great surgery and job. What do you think if you had take Italian or French coffee (which is stronger than the American one)??

So your job was really impressive, I am now waiting the finished shawl.


12:38 AM  
Blogger Soo said...

Brilliant! My lace surgeries are never quite that orderly -- beautifully done.

12:51 AM  
Blogger fleegle said...

You are a miracle worker! Thanks for the tutorial!

2:00 AM  
Blogger Dave said...

I hope I never have to do something like that, or that I'm crazy enough to attempt it, but if I do, I love your way of pinning out the working yarns in order like that -- very clever!

3:42 AM  
Blogger Lia Nord said...

Sooooo impressive! It's great to see step by step what you did. You were really brave, and I'm so glad you documented the process!

4:27 AM  
Blogger turtlegirl76 said...

Well done! I tried that with the cap shawl and well. Fuck you cap shawl.

4:42 AM  
Anonymous Jen in CT said...

very neat pictures! nice job! :-)

4:54 AM  
Blogger jenknits said...

Wow, I'm glad you were able to get it fixed. Thanks for sharing your process, that may come in handy some day.


5:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm with Junie - doing surgery is SO totally nerve-wracking for me that I end up a basket case and the outcome is uncertain. I rip back, one stitch at a time...for 26 rows one time....

But this is a real accomplishment and tour de force of the process. Your photos and descriptions are wonderful.


I admire your courage and steely nerves.

6:10 AM  
Blogger mle said...

Oh boy! I just had to do this the other night when I saw that a cable had gone awry 10 rows down! and that was just with worsted weight...I'm not sure I would be brave enough to do it with lace.

6:13 AM  
Blogger Nan said...

Double OMG! Now I know why I don't do lace!

6:20 AM  
Blogger leah said...

Wow! Thanks for the tips! I would never have thought to do it that way, but it makes sense!

6:56 AM  
Blogger Laura A said...

I try to fix before ripping, too, but I've never thought of pinning it out. Good job! It looks great!

6:58 AM  
Blogger Kristina B said...

This is amazing, Rosemary. I have patted myself on the back recently because I've managed to fix one or two stitches a couple of rows down. So, your tutorial will surely help me build upon my frogless skills. :-)



7:03 AM  
Blogger T-Mom said...

Brava! Beautifully done! I can do that with cables or pattern-stitch knitting, but haven't managed to do it with lace yet. This is an inspiring demonstration

7:09 AM  
Blogger Jean said...

Aaaaaarrrrgggghhhh..... I'm dizzy and bow before your bravery! Aren't you glad it wasn't KSH?

7:13 AM  
Blogger weebug said...

wow. you are amazing!

7:23 AM  
Blogger Elizabeth Delisi said...

I bow down in humble adulation before you. If I had found that type of mistake, it would be either the frog pool or the back of the closet for that project...


7:28 AM  
Blogger Bea said...

OH my goodness, that is so impressive, I'm a ripper outer, I just don't have the bal&^% to do that! Kudos to you!

7:47 AM  
OpenID pencraftco said...

Great post. Thanks so much for the ideas!

8:18 AM  
Blogger Rachel said...

Thanks for the tutorial! I had to do that on my Tuscany before Christmas...I DON'T fix mistakes well without full rip but I was going to cry if I had to rip a full 8 rows at the end of the shawl! It actually worked but I don't know if I could repeat it. This helps a lot!

8:30 AM  
Blogger Leisa said...

Unbelievable! I had no idea that was even possible. I am truly amazed! Thank you so much for sharing that.

8:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bless your heart! I'm a beginner, just three classes in, so I don't have a clue what you did but so impressed you could figure out the repairs! What a great job. sandi

8:31 AM  
Blogger Sheila E said...

How cool to see the whole process!
You are a brave woman....glad that it worked out for you!
Patience IS a Virtue ;)

8:32 AM  
Blogger Glitter said...

I tried being caffeine-free for 2 weeks due to doctor's orders. It was the worst 2 weeks of my life. I am happily back on the crack. LOL.

9:05 AM  
Blogger Sheila said...

Amazing! I have seen that done with cables but never with lace. Good job!

10:20 AM  
Blogger Sereknitty said...

Oh, wow ... I'm in awe. I really hope I NEVER have to do that and to that end, do not ever anticipate giving up my a.m. coffee.

10:55 AM  
Blogger shortoldlady said...

Do you make house calls??? Fantastic recovery.

11:07 AM  
Blogger beadntat said...

I've never thought about using pins and a board to separate the strands...maybe that's why I got them mixed up the last repair job I did...twice :-) Of course I've not attempted something quite that big, but I think I might give it a go if/when I get in a similar state. Thanks Romi!

11:57 AM  
Blogger Melanie said...

I got a little queasy looking at the surgery. What a fabulous recovery. I love your methodical approach. Pinning out the lengths of yarn is a great tip for future surgeons.

12:21 PM  
Blogger Rudee said...

Amazing job. You are impressive. And Turtlegirl76? You may be choke on my coffee. LMAO......

1:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

All I can say is WOW!
I am a newbie to lace knitting (having completed one project)--but LOVE IT!

I think, right now, I will stick to the old "lifeline"--and admire your surgical skills from afar!

Well done!


1:59 PM  
OpenID ashidome said...

Incredible! I'm gobsmacked and so incredibly impressed!

5:48 PM  
Anonymous marie said...

Bloody brilliant! I just drop down the stitches and hope for the best.

6:04 PM  
Blogger NH Knitting Mama said...

Holy Moley... You have the patience of a saint, my friend!

6:09 PM  
Blogger LDSVenus said...

It is indeed impressive!!! The shawl looks awesome. You should be a brain surgeon!!

6:31 PM  
Blogger Sue's Knitting Projects said...

Thank you SO much for taking those pictures.
For the first time I tried a lace repair following your steps and it worked! It was a lot simpler than yours, but I am so grateful to you!

7:17 PM  
Blogger Sue's Knitting Projects said...

Thank you so much for posting the pictures. They helped me make a simple lace repair for the first time!

7:18 PM  
Blogger susanc said...

WOW! I am SO impressed. You are amazing. I wouldn't even know where to begin with something like that. I would have had to frogged the whole thing and start all over.

7:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bravo to a brave woman!

5:19 AM  
Anonymous Michele with one "L" said...

Thank you so much for the simplifying of fixing lace knitted mistakes. I have fixed a lot of error in that way but not on the foam board. That sure will make a difference next time I have to rip back a section. I know I will have to some day. Thank you, also, to the Rainey sisters for sending me to your blog.

5:37 AM  
Blogger Lorraine said...

Rosemary- Why would you even think of going off caffeine?

I couldn't look, it was too painful.

7:05 AM  
Blogger Knits & Stitches said...

Wow, I'm impressed!

7:56 AM  
Blogger Melissa said...

I think you'll have to borrow my nickname: Dr. Needles!

Very impressive!

8:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

WOW! You're my new hero!
lizard_knits AT hotmail DOT com

9:09 AM  
Anonymous AlisonH said...


9:36 AM  
Anonymous Beth S. said...

Terrifying, but fabulous. :-)

12:16 PM  
Blogger kasiaiscarly said...

wow, serendipity that you are who i just found on the ravely blog comment train! i'm trying to plan a wedding in sonoma, so i'm totally going to PM you! never mind how totally impressive your fix was!

12:50 PM  
Blogger Rhian said...


That was the sound of my jaw hitting my chest.

You're one brave lady! Thank you documenting the process - if I ever have the guts to attempt a fix like that, I'll definitely be referring to it.

3:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

wow, I am truly in awe. so many rows... I was sweating repairing five rows of 24 stitches last night but I did it. I didn't think about pinning out the yarns but will definitely do so if I ever have to go more than five rows.

Linda M.

8:15 AM  
Blogger Donna said...

Another reason to love foamcore - thanks for that tip; it's like an extra pair of hands which will sit still for you as long as you want :)

4:11 PM  
Blogger Helen Knits said...

Awesome!!! Perhaps one day I might be brave enough to try it also. Many thanks for showing us the step by step procedure.

5:28 AM  
Blogger Bells said...

that's freaking amazing.

11:59 PM  
Blogger Ginger_nut said...


you are a brave, brave soul. Fantastic idea to use the T-pins to keep track of your 'rows' of yarn. I have down this with up to 5 rows for cables, but to do it with lace just astounds me!

7:05 PM  
Blogger Lynne said...

Wow! and I'll say it again, backwards because I'm so impressed: Wow!!

7:32 AM  
Blogger donnac368 said...

OMG! Can I write you in for president?

5:26 PM  
Blogger Sayward said...

That is incredible! Holy shit. In my mind, I knew such things could be done, but I still don't quite believe it.

10:47 AM  
Blogger Sandy said...

I knew this could be done but it still makes me twitch to think about doing it myself...

I'm a wimp and probably would have ripped all the way back to a lifeline and reknit the whole 16 rows.

6:33 AM  
Blogger Kate said...

Oh yeah, twitching and then some. I'd just look at all that unravelled row-by-row yarn and start panicking as to which to incorporate next. Well done on a caffeine free existence. : ) Er, does this include chocolate?

12:58 AM  
Anonymous Diane in Chico, CA said...

Saw a link to your blog in the "fixing mistakes in lace" thread on ravelry...

Nicely done!

... and you made it look so easy.

4:53 PM  
Blogger LadybirdLinz (:i:) said...

When I grow up I want to be Lace Doctor too...:D

7:53 AM  
Anonymous Tom said...

Holy crap!

1:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good grief!!!! I take of my (knitted) hat to you! Truly amazing - thanx for the pix too. WOW!!!!

8:17 AM  
Anonymous Esther Law said...

Fantabulous! What helps me the most is to neatly pin the yarn from the rows so that you have all that yarn organized and untangled. Then, using dpn's so that you can just knit right to left without having to flip the piece over. This is such a better option than frogging. What a time-saver! Thanks for your fantastic photos!!!

8:28 AM  
OpenID kitchenoperas.com said...

Wow. That is just more than amazing. Thanks for showing your process!!!

7:06 AM  
Blogger knit one move cat said...

Stupendous! I think that should work on some lace repair that comes from Grandma. She would be so proud of me....thanks.

9:41 AM  
Blogger Jollyolly San said...

If you knit right to left on the RIGHT side...how do you knit the WRONG side if the piece is pinned to the board??

7:51 PM  

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