Today I resume notes on my recent repair, a lace hobbyhorse blanket. This is the second of the series detailing my thoughts as I worked through this reweaving and repair project. You can see the first part here.
To review, this is what a whole hobbyhorse looks like (below). You’ll see I’m using stitch markers to visually mark my place – the green stitch marker represented the first line of stitches in a column that were whole and unraveled.
I got my stitches on a pair of needles and began “knitting” my way up the rows, following and mimicking the other lace horse. I used a trick I often use with children and beginning knitters – the knitting needles are two different colors so I could easily remember which were right side rows and which were “wrong side” rows. By that I mean the rows I was working with the lace (which would have been the right side of the pattern) and the rows I was just plain knitting (which would have been the wrong side, or the purl side).
Double pointed needles made it easy to not have to slip the stitches back and forth.
At this point I was to the top of the horse’s foot and began to notice a problem I hadn’t been sure about until that point. I thought there was a jog in the line of decreases and yarnovers to the left, but I wasn’t quite sure. As I began working the pattern up the leg of the horse, it became apparent that a couple of mistakes had been made by the origional knitter when knitting the horse.
Note: you’ll also notice that as I was making these repairs I wasn’t paying attention to gauge too much – both because I could go back and “adjust” areas, and also because this repair had a time budget – it was more important to get the repair to a place where it wouldn’t come unraveled.
There were three apparent mistakes, but two of them affected the repair – circled below. You can see the jog in the line of stitches on the bottom circle, and another jog at the line of stitches in the horse’s neck. The third mistake, the one which may have led to the run in the first place, is right at the top of the dropped stitches. The mysterious part of all of this was the fact that there wasn’t any broken yarn – the run must have resulted in a dropped stitch that couldn’t get fixed.
At this point I was also starting to suspect that there might have been an extra pair of stitches in the original pattern. Looking at the horse I began to wonder if perhaps there was a fourth mistake that was lost when the stitches dropped down? I’d been noticing that even accounting for differences in gauge, the stitches were really loose. This hypothetical fourth mistake would account for an extra row of stitches, and thus the extra yarn hanging out in each row. I started to suspect that the drop might have resulted from the original knitter trying to fix those mistake; and perhaps losing a stitch in the process?
By now I worked my way back to where the drop happened. I had to strategize how I was going to finish this repair off. I had two different choices I could follow:
1.) Cut the yarn to reweave the affected area and then weave in those ends.
2.) Use additional yarn to sew the gap closed.
I discarded the first option for a couple of reasons: time and cost was a factor for this client. I also wouldn’t have much ends to work with when weaving things back together. Since this is a child’s blanket, I wanted a sturdier option.
Instead, I went with option two. I found some embroidery floss in as close of color as I could get, and cinched in the stitches. I then sewed through the area several times, weaving in the ends afterward.
To get the stitches looking more even, and to test to make sure everything was locked in tight I decided to go with an unconventional approach for blocking. I wet the blanket, maneuvered the stitches so they looked as even as I could get them in a reasonable amount of time, and threw it in the dryer (since the yarn was dryer safe). This fluffed up the yarn, locked the stitches into place, and helped everything even out.
And there you have it! This piece went off to its owner last week, back into the loving arms of a boy that will have it for years to come.