The Yarnologue

On the Needles: Pansies Bolero

I started the Bolero from the Ella Rae Pansies book over the weekend and it is moving along quickly as I expected.

The pattern calls for a US 5 needle for the edging and a US 6 for the body, but I got gauge on the US 5. That means that when it is time to work the edging I should probably use a US 4 needle.

Pansie Bolero

Start of my Pansies Bolero

As I mentioned before, Pansies is an unmercerized 100% cotton yarn, but it has a 3-ply construction for strength.

Unlike some cotton yarns that can be a little harsh to knit with because they are stiff, Pansies has just enough “give” that it hasn’t tired out my hands. It is also pleasantly soft as it’s running through my fingers.

Pansies back

It is fun to watch the stripes develop.

I’m enjoying watching the stripes take shape. It’s so nice to be able to work plain stockinette stitch and allow the yarn to do all the hard work of adding visual interest!

The only problem I’ve had so far was when I managed to twist as stitch as I was knitting. That’s what I get for not paying attention to what my hands are doing!

When I make a mistake in my knitting or crocheting I ask myself a few questions before I decide whether to fix it or ignore it.

The first question to ask is, “Does the mistake mess up the pattern?” In a lace or texture stitch a mistake can effect every subsequent row, which probably means repairs are necessary. In stockinette stitch it might be possible the just fudge a different row by increasing or decreasing to get back to the correct stitch count.

The second question to ask is, “How noticeable is the mistake?” If it’s in the middle front of the sweater it might be glaring, in which case I’d probably want to fix it. If it’s on the edge it might get absorbed into the seam or regularly covered by my arm, in which case I might ignore it.

The last, and most important question, is, “Can I live with it?” Some people will drive themselves to distraction trying to make their project “perfect.” Sometimes to the point where they don’t end up finishing because they get so exhausted and annoyed. Other people take the view that humans make mistakes and a slight flaw in a hand knit or crocheted project makes it unique and adds character.

Only you can decide with type of crafter you are. But the important thing to remember is to relax and enjoy the process!

In this case, I knew I wouldn’t be able to live with the mistake (even though it was on the back). Also, it was an easy mistake to fix.

Preparing to pick up stitches

First, insert the crochet hook through the last live stitch

I started my repair by dropping the stitch off the needle that was in line with the twisted stitch.

I then gently manipulated the yarn to drop the stitch down until I reached the offending stitch. Usually dropped stitches are a reason to gnash your teeth, but done in a controlled manner then can be useful.

Then I got my crochet hook and began the process of working the stitches back up.

Picking up

Use the hook to grab the strand and pull it through the loop.

It’s a simple matter of grabbing the loose strand (or “ladder”) from the next row up and pulling it through the stitch on the crochet hook. When you reach the top row, place the last loop back on the left hand needle, being careful not to twist it.

The still photos give you the general idea. I also made a little video so you can see the process in action.

I hope this gives you confidence to attempt a repair the next time you make a mistake.

Remember, the staff at your local yarn store are always a good resource for repairs. Sometimes all you need is the moral support of other knitters nearby when you attempt a repair.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a Bolero to knit!

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