theraineysisters knitting and so much more

June 9, 2007

From Susan — Who Says Knitting is not Brain Surgery??

Filed under: Peacock Shawl -- Susan's — lv2knit @ 10:08 am

Anyone who says knitting is not like brain surgery has never tried to rip out a few rows of fine lace knitting! 

Late last night I was trying to get one more row in on the Peacock Shawl and kaplooie!  A stitch popped off the needle and the shawl started to disembowel!  I attempted to fix it, but it was nearly impossible — too many yarnovers, triple decreases, etc. and it had unravelled 3 rows back.  Needless to say, I was BESIDE myself!  My lifeline was 16 rows back and I did not want to go back that far, seeing as how I had already done that once this week (true confession time 😉 ).  I knew if I went back to that lifeline, I would put Peacock away, perhaps forever.

So, I decided that I needed to try once again to rip back a few rows instead of going all the way to my lifeline.  This was at 12 midnight, so I was very tired and it was very dark.  But emergency brain surgery waits for no one.

This is a picture of my operating suite in the harsh light of day.  You can see my instruments: scalpels, sutures, magnifying devices, etc.


Peacock is being knit on US 4 needles, so I ripped back past the aneurysm (I believe about 5 rows) and used a US 1 needle to pick up the sts as I pulled out the yarn.  I did so in such a way as to be picking up the purled sts, not the right side “lacework” row.  This actually worked better than I had anticipated.  I then transferred each st to the US 4 needle, making sure every st was placed on the needle in the correct position, counting all sts, making sure the pattern was absolutely correct, and replacing all stitch markers.  Whew! 

This morning I knitted the next chart row AND (you guessed it) placed a lifeline!  It was painstaking, but the patient came through the procedure perfectly, though the surgeon is a bit worse for wear!


  1. What was in the mug? I would have had Irish coffee 😉 But then I would have waited for Sally to sort it out. After all, she’s coming soon, isn’t she?

    Comment by Marina — June 9, 2007 @ 10:40 am

  2. HOLY MACOROLI! I bow in the presence of a true knitter with patience, expertise and virtue beyond my realm of thinking! That whole scenario would have put me sooooo far over the edge, I might of never come back.

    Comment by Michelle — June 9, 2007 @ 11:20 am

  3. From Susan — to Marina: I would have waited for Surly but, a) she’s not arriving for DAYS and, b) I’m usually the sorter-outer in this dynamic duo!

    Comment by lv2knit — June 9, 2007 @ 11:59 am

  4. You should check out this post:

    This guy does some great work and his tutorial on repairing lace without a lifeline is great!

    Comment by Connie — June 9, 2007 @ 12:13 pm

  5. From Susan to Connie — that is VERY cool! I would highly recommend that technique for a narrow shawl like his. I pretty much did the same thing sans starch, but starching would have helped I’m sure.  This is something to keep in mind.

    Comment by lv2knit — June 9, 2007 @ 12:17 pm

  6. I feel your pain! Lace surgery in late night hours is absolutely beyond me. Let’s face it, there is some SM element in lace-knitting. Oh, the delicious torture of it all!

    Comment by Laura — June 9, 2007 @ 2:54 pm

  7. I feel dissed! I’ve done plenty of sorting out and surgery on my lace (unfortunately — it would have been better to not have made the mistakes in the first place).

    Comment by surly — June 9, 2007 @ 4:49 pm

  8. From Susan — Uh oh!! I didn’t mean for that to sound like a dis! I would never dis my sis! It’s just that I usually think of myself as the technical one while you are the creative one!!  And I know you are fully capable of fixing knitting snafus!!

    Comment by lv2knit — June 9, 2007 @ 5:33 pm

  9. Whew! I’m glad the patient survived! That’s exactly how I do lace surgery when I can’t just ladder down a bit nd fix a spot. I always rip out however many rows that I need minus one, and then take the last one out a stitch at a time while putting the knitting back on the needle. It works great! And then I don’t have to use a lifeline, either. Which I like. ‘Cause I’m lazy. 🙂

    btw, thanks for saying that photo wan’t horrible, but we both know that I looked like a female impersonator without make-up. Admit it! 😉

    Comment by Romi — June 9, 2007 @ 10:48 pm

  10. ((thunk!))

    Sound of Lorraine doing a face plant in the carpet!

    Comment by Lorraine — June 9, 2007 @ 10:48 pm

  11. You had me on the edge of my seat with this operation. Phew!

    Comment by Karen B. — June 10, 2007 @ 12:50 am

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