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In surgery

Problem: Having reached the hem on a top-down dress, our noble knitter realises (THROUGH NO FAULT OF HER OWN) that one shoulder is ludicrously shorter than the other.

Possible solutions:

  1. Unravel dress from hem to shoulder, reknit.
  2. Magical/surgical intervention.
  3. Dispose of entire garment, change blog to focus more on pug wrestling.

Solution chosen: Magical/surgical intervention.

The theory is straightforward. All I need is an extra 36 rows between the point where the right shoulder joins the back (Row A) and the point where the neck increases start (Row Z). So all I merely simply need to do is pick up the stitches along Rows A and Z, each row on its own needle, snip and remove the connecting yarn, and reknit the shoulder from Row A to meet Row Z. The graft them seamlessly together. Then duplicate stitch the yarn-in-front bits that make up the jacquard pattern of this fabric. Okay, it sounds complicated, but I’m good at knitting. I am. I am good at knitting. So here we go. (That tic below my eye? No, nothing. Potassium deficiency, I think.)

Step one! Secure Row A with a spare circular needle.

Safety first.

That was easy enough.

Step two! Secure Row Z with another spare circular needle. Actually, this took some preliminary steps. Step two-a! Secure row immediately after Row A (let’s call it Row B) on a spare circular needle.

Duly secured.

Step two-b! Snip and separate!

If you’re feeling queasy or light-headed right now, that’s perfectly normal.

Step two-c! Secure Row Z with scrap yarn (not pictured) and unravel from Row B to Row Z. Remember, partway through, there is a rule in knitting — not exactly unknown, but not well-known enough. Unravelling from the starting row is a little different to unravelling from the final row. It’s fine in stockinette, but when you’re working with fabric that has yarn-forwards, wrap-and-turns, or anything else slightly fancy, things start getting complicated.

Step two-d! Unravel as best you can, reminding yourself what a good blog post this will make. Scoop up those stitches you have on scrap yarn safely onto the spare circular. Count stitches.

Step two-e! Do some yarn tugging, knit stretching and light-holding-up-to in order to figure out how the jenkins you ended up with four too few stitches, and with no obvious stitch-dropped ladders.

Step two-f! Grab some spare yarn and knit a jumbo-gauge swatch of the pattern, in light-coloured wool, so you can sit down and figure out what, exactly, is going on. I mean seriously, what the actual shit is going on here?

Help me, swatch.

Step two-g! Remind yourself that you’ve saved the Row A stitches and can start reknitting the shoulder right away, and figure out what went wrong around Rows B through Z later. If necessary, fudging the graft from reknitted Row Y to Row Z will be concealed by some cunning duplicate stitch. I am very good at duplicate stitch.

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