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The donor ball arrived: the operation was ready to proceed. Operation Hempdress Rescue!

The long cast off of contemplation: a true test of patience.

First I had to finish the skirt hem and cast off: an already startling number of stitches plus a picot cast off (cast on 2, cast off 6) made it a long, long process. But an enjoyable one, and as soon as the last stitch was off the needle, the drape and fold of the skirt was suddenly very exciting.

I picked up the waiting stitches at the shoulder and knitted down to the stitches waiting on the other needle. I’m going to be honest, because you need to be able to trust what you read on the internet: I had to fudge this a bit. When you unravel from the top down, rather than the bottom up, you’re working with a different set of loops. Observe:

A diagram! We must be doing science!

When you knit, you’re working on the loops in green up there: you can see there’s four. If you pull the needle out and unravel, towards the cast on edge, you’ll pluck each row of loops out and still have four rows all the way down. If you undo the cast on edge, and unravel upwards, you’ll see you’re working with the bottom of the loops (in pink). And how many are there? Three. That’s right. So after unraveling, I was left with an edge with 26 stitches, ready to be grafted onto an edge with 27 stitches. Hoo boy. It’s not impossible, but it is fiddly and more suited to the middle of a knitted panel of fabric, where you can secure your grafting yarn to the other stitches. When you’re working edge-to-edge, it’s a little more challenging. So I did something I shouldn’t have. I pulled up a loop on one of the edges of the waiting edge and invented a loop just for the purpose of grafting. I know, I’m appalled at myself. (THAT’S A LIE I COULDN’T BE HAPPIER HA HA HA HA!)

Preparing to close.

Knitting is very forgiving of fudge. Plus, the next step is a picot trim around the neckline and armholes, which will completely conceal my trickery. After my sneaky-pants grafting, I did a little duplicate stitching across the grafted row to impersonate the knitted pattern — the graft row looks like a row of plain knitting, which interrupts the jacquard texture in this pattern. And I did a damn fine job:

Well, which side was it?

Having made a full recovery at the hands of a skilled surgeon, Hempdress is inches away from completion. Next up: the picot edges around neckline and armhole, and then a rejuvenating wash to refresh it and get the bird poo out. Then it’ll be schmick and schwing time, you betcha. Yeehaw!

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