Patty’s Purls of WISDOM

Dear Patty, I love knitting bottom-up yoked sweaters. However, whenever I finish up and close the underarm holes, I find that there are two large gaps on either end. I usually patch it up in an ugly off-the-cuff manner, but I’d love to learn a technique that yields professional-looking results. Samantha Dear Samantha, Ah, the dreaded hole at the underarm. It’s just one of those things that plain old BUGS a knitter. This is what I do: 1) After you transfer underarm stitches from waste yarn of sleeve and body to double-point needles, tug on the first and last stitch on the needle and follow the path of the yarn to find the neighboring stitch on the garment body. 2) Pick up the leg of that stitch and put it on the double-point needle. Repeat for both sides of body and sleeve double-point needles. You will have picked up an extra two stitches per double-point needle. 3) The stitches that were held on waste yarn have been compressed, allowing extra slack to feed into the neighboring stitches. Before beginning your graft, resize the stitches. Take an extra double-point needle and transfer all your stitches (the original held + 2) one at a time to the new double-point needle, giving them a little jiggle to make sure they get to the correct sizeand while you’re at it, don’t forget to check that the stitches are mounted correctly. 4) Now begin your graft. After a few stitches, redistribute slack in the graft to make sure all the stitches are the correct size. Patty’s Purls of Technique, etiquette and lifestyle advice for the modern knitter. Email your questions to: 5) Finally, after all that, you may still have a little bitty hole. Use the tail from the graft to tighten up that hole in a mock duplicate stitch. Remember, as tedious as these five steps may sound, you’ll still get it done in a tenth of the time it takes to seam a pieced sweater, so enjoy! Dear Patty I would like to knit a double-knit cowl in the round. What is the best way to join the double knitting so I don’t get a gap? Thanks! Kally Hi Kally, First off, I think people overly stress about the gap. It will naturally disappear after a row or two, and you will use the tail to close up any remaining gaps at the end. But if you really (as they say on the London Tube) mind the gap, I find two circs are AWESOME for double knit in the round. It allows you to get the working yarn from the back needle really close to your front needle to join. (Check out my Annie’s online class Circular Knitting Essentials.) Dear Patty, I have two dogs and a cat in addition to grown sons and a husband. The humans in my family are respectful of my knit and crochet work. No one does anything to ruin it. However, the animals in my life are not. The dogs want to sleep on and knead into a comfy pile any in-progress work, regardless of needles or hooks or pins. They also do this whether things are neatly put away in project bags or left in a puddle on the sofa. They do NOT do this with finished objects. They also don’t like finished objects for themselves. Short of hanging things from the ceiling or storing in the freezer, what can I do? Help! Hairy and Harried in Pa. Dear Hairy and Harried in Pa., The first thing I thought as I was reading your note was that clearly, the dogs are trying to tell you to make a dog sweater, until you said they don’t like finished objects for themselves. This leaves only two possible motivations: Either they are resentful of the time you spend with hooks and needles instead of playing with them and view that pile of yarn as a dreaded rival for your affection that must be destroyed, or the dogs are deeply judgmental about the number of WIPs you have and have decided that in order to encourage you to finish your UFOs, they must be destroyed. I would recommend storing your projects in Ziploc Big Bags. These are 15 x 15-inch heavyduty plastic bags that have a double zipper and a handle. Dogs don’t really like the feel of plastic, so they will leave it alone. Finally, every time you see them giving you the stink eye while you’re knitting, stop, set it aside for a moment and pet them. Best to give in a little and have them connect yarn with love (just like we do)!

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