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Knitting Coping Strategies: Laughing While You Mend

May 24, 2010

A few years ago I knit my mom a summer sweater. The yarn is Tahki Trio, a fabulous yarn that I've used for two sweaters. It changes hue and texture throughout, going from matte to shiny nylon to matte cotton.

My mom wore the sweater a lot, but the last time she wore it, she leaned down and caught her shoulder on something and snagged the sleeve. There was a bit of fiber sticking out, so she simply—wait for it—SNIPPED IT OFF. And then she went about her merry business, wearing the sweater once a week or so.

One day she noticed a little hole in the shoulder, so she gave me the sweater and said something to the tune of, "I think there's something wrong here. Can you fix it?" I said, "Sure!" and went about my merry business. Well now it's coming on summer again and I decided to fix the "little hole."

As soon as I started picking at the hole to see what was wrong, the tiny string of remaining yarn (the section that was snagged was in the nylon portion of the yarn and the strand sort of unraveled) gave way and developed into a HUGE GASH. I quickly grabbed the stitches and put them on two stitch holders so there wouldn't be further damage. I knew I had a leftover ball of yarn, but I couldn't put my finger on it. So I kitchenered the hole together with orange yarn to hold it in place—and therefore making it look really grisly!—until I could find the yarn.

The hole—tamed and ready for final mending.
I don't think I'm adequately conveying the horror that I experienced when all of those stitches literally burst open. At first I froze, thinking any slight movement would cause the whole thing to fall apart. Then I took the measures mentioned above. All will be fine in the end, but I have to say I was pretty stressed out.

This all happened the night before I took a plane to Denver for a meeting at Interweave. When I got there, I was presented with the new calendar, Franklin Habit's Stash of Knitting Cartoons 2011 Calendar. As I looked through it, the cartoon above made me laugh out loud, because that's what the Case of the Shoulder Gash was—a big, fat BUMMER.

And then life imitated art on the plane ride home when I dropped my ball of yarn as the plane was taking off and it rolled under my seat and rolled back about five rows, winding itself around two people's feet. I'm thankful for the lady in seat C18, who didn't push her handbag quite as far as she should have under the seat in front of her, therefore setting up the barrier that stopped my wayward ball of yarn. I'm sure those 10 people behind me were saying something a little stronger than "Bummer," as I went down the aisle and gathered my yarn, but I was sure was laughing to myself.

Here's to finding the humor in knitting!


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Franklin Habit's 2011 Calendar: Stash of Knitting Cartoons

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Featuring thirteen favorite images from Franklin Habit's It Itches, this calendar is perfect for yarn-lovers to keep track of noteworthy dates and deadlines.


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mboylston wrote
on Dec 15, 2010 5:17 PM

I just finished a sweater blocked it then discovered to my horror that a stitch had either snagged or came apart in the ribbing. Any ideas on how to fix it without re-knitting the entire front panel?

MaureenC@2 wrote
on Dec 11, 2010 2:51 PM

Hi, Kathleen!  I am working with Tahki Trio & find it extremely slippery.  How did you handle joining new balls of yarn?

Deerarts wrote
on Sep 16, 2010 4:14 PM

Knitting socks in the car (yes, I'm the passenger) with sz 0 needles. Decide to put a needle down for a moment, so I angled it in one of the two cupholder slots. As soon as I let go, it was gone. Who knew there was this tiny little space that a sz 0 needle could fall into. Every so often we would hear that needle rolling back and forth. Not worth $100 to retrieve the needle; but when we traded in the car I decided to mention that the noise occasionally heard was a benign knitting needle that had lost its way.

CherylH@17 wrote
on May 24, 2010 4:26 PM

Yes, you can knit (or crochet) on flights on US airlines within the US and on flights abroad that originate in the US, on US airlines. Once you're on foreign soil, things get much trickier. But, within the US, you can have knitting needles (any kind), crochet hooks, and even sharp-pointed scissors with blades up to four inches long. I regularly travel with all my knitting paraphernalia. For US rules, check the website at (This doesn't guarantee that you won't run into a crotchety TSA employee, so it's a good idea to carry a self-addressed envelope big enough to mail your needles back to yourself.)

CSchuetze wrote
on May 24, 2010 3:50 PM

I'm a little curious about your plane ride home.  Were you knitting on the airplane?  I didn't think that airport security would allow you to take sharp pointy objects on the plane in your carry on luggage.  I'd love to know for sure, cause knitting would sure make the time go by but I'd hate to risk having my $20 double pointed knitting needles confiscated......

on May 24, 2010 12:21 PM

Hi SusanG,

To fix the hole, I'm going to follow the grafted orange yarn with the matching white yarn, then weave in the ends securely. I think that ought to do it!


CherylH@17 wrote
on May 24, 2010 11:58 AM

Sorry about both your yarn mishaps. But for knitting on the plane, may I recommend something like the KnowKnits GoKnits pouches? Stash your project in the bag, then once you're on the plane, find some bit of the seat structure to snap the little strap to. Then you can knit away with the yarn feeding from the bag. (Of course, your ball of yarn can occasionally escape, but the odds are more in your favor.)

yogama wrote
on May 24, 2010 11:19 AM

there is a difference between mending and creating. i choose to create! and i hate it when people (inlaws and those non-knitters!) give me their sad pieces and ask me to fix. can't be too hard right? little do they know. haha! yes we must keep on laughing!

i am giggling over the previous post - *faints*.

KnitNoir wrote
on May 24, 2010 8:35 AM

She snipped it off?


Knit-Picky wrote
on May 24, 2010 8:34 AM

Ooohhh, I'm glad you posted this piece as I have a project from a friend of a similar situation.  To preface a bit: Wherever I go, I bring my knitting, it's just what I do.  Friends see me out and about, knitting away, and have all come to the conclusion I just must be an expert!  Well, Debi's sweater is really ravaged in 2 places, but I feel I've figured how to go about mending it.

Thanks for this post - if we can't laugh at ourselves... ":^)

Love the cartoon, too!

SusanC@5 wrote
on May 24, 2010 8:33 AM

could you do a piece on how to actually fix that hole? Someone just gave me 3 sweaters and asked me to mend them for him