Fix Knitting Mistakes the Simple Way: Lengthen or Shorten a Knitted Sweater

Learn how to fix knitting mistakes such as making your sweaters too long or short. Video tutorial from Interweave!I am notorious for knitting my sweaters too short. I don’t know what comes over me; no matter how many times I measure myself and vow to knit the body (to armholes) 17 to 19 inches, I continue to ignore myself and stop at about 16 inches so as to fix knitting mistakes in my sweater. I think I get too excited to start a new part of the pattern and I stretch the sweater when I’m measuring. Slap my hand, will ya? I always end up fixing mistakes like this, and I need to learn to avoid them myself.

When my sweaters do end up too short, I tried to make my sweaters longer by stretching the heck out of them during blocking, which works okay if I wet block something but not so great if I steam block. I had to make my sweaters longer several times, and it’s not fun.

The first time I did this I picked up stitches and knitted downwards to the desired length. This sort of worked, but there was a ridge where I picked up stitches.

The second time, I tried to unravel the cast-on edge and pick up stitches so I wouldn’t have that ridge. Here’s some news from me: you can’t unravel a cast-on edge, and it’s agony to pick it out. I ended up cutting it off and making a big mess. I had to take out several rows, adding to the amount I had to knit to make the sweater the right length. When you have to constantly fix knitting mistakes it can become so frustrating!

I since learned how to correctly lengthen (or shorten, if necessary) a knitted sweater. Here’s a demonstration of that process.

As you can see, the key is picking up dropped stitches before you cut the cast-on edge. And if you’ve knit from the top down, easy-peasy—just unravel the cast-off, pick up the stitches, and start knitting.

Even though the fix is pretty easy, I think I finally learned my lesson. At least I hope so.

I also learned so much from Interweave Knits over the years, whether it’s fixing mistakes or learning new knitting methods. Knits is just full of knitting techniques and tutorials, including the feature “Beyond the Basics.” I learned how to make better buttonholes, how to follow a lace chart, how to set in sleeves correctly, and much more.

Catch up with the 2015 Interweave Knits Digital Collection, or subscribe now!

And if you want to know more about the dos and don’ts of how to fix knitting mistakes, download our FREE eBook, Free Guide to Fixing Knitting Mistakes for All Knitters.

Two of my favorite products for on how to fix knitting mistakes and just great general knowledge are The Knitter’s Companion and Knit Fix. With these at your side, your knitting questions are answered with a flip of the page.


P.S. Do you have a favorite knitting technique or tip on how to fix knitting mistakes? Share it with us in the comments below!

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