If you are a crocheter (hooker is so much nicer to say), you might have experienced this problem already. If you haven’t, take all the necessary precautions to avoid this from happening. We all age I know, but episodes like the one I am about to describe, make us age quicker (it also worsens any Cooper’s Droop that might be present, immediately).
I am talking about a HUGE crochet project, that suddenly went wrong. The possibilities are endless but here are three to get your hair to rise:
The dog chewed the centre of a granny square; obviously it is the square that is sitting smugly in the centre of your afghan;
You crocheted next to the fire place and a small spark burned a hole in your project (I sincerely hope this never happens to anyone I know, that uses acrylic yarn…. if it does…. bye bye);
You made a mistake, one that you cannot un-see, and that mistake is 50 rows down.
The afghan I operated on this morning, was made by quilting master Tiki Brophy (click! you have to see her quilts!). Tiki crocheted an afghan in V-stitch, but she used the same size hook from start to finish. The starting chain was too tight, and it pulled in substantially at the bottom, causing this project to end up in Tiki’s Frog Pond (the place for all the UFOs you still have to frog or fix). I volunteered to fix it for her. I demonstrated this every time I facilitated The Crochet Guide to Greatness, and without fail, each time the attendees screamed in horror when I started cutting the crocheted work. Like I said, it contributes to ageing…..
In this picture, I folded the bottom edge over, so you can see the degree to which the starting chain pulls in.
A life-line, is the first step to fix this. Whether you have to replace a square or a row, makes no difference. You have to insert a life-line. Please note that this technique can be done anywhere on the afghan; for this round however, I am working right on the bottom edge.
I decided on a yellow life-line, as I have to save the feet of the red row of stitches. The bottom lilac row, is going to be cut off to get rid of the bottom chain.
The life-line is in, and it is time to cut the bottom row in half (this is where you are supposed to start screaming).
Once the project has been cut, you have to remove all the little pieces of unwanted crochet.
I am now left with the life-line. Look at the difference if I fold the blanket over now – no pulling.
Let’s stop here for a moment. The rest of the operation will depend on the repair you are doing. In this case, I only have to replace the bottom chain – quite easy really. If however, we cut the blanket higher up, it would have been a little more work. You can read about this in The Crochet Guide to Greatness (you haven’t yet downloaded this manual? really? what is wrong with you??)
Nothing fancy – we start with a slip-knot.
The first slip-stitch is going to be made into the feet of the first stitch on the life-line.
Just a slip-stitch.
Because it is the starting chain for a V-stitch pattern, I am going to do 2 chains between the slip-stitches that catch the feet of the stitches. First I insert my hook through all four loops, of the two double crochets, that make up the V-stitch, then I do a simple slip-stitch.
Having done a few, I check for tension.
You can clearly see it is a slip-stitch, followed by two chains, each time. It doesn’t pull in at all, so I can continue. But wait – oh I nearly forgot, you want to see the back too.
I know you are frowning. Don’t worry. It looks funny as the slip stitch is formed between the bumps of two chains at the back. Once a border has been added to finish the afghan off, you won’t see it at all.
All done – the life-line is still in there for you to easily find the red row I worked with.
Life-line has been removed, and the blanket is ready for Tiki to start with the border. First photo shows the back, second shows the front.
Now I have to give credit, where credit is due. This crochet surgeon thing, began with Suzie. Suzie the labrador. Need I say more? I think not.