sweater, tutorial

Surgery to Lengthen the Sweater – Pictorial Guide

blocking2I knit a yellow stripe across the front of my sweater 2 rows shorter than all the other stripes.  I didn’t notice it until all my ends were woven in and the piece was blocking on my mat.  Despite my efforts to embrace this skinny stripe, to envision it as a design feature, I cannot love the skinny stripe.  I don’t want to rip out all my knitting and undo all the weaved ends.  So, it’s time to get out my scissors and tiny circular needles to take care of this problem!  If you’ve got a short knitted piece, it’s easy to lengthen, especially if knitted in stockinette stitch.

lengthen10First things first, pick up the right leg of each stitch across the center of the piece with a tiny needle.  The tiny needle makes getting into the stitch easier for me.

lengthen9Next, cut the yarn of a stitch in the row immediately above the picked up row.  I do this to make it clear what stitches to pick up above.  As you pick at the cut yarn, you will notice loops from the row above.  Put those loops on another tiny needle as you pick the cut yarn out of the knitting.

lengthen8As you start picking out the cut yarn, it becomes clear what row of loops to pick up.  Turn your knitting around so the top of the piece is closer to you to make it easier to pick up those loops.

lengthen7Now pull out the yarn from the cut row in both directions until you have completely separated the top of your knitted piece from the bottom.

lengthen6You should have the same number of stitches on both needles.  Now, grab a fresh yarn and knit the missing rows with a needle size that gets gauge.

lengthen5Next, you just need to graft those two sides together.  You’ll need a long piece of yarn.  I generally cut a piece of yarn that is 5-6 times the width of the piece.

lengthen3Now get to Kitchener stitching!

lengthen2And voila!  You’ve got a stripe that fits in with the others!  A little bit of wet blocking and the grafting will look exactly like your other rows.


9 thoughts on “Surgery to Lengthen the Sweater – Pictorial Guide”

    1. Lol. Thanks! Cutting into knitting seems counterintuitive but it saves so much time. This fix took about an hour. My first surgery was on a sock but it went well and now I’m getting bolder with my scissors. I think trying it on a swatch would have probably been smarter than trying it out on my sock but I suppose desperate times call for desperate measures. 🙂


  1. oh my, you are a brave person! I would never have the guts to cut into a knitted piece like that. I’ve not had success trying to pick up stitches like you show – but clearly you’re a pro! Congratulations!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Sharon! 🙂 I’m sure you could do this too! An actual demonstration would probably be more helpful than a few pictures but once you see how to pick up the stitches, it’s a breeze. I think mustering up the courage is the hardest part! But if you have a wool piece that is blocked, then the stitches are not going to unravel on you and you can take your time.


    1. Thanks Grace! I think it was more out of desperation and frustration that I cut into my knitting for the first time. And, when it actually fixed my problem, then my confidence grew. 🙂 After I finish my current WIP, I’ve got another sweater that I’m thinking of cutting into. It’s too small to wear so if ruin it, I won’t have really lose much. Although, I really hope don’t ruin it!


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