Lace Surgery

I’ve been working on the icarus shawl for quite some time now.  On and off, since I cast on way back in May.  One of the reasons it is going slow is because the section I am working on is rather repetative and does not fulfill my lace knitting needs.  So in order to fix that little problem, I decided to take it to a knit night with the girls.  Being that we meet for wine and knitting, it is a bit dark and I am usually somewhat distracted.  So on one of those nights, I managed to make a jig where I should have jogged, and then jogged back when I should have jigged, and the resulting mess was not pleasing to the eye.  You see, when you look at the shawl, the long lines (or bones as I call them) need to be perfect.  And I had a broken bone.  It needed surgery.  I knew I couldn’t just leave it be, so of course I put the shawl into a long time out.

Since the holidays were quiet this year, and I was attempting to avoid casting on any new projects until January 1, I decided now was a good time to perform lace surgery.

Below is a picture of the problem, though I am not sure how easy it is to see it.


Right above my middle knuckles is the jig where there should have been a jog.  At the tips of my fingers is the jog back.  Not ok!  I just didn’t want to see a broken bone in this shawl.

So, I thought I could document the lace surgery in case it would help someone else in the future.  Early in the morning, when it was quiet, I armed myself with my surgical instruments.


A nice cup of coffee and two dpn’s just a bit smaller than the needles I am using to knit the shawl.

I then locate the problem stitches and drop them off the working needles.  I push the stitches I am not working with WAY BACK on the working needles so that they aren’t going anywhere.


And then I do something which strikes fear in every knitters heart.  I purposely drop the problem stitches back down to where I no longer have a problem.


You can see that I have indicated where I need to stop, because I know I don’t want to work any further down than I have to.

I picked up the problem stitches again, taking note of where I was within my pattern.  Have I picked up on a right or wrong side row?  This is critical information.  I started with a right side row, and you can see the yarn overs on either side of  the “bone” stitch.


Now I have a bunch of threads that need to be worked back into the project one by one.  I start with the one closest to the dpn, making sure that I haven’t mixed them up.


I then begin to knit that thread into the pattern.  I started with a pattern row, so my next row is a wrong side row, or a row that I would have purled if I was working back and forth.  Seeing as I am working the entire surgery from the front of the project, I need to knit all the  stitches in the next row.


Once I have incorporated that thread, I move the stitches to the right hand side of the dpn they are now on, and start the next row, a pattern row.  I keep working each row until all the loose threads are worked back into the knitting.


I then put the surgery stitches back on the project needles and continue with the lace.

This is a picture of a set lace bone


You can see at some points there are still a few loose lace stitches, which is perfectly normal.  Remember, surgery requires healing.  It isn’t something that happens over night.  These stitches will be stretched during blocking and will most likely be unnoticeable.  If they are noticeable, I can then take a small needle and even out the stitches.

4 thoughts on “Lace Surgery

  1. This is really helpful, I have nearly the same problem myself right now. I’ve tried this technique twice now, but I seem to have about 2 cms of yarn left at the end of each row. is this a gauge problem do you think?


    • Yes, I think it must be a tension problem when you are reworking the lace. This is unsurprising, since fixing lace is a bit of a tense project! You could try to use larger needles, but it does get difficult to make the final stitches when you have very little yarn left. Additionally, working that yarn back in carefully would also work. I find even though I have a little bit of an area which shows the repair, once the project is blocked, it all blends in.

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