Friday, 3 November 2017

Repairing crochet in an outside row and a "Russian Join"

Scissor Attack!

Recently I was working on my blanket for the Stylecraft #Blogtour17. Here's a finished shot:

One morning as I sat down to join a few more motifs I found that my 4yo son had become adventurous with my scissors. Look what he did to our lovely tablecloth that we bought on holiday 17 years ago!! (I'm going to write a tutorial on how I repaired this in the future - because I've yet to repair it).

A beautiful hand-made filet crochet bedspread we bought in 2000 while on holiday in Bali. We use it for a tablecloth on our 8 seater dining table.

Once I got over that horror, however, I found that he had also attacked my blanket! Now he was living on borrowed time! First, I had to repair it and finish the blanket because I had a deadline.

Imagine the horror!

It was not one, but two diamond motifs that he had cut, in an identical manner, and I took a lot of photographs as I repaired them in order to share my experience with you all.

So, as much as I wanted to kill him at the time, I managed to turn it into something to be grateful for. There had better not be a next time though. Grrrrr.

I noticed the cut as I was adding motifs to the next row!

There are many kinds of crochet repairs that can be attempted, and I wrote an article on this back in 2014, with links to some great tutorials on how to do many of these. You can find the article here: Repairing Crochet Items

Yet this time, when I sat down to reread these tutorials, I found that they didn't quite meet my needs. They were more concerned with repairing issues in the center of blankets and cloths, not a cut to the outside of a motif. Even though there wasn't anything specific, I had refreshed my memory enough that I had a fair idea of what to do, so I attempted my first ever crochet repair, and now I get to share that "joy" with you. I hope that you find this helpful (although I hope more that you never need it, lol).

Repairing an outer edge in crochet

Materials needed: darning needle or tapestry needle, scissors, crochet hook.

Unlike other repair types, repairing on the outer edge means that you don't have to stabilise the fabric above the row that you are working on, because there are no rows above! So, you can really get into it straight away.

The first step is to match the yarn as close as you possibly can. For me, because it was something I was still working on, this was not an issue.

The same for the next step which is to know what pattern you are working with. As this was a current design project, I know what stitches have been affected.

So, look closely at your damage, see where the cuts or holes have been made and CAREFULLY remove any loose fibres. PLEASE NOTE, IF THERE IS MORE THAN ONE ROW AFFECTED, YOU MAY NEED TO STABILISE YARN FURTHER DOWN. That isn't covered in this particular tutorial. Watch this space for a tutorial on repairing a central piece of crochet.

Look closely at the damage to see how deep it is

Now you need to make it worse - yes worse, but only temporarily. The loose thread on the left is stable, but the thread on the right, if pulled, can frog your work. You're going to need to frog a little bit in order to get enough yarn to work with - ie to attach the repairing yarn.

Frogged to gain length

There are many ways to join yarn, my preferred method is known as a "Russian Join". Thread the yarn from the frogged section onto a darning or tapestry needle. Now, most tutorials say to run the darning needle up through the center of itself, but I find that it can work loose, so I basically sew a running stitch if you like, back and forth through the yarn. Make sure that you leave enough space at the "bend" to form a loop or an eye. Make sure that this frogged section is still attached to your poject. See below.


Remove the tapestry needle from your loop, and thread it with the yarn you will use to repair the crochet. Before you create another loop, thread the darning needle and the current working thread, through the loop you created using the frogged yarn (still attached to your project).

Repeat the process of doing a running stitch back up the length of the new strand of yarn, creating another loop that is woven through the first loop. You will find that once you remove the darning needle and tug on both pieces, they are firmly attached!

Now you have extended the yarn, work the missing stitches up unto the end of your work. If you need to, carefully frog a stitch or two on the left hand side of your work (this is more tricky than it sounds as it is actually well anchored) and tie a small knot.

Replace any stitches that you frogged on the left with the yarn from the right.

I like to treat the ends like they are from a standing stitch start. So first I tie off the yarn and cut any excess leaving a reasonable tail. Then I thread the end created on the LEFT, and work it across to the right by coming up through the middle of the < on the top of the stitch.

I then wind it around the next < and then take it down the back of the work and hide it as per usual.

Taking the right hand end, I run it through the loop sticking out towards the right from the left hand side.

As it comes through from the front to the back, I take the needle back toward the right hand side and up through the middle of the < at the top of the last stitch, from the back. I then wind it around the back loop of the next < on the right and then take it down the back of the work to hide the ends. These steps ensure that the leading edge of the work keeps the <<<<<<<<< look, and provides the third strand underneath.

See, when you think about it,  you've probably done some similar things yourself without them being actual repair work. You have joined more yarn before, you have tidied up your ends... this is exactly the same, except you are replacing stitches, rather than creating new ones.

Now, I know that the Russian Join creates a thicker yarn, and that may not be a viable option for you, please use whatever joining method you prefer. Here is the repair completed:

The cuts were made to the right of where I've placed the tip of the hook. Here is the motif finally joined with the others:

So, if your washing machine takes a bite, or your furry loved one, or a baby, or insects or time, or whatever causes your teeth to gnash and your heart to weep, remember, all is not lost. YOU CAN repair it.

Go on, Get Knotted.

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