It is not safe to let the following critters near your handknits:
Although they are clever, friendly, and interesting, they can do a number on your favorite sweater:
Fortunately, all of their damage was confined to the plain part of the sweater, so I was able to unpick the lower sleeve and saved the colorwork.
I had to rip back the sleeve past where it joined the body into the yoke, actually to the row below the yoke colorwork. In re-working the yoke, I discovered more gnawed areas, so I had to rip back even more than is shown here:
Do you see all those curly ends? Those are rat-gnawed strands, and each of the couple of hundred loose ends had to be woven in as I was re-knitting the damaged portion:
Good thing I still had plenty of the original yarn to work with! Good thing, too, that I write and save all my old patterns. I was able to re-create the round yoke shaping from my original directions as I re-knit the damaged portion of the yoke.
Note the woven-in curly ends right below the working yarn.
Here's the inside of the sweater after the yoke was re-worked. For now, I've left all the curly ends long. After the sweater has been worn a few times and washed once, I'll trim them down to an inch or two. I like to wait until a sweater has been broken in to trim the ends; that way any tight strands will have worked themselves looser and so be less likely to pop to the right side.
And here's the right side of the re-worked yoke. It's lumpy for sure right now, and there are faint vertical lines where I attached the new section to the main part of the yoke, but it looks pretty good. It should even out a lot over the first few wearings and a good washing.
The sleeve went quicker than I thought. Thanks again to saving my original written pattern so that I could figure out where to attach the saved portion of the sleeve to my re-worked sleeve.
Here the saved sleeve and the new sleeve are lined up ready to be grafted together. Kitchener stitch is an important talent for sweater repair.
Here's the wrong side of the repaired sweater. All ends are woven in, but they won't be trimmed for a month or two.
And here's the right side, showing the grafted-on sleeve and the re-worked yoke:
Another view of the finished repair. You can see the Kitchener line where I grafted the saved part of the sleeve to the new sleeve. This should even out over time.
After I'd finished the repair, I left it on my knitting table for a few days so I could admire it, then I folded the sweater and put it in my son's drawer. This morning he came out and said he'd discovered something wonderful.
“Thank you so much for fixing my sweater!”
This child of all of mine amazes me with the quality of his appreciation.