All of my projects seem to have backstories.
Here's this one: I had an infestation of carpet beetles. They ate holes in some of my favorite sweaters. Some of the sweaters I'm frogging, and will joyously use the yarn elsewhere (or so I tell myself, to take the sting out of it). Some of them can be darned, but I'm not very good at darning.
The most important sweater is the one I got married in. It's in iffy shape: too many holes to wear, but the holes are small, so someone with appropriate yarn and skill could fix it. That person's just not me.
Then I saw this: http://dresdencodak.com/2010/07/10/dark-science-03/
Perfect! My sweater's a ribbed mock turtleneck, most of the damage happens below the armpit line, and cutting off the bottom will give me plenty of yarn to fix the one hole above!
Only, I'm not sure I quite dare to cut up my wedding sweater. Also, I'm not sure an overbust shrug will be flattering on me. So I dug through the "damn bugs!" pile, and found ANOTHER mock turtle, with most of the damage happening below the armpit line, and a minimum of sentimental value! Win!
oh, and it's way more damage than mere darning could fix, so there's no guilt there, either. (that elbow is the worst of it, but there are many more holes throughout--but mostly on the bottom half)
I cut off the sleeves and body about an inch below the armpit, and then kept pulling threads until one yarn made it all the way across/around (making sure the edges were even).
When I tried it on, it was too big, so I took in both the sleeves and the body, which means they don't end at armpit level anymore, but a little below.
I started with a tapestry needle and one of the threads I'd pulled, stitching through the live knit stitches to secure them, but it's a crazy-fine knit, so I gave up. I tried machine zig-zagging over the edge, but that stretched it out so it kind of ruffled. So I gave up, turned 1/4" under and machine hemmed it. Or part of it. I got impatient, so only one sleeve is hemmed. Finally, I cut up the front and sewed a zipper in.
(apologies for crappy webcam, insufficient lighting, dopey expressions)
I like it! It's cute and it was pretty easy, but it's seriously SF. I look significantly more like a Star Trek extra than I'm really comfortable with.
It still needed work: The sweater stretched slightly when I sewed the zipper in, so the zipper buckled instead of lying flat. My crappy machine hemming left a hem that kind of bubbles and curls. Also, taking in the body and sleeves means it extends a bit longer than the armpit-length I had in mind.
I used grosgrain ribbon as a hem tape, to stabilize and give a nice crisp line. I'm already wishing I'd used a wide elastic, the ribbon used on the sleeves (for example) is a bit looser than it needs to be, which makes the sleeve stand out. I also re-sewed the zipper, so it buckles less.