Thursday, March 05, 2009

Resting on my laurels?

You may think I've been resting on my laurels but I assure you I've been doing no such thing. Someone asked me if I would knit "something " for her and she gave me a tiny photocopy of a waistcoat thingie (technical term). That's the trouble with being a knitter - non-knitters think you can work miracles. Remember that old joke? "My mother made me a homosexual." "If I buy the wool, will she make me one, too?" - I felt a bit like that knitter.

Considering that's all I had to go off, I think I did a good job. Here's the front:

and a close-up of the cable:

The collar presented certain difficulties. It looked very Elizabethan (the first one, not the present one) - standing up, a little ruff-like. The yarn I was using (Rowan Pure Wool Aran) was fairly sturdy before it was washed but after washing it turned a little "floppy" (tt). I had to work the collar double to make it stand up as it was supposed to do:

So I picked up and knitted stitches around the neckline and then worked double the length required. I then picked up the corresponding stitch from the base of the collar and worked that stitch together with the next stitch on my left needle. When I had two stitches on the right needle, I cast off in the normal way. Sometimes when I do this I work a purl row on the right side when the collar is the correct length and before I start working the "inside" of the collar. This acts as a fold line and makes the collar crisper. I didn't do that in this case because I wanted the collar to be softer and more rounded at the top.

The cast off edge of the armhole band also presented problems. I cast off three times and it just didn't look right. I tried a backstitch cast off - thread about three times the length of the edge to be cast off into a blunt pointed tapestry needle; put the needle into the first two stitches purlwise; pull yarn through but do not drop the stitches; put the needle into the first stitch knitwise; drop the stitch off the knitting needle; pull the yarn through and repeat. It looked like a dog's breakfast. I tried an Italian sewn cast off. It looked dreadful. I tried a sort of kitchener cast off using this marvelous explanation. This is a link to a post on Ravelry and I apologize if you are not able to access it but I have never really understood quite what I was doing with the Kitchener Stitch and now I do. In spite of the fact that I now know all there is to know about grafting - that didn't look good either. Eventually, I used a modified version of the two row cast off - first row in single rib and pull the knits over the purls as in a normal cast off; second row, slip each stitch purlwise onto left needle and pull the previous one over - no yarn used up. I don't think this looks too bad:

If anyone can suggest a better cast off for a 2x1 rib I am all ears.

There are twelve buttons:

and that's eight of them.

No sooner was that off the needles when I had a call from someone else. This lady has her own Soay sheep; she has her own Soay yarn and she wants me to knit it into a little "something" for her and her husband. Details of this will have to wait for another day but things are progressing.

Oh, and look what reappeared in my back field:

Better than a mean old horse anyday, wouldn't you say?


KnitYoga said...

Well done on finding the right cast off in the end! LOL

I had a similar problem when casting off the collar of Noro Fitzgerald which is 2 x 2 rib. The tubular bind off for double rib was meant to be the right one according to Montse Stanley but I couldn't make head nor tail of the instructions. An alternative was the decrease bind off which according to Montse Stanley is much better than chain for ribbings but not as good as tubular. In practice, it worked really well. You can see the result here
(Scroll down a bit to see close up of collar).

steel breeze said...

Love the waistcoat! You have far more patience than I!

allisonmariecat said...

Lovely waistcoat. That is an accomplishment to produce something wearable on such scant direction! I love the cables. I have just recently started cabling, and it's quite addictive!