Saturday, February 25, 2012

Magicking

I was innocently flipping through a magazine at Red Purl the other day, minding my own business when WHAM! I saw this picture and had to make this sweater. Just like that. I can't even say that I absolutely love the sweater but I had to make it. Right now.

It may have had something to do with the fact that Amy had Peace Fleece on sale for $5 a skein and there were three pink ones left and one white to go with it. I did some calculations for the substitution and figured it would get me close enough. (I apparently love to run out or almost run out of yarn at every chance I get.) I'll lengthen the body, but shorten the sleeves if need be. And no turned-over hem; that will save some yardage too.

I got the collar done the other day--that's where you start.

It's knit to make a strip of knitting on the bias:
You can see that even as the edges are straight, the knitting rows are slanted at 45 degrees. This is done with increases and decreases. No magic in that. I moved my increases/decreases in one stitch from the edge so I could have a neat selvage stitch--that is why you can see the stripes "straighten out" at the edges (especially visible in the top of the picture above).

I like the stripe effect, but briefly considered using the back side:
It's also striped but like colours are separated by a little space. This is because instead of the top and bottom of each row being done with the same colour, the top of one row and the bottom of the next are done in the same colour. Sort of like two halves coming together to make a whole. In the end, I decided to stick to the "right" side.

Because I was changing colours every time I started a right-side row, I went ahead and knit the first stitch. (Usually I slip it.) I made sure to purl the last stitch on the wrong side rows and that gave me the nice selvage stitch on one side:
On the other side, I slipped the first stitch on the wrong side rows as I normally do. Slipping it as a purl stitch yields the nice "V" selvage stitch:
You can see that this edge has only one stitch per stripe whereas the previous picture had two stitches per stripe. That's what you get with slipping. I was concerned with getting a nice selvage on both edges because the body of the sweater is picked up and knit off one edge, and the other edge is sewn down--both good times to have a convenient selvage stitch.

The bias strip collar is started with a provisional cast on. I used the crochet cast on. I started it while waiting for choir to start. You should have heard them all howl when they saw me working with a crochet hook instead of a pair of knitting needles. The basses seemed especially incensed. They are used to seeing me and my knitting but apparently a crochet hook is just going too far!

Anyway, once the right length is achieved, it is time to take out the provisional cast on and put the released stitches onto a needle:
Here I am pulling out the purple yarn of the crochet cast on
and picking up the white stitches that are freed.
Once that was done, I had two ends on needles and it was time to put them together to make a continuous loop:
The pattern called for a three-needle bind off. This would have held the ends together but it would have left a seam, causing a bump on the inside and an interruption to the garter stitch pattern. Now, we know better than that, don't we!? Have you guessed yet which word I will utter next? Yup, it's time for Kitchener. Now there's some magic!

It was going so well that when I was half done the seam, I thought I should take a picture or no one would believe me that it was sewn together:
The Kitchener seam is half done. The right side is finished;
the stitches on the needles on the left are waiting.
You can't tell which rows were knit and which one was sewn; there's no interruption to the stitch pattern, and the colour pattern is kept consistent. I love Kitchener and its mighty power.

When it was done, I had this:
Try and find the seam!

How does all this make a collar? Well, you fold it in half and just sort of imagine it laying across my shoulders:
I've since picked up the stitches around the collar and have just begin to knit the body.

The yarn contains mohair and it's definitely "hairy." I don't mind working with it, though, and I don't think I'll have any problem wearing it. If nothing else, I'll wear a tank under it and that will only help if the neckline ends up being too wide open for bra straps. (I'm old fashioned--I'd rather not show mine.)

But there's enough time to worry about that later. Meanwhile, I'll keep knitting. Obviously the shirt's being done top-down, so next time you see it, I'll probably be trying it on.

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