Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Knitting Knitting and Getting Nowhere

This first picture would seem to deny the title of the post, but I have to let you know that after 7 inches of beautiful knitting which took me from green to purple to orange, I had to frog it all. [:hand to throat gasping "No!":] When I got the shaping done to the waist on my Pencil Sketch Camisole, I put all the stitches onto a string and tried it on. You could fit one and a half of me in it. Oh, I hate it when swatches lie...

So while I had it on, I figured out how many stitches to deduct. (Just pinch the extra fabric you don't need and count how many stitches that is.) Well, that brought me pretty much right back to the number the pattern told me to do in the first place. [:double sigh with a big shoulder slump:]

But now I am cast back on, finished the hem, and humming along. One reason this is not as bad as it could be is that the wool is so nice to knit with. Yum, it just makes my fingers and eyes blissful.

Hubby is also partially convinced I took it all out so that I could fix a small mistake I had noticed a number of rows back. (On one stitch I had knit into the stitch of the row below--nothing worth frogging for--but he thinks I take my perfectionism to more extremes than I do.) There was another small mistake in the lace he doesn't know about, but if he did he would count it as additional proof of his theory.

While I'm posting and since I had to do it twice (it came out even nicer the second time), let me share a nice hem for stockingnette garments. I first did it on a baby sweater I made when I was still a young thing (early teens maybe?).

The pattern I'm doing currently actually calls for two rows of ribbing along the bottom but I didn't like how it looked on my swatch. And I didn't think two rows would keep the shirt from curling up. I hate curling. (Not the sport.) This hem will be much better:

Picot Hem Tutorial
Use a loose cast on and knit five or six rows in stocking stitch. Then knit a row of K2tog, YO all the way across. Then knit five or six more rows of stocking stitch:
This will give you a bit of knitting with a row of holes. In the baby sweater I knit as a youngster, the pattern had you fold the piece along the holes and then sew it down like a normal hem after the entire garment was knit. This works, but it's not very satisfying if you don't like sewing seams. And a sewn seam is never as stretchy as the knitting around it.

The alternative is to fold the piece along the holes, putting the cast on edge toward the back of the work and then knitting the cast on edge with the next row. This will "sew" the hem with no sewing at all. (I know, it's like magic!)
So, fold along holes toward the back.

Then use your left needle to pick up the "outside half" of the cast on edge:
(You want to pick up just one strand.)

Then knit the next stitch with this strand like a knit 2 together:
(Right needle is inserted through next stitch and picked-up strand ready to knit them together.)

Here's a pic to show you the back:
(From the back, the "left" needle has picked up the strand.)

And here you can see how the holes have been transformed to "picots." Hence the name, picot hem.
(Again, a view from the back.)

After doing a whole row (or round) of knitting 2 together in this manner, you then just continue to knit. I told you it was like magic.

You can actually use this hem without the YOs so that you get a straight edge along the bottom. In this case, you would usually do a purl row instead which will become your fold line. EZ recommends casting on about 95% of your total stitches (increasing to 100% above the rolled edge) and using a slightly thinner yarn (The Opinionated Knitter p15). I will try this when I get around to knitting hubby the fine gauge sweater I've been thinking about. It will give a flatter and smoother look than the traditional ribbing.

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