Thursday, 12 September 2013

Borders, binding-off, button-holes and bodging

After Stephanie confirmed that there had been a slight mixing up of the numbers for the marker placements for the nonagon yoke it knitted up very quickly. 

Even with the extra four underarm stitches the first colour was a little tight but by pulling a through a loop of cable at the tightest point (a modification of the magic loop method) the slight awkwardness was easily overcome and the stripes kept coming. 

The decreases are formed on the right side rows, by a K2tog after the markers on the right front, running into the back and SSK before the marker on the left.  BUT at the centre back the decreases alternate K2tog and SSK.  So to stop myself speeding through the centre back and forgetting what sort of decrease I needed to do I did some fiddly things with my markers.

I have little gold and silver stitch-markers. 

The gold went on the right and the silver on the left.

And at the centre back I placed one of each 

When I cast off the neck band I encountered a problem, my usual simple cast off was going to be too tight.  So instead I used Judy’s Super stretchy bind off. 

At the beginning of the cast off row begin by casting on one more stitch, place the stitch back on the left hand needle.
Knit 3
Pass stitches 1 & 2 over stitch 3
*Cast on one, K2, pass stitches 1&2 over stitch 3**
Repeat from * to ** to the end of the row

This gives a lovely neat looking cast on edge that although being very stretchy lies nice and flat.  BUT there is one problem and I will come to that later.

When it comes to picking up stitches for a button band the actual number is less important that that the band should fit nicely, not stretched nor puckered and the stitches should be evenly spaced. 

I began by measuring the length I needed for the band (from neck cast off to bottom cast on edge) and checked my row gauge in garter stitch.  The number of rows to the inch in garter stitch can be greater than in stocking stitch (mine certainly are). 

Having done the maths I found I needed 71 stitches to make a well fitting band.  Although this is close to the pattern it is also a little surprising as I made the body of my cardigan 1.5 inches longer than the pattern.  This confirms how important it is to check your tension.  After checking the total number of rows in my sweater I hit on picking up a stitch every other row on the garter stitch sections and every 2 in 3 of the stocking stitch.  It worked! 

It was not till I was about to cast off that I came upon the snag of using such a fancy cast off stitch (this would not have happened if I had stuck to a plain and usual cast off but been careful to keep my work loose).

I had the lovely cabley type bind off up the front and around the neck but now on the edge of the band itself I had the plain old garter edge-of-row-ness.  Ugly?  Yes!  There was nothing else for it but to rip it out and begin again . 

After a lot of thought and 2 more lots of frogging (ribbit, ribbit) I worked out how to make it look pretty.  Firstly I left off one stitch at the neck edge on the original pick up.  Then as I cast off I picked up just two stitches along the upper edge (where there was a little step from the missing stitch), cast then off together with the front edge stitches and when sewing in the ends blended them in with the neck edge cast off.

Phew!! It now looks like this

I made the second band in the same way, because I had 70 stitches it was easier to make 7 button holes.  And here’s where the serendipity comes in.  As you know I am staying on a small island in Greece, we have no haberdashers so improvisation comes in.  I don’t want to give away my solution for the no-buttons-in-the-shops situation at this point but I do need to tell you I am basing them on 1cent Euro pieces. 

I had a feeling I would need larger button holes than the ones formed by K2tog YON so I knitted a little swatch.  I was right.

The larger button holes are made by a method I once read on a blog by Mary Scott Hoff, a wonderful  colour-work knitter and blogger.  This is how she does it

Row 1 – k2tog, YON x2 
Row 2 – k to the double YON, knit one loop and drop the other (you will have a nasty gaping hole!!)
Row 3 – K to the nasty gaping holey stitch and knit right into the hole (taking up the stitch and the one below it in one)

And there you have it – the button hole will be a nice tidy round hole that is big enough for a fancy button.

More about the buttons and some extra embellishments in the next blog

Meanwhile, the evenings here at the beach are just as wonderful as the days and we have found a new way to spend them, sitting on the beach with a bottle of chilled wine, eating spanakopita and baklava straight out of the paper- bags.

Guess where we shall be having supper tonight?



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