June 28, 2006
And that, my friends, is the front of a sweater. The two sides of the neck really are about the same length; they just don’t look it in the picture because I haven’t yet blocked or pressed or done whatever I’m supposed to do to it next. I had enough trouble figuring out the neck shaping that I need a little break to regroup. The instructions seemed clear enough when I read them: Make neck opening by knitting across first 56 stitches, placing the center 26 stitches onto holder or scrap yarn, and knitting the remaining 56 stitches. I even had exactly that number of stitches at that point, unlike with the back when I came up three short. So I knit 56 and slipped 26 onto a holder and then got stuck when trying to knit the next 56. First, the holder was in the way, and second, surely I wasn’t meant to carry the yarn across that wide gap of 24 stitches. I puzzled and puzzled ’til my puzzler was sore, and then I thought to look at the out of print Rowan pattern, a copy of which I’d gotten via eBay since I started this knitting adventure. What it said made more sense to me: work only the first side of the neck and leave the other ’til later.
So I went back to the blue blog pattern to see how to work that side of the neck (the Rowan pattern doesn’t go up to my size) and got confused again because I wasn’t sure which side was the right side of the neck–the one on the right as I’d be wearing it or the one on the right as I’d look at it from the right side? It mattered because the types of decreases used on the right side versus the left were different. I eventually worked out that it was the right side as I’d be wearing it, based on when the decreases occurred in a wrong side row compared to a right side row. I worked the left side of the neck first, which meant doing my very first SSK (slip, slip, knit) and SSP (slip, slip, purl) decreases. I had to look up how to accomplish this in Vogue Knitting, at which point I got confused again, because it seemed like at least some of the decreases were going to slant the opposite of the way I thought they logically should, and the Rowan pattern was no help since it just said “decrease” and didn’t say how. So I did it the way the blue blog pattern said (at least I tried) and it looks pretty reasonable. I am still not sure I got the total length right, or the shoulder bindoffs (they didn’t work out evenly and I don’t know where I went wrong) but it seems to be approximately the right size and shape. When it came time to do the other side of the neck, I joined a new ball of yarn and drove myself nearly crazy trying to make sure I ended up with both sides the same length; I think I ended up one row off but don’t know how I could avoid it given the stairstep bindoff I needed to do to match the back shoulder and the other side.
I’m pretty happy with the way the K turned out. I made a few changes to my chart as I worked the top half of the letter (final version is here). There are a few spots I think could be improved upon, but for a first effort I think it’s pretty nifty. I sewed in the ends of all the different colors sections rather than trying to knit them in as I went. I’m comfortable with a needle and doing it that way gave me the chance to thread the ends through some of the loose spots to tighten them up and make it look better. I did learn to wait a bit before sewing them in, though, as I had to go back and rip a section (not as many as the 10 rows I did before, thank heaven) past where I’d sewn in an end and that was tedious to undo and redo.
Once I bound off the second side of the front, I briefly pondered just sewing the shoulders and sides together before finishing the neck and doing something with the armholes to make a Weasley vest, but no, I’m persevering and making sleeves. Two of them, even. I’m departing from the pattern here by doing them both at once from the cuff up, to be sewn on later, rather than picking up stitches at the shoulder and knitting from the top down one sleeve at a time. This way I figure I have a much better chance of the sleeves ending up the same length and I’ll also get a chance to practice my seaming skills more. I may end up hating seaming and avoiding it in future, but I don’t think so–I like to sew, after all. We’ll just have to see; stay tuned.