Monday, February 27, 2006

For Knitting Nerds

Just as a warning, this is probably going to get pretty nerdy. In a knitting way, of course!

This weekend I finished the back of Storm (sorry no new pictures, I was kind of held in the sway of weaving and only managed to sneak away from the loom long enough to finish the back and do a little cleaning). The loom has let me out of its clutches and now I am ready to cast on a front*. I have already resolved to do all neck shaping using short rows (not called for in the pattern, but they will make a much nicer looking neck), but I'm struggling with a buttonband issue: in most cardigan patterns you cast on the stitches for one front minus the buttonband stitches, and for better or worse pick them up later and knit the band perpendicular to the body, in smaller needles. In this pattern, you cast on all of the stitches including the buttonband and knit the ribbing (in this case, it's seed stitch), put the band stitches on a holder, finish the front on the larger needles (remembering to include shortrows for the neck, because, you know I will forget). Then you slip the band stitches to the smaller needle and knit it up parallel to the body. The pattern may or may not tell you to sew it on as you go, but you should because you will be much happier if you do.

The advantages to doing it this way is that you don't really have to figure out the rate of pick up (which is about 3 stitches to 4 rows) and I think it looks a lot nicer. The disadvantage? It's kind of a pain in the ass to sew a buttonband on, even if you are doing it as you go.

As an aside, if I haven't lost the one or two non-knitters that read this, you do the buttonband separately from the sweater (rather than just knitting a border along with the front) because you use a couple of sizes smaller needle than you do with the body. My theory on this is that the bands take a beating and knitting them to a tighter gauge makes them more bullet proof, also they are less likey to poof out.

Picking up the bands at the end is somewhat easier, and I don't have to think about them until the end. They aren't as pretty, though.

I'm pretty much committed to doing the bands as written. I wrote most of this post before going home last night and starting work on the front. It turns out. I can't tell my left from my right. Actually that isn't news, but it does mean that I have to cast on tonight for the third time (and if I weren't committed to doing the bands as written, I could get away with going on with what I have).

Something that ticks me off about knitting patterns (this one included): most knitters I know use the long tail cast on, which starts you out on the wrong side. Every pattern I have seen (with one possible exception, and I can't remember what it is so don't ask) starts you on the right side. What's up with that? Oh well. Reason # 1,383 to think about what you're doing, even if you are just following the pattern.

Tomorrow: weaving tales. Maybe more books.

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